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Racism: Its Obama’s Time ! Vol 60

If your easy chair gets harder to get out of every day, you must be a Boomer !

Having been away on a weeks vacation to our nearest communist neighbour, Cuba, I missed out on a lot of articles concerning how the planet was descending into complete chaos. Catching up on my emails, I see articles about ISIL destroying the Middle East, with Iran is playing hardball on the nuclear talks. Putin and Russia have instigated a new global nuclear threat by cancelling some treaties and moving ( or talking about moving ) atom bombs closer to their neighbours. The EU can’t get their economic house in order, fiddling while Britain talks about leaving the euro zone. Closer to home, Congress and the President talk about going nuclear over immigration, the streets are filled with racial demonstrations, and sexual assault is even destroying the reputations of institutions and individuals. I will never be able to look at Bill Cosby in the same way again !

So, are we accelerating down the path into Armageddon ? I completely disagree. Perhaps it was my week away from our 7/24/60/60 seconds media world, but things look pretty good, considering.

Yes, Putin is an ass, Iran a headache, Israel just wrong, China is slowing, and the EU a mess. Thankfully, a lower oil price will solve many of those issues, not right away, but soon enough. As humans, it is in our nature to conflict, and these are really small by comparison with what happened last century. So, the lesson ?

First, seeing Cuba close up was a real reminder that the young today, thanks to that all persuasive media, see what everyone else has, and they want it. The young in Iran, China, Ukraine, Mexico, and India realize that the world of their fathers is holding them back. Wait till Africa wakes up to the pleasures of consumption, and the world will change.

One side note here. There was a great article, which I can’t find or I would name the authors, concerning how the rest of the world can not have the same consumption the west has enjoyed for decades. There is just not enough food, iron ore, copper – the list is endless – to support all that need, irregardless of the effects of pollution. China is a living example. However, technology will deliver a better way going forward, and they will not duplicate the same wasteful path. The article’s conclusion concerned the search for the developing world to try to duplicate the West’s success, and while I agree with the logic, I disagree that the developing world needs to stop. They do not need to duplicate our expensive education system to get educated, or become as obese, or do the amount of drugs/alcohol our culture enjoys. My bet is that they will be smarter.

Secondly, one of my favourite axioms is that you get the human rights you can afford. A few generations ago, we could afford to expand the right to women to be educated, and thus to vote, after abolishing slavery in all its forms. Today, we are seeing the struggle for full equality, in race and sex, gather steam. This is a sign that we, as a society, have the energy and time to ponder these questions, and work on some solutions. This space could not have occurred or been allowed to occur, during the cold war. It is a sign of relative peace in our society, almost a milestone moment we should be celebrating.

Now, being an upper middle class white Boomer, I have some fear that the racial and sexual rights discussions are going to be painful. I like the way society treats me, and I worry that I am being blamed for my part in designing the current structure. So, as long as everyone acknowledges that we did a good job getting to this point in our culture to allow this next phase to play out, great. Blame me, and I will have some resistance !

Which leads to Obama. While I accept that he has to tread lightly, as he is the President of all the people, he is now perfectly situated to speak out on racial issues, and offer some solutions. He is not facing an election, he has the pulpit, his chances of getting anything else done with a Republican Congress is minimal, so why not let this be his legacy ? C’mon man, start a conversation, pull people together, frame the appropriate context for the discussion to occur in. Pull us out of Ferguson, New York, and the NFL, and into a national debate.

By the way, Blacks talk about how, unlike whites, they have to “have the police talk” with their kids. They make it sound like they are forced to educate their kids differently than whites or Latinos. That is dead wrong. I also had the police talk with my two daughters – always be respectful, say sir as they are the authority, obey their commands – if you disagree, we will let the lawyers work it out later. Don’t cover your face, hide your hands, or carry a fake gun ! Lose the emotion, they are just doing their jobs, which I pay them to do.

Obama needs to start listing solutions, as he is perfectly situated to explain them. Free birth control for teenagers to stop the poverty cycle, amnesty for minor drug offences to get people out of our prisons, diversity and training for our police, amending our legal sentencing procedures, all are controversial, but let’s start somewhere.

Imagine ISIL’s troops watching us have an open, frank, honest, civil discussion on our society’s issues ? It would have more of an impact than any cluster bomb.

Next on Boomers – WTF ! , why do love torture ?

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faster FASter FASTER Vol 59

If you and your friends are still having the Beatles vs Rolling Stones argument, you must be Boomers !

Its really hard today to fathom a way forward, to plan for the future, to figure out what to do next, what with all the data available. All kinds of Social Media, new mobile services, news looking like entertainment, entertainment that looks like news, scams, hacks, lies, hook-ups, crowd starters, crowd pleasing, plenty of fish, You Tube cat tricks, where is it all heading ? I say data, because unless you can parse thru the noise and see the information, you are just overloaded. How anyone can see or plan for the future is a challenge for sure !

There was a great article in the NY Time magazine, by Adam Davidson, called Welcome to the Failure Age. Please find it and give it a study. Essentially, it talks to our risk taking over the ages. From Mesopotamia, risk was something to be avoided. Taking a risk, like planting an unknown crop, could spell famine for you and your family.

Kinda makes you wonder about the first person who decided to suck a cows teat ! What kind of conversation would that have been like ? Yeah, I dare you to, ah, I don’t know, go tackle that large animal, and suck its tit ! What, are you scared ?

Over time, we mitigated risk by having lots of kids, and as we learned to cook – meaning we could keep protein longer and safer – so we had more calories to share. We could feed more kids, and kids were an insurance policy against all the risks in our lives, from wolves, to snakes, to mother nature.

We were hunter gathers because we followed the animal migration, because being close to food mitigated risk. We became farmers because crops lowered our risk of surviving the hunt, so we allowed carbohydrates into our lives. Wheat and corn we learned from the natives, increasing our chances of survival. Overall, we were risk adverse.

The article has a great section on the color purple, and why it was once so expensive that it was only affordable by Royalty. A young chemist, because his family was rich he had leisure time, who could afford to spend time experimenting, found a dye process that was far cheaper than the old way, so the colour purple became available to the masses.

Another great story is the hoe, an agricultural instrument we all have in our garages. Its probably 2,000 years old, but still in use today. Amazing, considering smart phones usually last just 2 years before they are junked. You have to read the article to get the point.

Risk taking really took off in the industrial revolution when, counter to the best attempts of the Luddites, society started to have extra time and money as successful machines helped increase income, and spare time. This success begat more success, but also allowed for constant failure, as the age of innovation started. No one could trust that yesterday would become tomorrow. It was a scary time for most. Agriculture advancements meant that less people were needed to tend the fields to feed the masses. Think of the feudal system. Second and third sons could risk being sent out to govern the Empire, as they were not needed at home, Empire then increased the overall wealth of the society by bringing back riches from the various conquered lands. Spices, lumber, precious stones, gold, all the result of excess people, due to risk takers.

So, today we embark on the 3rd Technology Age, the advancement of computers. Like the last two, there will be economic upheaval, the roadkill of companies that failed to see the changes, and new endeavours rising out of nowhere. Facebook ! Where will all the steelworkers or aluminum workers go when graphite becomes of universal use ? Just like the farmers in China today, they are going to go where the jobs are, and learn to adjust.

One point of all this change was that society had to adapt, and adapt quickly. As the article mention’s, the path to innovation is littered with failure. New ways of dealing with the high rate of change had to be found, like social programs and family assistance. To protect the new inventions, laws were invented. Contract law, patents, the commercial court system, all were needed because of risk takers. Based on the technology of today, what new laws are needed ? Perhaps we should start with protection our privacy, more training for displaced workers, and some way to limit the government intrusion into our personal lives

The second point is the speed in which this “failure to innovation to failure” loop is occurring is increasing. Its scary. I get that. Many jobs available today did not exist a generation ago. Its why you should not think that retraining is a bad thing – its the only thing. I graduated in 1977, and its humbling to ponder my current cachet of knowledge. I doubt I could fix almost anything in my house if it broke. Also, remember that you already learn something new every time you buy a phone, or coffee maker, or a car.

To think you, as a Boomer, can wallow in your thin knowledge that you are safe on your couch, that your pension is safe, that you can retire forever, is folly. We must work to keep the concrete out of our brains, just like we work to keep the hardening out of our arteries. It’s a scary time, this feeling of understanding less and less of life. Just think of our parents, and what they have seen, take heart, and venture out.

Next on Boomers – WTF !, what’s your credo ?

Hillary will not run ! Vol 58

If the child of your middle years is actually a small dog, you must be a Boomer !

Watching the US mid-term election cycle, Boomers should take away a few lessons on the future, lessons that will have an impact on your planning – you are planning, right ! Seeing most of the geographic US of A turn Republican red was amazing. It seemed to me that the only patches of Democratic blue were in the cities. I understand that population wise, most of our people now live in cities – its a western phenomenon that allows for the citizens to get more services more efficiently, find more jobs, get better educated, and find mates easily.

But it was not only the Senate races that were affected. Congress, State Governors, down to local county leaders were overwhelmingly Conservative winners. Don’t forget, Canada is also conservative, the UK is in a conservative coalition, and the EU is seeing the rise of right wing voters. Why ?

First, this was a repudiation of Obama, on many levels. The US is now a 50%/50% country, and will remain one until 2016. When one side gets their way for a while, the other side gets their turn. Stable changes in power is a mainstay of our democracy, something the Middle East has to learn. Liberalism has run amok for 6 years, with no improvements in the race wars, a soft foreign policy, and Obamacare, a new huge social program that continues the intrusive nature of big brother into our everyday lives. Yeah, we voted for a Black man, but he fails to inspire us, or fix things like immigration. Lesson learned.

As a backgrounder, people get the rights they can afford. In past times, we did not have the wealth to afford things like women’s rights, gay benefits, the ability to sue anyone or everyone, or universal health care. You just have to look around the world to see other clans struggling with citizens wanting more, and not having the wealth to provide these benefits. In this light, one could look at Obamacare as the latest afforded benefit. That said, its time to stop with the handouts, and earn some more wealth, before attempting to spend money we do not have. In past blogs, I have equated this process to having a speeding train, an economic train, that when it has sufficient speed, can take on new passengers, or baggage. This weight slows down the economy, I mean the train, and spending must stop to allow the train to gather more steam, to create more wealth. We are in the passenger full / slowdown phase, and are struggling to gather steam again. An economic cycle, perhaps too simplified.

Second, this spells the end of Hillary’s chances. She will look at the political environment, and see that she has no chance of winning on a progressive ticket, and will see that becoming a centrist will not sufficiently separate her from the next Republican candidate. Taking her age and health into consideration, she will not run – if she does run, she will lose.

Third, how long will the US treat Latino’s like new age slaves ?All of the workers need to be on an equal footing, with equal rights and protections. Using all those illegal immigrants, needing them to perform jobs that otherwise would go undone, and not acting on their status will hurt the Democrats. Latino’s are conservative by nature, and when, not if, the Republican’s get their immigration act together, or at least act to take this issue out of the next election, they will win enough votes to dominate the election.

How long will the Blacks keep giving their votes to the Democrats and get only hand-outs in return ? Remember the Romney 47% comment ? It came out as an insult, but the remark hit home. Again, like the Latino’s, many Blacks will realize that their lot in life has not appreciated much as they allowed themselves to be thought of as victims being helped up by progressives. Many will look for an alternative.

How many more social changes, after gay marriage, will be allowed to occur ? None. Liberals will continue their lifelong mission to find more victims and figure out programs to fix them. They can’t help it, it’s in their DNA. We can all guess at the next big benefit – my guess involves the climate – but whatever it is, it is a decade away. We are headed into a retrenchment period, a time of reflection, a consolidation, a Republican era.

The main reason the USA is a beacon to humanity is that it rewards risk takers. Most of society on the planet punishs risk takers as going against tradition. There is an order to things, and the elites don’t like giving up their share of the economic pie. The US, the last part of the planet to be ravaged by man, was set up to reward people who risked everything, starting with their lives as they endured the ocean voyage to emigrate. The continent has so many riches, that the pie keeps getting bigger, allowing for the ebb and flow of creative destruction. Democrats naturally want to take some of these riches and build social safety nets, emulating Europe, lowering the reward portion of the risk equation – go ahead and try, and if you win we will tax your endeavours, and if you lose, we will cushion your fall. This mantra goes against the main credo of the country, and will cause Democrats to lose. Lesson learned ?

So, your future planning scenarios should include lower taxes, stable government, less hand-outs or fixed benefits, and a focus on you owning your own future prosperity.

Next on Boomers – WTF !, what’s your credo ?

Don’t trust Your Gut ! Vol 57

If the only reason you bought an e-reader was to adjust the font, you must be a Boomer !

