Days of Change

One of Those Days

November 27, 2014
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This was a very different Thanksgiving for me this year. The holidays are the times set aside where families usually get together. The absence of others is also felt more acutely. Life is change, and sometimes it is not for the better.

It makes me think about the growing social pressure to preserve Thanksgiving as more stores open on Thanksgiving. Some people might actually welcome the distraction of work on this day, but they are generally not the people who have to work. There is something to be said for giving family one day to be together, but we should think about every day. I may be more nostalgic on certain days, but I miss my loved ones every day.

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Stuff It

November 26, 2014
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I’m heading off for Thanksgiving tomorrow. President Obama pardoned a turkey, but did he pardon the dog?

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You Are the Resistance

November 25, 2014
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The webmaster of the mostly defunct site Hillbuzz used to write that “You Are the Resistance,” quoting a line from a Terminator movie sequel. At a certain point, so much of a certain group has been replaced by the occupying force that everyone left has to take a stand. This has unfortunately had limited success in history.

If you look at the Ferguson riots, you see that there are a lot of bad people surrounded by a lot of hopeless people. A few months ago, most of the protesters arrested were from out-of-town. The looters and robbers around last night were almost entirely local. Most people in Ferguson did not riot, but if they did nothing, it will get worse.

This country is in a state of flux where people assume we will continue more or less the same forever. Liberals do things, conservatives do things and everyone else does their own thing. Everyone should consider, however, what the people who vote and the people elected are doing. Are things really the same or are they worse?

If you don’t want free stuff from the government or if you don’t want the government to tell people how to act, you should be voting. Not voting doesn’t make you non-partisan, if makes you a non-person. The person getting what they want from the government at least has a reason to vote. The rest of us have to realize that “getting government off our backs” is not a slogan, it is something we want from the government. If we want something from government, even if it is nothing, we’d better be prepared to fight for it.

If we don’t fight at the polls, then the fight will come to us in riot form.

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The Bad Cop isn’t in Ferguson

November 24, 2014
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If anyone saw the SNL open where Obama kicked a bill off the Capitol steps so he could use an Executive Order instead, it looks the like Washington Post did not take it well. They “fact checked” a comedy bit, pointing out that Obama took “executive action” rather than using an documented EO. I’m not sure what they were going for, because that was worse than an Executive Order.

By using executive action, El Presidente basically ordered law enforcement to look the other way on law breaking, even if they were inclined to enforce the law. This is something out of “Walking Tall” or an old episode of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Boss Obama decided that he needed to get more illegal Mexicans for his construction company, so he told Roscoe to just let them walk through town without any licenses or insurance. The Duke boys, however, are a bunch of racist crackers and should be harassed at every opportunity.

If you get to pick and choose the laws you enforce, then laws are irrelevant.

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In Their Court

November 23, 2014
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If there was any lingering doubt that Obama will do whatever the hell he wants, flaunt it, and then dare the other side to stop him, last week’s “executive action” was it.

The ball is in the GOP’s court now. They promised not to block a budget, but then again, Obama promised not to use executive action to change immigration police. Plus, there’s that whole keeping your health care thing. The Republicans have the options they have. They can use them or Obama can be a monarch. He has no better nature to appeal to.

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The Media is the Message

November 22, 2014
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A man named Herbert Marshall McLuhan first coined the concept that the “medium is the message.” He also introduced the term “global village,” something that is used to describe the internet, which McLuhan also predicted. Many of these observations were made in the 1960’s. McLuhan died in 1980.

The basic concept of the medium as message is that the way one gets their information affects the way a person retains it, interprets it and disseminates it. The game of “Telephone” is an example of how oral tradition can work (or not) as a story is passed on by speaking it, hearing it, trying to remember it, and retelling it in your own words. The printed word is different. As books became more common, people didn’t have to remember every word they saw. They had to process more words by looking at them, but had the original source available to them.

Movies and television made media more entertainment than information. radio is often fractured into both. Stations are either music or talk, with little crossover. Now, we’ve had almost a generation on the Internet. It has absorbed every type of media that came before it. Websites are read, podcasts are listed to. Every type of media can be experienced or obtained through the global network. The ownership of individual media (books, movies) is becoming a thing of the past. Even information is something to be extracted, not learned.

Much was made of the Obama campaign’s presence in new media. The story was that his people were young and hip. They knew how to use blogs and social media. They sent alerts by e-mail and clogged up e-mails with spam. That was the story, but the true exploitation of new media was in the way traditional media was bought and controlled by those who wanted to create their own political outcome.

Even before McLuhan, George Orwell was writing about people in the future who would rewrite history as the leadership demanded. The Internet is the medium that makes this most possible. Except for a few screen grabs, everything online is in a state of flux. If a media organisation wants to change or “clarify” their content, most people won’t have any idea what changed.

The old media has shown themselves to be partners to Obama. NBC has massive financial connections with GE tax breaks. ABC had a reporter, Jay Carney, who covered the 2008 campaign and then start working for the White House after the election. His wife still works in news. CBS did not treat Obama the way they treated Bush (the National Guard Memo vs. Obama’s dubious Selective Service non-compliance) and went on to shaft Sharyl Attkisson when she tried to actually report the news.

This may be their last chance at a power grab. With near constant access to the Internet with smart phones and other devices, we will all be the next medium. The social network at large will inform us. We will learn to separate good information from bad, the way we should have decades ago from the dinosaur media. Until then, the media sends a message by cutting the telephone wires as well as using them.

