Wednesday, January 20, 2021

How President Biden Can Turn the Economy Around With a Pen Stroke

 The American economy is driven by consumer spending. It is not driven as politicians tend to promote by the number of jobs or job growth when celebrating the rise of the stock market or the latest corporate tax cut and subsidy.  Instead, its driven by higher wages, low inflation, and people having what is called discretionary spending. That means money they have to spend on things after taking care of the necessities such as basic bills. Consumer spending then means more jobs are needed because more people are dining out, shopping, going to movies, traveling, etc.

So how do we raise consumer spending?  What can President Biden and any politician who actually means it when they say they want America to grow and have a strong economy? Or that sincerely any working Americans to have a good life and that shot at the brass ring?

Raise The Minimum Wage to $15/hour

President Biden ran on this, will he really fight hard for it or was it an empty promise? This will require Congress to pass it and since corporate donors dont want to raise wages and they own money politicians (in both parties) this will be a hard fight. They will say how raising wages will cost jobs, it will send companies overseas, its bad for unions and those making a higher wage already.  All this is a distraction and mostly not a real argument if you just stop to think about it. 

  • Is raising wages from the current $7.25/hour to $15 going to send companies overseas?  Well we already have many doing just that where they can get people to work for $1/day. Not a valid argument, the answer to keeping companies in America lies elsewhere, not forcing Americans to have low wages.
  • But I joined a union or went to college for better wages!  Why give these people more?  First, let me say that is a remarkably selfish attitude.  Its also counter productive because if the minimum goes up, those working more skilled or dangerous jobs can more easily get a raise themselves - it will be arising tide helping every worker.  Also businesses will be making and selling more stuff so can better afford wage increases.
  • What about the deficit? This is one of the stupidest arguments!  Raising wages will likely eventually result in higher govt salaries but it will likely take a year or more.  And with higher wages for most Americans we will pay more in taxes even at the same percentage rate. That lowers the deficit.
  • But I cant afford to pay that much to my workers!  Well if your workers have to get by on 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet you probably have a lousy business model. In reality, more people can afford to buy your stuff or services so your business gross income will increase.  We have seen this happen over and over again in states with higher wages.  People making twice the money they do now will be able to save and spend more, benefiting everyone.

Activate the Medicare Clause for the Duration of the Pandemic

This one President Biden can do right now, without Congress.  He wont though, unless Americans push him on it. Instead he seems to be aiming for afar more expensive COBRA subsidy.
Medicare is the most efficient health coverage in America, it pays the lowest administrative and marketing costs.  Private insurance spends a lot of money on advertising and administration, sometimes up to 50%! Thy do this because its cheaper to make complicated rules and hire people to slow down or block payments when you need it. That may be good business but its not good healthcare!  Americans pay twice the average for medical expenses as every other industrial country, in many cases we pay far more - especially for drug prices. This is because the current system is designed to charge consumers as much as possible while covering clams as little as possible and done n many ways, co-payments, premiums, deductibles, pharmacy rebates, back room deals with drug companies, out of network surprise costs, and of curse simply denying your claim as long as they can and hoping you die or give up so they don't have to pay.

Much of the problem is buried in your employee benefits so many people dont know how bad it is, especially if they dont get seriously sick. But all the money your employer spends on health care means lower wages for you.  Nothing is free after all!  COBRA is kind of an example of this, its employee health insurance without the company paying much into it.  Insurance companies love this because the money still ends in their pocket - they dont care who pays after all.

What can we do?
  • The AHCA had an emergency clause in it that allows the President to give everyone Medicare during a pandemic.  This means millions of unemployed workers can get health care. Even employed workers can save money by using it instead of dealing with their insurance company.
  • Will this cost taxpayers? You betcha!  I'm not going to lie to you like a typical politician or TV pundit. However what they fail to say to you is that by paying insurance companies through COBRA instead of directly paying your doctor is that the method President Biden just outlined will cost taxpayers far far more.  Doing nothing not only means more dead Americans but also costs the economy and taxpayers, lost work, lower taxes (cant pay taxes with no job right?), delays on vaccination, more time lost from work as people call in sick, on and on.
  • Remember every other major country does this better and cheaper than we do, all because politicians are getting paid to let YOU and your family get sick and die to benefit insurance and drug companies.  The media is just as guilty, they make a lot of money from advertising so wont call it out.
  • When this is allover we can go back to being ripped off, but right now we need this to more quickly get the economy turned around and save lives.  Who knows, you just might like single-payer instead of dealing with an insurance company!  Of course that is what certain people are terrified of.

