Anti-Datamining, Counter-Revolution, Education, Liberty, Resistance, Russia

What our Favorite Democratic-Socialist has to Teach Us…

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Truth-Seeker. I dig into topics that I find interesting and I research them exhaustively. Until I have followed every associated rabbit hole and nuance to their rational conclusion, using methodic process and pattern recognition, and know the subject matter inside and out. Then, I apply theory until it breaks. And I start over. That’s how my brain works. And until that process has been satisfied, I don’t pretend to know much about a topic.

I am also very direct when I speak and, while this medium doesn’t indicate it, I apparently have a very deep and unmistakable voice. My employers have critiqued it. My employees have suffered under it. My loved ones, more or less, tolerate it.

As a result, I am the world’s worst teacher.  Invariably, when I attempt to help someone learn something, it is a subject that I know well (because I’ve studied it exhaustively), and I typically hurt someone’s feelings (because I see feelings as secondary to helping someone understand my position).  The hurt feelings are almost always a result of my directness and tone. I’m absolutely sure that I come off as a condescending prick but, that is absolutely not my intent.

The best teachers/mentors I’ve had, without exception, instructed me in the same way. Brusque, to the point, authoritative, and… correct. When I seek information, I seek the folks who know the topic I’m studying. What I’ve found is that the most knowledgeable teachers possess what most would consider to be the worst “bedside manner”. And, I have adopted that delivery. To a fault.

My experience tells me, however, that the best teachers are not intentionally abrasive. But, they know the subject matter so well, it makes such perfect sense to them that, everything they say about that topic is delivered directly and in a matter-of-fact manner. They pull no punches when telling you that something is incorrect. And, they tend to offer little praise when you are correct. And, to me, that’s a sign of affection. Teachers wired in such a way are direct because directness is the most efficient way to deliver information. And, if they didn’t care enough about you to want you to get it right, they’d probably be less direct and/or more ambiguous… just before they turned their back on you never to teach you anything again.

Ambiguity and lies are equivalent to me. Both are falsehoods, varying only in degree. And, if someone is ambiguous or lying, you must ask, “why?”.

Ambiguity indicates to me that one would like you to make some assumptions that may not be true. Typically to cast their knowledge in a favorable, but unjustified light. It’s an indirect means of control by allowing you to believe something that is not true.

Lies, on the other hand, are intentional falsehoods communicated with the intention of directly controlling you through deliberate misinformation. In both cases, it’s about control.

There are lots of justifications that people use when being ambiguous or lying. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to hurt feelings. Maybe they are attempting to inflate my opinion of them. Maybe, like our friend in the video, it’s because they feel that the falsehood is the “morally correct” position. But, even that is a specious argument. Can we really separate truth from morality? Not in my world. I would rather have my feelings hurt and get good information that I can then use to make educated decisions than to feel really good about being incorrect. Your mileage may vary.

But… and this is important… the control aspect is my largest concern. Why is that liar attempting to control me? And, what is their desired outcome? Are they attempting it for my benefit or their own?

This plays directly to my disenchantment with the Social Media circus that we are all familiar with and modern communications in general.

I’m no tech guru.  I make no bones about that.  Though, I’m certainly not a Luddite and was a fairly early adopter of internet technology when it became available but… I do not fancy myself knowledgeable about all the nuts and bolts of how e-things work.

That disclaimer made, I do attempt to avail myself of communication and browsing avenues that are “safer and more secure” than the mainstream.  I hate the Goolag.  I despise FaceSpace.  And social media, generally, is insufficient for privacy or actual, substantive conversation. And, all those media are liars and ambiguators. Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and most hardware manufacturers, are all similarly in the bag when it comes to end-user privacy.

They have lied to us from day one about their intentions and how they use their platforms to harvest information from each and everyone of us. They have been caught in their lies and dis-ingenuousness more times than any of us can count. The purpose of those deceptions is pretty clear. They are attempting to control people.

