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Reptile Academy

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startups future reptile academy 

Logline:   Learn to be a sociopath and win the race.
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Written by coolrebel

May 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

The State of the Union: People Don’t Care About The Details

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Captain Sensible gave a cracking performance out there tonight.

Every crafted word was about as rational and considered as it can be, threading the needle, professionally, professorially, as usual. The GOP and Tea Party responses, by contrast, came from the other side of the sanity spectrum, somewhere between total delusion, and crushing ignorance.

And yet, it’s the GOP in all its lies, puffery and vanity that scored big in the Mid-term elections last November. The Klingon forces of darkness zapped President Spock and his army of sane and sensible Democrats but good. Usually the good guy wins, but the rules were thoroughly shattered last time out.

All the wonks, from top to bottom tell us that the Obama Administration had got it right. The stimulus package put a million-plus to work, health care reform will cut the deficit, and the economy is growing at a good clip. So what gives? Why are people were so ungrateful?

The answer is simple.

The details mean nothing to 90% of the American people. Only those wonks and New Yorker readers and regular tweeters take this State of the Union stuff seriously. Most other people – I’d say 90% – make their superficial judgments about government and policy based on their own experiences, and a few shreds of news and information. They grab onto ‘bites’, they form strong opinions based on little understanding of government, taxation, economics, and policy making, In other words, most people ‘feel’ their political positions, they don’t ‘think’ them.

That 90% is hurting bad. Their jobs are on the line or gone, their houses are under-water, or under threat, their kids are at failing schools, and their middle class lives are being squeezed by outsourcing and crushing debts. Their response? Lash out. I mean the 90% is only human.

Barack Obama was elected in the eye of the harshest economic storm to hit America since the Great Depression. It truly was a historical moment. But instead of going on the offensive with the wind and Congress at his back, he called for calm. He took a studied bi-partisan approach to government and tried to steady the nerves of the 90%. He made deals, on the Stimulus package, on Health Care, on Financial Reform. He made sense at a time when people wanted someone or something to blame.

That opened the door to the bad guys. The GOP, and the FreedomWorks and Koch boys saw their chance to outflank Obama by appealing to the public anger in a way President didn’t have the foresight or stomach to do.

It didn’t matter that the GOP and Tea Party positions were (and are) total nonsense. They sound tough, they’re easy to understand, and they fulfill the need that the 90% have for enemies. And so the enemy instead became the deficit (for some bizarre, totally fatuous reason), and everyone believed that was now the problem. No matter that tax revenues have fallen through the floor. No matter that we’re paying for two wars, no matter that without a stimulus we’d have gone into a wholesale depression. The deficit was and is the new enemy. but it’s a bad guy that serves the anti-government right rather well.

If the public had cared even a jot about the facts, they would have rejected the GOP and Tea Party positions on public spending as the utter piffle they are. But they don’t. The GOP rhetoric ‘felt’ right. It fulfilled a deep, psychological need. The details weren’t important, even the really really big ones.

It didn’t have to be that way. Instead of letting the right lie their way into the hearts of the 90%, Obama could have provided them with real rather than imagined enemies; like Wall Street and the Financial Sector that got us into this mess, got bailed out and is still earning handsomely from our misery, like Un-American American companies that export jobs overseas, and reap the benefits in profits at the expense of the American worker, like China, which steals our technology, takes those jobs, and fixes its currency too. All good enemies that the 90% could ‘feel’ were not on their side. and all enemies that serve a Democratic rather than a Republican agenda.

It was a big fat hanging curve just waiting to be driven out of the park. But Captain Sensible whiffed.

The results are plain as the powder on John Boehner’s nose. A large and fired-up Republican majority in the House, hungry to tackle that deficit with the inchoate support of the 90% who are angry enough to support the idea.

Which left Captain Sensible with a big problem tonight. How to ‘do something’ when you have to cut discretionary spending to satisfy the 90%. So tge Prez talked about innovation and education and R+D and out-competing China all that other stuff at the same time as saying he was going to freeze spending for five years. Uhh? No matter that China Inc, our number one “competitor”, is actually a command economy that can and does pump trillions into its economy on the say so of the Communist Party Central Committee. No need to worry about mixed party seating in the Chinese Parliament, because there’s only one party, so naturally a consensus of opinion is not too hard to reach.

In short, after oh so reasonably backing half-baked so-called landmark legislation that lacked the punch to connect with the 90%, and keeping cool when he should have been pointing the finger at our real enemies, Obama has reasoned himself into a corner, having to innovate and cut all at the same time.

It could have been so different, but instead it was just another State of the Union speech, full of promises, full of inconsistencies, full of the usual bi-partisan BS. In other words another speech that will quickly be forgotten by the 90%.

Meanwhile, the angry GOP just keep on pounding.

Written by coolrebel

January 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Welcome to the Bullshit Era

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In the old days, policy used to have at least some potential to become reality, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that in America at least, those days are over. Nothing anybody seems to suggest from the President on downwards seems to mean a hill of beans anymore. It’s as if the country is set on a course for planet “slow decline into mediocrity” (or worse) and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. All this despite some soaring rhetoric from the President, and plenty of hot air from just about everyone else.

Here’s a rundown of the current bullshitian landscape.

Jobs.

Anyone who thinks a $30-40bn Jobs bill is going to pass without being watered down to meaninglessness is dreaming. And it’s not certain why it will fare any better than the $800bn dollar stimulus package which was supposed to rebuild the economy and create, yes, that’s right. Jobs. The problems that the US economy is facing are profound and structural. Just throwing money at the problem without deep and lasting changes to – industrial, fiscal, and budgetary policy – sorry about the ‘P word’ again – needs to rethink very, very quickly. We don’t make stuff here. Some people suggest that manufacturing in the US isn’t “cost effective”, but my question is this. Why is it cost-effective in Germany?

Any-way, moving on to…

Wall Street

The President talks a great game about beating up onWall Street, especially now he’s been sobered up to the problem by the Massachusetts debacle. But it’s a tad too late. In January of 2009 the banks were still sinking in the quicksand. That’s the time to make them an offer they can’t refuse. After we’ve pulled them out, and they’ve put on fresh $500 shirts is not the time to be making a deal with them. And yet this is what we did. We had our boot on their necks and we blew our chance to make the single most destructive force in this country pay. And now, in the cold light of day, is anyone in the 41 strong Republican Senate caucus going to vote for meaningful financial reform? Uhh, Nope. Will Wall Street be constrained from ruining the nation again? Nope.

Healthcare

What was once a burning need is now a footnote that’s about to be buried ahead of the mid term elections. The Democrats thought that Healthcare reform was a winner, but after being thoroughly outmaneuvered by GOP demagoguery that idea is now going the way of another smart idea…

Stopping Global Warming.

Let’s get this straight. The world is waiting for America to get its act together on controlling greenhouse gases. But is 41 strong Republican Senate caucus going to vote fr meaningful climate legislation? Uhh, Nope. It will die.

Education

Ah, what’s the point. Nobody cares.

Finally, on domestic policy, my personal favorite…

High Speed Trains

California just got $2bn dollars of Federal Stimulus funding to build a high speed train network. Sounds great, right? Except for the fact that the total bill (and that’s before the usual corruption, incompetence, delays and overruns) is $42 billion. Chances of this happening in a state with a perennial budget crisis? Nil.

Moving abroad now…

Iraq

At a certain point in time, the United States is going to have to face the rather unpleasant moment when our last grunt gets on the last transport plane out of Baghdad Airport. Cue the bombs. Cue the resurgence of the insurgents and the reemergence of the Mahdi Army. Hello, reality.

Afghanistan

One day conference in London. Karzai tells us he’s going to end corruption and undo a millennia’s worth of being a basketcase that’s swallowed up empires, as well as buying off the Taliban recruits without guaranteeing their protection. He’s got 18 months before the troops we’re about to land there ship out. You do the math.

Iran

Sanctions work. And if you believe that, you think Sarah Palin is a closet liberal. Will the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 be able to justify NOT attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities? Unlikely.

Haiti

Will the outpouring of aid from Americans be matched by a long-term commitment to fix Haiti? Watch the BS flow. Ain’t nothing gonna change in Haiti.

So you see, on just about every front, there’s an awful lot of talk about how we’re going to fix things.

And then there’s reality.

Welcome to the Bullshit Era.

Written by coolrebel

January 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

Now It’s Up to the Democratic Congress to Step Up

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clinton in 1993. he came from hope, he ended up nowhere.

a fresh faced bill clinton in 1993. he came from hope, he ended up nowhere.

In 1993 Clinton arrived on a heady wave of enthusiasm, dedicated to undoing some of the excesses of Reaganism. He made a few stumbles, he announced a sweeping healthcare initiative and he got nowhere. There are many reasons for his failure. The sheer newness of the administration, presentation issues, and this – he got very limited support from a Democratically controlled Congress. That opened the door for Gingrich’s charges of stasis and corruption that led to the Contract for America, and sweeping mid-term victories. That broadly was the end of the Clinton Administration as an effective liberally-driven government. It’s the main reason that the Reagan Revolution was not shattered. Clinton became merely a painful interregnum.

Cut to 15 years later.  Obama is getting it right. The budget is a great document, the bipartisan experiment is over, the decision to leave troops behind in Iraq is correct, and the healthcare, energy, and education agendas are on course. Now it’s up to the Democratically elected Congress to respond. Obama’s charm offensive is wasted on the GOP. Obama appears to have realized that. The true targets of his charm offensive should be members of his own Senate caucus with a more conservative viewpoint.

By making an end run around the Democrats in the Senate by courting Snowe and Collins of Maine, Obama will be able to skewer Blue Dog Democrats with the charge of obstructionism, and privately at least, be able to warn them of what could happen if they let him down. Obama is a student of history, and he knows better than anyone what happened to Clinton.

The GOP is winging it’s way to virtual irrelevance, thankfully, with the exception of the tiny rump of Republican moderates in the Senate. The success of the Obama administration rests on many factors, but the willingness of Democrats in the Senate to hold fast will be a key element. Let’s put the majority whip to work, and hope that Obama makes his displeasure clear, public and effective in dealing with recalcitrants in his own party. They must tow the line – or face the historical legacy that they opened the door to yet another conservative backlash, with all the destruction and injustice that would usher in.

I’m Gifted And You’re Not

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America likes to tout the well-worn myth to its young that if you work hard and persevere you can be anything you want to be. The implication of the propaganda is that there’s a level playing field in this country. That “anyone” can get a piece of the American Dream. It’s a great big lie of course, partly because America also has an obsession with predetermined “chosenness.” We love the idea that some are destined for greatness – which flies in the face of the concept that everyone has a shot at it. But then myths always trump reality, because they’re usually so much more pleasant to ponder when you’re bored shitless at the office. Maybe it’s you that’s going to hit the big time.

There are many clues that lead to the not so bold assumption that the American Dream is a crock; the massive wealth gap, the ghettoization and subtle apartheid that pervades vast swathes of the nation, American gullibility, the proven statistical lack of social mobility in this country. Even the recession is unfair. It’s the poor bums who got tricked into buying a house they couldn’t afford with a time-bomb mortgage that are getting the worst of it.

But there’s one area where the American lie is particularly irksome and that’s education. The harsh realities of inequality are more painful when you’re dealing with the innocent. And the bad hands are dealt from the very beginning. I was recently chatting to a friend who told me of an incident that took place when she was very young. She lived with her uncle and aunt, and her cousin one day informed her bluntly,

“I’m gifted and you’re not.”

That stings, coming from a six year old, but how come the kid knew the term at all. The only answer is that they had been told. Parents all over America and beyond are obsessed with the idea that their children are “gifted”. They want the best for their kids which is great – but they don’t mind at all that it’s, perhaps, at the expense of other kids. It’s the Little League parents’ syndrome at a desk or in a music room rather than at home plate. And that unhealthy, deeply competitive obsession translates into policy. We say that no child will be left behind, but what we do is very different. Some kids don’t get out of the starting gate, while “gifted” kids get a helping hand. And yet everyone loses. The kids who are told or that feel they are not ‘gifted’ might sense the predetermination of their fate and lose their thirst for learning, further increasing their plight. The kids who are told they are gifted might feel the pressure and suffer as a result.

The truth is that every child is gifted, because childhood is a gift. And each and every child is gifted because every child has a gift. They might know it, they might not, but in some way, every child has the capacity to be a creative, imaginative, original thinker in their own way and at their own pace. Of course, every child can be wilful, stupid and self-centered too – even (or perhaps especially) the ‘gifted’ ones. It’s part of the very human tornado that is growing up. It’s parents that decide that their child is gifted and act on that. But if every parent saw their children as gifted, as they should, then the outlook for every child would be far better than it is. Of course that would deny the exclusivity many parents seek.

The very suggestion that some children are gifted while others are not is an affront to the whole nature of childhood. The world in school and outside of it presents so many opportunities for learning and curiousity for each and every child. But every day we’re confronted with the notion that some kids are destined for greatness while others are on a one way ticket to lifelong drudgery. What path one takes is not just about innate intelligence. It is about a child’s parents, their peers, their genes, their environment, their color, their temperament, their class, their friends, their humor, their charisma, their metabolism, their health, their weight, their diets, their height, even their looks.

Gifts always come with costs. There are as many morons and drudges in positions of power as there are geniuses sleeping on the streets. That is the nature of life. With so much trauma in the world, do we have to add another layer of needless humiliation to the lives of the next generation. Stop with the “gifted’ already.

Written by coolrebel

December 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm