SEIU’s New Contract

The State of California and the SEIU have agreed to a new contract. I thought you should know just how generous your elected representatives have been with your tax money. Some details have not been made public yet but here’s what we know.

Wages

During negotiations, SEIU claimed they wanted a 21 percent increase over three years. As usual, they settled for a fraction of that amount. On the face of it, they claim they got 7 percent over three years. Each increment of this raise takes effect July first (the first day of the new fiscal year.) Actually, it’s less than that.

Two reasons why.

First, a few years back, the State created a new deduction taken from the paychecks of current state workers. This money is to go into a fund earmarked for future retiree medical benefits (sounds vaguely like the Social Security Trust Fund to me.) This fund is incremented over a period of four year and will rise to 3.5 percent of gross pay. The last increment will take effect July 1, 2020. It will go up another 1.2 percent. (see chart below)

Thus the 2.5 percent pay increase July 1, 2020 will actually be a 1.3 percent increase in take home pay (less all the payroll taxes on 2.5 percent “increase”).

Second, the pay increase for the third year, also scheduled to be 2.5 percent may not happen. During negotiations, the State was asking that they be given the right to forego this increase in the event of an economic downturn. Based on the information released thus far, it is unclear if the union agreed to this provision and if so, what the trigger to stop the pay raise will be.

Thus, the actual pay raise over three years may very well be only 3.3 percent; a far cry from the 21 percent the union claimed they were asking for.

SEIU-Contract

Medical Tweak

The union claims that they got $260 a month for anyone on a State sponsored healthcare plan. This is to cover the employee contribution to healthcare. Thus, if only the employee is on the health plan, they would have no employee contribution any more. Once this is implemented, the state would pay 100 percent for individuals.

My question is this, currently my contribution to Kaiser is about $125 a month. Will the state really give me the whole $260 or just pay the $125 and call it good. Oh, for those of you in the private sector, sorry; I know you’re paying lots more than that out of pocket for your share of health insurance.

Geographic Pay

If a state employee lives in any of the following counties: Orange, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz, they will also get a geographic differential of $250 each month.

As we know as conservatives, when a government creates a new benefit, over time it will grow to cover more folks. Geographic Differential pay is such a thing. I was surprised not to see a single San Francisco Bay Area county on this list. This is even more reason to suspect that this new benefit will expand over time.

Concluding Remarks

My observation of this contract is this; it appears that all these extra pay things added to the wages of State employees help the State by not boosting employee retirement (assuming retirement is based solely on salary) while easing the pain of living in such a costly State as California. This seems to be the gentleman’s agreement with the State.

iPhone Security Epic Failure Again

Apple users always swear that their gear is more secure than other operating systems; once again, this is proven to be a lie. The difference between Apple and Microsoft (or Google) is that the other guys are actively looking for security flaws and Apple does not. As we have repeatedly documented on this blog, Apple will only reluctantly admit to a security issue once the issue has been made public, and then only half-heartedly will they acknowledge it. Apple will refuse to fix known issues for years until outed by third parties.

Today another story is out and this one is as bad as it gets. Just by visiting a compromised website, hackers could get the following:

  • You location in real time, updated every minute
  • All your passwords
  • Chat histories on WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage
  • Address book
  • Gmail database

In total, 14 bugs were exploited for the iOS attack across five different “exploit chains” – strings of flaws linked together in such a way that a hacker can hop from bug to bug, increasing the severity of their attack each time.

Please note that it was Google that informed Apple of the security flaws which had been exploited in the wild for a mere two and a half years.

An unprecedented iPhone hacking operation, which attacked “thousands of users a week” until it was disrupted in January, has been revealed by researchers at Google’s external security team.


The operation, which lasted two and a half years, used a small collection of hacked websites to deliver malware on to the iPhones of visitors. Users were compromised simply by visiting the sites: no interaction was necessary, and some of the methods used by the hackers affected even fully up-to-date phones.


Once hacked, the user’s deepest secrets were exposed to the attackers. Their location was uploaded every minute; their device’s keychain, containing all their passwords, was uploaded, as were their chat histories on popular apps including WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage, their address book, and their Gmail database.

Google says hackers have put ‘monitoring implants’ in iPhones for years

Oh, as usual, it is a British news outlet breaking the story not the American media. As a rule, the UK has better coverage of national news in the United States than our own media. I guess they’re all too busy trying to make stuff up about Trump and Russia instead of doing their jobs. Back in the day, Woodward and Bernstein worked hard to break their story; they would not be contented just to be part of the echo chamber that passes for the mainstream media today.

Oh, there is other hacking news out there today as well.

Teenager hacked government file sharing website known as Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center Safe Access File Exchange (AMRDEC SAFE) Click here for story

Lastly, there is a fair chance your dentist had their data compromised by a ransomware attack. Click here for story.

Dems Go for Pagan Vote

In their never ending pursuit to identify another class of victims, the Democrat Party has decided to embrace those that reject God. While most of us had thought they did this decades ago, they formalized the arrangement earlier this week by passing a resolution to be welcoming and inclusive of those unwilling to bend their knee in worship of their Creator.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution Saturday praising the values of “religiously unaffiliated” Americans as the “largest religious group within the Democratic Party.”


The resolution, which was unanimously passed at the DNC’s summer meeting on Aug. 24 in San Francisco, Calif., was championed by the Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, agnostics, and humanists on public policy. The group celebrated the DNC’s move as the first time a major party “embraced American nonbelievers.”


“Religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” said the resolution…

The move comes as Democratic presidential candidates have ramped up their religious rhetoric on the campaign trail, but the party announced it is targeting “nonreligious voters” to try to beat President Trump, who solidified the evangelical vote in 2016.

Political pundits have pointed out Democrats’ so-called God problem in the past and their efforts to solve it.


In 2012, the last election Democrats won, a headline from the convention read: “Democrats boo God.” In 2016, attendees heckled a preacher during the opening prayer. And on Saturday, Democrats took a shot at believers who use “religious liberty” to threaten the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans.

Democratic Party embraces nonreligious voters, criticizes ‘religious liberty’ in new resolution

Below is the resolution in its entirety.

DNC-Resolution-on-the-Nonreligious-Demographic

After passage, the Secular Coalition of America issued the following press release.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) this past Saturday embraced American nonbelievers for the first time, adopting a resolution that recognizes their contributions to society and to the Democratic Party.


This move by the DNC, which was unanimous absent one abstention, demonstrates that they are living up to the big-tent inclusive values they regularly espouse, though it also shows they recognize the value of courting the largest, fastest growing religious demographic in the nation. It was first passed in the DNC’s Resolutions Committee on Thursday.


At nearly one quarter of the total U.S. population, nonreligious Americans—one third of which are Democrats and nearly half of which are independent—will represent a sizeable voting bloc in the upcoming election. This resolution marks the first time a major U.S. political party has specifically courted religiously unaffiliated people across the nation.

Democratic Party embraces nonreligious voters at annual summer meeting

Let’s breakdown the math in the last paragraph.

25 percent of the US population is classed as “Unaffiliated.”

6. Atheists and agnostics account for a minority of all religiously unaffiliated.


Most are secular. Atheists and agnostics account for only about one-quarter (27%) of all religiously unaffiliated Americans. Nearly six in ten (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans identify as secular, someone who is not religious; 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a “religious person.”

America’s Changing Religious Identity

So, a quarter of a quarter of the US population is atheist, agnostic, pagan, secular, or whatever you want to call it. In real math, that means about 6.25 percent of the nation falls into this bucket.

Given the bombardment of secularism and evolution in our culture, I’m surprised the number is that low.

As always, Democrats don’t care what you believe—or don’t—as long as your first allegiance is to the All Powerful State.

Carli Lloyd Wants to Play in the NFL! Huh?

By Chief

In case you missed it, last week USWNT soccer player Carli Lloyd was invited to a joint practice between the Eagles and Ravens, two NFL teams. During the practice Lloyd went out and kicked a few 55 yard field goals and made them…which is saying a lot as offseason kicking is through a much smaller goal post than used during the regular season. It went viral and started rumors she could play for an NFL team, and as recent as today, she claims a team offered her a chance to kick in a game Thursday.

Okay, let’s snap back to reality for a minute here folks and get serious.

But first let me throw this out there, it’s very cool she had her moment. At 37 years of age, she is in the twilight of her soccer career as witnessed by her being a substitute during the World Cup. Her being able to drill a kick like she did is awesome because it was a no-win situation. Hear me out, she made the kick, and she went viral, a couple Ravens players even say she should get a try-out. Flip side, she misses the kick and all the alpha male types call out “stick to the kitchen” “it’s a man’s game” etc., etc. You know the type. But she made the kick the offers apparently have come in…and Lloyd is considering trying out next year in a real game. Big mistake if she takes them up, take it from me, I played in High School.

What she was doing was akin to going to a local high school or junior college and while wearing athletic attire kicking from the 45 (the end zone adds 10 yards) against air. Folks it’s one thing to kick field goals wearing soccer cleats, gym shorts, a sports bra and that’s it. I will allow fellow writer, The Troll, to speculate on whether or what type of underwear she was wearing…however, her being married means he should just move on or keep longing for Hope Hicks. The NFL requires players to wear football cleats (ask any of us, there is a big difference) shoulder pads (try wailing your arms out like she does when she was kicking…you can’t). In addition you must wear a girdle consisting of pads on both hips, and a tail bone pad, now you can have smaller pads but they must be worn, adding another difference to her normal uniform. She would not have to wear thigh or knee pads, since the kickers typically don’t. She would have to wear a helmet impeding her vision as well. She also took about 5 steps to kick, in the NFL you get about 2…it makes a difference. Also she will be kicking while facing 11 guys trying to block the kick.

George Blanda retired from pro football in 1976 as the oldest player to ever play at the age of 48. He was one of only two players to play in four different decades. He was a quarterback and then kicker.

It’s a safety issue more than a gender issue. This was even pointed out by Keenan Allen who plays for the Chargers, what happens if the kick is blocked? Remember kicking in the preseason means you are playing against people trying to fight for a couple open slots on the roster, not a bunch of laid back starters going through the motions. I hate to say this but I would take bets one or two players intentionally try to “blow her up” to just send a message to all females. When a kick is blocked, you cannot just get out of the way…more players have been injured in the outskirts of the play or pile than in the pile. Think those guys want a girl to score on them? A message would be sent.