As a result, I tend to browse through secure connections and research volatile topics through VPNs and Relays.  And, I use a paid, secure email service for actual communication with people I want to communicate with electronically.

I have for sometime, suspected that, the Social Media phenomenon was an attempt to funnel communications in such a way that one’s content was scrutinized (by God knows who) and to discourage (through publicizing the porous security those forums provide) actual conversation and communication between anonymous parties.  The fact that the platforms encourage frenetic and poorly crafted writing doesn’t help either. Again, more control. If they can control parties’ ability to effectively communicate, there is no effective communication.

I have sent several e-mail messages in the last few days to friends I don’t talk to frequently yet, are close friends and advisors.  And, in many cases the recipients are in their <gasp> 60s and are not tethered to their e-mail.  Nor do they FaceSpace.  These are folks with whom communication typically occurs face to face and toe to toe.  In secure environments.  These are serious men who operate, solely in MeatSpace.

While the afore mentioned recipients typically take their time responding to e-mail, the fact that I have not received any sort of response from any of them puzzled me a bit.  So, I thought I’d run a test of my system.  Sending an unencrypted message from my personal account with TorGuard to my unsecure, Big Tech, Goolag, dummy account… my new message was promptly, and unceremoniously dumped into the spam folder.

I suspected as much.  And, now, I have (some) confirmation.  The big, free, common service providers filter messages in such a way that will discourage communication from those who refuse to use those same services.  Attribute whatever level of nefariousness you’re comfortable with.  Bear in mind that the Russian gov’t recently banned the use of protonmail, a secure, non-Goolag e-mail server. Why? Because they were unable to satisfactorily and consistently monitor the traffic on protonmail. It was a threat to their desired level of control.

The shallow take-away being, check your spam and trash folders.  And… create alternate communication avenues because, it is obvious that someone doesn’t like your ability to communicate in ways they are unable to control through servers they are unable to monitor.

Let’s bring this back full circle… Our friend above draws a distinction between facts and morality. I think that’s specious and controlling but, let’s define terms. Facts, are fully in the domain of intellect. Morality, as Ms Cortez would have you understand it, is something that makes you feel good. The message is that feelings trump intellect. Truth be damned.

But, again, morality and truth are not exclusive of one another. Morality, by definition, is: conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct. Hm… That’s interesting. They used the word “virtue” to define morality. Which virtue would that be? Exactly? Would it be prudence? Justice? Temperance? Courage? Faith? Hope? Or, Charity?

None of those traditionally accepted virtues are divorced from truth. None of them, necessarily, make you feel good. You see, this whole morality, feel-good equivalency is a fiction. It’s a play on emotion… which is divorced from intellect and, therefore, truth.

They want you to rely on emotion, based on a false understanding of what morality is. They want you to discard your intellect and truth. That’s how they win. Because, if truth is irrelevant, then how does one decypher right from wrong, good from bad, virtuous from sinful? You can’t. But, that line of reasoning doesn’t play well with the narrative. And, the narrative is too transparent if it’s simply presented as Panem et Circenses.

When I was a youngling, Pink Floyd released ‘Comfortably Numb’, a song about a young rock musician who buried the pain and angst of youth in a number of narcotic substances in order to escape reality and feel good. Eventually, through addiction the result was, best case, feeling no “pain”. Beyond that, it’s feeling nothing. And, when you feel nothing, that’s a good indicator that you’re dead.

That sort of thing is exactly what is being encouraged socially, today. The messaging is that feeling good is all that matters. No matter the cost. And, if you can’t feel good, then you should at least be numb. So, we are herded into using status-affirming devices like smartphones, to access addictive, endorphin producing, mindkilling platforms like FaceSpace, through technology produced by the Goolag, to promote a false newscycle manufactured by the entertainment information industry, to form our behaviour and cultivate a braindead mindset of adhering to an incorrect definition of morality and emotive reaction, devoid of reason.

Sounds awfully utopian… does it not? Or, is that dystopian? I can never keep those two words straight…

In any case, it’s all layer, upon layer, of incrementally imposed lies and subsequent control. It’s about slavery and only getting to do what someone else wants us to do. So… here’s the thing:

I’ve threatened to leave the Social Media circus behind. A number of times. And, have done so, for periods. I’ve been weak and have always managed to find my way back. I’ve had my reasons, but I’m putting a stop to it. Here and now. I will not be controlled.

This will be the last time I make a blog post to send to FaceSpace. I will continue to blog and to communicate by e-mail and phone… and possibly, handwritten snailmail. But, I’m getting off the Social Media bus. I am deleting my Social Media accounts and scrubbing the datafarming orgs, to the extent that I am able, of my presence.

To that end, there are many of you who I would like to be able to communicate with by any number of means. If you feel similarly, please log the following information. I can be reached by e-mail at factioix@stealth.tg   If you want me to know how to contact you, please drop me a line.  If you want to receive messages from me, please add that address to your address book.  If you find the blog useful and/or informative/entertaining, please subscribe with the subscribe button.

I encourage you all to do the same with your Social Media accounts. Be difficult to control. Be disobedient. As a friend and mentor I respect a great deal says, “The truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter where that may lead”.

Do not be comfortably numb…

 

 

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Back to the Land, Banksters, Catholicsm, Resistance, Social Justice

Cash is (still) King

I’m going back to funding my life with cash.

There was a period of time, from the early ’00s to the early ’10s, when I had washed my hands of the banking system and was living on a cash only basis.  That was partly by necessity and partly by choice, but what I discovered during that time was, that my spending decreased and my level of financial security increased.  Were there some “incoveniences” paying bills?  Yes, there were.  Discipline eliminated those.

Over time, my life changed a bit and circumstances dictated that I work through a bank.  I wasn’t thrilled about transitioning back into the “system” but, it appeared to be the best option at the time.  Change being what it is… I have new incentive to walk away from the banking system.

This morning, I discovered that my personal checking account was feeling ~$3000 lighter than it was yesterday afternoon.  Apparently, someone had seen fit to process 3 separate charges, overnight, for hotel room rentals in Miami Beach, at both https://www.loewshotels.com/miami-beach (2 charges for $541.50 each) and https://www.edenrochotelmiami.com/ (1 charge for $1,740.22). The problem is, I don’t live in South Florida, I’m not travelling in South Florida, and I have no current plans to visit South Florida.  In the perpetraitors’ defense, the hotels and rooms seem very nice from the photographs and online reviews.

Ok.  So, somebody decided to place fraudulent charges on my account.  So be it.  I have recourse in the form of a fraud claim with my bank of choice.  In this case, USAA.

I opened my account and attempted to start a fraud claim for each of the 3 transactions.  I was e-informed that I could not do so because the charges had not posted to my account yet.  They were simply pending.  But, that I should contact the vendor(s) and attempt to resolve the issue in that manner.  Fine.

I called the reservations hotline at Eden Roc Hotel in Miami and discussed the issue with a nice lady on the other end.  She dutifully asked me who’s name the reservation was made in…  “I have no idea”, I told her.  “But my name is…”

Long story short, she was unable to assist me because I couldn’t identify a reservation and she couldn’t simply query the system to pair my debit card account number with a reservation.  Disappointing but, understandable.

So, I called USAA.  They allowed me to file the fraud claim, and let me know that the money would be returned to my account in 1-2 business days.  Stop.

“Today” being Friday (the last business day of the week) meant that, best case, I wouldn’t see those funds returned until Tuesday.  Five days later.  That was a non-starter for me on principle.  So, I asked to speak with someone who could authorize an expedited time frame.

