Quilt of Valor part 1 “A Time to Sweat”

Date: February 18, 2018

I am dedicating this post and all subsequent posts to the graduating class of Grand Rapids High School 1967, Grand Rapids MN 55810

On the occasion of the 50th Class Reunion

The class presented all the Vietnam Era Veterans with a Quilt of Valor:

Image of the Quilt of Valor presente to Vietnam Era Veterans by the Class of 1967 Grand Rapids High School Grand Rapids MN 55810 Photo by Craig Martineau
Image of the Quilt of Valor presented to Vietnam Era Veterans by the Class of 1967 Grand Rapids High School Grand Rapids MN 55810
The Certificate presented with the Quilt of Valor to Vietnam Era Veterans by the Class of 1967 Grand Rapids MN 55810
The Certificate presented with the Quilt of Valor to Vietnam Era Veterans by the Class of 1967 Grand Rapids MN 55810
The makers of the Quilt of Valor, Over the Hill Quilters, Hill City Minnesota Photo by Craig Martineau
The makers of the Quilt of Valor, Over the Hill Quilters, Hill City, Minnesota

I was not able to attend the 50th Class Reunion, Grand Rapids MN at the Sawmill Inn on July 22, 2017. The organizers of the reunion were Bev Johnson and Catherine McLynn.

A friend and classmate, Bryan Stenlund, presented this to me on Friday, February 16, 2018. He was in Duluth MN for a conference and took time, after a long day, to drive thru Proctor MN and spend an hour or so reminiscing of days gone by, good and some not as good, but all part of the fabric of our lives.

He took some photos to post to the Facebook page of the Class of 1967 and also asked me to write a little something about my time in the military. I have previously written about an experience in basic training and how I compared that of Captain John McCain on his release from a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War Camp. The post is titled: A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue, published on December 6, 2017.

When I wrote that post, I had a thought floating around in my cobwebs, that maybe I would write another article of the times my wife, Becky and I spent the first years of our marriage hosted by Uncle Sam. As I was writing this piece for Bryan and the Class of 67, I realized that it was going to be much longer (much, much) longer than I had originally conceived. I was a bit tired of banging on my keyboard and I checked the word count. It was over 1,400 words and my abbreviated account only got me out of basic training and to setting up our first household at Fort McClellan Alabama.

I’m not sure that I have that many more words in my story of those two years (I just chuckled as I thought of Mozart’s words in Amadeus, ” There are as many notes as there needs to be”), but we will see. I didn’t think there were that many words to get to this point either.

So enough chit-chat.

The title, “A Time to Sweat” does not mean that I sweated in the jungles of Vietnam as Matt Miltich did. No, my sweating was getting thru basic training and more than a year at Fort McClellan AL.

Becky and I were married on February 6, 1971. We arrived back in Grand Rapids from our honeymoon (a wild weekend in Duluth MN at the Radisson Hotel – don’t you DARE ask her for any details!). We walked in the door to her parent’s house, where we were staying, and found a  letter. Any guesses? Yup. My invitation to join my fellow Americans in a 2 year all expense paid vacation with Uncle Sam.

Well, the expenses weren’t paid and it definitely was not a vacation. We waited for the dreaded departure date to arrive. I canceled classes at Itasca State Junior College, gave notice with my job as a busboy at Bridgeman’s Restaraunt and Ice Cream Parlor in Grand Rapids and waited.

The day came, the agonized goodbyes were said and I jumped on the bus to Minneapolis MN. There were several of us on the bus but I didn’t know anyone as I recall. We had a few hours that evening to spend before reporting in the morning to MEPS (Military Enlisted Processing something). (I remember the name because we dropped our sons off for their processing into the Marine Corps as their dates arrived many years later.)

A few of us spent several alcohol-fueled hours crying in our beer. As I remember we really had several McMaster’s Whiskey and cokes. We took in a few local bars that were within walking distance of the hotel. I recall a show at the Gay Nineties Bar. That was an eye opener for a small town boy!

The next morning broke with horrible hangovers. Whiskey! I swore off that stuff forever!  But no sleeping in that morning. Physicals to pass and swearing in to attend to. By then it was a late March day and we were bussed to the Minneapolis International Airport for a flight to? We didn’t know where.

We landed at St. Louis Missouri. Our plane had trouble so we waited while buses were arranged for our final leg to? We made it, still a bit hung over or travel sick early in the morning. We were greeted by Drill Sergeants who yelled and swore just like in the movies.

We were rushed into buildings with rows of tables for desks so we could fill out all the forms that the government wanted. We may have been given a cheese sandwich on dry bread (the usual fare when standing guard duty I was later to learn). I can’t swear to that since my bones were more interested in running away than eating.

Daylight broke and we were hustled off to get buzzcuts, fatigues, boots and all the other equipment that the Army provided free of charge. As we made our way down the lines with everything stuffed into a duffel bag. That thing was stuffed so full and weighed so much by the end of the day I don’t think I carried it as much as dragged it around.

We were hustled, I say the word ‘hustled’ as in the supersonic sense of speed when in fact we learned that ‘Hurry up and wait’ was a true Army motto.

We were hustled to a wooden frame building leftover from the Korean War and probably from World War Two for that matter. Each of the next ten or so days (it was longer than usual since we arrived on a weekend) was filled with filling out more forms, more tests and whatever else the Army thought fit for us to do that day.

One day was a workday. We were farmed out to different parts of the for, oh yes it was Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, Little Misery was the ‘loving’ nickname’. I was farmed out to the officer’s horse stalls to muck manure. Bad Duty? No Way! My stiff, feet-killing boots came out buttery soft as soon as they dried. They were even comfortable when the smell finally cleared.

My very best day was when I volunteered to take the typing test. Typing, geez I had not typed in four years or more. This was 1971 and it had been four years since high school graduation and I don’t remember typing much in school either. Maybe for Mr. Volker’s journalism class.

My hands were sore and bruised and scraped raw so that all I could do was pound on the keyboard (much as I am doing right now). Little did I know the test was my salvation. The second to the last day of basic was ‘Order Day’. We would get our orders for AIT, Advanced Individual Training. Some lucky fellows, this was definitely not co-ed by the way, got to stay at Little Misery and learn how to be combat engineers. Others were granted the not very enviable MOS, Military Occupational something, of 11Bravo  or 11B – a one-way pass to infantry school. They were headed to wherever those poor guys had to go.

I was NOT GOING TO AIT! No advanced schooling for this GI. I was assigned Permanent Party to Fort McLellan Alabama. That had a nice ring to it. Kind of sounded like a home away from home. Basic for ten weeks and then a one-stop ticket for two years less ten weeks, and then home. I hoped anyway.  I was even promoted to E2 and was told to wear yellow chevrons on each arm.

I was going home for two weeks leave before heading to Fort McClellan Alabama. Becky and I couldn’t even find it on a map! No Google back then either.

