Author Archives: R.D. Walker

Are millions of American teens starving?

According to this article, millions of American teens are starving and going so far as to prostitute themselves for food.

The study found at least 6.8 million people were “food insecure,” meaning they didn’t have reliable access to affordable, healthy food. Another 4 million were in “marginally food secure” households, where the “threat of running out of food is real.”

All of the 10 communities surveyed in focus groups mentioned teens using sex to pay for meals. Eight of the 10 mentioned criminal acts, ranging from shoplifting to drug dealing, to pay for food. And widespread scrutiny around surrounding hunger often prevented teens from opening up.

Interesting. Especially when you consider that Food Stamp benefits cost $74.1 billion in fiscal year 2014 and supplied roughly 46.5 million Americans with an average of $125.35 for each person per month in food assistance.

In fiscal year 2014, WIC served 8.3 million Americans with an average of $43.64 per person per month – or $4.3 billion per year – in food assistance.

The federal CACFP program provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks in child care centers, family child care homes, after school programs, emergency shelters, and adult day care programs.

The USDA also offers the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Special Milk Program (SMP).

Additionally, the federal government supports the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

This does not include state nutrition programs, church and private food banks and free meal programs, individual charities or direct cash welfare payments.

Then there is this…

Children of parents with less than 12 years of education had an obesity rate 3.1 times higher (30.4 percent) than those whose parents have a college degree (9.5 percent).

Children living below the federal household poverty level have an obesity rate 2.7 times higher (27.4 percent) than children living in households exceeding 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Children living in low-income neighborhoods are 20 percent to 60 percent more likely to be obese or overweight than children living in high socioeconomic status neighborhoods and healthier built environments.

Finally there is this:

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Can anyone explain why, in this environment, millions of American teenagers are starving? Or could it be that they are not and the article quoted above is propaganda?

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Clinton to require employers to pay maternity leave

Here is the plan to expand the leviathan’s administrative control further burden employment…

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday will unveil several policy proposals for lowering child-care costs that were crafted in part by her daughter, Chelsea, including a plan to guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave…

Nah, just kidding. That is actually Donald Trump’s plan. Here is the real quote.

Donald Trump on Tuesday will unveil several policy proposals for lowering child-care costs that were crafted in part by his eldest daughter, Ivanka, including a plan to guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave that marks a striking departure from GOP orthodoxy of recent years.

Don’t feel bad for believing me. Clinton offers a similar policy. After all, they are both big government boosters.

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Yay Team!

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Last Saturday Iowa went nuts. Saturday was the annual the Iowa-Iowa State football game and it is a long tradition that everything in the state stop, everyone choose sides, get drunk and treat the game with the moral equivalent of existential warfare. You must choose sides. You must care deeply. You will be a winner or loser by the end of the day. You must support your team.

The next day photos of groups of supporters decked out in the colors and engaging in tailgating and sports bar revelry were regaled with thousands of likes on social media. This is an event about which people care deeply and loyalties to the colors and teams are intense and fierce.

This fascinates me. After all, it is just a game. It is a game played by children. The outcome of the game, in the grand scheme of things, is inconsequential. Unless gambling is involved, who wins and who loses will affect most not at all. On paper, people really shouldn’t care much at all.

Oh, but they care. They care intensely. They care like a loss by their chosen team is a personal failure that reflects poorly on their own character. I know people who care about very little more than they care about the performance of their chosen team.

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I think it is clear that rooting for your chosen sports team is a core part of the human experience. It seems to provide sense of belonging to the tribe. Sports identification fills a part of the human need for kinship, inclusion and acceptance. Being a member of the team (aka tribe) boosts self-esteem and creates a sense of personal pride. When your teams wins, you feel like a winner and that is an awesome feeling that isn’t easy to get in the modern world. The flip side, of course, is that when your team loses you feel the agony of defeat and all of the emotions that come with it.

Is this healthy? I think that, for the most part, it is. A longing for belonging and to be part of a collective struggle seems to be a basic part of the human psyche and sports identification – for the most part – fulfills that need in a safe, innocuous manner.

The problem is that this need for belonging and struggle can be exploited in unhealthy ways. For example, in politics.

Every four years the American political system taps into the emotions of last weekend’s Iowa-Iowa State game and exploits this human instinct for tribe identification and self-actualization and ties it to the success or failure of the team. This irrational tribalism is fine for sports but it is troubling when tied to politics.

Step back for a moment and become a man from Mars. Behold Americans getting emotional in their support for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Listen to them talk in apocalyptic terms regarding the importance of their team’s victory. The reality is that, for most of them, the difference between Trump and Clinton in the White House will be only at the extreme margins of their lives.

Yet they care. There are only two tribes and they have a strong instinct to join one tribe or the other and to pledge extreme fidelity to that tribe. They self actualize around the success or failure of their tribe and they feel like winners and losers based on the outcome of the tribal conflict. This is not rational and it does not lead to good government.

Tribal identity is at the core of sports team identification and it makes people care intensely about contests the outcome of which are inconsequential. With sports, it is a healthy outlet and harmless. When that same human instinct is exploited by political parties it allows them to put forward grotesques like Clinton and Trump and still get people to self-actualize around the outcome of an election in which, no matter who wins, the people lose.

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88% of US inflation is from four sectors

Can anyone tell us what these four sectors have in common?

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Vox is clueless about economic theory…

In an article today on Vox, Matthew Yglesias raked Trump over the coals. He quotes John Harwood, an economics writer for MSNBC. Harwood tweeted this…

forget Yellen/Fed: Trump on @CNBC says Obama is keeping interest rates down, leaving it to “the new guy” in WH to raise them next January

Yglesias, in a typically clueless Vox fashion, responded with this…

Versions of this kind of theory are pretty common in business circles, since business circles feature a lot of affluent white men who are generally ill-disposed toward the Democratic Party, but it doesn’t make any sense. After all the way low interest rates are allegedly helping Obama is by improving economic conditions. But improving economic conditions is what the Fed is supposed to do. Why would they be ashamed?

Why? Because the US economy hasn’t been in recession since 2009 and extremely low interest rates are supposed to be a recessionary remedy, not a permanent feature of the economy. Keynesian policy is to lower interest rates during recessions and to raise them back to previous levels when the recessionary period ends. There are two huge negatives to keeping interest rates permanently low in a non recessionary environment.

1) Low interest rates mean easy money and that tends to overheat the economy and create bubbles in the stock market and other areas of the economy. If you can borrow money for a trifle, it makes sense to borrow to invest and the bar for what constitutes a “good investment” is very low. That drives up asset prices and creates bubbles. You may recall that the so-called “Great Recession” resulted from the bursting of an asset bubble. That is exactly the concern Trump was expressing.

2) The floor for action during the next recession – which is inevitable with the inflation of equity bubbles – is very close to current rates. One of the few tools for lessening the impact of recessionary periods is the lowering of interest rates. If the economy were to enter a recessionary period today, there would be little opportunity to stimulate it by lowering interest rates. They are rock bottom now.

Basically, Trump is arguing that the economic engine is overheating and running on low oil and the Fed, with Obama’s approval, is standing on the throttle and refusing to address the dashboard warning lights. Yglesias’ response is basically that it is the Fed’s job to keep the economy racing around the track. Why would they be ashamed?

This is the stuff of 100 level Introduction to Macroeconomics courses for freshmen. Vox advertises itself an a source to explain the news. Evidently the writers’ qualifications for doing this consist of access to a website and little else. It sure as hell isn’t any kind of real world experience.

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This should terrify you…

Bacterial mutations develop immunity to antibiotics right before your eyes.

More here.

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What if Clinton is really sick and drops out?

Hillary Clinton’s medical episode has shaken the Democrats. At this point, they are more worried than the Republicans. Both parties seem to think this helps Trump.

What if, however, this is actually a disqualifying medical condition? What if – and this is a long shot – Hillary drops out of the race? Who would replace her on the Democratic ticket? Tim Kaine? Bernie Sanders? Joe Biden?

Here then, is the bigger question: Who besides Hillary Clinton – the weakest, most damaged candidate the Democrats have runs since Walter Mondale – could Trump beat? The best polls for the GOP have Trump tied with Clinton. The average of all polls has him trailing her. The worst polls have him significantly trailing her.

Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate is a dumpster fire. Between the pathological lying, the general unlikable personality, the Benghazi crime, the greedy money grubbing, the email crimes that make Watergate look tame and now the health cover up, Trump should be beating her by high double digits… but he isn’t.

Trump has negatives as high or higher than Clinton. This is a contest between – to coin a phrase – a pair of deplorables.

What if she drops out and a new candidate replaces her? What if it is someone who didn’t have baked Hansel and Gretel for breakfast? What if this someone seems suddenly new and fresh and who has a honeymoon period that lasts right up to election day? I think Trump would be defeated in a landslide.

So don’t get too high on schadenfreude over Clinton’s illness. If it takes her out, Trump will likely find himself deeply underwater and struggling to recover.

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Is it just me, or is this thing creepy?

Old Glory Insurance: For when the metal ones decide to come for you.

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Tienanmen Square or Nicolae Ceaușescu?

As always, it all depends on which way the military goes.

Venezuelans took to the streets in cities across the country Wednesday in an effort to pressure the authorities to call a referendum on President Nicolás Maduro’s future — and to do it this year.

The nationwide protests followed last week’s massive mobilization of hundreds of thousands in the capital of Caracas.

While the numbers protesting this week did not compare, they did underline the geographical reach of dissatisfaction with the president as he struggles to find a solution to chronic shortages of basic goods, triple digit inflation, and a deep and painful recession.

“We are in the most critical phase of this struggle,” opposition deputy Freddy Guevara told VICE News, referring to the political opposition’s focus on forcing a recall vote.

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Star Trek: The Libertarian Edition

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Trump v Clinton: Nothing else matters?

According to a study by Professor Steven Rogers of Saint Louis University, all American political decisions are effectively driven by the presidential contest.

The race for the White House is at the top of the ticket, but voters will also choose more than 5,000 state legislators in November 2016. While voters elect and hold the president responsible for one job and state legislators for another, the outcomes of their elections are remarkably related. In analyses of elite and voter behavior in state legislative elections, I show that legislators affiliated with the president’s party—especially during unpopular presidencies—are the most likely to be challenged, and compared with individual assessments of the state legislature, changes in presidential approval have at least three times the impact on voters’ decision-making in state legislative elections. Thus, while state legislatures wield considerable policymaking power, legislators’ electoral fates appear to be largely out of their control.

This is exactly, precisely the opposite of the Founders’ intentions. The Founders saw Americans as individualistic, self-reliant, modest in their national ambitions and suspicious of the passions of the masses.

The Founders anticipated that the citizenry would focus on regional concerns, elect representatives who shared their concerns and that their representatives would guide national politics. A citizenry engaged in local governance that sends studied representatives to promote national policies that represented them is the essence of our constitutional and republican form of government.

In a post below I quoted George Washington worrying about party factionalism. His concerns have come to fruition. The presidential contest is a factional battle for national policies that effectively drives local politics rather than local people sending representatives to the president. The effect is that there are no truly local politics, the republic exists only as a single populist entity and, therefore, the intent of the Founders has been completely subverted.

We have, as Benjamin Franklin famously feared we would not, kept the republic. We have instead a national democracy and a citizenry ready to line up behind celebrity candidates for a one-size-fits all, 50 state policy agenda.

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Quoting the Father of our Country…

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.” ― George Washington

Let me translate that into 21st century American English.

“Political party hacks and their supporters using slick marketing to to drive the national agenda are destructive of good government. Small groups within parties con Americans into believing party interests are their own interests. They pit Americans against other Americans by scaring them with tales of how terrible it would be if the other party won. The result is rotten government designed to serve the interests of the parties rather than the interests of the people.”

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Trump’s policy on illegal immigrants remains in flux

Comments yesterday fail to clarify his position.

Donald Trump added another around of uncertainty to his immigration policy Monday, telling reporters he was reconsidering whether undocumented immigrants must “return home” before seeking legal status in the United States.

“We’re going to make that decision into the future,” Mr. Trump said while traveling with reporters in Ohio, potentially reversing a position he staked out firmly five days ago.

Speaking aboard his private plane, Mr. Trump reinforced his plan to focus deporting criminal immigrants who are in the country illegally. Asked what he thought about fellow Republicans who supported legal status for undocumented immigrants who have long lived in the country without committing a crime, Mr. Trump said, “Good question. I’m glad you asked it.” Then he added, “That decision will be made.”

There is a word for a process that provides a path for citizenship for illegal aliens already in the United States: Amnesty.

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I’m RD Walker and I support this message…

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Don’t fear the taco truck!

A Hispanic Trump supporter issues a warning…


That’s a lot of taco trucks. Still, I am not afraid. Tacos are our friends. (I hope they have fish tacos. Love me some fish tacos!)

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That’s the Don Trump we know and love!

Yesterday Donald Trump dispensed with all talk of virtual walls and so forth. He is back baby and he is going to make a wall that would make the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit jealous.

“We will build a great wall along the southern border — and Mexico will pay for the wall,” Trump said. “100 percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re gonna pay for the wall.”

“On Day One, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall,” Trump said during a major speech on immigration in Phoenix after weeks of waffling on the issue that has been core to his campaign. “We will use the best technology, including above- and below-ground sensors. That’s the tunnels. Remember that. Above and below. Above- and below- ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels and Mexico, you know that, will work with us. I really believe it. Mexico will work with us. I absolutely believe it.”

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The most annoying SJW ever…

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Evidently a Lyft driver lost his job over this incident described in the video below. He got his job back, however, after the powers that be at Lyft saw this video. The SJW is now the target of Internet shaming.

Watch this video but be warned, the SJW’s voice may cause you to lose the will to live.

The jackassery of this woman is beyond measure but she engages in it using two especially annoying, fingernails-on-the-dashboard vocalizations. The evil must be named and so it is.

1) Vocal Fry

2) High Rising Terminal

I think the combination of Vocal Fry and High Rising Terminal with SJW bullshit could drive any normal man to murder. Kudos to the Lyft driver for his self control.

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How to make a sandwich without trade

Nah, the post subject line is wrong. There is a hell of a lot of trade. After all, he didn’t raise the cow and chicken, build the airplane or boat, manufacture the cooking utensils and so forth. I should have entitled it, “how to make a sandwich with slightly reduced trade.

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What hath Black Lives Matter wrought?

They have driven the police from patrols and forced them from black neighborhoods. The result? Many, many, many more black lives lost.

Tavon was among more than 400 people shot in Chicago this month. There have been at least 78 homicides, marking August as the most violent month in the city in almost 20 years, according to data provided by the Chicago Police Department. And there are two more days to go.

The city hasn’t seen a deadlier month since October of 1997, when there were 79 homicides. For the whole year, the count was 761, according to department numbers.

Chicago has recorded 487 homicides and more than 2,800 people shot so far this year, compared to 491 homicides and 2,988 people shot all of last year, according to Tribune data.

Chicago has a lower homicide rate than many other U.S. cities that are smaller in population.

Hey, it’s their problem right?

Meanwhile, a few miles away in Lake Forest, Illinois…

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Don’t worry. I am sure everything will be fine.

More here.

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Angela Merkel turns up the heat

Exodus: Migrants leave Budapest on foot in order to leave Hungary.

Exodus: Migrants leave Budapest on foot in order to leave Hungary.

She is putting the heat on European nations not interested in importing terrorism.

Ms Merkel blasted Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, who have all been ardent critics of her open-door migrant policy and the EU’s attempt to force countries to accept migrants, in an explosive interview this weekend.

Despite EU leaders repeatedly expressing security concerns, Ms Merkel said countries had no choice but to open their doors to a set number of migrants every year, and to oppose the plan was “unacceptable”.

She said: “That’s not right at all that some countries say: ‘generally speaking, we don’t want to have Muslims in our countries.’”

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has opposed the system ferociously, saying his country did not need to accept “a single migrant”.

He said: “Every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk.”

Last October, during the height of the migrant surge, my wife and I traveled by train from Budapest to Vienna and then on to Prague. In Budapest, we saw groups of migrants and they were always on the move. We left via a suburban train station where no migrants were evident. We rolled across the border between Austria and Hungary without stopping.

In Vienna’s shiny new train station full of upscale shopping, they were everywhere. They were sleeping along the walls and on benches, they were crowded in makeshift camps under escalators. The entire beautiful, shiny chrome and glass train station smelled of pits, feet and ass. We moved on quickly.

The train from Vienna to Prague was stopped briefly at the border with the Czech Republic and police walked quickly through the coaches. I think those of us in the first class car were racially profiled. The Policie České republiky gave us a cursory look and moved on without asking for passports or any other identification.

On the platform at Prague, two young people held up signs that read “Migrant Aid” in English and Arabic. I waited for a while on the platform for my driver to arrive and, after a bit, saw them leave with no takers. I saw no sign of migrants anywhere in the Czech Republic during my five days there. Recall this was at the height of the influx.

So what is the takeaway?

1) The migrants were on the move in Hungary. I was told by different people that the migrants were just passing through and that none wanted to stay. There were no benefits for them in Hungary.

2) In Vienna, they filled the train station trying to move on to Germany, Sweden and the UK where generous benefits awaited them.

3) As far as I could see, there was no sign of migrants in the Czech Republic. As in the case of Hungary, there is nothing for them there. No jobs, no housing, no benefits… Other than a five to ten minute stop at the border, there were no controls between Austria and the Czech Republic. There was certainly no wall or fence.

The bottom line is that while there was no border defenses between Austria which was full of migrants and the Czech Republic because none were necessary. The migrants don’t want to stay in Hungary and they don’t want to go to the Czech Republic. They want to go to countries that offer them benefits, not to those that don’t.

In other words, walls and fences are unnecessary in nations that create legal environments that offer no benefit to illegal immigration.

This is why Merkel has to bully these countries. She can’t pawn off her migrant disaster to nations who won’t play along.

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Team Trump: “There will be a wall.”

And not a “virtual wall” either. They won’t give details about how long the wall will be or where it will be located, but there will be a wall.

Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani said that it would also be a “virtual” wall, prompting further speculation that the Manhattan businessman might be waffling on what has arguably been his most prominent proposal.

“What you’ve seen with Mr. Trump is he’s been remarkably consistent in his pledge to end illegal immigration,” Miller told co-host Brian Kilmeade. “We’re going to build the wall, we’re going to secure our borders, we’re going to enforce our immigration laws. We’re going to end sanctuary cities. We’re going to pass e-Verify and uphold the Constitution. That’s going to make a big difference in this country.”

Miller demurred when Kilmeade asked whether he felt as though the wall would go “from sea to shining sea.”

“So, I wouldn’t say that I’m the best person to be the actual adviser as far as how exactly you build the wall, but there will be a physical wall,” Miller remarked, reiterating that “nothing has changed with Mr. Trump’s stance” and repeating that Trump has been “remarkably consistent.”

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More here.

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Trump to flip Iowa back?

Iowa went Democrat three of the last four elections. Can Trump flip the 91% white state back?

Hillary Clinton is barely ahead in Iowa. Obama won this state by 6 points in 2012 and by nearly 10 in 2008, and George W. Bush barely won it 2004 and barely lost it in 2000. Trump was in Iowa this weekend. The state has only six electoral votes, but if Trump won a state that

Republicans had lost in three of the past four election cycles, that would represent a victory for Trumpism, at least once piece of evidence that populist Republicanism can win in some places that traditional GOP conservatism hasn’t.

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Is Herky scaring the snowflakes?

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A University of Iowa professor is asking the athletics department to make the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, display friendlier facial expressions, arguing that his angry grimace is traumatizing students.

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics, wrote Tuesday in an email to athletic department officials, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

“And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community,” she argued.

I fully expect the Morlocks to show up and start harvesting these Eloi any day now.

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US-EU Free Trade Talks Fail

So says Germany.

Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

“The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

Question: If these talks failed because Europeans refused to submit to American demands, how would Trump getting tougher with Germany make them succeed?

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I keep telling you, it ain’t the Chinese taking your jobs…

It is the rise of the machines.


If you think this is scary, wait until self driving trucks hit the highways.

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