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Adapt and Die

November 21, 2014

If you look at Western civilization, which is the forerunner of all civilization, popular rule and democracy has been a long but steady road over centuries. Self-determination is one of the last steps to human fulfillment, after survival, security and the chance for social advancement. In essence, people got tired of one person telling them what to do.

People crave a voice under a particular set of circumstances. They need to be relatively secure, but face hardships that center on one unreasonable person in power. Add some leadership and you have a revolution on your hands. Those revolutions have often been long and bloody, but the modern world was left with governments where citizens choose the lawmakers and the “leader” can be simply voted out of their position.

The last century or so has seen much of the world in a post-democracy phase. People can choose the ones in charge, but their choices and votes have been influenced more and more by those with a hand in the government coffers. Simple graft, however, is easy to catch. Now, we face the fact that more and more money is going to pay off constituencies and the real profit comes to those who know how to distribute money to interest groups.

America is in pretty good shape. We have a good economy. People have jobs and places to live. The government has been growing its influence over decades and the people have learned to adapt. We accept the fact that our income is taxed before we get our paycheck. Often, what we buy with that paycheck is also taxed and the price of everything has some tax attached to it.

The government is also telling us what kind of insurance to have, what our kids can eat in school, how they can learn math and who gets to walk across the border into the country without consequences. It seems that we plan to adapt to these things as well.

This creeping social engineering, or socialism if you prefer, presents a new crisis where we can choose 1 out of 2 people and both of them will end up in a similar place. American democracy has been resistant to kind of rigged federal system, but the states now have less power than ever. Republicans will run one branch of the federal government and most of the states. One man at the top made it know ahead of time that all of that will have little effect.

While I would like to say that “vote Republican” is the solution, it is a stop-gap measure at best. Lawmakers find that consolidating power just makes things easier. Voters find that consolidated power eases the decision process. “Why vote if both candidates are the same? It’s not like they will take my right to vote away.”

We are at the point where your vote has almost no effect. Turning the other way on immigration will lead to work permits, which will lead to temporary status which will lead to citizenship. There will be a group of people who won’t vote much, but will be on call when the forces of consolidated government need to win an election. When will people stop adapting and revolt?

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As Obama Prepares to Cosby the Country

November 20, 2014
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So, the Resider in Chief has decided that he will use “executive action,” whatever that means, to keep Illegal Aliens illegal, but look the other way, like the corrupt executive that he is. The details are relatively unimportant. First, he let in a bunch of illegal children. Next, he wants to make anchor baby parents free from legal action. He can’t technically grant citizenship, so he’s just going to make a mockery of the law instead.

He is guilty of what Bill Cosby is only accused of. Obama will do what he wants, knowing that the ramifications for his actions will be some time from now and much less than the temporary gain he gets now. By the time either the Supreme Court decides on this or the Republicans have any power in the Senate, the action will be implemented. The DNC will also get their influx of contributions, the real goal.

Obama only does anything for money. As bad as celebrities are, they only make $10 million by taking $10 at a time from movie goers. Obama can only see that kind of dough if he redirects trillions from the taxpayers. He changed his mind on gay marriage for campaign money. He blocks the Keystone pipeline for liberal environmentalist money. He needs to get some illegal immigration money (from big business) to have any leverage with the Democrats at this point. That pipeline vote was predetermined, but still pretty damn close. And now, we have illegal people in the country who can’t participate in citizenship, but can’t go home. I give it six months before the Overton Window gets pushed into “citizenship for the invisible people!”

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Coming Attraction

November 19, 2014
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I think this week gives us a good idea what will happen next year with a Democrat for a president, a majority in the House and Senate Majority Minority Leader Harry Reid in charge filibustering.

First, there was the 59-41 vote on the Keystone pipeline. Unlike what the media tells you, they were never “one vote” short of passing. The Democrats decided which 14 Democrats needed to vote for the pipeline most to keep their seats in the future, with Landrieu at the top of the list. There was never even the possibility of a 15th Democrat. If things go as expected and Landrieu loses her race and Angus King doesn’t switch sides, the Republicans will have 54 seats. I bet that 8 of the 13 Democrats left in the pro-pipeline category will suddenly have a change of heart, keeping the number at 59.

Plus, Obama will be giving another historic speech where he will either threaten or perform executive edicts which will make crossing the border from Mexico about as legal as smoking marijuana at your gay wedding. Executive Orders cannot be struck down without contrary legislation, which won’t avoid veto, or through a court decision, which SCOTUS is loath to consider.

No affirmative legislation can make it to law when you have a Senate that can be filibustered and a president who will never be overridden. The only power the Republicans have is in the budgeting process. It is why the Democrats, liberals, progressives and media will scream loudest and most angrily about this tactic. Republicans will take damage. Their stock will drop in the polls. It is the expected outcome of unrelenting public attack. The Republicans already folded. I can only offer that once the impotent rage has been expressed, the negotiations will begin. And if foreign policy is any indication, the administration is terrible at negotiations.

So again, we are in the same place. The GOP can fight for real change or beg for spare change. Or they can wait for two years and use the worsening of America to get their guy in the White House. Sadly, I see the latter as their Plan A.

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Your Moment of Zen

November 18, 2014
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Sometimes you have to stick to the classics. Watch as Jonathan Gruber runs away to avoid saying the things he said freely when he thought none of the stupid people were watching.

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