What Bernie Sanders Supporters Taught Me

Bernie 2016 Round Logo One of the things I have to admire about this current Presidential Election Cycle are all those Bernie Sanders supporters: They’re young, energetic, passionate, dedicated, and idealistic – reminds me of how I was the first time I was old enough to vote.

They’re also extremely eager to engage anyone who’ll listen to their cause. As one who welcomes a nice give-and-take discussion of issues (and, playing the Devil’s Advocate on occasion…but, I digress) I couldn’t help but engage idealistic youth with some slightly more-experienced – and possibly a bit more pragmatic & cynical – age.

Now while I haven’t talked to too many Bernie Sanders supporters, I did manage to learn quite a bit about a number of things both wrong and right with America, to wit:

  • Big Pharma, through their high prices & massive profits, are killing poor people: The government should limit their gross profits to 15% and forbid them from advertising in the media, redirecting these monies to reducing the costs of drugs.
  • While Corporations are not individuals, they should still be “patriotic” and structure their business models to ensure the success of America and the well-being of all Americans.
  • Socialism is not a “failure” when countries like Sweden and Denmark clearly show that it can be successful.

Of course, all this “free education” came at a price, that being I could barely get a word in edgewise: It seems some of the ones I talked to were almost overwhelmingly vocal. Every attempt to provide an alternate view, piece of factual information, or nod to another candidate was interrupted with accusations of ignorance or the label of “Conservative”. (In fact, the best retort I’ve heard from  one in a group of self-described “Bernbots” was “Listen to him all you want, because in forty years his generation* will die along with all their Conservative ways.” I wonder if Mao Zedong’s dad ever heard this? Probably not.)

Barely able to “give” in this “give-and-take” situation I decided to “take” some more “free educating” by asking them a few questions. None of the (admittedly few) Sanders supporters I talked to could:

  • explain the difference between Socialism and Communism (Basically, in Socialist economies the government owns businesses responsible for basic goods & services – such as utilities – while in Communists economies the government owns all means of production)
  • pick a reasonable upper limit to the number of illegal/legal aliens allowed into the USA (3 Million? 12 Million? More? Less?)
  • determine a “reasonable” tax rate percentage, describe what constitutes “fair” taxation, or define an upper limit to who could be taxed, what could be taxed, and by how much. (Hint: Here’s one way to determine a “reasonable” tax rate.)
  • comprehend that Companies do not pay taxes (it’s built into the price of their goods/services and paid by the consumer)

So, while almost half of America’s Democrat Primary Voters are working to make history, I hope many of them (or at least some of the ones I tried to speak with) take pause to remember some history: It took generations for people in countries like China, India, and the Soviet Union to learn that in reality “Democratic Socialism” is neither “democratic” (the “Ruling Class” remains in power, sometimes through inheritance – like North Korea) nor “Socialist” (all Socialist countries still have those rich “1-percenters” – China, for example). They’ve even realized this to more painful effect – and in shorter time – in smaller countries like Haiti, Cuba, Greece, North Korea, nearly every eastern European ex-Soviet satellite country, and more recently Venezuela. As I’ve written before, Capitalism certainly has it’s problems, but when it comes to economic systems it’s the best “-ism” there is.

Thanks for reading!

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Phil Favors Fantastic Finish for Fenway Faithful

Just like Spring, MLB Baseball predictions are also starting to emerge, and, once again, my colleague and still-all-around-cool-guy Phil has made his first for 2016 and he’s “sticking to it“.  After his nearly-correct* prediction from 2014 I’m only too happy to stick it on my blog:

“The Red Sox are going to go 102 and 60 this year [2016].”

Based on the number of colleagues who’ve stopped by to ponder on the Red Sox season I’m thinking Phil may just be on to something. Besides, the prospect of the Sox having THREE bad seasons in a row is completely unthinkable ;-)

*Felix Doubront was tied for 2nd w/ Joe Kelly for 2014 Season saves, with Allen Webster beating them both by one – Phil predicted Doubront would have the most wins.

Thanks for reading!

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Calling all Voters!