In short, Carli you have had a great career and in my opinion you are an excellent role model for all young women in this country. Not to mention you called out your pink haired, looney teammate who kneeled for the national anthem. Carli, you and any women who feels they can hang, are more than welcome to kick back and if the coaches allow you, sure take a few kicks during practice. But kicking in a game situation would very likely result in serious injuries and possibly debilitating ones. My thoughts about your attractiveness aside (you’re very good looking), use your platform as a world champion and keep speaking your mind about things you care about. You had a great few moments in the spotlight, but when your friends tell you most NFL kickers play into their 40s they have also been training for this their entire life, you just started. Painkillers and steroids are also rampant in the NFL and most of those guys are hawked-up to the point they cannot think straight. Your NFL dreams may get crushed before they start. Think about it.

Chief

The Big City Homeless Problem

By Chief

I was treated to a special on Fox News while at the local gym the other night. It was a series of reports from Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle regarding the homeless issue. (Click on City name to view the video.) It was cringe worthy at best and flat out gross at worst. They discussed a vermin epidemic in San Francisco, Typhus outbreak in Los Angeles, a public health crisis in Portland, and a dire situation in Seattle where businesses are closing shop.

By the way, typhus, as described by our Governor, is a “medieval disease…in California….in 2019.” Think about that. We view ourselves as a state on the “cutting edge” of both medicine and technology and we have an epidemic of Third World diseases in our largest population center that we are powerless to stop.

The special showed makeshift tent cities, homeless camps, and some very elaborate dwellings built from scraps of cardboard and pallets. These camps are almost like their own city or municipality; complete with stoves, buckets used as a latrine, some set ups had a living room and a kitchen. These are not your typical homeless camps from years ago. The program also featured the incredible rat and vermin issues…which spread to the business districts nearby due to the sheer size of these camps. Keep in mind that these camps aren’t under an overpass anymore…they are behind businesses, in alleys, fields, parks etc.…they cannot just be shooed-off.

The process for their removal works similar to an eviction notice for a landlord, a sign must be posted to allow them to remove their belongings, and usually they get 72 hours to do so. Only then can a crew come through and throw away the piles of trash and feces left behind.

The program spoke about how this is all the fault of liberals, feel good policies and good money spent to solve the problem. However, the Blog Father and I disagree somewhat; we will lay it out later.

So, what caused all this? Well its complicated, but it’s a mixture of quite a bit. While electeds will say job loss, those folks look pretty raggedy for recently losing a job. Some say foreclosure…that crisis happened a decade ago. Some say insufficient wages to cover rents, and in some cases that could be true, have you seen rents in the Bay Area lately? Even that argument doesn’t hold much water once you consider that the same cities infested with the homeless are also home to “good paying” tech companies that are buying up land in that same area.

It’s amazing. Every one of these political folks fall over one another to get on camera and promise they have a plan to fix the issue…it just takes XXX millions of dollars a year…and a new fee or tax hike will pay for it! Pay attention to the word I used…. “folks” not Democrats, because there were likely several Republicans who voted for these very policies or fees! That’s correct, only recently was the GOP driven out of the inner city entirely, and the holdouts voted for these policies because “they were needed at the time, we thought it was the answer, or I needed to vote that way to fund the budget.” Because of these holdouts, the GOP is unable to make the argument that the Democrats “own it.”

This concept never seems to motivate the GOP. We always have a handful of weak-kneed turncoats who vote with the other side to allow the solution to seem bipartisan. Additionally, you can always count on a right leaning group or two to throw their name behind it because… well if it works, we can say we were a part of the solution. As a result, when the plan fails, the Left–who basically run the city government–can claim it was a bipartisan error, and “we all got it wrong.”

I have never understood the point of this needless compromise. If you make the other side vote in its entirety for some program…and it fails…with no opposition party support, they cannot call it bipartisan. At that point, the opposition can then say that our plan could have worked but we never got the opportunity. However, come to think of it, my side never has a solution so that would be a moot point, my guys just love to just vote “No”, and say it ain’t so. “Repeal and replace Obamacare” is the posterchild for the fecklessness of Republicans. Sadly, this is the rule and not the exception.

This issue is one where the tide is turning without any contribution from the GOP. Republicans won’t be picking up any new voters from this crisis, but it’s fun to see some of the natives getting restless. A prominent moderate Democrat radio host in San Francisco said the Democrats have been an abject failure on the homeless issue. A local Sacramento small business owner lashed out, saying she was tired of finding her store broken into, vandalized, having to shoo away homeless people, throw away cups of urine, feces, or syringes. She is moving to Austin, Texas by the way. The problem is very bad in downtown Sacramento. I have seen it first-hand. Residents in Los Angeles County want to know how the 118 million in new taxes were spent to combat the homeless when the issue has gotten worse. You now have moderate Democrats, independents, and Republicans on the same side of an issue.

Problem is there is no solution. You see, homeless people actually have the most freedom of any group in the country. They can camp wherever they darn well please, be a nuisance, create tons of trash, and face no repercussions. Liberal judges have granted them incredible rights to do as they please. Go to a big city and see for yourself. The touristy areas may be somewhat homeless free, but any business district is sure to be crowded with them. Hypodermic needles, syringes, urine, feces etc. all are common as well, because someone else will clean it up. Furthermore, they face no criminal charges since the politicians/Democrat voters passed Prop 47 which decriminalized almost every type of theft a homeless person is capable of.

Worse yet, our society actually attracts people into homelessness. As noted above you can pretty much do anything you feel like and get away with it, or if you need healthcare/dental care/eye care, just get arrested and the taxpayers will cover it free. In addition, we have places that will give you a couple square meals day such as Loaves and Fishes, or the “rainbow” Methodist church near me who proudly shares; they offer free breakfast and lunch on weekends. Also, there is Elk Grove Food Bank and various other charities that provide food as well for them to stock-up on.

Homeless folks also get taxpayer money given to them with no strings. Yes, they get Social Security money each month just for being a 30-year-old drug addict. They get paid out of the part of Social Security call SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

We spend millions on cleaning up their camps and the trash that comes with it. We provide them free needles to continue their drug habit. All of this is being done under the guise of we are trying to help them. We even are building housing to house them. Keep in mind all this is free for homeless people or those who game the system. The only adverse thing about being homeless is every so often they come to clean up your mess and you have to vacate the area with all your belongings for a few hours.

You see the issue here is despite all these well-intentioned laws and mandates, they never addressed the biggest problem within the homeless community…drugs and alcohol abuse. You see if you are under the influence of any of these substances, you cannot enter into any housing designated for homeless people. Thus, condemning them to the streets. It’s a viscous cycle, and this is a big reason why the situation is not improving. We can spend all the millions we want, and it makes no difference, literally. Some people want to spend even more! I see political types and nonprofits get in front of the camera constantly and always are offering up a plan, and it involves ample amounts of government money to make it work.

The City of Sacramento has been trying to remodel the Old Hotel Berry for years to house the homeless. Last I checked, they were just going to tear it down and figure it out later. However, in the end the City decided to remodel the Old Hotel Berry for 24.5 million in taxpayer dollars. Each room is for single person and that comes out to about $240,000 per unit. Each of the 104 units is between 151 – 317 SF.

Hotel Berry Sacramento – photo from June 2012

The truth is that most homeless people would rather live down by the American River as there as very few rules when you live in a tent city.

To fix the problem I recommend repealing Prop 47 and criminalizing low level misdemeanors again. This will land more homeless in jail upfront but over time, the problem gets better. In jail, homeless people will be provided for materially and mentally in a drug free environment. This is cheaper and more cost effective for both the community and the homeless people. Reforming the laws will make the police and business owners keep a closer eye on their neighborhoods and not be apathetic like they are today.

Ideas such as this one will infuriate Republicans, but the government should hire a cleaning crew similar to what BART did in the Bay Area. The crews do major deep cleaning, and after that they do a normal clean every week; “poof” the smells of feces and urine are gone, and trash removed! The homeless don’t typically congregate in areas where they will be shooed away, so the problem will deteriorate over time.

While it is not easy to accept a form of reality most are not accustomed to in America…some problems are not fixable. Some people do not wish to work, or live in housing, or play the by the rules of others (drugs and alcohol are all they care about). They do not want to clean up after themselves and this is all due to a problem we created. We have provided all these services for free. Cities like San Francisco have decided to try to “round up the homeless and force them in shelters” but the ACLU responded to the idea by announcing that they will provide free representation in court to the homeless. So, we all lose out.

Buckle in and fasten your chinstrap, this one is getting messy. This is what a full-on nanny state looks like, meals provided free, housing provided free, clean up services…free…. clean syringe…. free… government assistance… free…. outside groups willing to offer legal assistance… free. A lesson again, once you allow people a certain freedom or benefit good luck taking it away even if it’s for their own good.

The Chief

Big Tech Surveillance

The NSA may be the only government entity that listens to you but the private sector has gone crazy doing the same thing. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have all been outed as doing the same type of surveillance.

Listening

Today, a report has surfaced that Apple has fired their Siri transcription company in Ireland with virtually no notice.

Apple is terminating the contracts of 100 of workers who were hired to listen to Siri recordings according to a report from the Guardian.


Last month, Apple was revealed to be sending audio data over to contractors to improve Siri. The contractors would accidentally hear private or personal information sometimes, and a few users were scandalised that this wasn’t made clear when signing up for Siri originally.


The firm has put an abrupt end to the program, leading to mass job loss.


As per the report, more than 300 employees have been fired in one facility in Cork, Ireland, and some have been sent home with less than one week’s notice.

Apple fires hundreds of workers hired to listen to Siri recordings

Microsoft is also listening and plans to continue the practice.

After Apple and Google, it turns out Microsoft is also doing the same thing.


According to a report from Motherboard which cites an anonymous contractor, Microsoft is listening in to your Skype and Cortana audio as well. Much like Google and Apple do, the firm sends a little bit of audio to its small army of human contractors around the globe for analysis, ranging between 5 – 10 seconds.


The bone of contention here appears to be that while Microsoft does tell users that some of their audio will be analysed, it leads them to assume that it would be AI-based as opposed to human contractors.

Microsoft’s contractors are also listening to your Skype and Cortana recordings

Microsoft terms of service authorize third party folks to listen.

In a statement released to Motherboard, the firm said:


“We’re always looking to improve transparency and help customers make more informed choices. Our disclosures have been clear that we use customer content from Cortana and Skype Translator to improve these products, we engage third party expertise to assist in this process, and we take steps to de-identify this content to protect people’s privacy.”

The Motherboard report reveals that contractors are mean to transcribe up to 300 pieces of audio per hour and are paid between $12 and $14 for it with a max bonus taking it to $15 per hour. Contractors have noted that personal and private information has slipped into these audio snippets as originally reported.

Microsoft’s Cortana transcribers are apparently overworked and underpaid

Watching

Yesterday, Amazon received national coverage for allowing law enforcement access to Ring video cameras, without any warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing.

Always home, always watching

Amazon-owned doorbell-camera manufacturer Ring has formed partnerships with hundreds of police departments that allow them to automatically request access to footage after the fact, according to a report in The Washington Post.


