• ANOTHER SCAM ALERT: RISKS IN SENDING YOUR CELLPHONE NUMBER ONLINE. “As the string of digits has increasingly become connected to apps and online services that are hooked into our personal lives, it can lead to info from our offline worlds, and has now become an even stronger identifier than your full name.” Dossiers including address, birthdate, family members and more are now available from an online database (‘White Pages Premium’) charging only $5 per month for full access to public records. Presently Facebook has terminated capacity to look up a person’s profile just by typing a phone number into the search bar, but policies change and hackers abound. Just beware. [NEW YORK TIMES – 8/15/19]
  • MASS SHOOTINGS BY DERANGED PEOPLE reflect a “man-made environmental hazard, for which it’s impossible to attribute the degree of derangement as to whether ideology makes one violent, or whether one’s violent desires come first and half-baked justification follows after.” Current Federal law only requires ‘background checks’ by licensed gun dealers but allows unlicensed sellers – via gun shows, internet or private transactions – to put arms and equipment like hundred-round ammunition clips feeding automatic rifles in the possession of criminals, minors or mentally-whacked people. Sensible laws supporting speedy trials with limited appeals for those ‘caught in the act’ (versus spending years of cost with infamous publicity), and policies like assigning police to protect kids schools & public buildings (instead of to enforce traffic or no-smoking rules), cannot possibly conflict with the intentions of Constitutional Amendment Rights and are long over-due. Elected members of Congress who refuse to implement sensible protections and demand enforcement to minimize risk of mass violence – especially impacting children – do not deserve to keep their tax-funded careers. [ECONOMIST – 8/10/19]
  • THE U.S. WELFARE CYCLE IS PAST A POINT OF NO RETURN. $25 trillion dollars paid over five decades of government benefits under some 80 different federal/state/local welfare programs – currently over $1 trillion annually – have actually worsened America’s poverty level, by “serving as a substitute for a working parent… encouraging many men to stop upholding their parental responsibilities, and leaving more women as heads of single-parent households, while discouraging them from marrying fathers of their children because that reduces benefits. The cycle continues as children who grew up on welfare then follow in their parents footsteps with families of their own.”   [LBN EXAMINER -8/11/19]
  • VIDEO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MEDIUM OF OUR TIMES, now allowing ‘hyper influence’ marketing by tech companies “specializing in extreme data manipulation… Today’s intricately detailed viewer analytics, coupled with instantly modifiable content and tightly monitored feedback loops…allows producers of original content to move from merely targeting industry segments to laser focusing on an audience of one, with staggering influence to sway the minds of key individuals… Television producers have never been more in demand.”  [DAVINCI INSTITUTE – 8/15/19]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: IRS efficiency abounds. Despite a 25% discrepancy between 2016 deductions taken and corresponding alimony income reported – some $3.2 billion with tax shortfall above $250 million – IRS auditors chose to assess taxes for just over 3% of these returns, and then added a penalty of only $5. 

       “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session… Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain