A contrarian reaction to the 2020 State of the Union speech
I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, but I can smell a scam a mile away. I did, however, watch the entirety of the State of the Union speech by President Trump and here’s my reaction.
If you don’t already know, I’m a Libertarian but I would pretty much extend that to being an Anarcho-Capitalist. If you don’t know already, “Anarchy” is simply the definition of “Without ruler”. I don’t believe in an over-reaching role of government, when individuals or groups of individuals can do it better. And since 90% of government services these days are outsourced to private contractors, it pretty much supports that world view.
That said, I see government as being one of the largest impediments to being unconstrained. Sure, we can’t do everything we want to do in life because of money. And if we recognize that most of the reason we can’t do all the things we want to do in life is because of our own mistakes, then by curbing those mistakes and acting responsibly and priortizing what is important to all of us, we can probably do what we want to do. Travel, have life experiences, have great relationships, build things of value, spirituality, etc. The ultimate human ideals can be realized.
Let’s say you get the money stuff out of the way. You find a way to generate money organically, using Smart Income and Financial sustainability. It isn’t impossible and as I’ve written many times over, it is way easier than what most people think. Then you are free to pursue life adventures. What could stand in your way?
I’m going to make an assumption that your goals don’t involve inflicting force on other people and are moral and ethical. 99.999% of humanity fall into this category, despite what you might see on the TV each day. By definition, unless you suffer from some mental disorder, you are probably a “good person”. You want what is best for you, and assuming there isn’t some resource restriction, you want what is best for your neighbor as well. The only time that doesn’t seem to happen is when we are all being forced to live like rats in a cage, like putting too many dogs in a small enclosure. Eventually one will attack another, and then it is total chaos.
But it is a big world out there, and there is plenty enough of it to go around if we act responsibly. We don’t want to make the place a mess, so we clean up after ourselves. When someone chooses not to do this out of laziness or some other stupid justification, then we all feel the pain of it. But again, for the most part, we are good people and if you have faith in that then you should have faith that people can work out their own problems if they have some protocol for how to do it. This is the essence of voluntarism.
Lies, lies and political speeches
I really have far better things to do with my time than to watch political speeches on TV, and if you have read this far you already know that I reject government control over my life. I do, however, have to respect the fact that I voluntarily accepted citizenship in the United States in 2003, so with hand on heart I pledged allegiance in front of an actual judge, in an actual federal court room in Phoenix. I didn’t have citizenship given to me by birthright. I voluntarily accepted it. I could have moved to Canada, UK, Philippines, Peru, etc. I chose to live and raise my family in the United States.
In that courtroom, I pledged allegiance to this thing called “the constitution”. Not to the United States political system. I believed that it offered the best option for freedom that I could find, and I still do believe that it has solutions buried in it. The problem is that it seems to be some twisted, mythical document that has became a great way for attorneys to get rich over “interpretation” when if you read the damn thing, it is pretty clear what is lawful and what is not. Yet we play this game of “opposite day” with it all the time, and consequently we have what is almost the antithesis of freedom & liberty.
So with that, I don’t see any option on the table that is within reach that could restore any sense of order to it. I had faith that when Ron Paul (sr) was running for President, that maybe there was some hope. That never happened. His son hasn’t really taken up the mantle of his father at all either, so that isn’t working. I tend to think that if we hold people to be responsible for their actions, and clean up their mess when they make mistakes, we would not all have to shoulder the burden of that. This is particularly true with financial decisions.
We all make mistakes in our lives. That’s ok. But we have to grow up and fix them. You can’t just bankrupt yourself away from the mistakes you make. Otherwise you just empower everyone to be reckless and careless with money. And you don’t generate any form of street wisdom regarding being swindled. If things are just easy, then you don’t need to do anything hard. If you need medical treatment, front up to a ER room for it, and sign some piece of paper lying that you will pay for it, yet you have no intention of paying for it, well that’s on you - I’m shouldn’t have to be responsible to clean up your mess. Particularly if the medical issue is of your own making.
Or if you buy a car on credit knowing that you won’t pay for it, because you don’t have the money, etc. then that’s on you. My interest rates on loans shouldn’t go up because you are being a dick. It is that simple. You do you, but you fix your own mistakes.
If your situation is due to events outside of your control, then I believe that the goodness of humanity shall prevail and that there should be a social responsibility we all have to help those that cannot help themselves. I mean the Catholic church have been doing that for centuries. I was born in a Catholic hospital and I had the best medical surgery experience in my life in Mexico at a Catholic hospital. I paid my medical bills immediately and everyone wins. That’s how it is supposed to be. No government intervention, people.
If I or my family members have a medical emergency, I carry insurance for that but I also have liquid cash set aside in case of a problem. No one is going to die on my watch here. That’s being a responsible husband and father. When you voluntarily agree to marry someone, that comes with the territory - “Till death do you part” as they say. And when you voluntarily choose to father a child, it comes with the total responsibility that the child’s life is more important than your own, so you adjust yourself to that principle. If not, don’t have a child. It is that simple. Those that choose to have children without having the responsibility to be a parent, are 100% unethical and leaving the other parent to shoulder the burden is wrong. Period. I don’t care who you are, what your culture might consider normal, you don’t have that right. You clean up after your own mess.
So with all of that off my chest, I’m sitting in my living room, in a house that I paid for with my own money from my own risk taking investments, etc., watching a TV I paid cash for, sitting on a couch that I paid for years ago, and there’s this guy on the TV reading a teleprompter full of mythology. A guy who doesn’t take responsibility for his own actions, bankrupts himself out of bad mistakes he makes, continues to defame others, commits adultery on a routine basis, and only gives a crap about how he looks in front of a camera. The total circus ring leader. And from that perspective he wishes to craft how Americans should consider the past, current and future America.
He’s not the first to do this, of course. Creating illusion is the art of politics. Lying and spreading bullshit is a key property of those seeking power over others. If you can’t take something by force, then you trick someone into giving it to you voluntarily. Like the old theme of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” - Count Dracula has to be invited in before he takes the souls of his victims.
There are two parts of my reaction to this speech:
I thought the human behavior was deplorable throughout the speech. There was little respect being shown, both by the President, but also by the members of congress on both parties, throughout. The speaker of the house was disrespected from the very start with the refusal of the President to shake her hand. I mean that could have been a simple mistake on people’s part, so maybe I’ll give that a mulligan. But then immediately afterwards, she appeared to show no interest in what he was saying, spending her time reading through papers, etc. I mean she could have been sitting on her damn phone reading Facebook. It was not professional.
Then throughout the speech, you had cheering, yelling, etc. from both sides of the aisle. Holy crap - this is not some caged Ultimate Fighting event. This is a presidential speech. Do these people know that millions have volunteered to embrace the US constitution - many sacrificing their lives over it, and this is how you respect it?
Now I know that the president has been impeached by the House and he’s presenting in the very chambers that they voted to impeach him. However we all know he won’t be removed from office, and likely if he was removed, he wouldn’t leave voluntarily. This guy is more like the French King Louis XIV, who famously pontificated that he had ultimate power with his words “L'etat c'est moi” which translates to “I am the state”. It was clear that President Trump embraced that.
At the end of the speech, the speaker of the house openly tore up the speech in her visual act of defiance over the President. This was the ultimate demonstration of hypocrisy as she was the very person who invited him to give the speech in the House. I mean she didn’t have to do that. If she felt that he was an illegitimate President because of impeachment, why the hell did she invite him to the House to give his state of the union address? It was only a year before when there was concern over that because the President had shut down the government for 30 days over his stupid border wall tantrum, and then there was a likelihood that he wasn’t going to give the speed in that building anyway. I mean it is one thing to be all ceremonial about how this has been done for hundreds of years, etc. but another thing to act unprofessional if you invited Count Dracula into your home anyway. I mean you know what vampires do.
Now let’s look at the speech. About 75% of it was the President doing his own “lap of honor” over achievements that he’s made in the past 3 years of his presidency. At least how he wants to present them.
Before I try and pry some truth out of some of those statements, I will say that down here on the ground, it is a far better looking world than it was in 2008. My biggest measuring stick for that is what I see with my own eyes, particularly when I’m down at our rental properties. These are properties for lower income residents, and they are cleaner, better maintained, and there is a visible drop in crime and documented drop in abandonment & evictions over the past 3 years. So if Trump wants to take credit for that, I’ll support it. It seems that those with lower income levels, at least in Phoenix Arizona, are gainfully employed and able to pay their rent and look after their families better.
I also see the Wanted ads here in Phoenix and there is a serious supply/demand issue for employment. The number of Job Fairs are continually showing that this is an area experiencing growth.
