Tag Archives: Arnold Schwarzenegger

From Location to Innovation (loss)

It is a real estate dream, to talk about the location and therefor get a better price; we are all about getting a nice home, yet we look at places where we know it will sell for the 100%-200% of the price we paid for it, preferably within 5 years. Most of us looking for something oversized have at some point seen 924 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles, California. It is so over the top, so expensive that most billionaires might not even consider it. No matter how much of a technological, arts and lifestyle monument it is, complete with helipad. A house like that makes you a target of some sorts. There will always be envy, there will always be the next challenge and there will always be the next addition. To live in a house that has it all is for most you desire is unsettling. Weirdly enough it is within us, when we see this and we think ‘this is as good as it will ever get’, when we have that thought before we are 40 it becomes the limitation on us, it boggles our need of creativity. Now, for the most we need not worry, 99.99% of the population will never get near to 50% of that marker, but it is there, our minds creates this. So when a few articles passed my way, they started to add up and weirdly enough it is an opinion piece by John Naughton on June 16th that started it all. With ‘How Silicon Valley’s whiz-kids finally ran out of friends‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/16/how-silicon-valley-whiz-kids-finally-ran-out-of-friends) it begins.

With: “Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the jewel in the American crown, a magnet for high IQ – and predominately male – talent from all over the world. Palo Alto was the centre of what its more delusional inhabitants regarded as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0“, I was never there, but I was linked to some degree and I say early on how greed took over, how opportunity seekers would resort to Machiavelli and other means to get what they desire and they never cared how they got there, it was their ‘political game’. Then we see a truth as the quote “the commentator Alexis Madrigal identifies no fewer than 15 different groups preparing ambushes. They include angry conservatives and progressive politicians, disillusioned tech luminaries, competition lawyers, privacy advocates, European regulators, mainstream media, scholarly critics, other corporations (telecoms firms, for example, plus Oracle and other business-software companies, for example), consumer-protection organisations and, last but not least, Chinese internet companies. With enemies like these, the US tech companies are suddenly discovering that they really need some friends.” the reason is actually simple. these US tech companies were heading in a direction of maximisation through iteration, as the need for true innovation was lost (not that innovation that places like Apple claim to have), others caught on and the drive that Silicon valley once had was no longer there, it was stepwise progression whilst the marathon runners like Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China caught up. Microsoft wasted its console world through mere stupidity and a spreadsheet (and being dumb and short sighted). That is why none of them are allowed near my IP (with the optional exception of Google). As innovation becomes iteration the margins went down and it brought regulators, tax haven needs and other players like competition and IP attorneys into all of it (as fore mentioned) and suddenly the grape season was out, the harvest had diminished and what in whiskey terms is called ‘the angel’s share’ grew leaving little to the others. I believe that the writer nails it with: “And we are beginning to realise that the immense power that the valley’s uber-geeks have acquired is what Stanley Baldwin memorably nailed as “power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”” but there a mistake is made, there are two kinds in that valley, the dreamers and the combined needs of the operators and facilitators, that second group is more important to watch mainly because it stopped the first group. the second group thought that by putting their stallion in a paddock, fenced in and limited to a smaller part it would be more effective, and having 5 fields will lead to 500% of the goal, but that was stupidity speaking. Wild horses, real stallions need to race, the strongest takes the lead and together as they burn the ground under their hooves they become more agile, stronger players and their race goes towards the dream that they had no envisioned yet. that is how the iPad came, that is how Smartphone came that is how Nano technology comes and through iteration the next tier is not merely slower, the dreamers forgot to dream, they needed to produce in larger amounts with less resources, less space and that is how they got overtaken by said Korea, Japan and China. The results are in front of us and now that India is catching up in more than one way the dream of more fortune becomes the nightmare of losing it all. So when the final wisdom comes: “And once they went public they did what corporations do: maximise shareholder value, come what may, avoid regulation and pay as little tax as possible. Just like tobacco companies and arms manufacturers“, there we have it, the larger system was ignore thought compartmentalisation and no one realised just how stupid they were. that is one of two more reasons why I do not trust my IP with 98% of the tech firms, they will not learn because the inner parts are all about profit and maximisation, and through that weakness billions in revenue are lost, because of the fake dream that iteration brings the same in twice the time but at only a part of the resources, the biggest flaw is setting a profit stage to a spreadsheet, innovation can never be gained through predictive analytics, because predictive analytics gives the continuation of a product, not the consequence of a new technology beheld by a dreamer, there will never be data to do that and that is how it was all lost.

Round two

And that is how we got to round two last Saturday as Ruha Benjamin (associate professor at Princeton University) and even as she starts with ‘We definitely can’t wait for Silicon Valley to become more diverse‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jun/29/ruha-benjamin-we-cant-wait-silicon-valley-become-more-diverse-prejudice-algorithms-data-new-jim-code), she gives a truth that I partially oppose (not the diversity), as it was always about the dreamers. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg they were all dreamers to some degree. That world needs dreamers and facilitators that push dreams into the reality of innovation. The more diverse that world is, the more diverse the dream becomes and the greater the achievement could be. It is true innovation in its purest forms and whilst the CEO’s took the words of CFO’s and marketeers that reality was forgotten. Marketeers hope and drive hypes, they cannot dream on something that they cannot fathom, it is the most destructive vicious circle imaginable. So when I see: “She founded the Just Data Lab, which aims to bring together activists, technologists and artists to reassess how data can be used for justice. Her latest book, Race After Technology, looks at how the design of technology can be discriminatory” I see both hope and failure. the hope is that as diversity of ‘activists, technologists and artists‘ unites, we see new paths, the artist sees a path and draws it, the technologist can devise it the activist can oppose the path and scream for a meadow to walk on, that is how innovation came, quote literally, the Dutch a nation the size of New Jersey gave us: ‘Dutch Solar Bike Path SolaRoad Successful & Expanding‘ (which gave me another idea with a more metropolitan and rural opportunity approach), innovated roads by catching sunshine to power the evening lights, it is true innovation in action and an optional path to reduce the carbon footprint, whilst getting the surroundings powered. When we see first results: “with 3000 kWh generated, the solar panels were outperforming the 70 kWh annual per square meter expected threshold set in the lab. In its first year, the SolaRoad produced 9,800 kWh, roughly equivalent to the annual average consumption of three Dutch households“, we see a path towards innovation. There is no doubt that data can be used for justice, but in which direction? Yet I too adhere to idea’s, I am a different dreamer and even with a law and a technology degree (including a master) I have not dreamt in that direction, perhaps this is for another dreamer, the need to recognise it is essential, to find the right dreamer.

And this is not an attack on Ruha in any way, she gives a clear premise with “Many of these automated systems are trying to identify and predict risk. So we have to look at how risk was assessed historically – whether a bank would extend a loan to someone, or if a judge would give someone a certain sentence. The decisions of the past are the input for how we teach software to make those decisions in the future. If we live in a society where police profile black and Latino people that affects the police data on who is likely to be a criminal. So you’ll have these communities overrepresented in the data sets, which are then used to train algorithms to look for future crimes, or predict who’s seen to be higher risk and lower risk“, you see this is observation towards risk, a path we have seen clearly in the last two decades, yet the opposite is also there, but how to set its dimensionality? It becomes big data in observation towards opportunity, a path never walked because opportunity is one identified once it is walked, a system cannot predict the dream if it cannot comprehend the dream, or the dreamer. It is designing a computer that will design computers. It is the ability to design Skynet (I just had to go there), with the optional danger of our own end (see the collected works of Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger). It is always most likely to fail because Ruha forgot to include a philosopher to her team. The computer fails because we forgot about philosophia, the love of wisdom, and as we forgot about that we merely ended with really clever calculators and calculators are never about predicting the future, it is about limiting cost and maximising profit in any endeavour (more money, more reserves, more energy, more resources) and these margins never lead to wisdom or innovation because the dreamer was missing and dreamers do not constitute a positive influx in that engine, sales and marketing did away with that, they always will.

To illustrate this let me give you a personal side. In 1997 I send a mail to a sales executive. I had recently by accident found the Warner Brothers Angelfire partnership site. They had united and every person could freely sign up to get a Buffy Address, a Babylon 5 address, a Charmed address and so on. It was static, you got access to fan art, you got 20Mb web space and an email address. In those days (pre Gmail) it was actually really cool, but there was no way to reach out, So I suggested that we have something similar and allow the people to reach each other and we would be in the middle being able to market to all of them. The sales executive laughed in my face, stating that it would never have any business premise, it was a useless use of resources, it was not in ‘the mission statement‘. I dropped it knowing it was a lost opportunity. Now we have Facebook. My idea was nowhere near it, it was not advanced it was merely messaging and marketing, the direct impact of no vision, 4 years before Facebook shown in two colours, Black and White, I still have the email somewhere, 4 years before the launch of Social media, I tried to introduce a path towards it. I have no doubt that Facebook would have overtaken me, I did not dream that advanced, but at least I had the dream and it is also for that reason that my IP will never go into hands like the limited ones I had to work with.

A limiting amount of opposition (from to her) is seen in “Part of that has been spurred on by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and the US election. More and more people are realising that this idea of big tech coming to save us, it’s really been dismantled. Part of it is shifting from a kind of paranoia around technology to what my activist colleagues like to say: from paranoia to power“, I believe that data is data, it is not wisdom and I also believe that data can aid in finding solutions, yet to do that you must drive a solution, you must devise a way where data is the inspirer towards innovation and software cannot directly lead towards it, you can dashboard it to see where the needs are, you can report on it where the shortages are and you can make a slice and dice app to let people get a scope of information to feed the dream, but you cannot directly feed the dreamer as you cannot predict in what direction his dream goes. You can merely hope to bring the spark that makes the dreamer dream in his or her direction and hope it leads to innovation and at that part the CEO, COO, CFO and CTO will have come crying half a dozen times to stop the squandering of resources. She does address my view correctly when she gives us: “More diversity in Silicon Valley is important, but won’t automatically address algorithmic bias. Unless all those diverse people are empowered to challenge discriminatory design processes, diversity is a ruse” and she is correct and perhaps she also answers her own question.

In all this we forgot one group, we forgot about the children, we need to be able to look at data like a child and learn to randomly look at answers to questions that we aren’t even asking, it is the initial option of a spark (not a given) that leads to the insight we get with: ‘What If?‘, the need to embrace the obvious, not ignoring it, all this in data is required to get insights leading to wisdom, the question becomes how can this be addressed and form my personal point of view is to teach people about data as early as possible, not in a light of statistics, but in a light to something I got in the early 70’s, looking at the question ‘What is the chance something happens?‘, a simple ‘kans tol‘ (Chance spinner) which would give the younger watcher an indication on chance and statistics. When we add that to the equation what happens when creativity takes over and they start looking at what they can find, or even better, what they cannot find. The younger mind is more eager to find, and equally find missing. It is that part that we are missing out of and it matters, because it is the first step in learning the question that we are not phrasing, optionally overlooking the obvious.

Part Three (Final)

Finally we get to part three with ‘Why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry). And we see part of the drive with “Even Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and a San Francisco native who has long urged comity between the techies and the city, has taken to calling his hometown a “train wreck”“, we can only conclude that now that he bought Tableau it will get worse for him. Even as it is not about him, but the failing infrastructure with “one-bedroom apartment reached an all-time high of $3,700 a month“, which is more than twice the price for a real decent two bedroom apartment in Chicago, we see the impact, but not what is around all of them, yet it is not new, London has similar issues. As the people who can afford to live somewhere, we see that greed takes over turning the city into a carcass because it lacks a sustainable infrastructure. As people cannot afford to live near where they work, infrastructure becomes an increasing problem and as cities cater to large investors, they forgot that affordable living is essential; they merely pushed that issue forward and forward again and again. We see he escalation even further when we consider the quote: “San Francisco has become more of a satellite campus, with South Bay stalwarts including Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn competing for office space in the city proper. They’ve joined the San Francisco-native companies Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb in the cramped confines of a city of just 49 square miles, surrounded by water on three sides” instead of diversifying and clustering over a much larger area, they all moved together, and as such thousands of employees need to live where they work and now prices are through the roof, it also impacts the bottom line, so as others decided to keep their stomping grounds in Columbus Ohio and as we see those in Madison Wisconsin, we see that the bottom line changes, yet they too push for space in San Francisco, so what was once the United States of America is not the Marketing needs of California. the sad part is that these people are all separated and isolated form one another through intellectual property, and as I am happy to make fun of Zendesk and their need to “file oppositions at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to 49 trademarks including the word “zen”“, all whilst we know that “Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism” that is reported and registered as something that is 1200 years old, so to see that there are at present well over 724 active trademarks which include the word “Zen” we see the replacement from inner peace to turf wars and it links to all of it, these people all think and associate alike, and as we have seen, it leads to iteration not innovation. And there we see the hoax in the serious setting. As we are introduced to: ““I feel like San Francisco is between Seattle and New York, but rather than the best of both, it’s the worst of both,” said Beth, a 24-year-old product manager who asked not to be identified by her real name. Beth moved to the city directly after graduating from Stanford to work at a major tech company, but recently transferred to Seattle. “Everyone I met was only interested in their jobs, and their jobs weren’t very interesting,” she said of her time in San Francisco. “I get it, you’re a developer for Uber, I’ve met a million of you.”” When you cluster together you create new bias and new limitations that merely stop you from dreaming. When you are in San Francisco, North of SF International Airport, you are now mostly all the same, think the same, work the same and you are all separated on three sides by water, and a failed infrastructure, you have no way to go. There we see the benefit that the two other locations have, space created opportunity and the chance to dream, a path to innovation, and I fear that things will turn from bad to worse for San Francisco. As greed pushed out the infrastructure, it removed diversity, it is not merely the diversity that pushes us to lows, the fact that some ideas came from watching someone do something else, the ability to see their interaction with the environment that allowed for new thoughts and that cubicles took that away, even if it is not called open space, it merely made the entire open space a cubicle. So whilst these people ‘enjoy’ their 55Km bus ride to Mountain view, we see that the same distance gets us to Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, all with opportunity and other considerations and it is the ‘other considerations’ that are the treasure trove in this, because it changes the mindset of people, considerations lead to opportunity, opportunity is the foundation of innovation, it always has been, whether the innovation is accepted or rejected does not matter, it is the one that does go through that becomes the innovation that fills a corporate coffer, iteration merely lets it go on a little longer. Diversity shows that as others embrace an idea it can truly be improved on and create a new innovation, not a new iteration, but that only happens when the accepting diversity is large enough, and that is when we get the one quote that shows the disaster. With: ““It was really hard to stomach the indifference that I witnessed from folks who’d been living in San Francisco for a while, simply stepping over the slumped bodies of people who lived outside or just cold ignoring people asking for money,” said Jessica Jin, who moved to San Francisco from Austin, Texas, to work for a tech startup, of her first impressions of the city. “I wondered how long it would take me to also become numb to it all.”” we need to see that this is the largest danger. It is not that Jessica Jin moved to SF, it is ‘how long it would take me to also become numb to it all‘, that will be the moment that her dreaming to innovation ends, when we become numb, we merely create a shell to ignore what is around us and that is the first thing to thump innovation into silence, as I see it that has always been the first hurdle to lose innovation and soon thereafter they lose the ability towards iteration as well.

It is the larger issue to a much larger problem that we never properly defined, how did we lose the ability to properly dream a path to innovation, it is what drowns the creative mind and soon thereafter we get exactly what the CEO’s and CFO’s wanted, result driven worker bees, but that is what killed their company, the dream is lost and so is creation of innovation attached to it.

It is about location, location, location, but not in the way you thought it was. It was about the space to truly dream, too bad these hundreds of board members all forgot that one simple lesson, all whilst it was in front of them all along, most of them got into the board of directors using that path in the first place, how quaint!

 

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The Governors act

In amongst the 82.4 things (roughly) I have to do on a daily basis, the fleeting moments I have to myself are fleeting indeed. Whether I keep myself busy, keep myself occupied or keep myself distracted does not matter. My mind does not stop working. It was during these activities that an article on Steven Seagal crossed my eyesight. The article was part of the ‘problem’. It was a minimal associated press message on how the Actor Steven Seagal is considering to be running for the position of Governor of Arizona (at http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jan/05/steven-seagal-arizona-governor).

A mere 140 word article, surrounded by 8,000 characters of ‘notifications’! Is that all that the Guardian was capable of? The Independent made a much better job of it adding a few things (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/marked-for-governor-steven-seagal-hints-at-arizona-election-bid-9039937.html), my response to that is well done Tim Walker!

So what is the beef I have? Well, many of us, and to some degree me too when I was a lot younger did not take the idea of an actor going into politics very seriously. But is that not at the heart of our own folly? Let’s face it, especially in America; the elected official is a spokesperson for the people who elected him/her.

Even nowadays, many actors become so after getting a University Master’s degree that that tend to include Communication and Media.

Ronald Reagan as the former 40th President of the United Stated will likely remain the most famous of them all. Yet, the other names are not without distinction. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California and one of the more interesting names would be Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who was a professional wrestler, actor and became Governor of Minnesota. The rumour that the bears were so afraid of this governor that they left for the Dakota’s is still unconfirmed. 😉

Finally there is John Lodge who after a decent actor (playing with stars like Shirley Temple and Marlene Dietrich), who would serve in WW2 in the US Navy and become Governor of Connecticut.

There are also several actors who decided on other governmental roles like Alan Autry, Clint Eastwood and Jack Kelly. They became Mayors and several actors went to the House of Representatives.

So many took up arms, did their bit and after making loads of money (in acting) decided to do something for their nation. Is there any worthier cause then to represent the people around you?

So, when that flimsy report of 140 words came on a Guardian page, I thought it was time to take another look at a few things.

First of all, some of the negative responses we see thrown at Steven Seagal are not without ‘reason’. The man has not played the upscale roles Al Pacino played. Is that his fault? When movies go well we all want a piece of the glory, when they are mediocre or bad it is always the fault of the actor, it seems unfair as the movie comes from a ‘vision’ of some director, limited by the funds of the producer. I know that there is more to all this. What is known is the fact that he was the centre part in half a dozen blockbusters that made loads of money. The interesting part is that although these movies were not successful, Seagal made several movies aimed to instil environmental consciousness into the viewers of the big screen.

With numerous acts of activism in protection of environment and animals, it seemed to me that this person deserved more than a mere 140 words. In addition, with what we have seen in the last 20 years, how the quality of all goes up as the spokesperson achieves better goals for them, is it so strange that Actors see this as an option when they leave the tinsel town stage? Let us not forget that the roles these wealthy stars occupy in choices from deputy sheriff to governor go from $48,000 to $125,000 a year (average incomes). For these actors, in many cases it is less than peanuts as they have millions stashed away from their previous careers. Before you think it is easy money, consider that a mid-level banker lacking accountability makes somewhere 200% and 24,000% of the average income of a US governor, depending on which bank that banker ends up with.

The biggest issue I have is that all these papers (LA Times, Washington Post, Guardian and so on) they all just used the Associated press part, with a mere 140 words to mention the name of a possible new governor, all of them ending with the line ‘he wants to increase border security‘.

It was only at www.bizpacreview.com where the following was quoted: “During the interview with ABC15, Seagal said he’s had discussions with Arpaio about a potential run, but does have other priorities to consider. When asked what the country’s number one problem was, Seagal’s response was ‘open borders.’ I think that our biggest problem is open borders,” he said. “I think that across these borders, any kind of terrorism can come, and does come. I think this is a tremendous oversight by the current administration.

