Copy Stores Fail To See An Opportunity.

On April 18, 2019, a redacted version of the Mueller Report was released to the public. Within hours of the release, downloaded versions were available in .pdf format from a number of sources.  I personally like print.  I like to highlight and make margin notes.  I contacted my local Staples store and found out that each page would cost about 12 cents.  The report has something over 400 pages which comes out to be about $48.  Amazon shows that a book form will be out about April 30th for $9.20.   Any copy store like Staples has a brief window where they could offer to print the book at a really good price. This just might be a clever promotion to get customers into their stores, a loss leader.  Counter to that is that some right wing nuts might find this objectionable.  I tried to use Staples web site to share this view but of course they think they know every subject matter and failed to offer general open communication.

I am now printing out sections of the report using my home printer.

CAUTION:  There are some reports that the Kindle edition is flawed in some way.

 

Posted April 22, 2019

The United States Is In Decline

The United States is in a downward trajectory from being an hegemony, sole world power. Currently China may have matched the United States and if not now will soon do so. More important, China will surly surpass the United States in the year 2030. A number of factors have brought this about. To have this explained to you, I recommend three options for you to consider:

  1. Start by listening to this podcast: Alfred McCoy, the author of “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State”. He joins us to discuss his new book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power” and how much Donald Trump’s ignorance and incompetence is accelerating America’s decline and China’s rise, and whether a less powerful, more generous and collaborative America could co-exist in a world without a single hegemon.
  2. Another website, The Intercept, audio is recommended: https://soundcloud.com/the_intercept/intercepted-podcast-extra-alfred-mccoy
  3. Consider buying this book: In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) by Alfred W. McCoy a distinguished historian at the University of Wisconsin.The book is due to come out September 12, 2017.   Wikipedia credentials for Dr. Alfred W. McCoy : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_W._McCoy

 

President Trump Is Allegedly Mentally Ill.

There is a, soon to be released, book (estimated release date is October 3, 2017) about President Trump’s lack of fitness to be in office.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals Assess a President is a consensus view of two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists that Trump is dangerously mentally ill and that he presents a clear and present danger to the United States.

The book is written by Bandy X. Lee (Author), Robert Jay Lifton (Contributor), Gail Sheehy (Contributor), William J. Doherty (Contributor), Noam Chomsky (Contributor), Judith Lewis Herman M.D. (Contributor), Philip Zimbardo Ph.D. (Contributor), Rosemary Sword (Contributor), Craig Malkin Ph.D. (Contributor), Tony Schwartz (Contributor), Lance Dodes M.D. (Contributor), John D. Gartner Ph.D. (Contributor), Michael J. Tansey Ph.D. (Contributor), David M. Reiss M.D. (Contributor), James A. Herb M.A. Esq. (Contributor), Leonard L. Glass M.D. M.P.H. (Contributor), Henry J. Friedman M.D. (Contributor), James Gilligan M.D. (Contributor), Diane Jhueck L.M.H.C. D.M.H.P. (Contributor), Howard H. Covitz Ph.D. A.B.P.P. (Contributor), Betty P. Teng M.F.A. L.M.S.W. (Contributor), Jennifer Contarino Panning Psy.D. (Contributor), Harper West M.A. L.L.P. (Contributor), Luba Kessler M.D. (Contributor), Steve Wruble M.D. (Contributor), Thomas Singer M.D. (Contributor), Elizabeth Mika M.A. L.C.P.C. (Contributor), Edwin B. Fisher Ph.D. (Contributor), Nanette Gartrell M.D. (Contributor), Dee Mosbacher M.D. Ph.D. (Contributor)

To hear a podcast that promotes both the books and the view that President Trump is allegedly mentally ill, can be found here:

Make sure you carefully listen to the end of this podcast because they bring up some possible, really bad, scenarios:

• A military take over by the generals that Trump has surrounded himself with, to stop Trump from getting to the nuclear codes and start a war.
• Trump might start a war to rally the nation behind him.

The illness, the president allegedly has, is sociopath.  Here are some traits for this affliction (Obtained from http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html):

(1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything.

(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace.

(3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else’s fault.

(4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed.

(5) Genuine religious, moral, or other values play no part in their lives. They have no empathy for others and are capable of violence. Under older psychological terminology, they fall into the category of psychopath or sociopath, but unlike the typical psychopath, their behavior is masked by a superficial social facade.

Book: Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution by Wendy Brown

If you are amazed at the level of political anger in the United States, in 2016, and wish to explore some possible reasons motivating individuals to so significantly change from past norms of political party action and support, then you might consider reading this book.

