Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the category “Pondering”

Surveillance society, peaceful ocean view edition.

Photo by James Ulvog.

Does that photo seem like it is just a peaceful view of the scenic California coast off Point Loma in California with some cool pelicans gliding by?

Well, that it may be, but there is more to it.

Anytime you are in public, you are probably on camera.

Another view of those pelicans:

Photo by James Ulvog.

Read more…

Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Expanding those foundational concepts

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New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is about 1 out of 3 people who had a job in February.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the economic mess created by the shutdown.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/13/20 were 1.508 million, seasonally adjusted, down from revised 1.566 million the previous week.

My tally of data:

  • 45.69 M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was shut down – that is up 4.96 million in three weeks
  •   9.28 M  – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 54.97 M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people

Number of new claims for unemployment as percent of February civilian labor force:

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In spite of some preliminary signs of restoration of the First Amendment, there is resistance to the idea.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

California and Minnesota may be taking tiny baby steps to reinstate the First Amendment to the bill of rights, but there are indications here and there of opposition to any such efforts.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Excessive focus on the First Amendment is a “suicide pact”

5/23/20 – CNN – Federal appeals court upholds California’s ban on in-person Church services – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on in-person worship does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling can be found here.

Astoundingly the ruling stated:

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New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is equal to about 1 out of 4 people who had a job in February.

If you could take a photograph of the US labor market today, the picture would look something like this. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A useful adjective to describe the devastation we are seeing in the job market escapes me.

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 were 2.12 million, seasonally adjusted. Nearly as many, 1.19 million who are not otherwise eligible unemployment filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in the week.

That’s somewhere around 3.3 million people who lost their job in week 10 of the shutdown.

My tally of data:

  • 40.73M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was put in an induced coma
  • 6.82M – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 47.55M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people out of work since shutdown began

Number of new unemployment claims is a tally equal to about one fourth (24.8%) of the civilian labor force in February. Independent contractors and self-employed people who are out of work is now equal to about 4% of the February civilian labor market.

That means about three out of ten people who were in the civilian labor force in February are now out of a job (28.9%).

If you haven’t passed out from the shock of those numbers, Read more…

Religious freedom partially reinstated in California and Minnesota.

The state governments of California and Minnesota have given their permission for people of faith to partially engage in the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

5/25/20 – Daily Bulletin –Newsom: California places of worship can reopen with limited capacity and San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom issues plans for places of worship in California to reopen at limited capacity – Places of worship in the state can begin having in-person worship.

At least that’s what all the headlines say.

Look at the detail for more than 15 seconds and you realize there’s only a fractional restoration of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, along with the fractional restoration of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Remaining restrictions include:

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It is even more important this year to remember that we are the land of the free because of the brave.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

With our freedom under assault by many state and local politicians across the United States, it is more important than ever before that on this Memorial Day we remember those who shed all their blood so that we may be free.

A ‘thank you’ from me is so trivial.  I will demonstrate my appreciation for freedom purchased by others by exercising my freedom of speech today. Yesterday I exercised my freedom of religion. Today and tomorrow I will exercise my economic freedom, also called pursuit of happiness, by running my business the way I choose to do.

Following post was first published on May 29, 2017. It reprints an earlier post of May 30, 2011. I will update the discussion slightly. Deletions are struck through, new comments are in italics. This feeble tribute to those who have gone before will be posted across several of my blogs.

 

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

From May 29, 2017:

Those of us living in the United States are blessed with religious freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom because those who went before us fought for freedom.

Many of those fighting offered up their life for freedom and the offer was accepted.

I am humbled and grateful to God that some of my ancestors are included in the long list of those who fought. I am especially humbled that a great, great grand-uncle is in the list of those who died in the defense of freedom and the effort to crush slavery.

Because of their sacrifice, I get to enjoy this kind of freedom:

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Looks like the First Amendment is going to be restored to the U.S. Constitution.

Um, that’s not how this freedom thing works. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It’s about time.

As of this morning, places of worship in California will be allowed to resume full operations in Phase 4, which will be at some distant point in the future, likely the end of the year or sometime in 2021. Vague comments by state authorities hint the opening date may be after a vaccine is in use.

In Illinois, full worship services will not be allowed until after a vaccine is in use, with the governor acknowledging that will be 12 or 18 months from now.

Another state, I lost track of which one, put worship in the last category to reopen, along with concerts and stadium-filled athletic events.

Other states and counties, too numerous to bother gather articles for specific citation, have placed worship services low on the list of places to open.

It now looks like the First Amendment may be put back in the Constitution after having been removed by a wide variety of governors.

Several recent events for you to consider:

  • Catholic and some Lutheran churches in Minnesota will resume worship on May 24.
  • Around 500 California churches (primarily Protestant) are reopening May 31, with or without permission.
  • Roman Catholics in Orange County will resume Mass on June 14.
  • CDC issued guidance for worship services.
  • California governor is thinking about maybe allowing worship again. Will let us know Monday, May 25.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Why fuss over something like gathering to worship?

If you think I’m being too harsh on the long list of governors and bumbling public health officials who won’t allow in-person worship, be advised that too many of my relatives and ancestors fought for our freedom to let American freedoms be trampled upon.

Three of my relatives I personally knew came home from war with life-long physical or emotional injuries. Each suffered until he died.

One of my ancestors died in the effort to crush slavery and rebellion. His blood is in the ground at Champion Hills, east of Vicksburg.

The price paid for our freedom is measured in blood.

 

Reclaiming the First Amendment

5/20/20 – Tyler Bursch, attorney representing four named advocacy groups and over 1,200 pastors in the state of California – A Letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom from Churches / Declaration of Essentiality / Reopening May 31, 2020 – Letter indicates it is been signed by more than 1,200 pastors.

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The United States is in a mass casualty incident because of the lockdown. Damage to public health will get worse. Part 1 of 2.

Disaster exercise In Tel Aviv on November 11, 2010. Allegory to where the US public health will be in near term. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The continuing lockdown is directly leading to a decline in public health. Large volume of articles for many weeks now have been pointing this out.

This is first of two posts describing just a sampling of recent articles. This will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/19/20 – A Doctor a Day letter-signed; letter to Pres. Trump signed by over 500 doctors – You can read the letter yourself at the link.

A mass casualty incident is currently underway in the United States.

Letter explains the assessment protocol in a catastrophe:

“During a mass casualty incident, victims are immediately triaged to black, red, yellow, or green. The first group, triage level black, includes those who require too many resources to save during a mass crisis. The red group has severe injuries that are survivable with treatment, the yellow group has serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening, and the green group has minor injuries.”

Goal of medical providers during such a catastrophe is to focus treatment on the red group while making sure the yellow and green groups do not deteriorate a level.

Assessment by the doctors of where we are in the United States?

Red – millions of Americans are currently at triage level red. There are normally 150,000 Americans who are given a cancer assessment each month.

We now have two months of no testing which means there are over 300,000 Americans who have detectable cancer, don’t know it, and have not started any treatment. An unknown but calculable number of those will die because of the lack of testing during the shutdown.

Read more…

Remember that good ol’ “consent of the governed” thingie? It is evaporating.

Our very form of existence as the United States of America is based on the idea that the power of government is based on having consent of the governed. In other words we, free citizens, give government the power it has.

Phrased more eloquently, the Declaration of Independence declares:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …

We are beginning to see damage to trust in public policy and confidence in government. Governors who continue to keep their economies locked up when there is no consent to do so and no justification for doing so are whittling away at that “consent of the governed” concept.

Politicians urgently need to pay attention to this. There is danger of long-term damage which nobody is going to like. More on the risks at the end of this post.

The growing resistance to the harshness of state policies is becoming more visible with each day that passes.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Many churches planning to open in California on May 31

I just came across this issue in the news. It has been brewing for a couple of weeks.

5/7/20 – San Bernardino Sun – Evangelical church leaders vow to reopen sanctuary doors early in Southern California – A number of churches in Southern California will be resuming worship services on May 31. I recognize several of the quoted pastors as being from churches in my local area.

Read more…

Damage from the shutdown is growing day by day.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Damage from the shutdown is getting more visible; it is growing, spreading every day.

Hospitals and surgeons have been devastated by stopping what is considered ‘non-essential’ care. Many hospitals may go under. Going under is what farmers are starting to do with their crops. After a panic like we are in, who has liability if anyone gets sick and thinks they caught the bug in a store, restaurant, or business?

Devastation in health care industry

4/23/20 – The Federalist – Instead Of “Flattening The Curve,” We Flattened Hospitals, Doctors, And The US Health Care System – Outside of New York city, hospitals have not been overwhelmed. That means it is time to open up the medical system to allow “non-essential” services.

Example cited include Florida which was projected to have 465,000 hospitalized patients by April 24 only having 2,000 on April 22.

Read more…

Good news in some states for people who like to pay their rent and put food on the table. Bad news for California and Virginia.

A deep freezer, used for keeping large volumes of meat and vegetables frozen. That’s where the economies of California and Virginia are going to be stored for a long time. Image (but not commentary) courtesy of Adobe Stock

Many states are starting to open up their economy.

Virginia may be closed down tight for up to 24 more months.

California may not open up until August.

August.

There will be incalculable medical, emotional, and financial damage in California and Virginia from the lockdown. More on that momentarily.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Good news

On the bright side, getting most attention for opening are:

  • Texas
  • Georgia

Other states are thawing because they also don’t want to bankrupt everyone, destroy all the hospitals, further tear down overall health levels, and permanently cripple their economy. List includes:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

And then there is Virginia and California.

Read more…

Economic damage from pandemic is severe and will continue to be severe.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are starting to see some guesses about the economic damage from the shutdowns driven by the pandemic.

When you read about the 10 million people who have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks and consider there will be millions more and the unemployment will continue for another month or two, ponder the ripple effects.

That shock of unemployment translates into cars not purchased, summer & Christmas vacations not taken, conferences not attended, college enrollment delayed a year, fancy wedding receptions never planned, and house renovations postponed by a decade.

(Cross posted from my other blog, Attestation Update.)

4/5/20 – Wall Street Journal – State Shutdowns Have Taken at Least a Quarter of U.S. Economy Offline – Study by Moody’s Analytics estimates that 29% of the U.S. economy has shut down. That is the estimated drop in output we have already seen.

Some of the staggeringly dangerous hits to U.S. output and wealth:

Read more…

When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.

We will prevail. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?

When will the economy recover?

When will we be back to “normal?”

 

I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.

I have a suggestion for you.

 

Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.

What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?

Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.

Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.

I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.

For one explanation of the phenomenon he described check out article titled The Stockdale Paradox.

 

Who did not come home from captivity?

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Didn’t ever expect I’d personally experience Soviet Union and Venezuelan style grocery stores.

Chaika 3 (on redscale film) – Queue by Jaroslav A. Polak is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). Lines like this outside a grocery store were normative in the Soviet Union (except for the cell phone, obviously).

In the Soviet Union and Venezuela, grocery shopping involved/involves listening for rumors of which store got a shipment overnight, standing in line for hours, looking at lots of empty shelves, and going to the store daily to see if what you need might actually be on the shelf today.

If you have been awake the last seven days, you know that is what grocery shopping looks like in the U.S. today.

The difference between the Evil Empire and the worker’s paradise of Venezuela on one hand and the United States on the other hand is that the supply chain in the U.S. is still stocking the shelves and in a week or two or three will have them filled up.

Read more…

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