After a long hold, the USAA lady put me on the line with “Rita” from the Fraud Dept.  She continued the narrative of there being nothing to be done until the charges actually posted to the account and, then, 1-2 business days later I’d have my money.  Wait.  What?

The simple math and history of my account tells me that those charges are not likely to post until the beginning of next week.  Probably Monday.  So, the timeline to resolution had effectively been lengthened.  Now I was looking at 6-7 days before I was made whole.  Unacceptable.

After another lengthy hold period, I was connected with “Chris”, Fraud Dept Supervisor.  He dutifully explained the same nonsense and let me know that my claim couldn’t be expedited because, from USAA’s point of view, the funds were still present and with charges pending, ie. charges had not been posted.

That being true, of course, didn’t solve my problem.  From a consumer point of view, a pending charge may as well have cleared because the funds are just as unavailable to said consumer either way.  “Chris” was also nice enough to let me know that once the charges posted, the resolution would be made complete 1-3 business days later…  Stop the damned bus, “Chris”.

Now, real potential, we were talking about late next week or possibly the week after, I would be made whole.  Every successive person I spoke with gave me a slightly longer timeframe.  Now I was just pissed.  When I asked “Chris” to put me in touch with the next person higher on USAA’s foodchain, he was unwilling/unable to do so.  While admitting that he was constrained by bank policy, federal regulations, and was apparently at the top of the Fraud Dept, he was not USAA’s “top dog” but, had no idea who could resolve this to my satisfaction because, that was the purview of the Fraud Dept and his hands were tied by procedure, policy, regulation…  <insert endless loop of BS, corporate-flunky speak here>

So, to recap, somebody fraudulently charged my debit card $3000 overnight and the systems in place to reconcile such activity is unacceptably inadequate to the degree that I apparently need to insulate myself from occurances such as this by removing my money from the banking system’s sphere of control.

If there are a couple of bright spots in this situations, they are this:  That $3000 isn’t going to make me miss any meals, and being self-employed, I can simply pay myself cash and eliminate the banking middleman in my personal life.  So, it’s time for a staged withdrawal.  Here’s the plan…

Like most Americans, I use a tapestry of various financial products and services.  In retrospect, entirely too many.  They are all billed as conveniences but, when looked at in their entirety, they form a complex mess.  Complexity is bad.  Avoid it.  Keep it Simple, Stupid.

Further, anytime you “outsource” something that is genuinely your responsibility, you are putting yourself at the mercy of some other entity’s whims, policies, and regulations.  Which means, you have lost control of something you are responsible for.  Think that through because it applies to any number of responsibilities in our day to day lives.  Whether it’s banking and money management today or self-defense tomorrow.  Whether it’s placing faith in the banks or in the governmental law enforcement… you’ve delegated away your ability to run your life.  Going back to my Army Leadership Education, I love this little gem: “You can delegate authority but you cannot delegate responsibility.”  Bear that in mind.

So… back to my “tapestry”…  I have a number of “auto-pay” items that USAA pays from my account monthly, as well as some various credit lines (Car Loans, Credit Card account, etc) just like many folks.  In fact, I read a book several years ago extolling the virtues of taking advantage of all the banking automation available to streamline your life and make your budgeting easier.  At the time, I didn’t really like it but, it was relatively easy and trouble-free… until you find you find yourself on the business end of a fraud problem.

Some of you may be familiar with USAA and know that typically branches are located on or near military installations.  I, on the other hand, am located nowhere near a military installation and, therefore, nowhere near a USAA branch location.  As a result, it makes it a little impractical for me to transact face to face by paying installments on lines of credit with USAA.  Fine.  I will identify those items that must be paid of my account monthly and plan accordingly by ensuring that there is enough in the account to cover those monthly expenses… and no more.  Further, I’ll accelerate my pay-off schedules on those outstanding balances.

