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.
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.
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.
Article raises the troublesome procedural question that the sentencing judge used allegations that were not proved in court to reach his decision. Specifically, the judge used allegations of the murder-for-hire schemes which were discussed but on which Mr. Ulbrickt was not convicted, according to his attorney’s comments in the appeal.
Apparently there were some warrant-less searches at issue, which the USSC did not take up.
Andrew Michael Jones, Gary Davis, Peter Phillip Nash
7/13/18 – Cyberscoop – Alleged Silk Road employee extradited from Ireland to U.S. – Gary Davis, allegedly a/k/a Libertas, is accused of being a high level administrator in Silk Road. Article links to previously sealed indictment which accused Andrew Michael Jones, a/k/a “Inigo”, Gary Davis, a/k/a “Libertas” and Peter Phillip Nash, allegedly who had four aliases. (Inigo? Seriously? What is the deal with all the slander of the all-time classic comedy Princess Bride?)
While looking at the sentencing of former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges I learned a few more details of what he was up to while looting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins. His sentencing is one of the loose ends on my posts about the Silk Road dark web site where you could buy any drugs, body parts, contract hits, weapons, explosives, or fake identification that your heart desired.
This guy had quite a career. Seriously. He was a successful hostage negotiator before joining Secret Service. He was on the Obama presidential protection detail and was a cyber currency expert while at the USSS.
One more loose end on my reporting of the drug/body parts/contract hit/weapons/fake ID/explosives dark web site Silk Road: sentencing for Shaun W. Bridges.
Update: After getting ready for followup to this post, I realized those are actually separate discussions. Thus, there will be no ‘part 2’ for this post.
He is the former Secret Service agent who, while assigned to the inter-agency task force investigating Silk Road, stole a large amount of bitcoins. He was sentenced to prison for 71 months.
The day before he was scheduled to report to prison he was trying to get out of the U.S. but was arrested for another theft of Bitcoins. He pled guilty and was sentenced to another 24 months, which the judge ordered to run consecutively.
He was also ordered to surrender 1,500 bitcoins, which were worth approximately $10.4 million at the time of his sentencing.
This post will discuss his sentencing. Next post will give some more background on his escapades which paid him a well-earned seven years in free federal housing.
There are only a few loose ends on the massive on-line drug bazaar called Silk Road. Actually, you could buy weapons, human organs, explosives, and even a contract killing on the site along with any amount of any dope you have ever heard of.
Most of the players are in federal prison on long-term sentences.
Last time I checked, the remaining on-the-loose player was “Variety Jones.” He is now in custody, awaiting trial.
As mentioned in previous post, articles keep popping up on the systemic academic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill. Trying to hold my posts to under a thousand words each means there need to be multiple updates.
Reporter says the UNC scheme was widely known
UNC grad, class of ’92, explains the reason UNC claimed as legitimate classes they previously confessed were fraudulent. Also says this fiasco shows him the UNC leadership chose money over honor.
10/13/17 – Duke Basketball Report at SB Nation –A Pitiful Victory– Article goes over a long list of warning signs of systemic cheating and fraud at UNC. After most of the points, the writer makes some comment along the lines of they knew, or we knew, meaning there was common knowledge of cheating.
Apparently there was a massive scandal at UNC back in the ‘60s and the school made a strong commitment to play clean. Article shows that commitment to integrity only lasted until somewhere around 1990.
Author says the rest of the ACC, and maybe everyone in college sports, should be upset with the lying and cheating. I agree. The NCAA isn’t able to find anything in the rule book to say academic and athletic fraud is actually punishable. (Next article says they removed from their rulebook the rule that said academic fraud is punishable.)
The current administration addressed the academic fraud with the accrediting agency and accepted responsibility. An internal investigation concluded the purpose of the fake courses was to keep athletes academically eligible for participation. The University drew a one year academic probation.
Article provides quotes saying that the University accepted responsibility, identified the courses as wrongdoing, admitting the courses were frauds, acknowledging the scheme was running for a long time, and agreed that more than two people were involved.
Professionals become prostitutes just to get enough food to keep the family life
Elections for state governors finally to be held on Sunday
Former executive of Brazilian construction company admits to paying $35 million to Venezuelan president’s election campaign
Guess on inflation rate for 2018 is over 2,300%
8/31/17 – Wall Street Journal – “Hope Is Gone” as Venezuelan Protesters Vanish From Streets – The protests have faded away. The ongoing massive arrests, torture of detainees, widespread human-rights abuses, and frequent shootings seem to have broken the protest movement. A number of senior leaders of the opposition have fled the country in fear for their life. Reports indicate 125 people have been killed and somewhere around 2000 have been wounded, with many of those people with permanent injuries.
One outside observer, who is safe because he is an American living in the United States, observers the president has gained effective control of the entire government. I think if we look at the typical definitions that makes him a dictator.
In the meantime the oppressed people of the country continue to scramble for food, trying to find enough so they don’t starve to death.
The NCAA announced it will not impose sanctions on UNC Chapel Hill men’s and women’s basketball program for a systemic academic fraud that offered about 200 different “paper courses” over a two decade timeframe.
The NCAA acknowledges that from 1989 through 2011 around 6,000 students were in those courses. The NCAA acknowledges for these courses minimal attendance was required, faculty helped with papers, and the grading was quite loose. An internal investigation found 3,100 students took a paper course during a specific 9 year timeframe, with somewhere around half of those enrolled being student athletes.
The reason UNC walks?
Non-athletes participated in the paper courses.
Since the known and admitted fraudulent courses weren’t used to benefit only athletes, the NCAA concluded the scheme does not violate their rules.