Monday, October 2, 2017

What happens in Vegas touches us all.

It's a nice concert, you're having a beer, chilling outside with your friends, swaying to the music. Warm breeze, cool brew. Ahh, Vegas.

Then your wife’s head somehow explodes in a pink mist, splattering you with your past and future. She’s gone and you’re in shock. Right now.

Then your brother lurches, and drops to the ground like a sack of wet cement, never to rise again.

400 yards away, in the sky, from a balcony high up, you see it. Flash after flash, your hear the shots, boom, boom, boom, coming fast, one after another. Around you bodies are dropping. Limbs breaking and flailing, blood and screams, panic, sheer, blind, terrifying, pants-soiling panic.

You pull your 9 mm pistol from your belt and... hold your wife’s body and wait for your turn, scream out and shoot aimlessly, or you run like hell.

There is no gun control to save you, and that gun in your hand won’t protect you, or bring your loved ones back. You are neither bulletproof, nor a threat to a distant sniper. You are just about to be a victim.

Gun control only works if it is in place before demented terrorists, psychopaths, and Nazi-saluting killers get the guns and start shooting.

Now is the time to brand the NRA a terrorist organization sponsored and supported by Russian and foreign forces, and appeased by the mindlessly greedy GOP.

Now is the time to end the fear and distrust of your neighbors and the police; instead  engage with them to end their fear of different races and cultures. Show them that we, Americans, people, are all the same, and that none but the craziest or most desperate want to shoot or get shot.

Now is the time to support sensible limits on civilian and police gun ownership, including types of guns, magazines, and the owners’ suitability based on mental health and legal records.

Now is the time to stop saying "But the Second Amendment."

Now is the time to stand up for your right to not be shot in a random massacre in your own country.

Now is the time. Now. Is. The. Time.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Using Confusion To Spin trump Sane

Scott Adams, bucket-of-insanity carrier for trump, just wrote in his blog at that the president’s recent random and ridiculous actions were beneficial. I suggest that Mr. Adams is living in the bizarre world he created, and though he should like to escape, he is quite happy to share that world with his (fewer and fewer) dense fans. 

Let's look at the orange-ass smoochfest that was Adams’ blog on May 2:

Adams wrote that by holding out the possibility of meeting with North Korea's Kim Jung-un, trump conjured the “asset” of a meeting with him as some type of benefit for the Korean leader. I’ll quickly dispel that logic. If that is what he was doing, instead of painfully forgetting that Jung-un was Dear Leader before he, trump, was, then this asset is what adults call “appeasement.”

Any person who has ever dealt with their unruly and demanding child, or a pestering associate, knows that if you give that irritating child, person, or psychotic foreign leader something to shut them up, they won’t suddenly be good. Poland. Hitler. 1939. Anyone? 
They won’t change their behavior for the offered gift. Oh, they may relent for a moment, but they will instantly understand that they will be rewarded for being awful, and will continue the bad conduct. Maybe because Adams never had children of his own, he has no sense of how to deal with these types of master manipulators.  

Next, trump's little surrogate says trump’s rhetoric about a border wall with Mexico alone caused  immigration from Mexico to shrink by 50%. That's just made up.  

Adams has admitted in the past that statistics are useless, like when he says he presciently  rejected them and predicted trump, in a two person race, in a divided country, would win a 50-50 election. Forgive my eye roll.

Nobody ever believed trump would build a wall or get Mexico to pay for it. I believe Mexican leaders said “Fuck you and your wall.” And in any event, a wall does not stop people from going around, over, or under it to get somewhere desirable.

The fact is the Mexican economy has been doing better for years. With the influx of American and other foreign manufacturers, health care and high tech industries, many Mexicans and others from South America were finding the dangerous trip to the increasingly hostile U.S. unnecessary. Recall that Obama’s administration deported millions of illegal immigrants before the orange one arrived.  The No Vacancy sign had been in place long before "Hate Meister t" was in the White’s Only House.

In addition, the trump sanctioned, violent and un-American ICE raids on immigrant communities, the increase in race- and ethnicity-based attacks, and the sheer hateful violence of a good portion of the trump-supporting population have all made America a less than desirable destination.

Then there was the budget. No money for the wall there either. [t]rump’s abject and public failure to win over self-interested Congressional representatives with far greater experience and power shows that trump COULD NOT talk up an effective wall. He failed in word and in deed to persuade anybody to support his PROMISED edifice to ignorance.  Oh, he got some to buy into the idea with their votes, but they were mere voters who would have bought anything from the from the New York City barker, the one with the too-long tie and shiny hair.

Next, the cartoonist-pundit says trump did something positive to the stock market. Oh please. The markets do what they will do without a president. And all bets before the election were that a trump win would crush the market. He didn’t do anything.

Oil is down hard today and so are bond prices. Why? Because the real economy stinks, car sales are crashing after years of excesses, credit is rolling over, growth is not coming anytime soon, and bond owners are doubting that trump’s America will actually pay meaningful interest on its bonds. But you can forgive the ink-addled Adams. After all,  he has no training or experience in finance, unless his bikini model girlfriend who claims to be an economist has been tutoring him, if she’s still around. Oh wait, he says he took a hypnotism course forty years ago, so there is that.

His blog goes on, not surprisingly, to spin up some more self-supporting statements. A persuader has to lie in Adams' world. He says trump cancelled the TPP. Actually it had not yet taken affect, so trump did nothing to affect TPP.  

Then our poor sketcher says trump warned China that trade negotiations would be aggressive and that this big threat scared the leaders of the world’s just barely second largest economy. The one that owns 3 trillion in US bonds, has more gold than anyone, and has a billion-plus people who can produce almost anything at a fraction of the price the US can. In fact, after Chinese President Xi left Mar-a-Lago, the resort trump owns and which he allows you, the taxpayer, to support while he golfs EVERY WEEKEND, Xi publicly called trump a simple baby who needs to show how tough he is. So there.  

Finally, Adams talks about trump’s tax plans. Yes, the one page memo that had more value as fuel for heat than as a plan. And that from the same trump that may have tax issues of his own, but won’t show us, despite promising he would. Adams suggests that trump’s corporate tax savings will lead to more employment in the US.  Little Scotty’s inexperience and lack of depth is showing again. Study after study shows that American companies don’t actually pay very much in taxes at all, and that when they do pay less in taxes they typically reward shareholders and executives with dividends and bonuses from the savings. They do NOT hire more people. Anyone not trying to confirm their distorted reality can see the truth there.

[t]rump is not the savior of the US. We needed him like the American natives needed Columbus, which is to say, not one bit. Our president now is as dangerous to America as smallpox was to the natives when the first settlers arrived here. He is a virus, infectious and deadly. 

And yes, trump was controlled by Russia, and is still working for them, knowingly or not, indictments are imminent; he is also incapable of regret, new learning, or keeping a train of thought, and he has proven himself to be a menace to women, workers, veterans, and you.

Because he is so horrifyingly bad, I predict he is out of office, in some manner, by January, 2019. I look forward to that time with great optimism. And if, like Adams recommends in his book “How to Fail…”, I write this goal down fifteen times a day, it may very well happen.

You may enjoy reading "The Dilbert Principle" because it’s funny, and because it was written before Adams morphed into his own fictional pointy-haired boss and fell in love with his delusion that trump is the greatest. But after that book, the author and his prose turn down-hill.


Oh, and as of today, May 4, 2017, trump and the GOP house of representatives voted to take away the health insurance you’ve been relying upon. Now don’t get fired. Don’t get sick. Don’t be a woman, pregnant, raped, or have a c-section; and for God’s sake, don’t be a veteran, or gay anything.

Yeah. This is greatness.


Friday, March 24, 2017

No Help For You!

Wednesday, March 22, was a fine March day here in Middletown, Ohio. A good day to get outside. Cold, but sunny.   

After work that day I gathered my dog, donned a knit cap, and jumped in the truck, destined for the Miami River trail. The pup and I go almost every day. Nothing unusual.

The route I take has a long, steep downhill that ends at a busy, divided, four-lane highway. There is a traffic light at the intersection. And yesterday there was a car stalled at the bottom of that hill, in the left lane. The driver looked cold, and was huddled behind the wheel.

The car’s hazard lights were on, but the flasher on the right wasn’t working; it looked like the car was waiting to turn left. But it suddenly became apparent to approaching drivers, me included, that this car wasn’t turning; it was stuck there.

Left turners coming down the hill to the green light were expecting to proceed through. But because the car was sitting still, with only the left flasher, drivers who did not see the problem until they were RIGHT ON TOP of the car, had to jam their brakes and quickly swerve around into the right lane and then swerve hard left. It was a bad place to be broken down.

As I approached, I swerved around the big sedan, made my left turn and then parked 50 yards away, off the shoulder. I didn’t know who was in the car, but I wouldn’t want to sit there, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be sitting there either. I crossed the busy road and walked back to the car. My dog watched me from the heated comfort of the truck.

The driver looked up as I tapped her window. She opened the door and I told her at the next green light I would push her car across the road so she could park out of traffic.

“Thank you!” I didn’t know her. She was a middle-aged, plump woman who smelled of cigarette smoke. It didn’t matter. She shouldn’t have had to sit there in danger.  

I told her to put her car in neutral. She struggled with that task then asked if the key had to be in the ignition. I shouted from the rear of the car, “Yes, put the key in and turn it on!” She did, and because I was testing the resistance of the car to my impending effort, I felt the transmission drop into neutral.  

All set.

We waited through half a green light, people whizzing by. Me standing there in my bright blue parka, purple Middletown High School beanie, black winter track pants, and trail running shoes. Nobody stopped; or waved; or waited.  Nobody even looked at me. It was odd. The light turned red. And we waited a little more. A line of cars stacked behind us.  

Then, when the light changed to green, I dug in and pushed. There was a hint of a grade, so after I got the car moving, it was not hard to keep moving.

What WAS difficult was the stream of drivers that denied us a few moments to clear the intersection. Drivers passed by in increasingly larger arcs across the obvious and inevitable path of the crippled car. Even when we were more than half-way across the intersection, leaving plenty of room for a driver to turn left behind me and the rolling land barge, a car dangerously crossed in front of this plainly disabled and man-powered vehicle.

I wished we had collided. It would have been pure negligence on the dingbat driver’s fault.

Nobody in the six or so cars that turned past made eye contact with me as I looked at them, pleading out loud for patience or caution.  

I could read their faces: “Ah well, a couple of losers in a crap car. Not my problem.”

The apathy (hostility?) was disturbing. I doubt any of the passing drivers had room to be judgmental about a broken-down car. Yet they seemed to have deemed us a mirage — not even there as an obstacle to traffic.

Despite the apathetic interference of the motorists, we got the car parked out of traffic. I accepted the driver’s real thanks as I walked past her, hopped back into my truck, and continued to my destination, a little bitter.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Where the Sellers Are

My last post in January asked if you could make a million dollars doing real estate deals.

I said, “Yes you can.”

That hasn’t changed. But the timing is clearer now.

Since January I have had an assistant directly contact over 80 home sellers. Many have failed to respond to phone calls and messages. Most have said they wanted all their money in a check at closing of a sale. Some have said yes to selling on terms, only to change their minds.

Eventually deals will surface and get done. But only with consistent persistence.

Nobody said success will happen overnight.

While those sellers who have listed their homes seem like they would be eager to sell, I now have my doubts. I think the best sellers are those who haven’t yet listed their properties anywhere, and need just a small push to leave their fence-sitting position.

I’ll be shifting some of my marketing dollars to that “not yet listed” group, and I will let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, I do have a very useful website for buyers and sellers. Check it out here Carmik Buys Houses!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Can you make a million doing this? Part II. (Yes, you can!)

In my last post I asked if you could make a million dollars doing real estate deals like this guy Ron LeGrand was saying you could.

It was rhetorical.

The answer is YES YOU CAN!