As I mentioned before, I am self-employed.  USAA does not offer business banking, thus, I was forced into banking locally for business purposes.  The benefit to this is, I can do two things when it’s time to pay me.  On each payday, I write myself 2 checks.  One to deposit electronically for the minimum funds needed to cover my nut at USAA, the other to be paid, cash, to me.  Thus, freeing up the lion’s share of my income as liquid.

There are other monthly obligations that I pay from that account that are not lines of credit with USAA (mortgage, electric bill, Internet…) that will need to come out of my cash on hand.  These are really where it becomes “inconvenient”.  Because, again, none of these creditors are local.  So, the inconvenience will come in the form of having to make time to buy money orders and account for the time necessary to mail those payments to their recipients.  Yes, it’s a hassle by contemporary standards but… my financial peace of mind and access to my money is worth more to me than the incovenience this represents.  And, again, if the inconvenience is great enough… it acts as an incentive for me to resolve those debts as quickly as possible or to do without whatever service I’m inconvenienced by paying for.

Bigger picture, the governmental war on cash is real.  It’s use is being deliberately discouraged.  It’s too anonymous for an increasingly obnixious and intrusive State.  Which, wired like I am (resistive, counter-revolutionary, pain in the ass), makes my “bank exodus) all the more enjoyable.

If they continue to incentivize my withdrawal… The next step is untaxable barter.  Which is entirely do-able in the rural setting I live in.  I’m already strategizing a “back to the land” ideological existance.  And, truth be told, that’s the last thing that certain entities want.  If enough of the producers simply extract and vanish from the “system”, how can they be controlled?  The simple answer is, they can’t.  And, that, my friends would be the end of the “civilized” and “urban” world.

You see… The things that register as human “needs” are born of rural areas.  You know… crazy elements like agriculture for foodstuffs, lumber harvesting for building shelter, large open spaces necessary for power plants and natural resource aquisition, clean water sources, etc.

Urban areas, the places where politicians, hoodrats, seats of government, and bankers live… produce little that qualifies as a human “need”.  And, in that way they are expendable.  What they do produce is typically unwholesome, dependency-generating, and unnecessary.  In that way, they are detrimental.

The urbanites are the “takers” as opposed to the “makers”.  You might call them parasites.  They certainly fit the definition.

In all… the money being unavailable for a few days is a problem of principle and a minor inconvenience.  However, it was the stimulus I needed to do what I should have done some time ago and just hadn’t gotten around to.  And… it has me thinking of the next step of how to further extract myself and my family from the system and further prosper as a result.

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Uncatgorized

Lent

For Lent (maybe longer), I’ll be rather scarce on FB.  I will likely check-in periodically, to keep up with a couple things, but I won’t be participating in the festivities.

Instead, I’ll be spending much more time working on me.  Brushing up on some foreign language skills, praying, reflecting, and working on some other, much more important projects.  In fact, that will likely be my M.O. going forward.

I’m going to use Lent as an excuse to distance myself from the disordered world of FB and social media generally.  There are too many other important things I need to focus on other than the daily outrage and piling on (no matter how recreational), and that’s what I’m going to do.

There will likely be a subsidiary blog going up in the next couple weeks focused on real world action as opposed to the social media re-action that seems so prevalent.  It’s a project i’ve been working on in one way or another for some time that folks can actively participate in or simply support financially or otherwise.  But, again, it will be focused on action.  Not idle talk.

So… that’s what’s happening.  Less talk.  More doing.

May you all have a blessed Lenten season.

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Leadership by Committee is BS

The article below was originally published at americanthinker.com.  It’s a good article on the face of it but, I’m going to add some commentary first…

What Weissberg describes, I have experienced also.  Politicians aren’t leaders.  And, leaders are not politicians.

This is one of the reasons that former soldiers rarely make good mid-level managers.  Despite the misconception that corporate ownership thinks they want leaders in midlevel positions, and despite the fact that leaders are needed in those positions for an organization to be successful, being a leader at that level is made impossible.

