29th Day

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exponential problems require exponential solutions

May 2, 2014

Don’t Hold Your Breath 2

Filed under: Activism,Political — glberry @ 2:35 pm

President Nixon was forced to resign the Presidency as a result of the Watergate break-in, an effort to influence the Presidential Election. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the break-in. President Nixon was a Republican.

The Obama White House covered up the terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya in an effort to influence the Presidential Election. Finally, after 21 months, irrefutable evidence of the cover-up is emerging. Rep Boehner is going to appoint a Select Committee to investigate the attack that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the US Ambassador.

If a cover-up is confirmed, will President Obama be forced to resign? Will Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State at the time of the attack, be forced to drop out of the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election? Both of them are Democrats.

Don’t hold your breath.

January 16, 2014

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 1:20 am

Within 24 hours of being made public, a federal investigation of the “political payback” traffic jam in New Jersey was announced putting Governor Chris Christie’s political future at risk.

On January 15, 2014 a bipartisan US Senate Select Committee report was released concluding that the September 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya attack on the US Embassy, which resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans, including the US Ambassador, was preventable. Will this put former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s political future at risk?

Don’t hold your breath.

December 4, 2013

The e-book is on sale for $.99 until Dec 10, 2013

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 9:34 pm

November 4, 2013

The only thing worse than being poor is …

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 11:13 am

Many of us have heard that the much touted Obama Administration website, healthcare.gov., opened on October 1 and had only 6 people sign up the first day. Right now, the website is undergoing an “extended fix”. Perhaps it is time to ask some questions.

Why have President Obama, the Secretary of HHS, and Congress decided personally to stay out of Obamacare?

Why was CGI, a Canadian company, hired to build healthcare.gov after failing to build a national gun registry for Canada (close to $100 million) and failing to build healthcare databases in Ontario and New Brunswick? It was a $93.7 million contract (ultimately several hundred million dollars) to build healthcare.gov, part of $678 million in health care services contracts awarded to the company? Are they still friends with Michelle Obama?

Why was there a cost overrun of about seven times the original estimate? Interestingly, this is exactly what happened to the government’s 1965 forecast of the expected cost of Medicare in 1990, missed by a factor of seven. Maybe the only lesson we learn from history really is that we learn nothing from history.

Why have more than 4 million individual health insurance policyholders been cancelled already for not being in compliance with the Affordable Care Act when President Obama said repeatedly that you could keep your health insurance coverage if you liked it … period? We were told that this was only a small problem, 5% of the market, a mere 15 million Americans.

Why is the President blaming “bad apple” health insurers for the cancellations?

Whose criteria did the President use to decide that these policies were “substandard”?

Why did the Obama Administration say nothing after receiving a 2010 (yes, 2010!) CBO report stating that 65% of small groups and 40% of large groups would have to be cancelled for non-compliance with the Affordable Care Act? Oh yes, they did say something. They postponed the group mandate for a year.

Do I hear a faint chuckle in the air? Is it PT Barnum, the man who said, “There’s one born every minute”?

Could the real end-game here be a government single payer health care system, President Obama’s transformation of America?

Well, you might say, Canada and England have such systems, what’s the problem? Do some research to find out: the length of their waiting times to see a doctor or have an operation (a 5-year wait for a hip operation?); how many people are dying while waiting for essential medical care; the number of Canadian doctors moving to the United States; the number of unavailable life-saving medical procedures based on age or health status; the number of Canadians who go to the US for their medical care, especially politicians.

The inescapable fallacy of a government single payer health care system is to equate immediate access for all with immediate access for none, as the new definition of fairness. The only guarantee is an unstoppable decline in quality and access.

When Canada and England moved to a government single payer health care system, their health care and health insurance were minimal, and they didn’t have a $17 trillion national debt. The US government is attempting to swallow the best and most sophisticated health care system in the world, one-sixth of the US economy, in one bite.

Do you remember the old song, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly”? Do you remember the last verse? “I know an old lady who swallowed a horse. She’s dead, of course!”.

One final question. “After the final transformation of America, if and when most of us are finally poor, do you really think we will still be free? I wonder if the people of the former Soviet Union, supposedly the last bastion of failed socialism, are asking, “Who’s laughing now?”.

Like the man said, “The only thing worse than being poor is being rich and then poor”.

One final, final question. “Do you think it would make a difference if 1 million, 10 million or 50 million Americans sent an email to President Obama and their Congressmen saying, “As an owner of the United States of America I am demanding that you get rid of the Affordable Care Act”. Don’t forget, under a government single payer health care system funded by general tax revenues half of the people will get it for free because they don’t pay taxes. The other half won’t be so lucky. If the answer to this final, final question is “no”, you won’t have to wait until most of us are poor to lose your freedom.

Good luck, America.

September 29, 2013

What Is “The 29th Day: Changing Our Future ” About?

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 4:31 am

Sometimes things are not as they seem to be. I believe we are at the beginning of the third great Revolution in human history. Just like the folks at the beginning of the Agrarian and the Industrial Revolutions, we face a new reality, new ideas, a new kind of thinking, along with the uncertainty of a new world. What has propelled us forward is the widespread use of Computers and the Internet which has unleashed a force which I call CIC (kick) that is speeding up change … everywhere. You are not imagining the world is moving more quickly. It is. For the first time in history, we are living in a visibly exponential world.

CIC is the combined exponential power of Creativity, Information, and Communication. The old (linear) ideas from the Industrial Age don’t work in this new world. They are coercive and just … too … slow. We need to open our minds and consider some new (exponential) ideas. Two examples of linear solutions to exponential problems are the 2009 Economic Stimulus (Chapter 4) and Obamacare (Chapter 10). The result is we feel that (exponential) problems are becoming crises too suddenly and traditional (linear) solutions are being implemented too slowly and coercively. It is frightening us, angering us, making us feel that things are out of control. This tremendous acceleration in the development of computer technology has been transferred to everything else by this force CIC because of the way we use computers and the internet to communicate … such as the economy, politics, health care, immigration, warfare, terrorism.

One of the most vital things that CIC does is to transfer or distribute power from institutions to their markets, that is, to people like you and me. This is happening, whether the product is health care, government, religion, or working conditions. This is what empowers us to redirect the future. Whether or not we choose to do so is a test of our character. How we redirect the future is a matter between us, God, and our conscience. I am using CIC right now. You can use it, too. It is available to everyone. And be assured … it is being used right now to redirect our future … your future.

A major conclusion of this book is not that exponential forces will continue unchecked. It is that limiting factors, which I call 29th days, are guaranteed to occur. The pivotal issue is, “Can we avoid another 29th day, such as the 2008 Financial Crisis?” The only way to do this is by redirecting the future with an exponential solution(s). Plain and simple, exponential solutions (using freedom of choice, incentives, and the “art of fighting without fighting”) can avoid 29th days, linear solutions (using penalties, coercion, and the “art of fighting by fighting”) do not. What is the difference between them? Why does one of them work and the other one does not? Why is one so quick and the other one so slow? How do we implement an exponential solution in time to avoid another 29th day? What role do CIC, Core Values, and the Messenger play? What is the difference between linear and exponential? This is what we need to understand. It is discussed throughout the book (by the way, there are no mathematical symbols, just examples, analogies, and stories).

So, what does an exponential force look like? Many of us watched the peaceful demonstrations of the Egyptian people, using CIC to communicate with the world (many of the signs in English so we could understand them when they were reported on US television), causing Hosni Mubarak to resign on February 11, 2011 after 18 days. This was exponential. On the other hand, the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 was linear. More than a year has passed since the deaths of four Americans, including the US Ambassador, and we have not heard yet from the people who were actually in the Embassy on September 11. But suppose 1 million, 10 million, or 50 million Americans took a few minutes to send a one-line email to President Obama and to their US Congressman, which said, “I want to know what actually happened in Benghazi!”? This would be exponential.

