Homeless, Disabled, Forgotten American Veterans Survived at an Enormous Cost!

It’s Simple: Homeless American Veterans Survived Jaw-Dropping Odds

Survival is ‘How To #1’ for Homeless Disabled Vets

785 words 2 min 49 seconds

What in the world is going on?

While researching this blog post, I ran into a publication by the Brookings Institute.
The executive summary for the publication by Brookings.edu on 2/26/19 is “Democracy & Disorder: The struggle for influence in the new geopolitics”

“The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.”

Why is democracy fading or even more correctly failing?

Why have American servicemen and women dedicated themselves to preserving the international order founded at the end of WWII?

Have all the lives that lost and disabilities suffered been for naught?

This was a great beginning to this post.

A TRULY SAD TALE THAT IS INEXCUSABLE

Task & Purpose January 22, 2018, by James Clark
“For the first time in seven years, the number of homeless veterans in the United States has increased.

Yes, the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development has made strides in those seven years, the total homeless vets dropped by 46% in the period.

But what about the over 40,000 vets still living on the streets of these United States?

Are we more concerned about a wall than the souls of those who served?

Where is our national conscience?

See if you can read this article without shedding a tear of conscience.

Homeless Veterans Image Disable American Vets magazine

ANOTHER DISTURBING TALE

Women Veterans face a greater risk of becoming homeless compared to male vets.

Male vets chances of being homeless at 1.4%.

Women’s chances at 2.4%! almost twice as much.

WHY??

Post-traumatic stress disorder; loss of employment; dissolution of marriage and a lack of gender-specific support.

TO MAKE IT WORSE!

One- fifth of homeless female veterans have dependent children!

THE DAV

Now I can continue with the post.

This organization has attained $4.3 billion in retroactive benefits for vets.

It has provided rides to 615, 000 medical appointments.

It has represented 250,790 claims for vets.

Over 1 million veterans are helped each year.

Learn more

AN APP FOR WHAT YOU MISSED ON MY HEALTHeVET

Gulf War Veterans ay have unexplained illnesses related to their service in Southwest Asia.

The symptoms vary from fatigue to respiratory disorders.  The term is “chronic multi-symptom illness.”

THERE IS AN APP FOR THAT.

It has a name: the Exposure Ed mobile app. It is available to anyone that has a smartphone, tablet or another mobile device.

It can answer your questions on military-related exposures and exposure-related benefits and services.

Not only can vets or those caring for them identify potential exposures by conflict, date or location but they will find VA facilities and exposure-related programs nearest them.

The free app can be downloaded for iOS or Android devices.

This is a demonstration of the app.

This link is to the ehealthevet page listing:   Gulf War Veteran’s Medically Unexplained Illnesses & VA Benefits Overview for Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses posted December 21, 2018.

TWO OTHER TOPICS IN THE January 9th 2019 edition of My HealtheVET:

Depression vs. Blues: Know the Difference

And
The Silent Killer: Hypertension—high blood pressure!

My HealtheVet shared over 100 articles through the newsletter and website in 2018.

That’s a lot of great health information and health care management reminders.

The list of the top five most read articles in 2018.

VA announced on December 21, 2018:

VA announces a moratorium on discharges and decreases from comprehensive caregiver program

The VA is temporarily suspending discharges and decreases in level of support from its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers because of continued concerns expressed by veterans, caregivers and advocated about inconsistent application of eligibility requirements by VA medical centers.

CAREGIVER SUPPORT LINE: 855-260-3274

OK THIS IS NOT CHRISTMAS

But I found this you-tube video. Please view it and pass it on.

Did you know?

That veterans account for roughly 11% of the adult homeless population

Roughly 45% of homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic?

(These two groups make up only 30% of active duty personnel)

Nearly half of all homeless veterans served during the Vietnam War

A third of homeless vets served in a war zone

Over 1.4 million vets are ‘at risk’ of homelessness

IRAQI VET

Organizations that help Homeless Veterans

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MAC-V)

MACV LOGO 2

Supportive Services for Veteran Families

Wings for Warriors

Operation Home Front

Lift Up Veterans

Carr Four

Housing and Urban Development

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Salvation Army

The Military Wallet

Disabled American Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

U.S. Vets

Volunteers of America

Homeless In America - 1/3 fo homeless men are Veterans Disabled American Veterans Magazine

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

No Rose this Post

patch for agent orange remember our sacrifice
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Digital Divide – Part One

Date March 31, 2018

This post ran over 4,000 words so I thought I should break it up. The second part will be posted shortly after the first.

In this post:

> Veterans Interest (at the end)

> Email of the future

> Digital Transformation of  Business

> What Do You Mean by AI

 

Remember the rumors of the last year or so “Email is Dead”? Not so fast! Google has announced AMP for Gmail. Accelerated Mobile Pages will be available through the Gmail Developer Preview.  Theoretically, “this new spec will be a powerful way for developers to create more engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.” (Google sell sheet). Vijith Assar in Select/All lands with both feet on the announcement. He says it is not needed and if effect, will slow Gmail down. He is not impressed on several fronts. I will leave to all of you to sort out. I am sticking with plain old Gmail that I have used since the dawn of time.

Does it Pay for Business to Spend on New Technology?

Tim Berners-Lee said (recognize the name? He is the inventor of the World Wide Web) “The future is so much bigger than the past.”

The economies of the world are undergoing deep, deep transformation. Digital technology is changing everything from strategies to processes to marketing. The changes are profound and everlasting. Nothing will be the same. Indeed 47% of jobs in the US will be lost. In the UK the loss will be around 35%. The projection for Japan is up to 50% by 2035.

A point to remember is that jobs will be created. A factor not discussed my in the US is that 48% of people in the US think Universal Basic Income is a good idea! 

