Friday, December 30, 2016

We the people ...

Just in case you hadn't noticed or took some different American history class or got your history from the Tea Party, it's

WE the people...

NOT

I the person...

Yes, I know, e are all wonderfully unique, but we don;t live alone.  We live in a community and despite some peoples' thinking we ALL receive benefits from doing so.

I know that I often fail against the politician's propensity to lump u all into the "American People". But that comes from their tendency to view the "American People" from their slanted point-of-view. We ARE all unique, but that uniqueness is made up of our existence in a community. We are influenced by our community, our family, our beliefs, our interactions... In short, all of us get benefits from community and have obligations to that community.

Those obligations are as important to us as the benefits. We each have a right to protest the actions of our community, but, we must not damage other members of the community by shirking our obligations or refusing to participate in the obligations of the community -- say vaccination -- while getting the benefits.

The other members of the community have rights to receive the same benefits as YOU do. If we all insist that we will not participate in community, then chaos will ensue and our nation will fall apart. Where will we be then? Even criminals like Clive Bundy, will fail if that happens.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Trump's "Profit" Motive

I recently saw an article questioning whether Trump would be a deal maker as president. I think this isn't the question. The question is

What is Trump's "profit" motive?

He claims that he will work for the middle class, the people. But, his cabinet choices scream that he is working for the very wealthy, the very people who caused the decline of the middle class started by Reagan's policies. After all, three Goldman Sacks alums isn't exactly "draining the swamp". It's more filling it up with even scarier creatures.

Unfortunately, all the actions Trump has taken point to the conclusion that his profit is just that -- profit for the ultra-rich.

The old profit equation still holds for Trump and the Republican party with the worker in the "expenses" category and profit the only driving motivation. Everything else, the environment, social programs, Medicare, Social Security, all of it subservient to this single motivation.

The choices Trump has made indicate that his administration will make everything subservient to profits. His appointees will remove as much regulation which has kept our environment clean, monitored greedy financial institutions, provide healthcare for millions in order to increase the profits of the very rich. "Trickle down is back with a vengeance and it didn't work all the other times it has been tried.

The only trickle is the waste that the rich piss on the middle class. Stagnant wages, lack of jobs replaced by automation and outsourcing, a ruined environment, and no healthcare.

Trump voters, enjoy the "benefits" of your choice. I only wish the rest of us weren't in the same swamp with you.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Today in History -- Coincidence?

I was looking at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history and saw an interesting coincidence which is reflective of the situation in the USA today. The major story was:


2001 Enron files for bankruptcy: On this day in 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

Under Also on this day was:


1804 Napoleion crowned emperor: In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head.






These look like what will happen with the implementation of Republican policies and the rule of "he who shall not be named".


Just saying ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanks Feedly, Every news site needs this...


Every news site needs this. I have stated before that I don't care what's popular. Just show me the articles in (reverse) chronological order and let me pick the ones I want to read. Just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's interesting to me or relevant to anything that I care about.


This is the configuration panel from Feedly on the Web and it's GREAT. I can eliminate the display of "popular" articles in favor of just seeing articles in reverse chronological order.


Thanks Feedly. Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Post-Truth in the Trump Era

Politifact Truth-o-Meter
I just read an interesting article by Christiane Amanpour of CNN. She has grave doubts about the freedom of the press in the Trump era of "Post-Truth".

I never in a million years thought I would be up here on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.

I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth.
And we have to be prepared to fight especially hard for the truth in a world where the Oxford English Dictionary just announced its word of 2016: "post-truth."

Post-truth is defined as an adjective "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief," according to the dictionary. [source]
 Trump and those who support him have no respect for the truth. In fact, they benefit from the lies they tell. The "Trump dictionary" seems to define things in terms of how they reflect on Donald Trump. For example, "rigged" is anything which makes Trump look bad. He, and those who support him, will lie without any regret if it benefits them. And, they will fight anyone who support a differing view of the truth.

