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Ep 878[Ep 879] It's Pouring [1:26:55]
Recorded: Sat, 2024-Apr-13 UTC
Published: Mon, 2024-Apr-15 13:57 UTC
Ep 880
This week on Curmudgeon's Corner, Ivan has travel issues, so Sam is joined by occasional guest cohost Ed. They cover the Iran/Israel developments as the big actual news story of the week, but they also talk taxes, and climate change, tech advancements, and ebooks. And this week's movie is Divergent from 2014. So that's that.
  • (0:01:59-0:43:20) But First
    • Supplements
    • Climate and Coffee
    • Tech Advances
    • Movie: Divergent (2014)
    • eBooks
  • (0:43:57-1:04:13) Iran/Israel
    • Israel Attacks Iran
    • Iran Attacks Israel
    • Successful Defense
    • What Now?
  • (1:04:57-1:26:20) Tax Stuff
    • Simplification
    • Witholding

Automated Transcript

Sam:
[0:02]
Hey everyone, this is Sam recording this on Saturday, April 13th, just before 2 UTC.

And I'm doing this to ground this in the right week as I sometimes do.

Cause Hey, guess what? Once again, Yvonne couldn't make it. He had some, he was traveling again and had some trouble with his flight.

And so wasn't going to make it back in time to do the show and to meet his family commitment.

At home here on Friday evening U.S. time when we were planning to record.

So I sent out the email to all the people who have expressed interest in the past about co-hosting the show, except the last three, including myself, who've done this on weeks that Yvonne couldn't make it.

And hey, at least we have, as of this moment, we have one person who said yes already.

And who knows, we may have more before we actually are going to record the bulk of this show on Sunday evening U.S. time.

Sam:
[1:08]
Or maybe we'll just have the one we have. I will leave the identity of the one we have a mystery until after you hear the intro music.

But then we'll come back and we'll record a show with a co-host who is not Yvonne this time.

Because, you know, that happens sometimes. but it won't be me solo not this time anyway here here here here comes the music.

Sam:
[1:58]
And here I am back like I said I'd be.

And I gave that little intro early Saturday UTC.

Now it's late Sunday UTC.

It's Sunday, April 14th, just before 2330 UTC.

I'm Sam Minter. This is Curmudgeon's Corner.

And we did end up with the one person that I mentioned in the preview.

And you guys may or may not be shocked to hear this, but it is Ed.

Ed, welcome back to Curmudgeon's corner. It's been a little while.

Ed:
[2:30]
Yep. Good to be here.

Sam:
[2:32]
Yeah, by my records, you last co-hosted in July of 2023, so it's been a few months.

Ed:
[2:39]
Has it been that long? I didn't think it had been that long.

Sam:
[2:43]
Yep. Well, it's not even a year, you know, so, but you're getting there. So, I guess what?

Nine months? Nine months.

Ed:
[2:52]
Nine months. Sounds about right, yo. Yeah. I had a birthday since then.

Sam:
[2:56]
There you go. So we're going to do the usual things when we have guest hosts.

We are going to do sort of a butt-firsty kind of thing.

I've got my regular movie. Ed's got something that's a little bit less current events newsy.

And then we'll have a couple of topics that are more sort of on, well, I'm going to say on recent events, but only one of them is directly on recent events.

Because unlike when Yvonne and I do it, Ed actually had some ideas coming into the show and we're not just doing it on the fly.

So we are going to talk about the situation with Iran and Israel that blew up actually since I recorded that intro, you know, just under 48 hours ago.

And then Ed wants to bring up the Trump tax cuts again and how maybe there are some parts of it that were actually good.

I don't know. We'll see. Anyway, that'll be our other main topic.

The other thing I'll mention off the top that I don't think we're going to say a lot about today is almost every week recently, we've been talking Trump legal stuff. I don't think we're going to do a lot of that today.

Sam:
[4:02]
As we are recording, tomorrow is the day that the jury selection for his New York trial starts, but I don't have much else to say about that.

It looks like his delays have failed and that's actually going to start.

And next week, maybe we'll have more to to say about it. People expect the jury selection phase might take a couple of weeks.

So it's not like we're going to be in the real trial and it's not televised anyway, but we'll probably have more to say about that next week.

And his other legal stuff is going back and forth.

He's got till the 22nd to prove the stuff about the bond he put up, that it's really good.

And I believe his His case in front of the Supreme Court on immunity is on the 25th. So we got some time.

So we'll see what happens with those. But anyway, we'll start with the but firsty stuff.

So Ed, first of all, since you have last spoken to us, any news of yourself or the family or anything else that you want to share?

Have you done anything interesting and exciting?

Ed:
[5:09]
Well, our son is moving out of Fairfax, and is right now, in fact, in the process of moving in only about four miles from us.

Sam:
[5:19]
Oh, okay.

Ed:
[5:19]
And so for the first time ever.

In probably 40-some years, all three of us and both of our kids are going to be within five miles of each other.

Sam:
[5:31]
Wow, that's nice.

Ed:
[5:33]
Sort of like a mini family reunion. Anyway, so I've been helping him.

The house they bought is going to need some work, and they needed to do a lot of cleaning and various other things.

Plus, they wanted to take up all the carpeting, so I spent four days last week pulling up wall-to-wall carpeting.

Sam:
[5:51]
Oh, wow.

Ed:
[5:52]
If you're my age and you're sitting on the floor for several hours at a time, it's not much fun standing up again. But that's all done.

Sam:
[5:59]
At my age, that wouldn't be fun either.

Like, I don't know about, you know, you may have a couple more years on me, but I have a feeling you're in at least as good shape as me, if not better.

Ed:
[6:14]
The only other significant thing to me is something that may be of interest to some people.

About 10 or 14 years ago, I was started on omeprazole because of severe burning of my esophagus.

I didn't have pain from the reflux, but I had an endoscopy for something else, and the esophagus was badly burned from the reflux.

So I've been taking omeprazole faithfully ever since.

And then recently, some other symptoms led to my seeing a neurologist who has discovered that I am fairly significantly deficient in vitamin B12.

And the reason for that is probably because In a pretty high percentage of people, Omeprazole, the acid blockers, Lower the amount of secretion of the factors that absorb vitamin B12.

Basically, I have pernicious anemia.

Sam:
[7:05]
Ouch.

Ed:
[7:06]
So if you're taking an acid blocker or any of the medicines that diminish acid, you either should monitor the B12 closely or should take a supplemental B12 from day one.

Because my feet are probably going to be permanently number than they ought to be.

Sam:
[7:23]
Oh, that sucks. sucks now is b12 one of the ones where where like if you don't need it will taking extra cause a problem because they talk about like you know everybody pushes all these big multivitamins and all this kind of stuff and i've heard on the one hand like most of them you're just paying for expensive p if there's extra stuff that you need but there are a few that are actually harmful if if you take too much of them.

Ed:
[7:49]
Yeah. B12, it doesn't do any harm.

If you take massive overdoses, it might, but it pretty much is excreted quicker.

The trouble is there's not a huge amount of body storage of it.

The liver stores enough to go for months that are available to you, but if you go for a year without absorbing much B12, you'll begin having trouble.

Trouble and if you a lot of anymore a lot of people are on the proton pump inhibitors the omeprazole and those antacids for years at a time and after a year or two from what i've read in the literature 70 to 80 percent of people will begin having the symptoms and the symptoms are pernicious anemia where your red cells get too big and there's not enough of them and you also develop damage to the peripheral nerves with foot neuropathy your feet become basically number than they ought to be.

Sam:
[8:45]
Now, before we get, we'll move on to other stuff, but I just want to point out to anybody who doesn't remember from previous shows, Ed is a retired doctor, so he's not just like talking out of his ass here.

He has some knowledge here in this area.

Ed:
[8:58]
Although I'll have to say it's embarrassing that I didn't discover this myself.

I should. I get blood counts as part of my annual physicals, and I've been looking at those changes in the red blood cells for several years now and saying, well, that's probably because I had to have my spleen removed.