Wear a Mask!

The final thing is not up to Congress or President Biden, but up to you.  Trump, Republicans, and conservative media all made wearing a mask a political issue.  Its not, its a moral one.  We should not need a law or regulation to force people to wear masks, people should wear them them as a symbol of patriotism and loyalty to America, or just because its the right and good thing to do.
Trump originally pushed this because he was afraid people would get scared and it would hurt the stock market.  He did not care how many people died, long as the economy was good.  Thing is if Americans all wore masks we would have cut the death toll at least in half and many people would still have their jobs.  We still would be struggling but not nearly as much. Dr. Fauchi lied and said wearing masks was not likely needed in order to prevent a run on them so health care workers would have enough. Not cool guy, not cool at all.

Mass are not comfortable, but if you refuse to wear a mask because your lazy or rather people die and lose jobs because you dont want to be mildly uncomfortable get out of the country because your not a loyal American!

Pyramid Scheme Status - Fully Funded and Only 2 Stretch Goals Left!

 The GURPS Pyramid Scheme is on its third day day and at $23,500 and 1,022 backers has already unlocked several stretch goals. Currently each issue will have 44 pages and 9 articles for $6 total cost per backer, though many are going in for the extra store credit at a discount.

  • 14 Backers chose just one issue, I wonder which one?
  • 658 going for all 3issues
  • 74 Apparently missed the previous kickstarter and are going for it plus the 3 issues.
  • 94 going for all 3issues plus the retro Pyramid classic bundle.
  • 90 going for all 3 issues plus $30 store credit, saving $4 off purchasing from the GURPS catalog.
  • 27 for all 3 issues plus $80 store credit, saving $11 off purchasing from the GURPS catalog.
  • 50 for all 3issiues plus $200 store credit, saving $56 off off purchasing from the GURPS catalog.
The final known goal is 11 articles each at about 44 pages of new articles, not including Table of Contents, forward, Advertising, and Introduction. So I think we need to hit two more stretch goals, the next at $26,000.
There is some great stuff here for any GURPS fan - and some of this stuff will be good for any gamer. Since GURPS uses real world measurements articles like the final article Highway Stars which is about real world vehicles, and all the location and historical material are easily used as reference material for any appropriate system.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Officers, Representatives, and Senators of the Great State of Oklahoma -Lets Talk Sedition

 A lot of people in Oklahoma are furious about what happened on Jan 6th 2020 and there is some confusion about things.  So lets clear it all up, ok?

Some people are saying that what Trump, his lawyers, and other people did in giving a speech to incite the attack on the Capital as Treason. Also that Senator Lankford, all the members we sent to the House, and the state legislatures who signed on to the parliamentary gimmick of objecting to the election as Treason.

This is in fact not true. Treason requires us to be in a declared war and Congress disdains the US Military and those serving in it by refusing to call any of the armed conflicts were in a war.  This is done to deprive them of various benefits and honors and getting that redressed requires veteran groups to have to continually fight to get some of those benefits they earned by sacrificing for the country.

You can, and I do call these people traitors,  as that is not a legal term but a personal judgement based on disloyalty. However I do feel they are guilty of Sedition.  I am not a lawqyer, so maybe I am wrong. Read for your self.


There is a lot to review here so lets examine the most relevant sections of that law.

18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

What happened was clearly illegal, and the FBI has already charged over 60 people as of this writing.  Seems pretty clear listening to what many of the rioters said on camera and by breaking into the building, as well as vandalizing and assaulting people, one of which resulted in the death of an officer that the purpose was to overturn a legal election and thus the US Government. Plus there were chants like hang Mike Pence. Anyone really dispute that was insurrection?