Finally, take a moment to ask yourself, “Who has power in the world today and what are they doing with it?” These are the people (the US Government, for example) with concentrated (linear) power brought forward from the Industrial Age and they will fight with everything they’ve got to keep it … oh, and they fight dirty. The good part for those of us who choose to use CIC, distributed (exponential) power, is that CIC cannibalizes concentrated power, if we use it. We are in the midst of a struggle whose outcome will determine our future for generations to come. For the first time in history, we have the means at our disposal to be victorious. How sad if we lose by default. Don’t let someone else decide your future for you.

If you think about it, a 29th day is really about losing some of our Freedom, some of our choices. The more serious the 29th day, the more serious is the loss of some of our Freedom. Ask yourself, “Did I lose some of my Freedom, some of my choices, when the natural limiting factor of the Financial Crisis occurred in 2008?” Having grown up with Freedom in the US, we tend to take it for granted, and assume it will always be here. Frequently, we may not even think about Freedom. It might take several generations but ultimately taking Freedom for granted is perilous … because the odd thing about Freedom is that it is not free, and it is not guaranteed. It requires diligence and responsibility to be sustainable. Throughout history, countless heroic soldiers and civilians have given all of their time, indeed their very lives for the cause of Freedom. Their legacy is in our hands. How much of our time and our comfort are we prepared to give to preserve it?

I don’t have all of the answers, far from it. I am simply someone who just wants to share ideas, so perhaps we can make some sense out of this confusing world in which we find ourselves. I am still learning about how CIC works, and no doubt you will find places where I haven’t got it right. I hope so because I am counting on your comments and criticisms to make this book better. But, most of all, I am counting on you to learn about CIC and how to use it, so that together, we can change the world.

Whether we like it or not, the CIC Revolution has begun. And the exponential clock is ticking toward the next 29th day. We don’t have a lot of time. For the moment the choice is still ours. The price-tag is our future.

Tick … tick … tick

George Berry, Actuary (check out www.29thday.org)

July 2, 2013

Ben was right

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 4:09 am

One paraphrase of what Benjamin Franklin said is, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
Samuel Adams said, “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; may your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen”.
These men witnessed tyranny firsthand. We have not. They were willing to pledge their life, their fortune, and their sacred honor to defeat it. They and their countrymen suffered intolerably from the abuse of power. What they said was a warning for future generations … for us. George Washington said the same thing which is etched in stone in Valley Forge Park.

Their experience is reflected in the US Constitution which was designed to limit the power of the Federal Government to specific issues and leave the rest to the people and the States. Just as one example, where does it say in the Constitution that the Federal Congress has the authority to pass healthcare legislation? The “unexpected” increase in the cost of healthcare, the severe impact on business and job creation, and the decline in physicians willing to treat Medicare patients are now becoming apparent as significant parts of Obamacare have had to be postponed. What does the past teach us about healthcare cost estimates? “When Medicare was enacted in 1965, official government projections foresaw hospital spending — the program’s largest component — reaching only $9 billion in 1990. Actual Medicare spending on hospital care in that year was $66 billion, or over seven times as high.” source: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3700

Within the United States, our Federal Government has no competitors. As it grew in size, the inevitable result was an increase in its concentration of power. Where are we now? A June, 2013 poll shows that more than 70 percent of Americans want more investigation of the scandals generated by the NSA, the DOJ, the IRS, and Benghazi. The amount of tax money in Washington has increased the concentration of power there to the point of creating an elite class of our federal representatives and bureaucrats. Did you hear that President Obama has a food taster, just like the kings in history? Power is a zero-sum game. As power increased in Washington, it was at the expense of our personal freedom. I am old now and have witnessed the decline in our freedom firsthand.