That was just stupid. If I had sat down and really thought about it, I would have realized that I needed to be taking supplemental B12.

It's relatively inexpensive. You get 1,000 of them at Costco for, I don't know, probably $10, $12, and 1,000 will last you for three years.

So it's it's really not that expensive.

Sam:
[9:36]
Gotcha okay well that's that's good stuff, yeah take your take take your take your supplements if you're deficient in stuff especially like in there you go i i guess for most people it can't hurt having a general supplement anyway but like some of the stuff that like you know that you you go through that whole aisle in like the drugstore or whatever, or you hear like miscellaneous, they're trying to push all kinds of stuff for all kinds of benefits that don't necessarily exist.

But when you have something, yeah, most, most of these things are useless and they, they're not like, they all have little labels that says we, you know, we make no claims.

FDA has not evaluated, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And meanwhile, they're telling you, if you take the pill, you'll like, you'll, you'll be smarter you'll feel better you'll sleep better you'll whatever whatever whatever and almost all of it is complete bullshit but like a general supplement of things that like americans tend to be deficient in is probably not horrible yeah.

Ed:
[10:41]
Yeah they there are not many well actually, So one of the problems that we have is as we become older and you lose your spouse and you start living alone, nutritional deficiencies are a major issue for a lot of elderly people.

Years ago when I was in private practice, I went to a conference and they talked about scurvy, you know, vitamin C deficiency affecting somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of elderly people.

And the reason is, quite simply, because if you live alone, you don't eat very well.

You know, when your spouse goes away for a couple weeks, if you look at your diet, you'll realize that you may skip meals.

When you do eat, you're going to eat for crap. And people who are living alone in their 80s, there's a mild level of depression. They lose their appetite.

Eating is a social thing. We do it together as together. And the best thing we can do for elderly people is to have some sort of a means of having them not eat alone.

Sam:
[11:43]
Interesting.

Ed:
[11:45]
And get some sort of nutrition. You can eat good food just as cheap as cheap food.

But anyway, that is an ongoing problem for elderly people in the country.

But that's not my excuse.

Sam:
[11:59]
I get a feeling that it's more of a problem for all kinds of people as well as elderly people. I know my diet is crap all the time.

I know this. I know I could be better. But you're absolutely right.

It's even worse when my wife is out of town.

She just left yesterday afternoon for a one-week trip to Europe related to her job.

It's like an energy policy, blah, blah, blah. blah. There, there's some people showing them stuff that, that they're doing in Denmark that might be interesting to do here or learn something from whatever, but she's going to be gone for a week.

And I know, and you know, when she's on session, she, she's a state representative for anybody who doesn't remember or hasn't heard before, you know?

Yeah. No. For months at a time, I'm eating nothing but garbage, you know? And, And I know this. And even when she's here, like she's busy.

She doesn't have time to take care of me.

You know, we have whatever we have. And it's garbage.

And I know this. You know, so nutrition. What's that? Come on.

Fruits and vegetables? Are you kidding me? No. Anyway.

Yep. Anyway, it's out there. So speaking of foods, you wanted to talk about coffee first.

Ed:
[13:22]
Yeah, I saw a blurb on it. Don't know a whole lot about it.

But in Slate Magazine, there was an article talking about that with the climate change and other effects that are going on, there are estimates that as much as 50% of the acreage that's growing coffee right now will be lost by the year 2050.

That's 25 years from now, which means those of us who are addicted to coffee, that won't include me because I'm not going to be around in 2050.

But for the others who are drinking coffee, they're already starting to look at alternatives.

They're bringing up the chicory, and they are using a combination of chicory and barley and something called lupin beans.

I have no idea what it is. The only trouble is those don't include caffeine.

So if you're going to have your caffeine fix, it's going to have to be benefited with it.

Sam:
[14:15]
Right, like artificially added caffeine. I mean, like, you know, people get plenty of caffeine from all sorts of drinks that aren't coffee as well, where it's artificially added in one way or another. So I presume they can do that.

Also, I suspect that while lots of areas that grow coffee right now maybe won't be able to because of climate change, presumably there are some areas that don't grow coffee now that might be able to in the future, too. I don't know if they could be that could be.

Ed:
[14:46]
Except that coffee grows on most of the good coffees, at least, I think, grow in in forest areas. They prefer to be an undercrop.

So they're shaded and on the sides of mountains. And I don't know, you know, the higher you go in the mountain, the less space there is.

So I don't know. Time will tell.

They are working in the biology labs trying to develop a coffee plant that will be more resistant to the weather. and it would tolerate lower, you know, warmer weather and less rain or whatever.

Sam:
[15:16]
Well, as you said, there are alternatives that are being developed, but also just some of this stuff takes care of itself naturally.

Like if the places you can grow it become sparser, either you grow more on the same land or you do like, you know.

Sam:
[15:34]
Aquaponics or hydroponics or something and grow it indoors or, you know, If supply goes down, the price will go up and less people will want to drink it because they'll look for alternatives because coffee becomes, oh, that's too rich for my blood.

I'm going to have it on special occasions, not like five times a day or whatever.

Or maybe I'll cut down from five to one or whatever the case may be.

And then you look at the alternatives and say, okay, instead of the second coffee, I'll have an energy drink or one of these new alternatives you're coming up with that you're mentioning or tea or whatever. Yeah.

Like I drink more tea than I drink coffee and have for a long time.

And so, yeah, or tea. And although presumably a lot of the same pressures that are on coffee production are pretty, like every crop, every crop is going to be affected in some way or another.

And it may be that some get a greater range that they're able to be grown on, but I suspect lots, there's going to be a lot of pressure on all of this stuff because places where it was easy to do in the past will be less easy.

Even if they're alternative places, you don't spin those up overnight.

Sam:
[16:54]
And, you know, so I suspect, you know, because and also what we've seen the last couple of years is an increase in the rate that the climate change stuff is happening that has surprised the scientists.

And I shouldn't say surprised all of them.

They're, you know, as usual, when like if you have these, every five years or whatever, They put out massive, you know, here's the summary of all the climate science kind of reports.

And one of the things that I was reading before is those try to represent the consensus view.

Sam:
[17:31]
But there's always a range around the consensus. There are all kinds of different models.

And sort of the consensus that they describe is sort of the center lane of those models.

So there were always some that looked a little bit more optimistic and some that looked a little bit more pessimistic.

And what's happening is essentially the actual trajectory of the last few years is more like the most pessimistic models rather than the ones that were a little bit more optimistic.

And scientists are trying to figure out why things are accelerating.

And there are a whole bunch of hypotheses.

Like, you know, Yvonne has mentioned on our Commissions Corps Slack a couple of times, for instance, there was a report that there were some anti-pollution measures.

Sam:
[18:18]
Regulations that went into place for international shipping that actually reduced the emissions from international shipping successfully, which is great.

There's less carbon being put out into the atmosphere, et cetera.

Still not anywhere near as low as we need it to go, but there was a reduction there.

But as an unintended side effect, that shipping had essentially been been creating clouds through the exhaust that came out of them had been creating clouds.

And with the reduction of those clouds, there's less sunlight reflected back into, into space.

And so more sun hit the surface. And so temperatures increased a bit.

Now, from what I understand, that doesn't explain everything that they're talking about, but it's one example of something that's accelerated.

But I guess the point of all this is it looks like climate change is accelerating.

It's not yet at the point where we have not yet turned the corner on global carbon emissions to make it start going down.

And even after we start making it go down, the climate Climate effects are lagging by at least a few decades.

Sam:
[19:40]
So we're in for worse before we get to better, even under the most optimistic scenarios at this point.

So I suspect that what you're talking about with coffee is going to be mirrored in all kinds of other crops.

And there's going to be all kinds of climate pressures. There's going to be people migrating.

There's going to be food supply disruptions. There's going to be all kinds of stuff.

Now, humans are clever. However, hopefully we'll be able to figure our way around all these things with smart alternatives and all this kind of stuff.

But there's clearly going to be pressure.

Ed:
[20:15]
John Stewart this week talked about artificial intelligence and the guys who are working on it were promising that artificial intelligence will sell climate change and several other things and cure all diseases.

And then he said, well, here's something that they're doing with artificial intelligence.

And he shows some guy in his kitchen, walk over and the toaster announces, your toast is done.

And he says, why don't they put more of their money into climate change than tell me when my toast is done? I can tell my toast.

Sam:
[20:52]
Well, anyway.

Ed:
[20:53]
Anyway.

Sam:
[20:54]
Yeah. I mean, look, there, there's, there's the AI that's getting hyped all over the place. The large language models that, you know, we've talked about a few times on the show.

They, they are marvelous in certain areas, but they are being misused and people are not being careful with them.

And that's going to cause all kinds of problems. But, you know, It's generally just a form of what's called machine learning, which in turn is essentially just, you know, advanced statistical reasoning.

And there are a lot of places where that is producing huge advances.

And there's lots of work being done there. There's, there are new medicines that have been found this way that are in trials now that, you know, because the AI was able to very quickly go through millions of possibilities and find something that was promising in a way that human beings weren't able.

And I say AI. It's not really AI. It's not artificial intelligence.

It's just smart computer algorithms that are able to search through all kinds of things very quickly and find patterns and that kind of stuff.

Ed:
[22:07]
Isn't that probably what our brain does?

Sam:
[22:09]
That is probably what our brain does, although not necessarily in the same way.

Or definitely not in the same way.

But yeah, there are lots of cool things that undoubtedly will come from technology in general.

I am wary about the hype around artificial intelligence specifically because it's just a buzzword and there are specific technologies that are being misused.

But more, but more generally than that, the continue, the continuing pattern of computing power increasing rapidly every single year is, is continuing.

I'm using the word continuing a lot. It is, is still something that is producing wonders. Yes.

Ed:
[22:59]
It's a logarithmic growth.

Sam:
[23:02]
Exponential, not logarithmic.

Ed:
[23:04]
Yeah, exponential. Yeah, yeah. Exponential, you're right. Yep.

Which is scary in some ways, but really exciting in others.

One of the areas I don't understand very well, proteins are not just, you know, like on the wall where they draw the picture.

Sam:
[23:19]
The protein folding. Yeah. Yeah.

Ed:
[23:21]
And that folding can have huge impacts on what the protein does.

And there's one of the areas where an artificial intelligence-like device is being used is they've changed from being able to find one or two new ways to fold a protein a year to doing 50 or 60 a month.

Sam:
[23:40]
It's incredible.

Ed:
[23:41]
And that is probably going to bring us some exciting changes in medicines.

Sam:
[23:46]
Yes.

Ed:
[23:46]
But we'll see.

Sam:
[23:47]
Yeah. Yeah, there are all kinds of potential advancements in all kinds of areas where just the step changes, like you expect sort of like, oh, if this is 5% better, that's 5% better, you know, blah, blah, blah, little incremental changes.

But there are certain like things that scale can give you and speed can give you where, you know, like just as a rough example, since we're talking medical stuff, although we generally try to find like, hey, let's do a trial on thousands of people and see, is this thing effective or not in general across the population? Right.

Sam:
[24:30]
Humans are different from each other, sometimes in substantial ways.

And there may well be, and I think there's evidence that there are, certain things that will work in one person, but completely not in another.

And if you can get to the point where you can start tailoring treatments to the individual, where you can actually recognize that X, Y, Z will work in this person, but be useless in that person.

And meanwhile, ABC would be useful in this other person.

And in some cases, people are even talking about completely custom treatments where you do a DNA analysis on an individual and then custom create a drug just for them.

You know, all this kind of stuff. And this stuff is, you know, it's still on the verge of being useful right now.

We're still not quite 100% there. But it's the kind of stuff that would have been inconceivable 10, 20, 30 years ago, but is now getting to the verge of being possible.

Now, we still don't know what the fuck we're doing.

Sam:
[25:36]
It's going to take a while to figure out for that kind of stuff.

So, you know, I'm not necessarily saying, you know, hey, you'll be able to go in for a DNA test and come back with a pill that heals absolutely everything you've got wrong with you the next day.

No, but it's just that we still are in a world where we sometimes take it for granted, but things are still progressing really rapidly in technology wise.

Now, Yvonne and I have complained like, oh yeah, but like our iPhone today is pretty much the same as an iPhone a few years ago.

It's just a little bit faster, has a better camera, but it's not like a substantially different device than a few years ago.

Sam:
[26:24]
But in a lot of areas, things, you know, when you're in the middle of it, it doesn't feel like it.

But if you step back and think about, you know, now versus 10 years ago versus 20 years ago versus 30 years ago, there's still a very rapid change cycle going on there.

And you can argue that some of the things aren't necessarily positive changes, but there's a lot that is.

I mean, on our Commodions Corner Slack this week, someone shared, since we're talking more medical stuff, this treatment for cystic fibrosis.

And actually, I'd seen this article like, last year sometime, it wasn't brand new, but it was re-shared this week, that basically took what was, you know, a completely fatal disease that, you know, you could, there were some treatments that could prolong your life, but it would get worse and worse and worse progressively.

And now apparently there's a treatment that's just been developed in the last couple of years where you can change it into more of a chronic disease that you, you live, you take medicine for the rest of your life or whatever, but you live with it. Right. Yeah.

Ed:
[27:35]
What what it is, is the in cystic fibrosis, the mucus that cells create becomes very thick and sticky and can't be cleared.

So they most of them eventually die of suffocation because they can't breathe.

But it causes pancreas and several other areas of the body problems.

I this drug, I'm not sure I've got to read up more on it.

It apparently, if you will, heals the mucus within hours after taking the first dose. These people start coughing up huge amounts of mucus and sticky stuff and spitting it out.

And when that first happened, they were concerned. Gee, the guy's getting worse.

But the person would say, no, I'm breathing better. I'm getting rid of all that.

And they would cough all that shit out. And it was dramatic. It was within hours.

And it seems like it keeps working.

It's not a genetic thing. I need to read more about it because it's fascinating.

I just haven't had a chance to look it up and find out, lady.

But yeah, that just blew me away. I missed it a year ago, but I saw it recently.

Sam:
[28:37]
Yeah, no. And again, it's just an example.

Like, you know, we get immune to it. But no, things are still changing really rapidly.

There are still technological developments.

I mean, and we talked about the AI stuff. I mean, I think, like I said, there's a lot of misuse of the LLM stuff. But that stuff has improved dramatically just over the last year to two years.

Like what can be done with what they call generative AI, with computer systems, writing stuff, making video, making pictures, making music, all of this kind of stuff.

What it can do now compared to what it could do a few years ago is not even comparable. Like what it does now is like stunning.

Now there's still all kinds of difficulties with it.

And again, like if you use it outside of the areas it's good at, you're setting yourself up for a world of pain, but it's still, it's still amazing stuff anyway.

Okay uh any other stuff related to all that or should i talk about my movie.

Ed:
[29:50]
Talk about the movie.

Sam:
[29:51]
Okay so this time around my movie is one i watched back at the end of september of last year so yeah right around the last time you were on the show and you know so uh, let's see when did i say you were last on uh july yeah july okay a little bit after that a little little bit after that.

But anyway, this is Divergent from 2014.

Any chance you've seen it or heard of it?

Ed:
[30:19]
Is that the one of the teenage series, the trilogy?

Sam:
[30:25]
Yes, it is.

Ed:
[30:26]
Yes, I've read it a couple times and saw the movies.

Sam:
[30:29]
Okay, so good. So you can talk about this too. I have not read the books and I've only seen the first movie.

Ed:
[30:36]
Yeah, I saw one of my, I still had teenage grandchildren then.

And when they were reading something and liked it, I would read it.

So that was how I met Harry Potter.

And then this one came along as the last teenage was about to cease being a teenager.