Finland has put a pilot project into action and Canada and France are working out the details

But that is off-topic for this post. However, as regular readers are aware I strongly encourage people to get more education. What concerns me is the 70% of workers realize that jobs will be affected just not their jobs. Why? Only 30% of people are improving their education to prepare themselves for the coming onslaught.

In my last post on The Singularity and Quantum Computing, I said changes are going to be astronomical especially when quantum computing begins to be used.

Machine Learning will lead the way

In this post, we will examine how machine learning will lead the way until the day comes when quantum computers are available.

A co-founder of Intel, Gordon Moore forecast in 1995 that computing power would double every ten years and cost would decrease at the rate and pace.

We have come to the end of that road. The big question of this post concerns what has occurred in those companies that have aggressively transformed themselves using technology and those that are not so aggressive.

A paper by Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani of the Harvard Business School explores what more than a decade of research shows regarding the movers and those that are still thinking about moving to new technologies.

Their empirical observations show what a major opportunity awaits those companies investing in digitizing their business models.

The division of movers and not movers becomes a look at the ‘digital leaders’ and the ‘digital laggards’. Companies, specifically Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are using their expertise in cloud computing and machine learning to develop applications for their platforms so any business can use applications on their platforms to take advantage of the newest tech and transform themselves from laggards to leaders.

Again I got ahead of myself. Drs. Iansiti and Lakhani and associates at the Harvard Business School found the difference in average gross margin for 25% of companies that came to be labeled leaders and laggards.

The three-year-average gross margin for digital laggards was 37% and for digital leaders was 55%! Need I continue?

OK. The three-year-average earnings before taxes were 11% for the laggards and 16% for the leaders. Finally, to really whet your whistle the three-year-average of Net Income was 7% compared to 11%!

Their studies also showed that the digital advantage was not simply in spending more money, “the best-performing companies stated they have technology budgets ON PAR with the digital laggards. So there is more going on than what shows in the first batch of numbers. The same 25% of laggards spent 3.2% of their revenue on IT while the leaders spent 3.5%.

In digital companies, digital leaders approached the digital opportunity with a different mindset. Perhaps the way these companies executed in their operations would have given them a similar advantage even if they hadn’t seized the digital opportunity? I don’t know. But it would not appear to be so.

The main difference which may speak to my question is the digital leaders have consistent up-to-date metrics for decision making and can make the best use of the data they collect.

Managers make decisions. What is changing, dramatically, is the best managers are taking advantage of the new technologies to plan and execute faster and more efficiently.

Personal Stories

Many, many years ago I was given the task of installing, training and supporting computerized cash registers in the restaurants I supervised. The question asked by upper management, “Is it worth it?” My answer was the computers would make the good managers better and that the not as good managers would waste the opportunity. Forty years later the same question is being asked.

More Discussion

Another issue is the new products that are coming to market. The new products themselves are taking advantage of the new technologies in ways the laggards will never be able to capture.

I recently read an article that said the newest equipment entering field service today have built-in sensors to report on the performance of the device, any health issue that may be occurring, and what/when preventative maintenance tasks need to be performed. Manager’s time can now be spent planning and executing strategies rather than tracking what machine is due for its next checkup. That sounds more profitable.

Data now being collected aids not only the user of the device but the manufacturer as well.

How to better meet customer’s needs, last longer, run more efficiently to save even more resources. All these are happening NOW!

Companies that are laggards are probably going to be laggards forever, at least until they succumb to the early death of laggards. Not getting with the ‘program’ soon enough.

I remember a project. It seemed like it took years to finish. I had to develop a Bill of Materials for a company I worked for. That was progressive back then but now that company is still mired in old inventory and old sales methods. The progressive attempt at achieving real cost knowledge and cost savings (profits) which would have accrued.

I see that happening so often as I visit businesses that I have supported for years. I do not know what is keeping them from modernizing but surely their days of existence are numbered and death is approaching ever faster.

These companies have great people working for them. I wonder if the employees know the disservice the owners and managers are doing to their careers.

Example of Digital Transformation and a Swift Kick

An example of digital transformation is that Amazon’s website changes every three seconds!

If you are a business owner or if you know one that can benefit from a swift kick to get motivated, please read this Harvard Business Study.

You will be richly rewarded if you heed the opportunities it presents. It is well researched, well written and presents solid opportunities for getting on with the digital lifestyle.

The Same Old Communication Problem – Apples to Oranges

Does AI mean the Same as AI?

“In 2017, artificial intelligence attracted $12 billion of Venture Capital investment. We are only beginning to discover the usefulness of AI applications.” by David Pring-Mill 3/15/2018

David Pring-Mill quotes Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a Taiwanese venture capitalist and the founding president of Google China “it’s tempting for every entrepreneur to package his company as an AI company, and it’s tempting for every VC to say “I’m an AI investor”.

But Dr. Lee concludes that 2018 will be the year where many of the fakers will be exposed.

David Pring-Mill found an expert in the field of natural language processing, Erik Cambria, who said: “Nobody is doing AI today and everybody is saying that they do AI because it’s a cool and sexy buzzword.”

Mr. Cambria said that much of ‘AI’ is just emulation of human intelligence. “And there is nothing today that is even barely as intelligent as the most stupid human being on Earth!” “No one is doing AI yet, for the simple fact that we don’t know how the human brain works.”

Mr. Cambria continues “Companies are just looking at tricks to create a behavior that looks like intelligence but that is not real intelligence, it’s just a mirror of intelligence.”

I think respectable companies look at scientific integrity regarding the issue of accurate definitions and it is not a matter to be taken lightly. I am afraid though that hype is currently the currency of choice regarding Artificial Intelligence.

The lions of this Fourth Industrial Revolution: Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Vernon Vinge, Ray Kurzweil, Ben Goertzel, Paul Allen, Hartmut Neven, Larry Page disagree among themselves as to what constitutes AI; where will AI lead us; will AI be benevolent or malicious?

