Scattershooting 190212

Scattershooting while wondering what happened to chivalry and honor…

U.S. BIG TECH COMPLICIT IN DESTRUCTION OF INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY OVERSEAS: Already pandering cowards for playing kissyface with Red China, Google decides to plant their lips firmly on Russia’s butt cheeks too. “Do no evil” obviously was doublespeak BS from the beginning. We’re probably not far from having a pseudo-dystopian situation involving a Manchurian-candidate technocrat “elected” by a combination of hacked/electronically manipulated voting apparatuses and AI-driven, individually to group-targeted domestic propaganda in social media.

MEASLES and OTHER VACCINATIONS ARE LIFE-SAVERS: Research shows that the measles vaccination may prevent other diseases by keeping measles from demolishing immunity to subsequent infections. Still more reason to ignore the anti-vaccine stupidity and get your kids their shots! I got measles from a measles vaccination as a wee tot circa 1970. Nonetheless, I realize how rare and bizarre that was, and that vaccinations have improved, got my kids their shots, and advocate strongly for vaccinations. Anti-vaxxers are killing children with their irrationality and lies.

THE CONFORMITY CULT of “SOCIAL JUSTICE”: This article is a hugely insightful read. Excerpt: “Unfortunately, toxicity in radical communities is not a bug. It is a feature. The ideology and norms of radicalism have evolved to produce toxic, paranoid, depressed subjects. ” Another excerpt: “Abusers thrive in radical communities because radical norms are fragile and exploitable. A culture of freewheeling drug and alcohol use creates situations predators are waiting to exploit. ” The ex-anarchist refugee “radical” author still has a lot of progress to make, but fortunately, after largely escaping it, appears to see the subculture of social-justice leftism exactly as it is: a conformity cult. That’s my terminology for radical leftism: a conformity cult…rooted in long-discredited/dead-end socialist ideals, ignorance of the great advances of western capitalism, rife with emotional and psychological manipulation (including vulnerability to abuse by fellow “radicals” and genuflection to the demigod of victimhood), and underpinned by weaponized “empathy”.

NAZI GERMANY and SOVIET RUSSIA WERE BOTH SOCIALIST: …and this 2005 essay explains precisely how. Deluded denials from the left aside, this is America’s future when taking the Sanders/AOC wing of the so-called Democratic Party to its fullest practical and logical extent: one-size-fits-all bureaucratic control of all means of production and distribution, de facto, if not in name, and most importantly, destruction of individual liberty. We even get a modern look at this outcome all the time, and not just in Venezuela, but in sneak previews at home…

WHEN SATIRE MIRRORS REALITY: As it often does, satire mirrors reality. This funny little piece from the Babylon Bee, whether intentionally or not, offers a glimpse into the future of federally run medicine. And if you want a more serious look at the future of federal health care, look no further than the V.A. Enough said.

Lessons from the MAGA Hat Boy, Tribal Drummer, and Video Propaganda

I am going to use the MAGA boy/native drummer video controversy at the March for Life, in particular the recent “viral” eruption of online emotion and hot-take/instapundit-style reaction, as a teaching moment. That is because it was a learning moment—for me and many others. This also proves that I am willing to admit when I am wrong; henceforth, any and all claims to the contrary are hereby falsified permanently.

On a friend’s and co-worker’s social-media post, I uncharacteristically reacted too quickly to a selectively composed and selectively edited video snippet. The propaganda video, to which I shall not link here so as to not publicize it further, was shot from behind the drummer to his left, focused tightly on the drummer and a teenage boy standing in front of him, grinning at times. The boy wore a MAGA hat obtained at the protest, and appeared to be mockingly smiling at him, with no other context and no background information as to why this scene was occurring. At first, I fell for the notion that the boy was mocking and racially disrespecting the old man, and said so. That conclusion was too hasty and certain, as it turns out. It was wrong, and I apologize for making that error.

Internet-wide, the selectively shot and edited video snippet set off a frenzy of emotional insta-punditry, mainly (but not entirely!) from the left. It was a veritable online explosion of feelings-based reactionaries, devoid of patience to hold out for more context. The divisive propaganda technique thus worked. Even Hollywood celebrities who weren’t there, like Chris Evans, Alyssa Milano, and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others, made snap judgments (I’ve only seen a retraction or apology from Curtis).

Twitter was rampant with calls for doxxing and other harassment of these minor children, their school, and their parents. That behavior is known as cyber-bullying. It was a vicious, hate-filled mob mentality directed at those kids, and I found that to be truly far more repulsive, and far more immature, than those boys’ behavior or anything else that happened at the protest. Kudos to C. J. Pearson, a young activist, for collecting the tweets of these bullies and turning them over to legal counsel for the Covington students. Bullying, doxxing, and defamation are serious matters, and those who engage in such sinister behavior need to answer for it.

Yes, the Covington kids’ reactions weren’t perfect, and from that one misleading video, appeared extremely disrespectful in my eyes, as in many others. That was a mistaken and over-simplistic reaction on my part. But now that more information and longer videos from other angles has come out, there is a different, much more complicated story.

Aside from the old Indian drummer and the Catholic schoolboys, there was a third protest group involved—known as the “Black Hebrew Israelites”. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is far from an unbiased, evenhanded or neutral authority on the topic of hate groups, classifies the “Black Hebrew Israelites” as a black-supremacy hate group. You didn’t see those guys in the early propaganda video. They were acting nastiest of all, screaming “crackers”, “faggot”, “incest kids”, and other insults at the boys, and insulting the American Indian guy too. This barrage of racial and sexual hate included the “n-word” directed at one of the Catholic-school boys who is black.

The boys did not all react well to this weird and awkward situation, but as a whole, attacked no one, practiced nonviolence, and showed remarkable composure for minor children under such circumstances. Given the racist and homosexually themed insults continually hurled at them by that so-called “Israelite” group, it casts the boys in a much more restrained and less immature light now. Still, where were their chaperones and in-charge adults? They dropped the ball in failing to keep some of the boys quieter, more restrained and stoic in their reactions.

The tribal drummer turns out to be a sort of actor himself with a history of mischaracterizing things, and some of his passive/benevolent peacemaker self-portrayal has been resoundingly refuted by others there and the content of the broader videos. By moving closer and closer to the boys until he was right in their faces, and afterward, falsely portraying the boys as “beasts” and the racial supremacists as “prey” in between whom he positioned, he is certainly no angel in this either. In fact, one reasonably can argue his actions were the most insidious because of their passive-aggressive, psychologically manipulative nature.

All three factions could have handled this situation better, as it now is obvious, and all three are responsible to some extent for its descent into incivility. They also could have handled it worse; nobody got violent, and on this day in particular, it is so important to acknowledge that. Above all else, MLK followed Jesus’ teachings about nonviolent struggle. Even as the “Black Hebrew Israelite” instigators were baitfishing, trying to goad the kids and the tribal guy into violence, they did not take the bait. That is the one blessing in it all, other than the lessons we can learn (below).

Several videos are now available online, days later, that show this. This article, from the (lower-case) libertarian-leaning site Reason, provides a summary analysis of an entire video of well over an hour. Moreover they offer a link to the full video so you can judge for yourself, if so inclined, without having to depend on this site, NY Times, nor any other filtered and biased media source (and they all are). Most “news” media, especially with national scope, targets particular audiences for its content, as they are revenue sources to which to pander, while posing as unbiased presenters for appearances’ sake.

Here’s the truth. We all have biases. Anyone who claims otherwise is spouting bullshit. That includes all media and all media members, and everyone who propagated that video, and everyone who commented on it on social media too hastily, including me.

Even media “facts” are not enough. One of life’s lessons is that facts are facts, but know this: facts can be selectively presented. All media do this, due to bias (agenda), as well as time and space constraints, and the rush to get some facts out before all are in. This phenomenon is not new to the Internet era; Don Henley sang about it in Dirty Laundry decades ago. The Internet simply makes it easier, faster-spreading, and far more error-prone.

Media, after all (including social media) exist first and foremost for profit: ad clicks and ratings generate revenue. Shock, titillation, (melo)drama, and audience outrage drive that. Understand this, and your perspective can become much more level-headed, analytical, and as such, mature. Facts can and should be accumulated from an ensemble of sources.

The common narrative among self-styled activists that silence is complicity, itself is oversimplified garbage. Silence also can mean one is waiting for more information and not rushing to hasty judgment. That’s a noble, honorable approach!

The best lesson in this episode (and almost all of us have been guilty at some point) therefore is a two-fold process that applies to me as well as you:

  1. WAIT. That’s right, wait, wait, wait…sometimes days or weeks if needed, until greatest volume of facts is available, before reacting. Leave hot takes to the undisciplined, impulsive zealots who offer them, while you stand aside from or above the fray. Then…
  2. Use facts, logic and reason—not emotion—to evaluate and react to incendiary events.

Regarding This and Other “Government Shutdowns”

The “shutdown” and the blame game: this is not a “Trump shutdown”, nor a “Schumer shutdown”. It is a bipartisan debacle for show and ego. The same is true for each of these multiple episodes since I started public service as a Federal student employee in Dec. 1985. Been there, done that, seen ‘em all.

Stand outside the partisan mud slinging. Reject memes and ignore posts that assume only one side is at fault, amidst the actual refusal of both sides to compromise and reach a deal. They’re all lies.

As someone who voted for neither of the egomaniacal, corrupt criminals who headed the major-party presidential tickets, I can offer a perspective of independent thought, free from the ideological shackles of the D and R loyalist lemmings parroting their party lines on this.

As such, I clearly see how each side is guilty of failure to compromise here, in order to save face and pander to their bases. This is nothing new, and a common denominator to all of these “shutdowns” under presidents of both parties, going back decades.

It’s disgraceful, this time and every time. Federal employees with bills to pay are the pawns. Fortunately I have many months of savings for just such a contingency and will hunker down and wait it out. However, others (especially new and young talent, or those otherwise with low reserves, whether their fault or not) do not. Same goes for contractors who are simply laid off during all this.

Speaking as a member of the NWSEO, I can attest that the young talent and contractors are the ones my life-saving storm-alerting agency will sacrifice to other jobs and professions if this drags on much longer. It’s local businesses in areas with lots of federal employees (especially outside DC) who likewise suffer. Shameful. Whatever sides you take, remember this.

Speaking for me, yes, in a Libertarian sense I favor smaller, leaner, tightly focused federal government in keeping with the literal words of the Constitution, which can be done smartly and humanely over time. This episode is neither smart nor focused nor humane. It’s just moronic.

I’m not interested in entertaining sick-out ideas or other such foolishness. I forecast severe storms in my unnamed agency out of a passion for what I do—serve the tax-paying public, and more specifically, serving the Lord by serving the public. Even if “because reasons”, sick-outs nonetheless are selfish in that they burden the rest of the shift crew with filling in behind you, also on IOU basis. How is that “empathetic” to your unpaid fill-ins?

Devotion to duty doesn’t pay the bills, that’s true. I know that. Neither does leaving your better-prepared and/or more-devoted co-workers with shift slack to fill, and potentially worse storm-warning service to the public. That’s dishonest for one (you’re not sick), and for two, wholly antithetical to the ideal of service above self. If you are a fellow employee thinking that way, stop it. I want no part of that poison. And I won’t blame future managers for taking notes on who is doing it, and hiring/promoting accordingly. Employers rightly want people who are dependable and trustworthy, even in hard times.

I also am not the least interested in any whining about how the “other side” of yours is to blame on this issue, so don’t bother. I have no scruples about wielding the delete button in comments too, and fully expect to, given the proclivities of many I know to

  1. Reflexively blame others, or
  2. Lazily and mindlessly cry “whatboutism” to every opinion not blaming entirely the other side.

The brutally honest truth, like it or not, is that idiots on both sides are to blame. This was preventable. And now a lot of innocent Federal employees aren’t getting paid as bills mount.

On my Facebook feed, I posted about this and had to remove several comments (after making such a rule that I would) for being unproductively hyperpartisan. I predicted it, I warned the readers it would happen, yet some could not resist spouting their one-sided party lines. See, that is such a big part of the problem, in the electorate as well as inside the beltway: failure to think outside that party-line herd mentality!

To illustrate my point that this problem of “shutdowns” crosses party lines, and has for decades, since the ridiculously shortsighted section of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that enabled these debacles. I have documented 21 of them since they began (Ford Administration). I tabulated the party of the President (P), majority Senate (S) and majority House (H). Presented here is the tabulation of shutdowns by PSH composition:

RRD: 8
DDD: 5
RDD: 3
DRR: 2
RRR: 2
DDR: 1

Now you shall witness the tabulation of “shutdowns” another way, by each party of P, then S, then H:

RP: 13
DP: 8

RS: 12
DS: 9

RH: 5
DH: 16

Of course, you can have your own opinions, but not your own facts. The facts are what they are. Factually, it is obvious, and absolutely indisputable, that shutdowns are a bipartisan problem. If you still think otherwise after seeing the above tabulations, you are immune to facts and reason, and I urge you to read other material elsewhere.

What to do about it is a matter of opinion. Mine is to force these petulant little mental children to behave, since they refuse to do so on their own, by means of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. That has two beautiful benefits. It ends these shutdowns forevermore and draws down our crisis-level (and exploding under both parties’ latest President) national debt.

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