But what is driving that? First, we have a declining Hispanic population as more undocumented immigrants are being driven further into the shadows here, and often they are leaving to more hospitable states (such as California & New Mexico). That has reflected in increased costs of labor for tasks that are typically done by immigrants - gardening, house cleaning, orderlies at nursing homes, food service workers, etc. The cost of using locals or legal immigrants for this increases costs 5x in many cases, which are then passed onto the individuals. It has, however, meant that there is more work for local workers in construction, painting, fix & flip, etc. But that also reflects in the rising costs of housing. Ultimately the buyer of the property is paying far more for the same property than it was 3 years ago, due to immigration policy.
The statistics about crime by illegal aliens is just made up numbers. Trump didn’t parallel those numbers to statistics of legal residents committing crime, nor did he show the over swelling of the “for profit” prison system for non-violent offenders. Only 18 months ago, during the 2018 mid-term elections, the state of Arizona was battling with the “Red for Ed” situation where teachers couldn’t make enough money to survive, and had to protest against government to raise their wages. This wasn’t done by Trump - this was done by organized labor. And that led to a very interesting observation. The total cost of education was going to go up in Arizona as a result of this threatened walk-out, and that reflects in property taxes that we state residents have to pay. The Libertarian candidate for governor at the time had a novel idea, but he never got the chance to give it any traction....
He proposed that if we legalized marijuana and released prison inmates for non-violent offences, that the financial savings to the state at not having to pay the “for profit” prison system for the housing would be more than enough to pay for raising teacher’s salaries, hiring more fire-fighters, etc. Yet this went no where. To this day, marijuana is still illegal in Arizona, more are being imprisoned for non-violent offenses and more will be released from prison who never should have been there in the first place, being directly associated with violent inmates and learning the “tricks of the trade”, allowing them to commit more violent crimes when they are outside as they come face to face with the discrimination in the workplace over incarceration as they can’t find a job, and discrimination in housing as they can’t find a place to rent either. Where do they go? Homeless camps? And who will eventually pay for this? We will.
The immigration “support” that President Trump demonstrated is stupid at best. His “Build the Wall” fiasco resulted in 100 miles of wall being built. Here’s the truth.
The real cost of this wall is between $12-70 billion dollars, and it is inneffective. Here’s a video of a small section of the wall and how immigrants are dealing with it.
Then you have the statistics about deportations that he throws around. The fact that these are destroying the family identity of the Hispanic people is inhumane, and evil. Here’s the reality of how this works on the ground here....
I have work. I need to get roofers, construction workers, drywall, etc. The unemployment rate is so low that I can’t get affordable labor to do this, so it forces me to raise rents on my tenants. Anyone who is thanking President Trump because Walmart just raised their wages to $15 an hour, has to also realize their rent just went up $50 a month. So did their groceries because the tomatoes that they eat come from Mexico. So does the about 40% of the rest of their fresh vegetables & fruit. And the food that is grown here has to be picked. The workers that do that are 99% Hispanic immigrants. No US legal resident wants those jobs, when there are better options, so how does this get done? Well farmers move their operations to Mexico, sell their land to build luxury condominiums and live a dual life on both sides of the border now.
Think that isn’t happening? Think again:
Trump throws around his great deal making with China, but neglects to speak about the fact that our entire economy is pegged to the low inflation that comes from buying cheap Chinese products - the products that they don’t want to sell to the USA because of the disrespectful tariffs. I went to CES this year (2020) and there was a noticeable lack of Chinese nationals there selling their products to US buyers. This means with the insatiable appetite for cheap products, customers will be forced to pay more for them as they are sourced from other countries. More inflation.
Then there is health care. This is a big one.
You all know my stories about going offshore for major surgery. Nothing that Trump said in regards to health care will have any impact on the 12x more it costs to have surgery done in the USA vs. Mexico. This whole BS about “Medical Transparency” (which is simply that hospitals have to provide you with a cost table on medical procedure costs if you request it), does little to apply to a non-free market. It doesn’t matter if you are told up front that your heart surgery will be $200,000 by the hospital if you have no choice other than to have it. All it will do is give you a heart attack ahead of time, or tell you that you can’t go to hospital so you may as well die beforehand.
The statement he made that “medical transparency will be bigger than Obamacare” is the boldest lie I’ve heard in years. As is the BS regarding driving down pharmaceutical costs - I’ve worked in biotech for years and I know that Medicare (which at the time represented 93% of the customer volume of products we used to ship) had little ability to negotiate products when when you have the one and only patent to a drug and your are “sole source” to the government. Unless they reduce patent length down, which will mean a reduction in R&D expenditure by the labs in those big pharma companies, you won’t get any purchase on that policy change at all.
Meanwhile, seniors that can’t afford medicine are doing this:
And not just seniors. Our family dentist is in Los Algodones, Mexico as is our eye doctors, and this is where we get our pharmaceuticals. Why? Because generic drugs in Mexico are 10c on the dollar to the US market price.
Then there was Trump parading around returning soldiers and family reunions and his great “We got Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi” and out of the other side of his mouth he’s trying to tell the American people that he is going to get us out of Afghanistan - after we’ve been in there fighting for the past 18 years.
He does know that if you believe popular thought that when we were attacked on 9/11, that the vast majority of combatants that attacked the USA were of Saudi origin. Yet Trump has never addressed that. He buddies up with the Saudis because he can put a luxury hotel there, wants their oil, etc. while they kill US citizens in journalism who write against their very ideology.
Meanwhile rather than protecting US service men & women in Iraq, even after the Iraq government tell us categorically that they don’t want the US there, he flips them off and leaves troops intact, while he stokes a new war with Iran by killing their own military leader and not expecting that to come back on the USA? There is no value to the USA in policing that region, and trying to carve out foreign policy by disrespecting the sovereignty of those countries.
But more than that - what about our own sovereignty? While he’s doing his victory lap about the “greatest economy ever”, American citizens and resident aliens are members of one of two countries on planet earth that tax all of their worldwide income and require all expats, many of which haven’t lived in the USA for decades and in some cases are “accidental Americans” to file US annual tax returns, pay US taxes, etc. or hire expensive law firms and accountants to ensure their compliance, or face $10,000 per year, per incident fines for having any money in total excess of US $10,000 in a foreign bank account or insurance policy, or have any shareholdings, control of or ownership of a foreign business, etc. making it next to impossible for Americans to do business outside of the USA.
This over-reach to bring money back to the USA makes it next to impossible for many Americans to open foreign bank accounts and live a decent life outside of the USA. It forces many to renounce their very citizenship - a citizenship that often they fought for decades to get. It took me 15 years to get mine sorted out.
I’m just scratching the surface of the BS in that speech. The media will write about what was said - the fact checkers will be working overtime on it, the truth is definitely out there somewhere but it sure wasn’t in the House of Representatives last night.
When you look into the eyes of a senior citizen who can’t afford to retire in the USA, lives in fear that they will get sick and be abandoned by their very country, be forced to leave the USA to live in a more affordable country with greater respect of their privacy and individual freedom, and yet still be tethered to the USA to file tax returns, etc. then you see the actual reality of the Trump presidency.
Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. We are still in too many needless wars, we still don’t protect the domestic homeland with any form of smart intelligence and god forbid we have an economic decline because today more people who are “doing very well” economically are living right on the edge of the abyss and will fall into oblivion if they are exposed to any form of natural market cycles.
Enjoy the fiction while you can, people. It won’t last much longer. If you have treasure, now is the time to protect it. There is no such thing as “the new normal” when it comes to the current economy. It is being artificially manipulated by low interest rates and if anyone actually reports real inflation numbers, we will all realize how painful the “real economy” is and how we’ve been lied to for so many years.
These lies go back decades, by the way. It isn’t Trump. He’s just the current liar in chief. But after the feel good moment of his speech, let’s get back to reality here and realize that life isn’t the bed of roses that the TV tells you it is. If it is, it is because you are in some minority group that finds itself protected for a short period by maximum income levels. If you are a software developer making $200K per year, good for you. Well done. But realize this - there are 320 million people living in your country and only 0.00001% of them are software engineers making $200K per year. The rest are eeking out an existence on “average” salaries and you better be prepared to engage and support them as well as they are your neighbors and they don’t live with their eyeballs in a computer screen all day, pretending that reality isn’t real, so you can go home and play World of Warcaft all night long, furthering your embrace of artificial worlds where Trump doesn’t give state of the union speeches.
OK, there - I’ve said it. I got that off my chest. If you think this is “political”, then you didn’t read this article. This is me telling you what life looks like on the streets of Phoenix right now. And why I have to spend 50% of my time outside of the USA every year.
But you do you. Just take responsibility for doing you, please.
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