Sam:
[30:53]
Excellent. So why don't I let you introduce it? Then tell me, stick to the first movie only. What was the first movie about?

Ed:
[31:02]
Boy, it's been a long time.

Sam:
[31:03]
Okay, I've got the description in front of me.

Ed:
[31:06]
Yeah, I'm going to be struggling because it's been, what did you say, it's 2017 it was? It's almost 10 years.

Sam:
[31:13]
The movie was 2014.

Ed:
[31:16]
14, yeah, so it's been 10 years. And the books were probably five or six years before that. They're a good series. I highly recommend the books.

Sam:
[31:24]
So I'll start out. I liked the first movie. I'll give it a thumbs up.

Sam:
[31:30]
The fundamental thing is it's one of these dystopian society kinds of things.

They're in future Chicago.

Sam:
[31:39]
The population has been divided into factions. factions abnegation amenity candor dauntless and erudite um and and then there's a remaining population that are factionless and have no no position in society or whatever and basically when kids turn 16 they go through like a psychological test that determines which which faction they go to that.

And people are able to pick whatever faction, but they're highly encouraged to go to the one that test says a lot of them go wherever their family went as well.

But anyway, there's the, the story of this first movie, and I don't know how well it tracks the books or not.

You can tell me later ad, but follows a young woman who was raised in the abnegation, group, which is the group that runs the government, but her test results are inconclusive, meaning that she could easily go into apparently one of three different ones of these groups.

And that's where the title comes from, that she is divergent because she doesn't fit neatly into any of the buckets.

She could go in any of the three. And so.

Sam:
[33:03]
She's she's sort of warned to conceal this because people who are divergent can cause problems and threaten the order and she'd be in danger and blah, blah, blah. So she should hide this.

She ends up picking a faction that's different than the one that her family was in.

And then adventures ensue. I won't give away spoilers of the rest.

Uh but basically she there there's sort of the the the the different factions are are competing with each other one is trying to take over from another and she sort of gets caught in the middle and is part of all the chaos that ensues i and yeah and saying more than that That would be spoilers.

So thumbs up. I enjoyed it. It was a good movie.

Ed:
[33:59]
It was interesting to watch how, especially in the books, how they played off the teenage angst that all these kids go through against the society that was beginning to break at the scenes because of this severe casthood issues and the competition between the cast and everything else.

So I thought it was quite well written, as I recall. call. I'm probably trying to read it again.

Sam:
[34:24]
So now you give the books a thumbs up, the whole series it sounds like.

Do you remember specifically about the movie?

Ed:
[34:32]
I don't remember much about the movie. Somehow the book struck me.

As I recall it follows it fairly closely.

Sam:
[34:39]
Okay. Okay.

Ed:
[34:40]
But yeah, I'd have to.

Sam:
[34:42]
You know, but clearly the book left a better, bigger impression on you than the movie.

Ed:
[34:47]
As is frequently the case with me. I, my, my eye memory is not great.

Sam:
[34:53]
Okay.

Ed:
[34:54]
Faces. I hardly ever recognize faces in prime time, but what I read, I generally retain fairly well.

Sam:
[35:01]
Yeah. I do have the, yeah. Well, you guys all know I have the super long list of movies. I have the super long list of books.

It's on my list of books, but who knows if I'll ever get to it. I do, I do it.

It's probably the way I structure things. It's more likely that I'll get to a sequel of a movie than a brand new movie.

So there's a, there's a chance I'll, I'll see the sequels before too long, but I I've only seen the first one in the series. It's divergent.

And then there, I guess there are two, there are two sequels in the series. Is that right? Right.

Ed:
[35:34]
It's a trilogy. Yeah.

Sam:
[35:36]
Yeah. It's, I guess to, to be specific, it's insurgent, allegiant. And so the first one is there for, there are four films now.

Oh, so the first one is, is just a virgin.

The next one is insurgent, then allegiant and then ascendant.

And, And, oh, oh, Ascendance, not out yet.

And it looks like it's going to end up being a TV series instead of a movie.

Yeah.

Ed:
[36:13]
In fact, you know, I thought it was only a trilogy, but it is.

It's a four. And you say there's another one coming out then.

Sam:
[36:20]
Well, the, yeah, the, no, the, well, there's a fourth movie, except it looks like it's been changed from a movie to a TV series.

I don't know about the books. Let me check the books. We'll just make sure it's right. Let's see.

Ed:
[36:36]
There's a shorter book called Four, which is about the young man in the series.

Sam:
[36:41]
Right.

So Divergent series, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, so it's Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant. And then there's potentially this TV series that it seems like it was announced several years ago.

So who knows what the current status is? And then, yeah, like you said, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And then the book series. Oh, and the book series is a fifth on the way as well.

Or the fifth is a short story. Fifth is a short story.

So there's divergent insurgent allegiance and four, and then a short story called we can be mended, but it's, it's, it's, it's only 29 pages long. It's a short story.

Ed:
[37:29]
Oh, okay. That'll be a dollar.

That'd be 99 cents at Amazon when it gets there.

But yes, I, as I said, I, I, the short story is out.

Sam:
[37:42]
The short, the short story was released in 2018. So all five of these are out.

Ed:
[37:45]
Oh, okay. Alrighty. I may have to go do it.

Sam:
[37:52]
Yeah. So anyway, thumbs up. I liked it. It was fun.

I enjoyed it. I will probably at some point in the future, watch the second one. We'll see how it goes.

And you give a, of you give the books a thumbs up for sure you're not quite sure you remember the movie enough to say.

Ed:
[38:11]
Yeah i well i enjoyed the movie but as i said i the book i just i almost remember seeing the pages i it was i really enjoyed it i do all my book reading with digital books these days so i've got got the books here in my in my trusty phone there you go that's.

Sam:
[38:31]
How i do all mine at this point too. Like I, I struggle with that.

If, if I'm asked to read something actually on physical paper, I, I will do it, but I'm, I'm no longer used to it.

And it's, it's definitely not my preferred method.

Like I've, I've gotten to, I've gotten to the point where if I decide I'm going to read something that I have a physical copy of, But it's available on my Kindle. I will buy a new copy to get it on my Kindle rather than read the one I already have.

Ed:
[39:04]
That's kind of where I am. I've got a collection of 100 classic books that I hardly ever look at anymore because they're heavy.

And the pages keep flipping on you and all that.

And besides, as I said, when I'm traveling, this phone has several hundred books in it.

Sam:
[39:24]
Yeah. And it's there. You don't have to have a separate thing to carry around, you know, and same thing for a little while I had the separate Kindle device, but it's another thing to carry, you know, even that like your, your phone does it all or maybe phone plus iPad, but you know, you don't, you don't need the other stuff around.

It's just in a way i mean and there's certain things it's not great for yet like there if if you've got like a coffee table book that's full of gorgeous photography or something okay maybe that's okay the physical version of that is still better.

Ed:
[40:00]
The digital books don't do that well yeah so and books that have lots of graphs graphics are probably better in paper because you do it but you can you can blow it up and look at it and then go back and read too but yeah the graphics Fixing pictures are a problem.

Sam:
[40:15]
And the same thing is true, by the way. I know there's some devices that are trying to fix this, but also, you know, the electronic reading is great if you're reading for pleasure.

If you're actively studying and you want to, like, take notes and you want to do references to specific pages and mark things up and go back to them, like, paper's still often better for that.

Like, and again, there are devices and programs that are specifically made to do that.

But like, you know, if, if you, if, if you are reading sort of academically and, you know, you need stuff for reference material and, and you want to be able to, you know, add all of that context of your own.

Like if, if you're the type of person who reads a books and book and takes notes in the margins, yes, there are ways to do that with electronic books, but they're not as good.

Ed:
[41:13]
So, yeah, that's all I do. I do that all the time with them.

Sam:
[41:18]
Really?

Ed:
[41:18]
Yeah. I've frequently wondered why I if I if I were a student again back in student, I think I would try to get all my books digitally because I underline and highlight everything else.

And occasionally, if there's something in it that I really want to keep, that'll be immediately available.

I can, you know, highlight it and then print it.

Sam:
[41:40]
Yeah.

Ed:
[41:40]
And the other thing is, if you take, say, your textbook, your history book, and you highlight a few areas or underline all that sort of stuff, then you, a week later, come back, now, where was that?

With the underlined, with the highlighted stuff in your digital book, you can go and it'll show you everything that you've highlighted and you can very quickly find those areas you want.

Sam:
[42:03]
And you can search it. You can see what. Okay. Okay.

Maybe I stand corrected. Maybe my impression is slightly outdated because, you know, I certainly, I personally haven't done that kind of reading anytime recently.

I've heard that from other people. But to be honest, and this may be an important difference, they were using the physical like Kindle device as opposed to a computer, an iPad, a phone, which gives you a lot more flexibility potentially. It could be.

Ed:
[42:36]
Maybe that's it. I know that I use the iPad and the phone, and I've read several texts, the Evans trilogy on the rise of the Third Reich, and I've got that thing.

It's underlined, and I've added notes, and I can find the things.

If you ask me how did I feel about something in it, I could find it, because if I've highlighted it, it's there, and I can find it easily.

Sam:
[43:04]
Okay, I stand corrected. Anyway, I think it is time for our first break, Ed.

And let's take a break. And when we come back, we'll talk about the Iran-Israel situation and everything around that. Back after this.

I have to get on him to start posting on that channel again, because he is really trailed off.

You know, it's still like videos from when he was seven when he does post and he's twice that age now.

But he hasn't been he hasn't been going through those old videos and posting them very much this year. So I don't know.

He's been doing all kinds of other stuff. So, you know, kids interests move along.

Ed:
[44:16]
But you used to have a few terabytes of his postings, I think.

Sam:
[44:20]
Oh, I still do. I've got a wall full of hard drives here waiting for him to get through.

Um you know but his his speed has slowed down considerably he's also he's also recording less but he's not recording zero so he's still producing new content that theoretically will be put online someday faster than he is actually going through that content and putting it on and like i said he's seven years behind now in posting stuff oh dear he's catching up on that is you know he he at one point had done like estimates of like how many he was doing a year and when it would when he would catch up and stuff but then those estimates don't hold up if you stop no so or even if you move from you know doing you know on the order of a few a week to on on the order of a few a year, that's still essentially stopping.

But anyway.

Okay. So Iran and Israel. So we had actually mentioned, I think on last week's show that, that Israel had done a hit of one of their targets who was at an Iranian.

Sam:
[45:42]
There's some dispute if it's an embassy, a consulate or something else, whatever though, It was an Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria, in Damascus.

The Israelis did an attack on that facility, killed their targets.

From all reports I've heard, certainly compared to what Israel has been doing in Gaza, it was very, very well targeted.

They got the person they were after. They got, I guess, a few people they were after, but no incidental casualties. casualties.

They didn't hurt or kill anybody that they did not intend to hurt or kill.

But, you know, they attacked a diplomatic facility.

So as soon as that happened, the expectation is, well, Iran is going to have to respond in some way or another.

And so when we recorded last week's show, I believe we said it could happen at any moment. They're giving warnings that it could happen anytime.

It finally happened on Saturday, April April 13th.

Sam:
[46:45]
Now, before we get into what actually happened there and what's next and all this kind of stuff, I just want to say, like, look, a lot of people are.

Sam:
[46:56]
The way they're reacting to Iran attacking Israel is, oh, my God, Iran is attacking Israel.

But at the same time, can you imagine any country not responding if someone bombs their embassy somewhere?

If it was an American embassy that Iran had bombed somewhere, are we going to do nothing?

No, of course not. You know, it's, you know, and Iran went to the UN and was like, we are responding under a situation. We were attacked.

We were directly attacked. And we have the right to respond based on that.

And frankly, we can all judge how wise all of this stuff is back and forth.

But like, I think anyone sort of saying that, you know, Iran is a crazy out of control nation because they did this, you're really stretching it.

Like, they had a diplomatic facility attack directly.

You know, of course, they're going to respond in some way.

And I think we can also criticize Israel, though. They knew they were hitting a diplomatic facility.

They knew this was a further expansion.

Sam:
[48:23]
I mean, just to be clear, they've assassinated all kinds of Iranians over the last couple decades that were involved in nuclear programs, that were involved in other things.

You know, so there's been an ongoing, you know, low key, low key.

There's been an ongoing assassination program that the Israelis have run against their enemies.

And that's included Iranians for a long time. But, you know, they bombed a freaking embassy, you know, or consulate or whatever.

You know, of course, there was going to be a response.

And I think everybody anticipated there'd be a response, which is why people have been talking for two weeks about it. and and, The, I don't know, what actually happened with the response?

Oh, one other thing I wanted to mention. The U.S. has made a point of saying that the Iranian, sorry, the Iranians, the Israelis did not give the Americans advance notice that they were going to attack that target in Syria, that Iranian target in Syria.

They did not give the Americans advance notice. In some other operations.

They have given it Americans advance notice. That was not the case this time.

Sam:
[49:42]
In terms of the Iranian response, people have pointed out this is the first time Iran has directly attacked Israel.

They launched drones and cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, apparently all directly from Iran to Israel.

There's been a proxy war forever. You know, Hezbollah, Hamas, others, where Iran has funded things and has encouraged their proxies to attack Israel in various ways.

But this is the first direct attack that has happened.

Now, the form The form of the attack, people have described this in various ways, but I think there is something to those who are saying that, look, the Iranians had to respond.

It was not feasible for them domestically to not respond to this attack, but they specifically designed this counterattack in a way to try to not expand things even further.

And what do I mean by that? I mean several things.

Sam:
[51:05]
One, they launched waves of slow-moving attacks.

So they put propeller-driven drones leaving Iran, going all the way to Israel on trajectories that would take them several hours to get there. air.

So there was plenty of time.

First of all, they waited two weeks and some of that may have been preparation they needed to do anyway, but they waited two weeks and then they attack first with really slow aircraft comparatively.

They're not even jet powered, giving plenty of time and they're not stealthy in any way.

You know, basically, and Israel's known for their air defenses.

So you give them plenty of time notice so that you can get people out of the way, you can put people into shelters, you can move things around.

So they're not likely to be huge civilian numbers. Now.

Sam:
[52:06]
As this was going on Saturday, it was not initially clear that this is the way things were going to turn out.

And maybe Iran did intend to cause mass havoc, but it kind of seems like they were doing something that would have a lot of flash, where they could say they made a big big response, but without causing a lot of actual damage in Israel in the hopes that it could sort of be a tit for tat and we're done.

And at the same time that the various munitions were on the way from Iran to Israel, diplomatically, Israel was... They both start with I, okay? I know they're are very different.

But Iran put out statements on social media. They made a statement at the UN.

They made all kinds of other indications, basically saying, we have made our response.

It is a robust response. It is a big response. And we consider the matter closed.

Sam:
[53:13]
Basically saying, okay, you did something to us. We did something to you.

Can we be done now? we don't really want a full all out war between Iran and Israel.

And then as the waves of this stuff came in, apparently there was the Israeli air defense themselves, but also the Americans with all their forces in the area, the UK with their forces in the area, Jordan with their forces in the area because these things were flying over Jordan to get there, all had their various systems in place shooting these things down on the way.

Sam:
[54:01]
Oh, Saudi Arabia too was also involved. So we had UK, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel all going after all of these things while they were in flight.

And the report is, and the source is the people who are doing the defense.

So take that as you will. But they say that they got over 99% of what was thrown at Israel got shot down before it got to Israel.

Sam:
[54:32]
And the few things that did make it basically landed in the desert or maybe they might have hit a military base, but nothing significant at the military base.

No significant casualties. Like I heard there was one child that may have been injured by shrapnel somewhere, but not, and who is expected to recover.

And a few people who had like incidental injuries while they were running to get into air shelters and things like that.

I, you know, like, you know, somebody fell and broke their leg while they were running or whatever, but yeah. But basically, there was very little damage and very few casualties related to this attack.

And so the U.S. has put out things that says, okay, we are fully behind Israel and defending Israel if they're attacked, but we are not going to be a part in any way of any further retaliation against Iran at this point.

And as we are recording this, and this may change even in the next few hours, but as we are recording this, the big question is whether Israel decides to counterattack anyway and say, okay.

Sam:
[55:50]
They attacked us. We're going to attack them.

Screw it all. Let's go for a full-out war or at least another round of tit-for-tat.

And everyone seems to be encouraging the Israelis to be like, okay, there's very little damage here.

And they were responding to something you obviously did.

So can we just stop?

Ed:
[56:16]
Wouldn't that be nice?

Sam:
[56:17]
Nobody wants the big regional war. war.

And I mean, essentially what happened here, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who are not traditional Israeli friends, I mean, Jordan did a peace treaty a long time ago, but they're not like, you know, super chummy and there's no peace treaty with Saudi Arabia yet.

They defended Israel in this scenario.

Now they all hate Iran, you know, so they have the sort of common enemy and that's what brings them together.

But, you know, so we're waiting to see, does Israel respond after all, or did they let this go?

And I guess get back to massacring people in Gaza. I don't know.

Okay, I talked for a long time there. Ed, your turn.

Ed:
[56:59]
It looks to me like at least some of the Arab nations have taken up residence in the Israeli heads.

They know how to piss them off and get the reactions that maybe that they're looking for.

I keep looking back at when Hamas invaded Israel.

They knew that they couldn't militarily fight against the Israeli forces.

And they didn't go after military forces. They went after civilian targets, and in fact, in a couple of instances where those civilians had guns and shot back, they went around them and avoided.

They weren't there after unarmed, defenseless people, but they knew that the reaction would be an overwhelming attack from Israel to Gaza.

Now, whether they knew it was going to be as massive as it's turned out to be, that I don't know. But it's almost like they deliberately wanted to have happen what happened.

And I hope that's not what Iran's doing. They're saying, hey, we can gouge them and we'll get our war that we want.

Ed:
[58:06]
I don't know what people get out of war anyway.

No one ever wins. The only people that lose are the civilians that get in the way of bullets.

And a lot of civilians get in the way of bullets in every single war that's been fought.

What you know when when i was in desert storm in the mash hospital our casualties we we took care of a number of iraqi iraqi casualty soldiers that that our people picked up and brought to us we took care of a lot of civilian casualties and we had four or five u.s casualties.

Ed:
[58:40]
Right then it's the civilians that you know the worst fought in your farm yards and cities and And those are the people that are dying, not the soldiers.

Some soldiers die. I don't want to understate that, but the real payment is done by people who don't have any means of defending and fighting back.

Sam:
[59:02]
Yeah. I don't know.

In this case, like on the back and forth, I don't know.

What are your thoughts, Ed? I mean like to me there seems like there's a lot of, it's almost performative. It's like, you know, of course the Iranians have to respond because they have to respond. Somebody hit their embassy.

But there are two ways to look at this, I guess.

One is maybe Iran actually gave it their all and just proved that they're completely impotent against the defenses Israel has.

Ed:
[59:40]
That's possible.

Sam:
[59:41]
That's possible. That's possible. Or Or Iran intentionally pulled their punches because they wanted to respond, but not respond in a way that would escalate things further.

If you remember, there was that scenario towards the end of the Trump's administration as well, where there was a back and forth between U.S.

And Iran over some generals that were killed and some other stuff like that.

And there was a response, but it was a very muted response to try to keep things from expanding further. At least that's how it seemed to me.

Ed:
[1:00:16]
I think you're right. Yeah. So hopefully cool heads will remain in charge and it'll go back to just killing Hamas. Yeah.

Sam:
[1:00:27]
Honestly, and it's weird to say this. Well, not that weird.

But I mean, the one to worry about at this point, I think, is Bibi Netanyahu.

You know, he undoubtedly is the one who gave the order to go ahead and bomb their embassy.

Ed:
[1:00:42]
Yep.

Sam:
[1:00:42]
You know, whoever this is that we're getting. And I, I forget the name of the guy.

Ed:
[1:00:47]
It was two or three generals. I think is what it was.

Sam:
[1:00:50]
Yeah. It was two or three generals and they believe they might've been involved in planning and blah, blah, blah. So, but was it worth it?

And maybe that's the gamble, like that, you know, whatever Iran would do wouldn't be that bad.

But like, clearly that was something that had the potential of escalating the conflict further.

And they did it anyway, because it seems like the whole philosophy that is exemplified by everything that's been happening in Gaza as well is that they just don't care.

Like you know it's they they they want to get their revenge for what happened in october and whatever it takes to exact that revenge is what it takes to exact that revenge, and it's not really about preventing future problems or getting the the future state to something that's more stable that's not what any of this is about at least it doesn't seem like As much as they're saying they want to eliminate Hamas and all this kind of stuff, you know, it honestly really seems like it's just all about revenge.

Ed:
[1:02:03]
Revenge or God knows what else. You know, for Netanyahu, it's keeping the war going and keeps him in office.

They almost can't have an election.

Sam:
[1:02:13]
That's also true.

Ed:
[1:02:14]
And out of jail because he's under indictment. Like someone else we know of.

Sam:
[1:02:20]
Yes. Yes, like someone else we know.

Ed:
[1:02:22]
By the way, that someone else informed us sometime either today or late yesterday that if he were president, they never would have done that attack on Israel, that he somehow would have prevented it. I don't know.

It doesn't say how, but he said it wouldn't have happened if I were president.

Sam:
[1:02:41]
Right, of course. Of course it wouldn't. You know.

Yeah, whatever. I'm always left speechless by those things.

Like he's so clearly full of shit on everything.

You know, yes, I would magically snap my fingers and do this or that or whatever.

And no, no, you have no idea what you're talking about in most cases.

Not you, Mr. Trump.

Ed:
[1:03:09]
Well, I probably don't eat it.

Sam:
[1:03:14]
OK.

Anything else to say about the Middle East before we move on to your last topic was going to be about some Trump tax stuff.

And then we'll probably wrap it up. I mentioned the Trump legal stuff.

We're just going to wait. Next week.

There were some big abortion things this week, too. But anyway, anything else before we take the next break?

Ed:
[1:03:41]
No, that's as much as I can think on that. there'll be there'll be more before next week i'm sure.

Sam:
[1:03:47]
Always always there's always more okay here comes our next break and we'll then we'll talk a little bit about taxes in honor of the tax deadline that's coming up this uh tomorrow tomorrow well at utc it's now already april 15th so uh in in the time we've been talking it's moved from april 14th to april 15th universal time Anyway, back after this.

Okay, we are back. So, Ed, you wanted to talk about the Trump tax cuts and potential positive aspects of them that you like.

Ed:
[1:05:09]
Well, actually, I think Trump or someone thought that we probably ought to call it the Reform Act rather than a tax cut because it didn't really cut taxes for a lot of people.

It just simply made it much easier to fill out. And I think the thing I meant.

Sam:
[1:05:24]
Well, just to be clear, it may not have cut taxes for a lot of people.

Oh, cut it for the wealthy. Cut taxes for the folks that Donald Trump cared about.

Yeah. cut cut taxes significantly for corporations cut taxes significantly for the very wealthy yeah and that's what he cared about that's why it's a tax cut and and some some people as you went down the spectrum some lower not low income but like you know there were cuts down the ways as well but they just weren't as significant yeah.

Ed:
[1:05:54]
I think it cut the the top bracket went from 38 and a half percent to 36 something or whatever that was two or three percent which is a significant cut you're right.

But for the rest of us, at least for me, because I don't know how other people do that, I've always done my own taxes, except when I was in private practice, because the taxes were just too complicated for me then, and I was working too hard.

But the rest of my life, I've always done my own taxes.

And it's generally been like a two to three day event, followed in a couple weeks by another two to three days to find the errors that I made, because there are so many ifs and outs and everything else and all the crap this year i did my own taxes and it took me about two and a half three hours and that included going back and double checking and finding my math errors and everything and basically that's because most of the deductions were gone and replaced with a very generous basic time you can still itemize if you want but it's not worth it because you're just not going to come up with the standard deduction is much.

Sam:
[1:06:58]
Bigger than it used to.

Ed:
[1:06:59]
Yeah.

Sam:
[1:06:59]
I mean, I've used TurboTax to do my taxes for...

Many, many years now. And, you know, it'll take you through the exercise of like running through all your potential individual deductions, but for years now, and I think this goes, I don't know if it was ever not true, but like I could tell within seconds of starting like, okay, there is no way I have enough itemized deductions to be more than the standard. Absolutely.

I will go through the stupid little exercise anyway, but it's just going to tell me to use the standard deduction.

And of course it does. And, and there you go. And, and, you know.

Ed:
[1:07:43]
Well, the other thing, if you use TurboTax.

Sam:
[1:07:45]
That's better and easier.

Ed:
[1:07:46]
I used TurboTax last year again for the last time, and it took me hours because there's a thousand questions, plus about every 15 questions they say, don't you want to upgrade to the more expensive version?

Sam:
[1:08:01]
Yes, they do.

Ed:
[1:08:02]
And they're constantly doing that. And this year I sat down with a, I printed off three or four copies of the 1040.

And I sat down and I picked up all my income statements, wrote them in a pencil, double-checked them, did the arithmetic, took the next one, copied it over an ink, made sure the arithmetic was right, waited until the next day, went back, double-checked the arithmetic and the numbers and everything else, caught a couple mistakes, fixed those, signed it, and then mailed it just a week or so ago.

And it just and so i didn't use turbo tax this year i i spent less than half as much time.

Sam:
[1:08:37]
Wow yeah so your your point though is that you you believe like this simplification like i hadn't remembered this like when thinking about the track the tump tump when thinking about the trump tax cuts i always think about the oh tax cuts for corporations and rich people and blah blah blah i hadn't made any connection or remembered frankly that there was also a bit about these kinds of changes you're talking about they're just simplifications i and i guess those were the same piece of legislation i guess yeah i don't remember yeah.

Ed:
[1:09:10]
It was the tax reform act of uh what was 2017 or 18 something like that but it gave me back hours of my life.

Sam:
[1:09:19]
And so you're like, it's worth it to give the rich people all that money back too, right? No.

Ed:
[1:09:27]
We have now lived since Reagan was president, which was what, 60, 65, 60, I don't know, whenever Reagan was president, we have lived with voodoo economics.

Sam:
[1:09:38]
80s, 1980. Yeah. 1980 through 88.

Ed:
[1:09:41]
Seemed like longer than that.

Sam:
[1:09:42]
Actually president, 81 through 89. Oh, okay. But yeah.

Ed:
[1:09:45]
But the voodoo economics has been the ruling dogma of the Republican Party.

If we cut the taxes, which was, of course.

Sam:
[1:09:55]
George H.W. Bush's name for it when he was campaigning against Reagan in 1980.

Ed:
[1:10:03]
But we've lived with that ever since. The idea, you know, we cut the taxes for the rich and wealthy people and cut the regulations at the same time.

And they will take all that money and time that's saved and they'll invest it in new factories.

They'll invest it in better wages and all this other stuff.

What they've invested it in is increasing the wealth of the top 1% by trillions of dollars and leaving everybody else basically the exact same.

There's been very little change.

And, you know, we now have a president who did invest in infrastructure, infrastructure has invested in having companies build new factories not getting a tax break and saying we'd like you to do that instead of buying back stock and said no we'll we'll give you money to build new factories and unemployment is still low more people are working every month so no i don't that part of the the tax reform act of trump was no better than the tax reform act of uh reagan or any of the others.

So, yeah, no, I don't support that. I just support the fact that the other 80% of us now have a much easier life.

Sam:
[1:11:19]
Yeah, and this is something that, I mean, lots of countries in the world do all this stuff automatically.

Absolutely. And if you have some unique, complicated situation or you want to double check them, you can, but you don't have to.

Like like the fact that we have a system that requires individuals to go out and take copies of paperwork the government already has and and fill out the stupid forms or use software to do it for you or whatever or a tax preparer it's just ridiculous yeah like you know the they're, The government has all the paperwork, and if there's anything they don't have, they could make it required that they send that, that that stuff gets sent in as well.

And then, you know...

Boom, you're done. And ideally, you do it in such a way that all the taxes, just like taxes normally withheld by your employer, you make it so that any potentially taxable transaction, is automatically taxed when it happens.

Ed:
[1:12:33]
You mean sort of like sales tax?

Sam:
[1:12:35]
Sort of like sales tax, but do it for capital gains, do it for whatever transactions you're you're going to tax, just make sure they're taxed up front.

And then the, so that you, you should never have an extra bill due on tax day.

It should always be a matter of either they got it perfectly right, ideally, or they give you a little bit back, but, and it shouldn't be a lot back because you could be making, doing better things with that money than loaning it to the the government, but you know, there's no reason that for 99.9% of the public that couldn't be completely automatic.

And, and again, like the, the countries who do it in a completely automatic way do have a way, like if you, if you've got complicated situations or you really need to, or want to, because of whatever you can go in there and you can mess with it and you can file forms and blah, blah, blah.

But the default is you don't have to. It just happens. And that's the way it should be.

Ed:
[1:13:39]
Yeah. The people who have the complicated situations are the folks with several hundred million dollars in incomes of multi-millions.

And they have all kinds of accountants on their staff whose main job is to prevent you paying taxes.

They're the ones who tell the billionaires, look, your $20 million salary is generating a lot of tax.

What you need to do is take a salary of $100,000 a year and then borrow against your investments because then the interest on that, because it'll be a home loan against your home, that's deductible and you will end up not having to pay any tax at all.

And there are more than a few multimillionaires who pay no taxes at all because of that particular little hedge that the rest of us don't get to use.

Sam:
[1:14:30]
There are all kinds of nice ways to do that. Yep.

There that are, but yeah, like again, like.

Sam:
[1:14:39]
I was annoyed this like for years I had been in a scenario where like I had intentionally like maxed out my deductions beyond what I technically needed to because I'm much I know free loan to the government, all that kind of stuff. But I am not self-disciplined.

Like if I have the money, I'm going to spend it. So like I had structured it so that every every tax season I would always get a refund and it would it would be a nice little amount. out.

And it was useful for that time of year always.

But for some reason, a couple of years ago, there were a couple of things like I sold some stock that wasn't deducted.

And I think I also actually reduced my withholdings a little bit.

So the last two years, my taxes have been almost spot on with the withholding.

I think I had to pay each of the last two years, but it was like Like this year it was 25 bucks.

I'm like, that's pretty damn close. Okay. The year before, I think it was a hundred or something like that, but it was, it was really close.

And so no refund. And I'm like, damn it.

I liked getting a refund. So I actually went in and I, I changed my W-4 to tell them to withhold more so that next year, hopefully I'll have a refund again.

Ed:
[1:16:02]
I don't like refunds, but I don't like paying huge amounts either.

So I increased my W for my pension this year.

Sam:
[1:16:10]
Okay. Yeah. I don't know. Anyway, but ideally it would be, it would all be automatic and you wouldn't have to worry about it at all.

Ed:
[1:16:17]
And there's, there's no reason why it shouldn't.

Sam:
[1:16:21]
Well, the one reason what people will say is you don't want it to be completely invisible because you want people to know that they are paying money to the government. Yeah.

Because that makes you feel more of an investment into what the government does or does not do with that money.

Because you're like, they're spending my money.

They took X amount. I paid whatever amount of taxes and blah, blah, blah.

And you feel it. whereas if you made it completely invisible then it's much easier like if if the government starts spending more or increases taxes it just feels to you like prices went up or your salary went down or whatever and you don't necessarily put the blame on the government yep but anyway Anyway, any more tax cut stuff or tax stuff or anything, Ed? Nope.

Ed:
[1:17:17]
That it's just, I thought I said so many bad things about Trump over the years.

I thought I ought to say at least one thing that I thought somebody did right, whether it was him or not, somebody there, I think did that right.

Sam:
[1:17:28]
I feel like the benefit that you're describing was probably accidental within the larger purposes of that tax bill, but you know, maybe not quite accidental, but certainly wasn't the main point of what they were doing.

Ed:
[1:17:42]
Oh, absolutely not.

Sam:
[1:17:46]
So, okay. So to, to, to, to wrap things up, I'll do the regular stuff at the end, any moment now, but first again, we are at this point as I'm recording and hours away from jury selection, beginning in the New York Trump trial.

So I'm sure we will be talking about that next week. It's going to be an interesting week.

I mentioned in passing the abortion stuff, there was big development going back to an 1800s era law in Arizona with massive restrictions on abortion.

There are other developments elsewhere basically just once again showing that this issue is going to be big this time around.

And Donald Trump putting out his statement saying, trying to say, oh, it's all the states. So don't talk to me about abortion anymore.

Like, yes, I did Roe, which was great. It was wonderful. It was whatever.

But any specific state doing what they're doing, talk, talk to the state, you know, that's not my business.

I don't know that that's going to work for him. We'll see how that, that turns out.

Okay. That's it. That's it. Well, you know, I'm not going to talk a whole topic about that, but I just wanted to make Make sure it was mentioned.

Ed:
[1:19:01]
Sounds good.

Sam:
[1:19:03]
As usual, go to curmudgeons-corner.com. You can find transcripts of the show.

The newest ones still are formatted in a way other than the way I would like them to be because I haven't had time to deal with that and probably won't anytime soon. We'll see. Maybe some week.

It also has the ways to contact us. Ways to contact me and Yvonne, not Ed. We'll get to Ed in a second here.

But it has our Facebook, our Mastodon, our emails, all that kind of stuff. off.

And for myself or Yvonne, we'd love to hear from you.

For Ed, if you want to get a message to him, just send it to me through any of the ways on the Convergence Corps website, and I will be sure to pass it along because Ed is not on social media.

Ed:
[1:19:46]
Oh, no, I'm on Facebook, but I'm fairly careful who I take as friends.

So if someone wants to become my friend, unless you're someone I know the name of, you should put a little note on that friend application.

Otherwise, it goes to the of garbage, put a little note and say, I heard you talk the other day. You're a dumb shit.

And I never want to hear from you again. Then I'll accept you as a friend.

Sam:
[1:20:09]
Oh, of course. Of course. That's, that's what you expect to hear from anybody.

Um, or, you know, just, just send, just send it to me. I'll make sure it gets to add.

And yeah. And of course there's also a link to our Patreon where you can give us money.

We love money. Money is fun. Money is exciting.

No it's just you know the show costs a little bit each week for us to do we we lose money every week on the show it's nice to defray a little bit of that and if you donate at various levels we will mention you on the show we will ring a bell we will send you a postcard we will send you a mug and at two dollars a month or more or if you just ask us we will invite you to our curmudgeons core slack where yvonne and i and ed and a bunch of other listeners hang out through the week exchange links to news stories talk about stuff all of that kind of thing uh it's a lot of fun and we'd love to have more of you so again do that so ed do you want to highlight anything from the curmudgeon corner slack this week or should i dig up something real quick or should we skip that oh.

Ed:
[1:21:17]
I don't know we've we've covered a lot of crap this week.

Sam:
[1:21:22]
Oh you.

Ed:
[1:21:24]
Know since i do a a lot of walking. There was some sort of a discussion about how much people walk and what they use or Apple Watch and everything else.

And there was one on for several comments about, I think Bob said he walks four to five kilometers a day.

Sam:
[1:21:41]
Yes, he did.

Ed:
[1:21:42]
And I think I responded, I pointed out that actually since the first of the year, I've been averaging about six and a half miles a day.

Wow. Well, John and Mary and I signed up for something that we're supposed to do 2,024 miles in the year.

So I've been trying to start out the first part of the year doing 200 miles a month so that later on in the year I can slack off. both.

Sam:
[1:22:06]
I am pitiful. I shared my numbers that are coming off my, my Apple products.

I average about 5,000 steps a day only.

And like, you know, the, the rule of thumb people give is like 10,000.

And I've heard, you know, that numbers like there's not really good data behind it other than any exercise is good and more walking is better than less walking.

But the 10,000 is just pulled out of the air. But 5,000 is still pitiful.

It's still pitifully low. So, yeah.

Ed:
[1:22:38]
I think that 10,000 supposedly came from something in Japan.

I forget. I've read something about it once. There was some sort of a thing that came out and somebody pulled that out of a structure in their anatomy and said, that sounds good. And scientists had picked up on it.

You know, I figure that I need to do an hour and a half to two hours of some form of exercise a day. and mostly it's, it's a walking because I don't run very well anymore.

I did a six mile run yesterday, but it was, it was actually at a speed that most people walk.

I was at a 16 minute pace, but, uh, you know, I, I'm 82.

I don't need to run much. I just do mostly walking.

And by doing the walking, I can do a lot more mileage and a lot more time.

And I listened to the podcast. I listened to you guys on Monday every week.

Sam:
[1:23:26]
Nice yeah we do appreciate that I'm one of the pitiful ones where like you know I walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and back, And I'm done. That's the day, you know, maybe not quite literally, but I am definitely well below where I should be in terms of exercise.

So it's one of the things that every time I talk to my doctor, they're like, you need to exercise more. And I'm like, I know I need to exercise more.

Ed:
[1:23:58]
Yep.

Sam:
[1:23:58]
And then I don't. So anyway.

Ed:
[1:24:02]
So we cover a lot of things on Slack.

Sam:
[1:24:06]
Yeah it's it's it's a lot of fun we had like we had the exercise stuff and yeah every little thing that comes out there's uh there was a somebody who trapped you know well their their tesla was doing a software update and the little warning on the screen says you need to stay inside and so they did even though it was super hot and they were endangering their health by doing so So, but you know, she wasn't actually trapped or anything.

She could have left at any time, but she decided not to.

Anyway, there's all kinds of fun stuff. You should join us on our Commodions Corner Slack. That's the point of all that.

And anyway, Ed, thank you for once again, joining us on Commodions Corner.

Ed:
[1:24:48]
It's always a pleasure.

Sam:
[1:24:51]
Yvonne, this time they wouldn't let him on a plane or something. I don't know why.

Presumably like they thought he was a terrorist or something. I don't know.

But he had to get on another, he eventually made it home, I think, but he was delayed and so wasn't able to record at the normal time.

So I put out a last minute request and Ed answered the call, so.

Thank you, Ed. We always love it when you were able to join us. You still there, Ed?

Ed:
[1:25:22]
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, no. I was listening. It suddenly started raining.

My watch told me it was going to rain heavily at 10 p.m. It's 9 p.m.

And it's raining heavily.

Sam:
[1:25:32]
Excellent.

Ed:
[1:25:33]
I don't know if you can hear it or not. It's pretty loud.

Sam:
[1:25:37]
We can't hear it from here, but I'm glad you're having rain and it's good rain and it's fun.

Yeah, it is bright and sunny here at the moment. So, good for us.

Anyway, thank you, Ed. We'll talk to you later.

And Yvonne will be back next week. Hopefully, cross our fingers, we'll do a normal show and we'll have Trump trial stuff to talk about unless something really crazy happens in the next few hours to stop it.

Ed:
[1:26:04]
Maybe he'll plead guilty.

Sam:
[1:26:07]
Now, that would be a twist. Okay. Everyone, have a safe week.

Have fun week we'll talk to you next time goodbye goodbye.

Ed:
[1:26:48]
Is that the wind again? Yes, it's raining. It's supposed to rain at 10. It's pouring.


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