Ring has arrangements with more than 400 departments, under which they can request recordings within a specific time and area, according to the Post. Ring gives homeowners the option to decline requests, according to the Post.


Police can use a map interface to select the time and geographic range, which will generate an automated email to all users within the range with a message from the department, according to the newspaper.

Ring, as a private-sector enterprise, has found “a clever workaround for the development of a wholly new surveillance network, without the kind of scrutiny that would happen if it was coming from the police or government,” he added.

Amazon’s Ring doorbell-camera firm partners with over 400 police forces to share surveillance: report

Ring also sells consumers both external and internal cameras so what keeps law enforcement or other interested parties from viewing the inside of your house in real time? Also, please note the weasel words in the article above; homeowners are given “the option to decline the requests.” This sounds like a one-time, blanket terms of service option given when the system is first being configured. If so, is a third-party installer giving Ring (Amazon) that permission as part of the equipment setup or the actual resident of the dwelling? This point might be potential legal fodder in the not too distant future.

Bottom Line

If you are on the Internet using any program, device, or service, then rest assured that you are under surveillance by someone; the only question is whether the other party is a program or person. Most folks just want to legally separate you from your money but others harbor more nefarious intentions. If you own a smartphone then Apple, Google, and Microsoft know where you live, work, and shop. If you own a car, then the automakers and others in their industry know where you’ve been in your car.

Amish–the only folks living “off the grid”

If you truly want privacy, build a Faraday Cage in your home or become Amish. Trust me, your digital footprint is way bigger than your carbon one and much more likely to be dangerous to your liberty.

The Cult of Trump

Thanks to Facebook, I frequently get to see posts from “the other side” no not the physically dead, just the spiritually dead. One person that I frequently see posts from is a retired Liberal relative of my wife. Since she’s family, I normally show restraint and don’t respond—except on two occasions. Over the weekend I saw a post that I thought deserves rebuttal. Instead of doing it on Facebook and giving her the satisfaction that she hit a nerve, I thought I would respond here instead.

As it turns out, the article is three years old anyway. That’s another gripe I have with Facebook, you don’t know if the post is fresh or years old. It just shows up in your feed. This gem is from GQ Magazine. Before getting into the details, I have two thoughts. First, why is this in a magazine that is supposedly, Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ)? Second, it’s written by a woman saying disparaging things about a successful businessman. Am I the only one finding this ironic and counter to the stated purpose of the publication?

The article in question is The Cult of Trump: Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.

The article invokes as proof, a fellow named Rick Alan Ross. Ross is identified in the article as “America’s leading cult expert.” Sorry Mr. Ross, but I’ve never heard of you so I’m having doubts about your credentials. As a diligent guy, I did what any enterprising fellow would do, I looked you up on Wikipedia.

Ross’ first dust-up with a cult (as he defines it) was with a group of Messianic Jews. Being that Bob Dylan is also a Messianic Jew, I’m not seeing the offense that he took to these folks. I guess Jews trying to convince other Jews that Jesus is their Messiah is offensive to a Jew that rejects Jesus. Ross identifies as Jewish but in my experience such identification is often more cultural than religious. Oh, Ross is described as having “a personal hatred for all religious cults.” He also was a prominent figure in the government’s treatment and subsequent assault on the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas.

Wikipedia: Rick Alan Ross

Using Ross as their source, GQ identifies three marks of the Cult of Trump.

Sign I: His campaign is fueled by charisma.


For his followers, the appeal of Trump is Trump himself: his take-no-bullshit attitude, his (greatly embellished) only-in-America success story, his apparent business savvy. His policies, which are largely vague or nonexistent, aren’t the main draw (his 180 on immigration, one of the defining issues of his campaign, doesn’t appear to bother his supporters). And that’s where he perfectly fits the cult archetype.


“The single most salient feature of a cult is a person who has become, essentially, an object of worship,” Ross says. They’re the “defining element of the group,” the heart of the movement.

This is the first of several prima facia arguments put forth to bolster this narrative. Every successful person in politics has some measure of charisma. I guess compared to Hillary Clinton, Trump would win in that category.

But Trump an object of worship? Really? Heck no. Do I want him to be successful? Yes, but worship?

Ross and the GQ author don’t define a cult in terms of theology but power and control. I see nothing on his website condemning Communism or Socialism, if control is an identifying mark of a cult or false religion then both these political systems should qualify in spades.

Why is it that Liberals think we are all a bunch of mind-numbed robots that hang on someone’s every syllable? Did it ever occur to Ross that Trump says the things that we already feel and believe? This article was written after Trump was made the nominee at the Republican convention but before the General election. Our hope at the time, which has generally been true since he took office, is that Trump would be disruptive to the good old boy system in Washington and that he would undo the attacks on Christianity and traditional American values perpetrated by Barack Obama.

Trump is trying to do things differently. Do I always agree with him? No, generally I support him and want him to be successful. Frankly, I’m more interested in what he actually does and not so much what he says. However, I do enjoy that he confronts Democrats on Twitter and irritates the snot out of them. Prior to Trump, Democrats did whatever they wanted, and Republicans would cower in the corner in fear of what the media would say if they responded. Trump has shown what we always knew about Democrats, they have no morals, principles, or backbone. Their ideology is without foundation and is only one slogan thick. They can’t stand it when someone pushes back at them. Which brings us to the second point.

Sign II: He’s a raging narcissist.