Actually, he only has a partial point in my humble opinion. This issue has played for a long time and the non-actions have been visible all the way back to former President Bush. With its 1950 miles it is the most open incursion area for the United States. The rumour on Al Qaeda getting ‘assistance for a fee’ from Mexican drug cartels has been just that, a rumour.

Linked to this is a statement from Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, who said on C-SPAN’s ‘Washington Journal’ April 17, 2013: “We know al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border. We know that people are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic when they’re radical Islamists. We know these things are happening and… it’s just insane not to protect ourselves.

Here is the kicker, actual evidence has not yet be shown, which is also no evidence that it is not true. The issue for the possible future Governor of Arizona is that his/her 370 mile stretch is almost 20% of that entire borderline. Even if that border was strengthened by a wall, it would not stop the other 80% of the border getting any safer. My issue is that Steven talks a good talk, but the US budgets, the way it is in now clearly indicates that there will never ever be enough money to get these borders secure enough. Whatever the solution it is he wants to implement, it will cost, and it will cost a lot. Until economic prosperity gets back into Arizona, his hands will be tied. Let’s not forget that on the number one spot employer in Arizona is Wal-Mart (the same one where they have mastered the art to pay below the poverty line).

So, whoever ends up in the governor’s chair, his or her goose is slightly cooked. There is of course a creative alternative. He/She could bestow most of Pima County (the southern part or Arizona) to the Navajo, with the only duty that they keep their southern border secure. It is not the worst idea to see these terrorists return to the eternal hunting grounds as a slightly more scalped edition? Is it?

So in the end, should this job go to an actor? Whatever he is labelled as, he has proven to be a fighter, a humanitarian and a philanthropist. Here is where the fight gets interesting. He will go up against Jan Brewer. As a Republican she had increased tax earlier stating that she was forced to ask for the increase due to the state’s $4 billion state budget deficit. In addition, she had been rated as one of the worst governors in America. As such Seagal has more than just a fighting chance. If he can do something about the income of the 30,000 at Wal-Mart in his future state, he could be getting a landslide victory.

This gets us to the actual people in power, meaning those behind a governor advising him/her. Here is where it gets interesting. Those people need funding and sponsors, which makes it interesting for big business to get the right person in power. This means that whatever Steven will try to improve, the places like Wal-Mart will have every intention to get the person elected who serve their purpose. You can read more about that part at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-norman/walmart-lobbyists_b_3632526.html. One of the quotes that come out strong is “the contributions of the Wal-Mart Stores political action committee to federal candidates and other political committees has grown rapidly during the past decade.

So, when we consider the power Wal-Mart has, we should also wonder who they prefer, Jan Brewer or Steven Seagal. Because behind the power of Wal-Mart hides a fistful of billions, which makes for one mighty punch.

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Biased Journalism on USA shutdown?

We have seen reports of all forms. We see information management in what I have called bad news managing. This has happened in the Netherlands. Is it Biased Journalism, or is this journalism based upon the information handed to them?

The second part would be fair enough, because the journalist is dealing with what is handed to them. However, when we look at the canons of Journalism and their codes of ethics some questions come to the front of the lines. Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity are three of the elements and there are more than just these three. I am not willing to attack truthfulness. It is in my view an empty gesture to do so. This is all based upon information that the Journalist gets handed. Accuracy might be an issue. They might have passed on the exact information they were handed, yet how accurate was it? Was the information tested in any way? Then there is objectivity. I am not sure if that is a valid point. Let us face the fact that objectivity is in the eyes of the beholder and as such there is more than one viewpoint. In all honesty, any article would need to be viewed from more than one side and the news as we usually watch it on TV is actually not that equipped to do just that. Newspapers are!

I have illustrated in earlier blogs that some of the mentioned information seemed inaccurate to me. This happens, I do not claim to be correct, but it seemed too upbeat to me and as such I questioned it. I was not alone, but not too many public contributors were, and in more than one occasion my view was the correct one. So when I saw the NOS news today, more questions rose in my mind and it is time to ask a few more and some other questions.

The most questionable part was the news on the US Shutdown as that danger approaches within the next 24 hours. What I saw as an issue was the way some parties were illustrated. First of all, it is important to know that I am leaning strongly towards the republican view. Not stating so beforehand would be wrong in my mind. The issue I had was with the NOS newscast of the US shutdown. It was not incorrect, but there were issues that have not been mentioned, which were at the centre of it all.

I see this all as the republican move to stop the abundant of irresponsible spending by a democratic party run government. Yes, we know that this is not about the fiscal cliff this time, but the government budget is directly linked to this. The democrats have taken the debt out of acceptable proportions.

Let us not forget that the US has a 17,000 BILLION dollar debt, this comes down to 340 billion dollars per state. In addition, if we look back to the Californian change in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor, former governor Gray Davis was confronted with a recall because the state shortfall was only 10% of the 340 Billion. That was directly due to the dot com boom collapse and a large group of companies were suddenly in a position no longer able to pay taxation, which meant that California, one of the richest states was suddenly without cash. Now the simple logic that follows, if one of the richest states cannot pay 10% of the outstanding debt, how can the others pay at all? This is the big cake that gets layers after layer of icing. With each layer it is presented as something that can be dealt with, but both democrat and republicans have no real solution. This is at the core of it all. So it is not just about the government budget, it is the issue that the budget is not realistic and that it is only adding to the debt. So when I see the part where Democrat Nita Lowey is talking about a compromise, then I end up splitting my guts with laughter. For two administrations there has not been any decent level of compromise. The republican view is that spending MUST go down by a lot. We could view the state by state comparison, especially against the Netherlands. Most states are larger than the Netherlands and none have a realistic approach to dealing with a 340 billion dollar debt. Now compare that to the Netherlands having to cut 6 billion and the view is almost complete. We all have to tighten the belt and within the USA this would last for no less three generations. The view I am proclaiming to be correct does have issues as well. It is however the view I behold. After Detroit, which already has gone bust, almost two dozen cities are facing the same problem in the US. Fresno, Compton and Oakland are three of them and they are all in California (one of the three rich states). If we would take a deeper look at the 50+ largest cities, then we see healthcare and retirement cost issues that make Detroit look like a joke. It is the healthcare part that is at the centre of it all. The Republicans are utterly convinced that Obama Care will not solve it at all. It will just add to the massive debts. What has been propagated as a solution to all, is in the realistic view of many a non-solution that will push forward debts and invoices that cannot be paid for in the end and as such people will face even more hardship down the line. Not to mention the fact that healthcare professionals might end up seeking greener pastures outside of the US.

The budget shortage is not new. This has been going on since 1995 (at least), however, in those days former president Clinton had two advantages. The first was that the government coffers had a cash surplus. Second was that the dot com boom was going nice. Consultancy firms were going strong, the incomes were really nice and consultants were making loads of cash by selling concepts. So, people were buying ideas and not an existing product. No matter what the reason was (like 9/11), it was the spending that the Bush administration started which gave the treasury such a negative jolt. It was nowhere near the spending that President Obama did, but he did not start this, so let us be fair about it. Against the current administration it must be stated that the no true legislation has been passed stopping Wall street the way it should, so there is no evidence that this will not happen again. And we are all aware that the economic thrashing started all with the Wall Street Clam bake ‘lets go hedge funds’ that was a huge part of the predicament we have now.

The question from the NOS ‘Is there no talking with the Republicans?‘ is not the only question and the one sided part of it is not correct. The linked question is ‘Can US overspending not be contained?‘ is the side the Republicans are dealing with. That part does not seem to be addressed by anyone. We see that side when we look at all the other places, including the Netherlands, the UK and Australia. They all have their own budget ghosts to deal with.

The Dutch government has its own cross to bear trying to find solutions to a 6 billion cutting spree. Too much talking and for too long no results. If we take all these sides (in all the talked about nations), then perhaps another method should be found. The first part is to cut ALL political incomes by 20% and no overtime payment at all (not sure if they get that to begin with). That should make a decent cut in the cost to the national treasuries and might make for quicker decisions. In my view I see no solution in any way to lower taxation. I think that this approach is an unrealistic one. What might be a solution is to change it all to a two tiered tax system with only 27% and 39%. That might work, but only if ALL tax deductibility’s are removed. This has two benefits. The system becomes simpler, and over all, with no deductibility’s left it becomes a clear approach. In addition there is a need to make all commerce taxable at the point of sale (the location of the purchaser’s keyboard). This must be where the buyer physically is. This is to take a stance on that Google, Amazon, et al approach, where on-line companies seem to be selling it all from an empty office in Ireland at taxation levels which should be regarded as a joke.

The system has to be changed. We have heard so many voices that a solution can be made, whilst ZERO results have been achieved for close to a decade. When we see administrations of entire cities go bust, it is time to just end whining about a solution that remains no more than a concept.

By the way, when we look at spending it all, what has been the end result? The fact that the US, the bulk of the Commonwealth and the Netherlands are spending way too much (compared to what is coming in though taxation) is out of proportions. That is why the republicans are putting their foot down and so far there is no evidence that they are holding the wrong position.

What is the right position? That is the question and I do not know whether the Republican position will be the correct one either. Yet, staying with the Democratic view whilst we have almost a decade of evidence that it is not working seems to be a flawed point of view. That view is reinforced by the Heritage foundation where it was quoted “While federal revenues are recovering from the recent recession, spending is growing sharply, resulting in four consecutive years of deficits exceeding $1 trillion.

So the US government has been spending more than a trillion more then it received. Consider that in 2011 the total revenue was set at 2.3 trillion, spending 43% more then you get each year is not a good idea. Consider that the recession is not done by a long-shot; overspending 40% annually will have long term consequences.

If we accept that a government is not a profit based organisation then we could consider that a government would collect taxation at 105%-110% of what it needs. When you spend money and then only collect 71% you are going to need guarantees that things will go wrong. So when I stated that it will take 3 generations to get rid of the debt I was not kidding. In addition, the 17 trillion was just the national debt. The total debt is set at 60 trillion (roughly). This means that every state in the US would have to come up with 1.2 trillion dollars to deal with it. (I know it is not fair, but I need to show an example).

If we consider the three richest states and considering the 2012 numbers (from http://www.census.gov/govs/statetax) we see the following:

The collected taxation from California was 112.3, New York 71.5 and Texas 48.5, all in billions of dollars. So whether we use either the 340 billion or the larger 1.2 trillion, only 3 of the 50 states have any chance of paying it to any effect. Viewing these numbers, do the math and we see that things must change (by a lot). The Heritage foundation is also showing that current entitlements are double the defence budget. How does this relate to Obama care? Will the info they state gives us that the additional costs by 2019 which was set at 100 billion, which is a little over 12% of all collected annual taxes. So, another 100 billion needed whilst there is no income against that. The slide states “Obama care imposes numerous tax hikes which total more than $500 billion over 10 years. Obama care’s higher tax rates on income and investment will slow economic growth, leaving hardworking American families and businesses worse off.

These are the issues that the republicans are fighting. We have seen enough ‘evidence’ to know that most economic recovery for Europe will not commence until 2015. So, as the GOP (Republican Party) is watching these developments, whilst they are watching the additional entitlement costs go up even further, costs, which are pushing their sense of humour all the way to the basement of Congress. This means that there are additional issues stopping the America from regaining its status of ‘economic superpower’. So these are some of the elements that are not too ‘illuminated’ as the US government squabble goes on. The only bonus I see at present, is that when the government shuts down, they should consider not paying any of the elected Democrats and Republicans for these days either. It might at least save the treasury a few dollars.

 

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