-25,000 Jobs NYC

While some politicians are hard at work to create jobs, revive our manufacturing, and expand our economy…


…Others like NY Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are busy destroying jobs from her city. 


After a grueling competition for the Amazon HQ2 with 200 cities offering incentives to land one of two 2nd Headquarters for Amazon, the winners were Arlington, VA and Long Island City, NY.


These lucky cities were to divide 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investment by technology and e-Commerce behemoth, Amazon. 


Instead of thanking G-d for their good fortune and celebrating their win under the political savvy of New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo and NYC’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez railed against the “corporate welfare” and basically killed the deal. 


What should be critically noted is that incentives for Amazon were based on meeting their performance benchmarks for NYC and Arlington and were not corporate charity or handouts. 


What Socialist, Ocasio-Cortez failed to understand is that Capitalism is successful precisely because of competition and incentives for performance, and that capital is ideally allocated to where it can get its highest return. 


In short, New York and Virginia weren’t giving away the farm, they were competing for great jobs and investment in their cities–and that’s what 200 cities recognized from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. 


Aside from AOC’s blatant bigotry and Anti-Semitism so far, she has goofed with a Green Deal that promised income security (socialist handouts) to those “unwilling to work” and sought to get rid of everything from “farting cows” to Airplanes, and now she’s lost 25,000 jobs in NY. 


Voters in NY and Democrats in Congress should be paying attention to their new Socialist champion and one of its extremists in chief. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Origin of Government In The Bible

Government In Bible.jpeg

Thought this was a really interesting speech by the Rabbi Haim Ovadia in synagogue today.


The origin of government and the function/dysfunction of society and rule of law is rooted in the in beginnings of mankind as told in the Bible/Torah. 


Starting with Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden — This was pretty much anarchy with only one law at the time not to eat the apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. 


Then in Noah’s Generation – There was oligarchy with roaming gangs that took the women and committed wickedness. 


Followed by the Tower of Babel — This was communism with everyone united to build and have a common property, a great city and tower reaching to the heavens.


Subsequently Sodom & Gomorrah – This was capitalism with people looking after their own selves and cities, getting spoiled of their material goods, and committing all manner of vices. 


And only then in the time of Abraham – There arose democracy with G-d electing Abraham and the Israelites based on lovingkindness and charity. 


As we know from the Bible and can see in the chart above, only democracy resulted in blessings for all of mankind.  


Yes, the election in the bible was made by G-d, but the notion is one based on “elected” representatives that do good and are a light for the whole world–so no, dictators need not apply!


The Bible is truly a blueprint for us as to how we can live our lives as well as how we can govern the world effectively . 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling A Little Relative Deprivation

Deprivation.jpeg

So this was a little funny-sad. 


We were taking a walk.


And we passed these two houses side by side. 


One, this tall stately-looking all brick manicured corner house.


The other, this cozy and sort of beat up little white siding house. 


The juxtaposition of these two as neighbors couldn’t have been funnier. 


Sort of like strong and determined Rocky and the nebbish that couldn’t. 


Listen, there isn’t anything objectively wrong with the little older white house.


Taken by itself, it may actually be a nice place to live–as I said, it’s sort of charming (even while the other is commanding)! 


But when you put it against the big new brick fellow, it’s just a story of relative deprivation ready to be intensely felt. 


Both have a roof over their heads…and both in the same nice neighborhood. 


Yet neighbor and neighbor–but for no reason, one ends up feeling probably a little shitty–that’s putting it in comparison, of course.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some People Got Money

rolls-roycesticker

So we’re in the mall, and right when you walk through the doors is a car in the entrance hall. 


This one is a lovely two-tone 2016 Rolls Royce. 


At just a measly $384,025!


Honestly, the car looked awesome. 


This was no Hyundai or Yugo.


The thing looked like a tank of art on wheels. 


What is amazing is that such an expensive car is on display in the mall…I mean who is the demographic they are trying to appeal to for this?


Well maybe it’s not that bad, since another sign advertises a lease option for just $3,469 per month plus tax for 48 months with $30,000 due at signing…so that still runs you over $50K per year to drive this thing. 


Well I guess if you earnings millions, what’s the big deal anyway!


And out of curiosity, as of 2009, almost a quarter million IRS filings (people and households) show earning of that much or more…nice for them, huh. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Solve That Problem Simply

Solve That Problem Simply

I have always been intrigued by simple solutions to complex problems.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a great example of how a Fulbright Scholar studying in Beijing solved the smog problem for many people wanting to reduce the danger to themselves and their families.

Air Filters that purify the air can cost around $800, and often one is needed for each room.

But Thomas Talhelm founder of Smart Air Filters found he could do the job with a simple HEPA filter, fan, and velcro strap to hold them together for just $33/kit.

He tested the results and found that he could remove 90% of particles 2.5 microns and above in the room.

Talhem’s biggest problem now are copycat DIY air filters hitting the market.

If only inventors could come up with a simple solution to protecting intellectual property in places where either there aren’t rules or they aren’t strictly enforced.

When innovations are so easily copycatted, there is less incentive to problem-solve and think out of the box, and that’s a problem for society where the s___ really hits the fan. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dystopia Man

Dystopia Man

I love this picture that I saw in the art gallery here in Florida.

I named the person in the portrait, Dystopia Man, because he reminds me of how people would look in a speculative futuristic society.

The way the man looks askew with bloodshot eyes, head split, and hand partially covering his mouth all make me feel like the future is quite unknown, somewhat risky, if not sort of ominous.

We have lots of national and global challenges–with security versus privacy, openness versus secrecy, sharing versus private ownership, social entitlements versus capitalism, theocracy versus democracy, control versus freedom, and man versus machine.

How will these turn out for society, for us? Will we maintain a healthy balance and respect for individuals? Will these and other conflicts be resolved peacefully?

Hopefully G-d will grant us the wisdom to solve these dilemmas and many others that await us in the present and not so distant future.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Privacy Slope

Slippery

I read with interest Ronald Bailey’s book review of Privacy by Garet Keizer in the Wall Street Journal ( 16 August 2012) .

In a nutshell, privacy is founded in the Constitution’s 4th Amendment: “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

I would define privacy as the freedom–to think, to feel, and to act as ourselves (within ethical boundaries) without fear of intrusion, revelation, or reprisal.

In other words, it should only be our business who we love, what we are interested or believe in, who we vote for, what we choose to do with our lives, and more.

I think in grade school, the children generally sum it up well when they playfully chant: “Mind your own BI,” where BI is used for business (or biziness). 🙂

According to Keizer, the danger to privacy come into play from two main sources:- Commerce–who want to sell you something and

– Government–that needs to surveil for security and law enforcement purposes

After 9/11, their was a perceived need for greater surveillance to enhance homeland security, and with advances in technology and communications (smartphones, Internet, social media, etc.), the ability to snoop became far easier.

In 2002, the DoD program for Total Information Awareness (TIA) was an attempt to know everything (i.e. total) about those who would do us harm, but fears about this capability being used against the innocent, quickly required a rethinking or perhaps, just a rebranding.

Some say that the new NSA mega data center in Utah is the fulfillment of the TIA dream–according to the Washington Post, already in 2010 NSA intercepted and stored “1.7 billion emails, phone calls, and other types of communications.” Further, law enforcement demanded records from cellphone carriers on 1.3 million subscribers “including text messages and caller locations” over just the last year’s time.

Keizer cautions that “the ultimate check on government as a whole is its inabilityto know everything about those it governs”–i.e. without the people holding the cards, there is the risk of spiraling into a Big Brother totalitarian society–goodbye democracy!

I think Keizer perhaps oversells the fear of government surveillance and underemphasizes intrusion from business–his thinking is that “If consumers are annoyed with a merchant’s monitoring, they can buy elsewhere.”

But what Keizer misses is that industry as a whole has moved toward the use of technology–from club cards and promotions to use of Internet cookies, RFID, and more–to systematically track consumers and their buying behavior and that information is readily captured, packaged, used, and sold for marketing and sales–as well as to the government!

As a common practice now, where is a consumer to go that will shield them from hungry business looking to capture market share and earn nice profits?

At the same time, while government surveillance can certainly be misused and abused with terrible consequences for individuals society—there are potentially a lot of people looking over the shoulder of those carrying out public programs–and this “sunlight”–where and when it shines–can help to prevent bad things happening. The problem is that the system is not perfect, and there are always those program people who act of out of bounds and those watchers who are ineffective and/or dishonest.

Overall, it’s a zero sum game, where those that hype up security and capitalism, can tramp down on privacy, and vice versa.

In totality, we can never just assume everything will be okay when it comes to privacy and how information is used, but we have to be active citizens helping ensure that right things are done, the right way.

For regular, hardworking, decent citizens, there is a definite need to safeguard privacy–and technology can be helpful here with anonymizers, encryptors, and other shielding tools

For the bad guys, I would imagine, no question, that the government will continue to develop the means to thwart their secrecy and planning to inflict harm on the American people.

For business, it’s okay to capture consumer information and sell, but pour it on to thick and people will think twice about your company’s ethics and brand–and even a lawsuit may be in the making.

Yes, privacy is a slippery slope, and not only can a person’s self be revealed or used inappropriately, but the voyeur can get burned too if they overdo it.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)