So many people of hyper vision, of massive intelligence, of uncommon bravery to speak their minds openly to generate the questions and answers that are essential to the proper growth of AI is exciting to see.

Richard Feynman, during a commencement address at Cal Tech in 1974, said: “The first Principle (of AI) is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool”. Later he added, “You should not fool the layman when you are talking as a scientist. Scientists should bend over backward to show how they could be wrong.”

I recommend the booklet I listed below. It is an extremely thorough look at the world using the lens of Artificial Intelligence. So many graphs, so many groups of topics just so many of everything in an easy to read and understand format.

Bot.Me: A Revolutionary Partnership, PwC Consumer Series, April 2017

I hijacked the following text from the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) booklet

“AI, shorthand for artificial intelligence, defines technologies emerging today that can understand, learn, and then act based on the information. Forms of AI in use today include digital assistants, chatbots, and machine learning.

Today, AI works in three ways:

Assisted intelligence, widely available today, improves what people and organziations are already doing. A simple example, prevalent in cars today, is the GPS navigation program that offers direction to drivers and adjusts to road conditions.

Augmented intelligence, emerging today, enables people and organizations to do things they couldn’t otherwise do. For example, the combination of programs that organize cars ride-sharing services enables businesses that could otherwise not exist.

Autonomous intelligence, being developed for the future, establishes machines that act on their own. An example of this will be self-driving vehicles when they come into widespread use.

With a market projected to reach $70 billion by 2020, AI is poised to have a transformative effect on consumer, enterprise, and government markets and around the world.

There are certainly obstacles to overcome, but consumers believe AI has the potential to assist in medical breakthroughs, democratize costly services, elevate poor customer service, and even free up an overburdened workforce.

“Some tech optimists believe AI could create a world where human abilities are amplified as machines help mankind process, analyze, and evaluate the abundance of data that is created in today’s world, allowing humans the spend more time engaged in high-level thinking, creativity, and decision-making.”

I also recommend the article: “Everyone is talking About AI But do they mean the same thing?” by David Pring-Lee.

Mr. Pring-Lee introduces so many topics and attributes so many statements you will find it easier to read the article and take your own notes rather than relying on my version of “Cliff Notes”.

SPECIAL NOTE:

Today’s Blue Moon is the last until 2020. It is also known as the Paschal Moon- for Easter!

Veterans Interests

Veterans Crisis Line: 800.273.8255 Press 1.

I am maintaining my promise to provide information to veterans regarding information I would have covered in my blog “Lodestarandyou.com” before I melded it into dabblerduckbutts.com.

This section today is not specifically about health but it is about veterans and how their story is told.

Paul Szoldra is a US Marine. He describes the history (short and personal) of US Military blogs and how they gained recognition as real spaces for the military member could tell his or her story. “At War” as it came of age in Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, as told by C.J.Chivers, a Marine Corps veteran, and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times. He tells of Teresa Fazio who offered a deeply personal account of a “mortuary affair in Iraq” and Thomas Gibbons-Neff who is now a Pentagon correspondent for The Times. Other writers got their start at Task & Purpose, War on the Rocks and Strategy Bridge.

These stories, written by combat veterans bring a level of credibility that other journalists don’t have.

The Times has relaunched its “renegade” ‘At War’ blog in March 2018. Its new editor Lauren Katzenberg “hopes that At War will inspire more people to share their voices and stories at a time when there is less transparency around wars being carried out in American’s name”. Paul Szoldra March 2018.

A Soldier in the dessert of Iraq or Afghanistan. Almay Stock Photo Google Images
A Soldier in the desert of Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

 

KAKISTOCRACY

Date March 17, 2018

I learned a new word the other night “KAKISTOCRACY”. 

KAKISTOCRACY means a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, most unscrupulous citizens.

Wikipedia said that word was coined as early as the 17th Century. “It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1929.”

Fascism

What concerns me is that we should be using it to great purpose to describe the current administration.

I have been using the term “fascist” frequently which describes the political bent of this administration.

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce.

Fascists believe that a liberal democracy is obsolete and believe the one-party state is necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to have the ability to respond effectively to economic difficulties.

Fascism rejects the assertion that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence as a means that can rejuvenate a nation.

A common definition focuses on three concepts: anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism.

I think we can use Kakistocracy to describe the functioning of the fascist government. What do you think?

I think that the term can be used to describe the current administration since every day elicits another example of its failures: lack of coherent policy, encumbrances to wealthy political donors and the seeking personal aggrandizement.

This is every day, not just an occasional occurrence. From the TV reality series of Trump’s mistress (s) to the abysmal grasp of her job by the Education Secretary Betsy de Vos.

What is devastating is that the Republican Congress has abdicated completely its moral responsibility let alone its constitutional responsibility to put an end to the crimes and misdemeanors of this administration.

Just after the election of Trump I wrote a blog about the Republican Party and how it was abandoning its principles, its morals, its responsibilities.

I will revisit it in the near future now that we have a good sense of what the next years will be like.

Years?

I think at least two and one half at least.

I do not believe that Trump will be impeached. Indeed I believe that Trump’s next moves will be to fire Sessions and Rothenstein and replace them with people who will end the Mueller Investigations.

Trump Innocent?

The House Intelligence Committee just pronounced that Trump is innocent of any collusion and whitewashed him completely.

I do not believe that the full House has the guts to even start impeachment proceedings.

I do not believe that the Senate will do anything other than follow suit – duck and cover is the rule now.

I do not know how any of the evidence that Mueller has compiled will be able to be used.

Which is unfortunate.

Given that one of Trump’s least favorite presidents suffered impeachment.

Wouldn’t it be justice well served if Trump met the same fate as that of  Bill Clinton? I think that would be the height of irony.

The Republican Party exists no more. It is now the Party of Trump. Google Images
The Republican Party exists no more. It is now the Party of Trump.