The time to depart Grand Rapids flew right into our faces. We packed our wedding gifts on top of our car and headed to Highway 65  to our new life. Wham! We were sucked out of our lane by a semi barreling past.

Then Becky and I noticed stuff. Stuff here. Stuff there. Stuff. Our stuff. In tatters and pieces and laying all over. After the tears stopped flowing it did not seem like an auspicious start to our new life.

We limped back to Grand Rapids in our 1965 Pontiac Starchief. I located a number for the fort and was put through to a sergeant.  He didn’t offer much in the way of condolences but did give us a few days to regroup and then head out.

The trip from Grand Rapids to Fort McClellan, AL was the honeymoon trip we never had. Let’s see, the first night we got lost in Chicago and ended up in Gary, Indiana. A wrong turn on a toll road. What the heck was a toll road? Bleak, dark, industrial, scary Gary.

It started to pour buckets. We decided to find a motel because we just couldn’t see the road. We had a cat and a dog. This was going to be fun! No point in telling the night clerk. The cat got sick from riding in the car and we had to throw her in the tub (without water) to get her clean. This was vacationing in fine style.

The next night we camped out in someplace and woke loaded with chigger bites. We, of course, had to be told what caused those horrible, itching, painful bites. We just knew they were many times worse than mosquito bites. Many times. The next night we parked in a parking lot at Mammoth Cave National Park. We didn’t have the money to take the tour but we did get to sleep in the car out of the rain.

The next day we did stop at a less expensive roadside cave. Pretty impressive and COOL way down in the bowels of the earth. As we traveled south we marveled at the freeway hewn out of the mountains. Above the ribbons of concrete, up in the hills, we could just make out some shanties. What a contrast.

It seems to me about this time I started to listen to Becky as she was navigating our way to Anniston, Alabama. We even made it to Fort McClellan’s Headquarters Company, my new home, to sign in. I was given instructions on how to collect some much-needed pay and directions on where to report to Personnel building which would be my duty station. After formalities, we were given advice and directions on finding housing off base.

I have no recollection of why or how we made it to the town of Jacksonville Alabama. We found a row of apartments. We knocked on the manager’s unit and were met by a guy in big muttonchop sideburns and a thick Alabama drawl. Dwight said that rent was $100 a  month. That was a problem. I was only paid $90 plus a small housing allowance. He asked if we would like to earn a small amount by painting apartments. We found a home and a part-time job all in one stop. I looked across the road at small tall buildings. A college. A college town. A  college town beats Army barracks any day.

We looked at the apartment. Small but very inviting since it had air conditioning. Did I mention that Alabama was  HOT!  And MUGGY! This was not Northern Minnesota.

The apartment was furnished. We brought in our meager belongings and crashed. The air-conditioner worked well. Our first night in our new home. Everything looked pretty good.

The next day we took the paycheck and went shopping for groceries, drapes and some liquid refreshments.  No, we couldn’t. Jacksonville was in a dry county. The only way to get any booze was in a state store in Anniston or on base.

Our time in Alabama was always eventful or it wasn’t. The morning we woke to a quarter inch of snow that stopped traffic dead in its tracks.

One of the first oddities we noticed as we took evening walks with our black dog. There were huge openings under the curbs seemingly without a purpose. Then we met our first rainstorm. Ran was roaring into our apartment, we were on a slope wouldn’t  you know. The parking area for our car was right outside our door and a speedbump directed the torrent of water right under our door.   Those high and wide holes in the curbs? The torrential rain had to be directed into storm sewers somehow and the high and wide gutters were necessary to meet that need. Even after spending two months in Missouri I had not seen these rains of biblical proportions!

Another was the grasshoppers. We lived in a low area which supported a lot of creatures. The first one we saw looked almost like a red-winged blackbird. With a red flag on it shoulders it seemed only slightly smaller in size.

I wrote about a few experiences from basic training in a blog post here. 

While writing and re-writing that post I was thinking there may be enough material for another post or two. We had some interesting times, running out of gas on a trip home for Christmas, driving up a mountain for a party which featured a huge metal watering trough filled with ice for a cooler. “Bring your own beer but we have a place to chill it”! We were a dog, a cat, and two best friends off on our first adventure of married life. And to think, Uncle Sam was paying us on top of it.

I think I’m going to have to make you wait for my book.  Seriously this is probably much longer than Bryan was thinking when he offered the invitation. I know it is longer than what you want to read in one sitting. So I will close here. It seems a reasonable place.

If I do write future articles on this topic I will post on the Class of 67 page. Ya’ll were so kind to acknowledge our service and that of the other classmates who were veterans by honoring us with the fabulous quilts. If you will send me the contact information to the people that made the quilts I will acknowledge the great work they did.

I am going to sneak in our thank you to our sons for their service. They did the heavy lifting. They enlisted in the Marine Corps for their duty to their country. Thank You.

Craig and Becky

Fort Leonard Wood Missouri Basic Training – Different Uniforms Now but Same Drills

Welcome To and First Stage Barracks

Gas Mask ‘Experience’ and “Cattle Cars’ for long distance travel on base
Obstacle Course, Weapons Training and Testing

LEST WE FORGET

Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afganistan:

200,000 Veterans are Homeless Each Night

1 in 5 Veterans Suffer PTSD

20 Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day

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PIECES OF EIGHT less two

January 30, 2018

This is “The Year”

Why this title? This year I am determined to get some change so I can get blogs out faster.  This post has eight topics. Clever eh? This one is way behind due to my excursion into a hospital and rehab facility and hospital again. I hope we are done with that!

I am looking for a photo, graphic that helps tell the story about Lodestarandyou. I am not sure the graphic that I am currently using works with this subject matter.

Maybe I could use a Toddler Robot to help me get organized!

EGADS! Robo toddlers! Not only are robots still being ”taught” in new ways (think AlphaGo which taught itself how to play the human game ‘GO’. It taught itself so well it beat the computer that beat the best human to play the game!).

Now, engineers are ‘planning’ the flexible skills in the complex real-world situations’. In human speak that means they are training robots to think ‘new’ again. New ways of looking at things, very much like a toddler.

Toddler Robots. Learning how to think 'new' again.
Toddler robots! Learn how engineers train artificial intelligence devices – robots – to look at things ‘new’ again.

In practice ‘thinking like a toddler’ would enable your new self-driving car, say a Tesla 3 running down the road. Not only is it looking for your destination, it will also be looking around so it can anticipate events.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

I write posts to my blog regarding topics related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

How are your studies doing? Picked the field(s) of study? Signed up for the classes? On-line I assume?

This is going to be ‘ “The Year”. For years engineers and researchers have been gathering data, testing ways to enter the fastest with no errors. They have I been writing the algorithms and re-testing them so that no prejudices from the authors exist.

This is going to be the breakout year when so many products, disciplines, and new pathways open up, come together, spin around and open up even more new paths.

I recently spoke with a former coworker and he was relaying all of the improvements in the oil and gas industry. I chimed in that it was just in oil and gas. Manufacturers are putting sensors into a multitude of products going ‘out into the field’. These sensors keep the people using them informed as to its status. When was the last major repair? When is the next preventative maintenance check due?

Isn’t that magic to a paper pusher’s ears. The machines will track the metrics. Soon, in reality, the machines will know more than their handlers. They will be smarter about filing reports too!

Researchers at the University of a Queensland in Australia say the world has to produce up to 80% more food by 2050 to feed the world’s 9 billion people. They are developing ways to get that much food grown especially in a diminishing amount of space. All of this: the jobs lost, the new jobs created and trained for, the new jobs that are going to be available are going to be a major upheaval that the world has never seen before.

Flu Season

This flu season is going on 10 weeks. The CDC is expecting another 10 weeks. A Stay of December 30th 46 states has serious flu cases. The week before it was 36. Last year just 12 states reported widespread flu activity.

As of the end of January, 7.1% of hospital outpatient visits were related to flu symptoms. Even more alarming is the rate of hospitalizations. From October 1st to December 31st the rate of hospitalizations was 14 per 100.000 hospital visits. For Senior citizens that rate soared to 57 per 100,000! Last year the rate of flu hospitalizations was just 5 per 100,000.

The question then arises: why is the flu so bad this year?

The flu is notorious as to its timing, locality, severity, and longevity.  All of these factors vary from year to year.

This year the strain of flu going around is strain H3N2. This is a particularly virulent strain and harder to create a vaccine for. Additionally, an issue developed in the creation of the vaccine. An abnormal mutation occurred which rendered the vaccine less effective against the virus. This aberration seemed to be 30% in the early phases of the season.

Now it is projected that the effective rate is a low as 10%! I think all bets are off as to the end of the season, the total number of people afflicted. It will be considered a “Notable” season.

Doctors advise that even if your vaccination does not reflect the most prevalent strain completely ( other strains currently circulating such as another type A and a Type B) is that your body benefits from any vaccines since it still helps you ward off the most severe symptoms and recover faster.

The good news is? Sorry  I am not aware of any specifics regarding this season. The effectiveness rate over the period 2004 to 2015 has been 33 percent for the H3N2  virus. With 61% effectiveness for the H1N1 and 54% against influenza B viruses.

Hang on almost 10 weeks to go.

 

flu virus Google Images
Depiction of flu virus

A Heart Risk Factor Doctors Didn’t know about

THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!

Have you watched the TV show “The Biggest Loser”? Remember Bob Harper? He of the ripped muscles, the chiseled physique with every muscle in the right place?  He could run faster and longer all the while talking and then turn around and run backwards without getting tangled in his shoelaces!

He had a heart attack! Last February he had a MASSIVE heart attack at a New York gym.  He was saved by a bystander that performed CPR. The paramedics got him to a hospital but he was in a coma for two days!his annual checkups indicated he was in excellent health. So what happened?

One little fatty particle in his blood called lp(a). During blood tests, we are tested for lipoproteins HDL and LDL cholesterol. Very few people are tested for lp(a). At high levels, it will triple the chances for a stroke at an early age.

Most people do not have to worry. Levels are strongly determined by genetics and the majority of people produce very little lp(a). This may be why so few people are tested for it during a routine procedure. BUT if you have parents, especially fathers die young even though they appeared in good health must be made aware of what they also may be facing.

I worked with a man whose father died young. Indeed this man barely reached age 50 when he passed on.  We must work so these tragedies will be avoided. If not we are derelict in our duties.

2 in 5 Americans carry levels that are periodically high. What’s more diet and exercise have ALMOST NO effect on l(p(a). What’s more, cholesterol-lowering drugs ONLY MODERATELY lowering it.

Columbia University expert on lp(a) says that somewhere between 15 and 20% of the population would clearly benefit of the population outdated clearly benefit from knowing that this is their problem!

Discovered

Lp(a) was discovered in 1963 by a Norwegian scientist Kare Berg. He noted that it was especially common in people with coronary artery disease. What lp(a) does on a regular basis is not known.

The downside of excessive lp(a) is clear: It accelerates the formation of plaque in the arteries and it promotes blood clots.

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones is a cardiologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He helped write the American Heart Association’s Guidelines on cholesterol says that it is a “double-whammy. Biologically it, lp(a), gets into artery wall and causes the coming damage to be accomplished more easily .”

Studies show the levels between 150 and 300 as being at high risk. So, if your levels are above 30 you need to be alert. If they are above 60? Get your butt in gear.

Many people at high risk appear similar to Bob Harper. They appear fit, health conscious, and dietary conscious. Obviously wider testing needs to be done because there are too few signs and once symptoms of heart failure are noticed it is often too late for a good outcome.

Another stress factor caused by this lipoprotein, lp(a) is the lack of effective pharmaceutical drugs. There are two drugs currently in use, niacin which is a B vitamin but is known to have some unpleasant side effects. The other is PCKSK9 inhibitors which have had modest results in lowering lp(a) levels. Additionally, if PSCH9 is used off-label it is not covered by insurance. Costs can range up to $14,000 per year.

Ionic Pharmaceutical is one company working on a new drug but it is many years before it is commercially available.

Good Works

Mr. Harper now has a new mission: raise awareness of heart disease and urge people to get tested for lp(a).

If you have a father or other family member that died young of apparent heart disease especially if there were no “markers” for heart disease it is necessary for you to manage your physical health and get tested.

Bob Harper has written of his approach to his new life in “The Super Carb Diet.”

Veteran’s Healthcare

A parasite is killing America’s Veterans, 40 years after the War in Vietnam ended. Hundreds of Vietnam War veteran’s who’ve died, or are dying, of bile duct cancer which is called cholangiocarcinoma.

This cancer is rare in the United States and is caused by parasitic worms, called liver flukes, that are found in fish in the waters of Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries.

Humans who eat raw or undercooked fish can ingest the parasite larvae, which mature in the bile ducts. These ducts or slender tubes carry digestive fluid bile and the larvae produce carcinogenic irritation.

Thousands of Americans who served in Vietnam can be at risk for this cancer.

The disease can take decades to manifest and once the cancer is discovered the overall duration of survival is less than six months.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it difficult for diagnosed veterans with this disease to get their benefit claims approved. Indeed most claims have been denied by the agency and this includes survivor benefit claims for the spouses.

The Associated Press reported last year that about 700 veterans with bile duct cancer have been seen by the VA in the past 15 years. Of the claims that were submitted, most were not approved because the correlation to service in Vietnam had not been established. Only 20% of claims have been approved!

The reason the VA has not been approving claims? According to their science, the lifespan of liver flukes is a maximum of twenty years. The Vietnam War ended more than forty years ago.

Dr. Paul Brindley, a professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at George Washington University, said that is beside the point. “The science suggests exposure for even some of those 20 years may have been sufficient for cancer to originate and then be dormant there for a number of decades.”

As with Agent Orange, this disease and the necessary claims approved are being thwarted by the VA. Again and again, veterans who’ve filed claims related to exposure to Agent Orange are STILL BEING DENIED.

The Caregiver Support Line is 1-855-260-3274

The Game Changer

Dr. Joshua Baker, a physician, and researcher at Duke University School of Medicine discovered an unconventional way to provide 3D scanners for $10.

He upgraded 2D ultrasound scanners with a $10 chip used in video games! He used the inexpensive chip, which normally tracks the movements of wireless controllers to give 2s scanners the ability of 3D scanners. Otherwise, a 3D scanner is about $1,000 per scan or $2,000 per MRI.

He was playing Nintendo with his son and wondered if the ultrasound probes he uses to work similarly to the digital tennis balls he was whacking around with his son.

He took the question to Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and together they were able to produce a rounded 3D image. This game-changing discovery will help people not only in the United States that may not be able to afford a scan or MRI and especially in developing countries.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Update!

date January 19, 2018

Just published that affects every UNITED STATES MILITARY VETERAN and all Veterans Administration Employees:

Senate Committee and Director Shulkin

VA Administration head John Shulkin was called out by the Senate’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee. The following information was published in ‘Task and Purpose’. The author was Nikki Wentling Stars and Stripes January 18, 2018.

Top Veterans Administration  Positions Not Filled

On Wednesday, January 18, 2018. John Shulkin was asked why four top positions had not yet been filled. It has been almost a year since Trump took the oath of office.

VA is the Second Largest Federal Agency

To me, that is cause for alarm! The VA is the second largest federal agency! Working shorthanded would seem to be a path to trouble, especially considering the positions that haven’t been filled: Benefits Administration, Health Care System, IT, the new assistant secretary for accountability and whistleblower protection office.

Now, that number smells fishy and secondly, not the intelligent management of the healthcare system.

What we know: Trump’s cabinet officers have not filled large numbers of vacancies such as the State Departments 113 positions.

Trump when asked a similar question in his usual asinine mentality he told New York Magazine on November 3, 2017 ‘I am the only one that matters”.

Other Federal Departments Budgets, Personal

We also know that the State Department is being cut by one-third and thousands of jobs cut. That may be a smart move. However, how much can we trust an administration who lied through their collective teeth on the tax cut bill? Whose staff have again been caught changing numbers on reports to make it appear that foreign terrorists had committed terrorist activities when it has been established that the majority of such activities have been committed by homegrown terrorists. Why? To buttress their attempt to not allow Islamic immigrants in this country.

So what is at stake here. The second largest agency is short four top administrative positions. John Shulkin came from the healthcare section. He was appointed by President Obama. The VA Healthcare system: is the country’s largest; has 160 medical centers; 900 outpatient clinics; and serves 9 MILLION Veterans. Mr. Sulkin came from this job and calls it “one of the hardest jobs in this country”.

Expectations and Encouragement

My hope is that Mr. Shulkin finds a qualified replacement for the healthcare system very quickly before bedlam, chaos, and shenanigans kill all the good that he brought to this organization.

Craig

I am sorry for the great length of time between posts. I am writing this while recovering from a six-day stay in the hospital and I am now recovering in a rehab facility.

Soon I will be back in control.

“Keep the tiny humans alive”

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”

Abraham Lincoln

US flag, ruffled by the wind, with the iconic motto "Proud to be an American'
United States Flag, ruffled by the wind, Proud to be An American

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

The Politics of Denial

Abstract Blue Egg represents changes by Fourth Industrial Revolution are still incubating. Explosion soon to follow. Google Images CCL
Abstract Blue Egg represents the Changes to be wrought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that are still incubating.

America

 Industrial Revolution or Class Revolution

PART 1 OF THREE

date: January 4th, 2018

“This Country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of this existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revoluntary right to overthrow it”  Abraham Lincoln

I believe that America is going to be embroiled in a push back to the Fourth Industrial Revolution or it will be involved in a Class Revolution in the not too distant future.  As jobs begin to disappear on the Industrial side, Income Disparity and Equality will be the driving force on the Class side.

The Response

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, Frida Ghitis, a well known and accomplished producer and writer published an article on CNN “10 Questions that could keep you up at night in 2018.” We may get to that article but at the moment I am more interested in a response that was posted to the article.

The poster is not identified so we will have to trust that it is a legitimate person and not a robot (pun intended).

miscreantsall miscreantsall is the poster

Drumpf is just getting started and it is very clear that the architecture of our Democratic Republic and our Constitution are not strong enough to STOP this perfect storm of all the worst elements of human governments (socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism, monarchism, etc.) to merge and destroy the United States of America (as we know it).

About 25% of eligible American Voters are enabling and keeping this megalomaniac in office.

The majority of American voters allowed this because of apathy, laziness, indifference, false confidence, presumptions, irresponsibility and outside forces (voter suppression) preventing or making it extremely difficult to vote.

Perhaps America deserves exactly what it is getting. What Drumpf got away with in New York before his campaign is the stuff of LEGENDS. He now has been given the reins to make that LEGEND reach out into eternity and the Cosmos.

The obvious damage (deregulation, deconstruction, etc) is known and many pundits believe, can be reversed. There are MULTITUDES of damage that is being done under the radar and under-reported for NOT reported at all.

Now that they have their tax bill and their campaign contributors appeased, the Congressional Republicans will focus on retaining control of Congress and find a reason to remove Trump, before the American voters remove them for supporting him.

Trump will do what he can to start a war with whomever he can maneuver into the position of his foe of the moment.

The only question is will they remove him fast enough to not have him involve us in yet another Republican war without end, or will the inevitable recession, due to the tax cust hit before they can.”

My Response

Whew! That is a lot of stuff in a few paragraphs. But this person whom I don’t know has written eloquently of the things I have tried to put pen to paper since this election.

A person that I correspond with knows that this is my thinking.

Actually, my thinking is even dire. I have believed and said so loudly and often that Trump is channeling Adolf Hitler.

I am not going to go down that side road at this time. Nor am I going to delve into the subjects that this person broaches that I am ignorant of, what Trump “got away with in New York before the  campaign is the stuff of LEGENDS.” I know of a few instances of things that received mention but not the attention that they deserved, money laundering conviction, convictions and indictments regarding a hotel etc. Those, while noteworthy (as it is they have not resonated with voters and why not is beyond me) again are not in my line of sight.

Ford Mustand Production Line. Find the Human. Image via The Atlantic. Reuters/Rebecca Cook RC published April 21, 2014
Ford Mustang Production Line. Find the Human. Image via The Atlantic. Reuters/Rebecca Cook RC published April 21, 2014

I ended my last post with this image and it seems appropriate to start this new post with the same image. Machine Learning – A Visit with Vinjay

Is America’s Economic Might Waning?

