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The Book Of Byers

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Quote Of The Day, Thompson Edition

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people -- including me -- would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. - Hunter S. Thompson

Quote Of The Day: Hemingway, Kitchen Edition

The penalty for knowing how to cook is that the others will make you do all the cooking. - Ernest Hemingway

Who Would Jesus Short?

Location: deep in the Bible Belt, southeastern USA. The state is Georgia, stomping grounds of the crony capitalist and single-issue voter.

"Georgia is open for business!" our elected officials say. Being a Republican-dominated state, they are business friendly, as long as it's the right kind of business. Green industry? No thanks, we love to pollute in Georgia. Tech? Only in Atlanta.Sex trafficking? Keep it in the massage parlors, and limit the ladies to Asian heritage.

A common thread running through my particular part of the state is that of the "Christian businessman." This creature attempts to marry two seemingly incompatible ideals, that of the money-making titan and the holy renunciate, into a self-conflicted superbeing.

Henry Miller once wrote about this sort of person, but it wasn't until my 30's that I met a self-professed CBM. Oddly, this was in Australia, a very secular state. Prosperity gospel, however, knows no bounds, reaching even into Sy…

The World In Which We Live: Epstein Edition

The arrest of Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking children has all facets of the media tying themselves in knots, from straight reportage to the more outrageous. These are early days and most of what is being published is opinion or speculation. It is this writer's choice to wait until justice is served before opining, but things of this nature seem to get swept away easily. Need more evidence? Look into Jimmy Saville.

In the meantime, the UK is apologizing to Ivanka Trump for stating the obvious.
Also, the Fed is preparing an interest rate cut as the economy soars to new heights. That gurgling sound you hear is your savings account being strangled. 
And, as always, the US is spoiling for (more) war.

Leonard Cohen Is Dead And I'm Happy For Him

I'm listening to the music of Leonard Cohen today. He passed in 2016, one of many in the entertainment industry to die in that year.

Cohen continued to perform well into his golden years and once likened touring to "taking the first step on a walk to China." Life on the road isn't easy and has crushed a good many performers a third his age (I'm looking at you, 27 Club). Why did he continue? Surely for the love of music, performing, and his audience, but I suspect partly because his manager had embezzled $5 million from his retirement account. One doesn't recover quickly from such a crime, so you continue to work. Cohen simply did what he did best and kept playing.

Rest in peace, Mr. Cohen. Your long road has ended and your music lives on.

The World In Which We Live: Ongoing Trade War Edition

It wasn't supposed to last this long. Or so it was thought.

"Trade wars are good and easy to win!" the tweet read. I'm not seeing much good and no one appears to be having fun.

I suppose a trade war is good when you have no skin in the game, ie your living expenses are covered by taxpayer dollars and you know how to write down losses, but for those of us on the ground in this trade war, real pain is being inflicted. Ask the farmer who is losing money (although in a bit of welfare, there are subsidies being discussed). Ask the customer paying more and more for the same items. Ask the business owner paying more for said items and passing that cost on to the customer you just spoke to.

The current trade war is the economic equivalent of the second Iraq War: a war of choice, led by amateurs. Sure, US-based intellectual property is being stolen, but the companies whose IP is being stolen are multinational corporations who operate in China willingly. I'm yet to meet an…