Is Amanpour right to fear for journalism and journalists?

Wael Ghonim, one of the fathers of the Arab spring, dubbed the social media revolution, now says:
"The same medium that so effectively transmits a howling message of change also appears to undermine the ability to make it. Social media amplifies the human tendency to bind with one's own kind. It tends to reduce complex social challenges to mobilizing slogans that reverberate in echo chambers of the like-minded rather than engage in persuasion, dialogue, and the reach for consensus. Hate speech and untruths appear alongside good intentions and truths." [emphasis added]
Yes, I think she does. We all do.

However, the media can be viewed as much to blame as are the people who post false news and those who believe it. All the major news organizations are really out for one thing -- profit. They want people to follow them, read them, and most of all, buy from the advertisers who drive their profit. If you don't believe this, just look at some of the stories about celebrities or promoting other shows on their networks that are presented as news.

In the Internet age, the pursuit of profit seems to mean that you need to be first and you need to be popular. Notice there is nothing here about being truthful. The rush to immediacy means that even reputable journalists can sacrifice truth for ratings. EVERYONE must STOP trying to be first and make sure they are accurate!

But, what about those who benefit from lies? How do we deal with them? We, as consumers of social media, must be willing to approach even articles expressing views with which we agree with healthy skepticism. We need to question everything, read disparate sources and keep up with the information from those who don't necessarily agree with us.

It's just as important to question those with whom we agree as it is those with whom we disagree. Sights like Breitbart are obvious. Facebook, Twitter, CNN are a bit less obvious.

The point is that we need to realize profits and power drive much of the media we read. We need to investigate, research, and doubt all that we read until we, as discerning American Persons, find they have satisfied our curiosity.

Who will protect us from people, like Trump, who live in a world of "fluid truth", who benefit from lies?

WE will.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fake News, ya gotta love it!

So, why does fake news do so well? It's the fact that we're always looking for things that tend to support our world view. When the fake news does that, it tends to get very little critical verification, if any at all.

When a believer sees the news, the first thing they want to do is share it. After all, they'll tend to get likes from the other fanatics that they tend to friend -- you know, those with similar world views. And, as we all know, popularity is all that counts. Well, that and speed. Everyone, even the mainstream media seems to sacrifice accuracy for speed. In the Internet world, it seems to be more important to be first rather than factual.

...and let's talk about algorithms. You know those bits of code that want to arrange what we see by popularity rather than merit or even truth. Yeah, it's even better if you're first and also at the top of the page. How do you get to the top of the page? By being popular, by having more links pointing to you. And, if you support my world view, hey, let me send you to more friends.

So what do we do about it? Put down that selfie stick and apply some healthy skepticism to everything you read. Just because it's at the top of your stream or promoted or came from one of your friends, question it. It's a lot like those e-mails that, "if you don't send to 50 friends will cause your nose to fall off..." Just don't do it. Even if it is something that support your deepest held views, take some time to check it out. We all need to do our parts. HEY! media sites of all types, this means you also.

We all need to do our parts to stop fake news from spreading. After all, if not us, who?

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Trump Dictionary

Rigged: Anything that doesn't benefit Donald Trump
Crooked: Anyone who doesn't benefit Donald Trump

See a pattern here?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vote Early, Vote on Nov 8, VOTE CLINTON!

Of all the elections for president that we have had, this one is the most important one to vote for Clinton. We just CAN NOT afford to have Trump make it into the White House.

I know I said this about Bush and Cheney scared me to death so, then I prayed that Bush wouldn't die and leave Cheney in charge. But, this time, both Trump and Pence scare me to death. They will dismantle all the good work that Obama has done -- health care, environment, economy... They will give the country over to the super-rich even more than it is now.

Even if you don't especially like Clinton, you can't let the Republican ticket win by default by not voting or voting for a third party candidate. More than in most elections, ALL democratic votes count.

So vote early, vote absentee, vote at your local polling station...but VOTE HILLARY.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Self-Interest over all

I read this line in a recent article

...a public company with a legal obligation to act in its own self-interest

[Google Is Ripe for Trump's Sore-Loser Conspiracy Theories]

The quote was describing Google, but could very easily describe Donald Trump. Trump will always act in his own self-interest over everything else. People who are considering voting for him should realize this and change their votes. Trump's self-interest -- read greed, ego -- will always outweigh all other considerations in his thinking, when he bothers to think at all. The difficult part is to get those people considering Trump to realize this.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Political Coverage by Ratings

Article selection by popularity.

Is our political coverage being determined by ratings, advertising revenue, popularity? It seems so. Donald Trump because he is a showman and unpredictable, seems to get much more coverage than Hillary Clinton. It seems that, even when the article is about Hillary, Donald's picture is selected to appear in the brief synopses. It's sad that we are fed information about such a critical choice based on someone's ability to make a profit. But, then, isn't that the way that much of our society is.

We get articles ranked by popularity, sort of like a high school election where the most popular kid is elected despite the fact that they are, many times, the least qualified for the position. You just have to look at the articles to know that an actor's divorce or the latest antics of a useless family, famous just for being famous, really doesn't matter to anything meaningful.

Much of America seems to be treating the presidential election as a reality TV show. The actual reality of electing someone like Trump doesn't seem to set in. It's as if they are voting for America's Most Talented rather than President of the United States. And the media are helping them by focusing on the "show" of Trump rather than the reality.


Political Coverage by Ratings

Article selection by popularity.

Is our political coverage being determined by ratings, advertising revenue, popularity? It seems so. Donald Trump because he is a showman and unpredictable, seems to get much more coverage than Hillary Clinton. It seems that, even when the article is about Hillary, Donald's picture is selected to appear in the brief synopses. It's sad that we are fed information about such a critical choice based on someone's ability to make a profit. But, then, isn't that the way that much of our society is.

We get articles ranked by popularity, sort of like a high school election where the most popular kid is elected despite the fact that they are, many times, the least qualified for the position. You just have to look at the articles to know that an actor's divorce or the latest antics of a useless family, famous just for being famous, really doesn't matter to anything meaningful.

Much of America seems to be treating the presidential election as a reality TV show. The actual reality of electing someone like Trump doesn't seem to set in. It's as if they are voting for America's Most Talented rather than President of the United States. And the media are helping them by focusing on the "show" of Trump rather than the reality.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sanders Wins in Wyoming--a caucus state

Sanders seems to do best in caucus states. I can see why. I think that the caucus process is a bit lame. Sure, it's a place where people can come to directly to vote for their choice. But, it take time and tends to favor people who can afford the time to go to the location and spend a couple of hours on the process. This means that the most dedicated folks, or the folks who don't happen to work on the day that the caucus is held participate. This seems to favor Sanders, whose supporters tend to be more dedicated. I really think that all states should provide extended voting hours/days and should drop the caucus idea in favor of voting.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Levels of Hell -- Republican Candidates

 Dante postulated 9 levels of hell. After the South Carolina Republican primary, it looks like they are down to essentially three -- Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. There are still a couple more, but they appear to be more heck than hell. I just can't figure out why people still vote for ANY Republican, but Trump seems to be cruising -- pun intended == to the nomination. ANY of the candidates will put the country in the dumpster if you aren't one of the 1%. I'm really hoping that, sane Republicans -- eg. moderates will come over to the Democrats rather than voting Republican this year.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Obstreperous -- A definition of Donald Trump

Take a look here:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/obstreperous-2016-01-29

Then tell me if this isn't the perfect definition for Donald Trump.

Definition

1 : marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness : clamorous
2 : stubbornly resistant to control : unruly


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Political Silly Season

 The presidential candidates have been at it for what seems like forever   But 2016 really starts the silly season. It would be funny if the outcome wasn't so serious for every American person. Electing any of the Republicans will be disaster for the country. They are all scary, especially for the middle and lower classes.