I’m a lawyer. I have been for nearly (gulp) 20 years. I’ve had six figure fees. But I can say this is a much better way to make massive amounts of money in big chunks than suing people who fight tooth and nail to avoid paying a dime.

And no court or other governmental body looking over your shoulder all the time, telling you what you can and cannot do.

Of course there are some rules. It’s not the Wild West. But the opportunities to think and earn are amazing. There is a story behind every seller, too. Many times the sellers are grateful that you can take their house off their hands, for no down payment, no bank forms, no rejections.

Even beautiful homes on the fairways of golf courses sometimes have owners who must sell NOW.

There is a livestream of a conference going on right now. It’s on YouTube here: LeGrand's Real Estate Seminar

This part is free until noon Eastern. Check it out. If you like it, then you can buy access for the next 2 1/2 days for a mere $99.00.

You will easily learn enough to make that money back. Hundreds of times over.

Do it. Don’t wait. Sign up here for the rest of the week: Sign up now for $99. 



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Can You Make A Million Doing This?

How long have you been working at your job? Are you rich yet? Are you pleased as punch when you get in your car for the soul-sucking morning commute?

No. Then are you ready to breathe in a new idea? A new way to live?

If you haven't been happy for way too long, then do something about it. Make a real change. As explorer Hernan Cortes said to his crew of explorers in 1519, when they set foot ashore in South America: "Burn the Ships!"

Take a look at this offer. You could do better than Cortes. Unlike him, you might actually find your path laid with gold.

I'm serious.

You have seen these offers and "get rich in real estate" ideas in the past. So have I. Since I was a teenager. Remember Carlton Sheets? I've even ordered books and CDs to review, never to be impressed. But now I'm not a kid. As an experienced lawyer I am as skeptical as can be. And I have to say the ideas and processes Ron Legrand has to share work --- for real.

They flat out work.

Please. Let 2017 be the year you start getting rich; maybe even become rich. Be a millionaire. Be free to do what you want. Burn the ships!

I'll keep telling you about how this process is changing my life. Maybe you can tell me how it is changing yours.  Click the link above and leave a comment below, because it will make you feel great.

Jim L.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dilbert Wouldn't Vote for Trump.

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is going to explain to listeners of BBC radio, today, why Americans will vote for Donald Trump.

Adams seems to believe that a majority of Americans have been easily duped by Trump, the P.T. Barnum, the Professor Harold Hill, of modern politics.

In his blog, Adams has alternately said that 1) he doesn't care who wins the presidency; 2) that Hillary Clinton won't because she is sick, or on drugs (he's not a doctor, nor has he attended medical school, nor has he actually met Hillary Clinton); 3) that Donald Trump will win; and finally, after losing millions of dollars in speaking fees, 4) that he endorses Gary Johnson.

He backhandedly admits that he is taking that last position to avoid further damage to the Dilbert brand, the loveable engineer that he's carelessly associated with Trump support. 

But the damage is done.

In addition to blowing this "pay no attention to the cartoonist behind the curtain" smoke, Scott Adams subjects his readers to a psychological manipulation in every blog post.

At the end of each of his posts, he suggests you buy his book(s), and includes a link to the item.

And each statement is a model of a psychological persuasion tool. Like the "because they drink tea" line in this one today.   He uses this one a lot.

Experiments have shown that people will often do what you ask if you just use the word "because" in your request. (See, Influence, by Robert Cialdini).

The reason you give doesn't need to make sense. It just has to be stated following a "because." Adams relies on you being unaware of this technique. And he probably has a chart showing him which manipulative techniques he uses get the best results.

"Welcome to my laboratory, rats.", he might say to himself each time he writes a post.

I've loved Dilbert for years. I've read three of Adams's books. But I can't stomach what appears to be his Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper-like concept of voters'  intelligence.

He ought to review Pre-Suasion, also by Robert Cialdini, the Godfather of psychological persuasion techniques.

If Adams did see that volume, he'd recognize that he has poisoned the susceptibility of a big part of his audience by injecting Trump into his conversations.

The readers' virtual arms are crossed and their heads tilted back before they even start to read.

If they even do read any more.