Fortunately for us, the 21st century with personal computers and the internet has created a world where distributing power is a real possibility. An exponential force has been released which I call CIC(kick), the combining of Creativity, Information, and Communication. Each one of us can now communicate with everyone instantaneously. For the first time in history we are living in a visibly exponential world. You are not imagining that the world is moving more quickly. It is. Rather than expending our energy on the unfulfillable dream of trying to force Washington to reduce spending, we should be using the power of our personal computers to start a Distribute Power Movement away from the Federal Government and back to the States. Read the US Constitution and you will see clearly that this is what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

The advantage to us would be the creation of competition. There is one Federal Government but there are 50 States. With the mobility of the population and of business, States which did what we want would grow and States which did not would shrink. But we must be quick. Already 50 percent of our population pays no federal income tax and has no incentive to transfer power back to us. You may feel that the States have not done a good job either but at least consider the possibility that may be the result of our lack of diligence, that competition among the States will be enhanced if we hold their feet to the fire.

A peculiar characteristic of Freedom is that it is not free. And it is not guaranteed. The loss of Freedom does not last for a few years … it lasts for centuries. And it is preserved the old-fashioned way. We have to earn it to deserve it. What has been happening to us is not a TV Reality Show, it is real life. All of us are busy. All of us are being encouraged to feel helpless. Many of us are waiting for someone else to do something. On a monument at Valley Forge is inscribed the words of George Washington warning future generations to guard against tyranny. He said,, “The Constitution is the guide which I will never abandon.” “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered … deeply, … finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people. “ He was not warning government. He was warning us.

If enough of us were willing to speak out about injustice and the abuse of power, our leaders would not dare to be deceptive. This sin of omission on our part hurts us and our national honor … not them. That is the irony of a sin of omission. We see the risk as the consequences to ourselves if we dare to be bold and speak out. In fact, the risk is the damage we do to our character and self-respect if we remain silent. Think of the people you admire and respect. Do they speak out or do they hide in the background? Be bold my friends and you will be changing the world.

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free”.

In my opinion as an actuary, we are very close to the tipping point, what I call the 29th day in my book. Each one of us needs to speak out, to voice our opinion, to talk to our friends, to contact our representatives, to blog, to email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iPhone, before it is too late. We have been empowered and this is our time.

Whether we like it or not … the exponential clock is ticking.

tick … tick … tick.

For the moment, the choice is still ours. The price-tag is our future.

April 1, 2013

“Let them eat cake”

Filed under: Activism — glberry @ 4:29 am

My thesis is that our dream of reducing federal government spending is just that … a dream. The Sequester was a minor decrease in the rate of increase in federal government spending. And yet the message from Washington is clear. We are to be punished for it. White House tours over the Easter Season were cancelled, border security has been compromised, expect long lines at airports, thousands of illegal aliens have been released from jails, military tuition assistance has been cancelled, there is even a threat to our national security. We have heard from some of our leaders that “Federal Government Spending is not a problem.”, “The National Debt is not a problem.”.

The amount of tax money in Washington has increased the concentration of power there to the point of creating an elite class of our federal representatives and bureaucrats. Did you hear that President Obama has a food taster, just like the kings in history? Our Founding Fathers experienced tyranny and much of our Constitution was designed to prevent it from happening again. Power is a zero-sum game. As power increased in Washington, it was at the expense of our personal freedom. I am old now and have witnessed the decline in our freedom firsthand.

Fortunately for us, the 21st century with personal computers and the internet has created a world where distributing power is a real possibility. Rather than expending our energy trying to force Washington to reduce spending, we should be using the power of our personal computers to start a Distribute Power Movement away from the Federal Government and back to the States. Read the US Constitution and you will see clearly that this is what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

The advantage to us would be the creation of competition. There is one Federal Government but there are 50 States. With the mobility of the population and of business, States which did what we want would grow and States which did not would shrink. But we must be quick. Already 50 percent of our population pays no federal income tax and has no incentive to transfer power back to us. You may feel that the States have not done a good job either but at least consider the possibility that may be the result of our lack of diligence, that competition among the States will be enhanced if we hold their feet to the fire.

A peculiar characteristic of Freedom is that it is not free. And it is not guaranteed. The loss of Freedom does not last for a few years … it lasts for centuries. And it is preserved the old-fashioned way. We have to earn it to deserve it. What has been happening to us is not a TV Reality Show, it is real life. All of us are busy. All of us are being encouraged to feel helpless. Many of us are waiting for someone else to do something. On a monument at Valley Forge is inscribed the words of George Washington warning future generations to guard against tyranny. He was not warning government. He was warning us.

I am hoping you will not read this blog with the intention of commenting on some small error I may have made. I am hoping you will join with me to begin a Distribute Power Movement, to begin to look for leaders who will be willing to do this, to speak out, to talk to your friends, to use the power the 21st century has given you, so that together we can change the world.

It may be that I am taking some risk of reprisal by writing this blog as you may be if you speak out. It was Socrates who said, “When the debate is over, slander is the tool of the loser”. But I am reminded of the old Chinese proverb, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing”.

March 16, 2013

Prove It!

Filed under: Political — glberry @ 4:59 pm

All of us know that President Obama has announced that White House tours had to be cancelled because of the Sequestration. But has anybody even tried to find out exactly what had to be cut back? Were White House staff actually laid off? Were their paid hours reduced? Is this actually true …. or is it just a ploy? Shouldn’t the White House have to demonstrate what had to be eliminated (and when) in order for the tours to be cancelled? Does anybody care about the truth anymore?

January 21, 2013

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Free Lunch

Filed under: Activism — Tags: — glberry @ 10:14 am

Do you remember the Financial Crisis of 2008? You woke up that morning in September, took a shower, had your first cup of coffee, turned on the news, and heard that, apparently out of nowhere, we were on the thin edge of a financial disaster that would make the Great Depression look like a picnic. Do you remember how you felt, the sense of disbelief, the feeling of real fear? How? Why?

It happened because Congress passed a law that allowed the banks to take the risk of mortgage default, and then transfer that risk to someone else. Congress even encouraged the banks to offer mortgages to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, because everyone should be able to own their own home, right? And then Wall Street firms bundled these mortgages and sold them. But these firms didn’t take the risk either because they had transferred it to someone else. And the bankers and brokers got bonuses for doing this, the more they sold, the bigger the bonuses. Remember?

Most of us didn’t understand how it had happened because most of us don’t understand risk. Risk scares us. We may talk about it vaguely but most of us don’t understand how it works exactly, how it can be transferred exactly, how we can protect ourselves from it exactly. And so we try to steer clear of it, hope it doesn’t happen to us. Think about something else … anything else.

Actuaries understand risk. They know how it works, how to transfer it, how to be protected from it. That is their area of expertise. Many of them like the feeling of power, knowing about something that scares everybody. They have done a terrible job telling anyone else how risk really works. In fairness to actuaries, nobody else really wanted to hear about it anyway.

My three sons and I are actuaries. My eldest son and I talked about the coming Financial Crisis in 2000, when we saw the banks transfer the risk of a mortgage default to someone else. That made the risk exponential. That meant that there would be a Limiting Factor to this risk because all exponential risks have a Limiting Factor because exponential risks can’t go on forever. The way they work is that everything looks OK, and then one morning you wake up to discover that, apparently out of nowhere, the roof has caved in.

Are you thinking right now that I am bragging, being condescending, rubbing it in that I know something you don’t? My defense is this: I am trying to warn you that it is going to happen again.