Author: Wendy Brown

Recommended Free Reading (requires you to download a pdf file)

Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution by Wendy Brown  (PDF file)

Paid version at Amazon:

  Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution

Review for (paid version) of this book at GoodReads:

Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution by Wendy Brown

Having Trouble With Learning Math?

A women working at a Starbucks told me that her son was having problems with math.  I said I would try to find a book for her son that might help.   I did find a number of Internet book recommendations but none of the local used book stores or new book sellers had the books I was looking for.  My wife wanted to go to Barnes and Noble Book Store and I took that opportunity to look for what they had in stock.  They only had one book in the kids section which seemed to have good reviews and I purchased it.  I then went into the adult math book section and by chance found an astonishing math book called “Help Your Kids With Math“.    When I was very young my parents purchased an electronic theory book set that instructed the reader mainly with pictures.  Those books helped me become self taught in electronics.  I had never seen a math book teaching the reader by using images like this book.  Even though this book says it is aimed at teaching kids, I bought me a copy.  A few days later I purchased another copy for the Starbucks barista’s son.  I slipped in a letter to this by which I will show you below:

Dear xxxxx,

Your mom told me you are having difficulty in math.  I am giving you this book in the hope it helps you comprehend math in a new visual way.  Some tricks I have learned about problem solving I will now share with you.  First, do not give up.  Second, walk around the problem to view it from a different perspective.  Third, try to understand the problem using different methods.  Fourth, when facing a near impossible problem, turn it into a challenge, a contest.

Some times just going to school and listening to a teacher and reading a school text book will fail you.  Some times you need to seek out a different method if you are not understanding the material.

I am giving you this book because it offers you all of these solutions.  This book shows you all of math visually.  The book should look scary to you beyond the first few chapters.  This is because it shows you the whole math path and you are at its beginning.  Use it as a reference book.  It should help you all your life to “see” math relationships.  I have never seen this method used for math before.  I am really impressed with this book.   I have my own copy.

Why study math?  Math is a language; it is a method; it is a tool; it is a long struggle; it is tough to learn and it offers wonderful rewards when you understand it.  Because it is tough to learn, it can determine how successful you might be in some professions and how much money you will make.  For example, if you can comprehend trigonometry, you can better become a computer game designer.  If you pass calculus you can get a degree in business, engineering and science making $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  If you go further and become an actuary, you should make $150,000 to $250,000 a year.

As you can see, the math path has more rewards the further you can travel its length.  I do hope this book helps you get further.   Please remember not to give up.

Update:  3-6-19:  The web link needed to be replaced because I got a “404 Not Found”.

Learning Adobe Premier Pro CC

I would like to share with you my problems trying to learn Adobe Premier Pro CC.  This software has a lot of features and  a lot of apparent hidden tools.  In other words, it is a rather difficult software to fly.  I had just video taped a wedding and due to the complexity of the production assets, I could no longer use iMovie.  I had the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software loaded on my laptop and just knew that Premier was going to work. Problem for me is that I had to learn the program fast.   Let me jump to the solution so you do not have to wade through this ratter long explanation.  Just go to https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html

If you are interested in reading my rather long quest for knowledge as to how to edit with Adobe Premier Pro CC, read on.

BOOKS

My son told me not to buy any books and just use the Internet to learn Premier.  I love books and can easily say that I am older than you.  My daughter would call me retro.

I wasted a day trying to buy a book at a local book store.  I even went to Fry’s because they no longer allowed you to call in and take to a person to check availability and price.  Their book section had practically vanished.  I predict that store will also vanish.

I spent hours trying to figure out what was the best book to buy on the Internet.  I had Premier Pro CC version 2015.  I did not want a book that was too old.  I was really intrigued with Premiere Pro CC: Visual QuickStart Guide by Jan Ozer. It showed being published Jun 27, 2013, seemingly a bit out of date.  I just love that format of book, quick outline and visual.

I settled upon Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release.  It seemed the best deal was to buy this book at Adobe Press.  Problem was that the release date for the book was the same day I was ordering it, September 16, 2015.  It would take a week to get the book.  I spotted a nifty deal where I could also buy the eBook too for a discounted price.  I got a hefty discount because the books had just been released or were about to be released.  Here is where my assumption that the eBook would arrive earlier was wrong.

Order Details
This order contains:
1 . Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release , 9780134309989 , Quantity: 1
2 . Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release , 9780134310176 , Quantity: 1
3 . Total Discount , ($49.19)
Grand Total  $63.93

The paper book was shipped the very next day, September 17, 2015.  By the way, the publisher customer service did not know the book was ready to ship.  I kept going to the publishers web site to download my e-book but nothing.  I could not figure out what was wrong.

I sent customer service an e-mail asking why I could not download the eBook.

I get this response:

“Thank you for placing your order with Adobe Press. We regret to inform you
that the following item(s) from your order #WEB325633094370
placed on 9/16/2015 5:32:05 PM EDT have been cancelled:
Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release, 9780134310176, Quantity: 1
We apologize that we were unable to fulfill your order within the time frame we originally indicated.
Your credit card has not been charged.
We encourage you to visit our website for further updates regarding the availability of this product.”

I looked at my bank account and indeed they lowered the charges to:
09/19/2015     AWL*Pearson Education ADOBE.PRESS NJ ONE L (-$45.35)

They did gave me a discount probably because I participated in an online survey.

But, I find this cancellation rather odd.  The publisher canceled part of my order.  I thought that should be my prerogative.  If an item can never be shipped then the publisher should cancel.  If the order is delayed, it would be nice to ask me, the customer, if I  still want delivery.

The evening of September 22, 2015, just for kicks, I check Adobe Press web site and they announce that the book is ready the very next day, the very same day the print edition is due to arrive at my home.

“Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book (2015 release), Web Edition
By Maxim Jago
Published Sep 23, 2015 by Adobe Press”
Pricing as of September 22, 2015: available as a
Book $47.99
eBook $38.39
Web Edition $47.99

My point in all this is that you might think the electronic version might arrive before the print.  Don’t assume that if the publication is hot off the press or hot off the hard drive.  I actually finished the wedding portion of the movie project and have not yet received the book.

ON LINE TUTORIALS

YouTube
In desperation, I tried YouTube videos but they were all over the map for providing results.  Some were good but the curriculum, the step by step learning process that a classroom teacher should put together for the class was obviously missing.  I found I was bouncing around from one video that seemed to build to another video that failed.

lynda.com
I have access to lynda.com video tutorials and tried their Adobe Premier Pro lessons. It sort of failed for me.  The first lessons were an over view.  I want to jump in and start the process and not be shown a bunch of video overviews.  I wanted to know right away how to start.  Once I got into the meat, about lesson four, I began to become confused with all the prior lesson files and the new files the person was talking about.  I finally took notes as to the keyboard shortcuts that one needs to use and made notes.  This really helped.  The J, K, L, I and O keys are extremely important.  It took me a whole day to discover that on a Mac CMD and the left or right arrow will move your clip one frame.  I needed to line up an unlocked separate audio track to video with audio and the CMD and arrow keys allowed me to gain perfect synchronization.  If I had had a book, learning this would have not taken as much time.

The beginning of the main lynda.com lessons seemed to be clouded, not clear as to the beginning step by step process.  I got the impression that steps explained in the introduction, I should integrate into the whole.  Show me how to create a project and import my media from the beginning.  Instead I was jumping around.  I thus felt I was watching video’s that were less clear to me.  I did pick up vital bread crumb information which did helped me.

adobe.com tutorials
The best solution for me was actually free.  The  embarrassing part is that it was right in front of me.  Adobe offers terrific tutorials, better than lynda.com, in my opinion.  This was my primary learning method.  I guess my son was correct; don’t buy a book; use the Internet.

https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html

Good luck to you.  Adobe Premier Pro CC is a professional product and being so it may be a challenge to learn.  Do not give up.  I found that this program has a solution for every problem you will face. Finding that solution can be a challenge.

Command Decision, Chapter 1 Germany First

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Command Decision

Command Decision
Chapter 1  Germany First: The Basic Concept Of Allied Strategy In World War II by Louis Morton

The following are points in the book that I found to some degree surprising and interesting.  Actually, I have never read about how war plans are drawn up so this book was of interest for that reason alone.   Beyond reading how the war plan process evolved another layer of very interesting insights were written about that I have never been exposed to.  Below, I share most of my surprise reading moments.

The Color Plans, 1919 – 1938

Just after World War I, “of all the powers in Europe only Great Britain was theoretically in a position to engage the United States in a war with any prospect of success.” (P13)  Actually, military planners contemplated Great Britain (once again) being our enemy?

Very early on the United States recognized Japan as a possible enemy. (P14)  This threat was repeated over and over in this chapter in language that almost pushed this as a certain outcome.

Defense of the Philippines in case of war with Japan was virtually impossible (P14).  This idea was repeated over and over in following pages.

War Plan Orange made no provision for landing on the Japanese home islands but to use  “isolation and harassment”. (P14 & 15).  It was also a bit shocking to read that our military  realized that we would have to retreat to win.