Trump indeed has remade the Republican Party in his image.

From the largest tax heist in history as a gift to the wealthy to the new tax cut proposal that he is currently framing, Republicans cannot say no to a tax cut in whatever form.

They have proved that with Reagan, with George W. Bush, and with Trump.

The real problem is that so many special elections have been won by Democrats against the Republicans, the party has been put on notice of things to come.

Their solution? Grab all that they can now before the elections.

I believe that this is one of the reasons Trump is looking at another tax cut.

If he keeps them in line with another tax cut he thinks he is home free until 2020. When all this nonsense of impeachment will have blown over, just like all of his other moral failings.

The gun control he was going to implement, the Dreamers that he was going to save, and on and on.

So many current Republican Congresspeople are leaving the government the people that will be put up to run for office as Republicans will be those in Trump’s image.

They won’t be moderate and willing to work across the aisle.

They won’t be ethical because they know they won’t have to be. They just have to follow what the current incumbents are doing.

Sigh! This administration will go down as the most corrupt, most incompetent that has ever been elected. If women and the young and the progressives are not able to catch the imagination of the voters, we will have this government for another 6+ years!

As I mentioned in a previous blog the Democratic Party has an enormous hill to climb to unseat the current, unethical Republican House of Representatives.

A net of 24 seats must change hands against monumental odds. But I digress.

I really want to focus on how and why the Republican Party that I knew and grew up with doesn’t exist anymore and never will again.

While the full discussion will have to wait for a future post I believe that we are seeing the full collapse of the old ‘Grand Old Party’. The fire has been kindled and the flames licking up the sides of the tent. We have only to wait for the conflagration to explode.

Governance to get Worse

As of today, March 18, 2018, we know that governance by this White House is only going to get worse.

How do we know that?

We are seeing that given the opportunity Trump will sink to new, lower depths rather than rising to the occasion and play the game above his head.

Trump swinging on a wrecking ball ala Miley Cyrus. Google images
Trump swinging on a wrecking ball ala Miley Cyrus.

When threatened he draws into himself and cuddles up with favorite people he sees on television specifically Fox News.

In this case, he wants to surround himself with sycophants 24 hours a day so he is bringing Fox News into the White House.

Party up! In addition to the firm offers of employment that he has extended he is rumored to be extending the job of Director of the Veterans Administration to Pete Hegseth. Hegseth is a Fox and Friends weekend anchor.

Larry Kudlow

Gary Cohen Trump’s first Economic Advisor has left and is being replaced by Larry Kudlow.

Among this cable guy’s claims to fame is his famous line in December 2007: “There’s no recession coming. The pessimists were wrong. It’s not going to happen. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0”.

Of course, the Great Recession was fully underway by the end of that month. In February 2008 he claimed that the economy was going to rebound by that summer,”if not sooner”.

He stated flatly in July 2008, “the housing market is as healthy as a horse” and it was “a pity that the mainstream media was just searching for more and more pessimism” to sell newspapers.

He is also known for getting the Clinton tax hikes and the Bush tax cuts all wrong.

His best and the most stupid claim made in December 2016 was that Trump’s cabinet, the wealthiest in history, “Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.” How’s that working out?

Larry Kudlow, Trump's new Economic Advisor. Google Images
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s new Economic Advisor.

>Jared Kushner encourage a blockade of Qatar just weeks after that country’s finance minister told Jared’s father ‘no’ when he was trying to drum up money for the family’s cursed Midtown Tower, 666 Fifth Avenue.

Jared and Ivanka secured over one half billion dollars in loans after hosting the heads of Appollo Global Management and Citigroup at the White House.

>Wilbur Ross Commerce Secretary forgot to mention the stake he has in a Russian shipping company. The one that has ties to V. Putin.

>Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, a special buddy (ear to lean on) of Trump just happened to sell his $30 million stakes in Manitowac just days before Trump publicly announced his tariffs on steel which sent the share price of Manitowoc plummeting

>Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy thought he was going to globe hop extolling the virtues of coal and oil when he accepted Trump’s offer. As recently as 2012 he advocated dismantling that Department. He was surprised when he found he was responsible for this country’s nuclear arsenal. Surprise!

>Tom Price lasted for only a short time as Secretary of Health and Human Services until he was caught bilking taxpayers for extravagant airline costs.

>Andrew Pudzer, Secretary of Labor absolutely abhors worker’s rights, minimum wage increases and laws mandating break time and overtime pay. Oh, and his fast-food company has been repeatedly cited for wage theft.

>Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This former neurosurgeon has zero experience or interest in housing, or urban, or development. His claim to fame is he is one of the few black men Trump has met.

>Mick Mulvaney Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Mulvaney once remarked that diabetics didn’t deserve insurance. He did not pay the payroll taxes for his nanny to the tune of $15,000.

>Ryan Zinke Secretary of the Interior Mr. Zinke is a former Navy Seal. He had been repeatedly caught billing the government for personal trips.

>Scott Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency has fervently opposed this agency on every front as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma. Most recently claiming that the agency didn’t need scientists.

>Michael Flynn first National Security Advisor Islamophobe, lunatic conspiracy theory follower. He was fired by President Obama and has now pleaded guilty to working as an agent of a foreign government without letting know.

>Rex Tillerson Secretary of State until two days ago. Head of Exxon Oil but he had traveled to many of the countries he would be representing the US. Also a good buddy of V. Putin

>Nikki Haley, UN Ambassador, did go on a few trade missions as governor of South Carolina

>Betsy DeVos, let’s not forget this lady.

Last week she was pilloried by Leslie Stahl in a TV interview.

She did not have the least bit of understanding of the education department she oversees and could not even defend the abysmal record of her home state of Michigan.

She espoused the charter school plan as the best model for public education.

Now those schools have an abysmal record as everyone predicted.