CEOs, like politicians, are concerned with perceptions.  Leaders at the operations level are concerned with results.  Perceptions are massaged by naratives and make people feel good.  Results are driven by leadership that often leaves feelings as casualties in their wake.

In today’s thin-skinned, easily offended world and workplace, leadership suffers.  Sandwiched between the whiny and the milquetoast.  I’ve watched more company than one feel really good about themselves as they were going out of business.  On the other hand, what is missing from corporate calculus is that if you let a good, hard-nosed leader drive the bus for a while, the troops will complain and bitch and moan (a complaining soldier is a happy soldier) but, the esprit de corps and sense of self worth that is generated by working hard and accoplishing something is long lasting and self-perpetuating.  That environment will serve any organization far longer than the troops being fat, stupid, and happy on the way to bankruptcy.

The world, government, and industry needs more leaders and fewer politicians.

– Yeoman

What Makes Trump Run

By Robert Weissberg

It is an understatement to say that many Americans, particularly mass-media pundits, are baffled by President Trump’s “polarizing” behavior. There has never been any public figure quite like him: a president who speaks his mind so forcefully, often impolitely, while acting impetuously.

Let me suggest that Trump’s behavior is perfectly understandable if viewed in the context of his business background. As the Obama administration reflected governance by an egalitarian community activist, the current administration is rule by a hotel magnate.

This observation reflects my first-hand experience. Beginning in the late 1950s until the mid-1970s my father owned multiple large hotels (most with bars and restaurants) in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Palm Beach, Fl, Puerto Rico, New Orleans, and elsewhere. Unlike Trump, he had stockholders but, very much like Trump, he exercised power as an unchallenged boss, able to fire anybody in an instant for whatever reason no matter how flimsy.

Overseeing a hotel empire is comparable to managing a fire or police department in a Detroit-like city. Hotels operate 24/7, 365 days a year and exist in near perpetual crisis. I grew up hearing about electricity or hot water suddenly going kaput, reservation systems gone awry, unions threating picket lines, or health inspectors warning about closing restaurants while an awaiting mass transit strike meant that hotel workers could not show up for their jobs. Meanwhile, banks might threaten receivership unless a half-million mortgage payment was made by next Monday, but the money did not yet exist.

Then there are endless lawsuits, real and fake, along with employees filing grievance claims on everything from wrongful termination to racial discrimination. There were periodic missives from government taxing agencies and multiple other regulators concerning such things as reporting employee tips and overtime. No doubt, my father’s hotel empire helped dozens of lawyers pay their children’s college tuition and finance nice suburban homes. And to top it off, big-city hotels are incredibly multicultural with polyglot staffs whose cultures can conflict.

The upshot is that turning a profit requires a hard-headed “unpresidential” sometimes frantic management approach quite different from the style embraced by our political elites. Key decisions often had to be made on the spot, not shoved off for “further study.” Can you imagine President Obama personally overseeing a large downtown Chicago hotel with 250 poorly educated employees all the while trying to put 500 heads in beds 365 days a year against competitors fighting for the same clientele? He wouldn’t last a week.

Hotels are not a business for delicate egos and soft rhetoric.  Indeed, the willingness to take huge financial risks and successfully browbeat tough opponents is a recipe for creating an industry dominated by super-sized egos or, to use Spanish slang, people with cojones. Nice guys harboring self-doubts or who are unwilling to stage temper-tantrums fall by the wayside. It’s all Darwinian.

Leadership by necessity is highly personal. You cannot appoint a committee to investigate when a desperate 9 P.M. call from the front desk tells you that there’s no hot water and hundreds of guests are threatening to check out and are refusing to pay. You telephone the chief engineer and you command him, no ifs, ands, or buts, to haul his ass down to the boiler room and fix the problem. If he explains that he’s on vacation, or that the problem is not fixable, you fire him and contract his assistant and make him an offer he cannot refuse — “fix the f…king water problem or join the unemployment line.”  If that doesn’t work, find somebody who can solve the mess and don’t worry about being offensive.