Forever may she wave! Thanks to our current King Dictator Narcissist Egotistical President – who took over 30 months to conclusively prove he met the only two criteria Constitutionally required to be elected President of the United States – the bar has been set so low that anyone – including a brash billionaire, a self-declared Socialist, a man with audiogenic memory, and even a failed Secretary of State – can run for President.

Since I easily qualify as an “anyone” and can produce my genuine, original, unaltered Birth Certificate in less than a day, I’ve decided to toss my well-worn Red Sox cap into the political area (of course, as President I would be the most successful Welfare recipient in the world, which is also appealing :-)

So, why not take a little break and check out who I am, then have a look at my

MUSEman 2016 Presidential Platform.

If I’m elected President, you’ll even get to see my real name – it’s on the Birth Certificate.

Thanks for reading!

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The 12 Delays of Christmas

I want to wish everyone (especially the few who read this site ;-) ) a very Merry Christmas full of friends, family, food, and fun, and best wishes for a new year of peace and prosperity.

And, if you wake up Christmas morning and discover Santa didn’t leave any gifts under the tree it’s probably not because you’ve been a naughty girl or boy: Just sit back, relax, and celebrate the 12 Delays of Christmas while you wait for Santa to arrive!

The Twelve Days Delays of Christmas

  1. A big red entity in charge of a large number of underpaid, overworked, height-challenged workers making cheap disposable goods all year round? Isn’t that China?
  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the North Pole for the mineral rights
  3. Still moving to the South Pole, where the ice mass has been steadily increasing for the past 30 years.
  4. Elves now unionized, won’t work for less than $15/hour
  5. Still trying to figure out gift delivery by drone
  6. Too many injuries from those “Reindeer Games
  7. Apparently, Rudolph has a drinking problem
  8. FAA ruled an airborne sleigh carrying all those gifts poses a flight risk
  9. Cleaning up after eight flying reindeer while driving proving to be too difficult
  10. Technically, Santa’s an illegal alien
  11. White snow? White Christmas? A White Santa? With a White beard?!? That sounds racist!!!
  12. Two words: “Global Warming

Merry Christmas to all!

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I’m a Random Ramblin’ Man!

Sorry, dear readers, for the dearth in postings: Between work (which I’m grateful to have in this economy), Summer (which I’ve learned was the coldest ever recorded in the USA), and the Red Sox (which has driven me to despair), I’ve had little time to document my Unsolicited Side Effects.

But, there’s always time to randomly ramble…so:

  • After reading about how “personal” digital photos of about 100 actresses (and, one actor) were hacked into and posted online I wondered how many of them have actually been paid to act in a state of partial or total undress?
  • Is it true that Warren Buffett, a wildly successful businessman and devoted Democrat contributor, invested $3 BILLION dollars in Burger King’s $12 billion purchase of Canada-based Tim Horton’s because he could make his investment back just in the tax savings alone when Burger King changes their headquarters from the United States (39.1% corporate tax rate) to Canada (26.1% corporate tax rate)? (BTW: Probably not… but, the yield on Buffett’s purchase of preferred stock might be up to 9% – a heck of a lot better than any investment you might own)
  • I read that an artist from Los Angeles CA created a sculpture from illegal guns obtained by New Jersey police during a “gun buy back” program. Sure, the sculpture is nice enough, but I’m wondering how may of those criminals used the money to upgrade to better – and, most likely illegal – guns.
  • If you’re becoming frustrated, annoyed, or impatient when playing that classic PC game “Minesweeper“, why not try it my way: Instead of avoiding the mines, try to see how many boards in a row you can lose by selecting a mine on the very first click :-)

Thanks for reading!

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“Unsettling” Fact of the Month…

…summed up in one convenient chart (click to embiggen):

No Global Warming for 17 yrs 10 mos?

(Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/)

According to Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, and as reported by the website “Watt’s Up With That?” the “satellite-based monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature dataset” indicates no global warming for 214 months.

Does this mean the science behind “Global Warming” (aka: “climate change“, aka: “climate disruption) isn’t really as “settled” as some Green Energy opportunists would have us believe?

It reminds me of a saying I learned as a young Engineer:

“One data point is an anomaly, two are a dichotomy, and three are an empirical relationship.”