Strategic Adjustment 1938 – 1940

Germany and Italy are mentioned as pending problems in addition to Japan.  For me the mention of Italy so early in the military planning was not expected.  (P20 – ).

Five rainbow plans were drawn up with or without help from other nations.  The very idea that the United States planners thought we might have to take on both Japan and the Axis powers alone was a surprise. (P24).  Good planning requires one to consider all possible situations but just reflecting upon the possibility of the United States going it totally alone was shocking to read.

The Critical Summer of 1940

There was a back and forth view that the if the United States was attacked that we would withdraw arms support to Great Britain.  (P29)

It was the President of the United States that felt that Great Britain would not be defeated quickly and should be supported.  (P30).  For me, seeing a politician seemingly overriding his military for a better outcome was very interesting. (P31).

The US military sent observers over to England and quickly reported back that they were impressed with the country’s  resolve. (P32).

A slightly shocking read came when the British did not ask for active help from the United States but only material support (P33).

Shift to the Atlantic, September 1940 – January 1941

It was stated before but I mention it here that the United States was to avoid conflict with Japan but “maintain American interests and defend American possessions in the Far East”. (P34)  I was never made aware of our attitude toward Japan just prior to the war.

It was mildly interesting how the British kept insisting that the Americans put forces into Singapore “in any way convenient” but the Americans felt doing so served the interests of England and we were doing their dirty work for them. (P34, 35, 38).

“Plan Dog” was named because it was in paragraph “D” of a much longer document.  It predicted that American security depended upon what happened to Great Britain and if she won against Germany we could win everywhere else (implying Italy and Japan). (P 35)  This prediction was in a plan drawn up by Admiral Stark.  He also seemed to predict American troops needed to help in Europe. (P36).  He also down played the defeat of Japan.  The conquest of Europe was way more important. (P36 – 37).  This plan seemed to fit perfectly into both nations understanding and was adopted but not yet by the President.

A War Council was convened and the President felt the chances of going to war with Japan, “one chance in five”.  The President felt there should be no curtailment of aid to Britain even if we were attacked in the Pacific.  Over and over again there is consideration that the United States protect Latin America and it is sated again in this meeting. (P40).

A surprise, for me, was to read that the Commander of the Asiatic Fleet based in the Philippines could exercise discretionary authority to withdraw if attacked. (P40).

The Decision Is Made

A final war planning report known as the ABC-1 really spelled out that defeating Germany and Italy was of the highest priority and Japan was noted as not being of equal importance. This seemed to me to imply that a stalling game was in order toward Japan, if war was to break out. (P42).

The British once again promoted the importance of Singapore and the United States had written off the Philippines. (P43, 44) I really need to study why Singapore needed defending and the Philippines was not a candidate for defense.  One factor was that the United States was “willing to face temporary loss of strategic positions like the Philippines  and to risk substantial casualties initially rather than disperse their forces or adopt a purely defensive or delaying strategy.” (P43).

The United States wanted to avoid a long drawn out war and adjusted their planning to end the war quickly.  (P43).  This was a bit of a surprise that the military planners saw this as a doable option for them when Germany and possibly Japan were in attack mode.  I had thought that the Allies were forced to react to events as they happened and could only later counter.

Another subtle surprise but made total sense was that both the United States and Great Britain would see to their own self interests and cooperate together when those interests were the same. (P44).

All of a sudden, the book reports that when British and American delegates drew up cooperation guidelines that “… maintenance of British and allied positions in the Mediterranean area” were agreed upon strategic objectives.  I must have missed this concern in prior pages or did this just pop up?  This report had to be sent up the chain of command for approval. (P45).  Note that Rainbow 5 situation and ABC-1 requirements seemed to match (P45, P46).  I found reading the Rainbow 5 bullet points seemed to be close to what I remember actually taking place during WWII.  I have to congratulate the people who did the military planning over the many years and coming up with reasonable alternative plans to respond to a military attack.

Hidden in a long sentence was “the British Commonwealth (less Eire) …”.  I had no idea that Ireland (Eire) was neutral during the second world war. (P45).

A really nifty explanation of this whole process of guessing the planning process outlined above was put forth in almost a smart ass way by an Army planner: “A plan must be formulated upon a situation and no prediction of the situation which will exist when such a plan can be implemented should be made.” (P46).  [Sounds like something that  Donald Rumsfeld would say.)

A rather curious statement was made on page 46.  The statement put forth that “Rainbow 5 was neither a blueprint for victory nor a plan of operations.”  It was only an objective and missions for more specific plans.  Rainbow 5 was a broad overview of what next needed to be drawn up and the President needed to approve which he did not.  Instead he asked for two war plans. (P46).

