My Thoughts on Immigration

Border walls don’t make a country – a country is defined by people who share a common ideal, a common purpose, a shared sense of identity and a dependency upon one another for a better future. We do not have countries – we have prisons. I do not believe movement should be restricted in any way regardless of national borders. Humans should be allowed to migrate at will with virtually no paperwork, no bureaucracy, and no regulation. Once they arrive on the soil of a nation, they should be subject to the laws of that nation but allowed to freely exist regardless of past behavior, past nationality, or past anything else.

“Hello Mr. Jones. Welcome to America. As an American, you will be subject to American laws and taxation. You will need to get an identity card and establish a permanent residence if you wish to stay. We are going to search your baggage now because certain items are illegal or controlled in these united states and you can not bring them with you. In addition, if this is your first time coming into this country, you will need to watch our orientation film which details the most important of our laws, rights, and responsibilities including the protection of children, equality of men and women, our bill of rights, and your responsibilities while you are here. We hope that you choose to stay in this country and contribute to it’s greatness. If you choose to damage our country through ignoring our rules, you will be subject to deportation, imprisonment, and being barred from entry for life. Let us know if we can help you get settled in – if you are only visiting, we hope that you will consider staying. Have a nice day.”

That’s the immigration officer’s speech in the country I want to live in. I’ll write more about the country I’d like to call home in future posts.

What Exactly Are We All Working For?

I’m still the same guy that wrote that book about how silly it is that we are all working, all the time, to get what we want – out of life. Now seems like a pretty good time to ask? What exactly is it that we want again? A Tesla model S? The latest iPhone? Owning (and still paying taxes, insurance, and other annual fees on) real estate?
Better shoes? To get laid? To lose weight? To pay more taxes and have a higher credit rating?

I’m still confused why we are doing this. Are we working so we can pay for the stress and lifestyle related diseases that come from working? Or so we can have insurance to cover those conditions? Are we working so we can enjoy our days off? Are we working for paid vacation? Are we working so we can go to a restaurant and eat a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients? Because I’m going to be honest here – none of that makes sense at all.

Are we working so that we don’t have to work later and can afford to not work later? Because that seems to be something that doesn’t happen much anymore – so we might as well stop working and enjoy the moment.

I can’t say I work for any of those reasons, but I’ve certainly worked for all of them. I think (and I’m not positive about this) that I work because I am conditioned to work and conditioned to enjoy the gratification that comes with earning money – actually, I think that is why we all work. I think that the problem then becomes what to do with the money so that we will feel compelled to work more and get more money. And as humans, we’ve become so good at finding money sinks and creating money sinks that we are all in a sort of awful downward spiral as we work our species (and many others) into extinction. It’s a type of neurosis – and, I want you to know, it’s hard as hell for me to describe it or be the clinician diagnosing the disease because I too am caught in it.

I remember reading about the destruction of human civilization on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) – they got obsessed with building these bigger and bigger Moai (head statues) and in the process stripped their island bare and wiped out their means of survival – but they built some fabulous heads that have lasted to this day – but their culture, their population, their descendants – no such thing – extinct, gone, wiped out by human obsession. So, here we are. Ignoring what really matters but making some big fucking heads – here’s the funny thing – the rich guys that built those heads – they had their moment of pride, I’m sure, they were like “Hey, look at this, the biggest fucking head ever. I’ve made Rapa Nui great again.” and all the workers that did the back breaking labor of carving, feeding the workers, growing the food to feed the workers, cutting the trees to make rollers, and everything else – maybe they were proud too – but today? Nobody knows who any of them were and except for a handful of archaeologists and historians, no one even cares. They all were a part of the process that fucked themselves into extinction.

Yes, by all means. Let’s work. And this is a good point to tell my new favorite joke – Three dealers were trapped on a deserted island that had nothing but coconuts on it and one asked another “How’s business?” “It’s never been better!” the other enthusiastically replied and they went back to selling each other coconuts again.

Indeed. Business has never been better.

Are We Stagnating?

We’ve all heard the sounds of the 1960s…and we know what they wore, and we know what the news was like, and what was on TV, and what cars, refrigerators, and soda pop ads looked like. It’s safe to say, that the 60s never went away. To a lessor extent the 1950s are still with us – mostly how they were imagined in the 1960s and 1970s and the 1940s, 30s,and 20s – and to a greater extent, the 1970s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, and 20-Teens are ever present…. we are all going to party like it’s 1999 forever more…we are trapped in the last fifty years.