Being a Boomer, we struggle with our current passage in life, constantly questioning where we are, where we are supposed to be, and how to bridge the gap. My blog deals with this chasm, suggesting that doing nothing, just staring at the gap, is just wrong. Much better to do anything that do nothing. Why ? I know its hard to try something new. There is your ego, your comfy couch, your wonky knees, your thin wallet, and your growing gut in the way. Just think of the next 30 years you will probably live, and all that time that needs filling.

I have suggested doing what interests you, not as a long term thing, but as a way of trying something outside your comfort zone. Not a big thing, but something. Baby steps. I have commented that failing fast, trying a new thing for a while full blast, and if it does not feel right, giving it up fast, and moving onto something else. Since all us Boomers are different, I use the word something, because the range of choices is limitless. Education, music, volunteerism, travel, writing, full-time, part-time, helping out a friend with their business, trying out a new hobby or sport, looking after aging parents, ect …

Unlike our old mantra to our kids that “once you start something, you must finish it, or you are a quitter”, this is a different phase of life, and the old mantra does not apply. Really, what I am suggesting is the same mantra with a new finish line. Unlike the sociological aspects of learning to overcome adversity ( don’t quit ! ), we already know the lesson. So, the new lesson becomes how to start something and not feel like you have to become an expert, or win a medal, or play at Carnegie Hall before you can stop. No way. This is not a lesson, this is discovery. Trying something new is good for the soul, and thus its the act of trying that is the lesson, not the finishing. Besides, starting out trying to learn the saxophone may lead to taking lessons, to working in a music store, to helping out a band, which might lead to … who knows ?

Whatever you do, don’t just trust your gut to make decisions. An interesting book, Enlightenment 2.0, by Joseph Heath, a philosophy professor, points to trusting logic, and not your gut, to make your future choices. Essentially, your gut is instinctive, and reacts to a familiar set of stimulations, which feel reasonable but are not. To name of few, as mentioned in the book, our intuitive minds are optimistic, self-serving, short-sighted, terrified of loss, and prone to confirm our own prejudices or suspicions – we see what we want to see. The best example I can think of to view this phenomena is in the stock market. The majority of traders are undisciplined, buy high and sell low, buy on tips, and blame others for their losses. Sound familiar ? These are the reasons why there is soooo much money in mutual funds and ETF’s.

My personal favourite part is the conservative versus liberal arguments, or as stated in the book, tradition versus reason. As far as I can figure out, and I may need some clarification on this, tradition, the way it was, is the conservative view of life, and bespeaks to our tamed past. Yes, we are evolving, but at the correct speed, not too slow where we are endangered as a species, but not too fast where we rush headlong down the wrong path. Conservatism ensures a safe passage, a safe but evolving evolution. Almost an animalistic instinctive view of the future.

Reason, or liberalism, is much more rapid, accepting of new ideas, leapfrogging current convention no matter the consequences. In the book reason needs ways to counteract tradition, and so it builds social scaffolding outside the human brain. Language allows us to communicate with each other and resolve disputes, governments mitigate our tribal and personal vengeance instincts, and schools add layers of socialization onto our brutal personalities.

While you can believe in either side, the point of the book is that it is easier today to be instinctive, and not logical. Essentially our environment is very effective at finding ways to increase the manipulation or exploitation of our senses. Advertising, money in politics, social media, all trying to find the best ways to pander to our intuitions, our gut instincts. Buy today, don’t wait, it’s a once a year sale, its new and improved, the price is going up tomorrow, don’t be the last one in your neighbourhood to get one, the other candidate hates women … you get the picture ! How can reason argue with all that stimulation.

Perhaps this explains the climate change wars. Science and reason talk to us changing the planet, in harmful ways. Just look at Beijing and the smog, and think of London, England and its coal tar. Look at the soil erosion that favours tornadoes in the mid US. Fresh water, well that problem is becoming unfixable. We must do something now, or it will only get worse ! It is interesting that Environmentalists have been unsuccessful in using the scare media to change our behaviour – its been reason all the way.

Tradition, on the other hand, talks to the fact that we have always used the planet, so why stop now ? The planet is here for us to use. The fact that Miami is drowning is not nature’s fault, its that people want to live next to the water. Really, is New Orleans an ecological disaster, or just a lot of dumb people trying to live below sea level ? Coal is needed to warm us, and cook our meals. Water is needed to grow our food, and fishing feeds us. Yes there will be damage, but its always been there, will always be there, so get used to it, its the price of progress.

So, the point is to make a plan for the future, while trying to ignore your gut.

Next on Boomers – WTF !, what’s your credo ?

Thanks ISIS ! Vol 56

If you have a library card, you must be a Boomer !

ISIS remains in the news, and for that we should be very thankful.

First, its election season in the US, and ISIS has kept a lot of the political news way down the media cycle. I know some states are inundated with ads as big money tried to buy some elections, but there does not seem to be the usual outcry against this, or the attack ads, or reproductive rights, or civil liberties being threatened. The Republicans will control the Senate, after many years, and really stick it to Obama. Any hope of getting tax reform, immigration reform, an Iranian nuclear deal, or a Palestinian solution seems lost, but there has not been an outcry about these important issues. Thanks ISIS !

Next, the quagmire that is the Middle East seems to be getting clearer, as many tribes and governments work, slowly, to fight ISIS. Many Muslim states are joining the coalition against these marauders. We may even see Shiite and Sunni tribes realize that they have something in common, at least in Iraq. ISIS is essentially an organized crime family, allowing all types of people to join. I understand that they are Sunni at the core, but they are recruiting from all over. Remember, ISIS is assassinating Sunni tribesmen if they fought against them. Many reports out of Iraq and Syria tell of Sunni towns resisting ISIS, and once ISIS takes the area, they kill everyone who resisted them, regardless of their faith, and publish pictures of the slaughter, to terrorize other towns that might resist. That does not sound like a religious jihad to me !

Interestingly, no one is talking about the Muslim Street lately, You remember, all of our actions were disturbing the regular people in the Middle East, the Street. It was an acronym for public opinion that was used by many commentators to signal whether our actions were being well received. Mostly, the Street hates the West, wanted the West to leave the area, and blamed all the bad stuff on us. Civilian causalities, refugee treatment, and no future were all blamed on the West. If only we would leave ! Well, how is that working for you now ? From Gaza and the Palestinian struggle, to Pakistan and the Taliban, to Libya and the clan wars, the Street got what they wanted, and now have to be silent as they can no longer blame someone else besides themselves for their predicament. Thanks ISIS !

Speaking of the Palestinians, they may have received some international recognition and funding, but Gaza was bombed back to the stone age. It will take generations to rebuild and recover. Even Egypt is blowing up homes and buildings near their border, to inhibit tunnelling and smuggling. Jerusalem is slowly being built over by Jewish settlements, and the current peace initiative is dead. We even have the US and Israeli governments calling each other names, dropping any pretence that there will be consequences if Israel continues on its current path. Yes, Bibi thinks he has cover for treatment of his enemies, but he is wrong. He is over-reaching. He is missing out on a perfect time to reconcile the Jewish state with its neighbours, and take the whole issue off the table. Someone else will realize this soon, and replace Bibi and his blind ambition. Thanks ISIS.

One must also be thankful that Obama was able to piece together a coalition of countries, both Christian and Muslim, to fight these Sunni gangsters. Not since Bush I has anyone else pulled this type of multi-national force together. This coalition even has Canada sending 3 jets to join the fight. I suppose the Ukrainian government is looking on grudgingly, and they would love for NATO or the UN to come to their rescue.

Speaking of worldwide recruitment, ISIS is getting its fighters from everywhere. There has been a Western worry about radicalized citizens causing damage at home, like the Canadians just saw with two solders being killed, and Parliament under attack. Now, with all these crazies going to the Middle East, they are outing themselves. Like a strip of flypaper attracting pests, ISIS is putting all the crazies in one place. Perfect for target practice, eh ? Now all that the intelligence agencies have to do is watch returnees, rather than worry about home grown cells causing trouble. Thanks ISIS !

Lastly, we must deal with the Shiite and Sunni reality on the ground, and recognize that it is the Shiite populated areas that are in turmoil. Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, all are Shiite led governments that are failing their peoples. There is no way Iran can take their focus off their own backyard, and they really need the Western sanctions lifted, so they can help their comrades. All in all, a better chance of us getting a good nuclear deal from the Ayatollah. So, thanks ISIS !

I suppose that ISIS could turn its teeth on our western freedoms, striking in our countries, but we need to resist any attempt to get involved in the fray. If anyone tells you that we need to fight in the middle east, remind them of Iraq, and ask them if more proof is needed to stay out, especially now that we do not need the oil !

Contrary to the above, I am a long term optimist when it comes to the Middle East. Their peoples will get their act together, although it will take a while.

Next on Boomers – WTF !, why you should not trust your gut ?

A future Vision – Absentia Cured ! Vol 55

If you remember that the first power juicer was from Jack Lalanne, you must be a Boomer !

A thought !

As someone who pontificates on the future, and the Boomers place in it, one must think in terms of what might happen, in case it does happen – to look at the future as an extension of today!

To be a Boomer today is to view many possible outcomes, to decide on their relevancy, and potentially work to improve that outcome. I say potentially, because many Boomers seem to have a pessimistic view of the future. Money is tight, their kids are assholes who will not look after them, their parent are spending their inheritance, the boss is trying to screw me, no one likes me, you get the picture. Really, why live ? Just put a gun in your mouth and …

As a Boomer, I sometimes try to picture my parents at my age, and wonder what they worried about ? Unfortunately, being 59 with both parent deceased, I have no fountain of knowledge to ask. Hopefully you do ! Remember, your parents are probably the only living people who will tell you the truth – at least a version of the truth you will accept.

If you have the opportunity to ask them some questions, here are a few I recommend !

First, is menopause the death of sex ? Is a recovery possible, and how is that done ? If the word “message” is somehow involved, fine, but what about the word “blowjob” ! Is Ashley Madison the answer ? Gray divorce rates are increasing, but I perceive that this phenomenon is more due to Boomers being richer today, than they were a generation or 2 ago. It was hard then to divvy up the family farm, whereas today assets are more liquid. Really, is there some other pleasure or habit that takes the place of sex, or is your husband just becoming a boarder in your house ? What keeps the sharing and the closeness alive ? What is the secret to surviving this phase ?

If you love sugar in booze form, what stops, or inhibits, the weight gain ? Street drunks can be skinny people, so do they just not eat ? And don’t throw that “all things in moderation” phrase at me, cause our generation does nothing in moderations, unless its listening to our parents ! Or is the booze to forget the fat gain ?

The ancillary option to becoming fat is to exercise. We will live longer, look better, push most of the brain diseases into the future, and increase our daily happiness with all those released hormones naturally flooding our body. So, since most of this stuff has been known since Jack Lalanne’s time , why did you not do it ? What stopped you, our parents, from being smart about exercise ?

What’s the best way to maintain the right testosterone levels ? I am not saying that a little estrogen is a bad thing, but in no way should my wife have more than me !

I know my wife’s friend is just being friendly, and not coming on the me, but how do I know for sure ? Maybe she is as frustrated with her mate as I am, and what’s wrong with a little release among friends ?

The grass is always greener on the other side is a phrase that is rarely true, so why do people still use it ? I understand that this cliché has a limited purpose, essentially to be used as a positive influencer to counteract a negative situation, but it is mostly false. Having an affair may make you feel good for a while, but the consequences are mostly bad, and in today’s social media world, easier to be found out. Is the truism really that it only looks greener to us now, a temporal thing as another justification, in a long line of justifications we Boomers use as excuses?

One line of thought is that our parents are secretly happy. They never expected to live this long, so every day is a bonus. They are getting pensions they did not earn, but somehow convinced us that they were justified, so we continue to fund their lifestyles. Astute readers will notice that there were no financial questions for our parents. That’s because they don’t care where the money comes from, they are just happy that it does. If we were to ask, I bet the answers would be brief, and contain the words “work harder, and save more”. Thanks dad, never mind.

Why can’t we think like our parents, and just take it easy ? Consider a recent article that talks to the cure for absentia. Two scientists have discovered a way to re-create the disease in a Petri dish, using stem cells to mimic brain cells, to introduce the disease, and watch the results. Amazingly, although not a cure, they were able to see the disease grow, in front of their eyes, without having to do the whole process of grow mice, infect them, wait, dissect, and assume a theory, a time consuming endeavour. At worst, researchers can now study potential cure drugs in a matter of months, rather than years. A “game changer”, some commentators said !

The point is, what if modern medicine finds cures for the scary life sapping diseases, like absentia, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and learns to control most cancers ? Suddenly, you are looking at a lifespan of 100 years. So, with 30 more functional years to live, don’t you now have some unanswered questions ?

Next on Boomers – WTF !, a big thanks to ISIS !

Should Entitlements be the new Ebola ? Vol 54

If you don’t have a favourite Simpson’s episode, you must be a Boomer !

When you look around at our world today, Boomers see different geographies fighting over resources, like in Syria and California. We see religious conflicts in the Middle East, we see ideological issues with Russia and China, and we ponder the latest race and sexist challenges. All disturbing, but minor in relation to the potential historical context. I hope !

What we do not see, or better said, probably want to ignore, are the intergenerational and inter species conflicts that are growing in importance. These issues include the transference of our debt to our kids, money we are borrowing to maintain our lifestyle, safety, health. These conflicts include stoking the fight over equality, both sexually and racially. Finally, these points of contention center on the liberal versus conservative value system.

As a Boomer with some assets that are needed for retirement, charting the future was supposed to be easy. Work hard, buy a large house, pay off the mortgage, and life is taken care of. It is amazing, looking at the world’s population, how screwed most people are as they face their bleak retirement prospects. Governments will be counted on to provide some type of income supplement to all seniors ( all denoting the 95% not otherwise financially well off ). Yet, our governments are debt heavy already, paying for our health care, our myriad of social programs, the public pensions, with no new monies available. Remember, taxes just come out of our pockets, to be returned in government envelopes. The entitlement culture is warping our economics, especially now that there are more takers, and less payers.

Granted, I am talking mostly about the West, a small portion of the planet’s population that bought into the capitalist dream. The majority of the planet’s Boomers will not have a retirement as we envision it, Subsistence living, family care, and tribal rules will govern their existence as they age. You just have to look at Liberia as an example of a poor country, without a health care system, responsible government, or economically driven wealth generation, to see a bleak future. Living in the West, I get upset about how Freedom 55, a marketing ploy meant for us to build up false hopes ( Freedom 85 ? ) stoked our dreams. It really is our fault that we Boomers are in the predicament, there being no one else to blame.

So, to sit there either close to retirement, or just starting, and believe that you are set financially for your lifetime is naïve at best. Yes, you will vote with other Boomers to increase your entitlements, the current fad being a universal income supplement, but at some point that will end. Lets hope our kids take mercy, and don’t blame us for our Me Generation. Just think about how the Woodstock generation became so unequal ? What happened to us ?

If that chain of thought gets you starting to ask what you can do the change things, then Great. Do some thinking, incorporate your beliefs, and decide on doing some good. An example, if you believe in the environment, is to take some time and clean up the neighbourhood. Don’t look for a payday. you already had that. Just do it. If you want your grandkids to get the best education possible, volunteer at the local schools. There are many such events worth living. Not all of us can go to a foreign country and build a school. There is lots to do here.

Personally, it is amazing to me that we enabled the Entitlement culture without spending any money, for decades, on our infrastructure. Take the pipes that deliver the water to our homes, or the electric grid that provides the power we need to live our current lives – these physical pipes and wires are over 50 years old. What happens when they break, and most of our cities have to be dug up to replace them. Imagine the chaos ? Whole neighbourhoods without water, for a year, if not longer. Power outages as transmission grids fail. It would have the look of Gaza where, if you are lucky, you might get power for a few hours per day.

In olden time, in Mesopotamia, archeologists have found ruins where whole cities were abandoned, when the lands surrounding the city got polluted. The problem became too expensive to fix, so the whole city had to be abandoned. Kinda sounds like California today, doesn’t it ? Its also like fixing up New Orleans. What happens after the next disaster ? Look at Miami today, which is slowly becoming an Atlantic Venice, as the water rises and covers the city streets.

So, there is no retirement, no beach condo, no ride into the sunset for us Boomers, at least not yet. We are too young to sit forever. Don’t get mad about it, get involved. Some Economists believe that we are on the verge of the 3rd technological age, which follows the industrial revolution and the computer age. Both previous times had a huge impact on us. One has only to remember how all those farmers took to the factories, as innovation meant less people were needed to feed us all. Kinda like what China is going thru today, though accelerated for sure.

I suggest, as we make our future plans, we remain active, to keep the brain diseases away, to maintain our quality of life. We tried quantity already, right ? In my last blog, I asked what our credo should be, and postulated that perhaps ” there but for the grace of god … ” might be appropriate. We Boomers will discover our own individual brands, but I think I may change my credo to ” Use it, or lose it ” !

Next on Boomers – WTF !, what’s your credo ?