Can’t Anyone Do Math in USA?

Why is the most powerful country on Earth arguing about a few thousand refugees when they allowed COVID-19 to kill 600K people? Why not take in 600K refugees? There are plenty in Yemen, Syria, and Central America willing to supply fresh young people to fuel the future economy of USA. Just saying… 😎

While they are doing math, why not lock up Trump et al for sedition, insurrection, treason, bribery, corruption, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, denial of civil rights and plain old ugliness? Surely that would solve a lot of problems in USA like people denying science, fostering insurrection and epidemic, denying the will of the people and believing in baby-sacrificing cabals in the basement of a pizzeria that has no basement and eroding democracy. They should also do the maths on the cost of second-rate education for the masses and lack of single-payer health insurance. How many of those 600K died because they could not afford to see a doctor or who believed immunization was unpatriotic?

I guess I’ll close here. I doubt many USAians will read this or even take it to heart.

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BOO, MOZILLA!!!

Mozilla has now killed support for FTP in FireFox, my favourite protocol in my favourite browser. I can’t even use the browser to access an FTP server on my own PC… BOO!

FTP support has been disabled, and its full removal is planned for an upcoming release. Addressing this security risk reduces the likelihood of an attack while also removing support for a non-encrypted protocol.

On the other hand, I can still tweak network.ftp.enabled to true and enjoy the good old days a bit longer. 😎

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Springing Forth

Spring is in the air. I’ve changed to summer tires. I’ve pruned and propagated many trees and shrubs. I’m booked for immunization against COVID-19. I’ve cancelled my order for my RED Solo EV and bought some peanut butter and other groceries and some bulbs of lilies with the refunded deposit.

I have mixed feelings about the Solo EV. I’m still sure it’s the right vehicle for me. Very practical for my mostly short trips on the highway visiting nearby towns and hunting/gathering places. Very efficient. Very easy to operate and to maintain. Just not being produced in quantity.

I know the Solo EV can be built and sold at a profit but for whatever reasons EMV has fumbled the ball repeatedly. They “released” the car in 2016. I signed on in 2017. They were producing a few in Vancouver for a while. There are a few on the roads in BC. They made an agreement with a manufacturer of motorcycles in China to crank out thousands. Apparently, a redesign was in order, hence Solo 2. Production was announced. Still no Solos. Then there was a change in management, a redesign, imminent production announced again and still no Solos. For an outfit producing thousands of Solos annually, where are the cars?

I lost faith. The move to sell first in USA, a country run by Trump with weird attitudes to international trade/tariffs, a long search for a USA plant, and still no flood of Chinese-Solos. The redesign and the abandonment of Canada as a centre of production/sales killed my enthusiasm. I was happy with Solo 1. I was OK with Solo 2. Things can always be improved. I didn’t see any improvements in Solo 3. I didn’t need a newer/better radio. I didn’t need A/C. I didn’t need wider/heavier/less efficient. Finally, Solo 1 use Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. They are proven, reliable, rugged and safe. The new technology has proven to be less safe. Yes, it can burst into flames. That’s not what I want in my EV. Further, I just hate the communications of the new management. If they can’t ship Solos, I would like to know why while waiting all these years. Not knowing anything about their plans to sell me a Solo just killed my enthusiasm.

So, it’s done. I have a couple of months’ worth of groceries and some new lilies headed for the garden. It’s all good. Life goes on with or without Solo. If Solo ever comes back to Canada, I might buy one as a second car. For now, I’m looking at several models of used EVs which although less efficient are still very practical for my usage. I can even envisage yanking out the back seats and adding a larger battery. The EV is the wave of the future. Every day that EMV does not produce Solo makes other EVs more attractive. At least they are available and have an infrastructure.

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The Decline and Fall of the GOP

It would be hard to write a work of fiction as weird as the decline of the GOP in USA. A political party that has been important since the time of Lincoln now has no platform, no policy, no guiding principle, just an egotistical liar, Trump. Millions of people who voted for Trump and the GOP are asking themselves, “Why?”. Millions who voted for a party that freed the slaves is now home to white supremacists and nut-cases who live in alternate realities. The real world is uncomfortable so they adopt Trumpism. The GOP is now the party of childish thinkers or those who choose not to think at all. Clearly, the vast majority of citizens are thoughtful human beings who care about stuff and will not vote GOP again. A large group of important political donors will not give to GOP causes. Even members of the GOP are fleeing the party to become independents or are willing to join a new conservative party.

Consider CPAC, the conference of conservatives. There was scarcely any talk of policy and conservatism, only obeisance to Trump. They actually worshipped at a golden idol of Trump. What became of “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.” What are the so-called “evangelicals” doing worshipping Trump? What happened to those in the GOP with “family values” relishing the idea of separating families at the border and separating children from mothers? What happened to the party of “Law and Order” that now does not respect the rulings of courts, even the Supreme Court stacked full of justices appointed by the GOP? What happened to the GOP that respected the constitution but now wants a king, unelected and unelectable? It’s gone. The GOP has been abducted by space-aliens. The GOP has been taken over by lizard-brained humanoids. The GOP is just another stolen property of Trump.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Trump is such a bad manager he is destroying what he has created. He will be in court forever if not in jail. His followers will be swept up in courts and in jail. Unlike Hitler who survived jail to finish his takeover, Trump can’t even utter complete sentences let alone define an era of USAian politics. All he does is attack those who might otherwise be supporters. He has divided the GOP and irretrievably separated the GOP from society. He has converted a political party attracting those seeking to wield power for good into a suicidal cult going nowhere.

The future is bright. It seems there will be a decade or two where the GOP is ineffectual and likely split into factions or disbanded as a criminal enterprise. The election of 2020 showed millions the way to freedom is to vote and to vote Democratic. They aren’t going away. They will increase in numbers. The present actions of many GOPers in state and local government seeking to disenfranchise the left will be rejected. USA will have a decent minimum wage, universal medical care insurance eventually with a single payer, a real right to vote, representation by population, a real respect for the environment and true equality, not just in the constitution but in effect.

There will continue to be political friction in USA. Biden is not the answer to Trump but a better alternative. Biden still does not see his opportunity but seeks to alloy goodness with the GOP. That can’t work as the GOP is a cancer out of control. Conservatism can be good but the GOP is not conserving anything and seems intent on destroying everything. Conservatism is not lies, riot, and rule of mobs. Goodness comes from an alloy of good people trying to do good. There are very few of the good left in the GOP. Too many of the GOP have done nothing to thwart Trump. Too many of the GOP have burned too many bridges to go back to decency. Darwin’s law applies to politics too. Biden will eventually be replaced by a true Democrat unwilling to compromise for the good instead of the perfect. Trump and his criminals will be rotting in jail if US DOJ can find truly impartial juries. I think they can do that.


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Riot!

“According to prepared remarks, Pittman told lawmakers that Capitol Police knew two days before the insurrection that militia and White supremacist groups would be at the Capitol on January 6, and some of those people planned to be armed.
 
Pittman outlined four things that made the department ill-equipped to respond to the attack: a lack of manpower, not having the right equipment on hand or easily accessible, a lack of consistency in following the process for sealing the building and communication over radios and the public address system being hard to hear during the attack.”
 
See Democrats stunned by briefing on Capitol’s security before insurrection: ‘It was only by pure dumb luck’ more weren’t killed
It’s hard to think of an explanation for how a bumbling idiot like Trump could with endless repetition of a few silly phrases could come close to taking out the legislative branch of USA. I suppose it fits my theory of how many human disasters happen in our age of technology. Multiple layers of safety can be defeated by multiple layers of error.

It’s like a plane crash of a perfectly serviceable plane caused by information overload, wrong perception of the problem, wrong steps to correct the wrong problem, indecision and the crew fighting to defeat each other’s actions. Trump’s riot was the same.

Despite ample warning of widespread derangement, anger, and chaos, Trump going out of his way to create disorder before, during and after the election, little was done to secure the Capitol. Trump called to Washington his hordes of deplorables on January 6 for the stated purpose of disrupting the certification of the electoral college, properly appointed by the states. He gave an inspirational speech to the Trumpists on top of several heated speeches by sycophants. The Capitol Police treated the whole thing like a Sunday picnic. The police had no reason to think anything was normal that day, but they did. The police seemed not to believe their own eyes or averted their eyes to what was happening on the property. No one was authorized to use deadly force, about the only thing that would have stopped the assault. No one took personal initiative to convince rioters that their actions were disastrous. Instead the Capitol Police caved just slowly enough to allow targets of the mob to run and hide.

Just a little more initiative on the part of the police or the rioters would have been sufficient to give a better outcome or a greater disaster. What would have happened if the rioters had been able to hold a show trial and executions or a burning of the certificates of the electors? The whole nation would have been on the brink of dictatorship or uncivil war. As it is we have a nearly paralyzed legislative branch and an executive branch leading no one who wants to be lead. Ordinary citizens are not respecting the result of the election. Ordinary citizens are refusing to wear masks to save their lives and the lives of millions. The campaign of vaccination is a disaster. The epidemic is a disaster. The economy is a disaster. Yet, no one seems motivated to do the things necessary to save USA from sinking into a post apocalyptic period.

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Is The Republican Party A Terrorist Organization?

Terrorist: “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

For years now, the Republican Party, the Government of the People party, has declined to rely on the people to choose a government:

  • They’ve gerrymandered to the extreme congressional districts to prevent election of members of the Democratic Party
  • They’ve passed laws and rules to prevent minorities from voting including providing tiny numbers of polling places and causing huge lines to vote even in the midst of an epidemic
  • They’ve chosen a demagogue as leader and replaced a serious platform with his whims which change daily
  • They’ve supported violence against immigrants and refugees to prevent increase of minority populations
  • They’ve refused to do their constitutional duty to advise and consent on the nomination of judges by a Democratic president
  • They’ve advised armed militias to attack or threaten with violence politicians and leaders of opposing parties
  • They’ve repeated outrageous lies endlessly to brainwash the public
  • They’ve abused the courts with frivolous lawsuits to delay the processes of government
  • They’ve threatened with physical violence anyone who speaks against the GOP or its leader

Not accepting the results of the latest election is only the latest in a long string of outrages committed by the party. Even after a failed attempted coup representatives publicly state the Democrats have not won the presidency. Trump gave a rousing speech to his fighters on their way to kill or capture the vice president and anyone else who stood in their way.

Biden should instruct his DOJ to declare the GOP a terrorist organization and start “taking names and kicking ass”. It’s the right thing to do. If not now, we may be seeing the repetition of

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Niemoller

It’s not enough just to speak out about the GOP. It’s time to take action.


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US Stock-market Is Going Crazy

OK, stock markets are full of optimistic folk spending money where they think it will make money for them. I get that. It’s a “leading indicator” of how the economy and various businesses might do in the future.

However, we are in a situation where the US stock markets are expressing extreme greed by investors while USA is

  • in the midst of a pandemic and not doing well,
  • in the midst of political upheaval with ~33% of the population seeking violent overthrow of government, and
  • the National Guard is being mobilized to squelch an uncivil war.

I just don’t get it. How can anyone be optimistic in this situation? I saw bad things coming years ago and got out of US stock markets. I did well as a result. It seems to me US GDP will be sluggish for at least a year, maybe two and many small businesses are ruined, homelessness and hunger stalk the land, the national debt is exploding and USA still has no national health insurance. USA has regressed to a 1960s kind of economy before everything happened to modernization: women at work, automobiles being cranked out at home, clerical work was in great demand, etc. Now the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting desperate. I can see crime spiking. I can see political instability for decades to come. If millions are this angry over Trump losing an election, how angry are they going to be when Biden undoes 99% of Trump’s “accomplishments” and Trump et al rot in prison? What are GOP members of government going to do for two years after they voted to suspend the constitution and elect the loser of an election? How is the DOJ going to dispense justice in crimes in which the DOJ was complicit and 33% of jurors think criminals are unfairly treated? Whence cometh this optimism in the markets?

It seems to me this is a bubble soon to burst. The Ds and Rs are never going to agree on how to fix anything. They can’t even agree on how to get rid of Trump, let alone Trumpism. I’m glad I live in Canada where we have problems but we can fix them. Not so in USA.

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This Is What Happens When People Elect A Crime Boss As Leader

“Read the full transcript and listen to Trump’s audio call with Georgia secretary of state”
 
See Full transcript: Trump’s audio call with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger
The investigation of Trump during the impeachment revealed he conducted “business” just like a crime boss in an organized criminal gang. Worse, a family-run gang. He speaks vaguely but with clear meaning to subordinates. Vagueness gives Trump deniability. Infinite repetition of incomplete thoughts gives subordinates clear knowledge of what the boss wants and they try to give him what he wants while skipping details. It might work in court but it might not.

Add this latest element to a long list of crimes and Trumpism is in for a world of hurt once Trump is out of office. If Trump will go to the extreme of asking republicans in charge of running elections to lie for him, he will do anything in the next couple of weeks to escape justice. I used to think Trump would give a farewell tour of the world with a final stop in Moscow but now I’m thinking Trump believes his supporters have the will and tools to keep Trump in power by force. He’s called for a rally in Washington the day of the certification of results of the Electoral College. Trump may well imagine himself riding up to Congress on the back of a tank

Let’s hope I’m wrong and January progresses according to the constitution of USA rather than with a messy coup or uncivil war breaking out. We don’t need either of those in the midst of a pandemic.

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Banning Sales Of Combustion Vehicles

“The UK government was due to make an announcement on the possibility of a more ambitious timeline for the ban of combustion vehicles in the coming few days, and sources have already told both the BBC and the Financial Times that the ban will indeed be brought forward to 2030.”
 
See UK To Ban Sales Of Combustion Vehicles By 2030 — Report
I’m old enough to remember that UK had to ban the burning of peat back in the day just to make air breathable. Banning ICEs is a good thing to improve the air and to reduce global warming but there should be some exceptions made. I think there are arguments to be made to retain some ICEs for emergency vehicles or long haul vehicles. There are still a few things for which ICEs perform better and for most EVs the physical size of a battery still limits the hours of operation/distance covered. In many cases, one can make an EV last a shift but what if an emergency demands unplanned overtime or the emergency means traveling a distance with a low state of charge?

Redundant coverage of territory or redundant staffing might manage these situations but going all BEV won’t solve all our problems. Indeed, there will be some critical mass where there will be so few ICEs around that fueling and maintaining ICEs will become a problem. I will definitely need a battery-powered lawn mower if that happens and it takes two hours to mow my lawn by burning gasoline. Current battery-powered mowers only last about an hour and I need to run my snowblower at any temperature even in high winds… 🙁

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Biden’s ToDo List

I am disappointed by the apparent state of the upcoming US Senate but Biden/Harris seem to have won the White House. They are going to need a serious To Do list:

  • Choose new Attorney General who will prosecute Trump Inc and appoint a special prosecutor on Day One. There is enough evidence of obstruction of justice in the Mueller Report to obtain an arrest warrant and the special prosecutor should be able to get all of the White House’s records and Trump’s financial records including IRS.
  • Invite the Gang of Eight in for a meeting to fast-track COVID-19 response plan, a declaration of limited war with Russia including kicking Russia out of Ukraine and Syria, bombing Russia’s cyber-warfare capability, bridges to Ukraine, and the Black Sea port held by Russia in Crimea, a blockade of all travel to/from Russia including surface, air and military vessels and planes (give them 24h to set course to Russia or be attacked), and a plan to organize the world to relieve Syria of the Assad regime and repatriate refugees.
  • Set up czars/czarinas to develop a detailed plan for universal medical care insurance not including a hodge-podge of insurance companies with multiple plans for coverage, to develop a coherent response to Global Warming including development of renewable energy, heavy promotion of EVs, retraining of fossil-fuel workers for manufacture, installation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, to develop a coherent response to failing infrastructure all over USA, to sort through Trump’s crazy list of executive orders keeping/improving anything useful and undoing everything else, to develop a plan to immediately grant citizenship to all Dreamers who are not dangerous criminals and to overhaul immigration/refugees response ASAP,  to develop a plan to overhaul US education from top to bottom including massive investment in teachers, schools, curricula, especially science and mathematics education and to develop a plan to restore social order in USA including education about stupid conspiracy theories and propaganda, voting rights, and eliminating the Electoral College which is anachronistic and serves no purpose except to allow bizarre minority crackpots and demagogues to rule USA.
  • Revise USA’s affairs to balance the budget and pay down the debt of the government in a reasonable period of time. This means a proper tax-code and “regular order” of budgeting.

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To Bee Or Not To Bee

Last spring, several of my plum trees flowered but did not bear fruit. I blame a severe cold snap late in May for that but I also did not see a lot of bees that early in the season. Should I set up a beehive next spring? Just in case I decide to do that, I’m recycling some old lumber into a Langstroth hive.

Nearly 30 years ago, TLW and I built a big house in a small town north of Winnipeg. As usually happens there were some leftover pieces of lumber. Some were 2X6 inch boards used as studs in the house. I used these extras as shelves in my workshop resting on a steel frame. All these years later, I’ve only put them to use occasionally, hoisting a deer or supporting a table in the garden. Normally, one uses 1X8 or 1X12 boards to make Langstroth boxes but the bees would not mind more thermal mass and insulation, so I will make Langstroth boxes using 2X6s. The interior dimensions matter. The outside will be increased by about twice the thickness.

I’ve fired up the old table-saw and cut pieces about half an inch long to make precise cutting easier later. I ripped rabbets on the boards to allow a ship lap joint to make the 2X6s into pieces 2X9-5/8. Some waterproof glue, clamps and nails will increase the height of the box to Langstroth “deep” dimensions. Then, I will bevel the ends to make a mitre-joint reinforced by nails.

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State of Play

“In the U.S. Senate race in Texas, incumbent Republican John Cornyn leads Democrat M.J. Hegar among likely voters, 49 – 43 percent. Seven percent are undecided. On September 24th, Cornyn had 50 percent support and Hegar had 42 percent, also with 7 percent undecided. ”

See Pennsylvania (PA) Poll – October 21, 2020 – Texas In Play: Biden And Trump | Quinnipiac University ConnecticutIt’s not certain but there is some movement at the “top” and “bottom” of the ticket in Texas and both Biden and Hegar could win. That would pretty well seal Trump’s fate and offer Biden good support from Congress.

What a different world we will live in if Biden comes to power with a Democratic Senate and House. Pray that good intentions become good deeds and that as much as possible of Trump’s damage can be undone without destroying USA altogether. We live in dangerous times. What will Trump do as a lame duck? Play golf? Declare war on someone? Roil the markets? Go after his enemies? All of the above?

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