Puffery or Lies

8,158 lies or misleading statements are attributed to the president by the Washington Post during the first two years on the presidency.

Most of these are just “puffery,” Which Judge Judy defines as a Used Car Salesman telling a Buyer that his used car was “Driven by an old lady only to the Piggly Wiggly once a week.”

Which is also to say that an informed adult should not take Trump at his word any more than you would take a Used Car Salesman.

I know I don’t. I know TrumpBots, and they don’t take Trump statements as Gospel, either. Ruddy Giuliani doesn’t either and these days Rudy is dancing to try to walk back some of Trump’s statements that are legal landmines, not that Mueller’s investigation will be influenced but that public opinion will.

Giuliani is acting less as an attorney and more as a spin doctor, preparing the ground to make the Trump appear blameless for any ills Mueller might discover. Although Trump said no one with any responsibility met with the Russians to collude, Giuliani is dancing that back to say maybe someone met with the Russians to do something, but Trump didn’t know about it. Giuliani is moving back Trump’s statement that he didn’t talk to his attorney of 20 years about Mueller’s interrogation of Cohen.

Probably, Giuliani has a few more Trumpisms that need to be “walked back” as the investigation concludes. Giuliani is a very good lawyer, but he is about as nuanced as a freight train, and one New Yorker defending another New Yorker starts to grate on the ears of many people like a mob operation. “My client, Willie, come over here Willie, was in Queens the night Bango was shot. Willie don’t know nothing about it, and if one of Willie’s lieutenants shot Bango then he done it on his own.”

Trump hired Giuliani‘s street cred, but Giuliani is a lawyer and a damn good one, but Giuliani is not a PR man and he should leave that PR job to a woman with a mid-Western drawl. It won’t be easy to forget all of Trump’s efforts to plow the field before Mueller’s landing because it has been way too obvious. Mueller had a peerless reputation before the investigation, and although Trump has tried to sully that rep, Trump plays well primarily to TrumpBots.

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SMH

Last week, hell froze over in San Diego.

The Mayor and City Council took a developer to task because he had not proposed greater density!

Whoa! After decades of beating developers about the head, neck, and shoulders to reduce density. Reduce density drastically. I have watched the previously proposed developments for decades, and never before heard a proposed density approved without being reduced.

Housing prices in San Diego have risen so steeply that prices are not normally sustainable, but the exodus from here because people can no longer afford living here, is monumental. One would think that people leaving in droves would cool prices, but it hasn’t. Retirees with money apparently fill those spots, but that leaves us with a barbell culture of only rich and poor.

Everyone has known this for decades, but the mindset not to become Los Angeles has been strong. Apparently that is inevitable, because the other part of the equation is that tax money for years has gone to little-used mass transit instead of freeways.

Increased development plus no new freeway lanes equals freeway freeze. Perhaps autonomous cars that can communicate with each other can save us but it will be a race. People will drive older, dumb cars for years, defeating somewhat the freeway efficiencies of autonomous cars.

But first will come the higher densities, presumably middle income housing, which in San Diego means a tick above $500,000. With five of the next eight days predicted to be in the 70s, I fully understand the lure of moving here, but it will be years before the new, more dense, and with lessened price increased San Diego becomes a reality.

As usual, government lags the problem, but the complete turnaround last week is a huge change.

Memory?

Does no one have a decent memory any more?

The second I heard that Democrats wanted a virtual fence, the one we tried in 2011 was a complete failure. I remembered that one, although I thought it was Lockheed.

It was Boeing. Yes, that same Boeing whose planes we fly and whose space capsule presumes to take Astronauts to the Space Station.

They had a Billion dollar contract with Homeland Security, and Boeing FAILED! Had to scrap the whole thing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/us/politics/15fence.html

Or this one

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/30/the-last-time-the-united-states-tried-to-build-a-virtual-border-wall-it-wasnt-exactly-a-big-success/

Obviously, technology improves over time.

Obviously there are parts of the 2,000 mile border that technology might be better than a wall, but walls work. The evidence is right before their eyes, and they refuse to see it for political reasons.

Any Ideas?

Starting five years ago in my newspaper columns, I started warning about the huge loss of jobs to be caused by Artificial Intelligence, and the possible need for a base government income. I hate the concept of a minimum living wage, but it has been bandied about for years, and I can honestly say I see no alternative.

There is a race between autonomous cars and autonomous trucks, and the dislocation of many of those long haul truckers. The economic disruption of trucking is staggering because 75% of the cost of many products is transportation, and when you can run a truck 24 hours a day instead of eight you can see the writing on the wall for many of the five million truckers.

In Arizona, there are 11 trucks currently on the road making deliveries. While they currently have a driver, and an engineer checking the data, eventually those jobs get phased out. Obviously a problem with a huge semi is orders of magnitude greater than a problem with a Tesla, so caution must be taken to avoid a whomping accident.

But the economics of automation in long haul trucks is so high that it will come. Automation of Uber (used as a generic term) is also coming, and it may happen even faster than trucks, simply because of the safety issue, but replacing all the Taxi-type drivers is easier, safer and has a public differentiation that equates to stock prices rising.

I have noted before that the Greeks and the Romans had slaves that equate to robots in future cultures, and they didn’t have a minimum wage for the no-slave citizens, but then the Greek and Roman upper class traveled with armed guards, and even then seldom moved about at night.

We need to avoid such extremes of rich and poor, and we will but the only solution currently under discussion is the dreaded government subsidy.

If anyone has an alternative…

A Big Deal

We are so close to returning manned flight to Space, and it is a really big deal!

SpaceX will launch their unmanned space vehicle later this month, right now it is scheduled for the 17th and Boeing will follow by a few weeks or months. These capsules will be test vehicles, but if the tests are successful, those same capsules will carry humans later this year.

SpaceX will launch later this month, and will have their capsule marry with the Space Station for several days, then return to an ocean splashdown. There is one more test necessary, and that is the Emergency Release, which lets the Crew Capsule escape a launch problem.

At least one, and possibly both competitors will actually send Astronauts to the Space Station this year, negating the need to pay Russia for Space Station Soyuz launches. Russia has had a superior rocket for many years, old technology but very reliable, but finally private Americans firms have stepped up.

Make no mistake, this is a big deal.

This is California

The new Governor as of January 7 was the Mayor of a failed San Francisco until he became Lt. Governor. Newsom. Strangely, Newsom’s first assignment as Lt. Gov. was to go to Texas and examine the reason so many business were fleeing California for Texas.

He can’t claim ignorance because the exodus continues, but it is not the only problem…more and larger problems abound, including pensions, teacher pay and strikes, Sanctuary state issues and of course fires, floods and earthquakes.

Strangely, he seeks to be the anti-Trump by tweaking Trump at every news conference but without the power to do more than maintain his Sanctuary state status.

Considering all of the problems in San Francisco, one would not normally think that a former Mayor would consider that a launching pad, but this is California.

Reflection

2018 has gone, leaving Jean and I little worse off than when it greeted us, and at age 85 that is a positive result.

The last few days of the year brought two most unexpected awards, literally out of the blue: The Who’s Who in America Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Who’s Who Humanitarian Award.

Albert Nelson founded Who’s Who in America in 1899. I just wish I had won the awards while I was working, because putting it on my Facebook Page just isn’t the same as putting that on your resume.

But most importantly, Jean and I completed 61 years of the most amazing marriage without an unkind word passing between us during our marriage…she has been a perfect wife. She has lost most of her memory to Alzheimer’s, but remains a loving wife.

The inexorable march of that disease bodes problems this coming year. I hope for a medical breakthrough, but realistically recognize it will come too late. We have had 24/7 Caregivers for several years, and they will have their hands full this coming year. Life is good, but it has its challenges.

I hope to continue to blog regularly, but, although my interest continues, my time slowly becomes more restricted. I wish everyone a Happy New Year.