Section 2385 is even more compelling, specially as regards to the instigators and our elected officials who encouraged these rioters.  And for those crying about Social Media platforms silencing their voices, well it seems if they didn't they would be guilty too!  Might in fact be a good case for it anyhow, but maybe they can claim ignorance. But those in Congress and the 17 local state legislators - well cries of ignorance  seem far less credible.

Section 2384 Conspiracy likely applies to the Congressmen, Turning Point USA, and the wife of a Supreme Court Justice who paid for transportation. I dont recall all the names but you can be sure the FBI has a better memory and notes than I do.

Will anyone in power actually be charged and see jail time?  Very unlikely, the rich and powerful are often above the law and escape consequences we regular Americans would pay.

Its up to voters to hold them accountable.

Write down the names of those who represent you and attacked our country IN YOUR NAME by saying they did it in your interest and because you demanded it.  They all knew that blocking the state electors was not going to happen and it was just a stunt to get attention, raise money (Hawley and Cruz for example) or appeal to disgruntled Trump voters in hopes of them helping win their own future elections. They knew about the mob, everyone did - it was planned well ahead of time and very very public. They chose to put their personal or party political ambitions ahead of the risk of violence in the best case, and some it appears were more directly involved at the worst case.

Some are paying some consequences now, local newspapers calling for resignations, Senator Lankford being asked to step down of a local but prestigious committee (I think that one hurts him the most,  maybe I'm wrong but I think he really cares about the cause) and businesses are stepping back - at least for now.  That money train really hurts and is the likely reason Senator McConnell has indicated he may support impeachment.

Meanwhile many in the GOP are asking us to forgive and forget about the attack on our country that impeachment and calls for resignation are divisive and should stop. They say now we should heal and move forward, seems similar to the eternal "Thoughts and Prayers" after every mass shooting.  Ask yourself would they say the same thing if a Democrat had done this? Or if it was a left wing grouplike Black Lives Matter or Antifa.  Though many like Rep Jordan and Gatz are trying to blame them even though the FBI has said no evidence of that.  And really, can you see that? Left wing groups march in normal clothes - not armed and with military surplus gear. The lefts version of terrorism is chaining yourself to a tree to protect an endangered owl, or using a small boat to try and drive off a whaling ship. You may think they are crazy but when you lok at mass violence its generally the right wing from Ruby Ridge, to Waco, to the Federal Building in Oklahoma to the uni-bomber. Of course not all Republicans or conservatives are terrorists or unpatriotic just as there are vandals among the very angry crowds of people fighting not to be killed over their kid stealing a barbie doll, shot while sleeping because a warrant had the wrong address,  or a routine traffic stop.

Oh, and as I hear the news on the background one other thing. Whats up with the excuse that voting for Impeachment could put your or your family at risk? Are Democrat's the only ones with courage? People in elected office should not allow their choices to be decided by either personal profit or risk. If you cant handle that to quote AOC "Find another Job!" You certainly should not be a position to decide the lives of veterans and active duty service members.

The nation must heal and unify, we have let the media and political parties divide us for too long. They do this for ratings, fund raising, and to weaken the American people. However we must not allow these people to get away with these activities and crimes, if they have no accountability they will just do it again and again.

A Final Thought

It pains me that the Senate does not think this is an important enough issue to call off their vacation. Right now Secratary Pompeio is politically attacking other countries and damaging relations with our alles. Hes a known warhawk so some of this is just to please him and the defense contractors but what f Trump uses it to start a war, send a a few missiles somewhere or whatever?  The military will disobey an unlawful order but civilian political appointees are in charge and  who is to say a missile strike or troop movement is unlawful? If you were ordered to do something your boss told you to that you thought might be a bad idea but if in refusing the order  you risked a felony conviction would you do it?
Trump is in my view a petty and vindictive man, and I dont trust him not to cause as much damage as he thinks he can get away with.  Apparently the majority of Republicans disagree with that assessment or at least they are willing to risk it.  I hope I am wrong, but if not we must hold them accountable for their cowardice and poor judgement.

The Striking Absence of Courage and Loyalty to America in the GOP and Amazing Self-entitlement

 The House voted to impeach Trump for sedition today, a small number of Republicans voted for it.  Apparently not a single Oklahoma Rep was among them.  So Rep Tom Cole, Rep Markwayne Mullin, Rep Kevin Hern, Rep Stephanie Bice, and local Rep Frank Lucas all voted in support of Sedition, just as they voted to encourage and give aid and comfort to seditionists by objecting to blocking the will of the voters in declaring Biden as the new President elect.

Some like Rep Tom Cole said it was just a parliamentary move, others think and have said letting Trump get away with attempting to overthrow the government as something that the country should just move beyond and forget about, such as our own Senator Lankford.

Meanwhile Republicans are screaming more about losing book deals (Senator Hawley), being censored by a few losing social media accounts and saying that prevents them from talking to people (duh you can go on TV or radio anytime you want to!).Also seriously does any Congress person actually read or understand the Constitution? or do they know but just think their voters are too lazy or stupid to, and will just believe whatever they are told? Or even more petty crying about not being able to carry guns onto the House floor and walking through metal detectors.  How out of touch and self entitled are these people? Regular Americans are typically not allowed to carry guns on their jobs, many schools have metal detectors, and have they boarded a plane lately? But somehow they think they are special and should be able to carry a gun in a supposedly secure location. Consider that several were and still are engaged in active sedition and some calling for the death of fellow congress people. At least 4 were involved in organizing the rally that led to the riot and one Rep Lauren Boebert is an admitted conspiracy theorist and was sending the location during the riot Speaker Pelosi's location to her followers. There were only two credible reasons to do that 1) Hoping the rioters would go after Pelosi and leave the floor alone (in hopes of protecting herself) or 2) Hoping they could reach Pelosi.  Why should she be allowed in office, much less to carry a gun? Apparently our own Rep Mullin was also among those crying about the metal detectors.

So these are the priority issues of the GOP, not the people who died or risked their lives to save their lives (By the way, many Republicans, including Senator Graham and some from the Oklahoma delegation were yelling at the Capital Police for not doing enough during the crisis.  We even have American service members sleeping on the Capital floor to protect their ass. While as a former service member myself I can say this is not the most uncomfortable billet, its shameful that Republicans in office are devaluing that and putting their own personal privilege's over and above the people sacrificing to protect the self-entitled spoiled brats.

When will Republican voters ever hold them accountable?  Will they ever do so? Or is racism so that damm important to you? Can't really be anti-abortion based on the reckless disregard for human life. Maybe its just the lie about taxes.  Shameful whatever the reason is.

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Real Hero

So I saw small clips of this Black Capital Police Officer running from the mob. My initial thoughts were that is understandable as they likely would have killed him if they caught him but he should probably lose his job. Dying is part of the risk you take for these kinds of things, which is why few people should be in these high risk jobs.

However, I heard a report and checked into it and turns out the Senate chambers were just down the hall. Looking at this video clip you can see him glance over (apparently noticing the Senators had not been secured yet) and deliberately egging the rioters on. Then he runs a short distance, turns and continues to confront the, This repeats several times and you hear him giving his location an calling for backup where he leads those that followed into a trap.

This shows incredible bravery and presence of mind in a tough situation. Remember these people are waving racist flags and symbols around so its clear they hate any nonwhite and likely would have beaten him to death had they caught him.  Sure that skinny white guy at the front doesn't look too dangerous as commentators have said, but he could easily have been armed. Plus there is the whole mob behind him.

He deserves our thanks, a raise and hey President Biden why dont you use the Medal of Freedom appropriately instead of the participation trophy Trump has turned it into? Give this guy a medal!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Pyramid Scheme Post #2

 The next announcement post about the upcoming Pyramid special has come out.  Actually several days ago, but things been rather hectic. Sign up here to know when it launches!

The second of three issues will be themed for Modern Day/Action.

Articles at Launch

  • El Rancho Fin del Camino - Matt Riggsby [ready to use locale, with map]
  • Derelicts on Ice - Carolynn Ivy Stein and Steve Stein [ships to explore]
  • Secret Masters - Rory Fansler (thats me) [character options for an illuminated campaign]
My article was written just for this issue and is very similar in concept to The Captains Boat which was a well received article I wrote for Pyramid #3/71. Both took a simple idea and ran with it to affordably build a character matching a common stereotype.  I ran with this one a bit more, bent one rule to make it work, and ran out of space trying to squeeze everything in.  So look for designers notes in the future, if this funds. Thank you to Steven Marsh and Sean Punch for not only their usual sterling editorial work but also giving the concept room to breath.