Because the President had not approved nor disapproved Rainbow 5 the Army would go ahead and plan out of what was stipulated in Rainbow 5.  That was gutsy and smart of the Army but what followed was a bit of a shock for me (P47 last page of chapter):

Concentrate defense:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Panama

Writing off as a potential loss:

  • Philippines
  • Wake
  • Guam

 

Example: Financial Oligarchs Are So Stupid About Social and Political Events.

Here is a rather remote/difficult book find that is a bit controversial.  It is effectively banned by not being printed for some reason.  The book describes how United States financial and manufacturing people helped finance Hitler’s beginnings.

Book Title: De geldbronnen van het Nationaal-Socialisme: drie gesprekken met Hitler

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDF_Books/Warburg_Hitler%27s%20Secret%20Backers.pdf

Book Review: The Author’s Toolkit by Mary Embree.

The Author’s Toolkit by Mary Embree, third edition, published by Allworth Press.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone starting the process of writing a fiction or nonfiction book.  The book organization is very good.  The writing is also very good.  It covers almost all the bases one needs to get started.  I did not read it from cover to cover at first but I have pretty much completed the book by jumping around to parts that I needed at the time.  The only criticism is the author fails to include a review of possible writing software.  I had to find on my own about Scrivener which I strongly recommend for you to consider.

Ideas About Starting And Writing A Book

I want to write a book.
I have not yet written a book.
I need all the help I can get writing a book because I simply do not know what I am doing.  I have, over a number of years, researched how I should proceed.  I am sharing with you my current proclivities toward this project that has risen out of my research.  You are encouraged to examine this approach but be skeptical of it because I am not an authority in any way, just a casual participant who dips into this hobby when he can.

You should first understand some economic basics of book publishing, that being the publishing industry does have some behind the scenes factors and methods that you should be aware.  No sane publisher will put in print a large page number book.  The publisher will be going to a lot of expense so try to keep your page count reasonable for both your sake and theirs.  Typically you need to be tested in the market and achieve name recognition before you can write larger books.  There are exceptions.  This advice is for you to better achieve your first success.

The following is guidelines and not rules.  Bend them at your will anytime but realize there may be a down side for doing so.

Your first book should not be that long.  It should have a target value of about 100,000 words give or take around 20,000.  This depends upon the subject matter.  Different types of books typically achieve different word counts.

Trick: go to any library or book store and select titles of books that fall within your book category.  Go to the last page and find the page number.  Go to a page in the book full of text and count the words.  That number is the average words per page.  Multiply the number for one page by the total number of pages in the book to get a rough estimate of how many words are in THAT book.   You can do the same with any number of more books to improve your view of how many words you just might consider writing for the book category you are thinking of writing.

Next, and this is very important, you will need to pace yourself to complete the book.   Only you know your schedule, your free time, and your writing ability so the following numbers are only rough guidelines that you are encouraged to slide and shift to your life circumstances.

I will next show you how to pace your writing.  Remember the total words that your book might have to reach before it is completed?  You are going to try to write one page of your book in one day, two days, three days, or in a week.  I recommend that you write a page each day!  This really does depend upon how much free time you have.  Let us assume that you calculated 300 words will fill one page of your book.  Just divide that number into your book total word count.

Example: 300 words per page / 100,000 total book words =  just over 333 days.  A year has 365 days so within a year you should have the book completely written.  Add time for the book jacket to be created.

When I discovered that writing a book might take roughly one year, I was amazed and ecstatic.  Up to that point in time I had no idea how long it would take.

I have another tip to help motivate you.  My favorite writing software is Scrivener.  It is especially designed for creative writing and large long projects.  It is excellent for people, like me that have a lot of ideas but have some difficulty linking them together.   My main point is none of that.  My main point is this software offers a writing odometer.  Scrivener calls this feature “Project Targets”.  You set where you want the writing trip to end, lets say 100,000 words.  You then enter how many words you think you want to write each session, lets day 300.  A window pops up if you activate it and you can see your progress in real time as colored bar graphs.  For me this was simply fantastic.  That window was my motivation.  I realized the first time using this odometer that writing one page really did not take me that long.

If you buy Scrivener, I recommend that you consider buying a book to help you figure out how to use it.  Scrivener is very mechanical looking.  It has a lot of cut up screens and different views and features that will take you some time to master.  I am currently using Scrivener For Dummies by Gwen Hernandez.

I can not here cover your next step, how to get the book published?  You typically have two routes, print publishing and e-books.  Each has its positive and negative points and those points are very, very important so choose wisely.

Good luck!