“Cult leaders are most often narcissists,” Ross explains. “They see themselves as the center of the known universe, and everyone revolves around them.” Trump, he says, fits the warning signs of narcissistic personality disorder—an exaggerated sense of self-importance, preoccupation with success, power and brilliance, behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner—to a T (for Trump, probably). Lest we forget, Trump says he went to the “best school in the world,” has “the world’s greatest memory,” and will be “the greatest jobs president God has ever created.”

Trump has a big ego, but so does everybody in politics. Humble people don’t run for office. It is true that Trump doesn’t care what his opponents think. It is on this point that comparisons to Donald Trump diverge from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold caved completely but Trump has stood tall in the face of assault after assault.

If you want a raging narcissist, look no further that Barack Obama. The man can’t give a speech without using, “I”, “me”, “my” at least a hundred times in 20 minutes; even if its at someone’s funeral. Everything he said and did was about himself.

If this accusation was true of Trump, trust me, the media would be all over it. Trump has a big ego, but he doesn’t talk in terms of himself but what he thinks is best for America. That is a huge difference.

Sign III: What he says is always right. Even when it’s not.


“You just can’t put that material in front of a true believer and it has any effect,” Ortega says. “And I think people are seeing the same thing with Trump. Trump creates this sort of field, this bubble, that the people inside of it are just incapable of seeing these things as those on the outside.”


That reality distortion field is in full force with Trump’s supporters. Despite his bankruptcies and spectacular business failings (Trump Vodka, anyone? No?), the notion that he’s a successful businessman who would bring the same acuity to running the country is one of the pillars of his campaign. And though nearly 80 percent of the things he says are outright lies, he manages to pin the blame on the “dishonest” and “biased” media. Many of his followers, already distrustful of mainstream news outlets, accept whatever rationalization he provides, no matter how outlandish.

Talk about irony. This point is where any attempts to portray Trump supporters as cultists hits the wall and explodes. Liberals are nonresponsive to facts and information. They can only argue from emotion and claim that facts are different than truth. (If I have my way, Joe Biden will never live down that claim.)

The biggest shocker to folks in Washington was that after he was inaugurated, Trump began to implement the things he promised in his campaign. What he said is what he tried to do. Granted, he has met with much resistance, but he has followed through where he could.

I don’t get the meme that everything Trump says is a lie. I can understand if Liberals don’t like 80 percent of what he wants to do but… this lie thing is without substance. I tried to look up so called “fact check” stuff on Trump and the one thing I noticed was they kept moving the goal posts and making false equivalences. Trump shoots from the hip quite often but generally his recall is good; compared to Joe Biden, Trump is a genius in this department.

Liberals have a preset template that they use to filter anything Trump, they won’t consider anything contrary to their presuppositions. Thus, they reject any evidence contrary to what they want to be true. As previously documented here, the repeated accusation that Trump is a racist is exhibit one in this regard. It is untrue but they keep saying it anyway.

Conservatives care about a man’s character not their skin color. Liberals would think that since I like Trump and I happen to have pale skin that I must be a racist. This is untrue and intellectually lazy. In fact, such a statement is racist not me.

Ok want an example. I’ll give you two.

Meghan Markle—the babe that married Prince Harry
I had no interest in her racial make-up. Why would I? I know she is attractive and had some interest in being in movies. I have previously blogged about her and the false conversion into Anglicanism not because she trusted in Christ but to please the Queen mother. It never occurred to me that she might be all or partly black until I read it in some British tabloid. My reaction was oh, that’s interesting trivia, as I wondered why it mattered. For some reason, its a big deal in England.

Kamala Harris
Another nice-looking babe, but I don’t like her because of her politics. She has “San Francisco values” and was a horrible Attorney General in California. As AG, she refused to enforce the laws that she personally didn’t like. In the Senate, she was no upgrade from Barbara Boxer. She is all in on rainbow people and murdering the unborn thru all nine months of pregnancy and expects my tax dollars to pay for it. It never occurred to me to inquire about her race. I really don’t care. It wasn’t until I read articles about former Assembly Speaker and ex-SF Mayor Willie Brown fornicating with her in exchange for boosting her political career that I ever read anything about her skin color. Again, prior to this year, it never occurred to me to inquire on her race. It was her character that I disagreed with. She is wrong on policy.

I believe this is true of most people including President Trump. Only Democrats look at people in terms of their group membership not as individuals.

Mr. Ross and the author are wrong that followers of Donald Trump are cultists. We want a change in the direction of the country, especially after the destruction wrought to the Republic by Barack Obama. Trump is a supporter of the First Amendment, the Second Amendment (for the most part), and will give us better judges on the Supreme Court than anyone else in either Party. So, what he says may be entertaining but we support him for what he has done. He has done his best to keep his campaign promises because he meant what he said, that is both rare and refreshing in politics.

Oh, on his website, Mr. Ross has a copy of the GQ article with a disclaimer at the bottom.

[Note: Historically, a destructive cult leader, such as Jim Jones, David Koresh or Charles Manson has no meaningful accountability. Destructive cult leaders are typically not elected and therefore not subject to the checks and balances of a democracy, such as the judicial and congressional branches of government. For this reason an elected President of the United States (POTUS) cannot be seen as a destructive cult leader. Donald Trump may have a cult-like following and possess certain character traits similar to a cult leader, but he cannot be seen simply as a cult leader, without careful qualification. Donald Trump was elected and must be reelected to continue as POTUS and as POTUS he is accountable to the American people, our elected government and the Constitution of the United States, which he publicly swore to uphold at his inauguration. — Rick Alan Ross]

Ross’ copy of the article and disclaimer can be found here.
Typical Internet Meme citing Ross’s website as proof that Trump supporters are cultists.
A claim Ross is unwilling to make.

So in the end, even Ross thinks calling Trump supporters cultists is a bridge too far, even though he clearly has no love for them.

Liberal Logic: Trump Defends Israel Therefore Trump Bad for Israel

Only in a world where wrong is right and up is down could anyone believe that Trump is bad for Israel but that’s the latest claim of smoldering fecal matter published by The Atlantic.

Please note the fact claims of the author in these paragraphs.

The upshot is that Jewish organizations have lost control of the narrative on Israel. Trump’s actions and statements about Jews and Israel have little to do with the Jewish people—they reflect the mode and priorities of his largely Christian, right-wing base. In practice, Washington’s bipartisan consensus on Israel mostly remains intact, but the story about Israel has changed radically. Jews have become characters in a larger political drama over Israel and anti-Semitism, two of the issues they have historically cared about most. The endless cycles of outrage are not meant to benefit Jews, and they’re not really about Jews.

Trump, in particular, has changed the bipartisan playbook on Israel. The president repeatedly singles out Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who have been critical of Israel and were recently barred from entering the country at Trump’s urging. When Trump says these women hate Israel, hate Jews, and are anti-Semites, that gives permission to “the president’s people to say, ‘We don’t care about traditional ways of approaching the U.S.-Israel relationship,’” Solow said. “It also frees up all the president’s opponents in the Jewish community to say, ‘You know what? All the rules have changed.’” As a result, politically conservative and progressive Jews, who might have once found common ground on the Israel issue, are constantly at one another’s throats.

Is Trump Destroying Bipartisan Consensus on Israel?

President Trump is right to go after the haters of Israel but when he defends the Jewish state, Liberal Jews are somehow offended. Like Trump, I don’t get it. The Democrats have thrown the Jews overboard and as long as the they remain Liberals first and Jews second, the Democrats will let them have a seat at the table…for now.

Folks, the followers of Islam were brought into this country by President Obama in the millions, not for the purpose of finding a better life in America, but to colonize our nation and expand the caliphate. Everywhere you turn, Liberal places are allowing special rules and practices to accommodate the worshippers of Allah. Liberals are afraid of them.

Please don’t get me wrong, I favor anyone from anywhere coming to the United States, but only those that want to be Americans. If they want to turn America into a place like the third world hellhole, they came from then go home. If you didn’t come here for freedom—religious and economic—then stay home.

Truth is the Liberals are using the people who practice Islam as a way to teardown the beliefs and institutions derived from Christianity; ironically, Christianity and Western Culture are the only thing that can stop the spread of Islam.

Liberals think the enemy of my enemy is my friend but the analogy they should really be concerned with is the one about giving the scorpion a ride across the flooded river or in this case Atlantic Ocean. The uneasy alliance they have made with Islam will—if they ever succeed—be their undoing.

Trump is pointing out that Jew haters are allowed to spew their hatred and the Democrat leadership is silent. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are Democrats, not only in good standing but along with the other two, are the new face of the Democrat Party. Nancy Pelosi may be Speaker until they carry her out of the House Chambers feet first but she in not running the show. Nancy is just the crazy aunt in the basement.

Dear Nancy, the generation coming up behind you believes all that crap you have been spewing since you guys took over the Party that fateful summer in Chicago back in 1972. Funny, you are now the stale generation of out of touch leaders. How do you like being replaced by younger and more Leftist children. Call it Karma or what goes around, but your goose is cooked.

Trump may be upsetting the traditional apple cart of Jewish folks trying to play both sides of the aisle (a lament of this article quoted above) but the truth is those days were over when Obama took-over the reins of power a decade ago.

If Trump is guilty of anything concerning the Jews and Israel, it is this, choose this day whom you will follow, one Party leads to life and the other to your destruction. Or as Bob Dylan said it many years ago, “When you gonna wake-up?”

Trump is right to defend Israel. Trump is right to attack Tlaib and Omar. Sadly, Nancy Pelosi has put herself in a box that to chasten these two racist idiots will make her appear to agree with Trump and she can’t have that; it would be her undoing. Perish the thought that the adults would discipline the children. If Nancy slapped down these two, it would open up a world where both Parties might work together, and the Democrats have so poisoned the well (or swamp if you prefer) that they can’t have that be an outcome. Better to get rid of Trump than do their jobs.

Trump is right to attack these two babes. They are friends of terrorists and murders and the hate they spread is a deadly toxin. The Democrats won’t clean-up their own House and Trump is just pointing that out. The only conclusion that rational people can draw is that the Democrats must really agree with Tlaib and Omar. How is he the racist by pointing it out?

Private Sector Tackles Bay Area Housing

What do you get when you cross an Ikea display, a tiny house, and the private sector?

That’s the proposal from new startup Rent the Backyard. The company is tackling rising home prices in the San Francisco-Bay Area by building backyard studio apartments, and splitting the rental profits with homeowners.


“This is a long-term partnership that we have with the homeowner,” Rent the Backyard Co-Founder Brain Bakerman told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview.


Homeowners can make $10,000 to $20,000 in additional income each year, according to the company.

Startup’s answer for high-priced Silicon Valley housing: Homes in backyards

So what is the sales pitch?