Stretch Goal Articles

  • The Phoenix Program - S.A. Fisher [real world Vietnam info]
  • Three Steampunk Monsters - Phil Masters [monsters!!]
  • The Checkpoint - Michele Armellini [generic encounter]
  • Into the Forbidden Zone - J. Edward Tremlett [real-world lost locales]
  • Phoenix: Birds of Prey - S.A. Fisher [more real world Vietnam info]
  • The Hunters Reliquary II - Christopher R. Rice [more options for GURPS Monster Hunters]
  • The Company - Sean Punch [GURPS Action expansion]
  • Highway Stars - Roger Burton West [popular vehicles using GURPS vehicle stats]
This kickstarter will be starting later this month, might be scheduled for a short window so save your money!
Some rumors on the forums that this is a restart of the magazine. That has been confirmed as not true. Instead this is another version of the PDF challenge that did so well last year, just using the themes from Pyramid as the organizing structure.  Its my hope that we see one or two of these things a year, in addition to the regular monthly new GURPS supplement.

Monday, January 4, 2021

TTJP Season 1 Episode 24 A New Journey


Casting: Tiger Team!

  • Jian Wu (Two) (Christian) 16M; Our smith and all around craftsman, carries a huge sword and Master of Dragon Man Kung Fu.
  • Jiao Ting (Eight) (Chris D) 16M; Reckless grappler; Black Palm
  • Liang Jing Min (Five) (Randy) 16M; Noble, on the outs with family; Chinese Spear Fighting.
  • Nongmin Chushi (Seven) (Rory) 16M; He talks to spirits, inquisitive and charming perhaps a wee bit too friendly to strangers. Shaman, Eagle Fist Chin Na!, Quarterstaff. Also Talker!, Artiste!, and Outdoorsman!
  • Shang Yi (One) (Calvin) 16M; Natural leader and archer. Shedao
  • Zhiyu Zhige (Nine) (Laurie) 16F; Sorcerer specializing in healing. Eagle Fist Chin Na.
  • He Bohi (Eleven) 16M; Twin, grew up near the docks. Eagle Fist Chin Na, focused on striking.
  • He Donghai (Twelve) 16M;, Twin, Eagle Fist Chin Na, focused on grappling.
  • Ko Lanfen (Four) 16F; Solid Order devotee. Tai Chi Chuan,
  • Laoshu (Three aka Mouse) 17F; Quiet and deadly with a knife. Dagger Fighting
  • Meiyou Ren (Six) 16M; Affectionately called the party blending machine and close to Zhige.
  • Rang Baozhai (Ten) 17F; Our bookworm and nerd. Eagle Fist Chin Na and Xiangliu's Bite (Crossbow).

A Time of Building

After the last adventure our heroes have spent another two years training and are now basically young adults. Most of us now have Style! wildcard skills, plus a few others. Chushi improved his ability to get along with others by getting Talker! and Artiste! to build gifts for spirits and making fetishes. Added Cooking as an extended skill to Artiste! meaning he can make really great meals.
Also increased his Spirit Hands (TK) to ST 20. Wu got bigger and stronger, Jing Min got faster and several levels of Flying Leap (Super Jump 3 with modifiers), Zhige picked up more spells.


Master Pai Mei calls us to assemble and tells us we have been assigned to the Inquisitor branch of the order.   This is in large part a recognition of our success with the last adventure. This branch focuses on hunting down warlocks, demons, and other bad apples within the empire.

We gate to the capital city and are ushered into the Orders grounds. Were given $50 and told to take the evening off and we break up to scout the city.
Chushi and Yi explore the city, memorizing locations and getting a feel for the place.  The idea is to learn travel routes, potential hot spots and places of interest.  Chushi especially pays attention to the social makeup of various areas such as where cultists may gather or recruit or other elements of various types.  Also learns where the parks and graveyards are.
Jing Min goes to the opera, he has been missing the refined side of culture. He dutifully calls it an early night after that to be fresh in the morning.
Ren takes Zhige on a date, buys her a remarkably nice water silk dress that repairs itself.
Rang takes Ting on a date, it does not go as well.  Ting seems obtuse to her advances even though hes shown interest in her by making her gifts. Also turns out to be a lousy dancer.