Yes, there is innovation. Yes, there are new styles and trends. But they are constrained within the confines of the lifetime of the baby boomers. And, that stuff isn’t going away…not anytime soon. Not unless our technology crashes…

And it may be too late to hope that the boomers themselves will ever go away…

Il Douche Under Seige – I Don’t Believe It

The headlines read like the end of Il Douche’s presidency is imminent – I don’t buy it for a second. Yes, there are obviously problems and they are big ones, but here’s the thing – if I were in his position, these are exactly the types of headlines I would want to be seeing as I worked on pushing through my agenda in the back room where no one would be paying attention. Maybe I’m giving him and Bannon too much credit – but I don’t believe it was luck that landed them in the White House – it was thinking like no one expected them to think.

If you are being attacked from all sides – projecting weakness causes your enemies to underestimate your defenses which can turn the tide of battle. The travel ban and the confirmation hearings have looked like false flags to me from the beginning – all the executive orders have been trial balloons. And now this bizarre news conference and more. Actually, maybe it is the beginning of the end…but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The World Without Facebook

I am really surprised at how often in the 24 hours since I asked Facebook to delete my account that I’ve found myself looking at the computer screen and asking ‘What should I look at?”

Facebook was my go to place for killing time in front of the computer. Now, about 1/2 the time I shut the computer or just walk away from it, half of the remaining time I have been coming here and writing about things that I am thinking, and the remainder of the time I’m looking for someplace to go on the internet…

Twitter – I still can’t get into it.
Instagram – good for the phone
Ebay – that is work, not what I’m looking for
BoingBoing.net – still good, but only takes up a couple of minutes to get through it
But this morning, I hit the motherload, an anonymous and collective shout out of those who are not posting anywhere else…the Rants and Raves section of Craigslist – and of course, like most of the commentosphere – it is dominated by half-literate Il Douche supporters who seem to spew out their vile hatred so that it can be heard by the world – my favorite part is the adopted convention of using the city/location field to make an aside to their headlines – like this one DENIAL (crazytown) or this one ‘Climate change predictions’ (Smart People Everywhere) or this one Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (So Unfair) or my favorite thus far the guy who writes (seriously folks) after his anti-science rant titles…

So, now I have a place to see ignorant opinions spewed to the common – the big question I have is what kind of audience do those posts get. I would love to see some demographics and statistics about the audience…

Some facts that aren’t obvious to people who have plenty of money…

I’m fairly flabbergasted by this article in Bloomberg about how Millenials are not moving as much as other generations did – the author and his sources seem confounded by the question of why this is so. It’s no mystery to me – nor to anyone who doesn’t have a substantial source of money. The article goes on to mention that no generation is moving around as much as they used to but singles out Millennials as a cohort (25-35) that is moving around less than Gen X, Baby Boomers, or others did. This is not a generational issue.

It’s an issue of expense and access. Moving is a lot more expensive than it used to be. Landlords are a lot more picky about who they rent to than they used to be. Costs are through the roof. And then there is the paperwork and the b.s. of utilities and deposits. You can’t just throw all your shit in some cardboard boxes, load them in the back of an old station wagon, and drive off for a new life any longer. Those days are gone. When you arrive you are going to be living in that station wagon if you haven’t already made arrangements.

Landlords are looking for first, last, and deposit. Water deposits tend to be a few hundred dollars. Electric deposits are a few hundred more. Many landlords are requiring renters insurance which will set you back more. Don’t forget internet (but you can forget about cable and phone). In the 90s I moved across country in my car in the middle of winter and found a room for $250 a month – you aren’t going to find that in any city with job opportunities today. Want to rent a house? Got $8000 in your pocket to cover all those costs? (more if you are in a desirable city). But maybe an apartment will do? You are still going to need $3-$4000. And you have to have good credit, and you need references, and you need to have a job or provable income. Access to move-about housing has dried up. It could have something to do with the fact that landlords would rather rent to AirBnB guests for 10-20 times the rent they will get from a person that just moved to town, or maybe they just like the tax write off of having a property sitting vacant and not earning anything.

So, the reason people aren’t moving as much (millennials nor anyone else)is pretty simple – there is no such thing as a budget move to a desirable location any more. Those days are dead. The world that the baby-boomers built has swallowed up opportunity for anyone who wasn’t old enough and privileged enough to take advantage of it before they started shuttering the doors and locking opportunity inside where no one can get to it.