But charter schools are a good way for wealthy individuals to milk the federal government for all manner of funds.

The Washington Post stated that past Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush made failed appointments.

No president has assembled such a remarkable collection of people either unqualified for their jobs or they are devoted to subverting their agencies. This does not take into the failed ethics that continue to ankle wrap Trump every week.

Mike Pompeo

When Trump fired Tillerson with a tweet, he nominated a twit to replace him. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is going to fill the role of Secretary of State. Mike’s current claim to fame is that he has been sending assassination squads around the world to kill suspected terrorists. I would imagine that he will be met with open arms by the country’s that, at the very least, are being entered illegally by US hit squads. I can just feel the warm fuzzies!

Nominated to be Secretary of State. Current head of the CIA and know for sending assassintation squads around the world. Google Images
Nominated to be Secretary of State. The current head of the CIA and know for sending assassination squads around the world.

Trump will be ‘preparing’ for the very first meeting of a US President with the head of North Korea. Kim Jun Un leads a nuclear power that Trump has challenged to destroy with ‘fire and fury’.

John Bolton

Trump is upping his game by appointing a former UN Ambassador to the UN to be National Security Advisor. John Bolton is one of America’s all-time great hawks. He was an architect of the Iraq War and a foe of the United Nations. He is a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal which means that he will surely be a perfect counterbalance to Trump in that area.

Mr. Bolton’s temperament is ill-suited to the position. He will rank below the worst NSA of all time – namely Mike Flynn. His claim to fame is that he is a host on Fox News. He will be a terrific echo chamber for Trump.

John Bolton nominated to be Trumps National Security Advisor Google Images
John Bolton nominated to be Trump’s National Security Advisor

Trump has thrown the whole security apparatus of the USA into disarray.

He removed the Secretary of State, the Head of the NSA and the Director of the CIA all at the same time.

The elections of 2018 are only a few months away and the state department did not spend the $120 million it was allocated to stop Russian’s tampering in our elections.

Indeed Trump is utterly resistant to stopping any such nonsense.

How could the United States be in any worse shape to combat external monsters? By being even weaker at controlling internal monsters.

With Trump’s glow for anything white nationalist, white supremacist or backed by the NRA, what does this country have to worry about?

The treasury coffers are already bare and running a deficit due to the unconscionable tax break that was given to the 1% and large corporations.

Andrew McCabe

I believe the most egregious crime committed by the Trump White House has been committed by Trump himself.

While the firing of FBI Director James Comey rates near the top of the most outstandingly bad actions by Trump, the worst action and the one that may lead to his downfall was the harassment of Andrew McCabe and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Andrew McCabe, fired hours before his retirement. Google Images
Andrew McCabe fired hours before his retirement.

I believe the Attorney General fired Mr. McCabe to demonstrate that he was again worthy of working side by side to Trump. Mr. Sessions has been brutalized by Trump ever since he recused himself from overseeing the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Election.

I believe that the three new banditos will put their heads together with Mr. Trump and find a stupid ass way to fire Mueller, which will blow up in their faces.

I could go on for pages about the foibles and crimes of the current administration.

But I will let John Brennan, CIA Director under President Obama who had brave words of support for Andrew McCabe wrap up this post.

John Brennan’s Parting Shot

Mr. Brennan’s tweet was a moral lampoon thrown at Trump: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you.”

I could not have said it as well.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Trump on his throne. Whining as usual. "Obama Did it!" Google Images
Trump on his throne. Whining as usual. “Obama Did it!”

A 'snowflake' for Trump. Google Images
A ‘snowflake’ for Trump.

 

 

 

Absolutely Captivating Science – Not Fiction

Not a Complete Guide to Quantum Computing and Singularity

Definitive Breathtaking, Spectacular, Spellbinding, Kickass Possibilities

Date March 16,2018

I ask your forbearance in getting this post out to you so late. I was in the hospital three times (almost three weeks since January 1st) and in rehab for two weeks all since the first of January.

First, my diabetes attacked my legs in what I can only describe as hellish.

I have read that it can take up to two years to heal!  Then one of the grafts that were hooked up during a quadruple bypass 17 years ago had to have a stent inserted.

So now I am back to my old self, just as ornery as ever.

So we saddle up our keyboards and begin anew.

I have been researching two topics simultaneously, The Singularity for this post and Populism for my dabberduckbutts.com blog.

I honestly cannot say which scares me more.

In the short term, the populist and nativism have bent in this country and many others around the world are doing the most damage I think.

The groundswell of its noise is becoming deafening mostly due to the antics of its chief proponent Trump.

Yes, I will get to that topic before long.

This image of The Singularity harkens to the painting by Michaelangelo. Google Images
This image of The Singularity harkens to the painting by Michaelangelo.

The Singularity

The Singularity caught my eye last year. I don’t know how or where I came across the article regarding the Singularity Hub.

Dr. Hugo de Garis has been a strong proponent of The Singularity and has written several books espousing the technological singularity

His best-known concept is Artilect War. “He predicts that a sizable proportion of humanity will not accept being cyborged and will not permit the risk of human extinction at the hands of advanced cyborgs and artilects.”

Professor de Garis is the author of two books “The Artilect War: Cosmists vs Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines” and the other “Multis and Monos: What the Multicultured Can Teach the Monoclultutered Towards the Creation for a  Global State.”

The thought just crossed my mind regarding two battles currently being waged in rage by those for populism and nativism vs those that oppose those forces in the US and around the world.

Before going any further we should define the ideas espoused by the proponents of The Singularity.

Vernor Vinge, in a paper for a symposium by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, categorically states that “within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”

This pronouncement is by a retired professor of mathematics and computer science who is also a science fiction writer.

His thinking appears in his paper “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.

Professor Vinge states the acceleration of technological progress has been a central feature of this century.

He argues that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on earth. This change will be wrought by “entities” with greater human intelligence.