This is a harsh decision-making style that requires zero justification and thus outwardly looks flippant or chaotic. One commands, not persuades. There are no benefits for a boss able to carefully articulate policy to enlighten curious outsiders. These explanations add nothing to the solution, waste time and only confuse employees accustomed to just taking orders. “Do it, since I said so, and I’m the boss” is enough. The metric for success is the outcome, not some long-winded public reasoning that assures the press corps that the boss knows what he is doing.

This brutal style requires cutting corners, perhaps edging toward illegality. If the hotel’s bar is being excessively singled out for serving underage patrons, call a city official who has benefited from past campaign contributions and don’t mince words. Why else would you donate to everyone? As a youngster I recall my father having politically connected “friends” and lawyers on retainer who specialized in dicey situations. A cash bribe would often suffice and was judged a normal business practice. Local cops were always treated well since their cooperation was often required for awkward jobs; for example, clearing the hotel lobby of aggressive hookers.

Few private businesses can afford to drink the PC Kool-Aid of identity politics. There are rarely any Assistant Managers for Diversity and Inclusion to tell the boss to hire a more heterogeneous accounting staff. Businesses, unlike universities and government, operate with real money, so employees are hired for their ability, not according to race, gender, sexual identity etc., and stereotypes — largely based on past experience — are commonplace. My father, for example, relying on decades of experience, loved Hispanics — hard workers who always showed up!! Nobody in the industry was embarrassed by awkward realities — they knew from experience that job applicants of a certain stripe were disproportionately prone to sloth and often would happily admit it.

A larger political issue resides here beyond explaining President Trump’s “unpresidential” behavior. Fewer and fewer business people now enter politics either as candidates for office or as top administrators, a huge loss of talent. What company CEO wants to be grilled by senators, all of whom lack private sector experience, about the multiple lawsuits, accusations of discrimination, fights with the IRS, rumors of bribery and why, to be hypothetical, 10 years ago he evicted an impoverished disabled elderly lady of color with a dozen cats from her hotel room? Recall how Mitt Romney was excoriated for his association with Bain Capital for destroying jobs and widening the wealth gap? Being a white male is bad enough; being a white male businessman is truly toxic.

We’ve come a long way from the 1950s when the Eisenhower cabinet was described as “Nine Millionaires and a Plumber.”  Indeed, it was once commonplace, especially during war years, for successful businessmen to enter government and get paid a symbolic “dollar a year.”

We are now governed by likes of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who have spent their entire lives on the government payroll with zero firsthand private sector experience. Congress might pass detailed anti-discrimination laws, but how many legislators have personally tried to fire dishonest workers willing to file endless bogus claims of discrimination? Do they know what it’s like to complete all the mind-numbing paperwork necessary to get a small bank loan? Trump knows all about this wealth-killing nitty-gritty and much more but, alas, he may well be the last business person ever to be elected to high office. Experience at making money in business has become far less important than skin color or sex.

 

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The Notorious RBG under the knife

Originally published by npr.org.

We’ll see if the Trumpster gets his 3rd nominee…

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Surgery For Lung Cancer

Nina Totenberg Facebook Twitter

This is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s third bout with cancer. In 1999, she was treated for colorectal cancer; in 2009, it was pancreatic cancer. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

This is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s third bout with cancer. In 1999, she was treated for colorectal cancer; in 2009, it was pancreatic cancer.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery Friday for early stage lung cancer, a Supreme Court spokesperson tells NPR. Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York performed a lobectomy, removing one of the five lobes of the lung.

Short of complications in recovery, doctors say prospects look good for a full recovery for Ginsburg, 85. She hopes to be back on the court for the start of the next argument session in early January.

'Ruth Bader Ginsburg' Reminds Us Why The Justice Is A True Legal Icon

The cancer was discovered after Ginsburg fell, fracturing several ribs in November. In taking CT scans of her ribs, doctors noticed an abnormality in one lobe of the lung. Subsequent biopsies and other initial tests revealed two non-small cell cancerous lesions, with no lymph node involvement detectable.

According to a press release from the Supreme Court:

“According to the thoracic surgeon Valerie Rusch, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation. Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Currently, no further treatment is planned. Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.”

Dr. Douglas Mathisen, chairman of thoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that recovery from such an operation typically ranges from two to four days in the hospital, with the patient able to go home, do desk work and make calls within a week. That assumes that the operation goes smoothly and that there are no complications.

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Mathisen said, “These days we are seeing more and more patients in their 70s and 80s make relatively quick recoveries, because we are detecting so many more lung cancers at early stages” when treatment is far more effective and successful.

Removal of a lobe is considered “the gold standard” in treatment, and while it means a loss of 15 to 20 percent of the lung, it “can recover,” he said, with the other four lobes taking over some of the lost function.

Mathisen and other thoracic surgeons said Justice Ginsburg’s prognosis ultimately will depend on the pathology findings, which will not be available until days after the surgery. If there is no lymph node involvement, surgeons contacted by NPR said the prognosis for being cancer-free at five years out is 80 percent.

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Lymph node involvement would drop those odds down to 50 to 55 percent, Mathisen said. Dr. Cameron Wright, also a Massachusetts General thoracic surgeon and a Harvard Medical School professor of surgery, put the odds lower, at 40 percent, if there is lymph node involvement.

Rusch, who performed the surgery at Sloan Kettering, is a world-renowned lung surgeon. The American College of Surgeons this year selected her for its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Rusch uses a robot and video cameras to perform operations.

This and other new methods of thoracic surgery are minimally invasive and use only small incisions. But serious complications from the surgery range from 5 to 10 percent, Wright said. And the mortality rate of the surgery is 1 in 100.

Third bout with cancer

This is Justice Ginsburg’s third bout with cancer. In 1999, she was treated for colorectal cancer; in 2009, it was pancreatic cancer and, now, lung cancer. During her 25 years on the court, though, she has never missed a day of oral argument.

The next argument day is Jan. 7, and Mathisen said it is possible that she will be able to keep her record intact, but he warned that overdoing things can ultimately slow a patient down, meaning “one step forward and five steps back.”

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News of Ginsburg’s latest bout with cancer is yet another blow to the Supreme Court’s liberals, now outnumbered 5-4 on the nation’s highest court.

Ginsburg has become something of a feminist cultural icon and defies the image of the angry feminist. She is both decorous and determined and makes it a point not to “waste energy” on emotional reactions.

She has become the leading liberal voice on the Supreme Court, and even if she recovers fully from this latest bout with cancer, she likely will be “playing hurt” for a while. That is something she has done for years, powering through even the death of her beloved husband of 56 years in 2010. But she is 85, and there is no way of sugarcoating that fact — even though her mind remains sharp as a tack.

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Indeed, last week, even as she was secretly undergoing a series of tests and consulting an array of doctors, she made multiple public appearances and was interviewed in front of audiences three times, at one point reciting from memory the words of several arias from an opera about her famous friendship and legal dueling with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Should Ginsburg’s health falter further, President Trump could see a third opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court.

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After Justice Anthony Kennedy, a centrist conservative, announced his retirement earlier this year, Trump picked conservative Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy. After two contentious sets of hearings, including one involving charges of sexual assault that Kavanaugh denied, he was confirmed on a close vote.

In early 2017, the GOP-controlled Senate changed the rules to allow a simple majority to confirm a Supreme Court justice, which paved the way for Trump’s first pick to the court, conservative Neil Gorsuch.

A year prior, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the unprecedented step of blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, for nearly a year after conservative Scalia died in February 2016.

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