The article in the Atlantic that accompanies this image first states all of the reasons why people think that America’s economic might is waning. It even admits that some facets of mounting economic inequality are ‘truly alarming’. That mounting economic pressure is the focus of this series.

One of the unfortunate realities of using the article is that it was published in April of 2014. I have looked for followup articles without success. So there may be a small amount of comparing apples to oranges. I do believe that the main points of the article are sound and no doubt still valid. I think that the fall of the American growth engine starts in 2017, the first year of Trump.  I will state my reasoning before moving on. In that way, you will have reference points along the way.

Another point to make at this juncture. I used the Michalenglo painting in the Sistine Chapel in Rome depicting God giving power to Adam through touch. I purposely have not shown whether Adam is Male or Female.

Why 2017 is the Beginning of the Fall of the American Growth Engine

Four Reasons

  1. I believe Trump made his biggest mistake blunder by canceling TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership. This started the erosion of America’s authority in the world. From this point forward all other nations of the world will view America’s ventures such as trade agreements, with a great deal of skepticism. Why would America abdicate the power and authority it had achieved over the 70 years since the end of WWII? In the guise of ‘Make America Great Again’ that which has made America great has been jettisoned over the gunwales of the ship of state. Illogical and disconcerting. He abdicated what good will the US had in the region and allowed China to move in and start claiming that authority. Which it quickly did. One event that resulted from Trump’s stupid play is that the nations that had been involved in the agreement announced that they are going to continue the partnership without the presence of the United States. Prestige lost, Power lost, Strength lost, Jobs lost.
  2. I believe Trump made his next biggest blunder by canceling US involvement in the Paris Accord. Not only are these actual cancellations import but the message they send to the other nations of the world is that Trump is hurling the US back to a time prior to WWII.  In the seventy years since the end of that war, the US has been at the forefront of the stability, the innovations, the organizations, the sense of partnership and accomplishment that filled the nations of the world. Now that standing, that leadership is gone and the fragmentations of what is to follow are sometimes not going to be pretty.
  3. I believe Trumps third biggest blunder was in mocking NATO. While he didn’t disengage as he threatened, he caused that league of nations, that bulwark standing against the advance of Russia growing militarism and expansionism to crumble. I think that it would have been better to actually dissolve America’s continued participation rather than have America be the odd man out because every action taken forward will always include a shadow of doubt regarding the question ‘Is America really in this or not’? I believe that the citizens of other countries are now mocking Trump and shake their heads at the citizens of this country for allowing this maverick or madman to continue with his hideous schemes. Of course, the Republican Party which has shrunk to Trump’s level of gross banality because they are panting so hard to accomplish their next often stated goals: KILL ACA, KILL MEDICAID, KILL MEDICARE, KILL SOCIAL SECURITY. Except for the few, not well-intentioned few that still support him, Americans will be paying a huge price for letting the madman continue his rampage on destroying the America that existed on January 19, 2017.
  4. I believe Trumps fourth biggest blunder is moving recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. America had no reason to make that decision other than to throw whatever progress had been in making peace or at least forestalling active hostilities into the trash heap of history. No good will come of this decision as the citizens of the Muslim world will now openly accost Americans at every turn and no doubt plan open terrorist actions on American soil.
  5. I am not discounting all or any of his other errors in missteps, mistakes and misspeaks. But again there are so many I will give the fun of organizing them into a coherent summary to someone else.
  6. The overarching blunder of Trump has been the saber rattling of a misshapen, misguided provocateur intent on defacing the humanity of the planet. I do not have the knowledge or skill to evaluate those actions because the follow-on will be so horrific as to be inexplicable.

Trump’s Strength or Lack Thereof

I believe his biggest internal blunder within the confines of the America state, in addition to thinking the America people are going to tolerate his tax fraud. His payment of the $1.5 trillion bounty to the Republican donors as a payoff for continuing their support of the now morally bankrupt Republican party by taking that payment from everyone less fortunate in wealth. Now that is pure speculation on my part since I don’t have a crystal ball and it is too early to predict the average American will coalesce into a formidable action group to confront these despicable transactions.

I believe that majority of Trumps supporters still do support him. I believe this because every once in awhile I get a word or phrase calling my sanity or some other bodily into question from one of these people.

So now you know where I stand and what I believe to be true and what predictions will come to be confirmed.  I agree with almost every point that the first writer stated. I have laid out my major grievances regarding Trump’s major decisions. Trump’s minor error and infractions, I cannot keep up with.

My biggest and most wholehearted fear is that which Trump is going to do or not do next. No, it is not war with North Korea. No, it is not war with Russia or China. No, it is a war against the very people he was entrusted to protect.

This Administration has No Intention of Providing Support

It is my belief that he and his administration are not willing to step up and be a leader. Indeed that may not even be cognizant of the need for a leader. A leader to step forward and plans the actions necessary to make sure that every US citizen is going to have a fair chance of surviving the Fourth Industrial Revolution with a sane mind, a family held together, a job at fulfilling the financial needs and emotional needs of individuals.

I am very confident of this statement by watching his performance with the miners in the West Virginia. His boasts, his promises, his glad-handing of these citizens with no intention of ever following thru is the most egregious affront to a moral authority that rises above all of the other lies he has spewed out of his sullied mouth.

I believe that Trump and his minions are going to just let things happen as they may. If that his plan is then there really is no point in trying to weather the storm. Yes, some people will come thru the onslaught of the revolution unscathed. Yes, some people will even survive the coming onslaught with good fortune. This revolution is not going to touch everyone the same or even parts of the country the same.

What I am saying is that because there is not going to be cohesive, even-handed planning on how to prepare citizens for the coming onslaught that picture of the majority of people will look very much like the picture of the miners of West Virginia do now. For those interested in reviewing my thoughts on their plight follow this link Review the course of ignoring the plight of the miners of West Virginia

What happened in West Virginia is that at the very beginning of that sad tale, capitalism reared its ugliest head and set the course that West Virginia would follow for more than 100 years.

The Republican Party has been Eviscerated by Greed

Republicans are now wallowing in their new found power of changing the tax code to benefit no one but their donors. They are wallowing in the stench of betraying their constituents and their country. That is an easy epithet to hurl at them because once they are not acting in the best interests of the country that they have sworn to protect they have abdicated any moral authority that they had.

They have ignored the history of what followed Reagan’s gift to the wealthy and ignored the history of what followed Bush’s gift to the wealthy in 2001 and 2003.

Several of the first acts of the Trump administration were to kill all of the rules established by the Obama administration to give greater oversight to the government to control the greed that was born due to the race to the bottom which was a major factor that caused The Great Recession of 2008.

So we are now looking at the same conditions that caused economic disasters in the 1980’s and the 2000: little government oversight, great amounts of wealth stripped from the lower classes and given to the already wealthy, and the greed that is being run on the front pages everyday regarding the ‘new’ digital currencies. We have seen this, been there and done that over and over again. The Republicans keep stoking the same fires for some reason. Do they think that the results will be different? But a key to this seeming dilemma is the financial recovery of the Obama years in reality ‘forgave’ the debt of the wealthy people that had suffered. The debt that wasn’t forgiven and had to be continued to be paid where the less than filthy rich. One of the people decrying this unfair situation was none other than Donald J. Trump. Hmm…

What is different now than it was even in the 2000’s is the economy has started to undergo fundamental shifts in how it functions. That is why it is called a ‘Revolution.’

Artificial intelligence is a wonder and can bring wonderful benefits. However wonderful it may be no one is study and planning for the effects it will have on the middle class and working class people. Projections for disruption run up to 47% job loss due to the growth of machine learning, deep learning, and neural network trends.

No one, as far as I know, is charged with strategic planning to avoid the West Virginia syndrome. Who is going to be hardest hit? What programs can be implemented to lessen the consequences? Education, Retraining, Job Apprenticeships.

Can We Afford to Leave People Behind

What parts of the country as at most risk for ending up like West Virginia? What can be done to ameliorate the consequences?

Many parts of the country could survive quite well since some major hits have already been weathered. The ten million job losses in the last 10 years due to improved technology and implementing procedures to follow as more and more of the revolution takes hold. Even the five million job losses in manufacturing have been mostly absorbed by increases in productivity. Do not get complacent. Just because statistically ‘recovery’ is shown on paper does not mean that the individuals that suffered the job losses have recovered.

I have said from the outset that this country needs to weather this storm as a whole. The divisiveness that has raised its ugly head is due to Trump’s words and actions. The disunity that laid dormant for almost fifty years came roaring to life when a black man became president. The disunity that has been sown has torn our country into disarray. The gender inequality that has led so many powerful and seemingly respectable men to insult and plunder the pride and self-worth of so many women that has been in the headlines in recent months is not resolved only brought into the light of day.

Glaring Inequalities

The pay inequality that almost became an issue during the runup to the Republicans corrupt tax plan will turn into a major issue if they continue on their stated course to demolish Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

NOT DENIAL

One simple, easy and self-evident solution that had it been enacted would have solved much of the problem.

“If the US had been more inclusive (in the 1970’s), GDP growth would have averaged 3.1% instead of 2.9% – and each American would be $5,000 wealthier on average.  (I am sure that the wealthy that just received their big gift would stick up their noses at it but to  most Americans, it would be nice to have had).

(In a comparison with Norway) Both countries had female workforce participation rates of 45% in the 1970’s. But Norway did much more to bring women into traditionally male roles, raising its participation to 76%; the US is only at 67%.

If the US had the same share of women in the workforce as Norway, it would be $1.6 trillion wealthier, according to a report by Standard and Poors.

NOT DENIAL

According to M.S. Eccles, who was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve in testimony before Congress as it was trying to sort out solutions to the Great Depression has some very concrete opinions on cause and effect.

1.) The concentration of wealth and the attempt to maintain that wealth by going into debt to maintain standards.

2.) He flatly stated that a fundamental change must be made in our social system

I am sure Republicans are ecstatic to hear that. But he stated, “the operation of our money world has failed to be our servant and instead is our tyrant and master.”

Oh Oh.

What were his solutions? First, unemployment relief, second bank deposit guarantee program, third, agriculture subsidies, fourth, federally guaranteed farm mortgage program.

Duck Republicans!

He called for a more equitable distribution of wealth, a  high income and inheritance tax, unemployment insurance and old age pension laws.

He was for a balanced budget but it had to include a balanced economy.

Too much concentration of wealth?

Did you know that there are 400 people and then the rest of us?

400 people own as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population plus more than 1/3 of the Latino population COMBINED!

The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the ENTIRE Latino population.

The combined worth of the Forbes 400 is $2.34 TRILLION and is more than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined 194 million people.

400 people compared to 194 million??

The median American family has a net worth of $81,000. The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million of these ‘typical’ American Families.

TWENTY PEOPLE now own as much wealth as HALF OF ALL AMERICANS. 20! And this is prior to the latest and greatest tax break. Did you know that Trump made hundreds of millions of dollars on the tax break?

There are 3 – three people that own as much wealth as the bottom half of the nation’s population.

Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and the runt of the bunch, Bill Gates. These men own as much wealth as 160 million of the rest of us.

Thank you for stopping by.

This is the first in a three-part series:

The Politics of Denial: Industrial Revolution or Class Revolution?

Craig.

A robot is gesturing you to 'Come here' and escort you into the Fourth Industrial Revolution are you ready. Google Images CCL
A robott is here to escort you into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Are you ready?

“We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have it both ways” Justice Brandeis, Associate Supreme Court Justice

 

 

 

Capitalism Overreach

Should All Americans Participate in the Benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

A Study of  West Virginia Coal Mining in the 20th Century

And Which Plan for the Future and Who is Going to Choose It?

Dated: January 1, 2018

Nick Mullen

Background

Nick Mullen – Personal History

The Situation was Forecast

The Usual Refrain – Competition Kills Wages

Another Curse

A New Theory – hope to restart economies

So here We Are

The Future – A Glimpse

Currently

The Future is Now

The Consequences

Going down the Same Road – Again?

The New American Dream

So Here We Are  – Again

Plan the Transition

Work the Plan – Invite all Americans to this Revolution

I read an article yesterday regarding the state of the coal industry. The article detailed how Capitalism and greed reared its head in creating the industry. It reviewed the toll coal mining took on humans physically, emotionally, and mentally. It clearly demonstrates what happens when capitalism overreaches its good side and displays its bad side. What struck me was how our coming situation in the US will not be much different than what is portrayed here in West Virginia.

The article appeared in Quartz.com. The title is “The 100-year Capitalist Experiment That Keeps Appalachia Poor, Sick, and Stuck on Coal”. It is immensely well written by Gwinn Guilford. It is the story of a Coal Miner Nick Mullen.

I strongly recommend that you read this article. Another recommendation is “The Gathering Storm” by Winston Churchill. If you don’t have the time or inclination for the book I recommend an article by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC “A Storm is Gathering”. Google it and you will be directed to it.

I have been struggling to get the last post of the year finished for my blog “deepeducationweb.com.” But it just isn’t getting to the point where I have “put myself into it”. Perhaps you know that feeling. I try to put my brain, my heart, my soul into whatever I am writing. That doesn’t mean the writing is good, I wish it did. But the writing comes from deep inside. Woodworking seems to do the same for a lot of men. I do not know what it is like for women but I imagine it is similar.

So.

I think events have led to a forecast: 2018 will be a year like no other.  Sad.

NICK MULLEN

As a playwright, I would designate Mr. Mullen as the protagonist of this piece and the coal companies as the antagonist. We can look at the miners’ desire to be free as the unrequited love.

BACKGROUND

Early in the 17th Century, the Crown Head of England gave huge tracts of land to his faithful hangers-on.

NICK MULLEN-PERSONAL HISTORY

In the 17th Century Nick’s ‘people’ had been given land in what was eventually to be found as a very rich ‘seam’ of coal.

Around the turn of the last century, the early 1900’s rogue smooth-talking land agents from back east burned through the area and coaxed the mountain people into selling their land for cheap.

In Nick’s case, his ancestor received 12 rifles and 13 hogs (one for each of the children, one for himself (probably someone’s grandfather at the time).  This land later yielded billions of dollars worth of coal, yes BILLIONS.

The main problem with West Virginia coal was that it was remote. It was so hard to reach that the railroads did not burrow their way through the Cumberland Mountains until the 1870’s. But later in 1910 US Steel was West Virginia’s largest employers with almost 100,000 miners producing 90 million tons of coal. Coal employment peaked in 1940 with 140,000 miners. Now it is around 11,600.

Nick tried many other jobs because his family very strongly urged him not to go into the mines, he finally got a job at a call center earning $18,000 per year. After seven years he was earning $34,000 but he had a wife and two kids. The end of every month came and brought the end of the month and the end of the money. There was nothing left to save.

As a miner-trainee, he could earn what he was earning but with better health benefits and a matching fund retirement plan. He pushed his family’s fears aside and went down into the mines.

 

Coal miner shoveling coal. His back was black from the tar black coal dust. via Google Images
The blackened skin of a coal miner. It was so hot that some miners worked naked. Some crawled their bellies because the ceilings were so low.

 

Click to view captions

Nick had talked himself into coal mining’s “cult of self-worth”. He wanted to be like his forebears, a proud, self-sacrificing guy who worked two miles underground to provide for his family. Most guys wouldn’t do that.

 

THE SITUATION WAS FORECAST

One hundred years ago (approximately), a West Virginia man named Henry Hatfield was elected governor.

West Virginia was producing 70 million tons of coal. It was making West Virginia rich. Not the miners. But the state.

But Governor Hatfield, in his inaugural address, stated: ” more than 80% of our fuel and raw material is utilized in the state.” He continued, “as a result low prices fixed  at a standard of wages for the miner at a rate that is an injustice to him.” The reason? The coal had such a long railroad haul to market that was hard to compete against the coal of Kentucky or Virginia.

THE USUAL REFRAIN

“Competition sets the price.” As today so it was back then, the refrain meant cut the cost better known as, cut the wages. Statistician Isador Lubin, the head of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics under President Franklin Roosevelt, wrote, in his 1928 book Wages and Cost of Coal, ” The operator sold his men rather his coal”. He paid his men less so he could compete. This produced a larger demand for the non-union coal of West Virginia. (Miners in Kentucky and Virginia were unionized). Non-union coal was produced “more rapidly than the country required” which also forced down wages.

So while Governor Hatfield dreamt that coal profits would lead to local investment such as factories and manufacturing to enrich the state’s economy, he saw it chug out of states on the railroad tracks.

West Virginia produced a lot. But it manufactured almost nothing. It still does. Where US Steel was the dominant employer then, Walmart is today.

In his book “Wealth of Nations” Adam Smith rang the bell loudly proclaiming that the key to prosperity in capitalist societies, was to specialize in what they were good at. Seems to make sense. Since West Virginia has some of the best coal on the planet and was pretty much a one-industry state why wasn’t Mr. Smith’s hallowed premise working?

ANOTHER CURSE

Additional research from MIT economist, Daron Acemoglu wrote “Why Nations Fail” with University of Chicago political scientist James A Robinson. They argued “that the fate of a nation is determined in large part by its economic institutions i.e. “financial systems, tax regimens, property rights laws, labor institutions and so on.

“Institutions level the playing field among business and create competitive markets. They encourage investments in new technologies and enable people to acquire skills to pursue their talents.” “These institutions are underpinned by a political system that empowers a broad base of citizens to influence political decisions, preventing a single interest from holding sway. (above quotes from Gwinn Guilford’s article)

A key takeaway is their conclusion that “inclusive institutions drive self-perpetuating ‘virtuous circles”, extractive ones fuel “vicious circles.” Extractive institutions are those found in West Virginian, structures that concentrate power in a few, they enrich themselves and their political allies and put a stranglehold on other organizations.

A NEW THEORY

New research by Cesar Hidalgo from MIT and Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard’s Kenndy School of Government, started to poke holes in Adam’s Smiths theory. They measure an area’s “economic complexity”- the mix of products produced. They found that with less economic complexity growth was slower and has bigger gaps between the rich and the poor EVEN AFTER taking into account factors like income and education.

SO HERE WE ARE

The history of West Virginia points out its absolute dependence on extractive institutions going back in time to before the coal boom.

Lands were handed out to landlords who didn’t reside in WV. When coal came into prominence the land was already owned by remote landowners so the local power was given to coal operators who happened to be in political consort with these same landowners. The coal operators held so much sway as to even control state legislators. The ‘”vicious” circles kept going round and round.

The circles led to the company stores that required, (illegally), that workers purchase their necessities like food, clothing etc from them. Interestingly, the company stores resided in the company towns that were owned by the coal operator and remote landlords. These company towns also provided the housing for the miners.

A bunkhouse overfilled with miners. Miserable quarters. Google Images
The coal operators provided quarters for miners in the company owned coal towns.

Since there was no competition, the towns highlighted the greed of the remote landowners and beholden coal operators: squalor, ugliness, disease. No freedoms, no choices, no opportunities. This was the landscape of West Virginia, the land that helped bring Donald Trump to power.

 

Downtown Logan WV Google Images CCL
Downtown Logan WV Google Images CCL

THE FUTURE – A  GLIMPSE

I have been researching the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The growth this time is powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and neural networks.

The results are staggering, even at such an early stage. Self-driving cars, self-driving city buses, self-driving semi-trailer trucks (UPS bought 145 after the first public demonstration). This is only the bright beginning.

The changes to come are staggering. Robots as cashiers in grocery stores, as stock clerks in the same stores and convenience stores. Robots with the ability to beat the human champion in the most complex board game “Go” and then watch as its next in line computer taught itself the game and beat the first computer. Computers can do that, is there any reason why they won’t replace bookkeepers, accountants and any other tedious job that can be done faster and more accurately by a computer with artificial intelligence?

CURRENTLY

I watched the CEO of Google give a presentation that touted the “Google Assistant” that powers the search for any question you may have and present the answer on your mobile device. Google’s AI “Deep Mind” has an IQ of 47.28, a six-year-old child 55.5, an  18 year old 97. China’s Baidu has a score of 32.92, Microsoft’s Bing 31.98, Apple’s Siri 23.94. The battle is joined.

What are they fighting for? Maybe finding unknown planets in distant galaxies, not in our Milky Way like the Kepler Space Telescope. Kepler just ‘discovered’ and exomoon (exo for out of the Milky Way) K1625b in orbit around planet K1625. They are 4,000 light years away.

Maybe finding the ‘executioner’ cell that will kill cancer without harming surrounding tissue. A team at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine led by Dr. Gavathiotis is doing just that.

Maybe find a way to use solar energy to generate hydrogen fuel out of seawater as assistant professor Yang Yang of the University of Central Florida is developing.

The Rio Tinto mine in Australia is using 416-ton behemoths to haul iron ore. These are the same type of truck, Caterpillar, used on the Mesabi Iron Ore Range of Minnesota.

 

India is still the only major nation still deriving its power from coal but it too is losing that battle. It was projecting that even with a massive input of resources it still would not be able to meet its needs by using coal. The result? In May 2017 it canceled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations and convert to solar electricity as prices for that commodity are in free-fall.

It still needs to construct coal powered stations to generate electricity in places for the foreseeable future but it is recognizing the expenses in pollution and the cost to humans in terms of health and medicine are part of the cost of the fossil fuel research named “Coal”

THE FUTURE IS NOW

Ten million jobs have been lost in the last decade to technology.

Over 100,000 coal mining jobs have been lost can be attributed to changing methods of power generation.

The projection is for 47% of jobs will be lost in the US due to applied artificial intelligence. The current number of employed people in November 2017 was 126 million. The unemployment rate is 4.1% in October or 6.6 million people. Economists consider 4.0% to 6.4% as the full employment rate. (The actual number of people that can be employed at 35 hours per week.) wikipedia2

Someone should be planning. Planning to determine new jobs that will be needed in what parts of the country. Planning on what type of retraining is going to be needed. Planning on who is going to train and pay for the massive amounts of training.

“Succeeding in the Global Economy” by Alanna Petroff,  CNN TECH, March 24, 2017, is an article that explicitly lays down the risks.

“Thirty-eight percent of jobs in the US are at HIGH risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years.” All of the numbers are reported by PwC.(PriceWaterhouseCoopers International Limited a network of accounting firms around the world.

“Meanwhile, only 30% of jobs in the UK are similarly endangered. The same level of risk applies to only 21% of positions in Japan.”

The U.S. and U.K. labor markets are both dominated by services jobs, and roughly the same share divided into key sectors such as finance, transportation, education, manufacturing, and food services.

However, there are major differences in the nature of the work with the same names. An example: in the US 61% of the jobs listed as financial services are at high risk. In the UK the risk is 32%. The reason? According to John Hawksworth, PwCs chief economist in the U.K., said that “Many workers in the US are focused on domestic retail operations, ie. bank tellers.

The U.K. sector is “much more focused on international finance and investment banking, functions that required significantly higher levels of education and expertise.”

“Workers doing more routine tasks are easier to automate than an investment banker,” Hawksworth said.

THE CONSEQUENCES

Someone had better be planning on how people are going to buy food, buy housing,  afford to live.

One idea is Universal Basic Income. There is no doubt that Republicans in power and hell-bent on erasing “entitlement” programs like Socia Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, there won’t be much energy expended in addressing these new issues for the foreseeable future.

Researchers at Oxford University determined that 47% of all jobs in the United States are at risk of computerization. A very real concern with the conversion to robots and artificial intelligence labor is that the wealthy will have easier access to it and that as a result, their use of it will have an even more depressing effect on wages. Why pay a person $15 an hour when I can use my machine that only costs $10. Are the wealthy or the working classes more apt to buy AI Assisted Machines?

So now we see what the coal miners have been faced with since early in the  20th Century. We are now faced with the same problems in the 21st Century.

Look at this tidbit of information:

In the US:

Top 1% control 35%   of the wealth

Top 10% control 75% of the wealth

Top 20% control 87% of the wealth

In the World:

Top 1% controls 50% of the wealth

Top 10% of adults control 85% compared to the bottom 90% controls 15%

Top 30% of adults control 97% of the wealth

Based on our research neither one of these displays the economically complex and diversified landscape that we need to see.

Taxpayers Paying to Elect Republicans to Congress for the Next 10 Years!

Did you see this headline? The United States Congress just gave $1.5 trillion to the already wealthy. It will be interesting to see how the above numbers will change.

GOING DOWN THE SAME ROAD – AGAIN!

It has been proven that the “Trickle Down Theory” invented by President Ronald Reagan and to a lesser extent by President George W Bush does not increase spending, nor does it improve the health or wealth of those that support the wealthy by paying the taxes. It is merely a clever invention of the Republican party to transfer wealth to their donors, in effect, making the ‘normal’ taxpayer PAY FOR THE FUTURE DONATIONS TO THE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGNS. Pretty sneaky or pretty deceitful?

THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM

It was said that the American Dream was to get a good education, buy a home, and raise a family.

THE AMERICAN DREAM HAS MOVED

It appears to have moved to Canada.

America:      College Education – 48%

Canada:       College Education – 58%

America:      Home Ownership – 63%

Canada:       Home Ownership – 68%

America:     Life Expectancy    – 78.7 years

Canada:       Life Expectancy    – 81.2 years

It is often noted that in the early 20th century, Canadian prime minister Sir Wilfred Laurier declared, “Canada shall be the star towards which all men who love progress and freedom shall come.” Let’s make that line as famous and meaningful as this once was: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

SO HERE WE ARE – AGAIN

The Trump Administration is working diligently to prepare for these coming events. Not even close. He has focused the first year of his administration to destroy the climate change, economic development programs of President Obama.

He has pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership which ceded to China the sphere of influence in the east.

He has destroyed confidence in US Policy with NATO.

He is working to destroy NAFTA.

He has resigned US from World Leadership. Fareed Zakaria, the

click the entry to read the caption

PLAN THE TRANSITION

I believe that:

since we know that not all parts of the country are going to be in transition at the same time,

since we know that not all part of the country are going to be affected negatively by the transition,

since we know that the parts of the country that are going to be affected negatively by the transition will look, act and feel much the same as West Virginia did in the last century,

should our work be focused on the impending crisis both to plan on how to press the advantage of the good things

should our work be focused on a plan to lessen the negatives that can have the same disastrous consequences as West Virginia?

WORK THE PLAN

Should we do the smart thing, the right the by the citizens of all of the United States?

Should we continue to divide the citizens, making fun of some, ridiculing others, separating still more for depriving of rights already given (DACA)?

Who is going to choose the plan?

Should all Americans join in the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or should some be left behind?

“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of few, but we can’t have both.” Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

 

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise the constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to overthrow it” Abraham Lincoln