  • We build your unit for free
  • We list your unit online
  • You get half the rent

If, you own a home in the Bay Area, have a 30 x 30 area, and you live in your home most of the time, then you could take part in this experiment in affordable housing.

Model homes are found on Internet here.

Labor Department Nukes Trump

In recent years, math has become a weapon of social and political warfare. Often it is abused to promote junk science like the myth of global cooling, warming, err…climate change or whatever the hell they’re claiming this week. Numerical manipulation is also used as a tool to find new and creative reasons to get more grant money pumped into academia.

68 Percent Error

Here’s an example. Did you know that 68 percent of the universe does not exist and never did?

Remember “Dark Matter”? In 1998, scientists invented it to explain observations made by the Hubble telescope. Supposedly, 68 percent of our universe is made of it. “We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is.” — NASA

Yes, it’s still the gospel if you look on the NASA website, but there’s no such thing. Two years ago, a study was published that proved it is a false theory but it is still taught as true in schools all over the world.

Scientists believe that enigmatic dark energy make up 68% of the universe. But according to a Hungarian-American team, it may not exist at all. The team publish their results in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The researchers believe that standard models of the universe fail to take account of its changing structure, but that once this is done the need for dark energy disappears.

Dark matter is now thought to make up 27% of the content of universe (in contrast ‘ordinary’ matter amounts to only 5%). After observing the explosions called as Ia supernovae, scientists concluded that dark energy, made up 68% of the cosmos, and is responsible for expansion of the universe.


In the new work, the researchers, officially led by PhD student Gábor Rácz of Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, explained that models of cosmology particularly rely on approximations that ignore its structure, and where matter is assumed to have a uniform density. They questioned the conventional concept of existence of dark energy and suggest an alternative explanation.


Dr László Dobos, co-author of the paper, and currently working at Eötvös Loránd University, explains: “Einstein’s equations of general relativity that describe the expansion of the universe are so complex mathematically that for a hundred years no solutions accounting for the effect of cosmic structures have been found. We know from very precise supernova observations that the universe is accelerating, but at the same time we rely on coarse approximations to Einstein’s equations which may introduce serious side-effects, such as the need for dark energy, in the models designed to fit the observational data.”

New Study Suggests 68 Percent Of The Universe May Not Actually Exist

If you keep rooting around on the subject, what you find is that scientists studying the universe rounded the speed of light and took other shortcuts in their math that introduced an error so big that they had to invent 68 percent more mass in the universe called “dark matter”; theoretical stuff that could not be observed in any way, just to account for the error.

Labor Department Revision

The US Department of Labor this week offered their own version of “Dark Matter” revisions to their universe.

This week, the US Department of Labor did some similar math adjustments and made 501,000 jobs that they said had been created by the Trump Administration disappear.


The Labor Department revised down total job gains from April 2018 to March 2019 by 501,000, the agency said Wednesday, the largest downward revision in a decade.


The agency’s annual benchmark revision is based on state unemployment insurance records that reflect actual payrolls while its earlier estimates are derived from surveys. The preliminary figure could be revised further early next year.

US has half a million fewer jobs than believed after big government revision

Labor revised down leisure and hospitality payrolls by 175,000 and business services by 163,000. Retail employment was revised down by 146,400.

U.S. Payrolls Count Reduced by 501,000 in Year Through March

The Department maketh up and the Department taketh away, blessed be the math of the Department.

Folks, color me skeptical about this revision. I think the Labor Department has been cooking the books since Bush was President and they certainly were when Obama was President so why the change in methodology for just one year? Oh, coincidentally, this revision comes when Democrats finally figured-out that the only prayer they have in 2020 is if the economy goes down before the election—which they also are coincidentally trying to make happen.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” as my dear departed granny used to say. Why stop at one year? If the Labor Department wants to change their methodology let’s go back, say ten years and see what has really been going on.

Bureaucracy First

Folks this is an illustration of what some folks dumbly call the “Deep State”. Personally I hate that term. I think what they are trying to say is that, in a sense, the government bureaucracy is so large and unwieldly that it is a force unto itself that can’t be led anywhere its career management is unwilling to go. Above all things, they are statists and will defend their institution from any outside forces of change.

Trump is an insurgent and as such needs to be taken down a few notches and shown who is running things. The boys in Labor decided that the time is ripe to make their contribution to the cause and it’s substantial. Trump has wed his fate to that of the economy and now is the time to stick him with it.

As I have stated before Trump is more of a cheerleader for the economy than he is an actual owner of its success or failure. The Market is overvalued and needs correction but how and what will trigger that is yet to happen. Sadly, the possible catalysts of correction are a target rich environment. The real question is will Trump advocate interfering with the Market (like Bush) or allow it to correct itself. Given that Democrats will not willingly help Trump, as Republicans were willing to do for Obama, Trump may have no choice but to let the Market correct naturally —which in the long run is the best outcome.

I’m just surprised that this story has gotten so little attention. Are Democrats really so busy fighting amongst themselves that they can’t take time to pummel Trump on his claim that “this is the greatest economy ever” or are they just so tone-deaf that it doesn’t matter to them. On the other hand, in the Dem’s defense, the revision was a loss of private sector, non-union jobs so maybe they don’t count anyways.

From my point of view, this was a real body blow to the President but I can’t find anything from pundits on either side of the political divide make hay about this revision.

So if Trump doesn’t lash-out at his own Dept. of Labor on Twitter then the media doesn’t care? What gives with that?