Introducing the Party of “Neither”

What a great editorial in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Here’s the link: Neither for President. Evidently the WSJ does not endorse any candidates, “If ‘neither’ could make it onto the November ballot, maybe we’d reconsider our longstanding editorial policy of not endorsing candidates.”

“An unprecedented plurality of 35% responded neither, which means neither meets the 15% threshold to make it into the presidential debates. Can neither get a podium on stage?”

In my blog posting dated August 12, 2016, and titled “Show me the Money”, I offer the reader links to the four Presidential candidates’ websites and their political platforms. I also include a couple of links in my blog that refer to the 15% survey “results” requirement for inclusion in the Presidential debates.

What an interesting dilemma is posited by the WSJ! I mean, what if no Presidential candidate met the 15% “inclusion” criteria? Of course the criteria would be changed. Gee, maybe citizens should be “registered” survey responders in order to participate in the “national surveys.” Or, what if, and I know that this is really silly, but…what if only ONE candidate met the 15% requirement! They would be “onstage” debating against him or herself!

For those who can remember “Alfred E. Neuman,” should I quote him by saying “What, me worry!”
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Shiver

Encounter

My mom and I had an encounter with reality yesterday… a homeless man begging me for a dollar on our local bus service which only operates through the local streets of our village. It was a scary event. Scary because the encounter reminded me of the homeless who are panhandling around our town, scary because the homeless are the “face” of our failure as a nation. Scary for the homeless man awash in a sea of social apathy, scary because of deadlock government inaction, and a US economy which doesn’t know whether it is “up” or “down” among other things, and yes scary because he might have assaulted us or the bus driver because of his desperation. It’s a failure to “fix the problems” and the problems seem more insurmountable in every passing day. I see more homeless people “visibly.” There is a saying “the homeless are always with us”, I don’t know who said it and, for that matter, it doesn’t matter who said it.

It’s now more than 24 hours later and I am “haunted” by the memory of that homeless man. I have thought to myself in the past encounters that I have had seeing homeless people, “there but for the grace of God, go I.” I am a senior citizen and live on a fixed income. I am very worried about the ZERO percent interest rates and how the lack of income from savings is devastating the senior population. The “savers” are being punished and meanwhile others can buy cars (SUVs) at near ZERO percent interest rates because “money” is “cheap” to borrow. What is so ludicrous is that NEGATIVE percent interest rates are now being used by the European banks to try to get companies to “spend” their money instead of storing the money in banks. Basically, if you are a “saver” at a bank, you will pay the bank to hold your money for you! The Federal Reserve “isn’t there yet” but I’ve read some financial news that it could happen here in the States. As an individual and not a company, if I’m forced to spend my savings then I have “nothing”, and actually that is happening anyway because the “non-existent” inflation is very existent for me and other seniors for sure.

Here’s a blog I’ve written previously about Negative Interest Rates.

Unfortunately, my writing this blog item will not help that homeless man. Every homeless person has a “story” as to why he or she is in such a sad and seemingly helpless predicament. Am I trying to relieve my conscious? It just bothers me I guess, our whole economic “condition”. We don’t have to look at the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (or India or other “third” world country) with disgust, horror, curiousity, or smugness (I hope not), we have the “unfortunate” right here among us, just open our eyes.

And, of course, “except for the Grace of God, go I.”
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Witness

Meet and Greet: 8/20/16

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

What’s in a Map?

Author’s update 8/26/2016: Unfortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Illinois’ citizens will not vote on an official ballot whether redistricting of the state’s legislative districts be handling by an independent commission instead of being unilaterally drawn by politicians. See the link: Illinois Supreme Court Decision

Dionne Warwick sang a song “Do you know the way to San Jose?” back in the 1960’s. Here’s a YouTube clip of Ms. Warwick singing the song: Dionne Warwick. Hal David wrote the lyrics and Burt Bacharach wrote the music. It’s a lively song with a good beat, back in the 60s, many songs had a “good beat” after all your dancing should match the spinning discothèque ball with its twirling glass-mirrors. Gee, I wonder what happened to all of those twirling glass-mirrored balls? Well, as usual, I start one trend of thought by going off onto another one!

What I really want to talk about are maps. MAPS! You say. In particular I plan to talk about legislative district maps. You know the kind that are drawn by the “powers-to-be” in each political party to perpetual their power bases and, of course, job security.
As usual I’ll start with a definition. That is, what is a map? It’s a different question than I posed in my blog topic title which asks the question, what’s in a map. So, one definition of what a map is:
“a maplike delineation, representation, or reflection of anything.” I chose definition #2 from the definitions offered at Dictionary.com*

*Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/map (accessed: August 14, 2016).

Why do I bring this question up? Well, the State of Illinois is in the midst of an electoral-type dilemma. Actually the State of Illinois is in the midst of many dilemmas, one of them being trying to operate without a budget, but that’s also a story for another blog (maybe). This particular dilemma has occurred before. Citizens of the state have tried to solve it more fairly or, one could say, more equitably, ethically, and legally, in the past. But the “vote” never happened because the issue never made it to the ballot to be voted upon!

Wow, this is a really serious issue. (As if it is the only serious issue, it’s not, but, it “drives” many other serious issues because of the “very nature” of it.) We are hearing “tons” about the Constitution of the United States lately. I must admit whatever issues may or may not be caused, solved, talked about, dissected, or re-surfaced by the Trump-Clinton Presidential race, the U.S. Constitution is front and center, big-time. The State of Illinois also has a Constitution.

There was an advertisement run in the Chicago Tribune on August 14, 2016. To quote the ad: “Illinois Elections should reflect the will of the people.” There is another group opposing a ballot vote, it is referred to as “Opponents of Independent Maps and The People’s Map.”

“Similar to reforms enacted by voters in California and Arizona, the Independent Map Amendment would create an independent commission to draw legislative district boundaries without regard to incumbency or partisanship. It would protect the voting rights of racial and ethnic minorities and allow the public to view and participate in redistricting.” http://www.mapamendment.org/news/10682Link

Needless to say, this is a very complicated issue and it has been “visited” in the past by other proponents of making the drawing of legislative district maps more fair, equitable, and representative of the State’s voting population. The “drawing” of legislative districts would be accomplished by an independent commission and not by “career politicians.” The fight for inclusion on a voting ballot has risen to the Illinois Supreme Court. This is not the first time such a proposal has been presented and petitioned to the State of Illinois asking for a ballot vote to be called and voted by the citizens on the manner and procedure to draw legislative districts in the State.

How is this an economic issue? Well, thinking of the definition of economics which is “the management of scarce resources”, each legislative district contains eligible voters. Depending upon how a legislative district is “drawn”, the votes of a legislative district will foster the election of one political candidate over his/her opponent. The votes from each legislative district influence, for example, the State Representative, State senator, U.S. House of Representative (for the district included), and U.S. senator of the State of Illinois. These elected officials will foster, sheppard, promote, and initiate those ideas and proposals particular to the “legislative district” that he/she represents (hopefully).

One of the issues that caused the American Revolution War in 1776 was “taxation without representation.”
It is this representation that is being challenged by the “mapping” issue. The capriciousness of this representation is displayed by how the legislative district maps are drawn.

The protagonists of this legislative fight are called “The People’s Map.” The newspaper ad states “The People’s Map, a committee that has not disclosed any donors or expenditures.1 Entrenched political leaders who control the map-drawing process.”

(1) “APNewsbreak: Who is funding group challenging redistricting? Associated Press, July 19, 2016. Here’s a link to the news piece: APNewsbreak

So to reiterate my question, “What’s in a Map?” In this case, it’s the “power of the people”. That’s what’s in the “Map.” Illinois is the historical home of one of our greatest American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. I wonder how “Honest Abe” would have responded to this “balloting issue”. Should the people of Illinois be allowed to vote in November on this re-drawing issue?

I have discovered in the past that it’s all in the wording. Depending upon how the issue is presented (worded) on the voting ballot, voters would “vote” up or down. I have run across many a survey which is poorly “worded.” I would respond one way if “worded” this way or respond another way if “worded” another way. Is it the proverbial “Catch 22”?*

* “Catch–22.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.

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Jeopardize
Sidewalk

Meet and Greet: 8/13/16

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

“Show me the money!”

Author update, 8/15/2016: Here’s an update on the rules being enforced in order to choose the Presidential debate candidates. This update is courtesy of CNN.com: CNN debate update

After the Labor Day holiday, the Presidential debates will begin. There are three (3) presidential debates scheduled on September 26, October 9, and October 19, 2016. There is one vice-presidential debates scheduled for October 4, 2016.

Just as I created a blog entry to links for the multiple Republication and Democrat candidates’ economic platforms while seeking their party’s nomination, this time I’m focusing on the winners of those contests, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton (Democratic nominee)
Official website: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/om-an-economy-that-works-for-everyone/
Factcheck.org analysis of Hillary Clinton’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clintons-economic-speech/

Donald Trump (Republication nominee)
Official website: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/economic-vision
Factcheck.org analysis of Donald Trump’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/trumps-economic-speech/

Although the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, will probably not be participating in the Presidential debates, I’m including his Party’s web site: https://www.lp.org/platform

The Green Party also has a candidate, Jill Stein, planning to run for President. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.gp.org/

The criteria for inclusion in the Presidential debates is that each candidate must command at least 15% in five (5) mainstream polls. Here’s some information on that:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-gary-johnson-libertarian-debate-edit-20160805-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-welch-debates-johnson-stein-20160810-snap-story.html

In some of my blog posts, I make reference to a motion picture, or perhaps a TV or radio show, the film that comes to mind, relative to this posting, is the movie, Jerry McGuire. To me, one of the great lines in the movie is “show me the money”, which was uttered by Cuba Gooding Jr. Here’s a trailer clip from the movie that contains that scene: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi878683161?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1

The “economic” themes in the candidate’s platforms include tax treatment, infrastructure investment, military readiness, treatment of immigrants (legal or ortherwise), to name some of them. Each candidate has his or her way of “showing the money” or perhaps “stowing” the money through various taxation techniques.

Being an informed voter is more important than ever. Casting one’s vote is more important than ever. Making “the right” choice for our country is more important than ever. I hope that everyone who is a legal and registered voter, does vote. Unfortunately, the issue of being “registered” is rearing its ugly head again. We just can’t seem to “get it right!” Well, that’s a topic for another blog item.
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Confused

FYI: What is the Electoral College? How does it work?

It’s time to write an FYI on how the Electoral College works (or doesn’t depending upon one’s opinion of it!). Here’s a link straight from the horse’s mouth or perhaps eagle’s beak is more appropriate. It’s to the U.S. National Archives and the Electoral College process is part of the U.S. Constitution: electoral college.

For the “gamers” who read my blog, here’s a “fun” website that allows you to play around with the Electoral College map and try to predict the Presidential winner: in the Trump v. Clinton game, whose your winner?

The following link is to a white paper written by William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director, FEC, Office of Election Administration. It is a 20-page paper which explains the historical beginning as well as controversy of the Electoral College since its inception: Federal Election Commission.

Here is one newspaper’s “take” on the impact, leverage, power, and effect of the Electoral College voting: Washington Post: If no one else stops Trump, the Electoral College still can, it in the Constitution.

Why does this matter so much… well other than this is the most powerful “job” in the world at this time, I guess it does matter to the World as well as the United States citizenry! In the George W. Bush vs. Al Gore Presidential election, the Presidential election was decided by the Supreme Court. How did this happen? Here’s a link to some history on the Bush/Gore election: Bush v. Gore.

We, the citizens, have had our “fill” of hanging chads, non-functioning voting machines, “ghost voters”, polling places not open on-time, stuffed ballot boxes, absentee ballots not counted, I think everyone can contribute to the litany of voter fraud, possible or blant, that I’ve started to enumerate about here. Since we will be hearing more and more about the “Electoral College”, we should learn a little more about it.

This is one “learning curve” we all should travel if only to understand how the results will get us a new President.

P.S. Here’s another website: United States House of Representatives, Electoral College Facts U.S. House of Representatives
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Learning
Pretend
Tree

Meet and Greet: 8/6/16

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Are the “Boomers” causing a Business Bust?

I guess the “Boomers*” are now being blamed for the short-sightedness and “short-term” instead of “long-term” planning that Corporate America should have been doing all along. Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune® written by Rex Huppke: As boomers leave workforce, transfer of knowledge is key. Basically as the Baby Boomers are retiring their “job-related” knowledge retires with them!

*Post WWII babies born between 1946 and 1964)

Here’s a very short story of mine about the value of “tacit knowledge” as it was named by Prof. Dorothy Leonard in Mr. Huppke’s above article:

We needed a plumber (ha, who doesn’t need a good plumber) and thus called one to our home. During his visit with us, the plumber commented how difficult it was to find new help for his business. He said that the men (in this case) came with the requisite “book” knowledge but did not have the “trouble-shooting” knowledge needed in order to “problem-solve” plumbing issues. Unfortunately, that “tacit knowledge” only comes with years of working the “plumber’s trade” and being presented with hundreds of flooding basements, leaky faucets, over-flowing toilets, plugged drains, and the milieu of plumbing problems that only a really handy husband, friend, or expert plumbing can solve.

Of course, apprenticeships and trade schools were common here in the States during the 40s, 50s, and 60s. During high school, there were courses called “shop” meaning those courses that introduced teenaged students to blue-collar-type skills such as carpentry or auto repair. Here’s an article from Forbes.com (a business magazine) written in 2012 that talks about California eliminating “shop classes”: The Death of Shop Class and America’s High Skilled Workforce.

Call these “unintended” consequences of “off-shoring”, H1-B visa permits, trade agreements, cost-cutting measures for financial/economic reasons… call it or point a physical or virtual finger at whatever one’s wishes to blame but… we “are” economically where we “are.” First, blue-collar jobs were “lost” in the US to lower-paying jobs in companies in other countries, then white-collar jobs started vanishing in the US, funny thing about some of those jobs, the “jobs” still might remain in the US but the guy or gal in the cubicle next to you was hired by a contractor agency who was not domiciled in the US and the co-worker might be working here with one of those H1-B work visas.

Now we can get into “lack” of skilled workers to fill the positions, etc.; but just like China’s One Child Policy has really come to slap them in the face, US citizens have been smacked in the face for several decades due to short-sighted policies, lack of proper training policies, or lack of long-range planning (to name a couple of reasons).

I have written a six-part blog series on the subject of jobs. Here are the links for your edification, enjoyment, amusement, or gain in “tacit knowledge”.

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Youth
Expert

Woodstock for Economists August 2016

The world’s economists, major money managers, global bankers, “monied” individuals and other significant personages, will descend upon Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S.A., in a week or two. In an homage to the Federal Reserve Bank, I’m including my postings over the last year regarding monetary problems, issues, events, and “goings-on.”

And, if you think the discussions will be boring, well, some of the economic news reads like a soap opera from the ’60s or ’70s, heck pick your own decade!

Federal Reserve Bank and related issues during years 2015-2016
Federal Reserve Year 2016 Jackson Hole Meetings

Archive 2016
Eye crosser #15: Negative Interest Rates
Fed Policy in Year 2016
Market Recap for Week of January 8, 2016
Brexit for Breakfast on June 24, 2016
Sketch of U.S. Economy in 2016
Going “Long” the “Big Short”
Banks and Banking in Year 2016
Debt-Deficit Conundrum
Upside-down Economics
Currency Wars

Great Recession Archive
Some of my earlier postings reference the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Even though the “recession” has been deemed “over” by some but not everyone, the repercussions of the mammoth recession are still with us and being felt by countries, as well as major banks. Anyway, for those who are interested the following is an archive of Great Recession events:

Great Recession Retrospective Redux
Update: Putting a Face to the LIBOR scandal

Since we all can’t be there to enjoy and hobnob with the best (and I do mean it sincerely) and brightest economists and money managers at least we can ruminate (in absentia) over some of the topics that they will discuss, dissect, and disseminate between each other and among themselves.

Bon appétit!
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Surface