Sunday, May 08, 2022

Mothers

One of the things that has come with age, is understanding the limits of my own understanding.  The age old adage that, 'you don't know what you don't know', is quite true. 


Ah,,,, to be as sure, and as certain of my beliefs as I was when I was 17, or 27, or 37. For those who have never seen a picture of the Dunning Kruger Effect, it really is a great illustration of my life. Whenever I think I truly understand something these days, I look at where I could be wrong, or try to find another way to understand the issue. I've been wrong about many things, and I hate being wrong. 




As sure as I have been about certain things, parenting was never something I though I had a good grasp on. I'm not sure how anyone could. Maybe if you had 9 or 10 children, you could make a decent determination that, by that 10th child, you've seen just about everything. 

You would be wrong, but you might have that thought rolling around upstairs. Parenting is extremely difficult, extremely frustrating, extremely exhausting, and also the best damn thing you might ever experience in 100 lifetimes. 

One of the things that helped me raise my children was the parenting I received as a child from my mother. My mom is a special person. All moms are special, as I'm sure you imagine yours to be.  My mom is special in some particular ways. 

If you know my story, you know I've written about my father a few times. He was special too. I always say he, was a cross between John Wayne and Donald Trump. That is pretty accurate. My mom is harder to define. She is quite complex. 

If I had to describe my mom to someone (of my age) who has never met her, I would say she is a combination of Carol Brady from the Brady Bunch, and Kitty Forman from That 70's Show. 

My mom is full of life. If I pulled into her driveway today in North Idaho and said, "Let's go down to the bar and have a beer." She would grab her keys and go. If I pulled in and told her I was going through a really rough time in my life, and asked if she any advice, she would sit me down and talk for hours about the best way she thought I could get back on track. Her advice is something I still value. 

My mom always thought of life as an adventure. Boy, did we have one growing up. How she raised my sister and I to be fairly good kids, all the while living through the 18 chapter Greek tragedy that was life with my father, is a remarkable feat. 

Hats off to my sister Lisa for being the well behaved, great student, and the one child mom never really had to wonder what trouble they were getting into.  If she had two of me, on top of dealing with our father, I'm not sure anyone could take that excitement and adventure.

Mom was soothing, she still is. Her way of quieting her voice down, and showing us her love and understanding, was something I tried to do with my own kids. I remember always feeling better after I was done talking with my mom, no matter what had just happened. 

I'm almost certain I failed in this with my kids, because I am a man. I have that 'fixer' mentality. I don't engage very well with the 'just be there and tell them you love them' part of parenting. I want to give them a three piece plan to 'fix' their problem. Look back up at that drawing and see if that makes more sense now. 

My mom was rarely angry at me, and believe me when I say I did a mountain of things to make any parent angry. However, when she was angry it was spectacular. I remember her breaking a wooden spoon on my butt one day and me laughing.

 The only thing that really scared me was when she brought the handmade, braided leather riding quirt down off the fridge. That thing meant business, and it would never break. I don't think I ever got a hard smack with the quirt. She just got it down and started chasing me, and the bad behavior was at an end. 

It still makes me laugh to this day, in my mind, seeing mom chasing after me with her braided quirt. Ah, good times. 

So this Mother's Day, I would like to send some love to my mom Alice up in the hinterlands of North Idaho. I wish I was coming up there to see you soon. We are heading out East to visit Abbie in South Carolina, and I know, being a mom, you will understand. We will get back up there to see you guys sometime this year. 

I just wanted to say thank you for everything you taught me. Everything it may have taken me decades, and many, many mistakes to see and correct. Thank you for every kind work, every warm embrace, and every prayer sent out with me and my family in mind, even when we had no idea. Thank you for being who you are. 

I love you dearly,,

Your son,

Walt



Monday, July 19, 2021

How 'Clicks' are killing the truth

So, if you would, I'd like you to take a little trip with me. I want to show you something. I want to show you that what you see, and what you understand to be true, many times is just not true. I'd also like to show you how the world got this way. 

Now for the fun part: 

I have a few friends who hate President Donald Trump. 

I mean they hate everything about him. His look, his personality, his tone, his manner of speaking, his family, his red ties, his orange hair, and especially his politics. To be more precise, I should say the politics they think he believes and follows. 

They will tell you, without a doubt in their mind, that he is a racist, a homophobe, a Russian operative, a denier of science, a conspiracy theorist, a white supremacist, and every other bad thing you could name. 

They have heard Trump say all these terrible things, they've seen the videos! They've watched all the news anchors and pundits list all these bad things he has done. Outrageous things, that prove he's all those terrible, awful stories, rolled into a tangerine colored piñata to beat on. 

I usually chuckle at my friends. Why? Do I think Donald J Trump is a great man, and a true patriot bent on saving America from its enemies?  No, not really. 

I didn't vote for the guy in 16', and I have been aware of his shortcomings long before he became president. 

I can give you chapter and verse on where I disagree with President Trump. Spending is the main one for me. He spoke a big game, but delivered higher spending each and every year. 

His style? Let's just say that populism is not what I'm looking for in a president, I want leadership. 

Now, I do like his leadership on some issues. His leadership on breaking our crippling dependance on communist China for instance. Making peace deals between Arab nations and Israel has been great. I could go on, but let's just say that he has done some things very well, and failed at many others.

So, why is it I can see the good he's done, and also see where his populist, speaking off-the-teleprompter, outrageous Queens personality makes him seem like a giant A-hole? I think I know. 

Maybe it's because I've been a democrat, and a republican. I'm now just a quasi libertarian, who wishes everyone would just calm down, let other people have their own opinions, and even be wrong, without becoming A-holes themselves. 

Some of this has come with age, and learning I was wrong about a lot of things when I was a younger man. Most folks don't want to investigate if, let alone why, they are wrong. I do. 

I want to know where I'm wrong. I want to fix my understanding of that issue, so I don't get it quite so wrong next time. 

Now, you may say, but I'm not wrong! I watch CNN and they say the same things I believe. Or, I watch Fox News, and they say the same things I believe. How can this be?

I would say I understand the world around me today better, because I understand the news media better than most. 

The news, or at least what calls itself the news these days, is not what I grew up with in the 70's, 80's and into the 90's. 

The 'news' was driven by two forces back then; Newspapers, and the 5:00 nightly network newscasts. If it wasn't on those two media outlets, it did not exist as news. 

Newspapers, for you younger folks, were giant sheets of printed paper, folded up neatly and delivered to your door every morning. You could also buy them for a quarter in metal boxes on the street. 

Newspapers had the big world news stories, (a Volcano blew up someplace you never heard of) National news, (what law was passed out of the House and is now headed for the Senate) State and Local news, (what your local Mayor and City Council were fighting over) followed by Sports, Arts, Editorials, and the big Cash Cow: Classified Ads.  

That's right, before the interwebs, Craigslist, and smart phones, if you wanted to sell your car, your guitar, your poodle puppies, or your house, you took out an ad in the newspaper. Or if you had a job you needed filled, you posted a Help Wanted ad. Business specials and coupons were huge money makers as well. 

All those ads were spendy too.  The Sacramento Bee Sunday Edition was almost and two inches thick, folded. Half that bulk were all the Classified ads and business flyers. It would take you an hour to read through them. 

Classified Ads are where the newspapers made their money. Sure, some folks subscribed just for the news, but most people wanted both; news and ads.

If you don't understand why most newspapers are bankrupt, online only, or extremely thinned out, you're not paying attention. Competition, plain and simple. 

What about the Network Evening News? The internet and smartphones strike again.

The same thing happened to those guys too, but something else changed the networks. 

The news departments at CBS, ABC, and NBC didn't make money for the networks.

They had a huge number of reporters, staff, crews, remote gear, satellite uplink costs, studios, and they paid their news anchors big money to read the news to you. 

Back before CNN, FOX, MSNBC and all the digital news, the Big 3 networks had 43% of American viewers watching the evening news every single night. By 2005, it was down under 20%. It's much lower today. 

What kept these news division afloat? It was the TV network shows. When NBC had the Bill Cosby show going, 16 million households watched it every week. They were making tens of millions, back when tens of millions was a lot of money. 

Now, the big 3 TV networks, along with cable channels are being drowned by digital aps, and streaming media. Again, competition changes everything. 

This is what I want you to understand. The 'News Media' does not operate under the same financial model it once did. Advertising dollars are much harder to come by. In today's digital age, you need 'Clicks' to make money. Subscriptions too, but even that is going away. People are hacking paywalls, or they just grab what they can off the headlines and don't read the full story. 

It's all about the clicks baby. The 'news' sites need them badly. Clicks are what drives their revenue. 

So, how do you get these clicks? Well, back before Google's and Facebook's algorithms sent stories to your newsfeed, perfectly tailored to what you already think is true, you used to have to click on three or four different stories to see who was saying what. You had these things called ' Bookmarks' that were links to the pages you clicked to get to the websites you wanted. It was kind of fun. 

Over the years, you could see whose side the reporters, or news sites, were on politically, as you looked at their stories, and how they covered them. Also, by what they didn't cover. 

They would leave out certain information that made their side look bad, and slam the other side with anything they could.  If they didn't have anything solid, they would throw wild speculation at the other side.  

As David Burge once wrote oh so well: 

Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving. 

One thing that made me really change my idea of the media, was understanding how 'journalists' reported their stories. 

A college media teacher once asked me to think of something I knew a lot about. Some industry or story where I knew the facts about it. Then he would have me find, and read, a news story about that industry. 

He wanted me to compare my knowledge to what was written in the story. The news story was always wrong on several big points. He asked this question; "Why do you you think they are any smarter about any other story they write?" 

He closed with, "They just write crap well, and as long as it follows the AP Stylebook, they will always have a job."

There's a lot of truth in that.  

So, let's get back to you Trump Lovers, and Trump Haters. 

Let's roll back the clock to last year. To 2020, when according to the news media, Donald J Trump did nothing correctly. As they reported, Trump was an unmitigated disaster.  

So, now that we have a lot more actual information, real information, who was wrong on the big stories, Trump or the media? 

Let's start off with the biggest one, shall we?

Where the COVID-19 virus came from? Was it natural, did it evolve into humans from bats? Or was the single biggest killer of humans we have seen in my lifetime caused by people? People in a certain country, and did they try to cover up that fact? 

The first reports out of China, told by the Chinese communist government, was this virus came out of a 'wet market' in Wuhan China. They even let a few minutes of video come out showing how nasty that market is with dead animals, and animals in cages slaughtered right on the spot with no refrigeration, no hygiene, it was pretty gross. 

Okay, I thought, viruses do hop species, very rarely, and not very effectively, but maybe that's what happened. 

The World Health Organization, an organization with about as much credibility as the International Olympic Committee who picks which city will host the next olympic games based on how many bribes they receive, said that the virus came from the wet market. 

It could not have come from the only Level 4 Bio-Safety Lab in China. The one right down the road from that 'wet market' in Wuhan...

The media went with that story. China didn't let this virus loose. China is our friend. They make all our cool iPhones and TV and laptops. Besides, Trump is always fighting with them, and we hate Trump, so...

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark), to his credit, was first to see the danger of this virus hitting the US. 

No one else was interested, or at least they were preoccupied. He could only get 14 senators to show up to a hearing about it in January 2020. Most senators were busy with impeaching President Trump. 

Remember that whole made-up Russiagate nothingburger nonsense? 

Cotton spent three hours talking with President Trump about this virus threat while the impeachment hearings were going on. Trump decided to close air travel from China shortly after that. Holy Cow, what a racist thing to do, according the democrats and the media. 

President Trump said pretty early on, in April of 2020 that he had seen information that stated that the virus may have come out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Oh boy, the press went wild again. 

The White House has shown no credible proof to back up claims that the coronavirus was either manufactured at or accidentally leaked from the lab, and neither have any other sources. But Trump continues to fuel the blame, often through racist rhetoric, by regularly referring to the pathogen as the "China virus," the "Wuhan virus" or "kung flu."  NBC News said. 

The media attacks went on and on, for over a year. 

Anyone, from an actual scientist like Bret Weinstein, an Evolutionary Biologist who studied virus in bats, to ordinary politicians, to a tug boat captain, who dared say that the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan lab was passing on 'conspiracy theory' rhetoric. The media was 100% sure. 

If you posted a Facebook story about the lab-leak theory, Facebook banned it. Flat out banned it and you as well. 

So, was the Lab-Leak theory a conspiracy theory? No. It's almost certainly how the virus got out into the world. We will never be able to absolutely prove it. The Chinese have destroyed the evidence, and even 'disappeared' some of the early doctors who reported the virus. 

Now, even the 'media' outlets are having to change their stories and say that Lab-Leak most likely happened. Whoops. 

So one of the biggest stories of my lifetime, certainly the biggest story in 50 years, one that was front page news for months and months last year,  was false. 

If you said the media was wrong about it, you were ridiculed. That is saying something. Not only did they get their story wrong, but they were so busy being 'right' that they crushed and mocked any information to the contrary.

That should not only give you pause, that should scare the hell out of you. It should also make you angry. 

Today, the media, almost silently, changed their minds abut the lab-leak theory. Seemingly overnight. They just could not find anyone to refute the evidence that the virus had been engineered through gain-of-function research. 

Did we get an apology from CNN or the New York Times, or the Washington Post? It's the least they could have done.

"Sorry, we really screwed up a very important story about the origin of this virus. We also called many of our fellow Americans, and the President of the United States, conspiracy theorists. Our bad." That would have been something...

Now, take that volume of mistakes, that amount misreporting, that level of vitriol and hatred for the president, and half of the country, and then take a look at most other large news stories from the past year. 

Remember my old college teacher's example of a story you know a lot about. Are you starting to see something? 

The not so funny part of this is when the media decided to do this. During an actual pandemic. 

So remember when CNN, MSNBC, and all the network newscasts had New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on in the early part of the pandemic? Remember how they were praising him for his 'leadership' in this crisis? Especially compared to the Tangerine Tornado, with all his stupid theories, cooky remedies, and drinking bleach, right? 

Yeah, how's that looking now? 

Governor Cuomo's decision to move Covid-19 positive patients from the hospitals, into nursing homes, where the most vulnerable population of people lived, was monumentally stupid. It costs thousands of lives. 

Literally, that decision killed thousands of American citizens. Yet, he was celebrated by our media, and even wrote a book on his 'leadership' in the pandemic. 

That story, about that decision, and the fact that his administration tried to hide the numbers of deaths in nursing homes, is something that did not get a lot of attention. Well, aside from Fox news and some honest journalists. 

I don't want to let the Fox crowd off the hook either. That same, my side/their side, hatred works both ways. If Trump said something, for some of you out there, it was one hundred percent true. 

Even if someone showed you actual evidence that he was wrong, you would never admit he was wrong. If he was wrong, you are wrong, and you can't be wrong, you listen to Sean Hannity! 

What is going to be crazy is in the next year, we are going to start seeing some honest journalism come out. It will be swept under the rug to the Trump haters. 

Yeah, well, at least Trump lost, and that's all that matters! Okay....

For some of us, we're just trying to find what is true, what is spin, and what is just plain stupidity. We will have lots to talk about. 

Wait for the evidence to come out about how we could have saved tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of American lives by using a few preventative treatments before, and in the beginning, of the vaccination process. Once President Biden's team got in office, it was all vaccinations, and only vaccinations, that would be talked about in the media. That was the only way to stop Covid-19, according to President Biden and the media. 

Was that true? Was there a much easier, and much, much cheaper way, to hold off Covid, for those waiting for the vaccine, or for those who had reservations about the vaccine? Something that has been used for decades all over the world. A medicine that is safe, generic and cheap?

You are going to hear about medicines like Ivermectin, that can keep you from getting Covid-19, and if you become positive, have a pretty good treatment record if taken early. 

You are going to hear how lockdowns, mask mandates, and stay at home orders, did much more harm than good. You will hear the closing of in-person schooling, and the economic impact that had on single parents, along with the kids will be with us for a generation. 

You will hear about the jump in teen suicide and other huge mental health epidemics. Along with the huge jump in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic.

Folk, I'm just talking about the pandemic. Don't get me started on race, crime and climate. (hint, the very same thing is happening there too...)

This media-politics cluster at the heart of our news and social media is not interested in facts, or truth, or honestly. They need clicks, and they need to report that sensationalism, fear, and panic, to drive people to those clicks. 


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cheryl Lyn Whitfield; A life well lived.

 I had the honor of being asked to officiate the memorial service for the mother of some very close friends. 

It was an absolutely beautiful day, as the song she picked to be played at the end of her memorial said, and 'uncloudy day' to be sure. 

Good morning, will you join me in prayer.

 

Heavenly father we come to you here today, to celebrate a great life. We thank you for this beautiful day, for all those could make it here to remember Cheryl today. Lord be with her family, as they remember her, her spirit, and her love. Be with us today Lord, let us come closer to you, and let us lean into you. In your mighty name, Amen.


Well, not going to lie, this is going to be a tough one. Not just for me, but for this family too. Be patient with us, if we need a minute to compose ourselves, or if our words don’t come out right, or they come out with a tremble in our voices. Days like today are difficult.

 

Depending on how you look at it, it’s an honor to be up here, but damn, I sure wish I wasn’t.

 

Over the years, I’ve been asked to do a few funerals for this family. Thinking back to last year, Cheryl told me at her mother’s funeral, I think, that I wouldn’t have to do her funeral. She didn’t want me to feel burdened. Cheryl was worried about me. Bless her heart. That is who she was.

 

I told her a few weeks ago, it would be my honor to be here today, and for her not to worry. I was doing this no matter what. I’m going to get through this day today. Because no matter how emotional these are, there is something very right, very truthful, and almost easy, almost, about saying some kind words about a very kind human being.

 

Cheryl Lyn Whitfield was born November 8, 1946 to Barney and Hester Whitfield on Coronado Island. In a few years her brother Shayne was born, and finally her sister Mary Ann. The family moved up to Yolo County, where she graduated from Esparto High. She married her high school sweetheart Joe Gallardo, and together they had three children: Phillip, Daniel and Jody. She worked for the Winters Police department, and for those of you who remember, the Barber Rolland company. As time passed, she moved on, and moved up to the Tahoe and Truckee areas for a while. After a few years back and forth, she married David Buchignani, and she came back down here.

 

As a side note, for those of you who remember David, man, was that guy great or what? So much fun, such a kind soul. His time, was way too short.

 

So, in the past, almost twenty years, since I moved back here to Esparto, I’ve been around Cheryl’s wonderful family. Her parents, her siblings, her children, her grandchildren, and the entire tribe of her extended family, friends, and assorted craziness that made up her life, here in the valley.

 

I remember all the good times at Barney’s and Hester’s, after work down at The Capay Junction, and the annual Cattlemen’s dinners in the fall, and the Almond Festivals, and Larry’s parties after Easter, and sitting around the wood stove, playing music in Tommy’s shop. Even the Wednesday afternoon Covid beverage get togethers last year, in the shade, under Tommy’s tree.

 

Cheryl was always there, always close to where her family and friends were. If she wasn’t around, it was because she was on a road trip with some of them, going somewhere cool. She wasn’t the kind to sit still. She was an adventurer. I didn’t know, but her whole family told me about the little bag of extra clothes she always kept in her car, just in case she decided at the last minute to go on a road trip.

 

I was up with everyone sharing stories this week, and I can’t tell them all, but here are a few favorites. Mostly all involving road trips.