I have written a book about it that is available online, The 29th Day: Changing our Future (check out www.29thday.org). The 29th day is what I call Limiting Factors. The reason these exponential risks are occurring now is because the 21st century is different than past centuries. The difference is that in this century we have computers and the internet. They have unleashed a force which I call CIC (kick). It is an exponential force created by combining Creativity, Information, and Communication. This force is making everything else exponential because of the way we now communicate. You are not imagining the world is moving more quickly. It is. So we are living in a world of exponential problems and trying to solve them with linear solutions, a holdover from the old days of the Industrial Revolution. Problems are becoming crises too quickly now and our solutions are just … too … slow. My book discusses how to substitute exponential solutions for linear solutions. Exponential solutions can avoid another 29th day; linear solutions cannot. I’m not a very good writer and I’m not famous so very few people have read it.

If you are still reading this, let’s go back to the 2008 Financial Crisis. Who paid for this exponential risk? Who got left holding the bag? Was it the banks or Wall Street or politicians? Not hardly. No, you and I paid for it, you and I ended up being the risk-takers. You and I paid for their Free Lunch, Virginia. And most of us didn’t even know how it had happened.

Did your 401(k) evaporate that September? Did you lose your job? Did the value of your home drop below the amount of your mortgage? Did you lose some of your choices, some of your freedom? If so, then you have already paid for it. For the rest of us (for all of us), the rest of the payment has been deferred, but not forgotten. If you think about it, you know where it is. It is buried in our National Debt.

What are the big ticket exponential risks right now, for which there will be 29th days … guaranteed … and in our lifetime, to boot. Well, we have the National Debt, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unfunded public pension liabilities (bankrupting states and cities), Iran’s foray into nuclear weapons, the Arab Spring, just to mention a few. Are there linear solutions that can avoid them. NO! Are there exponential solutions that can protect us from them. YES!

Why am I telling you this? Am I just perverse? No, I am telling you this because CIC did something else. It transferred power to you and to me. Now we have a voice with our computers and the internet, with email, with Facebook, with Twitter, with Blogs. If enough of us use these tools, our leaders will hear us, they will have to hear us. They will realize that we understand these exponential risks are real, that 29th days are guaranteed unless concrete action is taken, that we are the ones who are taking these risks, and we don’t like it.

If we expect our politicians to understand risk, to figure out exponential solutions to exponential problems, then we will be looking for answers in the wrong place. They are motivated to kick the can down the road, to hope that somehow these problems can be deferred until they are out of office. You know it and I know it. We will have to make it crystal clear to them that we are demanding concrete workable solutions … now.

I know you are busy, that this seems like an impossible task, that it seems too complicated, that you may be hoping someone else will do it. I know that the news just seems like a TV Reality Show, that we feel helpless to change it. But this is real life, your life that is on the line.

I say to you with all the earnestness that I possess, begin to speak out, tell your friends to speak out. The effect of your action, at first, will seem insignificant, that nothing is changing. Be patient because what you will be doing is exponential. At first, it will appear that nothing is changing because that is the way that exponential forces work. But something will be changing. And someday, you will wake up one morning, have that first cup of coffee, turn on the news, and hear that you have been heard … guaranteed.

If we do nothing, then someday when we turn on the news, we will learn that, apparently out of nowhere, we will have lost our standard of living, we will have lost our freedom, and our worst nightmare has suddenly come true. Still don’t believe me? Show this to an actuary. See what he (she) says about it.

For the moment, the choice is ours. The price-tag is our future.

Remember. The exponential clock is ticking.
tick … tick … tick.

January 3, 2013

The Sin of Omission

Filed under: Activism — Tags: — glberry @ 9:06 am

If enough of us were willing to speak out about injustice, our leaders would not dare to be deceptive. This sin of omission on our part hurts us and our national honor … not them. That is the irony of a sin of omission. We see the risk as the consequences to ourselves if we dare to be bold and speak out. In fact, the risk is the damage we do to our character and self-respect if we remain silent. Think of the people you admire and respect. Do they speak out or do they hide in the background?

Be bold my friends and you will be changing the world.

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