Personally, I’m still waiting for that “third data point“. In the meantime, here’s hoping Mother Nature keeps that “Global Pause” going strong!

Thanks for reading!

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Bumper Stickers I’ve Yet to See

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see as many bumper stickers as I used to. Frankly, I’m getting a bit concerned that bumper stickers might go the way of vinyl roofs, factory two-tone paint jobs, and curb-feelers.

Perhaps drivers don’t want to spoil the looks of their financed car. Or, they fear for the safety of  themselves or their car. Regardless, here are some…

Bumper Stickers I’ve Yet to See
(Click any image to enlarge)
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Notice: Author-created content is Copyright © 2014 The MUSEman. Any third-party content shown on this page is property of their respective owners.

Thanks for reading!

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Presenting: My New Red Sox Banner!

(Well, it SHOULD be here...check back later!)

Yes, Red Sox fans, it’s truly bad when the most expensive average ticket in Major League Baseball is home to a Championship team that couldn’t hit the ground if they fell, catch a cold, or throw a tantrum.

Sure, there’s been worse years, but, let’s face it: From 1924 to about 1998 Sox fans weren’t expecting much other than entertainment anyway :-)

There’s always “next year” – when I hope the Sox announce a rebate on ticket prices, LOL!
Thanks for reading!

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What does $4.2 Billion Dollars Buy?

With the recent influx of illegal aliens from South America currently pouring across our southern border with Mexico the Obama Administration has requested $4,200,000,000 of taxpayer money to address the needs of 55 to 67 thousand unaccompanied children mothers with children teenage children MS-13 Gang Members people who’ve arrived during the 1st six months of 2014 – and, are still arriving.

Now, $4.2 Billion dollars may not sound like much for a country with a $17 trillion dollar deficit, or a military fighter jet costing $400 Billion dollars which has yet to reach operational status, but it’s still a hefty chunk of taxpayer change. So, rather than thinking big and pondering what could have been done with $400 Billion other than building fighter jets, let’s think small and consider what $4.2 Billion could buy for Americans in need:

What does $4,200,000,000 dollars buy?

50 Percent of America’s homeless having a safe & secure place to stay every day for a year (according to the “Housing First” Program, at $8.4 Billion dollars per year)
1,400,000 College-age women on birth control for every month of their entire three years at law school, or, all women enrolling in all law schools in the USA for the next 21 years (at $3,000 for three years, according to Sandra Fluke’s Congressional testimony, and 65,387 women in law schools, according to the American Bar Association)
71,874 Full-time minimum wage workers salaries increased to $15/hr for the next 5 years ($7.25/hr, 29 hrs/wk, 52 wks/yr, for 5 years, or $58,435 per person gross income)
64,615 Homes for “Habitat for Humanity” (at $65K/home National average price)
12,727,272 ObamaPhones (at $320/yr + $10/phone. Please, only 1 phone per person)
120,000 Chevy Volts to reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil and keep America’s Unions working (at $35k per car)
1,536 Unsafe bridges in America’s crumbling highway system repaired or replaced (for all those new Chevy Volts, of course!)
11,441,379 Nutritious, low or no cost lunches for America’s disadvantaged and underprivileged grade school children (based on FY2012 numbers, available from this USDA report)
70 Small market Triple-A baseball stadiums
(based on $60M per park. That’s enough new stadiums to provide Major League Baseball’s 30 Triple-A teams and 31 Double-A teams a new stadium with plenty of money left over!)
3,092 Large-scale (1000kW), energy-efficient wind turbines across the United States (or enough capacity to replace  three 100% Green energy nuclear power plants, for you “Green Environmentalists”)
1,900,000 Unionized teachers getting a 5% bonus this year (at an average annual income of $44,000 per teacher… unfortunately, that’s only 50% of the Union Teachers in the USA)
1,268,115 Uninsured people receiving an ObamaCare health insurance subsidy every month for the next year (based on average yearly subsidy of $3,212 per person)
2 Years of High Speed Rail infrastructure development in the United States (based on the Obama Administration’s proposal of $53 Billion over the next 25 years)
500,000 Preschool children participating in the Federal Government’s Head Start program
23 Percent of the City of Detroit’s total outstanding debt ($18 Billion as of 02/21/14), which has resulted in deep cuts to pensions, health care, and city services.

———- OR ———-

132,000 New Democrat voters per year within the next 20-35 years scattered throughout predominantly Conservative states and cities (based on 55K illegal alien Latino children arriving the 1st 6 months of 2014 and assuming half are female, and 2.4 children per women, with about 52% voting Democrat once reaching voting age)

Now I’m all in favor of helping disadvantaged people who honestly and truly want to improve their lives, regardless of how they arrived at their current circumstance. However, in a time where America’s economy is in slow decline, and her preeminence and influence in world affairs is eroding – whether by accident or intent – it appears a bit disingenuous to me that some in America champion accepting even more disadvantaged people when America can’t (or won’t) even take care of her own… and worse, that some are exploiting it in the name of political gain.

It isn’t a question of humanity, morality, charity, or correctness, which the majority of people around the world practice. It isn’t about isolationism, jiingoism, Patriotism, Nationalism, or any of those other “-isms”. It’s about preserving the World’s best example of individual freedom, Representative Government, and economic and social prosperity. Because by ignoring our laws and failing to defend our borders (we’ve got an immigration policy, right?) and the possibility that illegal aliens may be granted amnesty by Executive fiat rather than through the will of the voters, we risk turning the United States into what it was just after the Declaration of Independence was signed: A concept of Democracy rather than a working, living example.

Want to know what else $4.2 Billion dollars can buy?

280,000 Men, women, and children currently waiting in line to enter this country legally (assuming an average processing cost of $15,000 per person to move through the legal immigration system, including legal fees…and, a wait in line for up to nine years or more)
1,680 Miles of protective border fence (based on an average cost of $2.5 Million per mile)
189 Remote-controlled drones flying 24 hours a day for an entire year to patrol the borders without putting United States citizens in harm’s way (based on a MQ-9 Reaper drone and $3,000 per flight hour to fly)
5,714 New border agents to help enforce America’s borders for the next five years (based on $70,000 annual salary and a 2.1x burden ratio)
Thousands of… Pieces of protective equipment such as armored MRAP vehicles, HUMVEEs, bulletproof vests, and other gear designed to help keep America’s border defenders safe (no, wait… they can get this equipment absolutely free just for paying the shipping costs!)

Thanks for reading!

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There’s an Anecdote here somewhere…

  • If 93.8% of pregnant women who enter Planned Parenthood are not pregnant once they leave, then what “parenthood” is actually being planned?
  • The condo complex my fried lives in recently posted a notice which read in part “You must keep your pet at least 30 feet away from the building before urinating or defecating.” As my friend doesn’t own any pets they’re going to have a big problem in a couple of days. All joking aside, the bigger problem is that 30 feet from any building on the property is either another building, a paved parking area, or a small common park where pets aren’t allowed to “do their business” anyway. Given the property owner’s use of improper grammar I suspect it’s a problem they’ve yet to discover.
  • Mexico and Guatemala recently signed an agreement that provides anyone from Guatemala or Belize entering Mexico illegally a Regional Visitor Card which is good for 72 hours, after which Mexico will arrest and deport them back to their country of origin. I think it’s a great idea which the United States should immediately adopt: It sure would be a whole lot cheaper than the $4.2 Billion our President is asking for to take care of the parents of the Democrat Party’s future voters those unfortunate children of irresponsible parents who want to be sponsored for entry once their children become legal US Citizens (gosh, that’s too much cynicism even for me – but, I digress…) By the way, if you’re an US Citizen and want a 72 hour pass into Mexico you’ll need to provide at least eight documents and forms, along with some money, and then you still won’t be able to travel more than 13.5 miles into Mexico.
  • Did you know that the chances of you winning money from a lottery scratch ticket (roughly 1 in 4, or 25%, according to my local Lottery Agent) is about 3 times greater than actually getting a free airline flight using your frequent flyer miles (approximately 9%, according the Travel Detective)?
  • Am I the only one who finds it obvious that states having less restrictive gun possession regulations also have lower murder rates? (apparently not… my gun-owning acquaintances also find it obvious)

Thanks for reading!

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