He postulates if we are able to answer the question: if artificial intelligence (AI) can create the human equivalent in a machine in the affirmative “yes, we can” so then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.”

The Singularity then is the point of no return, technology will overtake humanness.

The Singularity depicted in a graph denoting the rapid acceleration as the time predicted for its beginning approaches. Google Images
The Singularity depicted in a graph denoting the rapid acceleration as the time predicted for its beginning approaches.

Another well-known futurist, Ray Kurzweil, is Google’s Director of Engineering.

He claims an 86% accuracy rate relating to his 147 predictions since the 1990s.

He predicts that “2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence.”

He continues “I have set 2045 for the ‘Singularity’ which is when we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion-fold by merging with the intelligence we have created.”

Mr. Kurzweil is not alone in his prediction. He is joined by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son who predicts this will happen by 2047.

Kurzweil believes that process has already begun.

On his site: http://www.kurzweilai.net/, he also discusses Universal Basic Income, the end to human disease, the future of human longevity and so on. It is a clearinghouse for other fascinating articles and predictions.

Mr. Kurzweil proposes his ‘Law of Accelerating Returns’. He believes some of the incredibly fast revelations of the power and might of AI such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Neural Networks and so on have already crashed into our psyche.

Additional notable references to The Singularity are made by Peter Rejcek in an article “Can Futurists Predict the Year of The Singularity” March 31, 2017, posted at http://www.singularityhub.com.

He notes that many futurists are restless while waiting for The Singularity to occur.

They see it as a positive event to free us mere mortals so we can dedicate ourselves and our intellect to more high brow tasks than merely working, eating, living as humans.

Even Elon Musk, of the Space X rocket and driverless AI-powered semi-trailer trucks fame, has a strong interest in The Singularity.

Mr. Musk has a company, Open AI, that is dedicated to developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) to ensure the development of AGI is beneficial to humanity. AGI is another term for human-level intelligence.

Another futurist is Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at financial prediction company ‘Aidyia Holdings‘ and robotics company ‘Hanson Robotics’. Hanson is an advisor to Singularity University.

Hanson Robotics has built the most advanced robot to date (March 2017). Her name is Sophia. She is a media darling starring on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her press coverage has the potential to reach over ten billion readers. Breathtaking! She even has her own website.

Dr. Hanson believes that three main characteristics have to be developed in intelligent machines namely creativity, empathy and compassion.

He believes that genius machines can evolve to solve the world’s problems that seem to be insurmountable problems to humans.

Different faces of Sophia developed by Hanson Robotics. Google Images
Different faces of Sophia developed by Hanson Robotics.

So we have divergent views of what ‘The Singularity’ will bring.

Will it be creative and compassionate as Dr. Hanson wishes?

Will it be benevolent per Elon Musk?

Will it have the level of human intelligence of Ray Kurzweil?

Or will it be foreboding as Dr. de Garis envisions?

Just maybe The Singularity will not occur by 2045 as Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft asserts. His article “The Singularity Isn’t Near” appeared in the MIT Technology Review.

One of Mr. Allen’s assertations for predicting that the 2045 expected date will fail is that he believes that there will not be enough computing power by 2045. He also believes that software complex enough to calculate the components of the human brain will not be available by then either. This article was written in 2011 but seems as current today as it was then – until last month.

Quantum Computing

However, enormous progress has been made in quantum computing. This progress has just exploded in the last month or two.

Albert Einstein had trouble with Quantum Computing. “The Nobel Prize Winning physicist declared that the thinking behind quantum mechanics was fundamentally flawed.

Scientists have since proved the theory repeatedly and conclusively.” Jack Nicas October 16, 2017, How Google’s Quantum Computer Changed the World in the Wall Street Journal.

In his article, Jack Nicas interviewed Hartmut Neven, the German computer scientist that led the Google Glasses project.

Jack tried to use a “Cliff Notes” version of the theory of quantum mechanics and I must confess even the simplified version is way over my head.

I think I need a really ‘dumbed down’ version.

My simple explanation, and it may not be correct since it misses so much ‘meat’ is a single atom can be in two locations at the same time.

This, of course, leads to speculation of objects existing in multiple dimensions, or parallel universes.

In practical terms, I made mention in a recent post ( “Slamma Jamma”” published on January 29, 2018.) of the Chinese developing the perfectly secure system for transmitting documents using quantum mechanics. Per quantum mechanics, rules state once a bit (the “secret key”) has engaged any attempt to ‘hack’ into the record will destroy it. 

It would seem that is a pretty secure way to keep something. If someone tries to look in, boom, it vanishes.

The experiment that demonstrated this successfully was between China and Austria. It has led to the thinking of the ‘quantum internet”.

Just last month Intel joined Google and IBM in the race to build the first practical quantum computer by announcing a new 49 qubit neuromorphic chip designed

The quantum compter must be kept in a cold state to function. Google Images
The quantum computer must be kept in a cold state to function.

for computing research. Intel made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2018.

In an oversimplified explanation of how quantum computers work: regular semiconductors represent information as a series of 1s and 0s. The unit of computing in a quantum computer is a qubit. Qubits can compute as both a 1 and a 0 simultaneously. Two qubits can represent the sequence 1-0, 1-1,0-1,0-0 at the same moment in time. A quantum computer with as little as 50 qubits can pack more computing power than the most powerful supercomputers.

The basis of computing power is found in Moore’s Law. It dictates that computing power per unit would double every 18 months while the price per unit would drop by half.

However, the point has now been reached where the amount of money needed to squeeze out improvements is greater than in the past.

Quantum computing is a way to move past that.

In November 2017 IBM announced it had built a quantum machine that uses 50 qubits. This is a major breakthrough because it represents the critical barrier where quantum computers are believed to accelerate past traditional supercomputers.

A major issue with quantum computing is displayed in the IBM machine.

It can only maintain the quantum computing state for 90 microseconds at a time. These machines must be supercooled to work and a separate set of calculations must be run to correct errors in the original calculations.

Google’s quantum computer is racing to achieve “quantum supremacy” in 2019.

The test needed to pass to achieve this prize is an obscure computational problem that would take a classic computer a billion years to complete.

Success means that this computer will achieve something that even a few years ago would have been thought to be impossible.

This computer will mark the end of the ‘classical age’ of computing.

Hand in hand, the end of the classical age in computing and the beginning of the age of machine intelligence will mark extreme changes.

The next few years will mark advancements in human knowledge that have taken the time since man-made cave paintings to achieve.

When accomplished, the very next few minutes of time will eclipse that sum of knowledge.

Veering off Course

Another Googler, Google co-founder Larry Page has a flying taxi service. It is cleared for takeoff in New Zealand. This all-electric vertical take-off and landing machine has taken flight.

Cora the flying taxi of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand. Google Images
Cora the flying taxi of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand

Seemingly a cross between the Delorean of “Back to the Future” meets the hovercraft of “The Jetsons”, Cora is on the move. The comparison is presented in an article by Sherisse Pham of CNN Tech March 13, 2018.

“Cora” the vehicle takes off like a helicopter and transitions to a plane. Cora is self-piloting, can fly at 93 miles per hour and can travel 62 miles.

Fred Reid of the company Kitty Hawk which has its operations in New Zealand boasts of a “pollution-free, emission-free vehicle that flies independently.”

Uber and Airbus are also racing to commercialize flying taxis.

Meanwhile, in China, a company ‘Ehang’ released a video of passengers climbing aboard its autonomous drone and taking off with the push of a button.

Ehang boasts at least 40 successful journeys. It wasn’t until January 2018 that it shared footage of the flights.Video of Ehang 184.

It would appear that America’s first entry into the market, Boeing, has some catching up to do.

Your Choices

The Singularity, that potential “paradise” where humans won’t have to work.

Quantum computing where all the intransigent problems of the world can now be solved by computers.

Both of these ‘futures’ are still developing in the wings.

In the present, wings are being flown by a Chinese company Ehang and a New Zealand company Kitty Hawk.

These two companies are really the ‘disruptors’ today. They are showing the rest of the world the possibilities that can be realized now.

Explosion of The Singularity, Quantum Computing soon to come. Google Images
The explosion of The Singularity, Quantum Computing soon to come.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Red Rose Svetlana Manic 674670 - unsplash!
Red Rose Svetlana Manic 674670 – unsplash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overwhelmed and Out of Sorts aka Divisiveness & Feeble Optimism

aka Divisiveness and Feeble Optimism

March 1, 2018

I started writing many articles for February. I wanted to write about the major failing of Facebook in the election of 2016.

I wanted to write about the Republican Party especially in light of the annual gathering of conservatives at CPAC recently.

Mainly I had to write because I am concerned down to my toes about the future.

The cause of my foreboding is best described by one word – divisiveness.

Its action continues to erode the balance and attitudes in this country.

Indeed, dividedness is ratcheting up several notches due to whichever side of any issue you are on from the NRA to Russia.

Every day brings new crises from political (think Jared Kushner), to international (think Jared Kushner) to the military (think North Korea but we have to keep in mind the Mideast Iran, Israel, Saudia Arabia. But let us not forget the firecracker – Syria).

However, as I was plummeting deeper into my malaise I found a few articles that shed a ray of hope.

The determination of a few people gave rise to feeble optimism. This ship of state can be turned around. Grassroots movements are energizing people. Democratic Senators are disavowing money from the rich, grassroots Black Power and Black Lives Matter movements are now succeeding in the political realm.

The Moral Compass. Good Evil Wrong Right Google Images
The Moral Compass.      Good Evil Wrong Right

PART ONE

The Game:

The scariest new game in town is the one from researchers at the University of Washington. They figured out how to synthesize photorealistic lip synching using completely unrelated audio.

To demonstrate the power of their project they transformed the lip movements and gestures of former President Barack Obama in various speeches throughout his political career.

This ability to alter what you think you are seeing drives to the core of what divisiveness will be able to cause.

The old saying “believe only 25% of what you hear and 50% of what you see” has flown out the window.

In addition to bots destroying reality or making up a ‘fake reality’, we now must question what we see just as severely. The above information by Aric Jenkins, July 2017, in Time.com “Future Tech” section.

The Numbers: 

In the US:

The top 1% Control 35% of the Wealth

The top 10% Control 75% of the Wealth

The top 29% Control 87% of the Wealth

When I look at the $1.5 trillion given to the already rich I see that all Americans are funding the GOP campaign coffers for the next 10 years! (Please tuck this away for just a few minutes.)

The “Trickle Down Theory” invented by Ronald Reagan and copied to a lesser extent by George W. Bush does not increase the spending by the wealthy nor does it improve the health or wealth of those that support the wealthy by paying our taxes.

The greatest heist perpetrated on the American people occurred in 2018.

The Political Odds

While so much is currently being made of the statehouse seats being wrested from the Republican ledger by Democrats the fact remains that so many seats will have to be won in order to overturn the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

Primaries start as early as May 1st.

Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats. With so many seasoned Republicans leaving or retiring I bet that more Trump leaning candidates will be nominated for these seats rather than moderate Republicans who would pledge to work ‘across the aisle’ to promote a bipartisan agenda.

While Democrats have been making headlines with their fundraising efforts the fact remains that the rich and wealthy corporations control the elections.

The top 100 donors to political campaigns give almost as much as 4.75 MILLION  of all the other donors combined (those who give $200 or less). If the non-profits were included the mega-donors would tip the scale even further (non-profits don’t have to indicate who the recipients of their donations are).

The campaign finance landscape has slid so far to the ultra-rich as to make the efforts of all the rest an exercise in futility. ‘Big Money Breaks Out’, by Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico.

I have included two links that you might find interesting.

The first is to an organization that tracks who is giving to your campaign (if you are an office seeker).

The second is to an organization that anyone can use to pinpoint where the money is coming from.

aristotle.com   

follow the money

This last link is a blow by blow account of companies that donated to Trump’s inauguration and 63 federal contractors who received ‘rewards’ in return.

open secrets.org

An article in Fault Lines titled “The Places That Will Decide the 2018 Midterm Elections” by Ronal Brownstein, CNN is a stunning eye-opener. He spells out the analysis that shows just how difficult it will be for Democrats to wrest control of the House from the Republicans.

I did not delve into the gory details of these topics or I would become so depressed I would not be able to get to the uplifting part of this article.

I have provided links to each site I used to glean information.

INTERMISSION: ROCK MY WORLD

I found an interview with Steve Bannon that is extremely interesting. THE Steve Bannon? The same. I have railed against him in numerous posts (I suspect that most of them have disappeared.)

Yes indeed, he made two major points that I am in agreement with him.

First is the rising power and threat of China. I will spend more time on this in another post but it is one of Trump’s biggest, if not the biggest blunder. When he canceled TPP he gave that part of the world to China. Now he has to start clawing it back.

The bigger issue for this post is Bannon’s acknowledgment of the power of the women’s movement.

He has gone so far as to travel to New York to witness in person the Second Women’s March. What started out as #MeToo has grown in #TimesUp movement.

In an interview with Ben Schreckinger of GQ, he said “The TimesUp Movement is much more fundamental and actually many steps above #MeToo.

“It’s basically going against 10,000 years of recorded history.

That’s the power of it.

You see here something that’s in a very early raw stage, but I’ve never seen such potential power in something.”

The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA
The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA

PART TWO

The Upside

The arrogance and attitude of Trump will be a cause of his downfall.

While his antics cannot be part of a campaign plan, the instances he creates can certainly be used to create daily headlines for comparison of leadership and moral standards.

Trump is still Trump.

He will continue to aggravate those people who don’t subscribe to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.

Hopefully, this will be an ever-increasing number as the midterms elections close in.

Women

I was astonished at the number of college-educated white women that voted for Trump in 2016. That same demographic also voted for Roy Moore in his Senate race. Interesting but ancient history.

The #MeToo movement has dethroned a large and growing number of white men in positions of power that abused their power and privilege.

They have been called to task.

That movement has matured into #TimesUp. A movement that provides support and legal fees for women that have been assaulted.

This groundswell must continue to grow and assert the power that Steve Bannon knows it possesses.

The Young

The young people came alive after the Parkland Valentine’s Day Massacre.

It can continue its disruption of the status quo and bring fresh, committed voters to its cause.

It can grow beyond gun control and control of the election process by the 1% and corporations. Blood Money must be taken out of circulation.  

Across this country, so many young people have decided to make their opinions known. March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, will be the clarion call for this movement to demonstrate the strength of their resolve.

In Texas, a school superintendent threatened to suspend students protesting for stricter gun laws.   

Just this morning, Representative John Lewis stated that he has great hopes for these movements of women and young people who can regenerate a movement. They can regenerate the landscape as after a forest fire. The new shoots begin to develop as soon as the heat dissipates. The heat is on, what happens next will decide the future.

Usually, the changes demanded by people following gun violence or sexual assault tend to dissolve the more time elapses. This year portends to be different.

Populist Movement

The last key to this regeneration is the populist movement that is reigniting the winds of change throughout the south. Due to the maturing of Black Lives Matter and the Black Power movements, strong black mayors were elected. An example is Chokwe Antar Lumumba who is mayor of Jackson Mississippi. He was elected mayor by 93 percent of the vote and pledged to make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet.”

Another example is the incumbent mayor of Birmingham Alabama, 36-year-old Randall Woodfin. He was a city prosecutor and school board member who defeated an old-style politico by winning 58 percent of the vote.

These and other progressive leaders are pushing corporate money out of politics, backing a $15 per hour minimum wage and Medicare for All programs that will benefit all Americans. Progressive Populism by Jim Hightower

Women on the move, youth up in arms and populist movements to unseat stagnation of the current political parties, they will rise up to overcome the retrograde policies and actions of the current administration.

If these grassroots movements find effective national leaders such as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Maria Cantwell and Bernie Sanders there is hope of the movements coalescing and maturing into a force to unseat Republican strangleholds.

If they can stir into action the voices of a disaffected public and be the counterpoint to massive corporations and the 1% sea change will come. A true and lasting movement will be formed.

“American’s faith in government is at an all-time low with 90 percent believing the government is working for the benefit of a special few interests” according to Jake Johson staff writer for Common DreamsMore in-depth views of the progressive movement.

The progressive movement I am discussing has been defined by Mike Lux author of “The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be“. Wiley, 2009

The Progressives that ended slavery, gave women and minorities and the poor their rights, created the National Park system, made dramatic improvements to clean water and air, brought about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.”

In short the programs that made America a beacon on a hill for other countries to emulate and a country where all citizens have the hope of a better future.

America did not become great because of pollution, denying civil rights, demeaning segments of the population and erecting barriers to stop people from coming in.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

The featured image above was made by Andrew Krueger a Duluth MN photographer. I have reached out to Andrew to ask if he will permit me to use his images on my blogs. His work is AMAZING. He made the image on Brighton Beach, Duluth MN on February 27, 2018.

Happiness is an inside job. Don't assign anyone else that much powerover your life. Post to Facebook March 2018

ice fishing with the Duluth MN skyline as backgroup Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN
What better way to spend a winter in Duluth MN that ice fishing with the Duluth skyline as a backdrop. You can even see the High Bridge connecting Duluth MN and Superior WI. Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN