William Thien

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of those traffic cameras up at the top, almost out of sight that is, of streetlights and poles and things spanning intersections where I reside.

I live at the edge of the edge of town, you could say. Across the river the cornfields start, and I was kind of surprised to see all of them cameras staring down at me, leering at me while I waited at the light. Now, while I drive along I take notice of those cameras. No doubt the cameras were paid for with one of those fancy grants from The Department of Homeland Security, that’s DHS if you are chewing on a piece of grass right now, to prevent the spread of terrorism throughout the cornfields of America.

And while I was driving along it occurred to my city born hayseed self that there is probably someone sitting behind all of them cameras watching what was going on, watching me probably, too. Sometimes I get the feeling they are playing with the streetlights themselves, switching them to red and green. Maybe because of my rhetoric, maybe they are even keeping a file on me sitting there in my car at the streetlight. The file must be pretty boring because I mostly wear the same type of clothes all the time, practilly like I’m one of them people that don’t use ‘lectricity or something, and do about the same things most of the time. But there is one thing for sure I do that I know they don’t like. This.

So I got to thinking about how much them cameras cost and how much it cost to put in them special poles they are on and how much it costs to put people behind them and the maintenance costs and the cost to repair them when the guy in the snowplow drives into one of the poles in the winter clearing the roads and knocks a camera off of the pole and I thought, wow, that must cost of lot of money honey, a whole lot of money. I got my foot up on the rocking chair on the porch right now while I tell you this for ‘mfasis.

Now I’m not so sure I have a problem with all of this sir valence but there isn’t anything that I can think of around here that requires all of it, a new strip mall, some of those big box retailers opening up, but there ain’t no international security installation or nothing, just a bunch of betties shopping and minivans and pickup trucks here and there. But it’s really kind of like being in the sticks I have to say. I know where you think I’m going with this. You think Imma gonna ask the question, “why are you wasting all of this money sir valing a bunch of cornfields?” Well you are wrong, ladies and gentlemen. Totally wrong.

That’s not my problem with the cameras. My problem is this. Not ten yards after I recognized the first camera was exactly what it was, a sir valence camera, I heard a loud THUNK! on the right front end of my car and felt the car rock. Then again in the rear right side of the car and it rocked once again. I had just driven through a massive pot hole in the road that I didn’t see and could not have avoided because I was surrounded by cars leaving the strip mall so I couldn’t swurve if I tried.

Last year I spent several hundred dollars having work done on the suspension of my car, the same the previous year on the steering. In fact, over the time I’ve had the car I’m now driving I’ve spent thousands of dollars having work done to my car that was probably the result of holes in the road, pot holes, giant cracks, you name it, rattling my car to pieces.

So, ladies and gentlemen, my question is about priorities. Why are we spending so much money on all of this sir valence in the sticks when you need a military vehicle with a military suspenchant to drive on the roads?

If you ask me, there is too much surveillance in this state which is rapidly becoming “A Police State,” (out of the vernacular: you knew the police state was coming and you knew the cost of the generalized misdirection of funds away from what was truly necessary was coming, didn’t you?) and not enough getting the work done that needs to be done, such as fixing the holes in the roads, repairing the bridges, the infrastructure stuff, that type of thing.

This is one place where I think the country has its priorities mixed up. Now don’t blame me for sticking my neck out for the rest of you who ain’t got the gumption to do or say anything about what is going on. Just because you got a wife and kids don’t mean you ain’t got a pair anymore. Or maybe it does these days with the way women can bait ya and pick a fight wit’ ya and then scream bloody murder, throw some lies out there and next thing you know, yer divorced or worse, locked up and you lost all your stuff. Or maybe you are just gutless natural like. There’s a lot of them around these days. Calls ’em, pacifists or something. And ladies, I don’t hear you saying nothing, either. I mean I hear ya talking to me in public places, but nobody will say anything public like this here. What’s everybody worried about? Have they got you all that afeared?

If you ask me, the Department of Homeland Security would have better spent the money to fix the roads and not demoralize the country by taxing us to protect us and the corn and beans and then making us pay to fix our cars as well. It’s like getting billed twice for nothin! acourse it ain’t really nothin, it’s just not really as much of what we really need in my unsurfisticated opine.

Cuz if you ask me, protecting the pocketbooks of ALL Americans from having to pay for unnecessary repairs to their vehicles is the real priority rather than protecting them there cornfields from terrorists.

But then who am I? I’m just some city born hayseed who never left his own town and ain’t even been around the world enough to know what’s going on in these here parts.

That’s right. I got my eye on you, too.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

I was surprised to hear that once again the FED did not raise interest rates yesterday. The reasoning given was the same as it has been for the last seven years, that the FED is waiting for more indications the economy is on the mend.

I should think that unemployment being lower than prior to the real estate bubble bursting and in many places lower than five percent for some time now and that the stock markets are seeing record performance for some time should be all they need to raise rates but they keep putting it off. I think the fear is that Janet Yellen, the FED Chairman, does not want to be the bad guy who says the party is over by raising interest rates. I truly believe that is the primary motive for not raising rates. I can’t say I blame her. Who’d want that job? Yet, with interest rates as low as they have been for this long, there is a certain economic party going on in this country and not everyone is invited. Economic performance has been stellar since the age of low interest rates.

You might ask, “Why raise rates if low rates have led to such incredible economic performance?” And I might agree. But there are a number of reasons to raise rates which have nothing to do with greed.

For one, low interest rates, as low as they are today and have been for some time, such low rates dramatically stimulate inflation, particularly inflation in such areas as the housing market where what once just a few years ago would buy you a nice little house in a quiet neighborhood merely gets you a ramshackle shed by the railroad tracks with cellophane on the windows today.

When once you could purchase a new compact car for a few grand now requires twenty or more. The price of many items purchased by families has now doubled or tripled just since 2008 yet median incomes for families have been trending downward. Like I said, there is a party going on in The United States and not everyone is invited.

Now if you are seeing a corresponding increase in pay such as a commensurate cost of living increase, one that ACTUALLY CORRESPONDS with inflation, things may not seem so bad. But for the majority of Americans that is not happening and if you are on a fixed income or are not seeing a pay increase (very common), such as the elderly or military personnel for example, constant increases in inflation put a sizable dent in your way of life. You find you are using credit cards more or going without, which for some might even mean going without decent food. Have you seen the price of hamburger lately? And eggs? Supposedly there is a shortage of eggs but when I visit the market the shelves look crammed pretty well with eggs. It’s just that the price has tripled because, well, there is a shortage of those eggs crammed onto the shelves at the market.

I have written previously that another reason interest rates are being kept so low is that we reside in a political climate that forbids talk of tax increases, and rightfully so. The country has become almost entirely socialized and taxes are being blown for example on women having sex out-of-wedlock and getting pregnant to the tune of 50 plus percent. That’s right, last year more than fifty percent of babies were born to single mothers. Fifty percent! All of those women can’t raise children without the aid of the government. The country has almost been entirely socialized and women having children out-of-wedlock are a large source of the problem. I hate to to say it, but women in American are the primary drivers of socialism. All of that talk about feminine independence to come from the sixties and seventies is a bunch of hormonal malarkey. After all, women are going to have to police their own behavior. Men are not allowed to say anything about feminist collectivism. If they do, they are branded as sexist. Feminism has become a collective ball and chain clamped upon the ankle of the American taxpayer.

I call that portion of the economy the “fuck and suck economy” (you can read my entire blog by scrolling down on the right side and that particular observation will become visible). The f and S economy is huge with single women sloughing around fornicating in front of the television and buying the products proffered to them to get their government benefit payment monies. Politicians are afraid to go after that portion of the economy because the television will crucify them. Such political encroachment on one of the largest and most lucrative media markets, the daytime f and s market will kill a large portion of television revenues. It’s funny that the television media are some of the largest, most profitable corporations in America yet they always appear to be socialist when such issues arise. It’s funny strange, not funny ha-ha.

That being said, one way to increase tax revenues is to raise the price of things. When you raise the price of things, which is what happens when you stimulate inflation through low-interest rates, you get more in sales tax revenues and in the case of real estate, more property tax revenues. So, it may not be just that Janet Yellen does not want to be the bad guy and say the party is over by raising rates; stimulating inflation in this political climate may be the only way to achieve certain levels of sales tax revenue.

Nevertheless, stimulating inflation so that large, responsible segments of your own population suffer is poor policy while others reap benefits for having sex out-of-wedlock for example, particularly when such taxing maneuvers directly affect those who serve the country and those who have paid taxes through and until retirement and have controlled their sexual conduct.

I am thinking it is time to raise interest rates or provide corresponding, real cost of living increases across the board. Interest rates don’t have to go up five percent or ten percent. Have you noticed how everyone waits with bated breath for the FED to announce an increase in interest rates, even just a quarter of a percent? OMG! A quarter of a percent! Then, when the FED announces no interest rate hikes, there is a “collective” (yes, I think much of Wall Street and corporate America has become socialist lining up at the government trough and that is how I use that word “collective”) sigh of relief. Bring interest rates up a percent or two or three at the most and you may see a significant change in the price structure of most things in this country. For those on fixed incomes, it could be just what they need.

The question arises, “Which is easier, raise interest rates a bit or give everyone a cost of living increase?” I think you know the answer to that question.

I don’t mean to crash anyone’s party. Hold it, am I crashing the party? Or, who is crashing whose party? I think you know the answer to that question as well.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

Don’t forget to read my books! Just click on the link I’ve provided to Amazon and it will take you right to my page. Sales of my books are how I pay for all of this. The Kindle version is only $1.00! You can buy my books at Amazon.com

Sign up to receive updates. It’s easy and safe. Just go to the upper right hand corner of this page and add your email address. Or if you don’t want to offer your email address, click on the “Follow” button midway down the page. We will never sell your contact information to anyone.

William Thien:

My main concern is not so much your activity within the realm of one internet property, such as Facebook tracking your activity within Facebook and notifying potential “friends” to contact, which I’ve found to be beneficial at times, but rather that such properties are selling your information to anyone and everyone. Some sites do not but most see such data as a large component of their revenue and merely visiting the web site constitutes an agreement with the site to allow such tracking and analytical behavior. It is as if you just set your foot in the door of a brick and mortar location, realized you were in the wrong place, turned around and left, yet they surreptitiously attached something to your coat when you came through the doorway which tracks your every move from that point on. It is no different.

Originally posted on William Thien:

As you know I support legislation seeking increased privacy for internet users.

It is my opinion that protecting the personal privacy of internet users is THE most significant social issue today. It is without a doubt THE most crucial issue of The Internet Age. The installation of tracking code onto a person’s computer when they visit a particular web site should be more regulated. How many times have you visited a web site only to discover you were misled after doing a search using one of the big three search engines who sold the rights to that web site to do just that, mislead you so that they could attach tracking code to your computer? Now you don’t know who is tracking you or what web site installed secretive, malicious software on your computer that is acquiring your key strokes or uploading your files.

Furthermore, we hear in the news…

View original 326 more words

As you know I support legislation seeking increased privacy for internet users.

It is my opinion that protecting the personal privacy of internet users is THE most significant social issue today. It is without a doubt THE most crucial issue of The Internet Age. The installation of tracking code onto a person’s computer when they visit a particular web site should be more regulated. How many times have you visited a web site only to discover you were misled after doing a search using one of the big three search engines who sold the rights to that web site to do just that, mislead you so that they could attach tracking code to your computer? Now you don’t know who is tracking you or what web site installed secretive, malicious software on your computer that is acquiring your key strokes or uploading your files.

Furthermore, we hear in the news all the time about The NSA and other government agencies spying on us and we all have reservations about the extent of such activity.

But the subject of the corporate blanket search warrant issued to your computer when you accidentally visited a web site to which you were misled by one of the big three search engines is hardly ever discussed, yet it is that particular activity which I am convinced is more pernicious.

We need more regulation to protect the privacy of internet users. The internet is here to stay. I see no reason why we should have to sacrifice our personal freedoms merely due to some technological innovation such as the internet.

I think it is quite possible that the internet age’s most crucial issue is deliberately being ignored by our elected at the direction of those who profit directly from what I describe. But with changes to campaign finance laws and the inability to track related lobbying efforts throughout the country, it is unlikely we will ever know the true extent of such activity as I describe.

It would be nice if one of the current presidential candidates would take the matter up as part of their platform. I’m sure they would find such attention well received.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

Don’t forget to read my books! Just click on the link I’ve provided to Amazon and it will take you right to my page. Sales of my books are how I pay for all of this. The Kindle version is only $1.00! You can buy my books at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Sign up to receive updates. It’s easy and safe. Just go to the upper right hand corner of this page and add your email address. Or if you don’t want to offer your email address, click on the “Follow” button midway down the page. You will automatically be added. We will never sell your contact information to anyone.

As you know I support legislation offering increased privacy for internet users. I tend to believe that Americans focus a lot on what the government might be doing with information gleaned from our personal use of the internet while paying little if any attention to what private concerns are doing with that same information. I came across this story, EU pushes for more privacy for Internet users, while switching between various television news broadcasts this evening. The article details the European Union’s efforts to legislate greater privacy for internet users.

Reference: http://www.dw.de/eu-pushes-for-more-privacy-for-internet-users/a-18517884

Copyright © William Thien 2015

Don’t forget to read my books! Just click on the link I’ve provided to Amazon and it will take you right to my page. Sales of my books are how I pay for all of this. The Kindle version is only $1.00! You can buy my books at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Sign up to receive updates. It’s easy and safe. Just go to the upper right hand corner of this page and add your email address. Or if you don’t want to offer your email address, click on the “Follow” button midway down the page. You will automatically be added. We will never sell your contact information to anyone.

Now that the program enabling The NSA to collect all telephone records of United States citizens has lapsed, perhaps everyone can take a breath of fresh air.

But there are mechanisms out there (I’ve written to this effect prior in an essay titled Government Spying vs. Corporate Espionage) that are in my opinion more pernicious and more detrimental to the liberty of Americans and we are monitored by those mechanisms every day, some would say willingly. Every time you get on the internet you are being monitored. But that’s not the insidious thing, that you are surfing the internet and being monitored. What is really unfortunate is that your information is being collected and sold wholesale to anyone and any organization that wants it. Unlike the government program, the corporate program, so to speak, is not regulated as thoroughly, if at all. Any company, the media, any concern that wants information about you can get it and do whatever they want with it. There are huge companies now just waiting to sell you to the highest bidder. Your surfing habits are being run through algorithms and psychological profiles are being drawn.

It’s not just so you can see well-tailored advertisements, you are being analyzed. Corporations are reacting to what you are doing, media are reacting to what individuals are viewing, building files, simply because you are looking at a catalog or chatting somewhere. They want that information. What was once an open and free form of commerce and communication has become a sort of electronic hydra or lamprey sucking at the evolving lives of The American people and there is no effort to have it removed. Instead the focus is always on the government. I do not here say that I believe in such blanket forms of search as was being conducted, but let’s not forget what is really happening either. Let’s not be misled by all of the hyperbole.

You haven’t put up the wall of privacy like you would were you to conclude that you were being spied upon such as by an enemy government, so you are relaxed and social in a normal context when you are surfing, and so you are vulnerable. Your family members are vulnerable. Files are being created on them at a very young age. We haven’t seen the negatives en masse of such corporate behavior yet. Give it another five or ten years.

To me that is what is truly disconcerting about any surveillance going on whether it be on your telephone or the internet. I’m not saying I agree with any blanket surveillance by our government, rather I disagree with the unbridled corporatized blanket collection of internet activity, use of smartphone data, and the like. To me that is just as if not much more insidious.

Who knows who is buying your information and what they are doing with it? You don’t even know who to point the finger at in that regard. That is where legislation needs to catch up with The American People to protect them.

It makes you wonder, what’s the greater threat to our liberty?

Copyright © William Thien 2015

Don’t forget to read my books! Just click on the link I’ve provided to Amazon and it will take you right to my page. Sales of my books are how I pay for all of this. The Kindle version is only $1.00! You can buy my books at Amazon.com

Sign up to receive updates. It’s easy and safe. Just go to the upper right hand corner of this page and add your email address. Or if you don’t want to offer your email address, click on the “Follow” button midway down the page. We will never sell your contact information to anyone.

One of the problems I have with many politicians who consider themselves conservatives by default, primarily because they are members of the GOP, is that often their policies, ideals, and belief systems result in massive increases in the size of government, and no true conservative would go for that.

Outlawing abortion, for example, increases government in a massive way. Banning birth control does the same as both outlawing abortion and banning birth control are in direct opposition to human nature. People are going to have sex, even if they can’t afford to raise the resultant progeny. That means that single women will have to fall back on the government to birth and raise that child. And they do. Last year over fifty percent of children were born to single mothers. HALF of all babies were born to single mothers. Now you know that means bigger government.

One of the things we can do is examine policies proposed by these so-called conservatives and see how they might affect the size of government. Perhaps a litmus test is simply to ask, well, will that increase the size of government or will it decrease the size of government? If it decreases the size of government, then it may be a conservative measure. If it increases the size of government, then it is likely a liberal measure.

But we should all consider that any proposed government program by default means more government.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

Don’t forget to read my books! Just click on the link I’ve provided to Amazon and it will take you right to my page. Sales of my books are how I pay for all of this. The Kindle version is only $1.00! You can buy my books at Amazon.com

Sign up to receive updates. It’s easy and safe. Just go to the upper right hand corner of this page and add your email address. Or if you don’t want to offer your email address, click on the “Follow” button midway down the page. We will never sell your contact information to anyone.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Find by month

Find by date

August 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
Follow William Thien on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: