Concerns Abound – Duly Warned

Here are two thoughtful analyses of what is happening in our world. One is about the descent into a world of “strong men.” The other is about Donald Trump’s mental illness as seen by mental health professionals.

from David Brooks: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/opinion/the-crisis-of-western-civ.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-3&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article&_r=2

from John Gartner: https://medium.com/the-fifth-estate/an-interview-with-dr-john-gartner-we-have-a-duty-to-warn-the-world-about-donald-trump-e1b54223c913 and https://www.change.org/p/trump-is-mentally-ill-and-must-be-removed

We are duly warned, the question remains about what we will do once warned. I think that every one of us should think hard about this. I think that we will have many reminders on a weekly or even daily basis.

Actions and Words Matter

I continue to be suspicious of DT’s ideas  and actions.  Over the last week, we have seen a military strike of questionable worth and radical shifts in thinking from our new leader.

Then there is the installation of his “beachhead” team. See the following.

https://www.marketplace.org/2017/04/12/business/so-many-job-vacancies-whos-running-government

I am still not convinced that he is fit for the position that he has.

[Added 4/18/2017: Recent related article by David Brooks is on-point. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/opinion/the-coming-incompetence-crisis.html?mc=aud_dev&mcid=keywee&mccr=domdesk&kwp_0=378548&kwp_4=1409519&kwp_1=620454&_r=1 ]

Dangerous Times

I really have tried to avoid saying much about politics over the last election cycle. However, I think that we have now gone beyond normal politics into a period of time that will be dangerous for our country. I feel compelled to publicly state the things that follow.

The current regime of D. Trump is ignorant, incompetent, and insane. I won’t try to justify this summary characterization here. It is easy to find rational analysts (conservative and liberal), who have explained why such a characterization is reasonable based on observable behaviors.

I hope that the political professionals that exist can come together to neutralize and remove this regime as quickly as possible. Perhaps such actions would demonstrate the power of cooperation and help lead us into better times.

Meanwhile, I hope that in our individual lives we can foster resistance to the current regime and demonstrate respect for those that may not outwardly appear to be like us. I have been lucky to have worked with people from various cultures. I have had the good fortune to know a gay woman, who showed me through her actions what it means to be different (at least in one way) from the people around her. And, I have found cousins, descended from slaves to whom I am probably related through an “encounter” with a distant cousin of mine of European descent. The point is that this is a complicated place. We should realize that, take it for what it is, and work together. Irrational fear and hate are not appropriate.

This will not be easy, but I think that we must denounce ignorance, incompetence and insanity and replace them with better aspects of our nature.

Living in a World of Tabloid News

Recently I have felt a lot of truth in the view that we are being manipulated by many that contribute to and present the news.

D. Trump is a good example of this. He says outlandish things to get attention and describes problems (real and imaginary) and then presents himself as the solution. He clearly manipulates the news and the consumers of the news.

In a recent foray, he seems to want to bring back the cold war days of nuclear proliferation. If he is actually sincere in this (and not just grabbing attention), I think that his views must be resisted. By taking such a stance, he promotes an idea that endangers the very existence of all on the Earth. He has already threatened our climate and groups of people (based on skin color, religion, gender, etc.). His views are dangerous, and I hope that they just represent a sick attempt at gaining attention.

Former presidents and people like Hans Bethe, who actually worked to bring nuclear weapons to the world in order to stop the Fascists of the 30s and 40s, have previously concluded that nuclear proliferation is a dangerous and undesirable path to walk. (More about Bethe – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Bethe )

I have been quiet about this, but I feel that D. Trump has stepped over a line. So, I believe that I must in my own small way publicly call him out as a dangerous man with dangerous ideas.

You might be interested in the views of some thoughtful people on the subject of the manipulation of news. Here are some references for you.

Relevant books by Tim Wu. The Attention Merchants and The Master Switch

A recent interview of Tim Wu by Leo Laporte. https://twit.tv/shows/triangulation/episodes/278

 

A Good Explanation of ACA Health Plan Prices

It is easy to find the hype about the rising cost of health insurance for those having to buy it outside of their workplaces. The following article, however, paints the most complete picture that I have found of what is really going on.

https://cms.marketplace.org/2016/10/27/health-care/let-s-do-numbers-obamacare-rate-hikes-charts

It seems to me that people that are able to use the exchanges should see little impact. Those that do not use an exchange, for whatever reason (including high income), will in fact see cost increases. Complicating this is the fact that some exchanges have been poorly executed. (See for example Minnesota’s exchange implementation.) So, I think that we should not lose sight of the fact that this is NOT another issue painted in black and white. Discussion and analysis are needed, not diatribe.

Pointless Jobs!

A friend recently alerted me to this article. It points out something that I fear to be true.  That is, that capitalism in its current form is not serving us well. I hope that you enjoy it.

Why Capitalism Creates Pointless Jobs

John Prine and Creativity

Here’s a recent video about John Prine in the context of creativity. An interesting site (www.thetellingwell.org ) and an interesting and talented guy!

Episode 8