No one is ambushed or gets into any trouble, except maybe Ting with Rang.  The next morning were fed a good breakfast and reviewed by our new trainer.

End Session

We didnt really do much, lot of cross talk and goofing off kept us off base, possibly post holiday energy.  We all had fun though and in the end that is what a game is all about right?

Friday, January 1, 2021

TTJP Episode 22 Did She Blink?


Casting: Tiger Team!

  • Jian Wu (Two) (Christian) 14M; Our smith and all around craftsman, carries a huge sword and Master of Dragon Man Kung Fu.
  • Jiao Ting (Eight) (Chris D) 14M; Reckless grappler; Black Palm
  • Liang Jing Min (Five) (Randy) 14M; Noble, on the outs with family; Chinese Spear Fighting.
  • Nongmin Chushi (Seven) (Rory) 14M; He talks to spirits, inquisitive and charming perhaps a wee bit too friendly to strangers. Shaman, Eagle Fist Chin Na, Quarterstaff.
  • Shang Yi (One) (Calvin) 14M; Natural leader and archer. Shedao
  • Zhiyu Zhige (Nine) (Laurie) 14F; Sorcerer specializing in healing. Eagle Fist Chin Na.
  • He Bohi (Eleven) 14M; Twin, grew up near the docks. Eagle Fist Chin Na, focused on striking.
  • He Donghai (Twelve) 14M;, Twin, Eagle Fist Chin Na, focused on grappling.
  • Ko Lanfen (Four) 14F; Solid Order devotee. Tai Chi Chuan,
  • Laoshu (Three aka Mouse) 15F; Quiet and deadly with a knife. Dagger Fighting
  • Meiyou Ren (Six) 14M; Also good with a blade, possibly any blade.
  • Rang Baozhai (Ten) 15F; Our bookworm and nerd. Eagle Fist Chin Na and Xiangliu's Bite (Crossbow).

The Trap

With three members of the team captured the group heads out to rescue them. Naturally its a trap so we scout ahead and find the meeting place to be on the docks in a large open space normally filled with vendors, a salt market. The large open area favors the cultists with their fireballs, though were not helpless when it comes to range either.  We choose to attack from two sides. Chushi, Jing Min, and Yi from one side coming in on the roof of a large building.  The rest from the opposite side and going across a bridge.
Our Tactics roll gives the group 3 rerolls to use as needed.
Our friends are tied up in a fountain close to the building and we see 3 Gol-shan (big stench demons), 12 bone demons, 16 cultists, and 2 elites. A fox tail and a sorcerer.

Opening Move

Yi kills two cultists with his arrows, Jing Min drops down and guts another with his spear, Chushi sends his knife towards the fountain. On the other side Wu charges one of the big demons, Ren heads toward a bone demon between him and the leaders, Ting slams a cultist and Zhige backs up to the waters edge and hastes Ren.
Zhige summons her foxfire, Mouse escapes her bounds, Ko goes for a bone demon after easily making her HT roll to avoid the stench effects from the nearby stench demon. Yi kills two more cultists, Chushi frees Bohi as Dinghi freed himself as well.  All the prisoners are now free and Mouse grabs the knife.
Fireballs come at Yi who dodges, Christian gets two aimed at him, one of which is a crit failure -burning himself. Ren gets one crited at him but we use a reroll and it becomes a crit fail on the reroll.
Rang shoots a cultist with her crossbow but it dodged. Jing Min kills two cultists on the outer edge.
Zhige hastes Ting and sends her foxfire at a cultist.
Yi shoos the leader but he is magically protected. Wu uses Quicksilver Strike to reach a demon. Ko uses a reroll to avoid a crit hit by a bone demon, the rest of them fail to land a blow.
Ting charges the foxlady and hits with a crit, GM uses a reroll and she blinks away.
Game ends there due to external circumstances.


With 45 people on the board this was quite a chaotic mess, even listening to the recap. This part of the fight took just under 2 hours with most of the people not having to look up rules or things on a character sheet.