 

Barney was working out of town, down by Tracy, with his friend Ben. After work they would go down the Banta Inn. So he’s sitting there, doing what you do in Tracy when work is over, and his phone rings. He answers, says a few words, says goodbye. He looks over at Ben and says, ‘My mother-in-law is coming by to have a drink.” Ben was kind of shocked. Your mother-in-law? “Yep, she’s coming over to have a drink.” She was down visiting Shayne, sort-of nearby, and so she drove over to say hello and visit for a while. That is so Cheryl. But then again, as Barney likes to say, he is her favorite son-in-law.

 

Listening to the stories, I wasn’t aware of her misguided sense of direction. There a few stories, like when her and Sam were heading up to Idaho. Now early in the mornings, Sam admits she’s kind of cranky, and so when they left Elko, instead of turning north at Wells, Cheryl kept going east on 80. In the end she decided that she would have to wake up Sam, cranky or not, to get directions because they were now entering Utah.

 

The other directional mishap was with Danny heading to the Cow Palace. Coming off the main highway, Danny said they needed to go east, and Cheryl was sure it was to the west. Dan tried to insist but was met with a “shut up”. They drove on for a few minutes and came over a hill where Dan said, Well mom, we can’t go any further west, that’s the Pacific Ocean. I think she told him to shut up once again, but they did make it to the Cow Palace.

 

When Danny met Steph, not too long into their relationship, Danny said you need to go talk to Cheryl so she can better explain what she was getting into. Steph thought that was a bit odd, but they went to Bodega, and had a great weekend together. Cheryl said, If it doesn't work out between you and Dan, you and I are going to be good friends anyway.

 

Jay talked about secrets. All the times Nanna caught her doing something that she should have been busted for, and Cheryl would keep quiet. From boys showing up at the house in Jr High, to the Austin Texas tattoo parlor, Jay says Chery always kept their secrets. But would always talk to her about anything if she needed.

 

Andrew told me about all his favorite trips with his grandma. Down to Winters, to the Coffee place, the Guitar shop, and to Putah Creek Café for fries, and a sandwich. Or the trips to Swabbies on the river for live music, and the Road Trip too. He loved it if when he would stay the night at her house.

 

Mary Ann had many stories about their trips to San Francisco. Early one morning they went for an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista, which was a standard for Cheryl. Since they just opened, Cheryl was the only car on the street, she parked facing the wrong way in front of the Buena Vista. Having her Irish Coffee, the bartender kept looking out the window. He kept seeing all the cars doing a u-turn in front of the restaurant. It seems the cars coming down the street, saw Cheryl’s car facing the wrong way on the street, and thought they must be going the wrong way and started turning around.

 

You will have to get Mary Ann to tell you about the Christmas shopping trip with Linsey and Andie on BART, and the kitten adoption at Union Square. It’s a good one.

 

San Francisco was a favorite place for Cheryl. She had her spots. Places where she knew the people, and the people knew her. Buena Vista, Gino and Carlo’s just to name a few. Around Christmas, she would always take the girls down to the city and hand out scarves and peppermints to the homeless.

 

As much Cheryl loved to travel, loved to experience things, she also enjoyed just talking. We talked a lot. Cheryl was a thinker, and I like thinkers. We would talk about everything. What made people tick, what life was all about, and what we wanted to try to get out of it. What made a good life, a successful life? Why do so many people, define success so differently? We talked about life, and death and what might come after.

 

Sometimes, we talked about politics, and sometimes, or many times, we had differing opinions. But we would respect the other’s right to have them, even if they seemed in error to the other one.

 

I knew Cheryl pretty well, but from a bit of a distance. We shared a lot of great times with her family, but sometimes, I felt a bit fortunate to have that distance. Because sometimes families are, a bit messy. Just as a pro tip, one of the keys to life is knowing when things are heading south, and it’s time to G. O.

 

Cheryl had a bit of a tough, stubborn streak in her. She would hold her tongue for a bit, but after a while, she let her feelings be known. If you hang around her children, and even her grandchildren, rest assured, they are carrying that gene forward.

 

Like I said, I only saw bits and pieces of her amazing life, but some of her family have asked to share some of their thoughts, and their times together with her. 

 

(Family time) Sam. Jay. Mary Ann (Read Andrew’s note)

 

So, here we are again. Standing around a cemetery, and wishing things were not as they are. It’s tough. But one thing is for certain. This is one event, where every single one of us, one day, will be the guest of honor.

 

Maybe one of these days, some of you might be nice enough to come stand around, and say some nice things about me, when it is my time. Please give my family a hug. I would like it even more if you said those things to me while I’m still walking around. I probably have some nice thing I should say to you.

 

The abruptness of Cheryl’s passing has really made me look at the last few decades of my own life. To look at some of the opportunities I didn’t take. But more importantly, to really contemplate the next chapters coming down the road for me.

 

Cheryl was not a ‘wait till then’ kind of person. She enjoyed her life, especially her family, and her friends. She made time for people. But she also took things as they came. She loved working up at Full Belly Farm for years, and wasn’t punching some clock somewhere, waiting for that last day to retire, so she could then start doing what she wanted. She was living her life as well, and as full, as she knew how to do. That is a very rare trait in people these days.

 

That is the first thing I’d like us to take away from today. Say yes to opportunities. Many of us like to plan, to do the safe thing, not to take chances, to build up that bank balance, to accumulating things, and wealth. Don’t get me wrong, those things have their place. Just don’t let them keep you from saying yes to things.

 

Think about that person you haven’t seen in years, the one who told you to come out and visit. They would put you for a few days and show you cool places around there, and just visit for a while. Why haven’t you done that? It’s a few days, and maybe a couple hundred-dollar airline ticket away. Maybe it’s that trip with your family, or maybe just a few more rodeos, or concerts, or museum visits, or sailing trips, or whatever is your thing. Go do that. Again, you could come up with reasons not to go, but then I want you to think about today. Think about what really matters. That vacation time or small amount of money won’t matter in the end. Those memories will. Those experiences will. They are what make up your life. That’s what is important.

 

Here’s the other thing I’d like us to take away today; Your time here on earth is not infinite. It is fixed, and you don’t know your expiration date. So be good. Not like, ‘stop having fun’ type of good, but be a better person.

 

That means forgiving a wrong done against you. That means going up to someone and having a difficult conversation, asking them for forgiveness. That means letting a lot the small stuff go. That also means, if someone you love keeps doing things that really bother you, have a difficult conversation about that situation and see if you can work through it.

 

In closing, I’d like to say that I was up at Barney and Jody’s a lot for the past month or so. As Cheryl came home to finish her time here, I saw the love she had shown on others come back to her in so many ways. Her family wanted to let everyone know how much their showing up, helping out, dropping off food, being with Cheryl, or just stopping by to be a shoulder to cry on, helped them through this time. They love you all, and they mean that.

 

I was also touched by two things said the other night. One by Andrew, who said she kept praying for his grandma. He said he wanted her to go to a place where she would hurt no more, where she would be happy, where she would be waiting for us. He wanted to be sure she got to heaven. No worries Andrew, she’s there. And you make sure you remember what Steve Farnham told you. Now she’s up there watching you at all times, making sure doing the right thing. (Good one Steve)

 

The other were the words said by my friend Danny. Looking back, it was the my entire 15 minute speech given in less than one. He gathered everyone up, at Grandpa Barney’s bar. He had the beautiful urn made my Todd Treat sitting there, and I wish I could have recorded that simple message, cause it was as powerful and anything I could have said here today. It was close to this. He was pointing towards his mon’s earn and saying, all the things you think are important really aren’t. Everything you own, all your stuff won’t matter in the end. You will end up here. Then he said something that I could agree more with. Danny lightly tapped on the urn and said, This is not the end either. There is some else after this life. There is something more. Amen my brother.

 

We only get one shot down here walking around, do your best. Live to the fullest degree you can. I know Cheryl sure did. That is a hell of life you’ve had here my friend. You will be missed, but never forgotten. We love you.

 

Will you join me in the Lord’s Prayer as we close.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Well, this is what I feared.....

 So, anyone who knows me well, knows about my father. Well, at least they know the man who raised me, not my biological father, because that is a different story entirely. 

Those who knew Walt Sr. fall into two camps. Those who thought he was a great guy, and those who thought he was a son of a bitch. They were both right, depending on when you met him, and the context of your encounter. 

I have said that my father was combination of John Wayne and Donald Trump, and that rings more truly than ever today. 

My father was a cowboy, a real estate broker, and a person who never sat still. He was always working. 

He could be a very sweet man when things were going his way, and a mean, me-first/screw-the-rest-of-you man when things were going bad. He was never into self-reflection or understanding what made him tick. He never tried to grasp, or get a handle on, how he could change. 

He was the way he was, for both good and bad. His weakness were his blind spots, and they were extraordinarily large. Those blind spots caught up to him in his final few years, and he paid the price for them. Our family kept paying that price, long after he was gone.

The same is true about President Trump. 

He has that same great guy/son of bitch, personality. People love him, or hate him. There are a few in the middle, or see him from both sides. 

For everyone who thinks I hate Trump, look, I will go out of my way to point out his faults and mistakes. That goes without question. However, I also love some of the things he has done. I really do. 

Thought experiment: 

Imagine if someone came up to you, the day before the 2016 election and said,  "The next president was going to do the following things"; 

  • Grow the economy at an astonishing rate.
  • Reduce black and hispanic unemployment to record lows.
  • Have a real increase in working class income for the first time in decades.
  • Stop North Korea from shooting missiles all over the region.
  • Slap China with tariffs, and make them stop taking our technology.
  • Renegotiate the NAFTA treaty to give us better trade policies with our neighbors.
  • Negotiate peace deals between Israel, and now three other nations.
  • Drone strike an Iranian Quds Force leader responsible for killing American soldiers. 
  • Roll back the control ISIS from huge sections of Iraq and Syria.
  • Perhaps the best thing; not get us into any new foreign wars. 

What would you have said about that next president? 

Probably that Hillary Clinton was going to go down as the best president in our memories. 

Whoops. 

So, as much as I like those parts of his presidency, and that's a lot, there were parts that I did not like, and some that I hated. I mean really hated. 

Spending went up, or I should say, it just continued on its path towards our national bankruptcy in a few decades. All that talk about not signing another huge Omnibus spending bill was hot air. His fight-first, punch back ten times as hard tactic from his Twitter feed was juvenile to say the least. I did get laugh now and again when he went after certain stupid things, but he is the president. There are times you should let things go. He would not, it is not in his nature. 

Those who supported him, he loved. Those who opposed him, he hated. He would condemn Neo Nazis and white supremacist when called out on it, but the number one target for his animosity were those who hated him. Those folks were the real bad guys and the people he was trying to take down.  

One of the worst blind spots Donald Trump has is that he wants what it wants, no matter what. 

If he wanted something to happen, something that was against the constitution, his staff, or his White House Council would have to say, no Mr. President, you cannot do that. That is not what the constitution says. 

Like I say, sometimes he was at his best going against his advisors. He got so many of his accomplishments done by going against what the media, his critics, and even his own staff said he could not do. 

He would just say, "Move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem" and he made that happen. The problem is with that kind of mind, that personality, he doesn't know the law, read the rules, or care about those things. He wants what he wants. 

In his private life and business, he had to hire lawyers to either get him out of a trap he made for himself, or tell him the one thing he hates to hear the most; "Sir, you just cannot do that." 

I'm sure he went through a bunch of lawyers and accountants over the years, firing the ones who told him he couldn't do things he wanted. He would find ones who would say, well, let me handle this. I'll keep you in the clear, just don't ask questions. 

That is exactly what bit him, me, and this nation, in the ass on January 6th. 

President Trump kept listening to the people who said he could do something about losing the election. He kept listening to 'experts' who said, you can do this, or the Vice President can do that, there is still a way for you to stay in office as president. 

He knows the democrats are coming for him the day he leaves office. He will be charged, arrested, sued, and every other legal means to do him in by February. The media will be driving the "Lock him up" bandwagon, with a cooler full of sparkling seltzer and a kale salad. 

He knows he had to stay in office or go to jail. If you support President Trump, and wonder why he wants to remain president for four more years, it's probably not the reason you think. It's not to save the country, or to keep making America great. He wants to head out to Mar A Lago and play golf, knowing he won't be go to jail. 

I always thought he would make a deal with Pence, and the Republicans to resign after he lost, and let Pence pardon him. Maybe that could still happen, but time is running out. 

So let's go back to this past week and look at the "Stop the steal" rally, march, and ultimately the riot it became. 

The thing about Trump, is the folks who love the guy, really love the guy. Why? In their eyes, they see all the damage going on in our nation, and see a guy will fight to stop it. That is what they see, and that is what President Trump plays into. 

The Super Trumpers are very much like the man they love. They want what they want, but are not concerned with the small stuff. Things like laws, the constitution, or facts. They want to believe what they believe. 

They believe they are right, and when they are shown they are wrong, some other Super Trumper will post something on Facebook that proves how right they are. A picture, or a five second video, taken out of context, or edited, to make a point is all they need to prove that they alone are the ones who understand what is really happening. 

Look, I have some of these friends. It is very frustrating for me as a friend, and it must be for them as well. I point out things, provable facts, and they go on to the next conspiracy theory, or point me to some kook website where the have the 'real answers'. 

These people who showed up to the 'Stop the steal' rally were encouraged by two entities; the far right media, and (there is no denying this) by the President himself. 

I'm not sure who was behind Trump telling him that there was someway to change the Electoral College state votes, but someone must have been telling him that. Perhaps it came back to the whole, staying out of jail thing that made him grasp on to this fantasy. Maybe he just wanted one last crowd. 

Whatever the motive, Trump not only said that this elections was stolen, the craziest thing was he said he won in a landslide, and was cheated out that. I'm not sure if he truly believes this or it makes for a good applause line, but he said this rally was his, was your, was our last chance to keep him in the Oval Office. 

This was their last chance, and he was going to go with them on the march. He was going to go down to congress and make sure Pence would do the 'right thing'. 

No matter how many advisors, legal counsels, or friends told him that the Vice President has zero authority to change or throw out the Electoral College votes, once they are approved and get passed the appeal period. The president wanted people to believe there was a chance he would remain in office. 

Pence was not going to do anything, and Trump knew this. 

In congress, there were a few dozen right wing folks making speeches contesting the election, but they had zero chance of overturning anything. They were either Super Trumpers, or wanted to get a few bonus points for the upcoming 2024 GOP race. 

No matter what happened at the capitol that day, Joe Biden was going to become the President Elect. 

So the question keeps coming back, why would President Trump do this? 

In the end, for me it comes down to this: Trump was either extremely stupid, not knowing how presidential elections work, or he was just desperate. 

Ultimately,  I think spending his last few years, and all his money, defending himself trying to stay out of prison was the main factor. 

I know, I know, this is where you Super Trumpers will send me a dozen pictures of Antifa guys in the crowd, saying they were doing all the damage. I'm not saying anarchist and Antifa folks were not there, I'm sure they were. If I were an Antifa leader, I would be there to make sure Trump supporters looked like a bunch of lunatics. I'm actually surprised one of them didn't try to burn the place down. 

However, if you spend any time looking at the thousands of pictures and videos, you can be assured the vast majority were in fact the Super Trump crowd. They were caught up in moment. 

Being caught up in a crowd, led by a few radicals is not a good thing. That goes both ways. 

I would tell that to my friends who were at the Black Lives Matter marches in Sacramento this summer. When the Antifa and BLM radicals start breaking things, smashing windows, looting, and beating people up, it's time to stop them. If you can't stop them, just leave and go find a news crew as quickly as you can. Tell everyone that those people rioting are criminals, and should be arrested. 

I would also tell that to my Trump supporting friends. Marching, gathering in large numbers is fine. Even a bit of nonviolent, non confrontational opposition to the police has its place in protest. You want to sit down and block a sidewalk after the police tell you to leave. That is your choice. You might get arrested, but that might be what's needed on your view.

Protests are one thing, violence is another.  

So where do we go from here? What is coming? Where are we heading? For each side, and as a nation? 

Some very bad things are coming. There is going to have to be a reset of how we exist as Americans in the twenty first century. 

There will be lots of mistakes made, lot of civil rights crushed, and lots of conflict.  I must say, some of this will be armed conflict, driven by those on each side of the extremes. There will be open hatred, and sides choosing to separate themselves from each other. It is going to be ugly. 

So, if I have any hope, any words of advice for both sides, for my fellow Americans, it is this; You are not as far apart and you think, and not as far apart as the media on both sides are telling you. 

Democrats, hear me out on this please. Your 65 year old neighbor with the MAGA hat and his wife, the ones flying American flag in their yard, are not your enemy. They are your neighbors. 

They would come over to your house in the middle of the night if they saw your house was on fire, and try like hell to save you and your family. Maybe even your cat. They would stop on the side of the road and offer you a ride home if your car broke down at night. He and his wife are good people, but they are afraid of the America they are seeing, on TV, and on their streets. 

They want to have things stay the way they are if at all possible, because things are changing so fast. They would keep living in a world where they know how things work. They want to know all those years of showing up to work everyday, paying their taxes, obeying the police, and going to church a few Sundays a month, are still the way to be a successful American. 

They get their news from Sean Hannity, Facebook, and Rush Limbaugh, and only hear that one side. They see democrats as the lunatic fringe, burning their streets down and assaulting police without consequence. 

To them, Donald Trump was a throwback to a time and an America they understood. 

Now, there are some of the Super Trumpers out there who will go to the extreme. However, if you look at the past four years, you can't compare the damage and destruction caused by Trump supporters to the leftist and anarchist in the Antifa or militant BLM groups. It not really close. 

These Super Trumpers get one hell of a black eye for the storming of the capitol building. That was absolutely horrific, and should be seen as shameful by everyone. Many will be arrested, and should be. This should make the vast majority disconnect from those fringe Trump groups, and come back towards the center. 

Republicans, hear me out on this please. The 32 year old guy who drives an electric car, and wears a Che Guevara t-shirt while playing video games, along with his wife who wears the pink uterus hat to protest, they are not your enemy. They're your neighbors.  

They have been taught, since middle school, that America is an evil nation, filled to the brim with racists, homophobes, and every other phobe that their humanities classes taught them. They themselves? They are actually pretty nice people. 

They like good food, good coffee, and actually live a lot like conservatives. They get married, send their kids to college, as much as they say they are for the poor and working class minorities, they choose to live in very nice homes, in very safe neighborhoods. The ones with a lot of retired MAGA people, police, firefighters, and rich people, but a neighborhood that is growing blue.  

They think American needs to change, and everything they read, watch, and listen to goes along with that mindset. Every streaming service, movie studio, podcasting service, and every television network is ran by people who think like them. They live in a world that thinks just as they do. 

It is hard for them to see where they are wrong, because everyone from their teachers in elementary school on through college, Hollywood, and popular culture, gives them this same message. America is bad, white people are bad, even if they don't know they are bad, and the world is going to burn up, or freeze over, if we don't vote Socialist. 

How do we bridge these two worlds? How do we see past the stereotypes and come together? I'm not sure we can until we have a another huge shakeup, and it is coming. 

Joe Biden's administration will govern like the hippie leftists from the 60s. His party is being taken over by radicals. These people in his administration, and in congress, are going use the capitol protest as leverage to come up with a new "Super Patriot Act". It will be some other cool sounding law that will strip people who disagree with them of their rights. This is not hyperbole. This is coming. 

If you every supported Donald Trump, you are going to be moved into a second class of citizen. 

How much longer will conservatives be allowed to use social media? How much longer will voting for Donald Trump be a red flag on gun ownership? How much longer will conservative businesses be allowed to host their websites, or use certain banks? Maybe you had given campaign donations to Trump. Now your business is  being selectively audited, red flagged by OSHA, the EDD, Franchise Tax board and business license department.

This overreach is coming, and the only thing that might change this is if the couple with the electric car, or other democratic mainstream voters who hated Trump, but don't like government punishing people based on their politics, hear that their MAGA neighbor just got their plumbing company shut down for no apparent reason. 

They think this is unfair and unAmerican. They will have to speak up, and if things don't change, they will have vote to change who is in charge. 

Look, this is going to get bad. 

Trump folks, a word of advice; spending the next four years wearing your MAGA gear is not going to help. Learning how to be civil, how to engage with people who think differently than you do is going to be critical. Being nice to people who may hate you based on your voting record can be tough, but it is a must. 

When your lefty neighbor Judy thinks about you, I hope they think, oh Mark? He's a great guy, he came over and helped me with my fence last winter. Then when Judy finds out you voted for Trump, and they ask you why one earth you did, you can start the conversation. 

If you flip off Judy in her Subaru because it has a Biden/Harris sticker on it, you are not going to like where America is headed for you. 

Basically: Everyone calm the hell down, and start talking, not yelling, not name calling. Talking. Try to understand why people who don't think the way you do, think the way they do. 

We will be better off in the long run. 



 




Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Presence

Having older children is a strange thing. Our son is married, and his wife has a pretty big family who all live pretty close. They will be celebrating Christmas morning together, so the two of them came out last night to celebrate with us. 

My wife and daughter had to work, so I was home alone, cooking and cleaning. I actually got out our china, the china we received as a wedding present some 32 years ago. I think we have used it, maybe five times in all those years. It is very pretty stuff, I am going to make a new tradition using it. 

Everyone arrived just as the sun went down. We all caught up chatting, and getting all the presents under the tree. Well, close to the tree is a better description. We don't trust the hound dog with anything pretty she can get through the doggie door. 

We had dinner first. The prime rib roast was very nice, and we were all quite full when done. We decided to open presents next, for a bit of room to become available before dessert. 

We all had a great time opening our gifts, and seeing the faces of our loved ones as they opened ours. All the while, the six dogs there were playing, and causing commotion. It was a typical Lucas Christmas. 

So this morning, we woke up with not much to do. I made cinnamon rolls and worked cleaning up and started putting things away. As things were winding down, I thought about how excited I used to get about Christmas as a kid. To be honest, I was mostly excited about the presents. Ten percent about the fantastic dinner my mom would be making, but maybe ninety percent about the presents. 

Fast forward half a century and how things change. I still love Christmas presents, but my feelings trend more toward those I love, and not as much for what is inside the wrapping paper. 

The strange thing about Christmas to me, even today, is how slow it comes, and how fast it goes once here. 

It seems I have a month or three weeks to get all my shopping done, then two weeks, then a few days, then I really have to get serious. On Christmas day or Christmas Eve, depending on when we open gifts, that day, that two hour period flies by.

This year, after we opened presents, I found myself out on the front porch with my son, enjoying a cigar and my new ashtray. It kind of a thing we do, and I enjoy these times with all my heart. 

When I have a whisky and cigar with my son or my friends, we talk to each other. Really talk. It usually puts in a 'present' place. It's why I enjoy it so much. 

These times are usually saved for special places. 

Places like deer camp, or a backyard party, once the party has died down. Places like front porches, or the top of the Continental Divide. These times are very special. 

Which kind of makes me think, what do we put importance upon these days? Especially in this Christmas season?

Being in America, and being part of this multimedia, social media world, we are told by these billion dollar corporations what should be important; your family and your happiness. Aw, how nice right? 

Then they specifically use their trillions of lines of computer code and algorithms to put an add in front of your computer or phone screen, that you will see and hopefully make some snap judgement upon. Something, that in the back of your brain, goes little like this:

Family is special, and if you don't get your family our product for Christmas, you are a failure. 

Laugh if you want, but this is what they do with all that code, and those trillions of dollars. 

This is how all those ads, and commercials, with those beautiful people, and perfect families, show you how to be a good person in today's America: 

Buy the right stuff for your family, our stuff, and get a little something special for yourself too. It's Christmas for crying out loud. 

I think about these gifts we give and get, and wonder, just wonder, if there is another way. A little better way to connect with each other. 

What if our focus was on being present for Christmas? What about giving small, meaningful gifts that can bring that sense of presence to those we love? 

I ran across this interview with Bill Murray a while back, and it is so good. He talks about what he really wants out of life. It's a good questions because he has more money and fame that most people could ever achieve. But what does he want? He wants to be present in his life. 

Such great advice. 




I am going to try to do this for all those folks I get birthday presents for this year. Yes they will be gifts, but they may be two or four tickets to something they would never go to. Something cool, that would be an event they could remember. It doesn't need to be expensive, just something they would enjoy doing with someone else, and to have a memory of it for years to come. 

Tell them you want them to have a moment, to make a moment with this gift. To be present, even if just for a few minutes, or a few hours that day. To drink it in, even if the event isn't that spectacular. Make the best day of it, make it a memory, that is the goal of the gift. Be present. 

We will see how it goes, for them and for me. I want to be more present in my life. That is my goal. Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

One day, when this is over, especially after the media tells everyone it was Joe Biden's 100 days mask wearing mandade that ended the Covid Pandemic, someone will start looking into the numbers. At least I hope they do.

Why were the schools closed? Why are parks closed? Is it to keep the kids safe? Not when you look at the data.

How many children commited suicide while cut off from their friends and the normal social contact of their lives? How many thousands, or hundreds of thousands of children developed serious mental conditions that may last their entire lives?

These numbers are from the CDC page.

Look at the number of total deaths per age group, then look at the number of deaths involving Covid that did not involve Influenza. The regular flu kills way more children than Covid -19 does.

If you look at the first three groups of children 0-14 years old. There have been 13 children die of Covid, that did not also have Influenza. Out of almost 60 million children. That is incredible.

When the news media puts up headlines about any young person dying of Covid, they do not say this is an extremely rare occurrence, about a one in a million chance of death, they post it to drive fear and clicks.

People who are scared, want to check in tomorrow with that media site, to make sure there isn't another scary thing heading their way.

That folks, is what is wrong with media. They are driven by clicks, viewers, and ad revenue. With all the free media out there, they drive towards sensationalism and more precisely, fear. Fear gets your attention.

Remember, when they are not charging you for their product, YOU and your attention is the product they are selling to big business. 




Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Post Trump America

So, are you a Trump supporter? Maybe you are a Super-Trumper?

Maybe you absolutely hate Trump, and think he's the new Hitler?

Well, in under 100 days we will have an election, and the nation will see how all this shakes out, or maybe not.

The Mail-in-Ballot nonsense that the states are implementing are going to cause a huge disruption in getting the results in. I am thinking it might be New Years before we actually get a declared winner, and whoever loses will be throwing a fit.

No matter who wins, half the country will be pissed.  Good times, right?

Before all that chaos hits the streets, and the nation starts to rip itself apart, I'd like to talk to some of you Trump supporters out there. Take a seat, and just listen for a minute.

Your guy has failed to do what he said he would do.

I know, I know, you guys will point to the record stock market, to the low unemployment numbers and say, if it weren't for the whole Covid-19 thing, Trump would have had the best economy in a generation.

Yeah, but that's really not true. Trump had a chance to do the right thing, the tough thing, and he chose to do the popular thing. That's what populist do, they look for a parade, and jump out in front to lead it. Doing the popular thing might get you elected, but it doesn't solve the problems we face.

I know Hillary would have been a full scale disaster on the economy, but hear me out.

Trump was the outsider. He was going to 'drain the swamp' and Make America Great Again. He did not. In fact, he added a few more acres of Swamp in DC, even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. 

You drain the swamp by cutting spending. Slashing spending if you want to know the truth. Donald J. trump didn't slow down the Gravy Train, he threw another couple of boxcars full of borrowed cash onto the train.

Don't believe me? Okay.

In 2016, the last Obama fiscal year, the Federal Deficit was 585 Billion Dollars. That's a lot, but it was better that the ones from his first few years that were a Trillion Dollars each.

The first Trump budget raised the deficit to 665 Billion in 2017. The next year, he added another 110 billion to take it to 779 Billion Dollars in 2018.  Mind you, the republicans had control of congress these first two years. The deficit for 2019 was 984 Billion Dollars, and the 2020 one was scheduled for 1.083 Trillion, but that was before Covid-19. With all the Covid-19 bailouts and giveaways, who knows what the real 2020 deficit will be?


So, he didn't 'Drain the swamp' he grew it. Because if you haven't heard, Donald Trump doesn't mind spending other people's money to make himself look good. In fact, that is his whole business plan. This time, he isn't using investor's money to go big, he's using borrowed taxpayer money. So, basically, he's just like every other politician.


What about our Trade Deficits? I know he talks a big game on trade, and he actually did tweak some of the NAFTA deals and such, but was it a game changer?

United States Balance of Trade

Well, right up until the Covid-19 crash of the market, the trade deficit was heading back to record territory. So, not so much.


Now, you can yell at me and say that the media is against him, and the democrats are working overtime to ruin everything he does, and you're right. However, he is supposed to be the guy who can fix it all, and make it better. He didn't, he was just playing around the edges, and taking the small victories that didn't cost him.

About ten years ago, I wrote a piece about how the only person who could actually fix this situation, could never get elected, and I stand by that piece. The guy, or lady, would have to call for Means-testing Social Security, Medicare, the elimination of the dozens of overlapping federal welfare systems, and a freeze in hiring and expansion of the Federal government for his/her first term in office.

There is no way that person could be elected today, or ever. Americans say they want small government, when that means cutting things they don't like.

If you're a republican, you want to cut welfare and foreign aid. Well, except Social Security and Medicare, because I worked for that money, and it's mine!

If you're a democrat, you want to cut the military, and "No more illegal wars" but that's about it.  Maybe cutting the foreign aid to Israel. The good news is Trump has been getting us out wars as fast as he can, but you weren't paying attention

The problem is we owe so damn much money right now, and just the interest we pay on our Federal Debt, standing at 26 Trillion Dollars and counting, is almost as much as spend on our entire military.

Let me say that again. Just the interest payments on our national debt is the same as we spend on our military! That federal debt will  be 30+ Trillion by next year if Joe Biden is elected and the Senate goes to the democrats.

That amount of debt is crushing our economy, and as it climbs, the interest climbs as well. Pretty soon you will be taxing your people's productivity, not to pay for the things we need today, but we'll be taxing people today to pay for the last 20 years of overspending.

It's just like the credit card companies. Once you get your debt so high that you can only make the minimum payment on your debt, you're going bankrupt. It's just a matter of time.

Cheery, right?

Could Trump have bailed us out of this? I'm not sure that anyone could have, but he could have tried.  He could have said, I don't care what you call me, or if you ever vote for me again, I am going to put this country back on a foundation that will fix this situation, and save America for our children and grandchildren.

He would have gotten creamed in the election of 2018, but he lost the House anyway. He would have lost the Senate, and so we wouldn't have gotten as many conservative judges through. That being said, if you have a bunch of conservative judges ruling over another real Great Depression, I'm not sure that's a win.

So what is coming? A Sh*t Storm like nothing we have seen in close to a century. It's not that Covid-19 brought this on, Covid-19 will have just sped up the countdown.

It may start before the election. The democrats want the worst economy possible so Trump doesn't get reelected, and that could start the ball rolling even faster.

I'm thinking in a year or two, no matter who wins, one day the stock market will drop a thousand points and the dollar will plunge. Gold and precious metals go through the roof. I say Gold is + $3,000 an ounce by 2022. The world will look for other places to store its money, and our money will be worth half of what is today. Hyperinflation will be how we pay off all that debt. It will be a terrible half decade for the US, and the world. Maybe longer.

So, this also comes down on you and me. How much money do you have in your saving right now? Enough for 6 months, of your regular bills? No? Well, you should.

How much debt do you have? How many times do you eat out a month? Did you really need to buy those new clothes, shoes, drinks, or the dozens or even hundreds of items of cheap crap you ordered from China through Amazon? How about that new car, or new house you bought when you could barely qualify for the loan?

That's on you, not the politicians.

Maybe on your parents too. I have been telling my kids that all this will someday come to an end.  But it's hard to live one way, while the rest of the world keeps spending and buying their way into enormous amounts of debt.

You Trump haters will say, "See I told you! Trump was a disaster!"  Well, that's one way to look at it.
You Trump supporters will say, "Trump would have saved us if it weren't for the Fake News and Covid!"

No matter who wins in January, (see what I did there?) the next president will be holding the reins of a runaway.