Three Things Thursday – 03/23/2017

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Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

BRING THE HAPPY!

Finding Faith

The wife and I were having a discussion about religion and faith after having watched “The Shack” a week or so back.  The movie had a line that has stuck with both of us and had a strong impact with us.  The character that was implied as being Christ said “Religion is too much work.  All I ever want is friends.”  I may have quoted that incorrectly, but the gist is there.  Causing us both to think about this in our own contexts of religion, we have reached a point where it might be time to start venturing back into faith.  I have never been religious and always had a lot of questions that never really got answered to my satisfaction.  Part of me knows that the point of faith is not knowing everything, but accepting that it’s the way it is for a reason unknown to us.  My hang up was always on the “organization” side of religion and how so many people see faith and religion as the same thing.  I see faith as a completely separate thing from religion and feel that you be faithful to something without having to surrender to the organization of religion.

That said, I’m going to float an idea to the wife and daughter where we each choose a gathering of faithful people (religious or not) and attend each week for a month straight.  My wife will no doubt choose a Catholic church to attend, and that’s okay.  The only rules we will agree to is that we keep an open mind for ALL of the choices and we go through the entire month asking all the questions we feel are necessary.  I think I’m going to find a Buddhist temple to attend as that faith has interested me for years.  A future post will detail our progress and ultimate decision as a family.

Political Opinion

I made my 20th post to EatPrayVote.org yesterday.  My experience writing for this site has been awesome so far.  There is a really good group of writers that span the full spectrum of political positions; conservative, liberal, moderates, progressives, etc.  The level of the writing has improved how I write myself and support from a lot of them has allowed me to improve so much in a short period of time.  Writing for the site (after inquiring) is proving to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

Birthdays

It’s the dreaded time of year where it is once again my birthday.  The exact day is not relevant because like Christmas, it’s not something I like to celebrate.  This year we’re doing a family dinner at my house so at least I get to stay home this year.  We’re also doing a more subdued celebration and it’s only my wife’s immediate family.  My side of the family is doing a dinner later in April so we can lump my Mom’s birthday in there too.  Every year I wish to spend the entire 24 hours of my actual birthday alone, but it never actually comes true.  Only other introverts really understand why.  But, for my wife and daughters sake, I’m being a trooper and not being the grumpy-gus I’ve been in previous years.  It’ll all be over soon enough 🙂

TTT Weekly Music Recommendation

rockondaughter

The Stage

by Avenged Sevenfold

The inauguration speech

Yeah, so I watched it and was surprised at how sharp it actually turned out to be.  As I listened, I made a few notes to myself as he went along for 16 minutes at a measured pace and tone.  One thing to note, this is not the entire speech, I quoted the portions that I found comment worthy.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

A reference to the 16 year oligarchy that has been secretly in power making themselves wealthy off the war and conflict they have caused. Coming from someone who himself is wealthy, I’m skeptical and reserve judgement until actions in the coming months match up to the words spoken.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Well, considering that more people voted for the other “guy” and won the popular vote but you won only because of the Electoral College, I think these statements are a tad grandiose.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

The nation existing to serve its citizens hasn’t existed for decades. For your sake, and possibility of re-election, I hope you’re right and can make this happen.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

With so many politicians on the stage with you, former Presidents even, this is a bold and divisive statement to make inside an inaugural address. Nothing like taking Twitter rhetoric and throwing it in the address to the nation, stomping on the government supporters that helped get you there. This may come back to bite him in the ass.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

This is something I can get behind if he truly can do things to make this happen. When I hear America First, I don’t think isolationist, that literally is impossible in a modern global society. If he truly takes Americans into consideration before signing his name to whatever Congress tosses across his desk, then I might just actually vote for him in 2020 (unless Bernie Sanders runs, then I’m voting for him).

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

Haven’t we been trying to do this for years? Just saying.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.

Then get us out of all the conflicts we’re involved in, immediately. I can only believe this if that is what happens.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

Damn straight!

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

Ok, in agreement with this as well. It will take a herculean effort on your part and also on the part of the Republican controlled Congress to make the changes necessary in order to see this happen. The biggest issue I see is that all the empty talk is coming from your own government that you now lead. It’s hard to break 40 years of empty talk and turn it into action, so good luck.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.

We may all salute the great American flag, but we surely don’t all enjoy the same glorious freedoms. Social media in the last 18 months is proof that we’re all not living in the same America. You need to work harder, and with a lot of groups that opposed you, to make this statement truthful.

Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.

And, yes, together we will make America great again.

I see empty talk. Now, where’s the action?

Judgement is withheld until after the first 100 days.  To be continued…..

The Internet is ours

I literally just finished watching a documentary on Netflix called “Killswitch.”  The basic coverage was on Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden and how they took on the some of the most powerful interests in different areas.  Aaron was involved with copyright and Edward, well, we all know what he did.  I’m left thinking that I’ve not done enough despite talking about this for several years.  This past year was a global eye-opener for all of us on how the government has been corrupted and driven by greed from both elected officials and the lobbies that fund them to do their bidding.

Who remembers the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that the government attempted to pass in 2012?  I’d be willing to bet that there are quite a few people who don’t remember what it was about, why it made so many Americans angry and ultimately why it fell apart ahead of the voting in both the House and Senate.  I won’t go into detail on SOPA, you can read all about it here if you’re interested in the history lesson.  A quote though, that reveals the true power of the people when awakened.

On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia, Google, and an estimated 7,000 other smaller websites coordinated a service blackout, in protest against the bill. Wikipedia said more than 162 million people viewed its banner.  Other protests against SOPA and PIPA included petition drives, with Google stating it collected over seven million signatures, boycotts of companies and organizations that support the legislation, and an opposition rally held in New York City.

In response to the protest actions, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated, “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation”, and “it’s very difficult to counter the misinformation when the disseminators also own the platform.”

SOURCE:  Stop Online Privacy Act (Wikipedia)

It was the American people, deciding SOPA was a threat to the open Internet, that rallied in unprecedented numbers to protest against the vote on SOPA using the very medium the Act was to control.  Chris Dodd, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, spearheaded the bill in both the House and Senate as a lobbyist despite saying that he would not become a lobbyist after retiring from government service.  He is quoted as blatantly threatening to not provide campaign funds to any government official that voted “No” on the bill.  The fact that so many people in the country opposed the bill, it would have meant any House or Senate member changing their vote as a result of the threat by Chris Dodd as being controlled by money rather than the will of their constituents.  It was a major win by the American people, making any future attempts at a similar bill that much harder to push through.

I was compelled to pull out the laptop and write this while the frustration and anger was still fresh in my mind.  I am as much a part of the Internet as the next person.  We are all members of the global experiment (except China and North Korea, they’re a different story) that is the Internet and it’s our duty, no, responsibility to protect it.  We have enjoyed a decentralized, almost chaotic, version of the Internet since 1993 that is currently being threatened by the likes of the NSA, CIA, the FBI and 13 other intelligence agencies.  The sheer amount of data they collected through PRISM (Edward Snowden leaked this to Glenn Greenwald) and are still currently collecting make it difficult to see patterns even with the most sophisticated big data mining techniques.  They’re too concerned with controlling all the data on Americans that they’re missing the warning signs that end up turning into the Boston marathon bombing.  It’s easy, after the fact, so say that you had enough data to possibly prevent it from happening; that’s the bitch of hindsight being 20/20.

We are the Internet.  The human race on this planet contributing to the global content that has surpassed any libraries of information combined throughout our entire history.  We are a changed people because it had allowed us to be connected, in near real-time, in a way that has never existed.  The people, not the governments, are the owners and protectors of this vast network of computers and information and we need to fight like we’ve never fought before to make sure that it exists for future generations.  People like Aaron Swartz, who died too young because of our government, need to step up and lead the revolutions I know are coming.  The documentary described large people driven revolutions about every 50-60 years that tell governments and people in power that they don’t own the field and are forever on defense.  We’re on the verge of such another revolution where people like Glenn Greenwald, Lawrence Lessig, Tim Wu and Michael Tracey are leading the charge.  It’s our Internet, we should protect it every way we can.

One word theme for 2017

Post Inspriation: One Word 2017: When The Words Don’t Seem Right, What Do You Do? by The Spectacled Bean

This was an interesting idea that I had to steal. I’m not a resolutions supporter as I wrote here, but this idea of a one word theme was intriguing. Taking a single word and using it to drive all decisions and actions for an entire year, it’s genius. I highly encourage you to read through the post that inspired me to write this one. I spent some time thinking about the one word I would select, which ended up being something that has been driving me for a few months.

LEARN

Yup, that’s my one word for 2017 and is a continuation of what I’d been doing the latter half of 2016. Learning in several key areas over the last few months:

  • Family
  • Introversion
  • Minimalism
  • Technology
  • Politics

Additional key areas added for 2017:

  • Consolidation/Purging

I wrote about these already as my problem areas that I have been consistently working on for a few months to a few years. What I failed to understand is what is common among all of them: Learning new ways of thinking and doing. The first three are essentially in the same group and are inter-related. Technology in the spirit of living with it as an assistant to life instead of it controlling my life. Politics as I still have a ton to learn after discovering that the world I thought existed was figuratively a dream. Consolidation and purging is a natural progression of minimalism.

So, there, my one word for 2017 and my living theme is “learn”.

What’s yours?

Learning journey for facts and truth

I’ve spent most of my life with the belief that I understood the world around me. A belief that our newspapers and television news stations delivered information that was worthy of us to know and wouldn’t alter or change the details to serve other motives or purposes. Several months ago I came across an article on a fringe news site (it was fringe to me at the time) that put serious doubt into my mind about the validity of the news that I had been convinced was truthful. My interest in the possibility that things were not as they seemed was ignited and I started on a learning journey that has helped me expose a lot of the misinformation I had previously thought was the truth. Call it what you will; fake news, misinformation, semi-truthful, etc., it wasn’t the whole story and I was starting to see the holes.

The path to learning started, for me, when I was opened to an alternative idea that questioned my current sources of news and information. No longer did I see what was being presented to me as the whole truth, further pushing me to find the details, information, and facts that I now desperately wanted to learn. Around this time I had started seeing posts from several people I followed that were having the same type of awakening of the mainstream media being not quite what they portrayed themselves to be. I decided to reach out, away from WordPress, to learn where they were at and sort of compare notes. I’m glad that I did, because what they were able to steer me towards helped accelerate my learning and I quickly became obsessed with the new sources of information presented to me. Each article that I consumed opened my mind a little more and pushed me to better understand what was going on around me that had been hidden from me by the mainstream media.

There have been missteps, incorrect conclusions drawn, discovery that a good source was actually biased and of course, most news agencies tracked back to one of 5 or 6 large corporations. The hardest part of seeking out facts, without bias or lean, has been finding sources that demonstrate they dont’ have bias or lean. Unfortunately, the truth is that every news source, regardless of independent or mainstream, has a little bias or lean depending on the authors and readers. I had to update my approach to find sources that were predominantly in the middle, or moderate, that reported with equal bias to both the left and the right depending on the story being reported. To date individual bloggers have been the greatest source of facts as there is an inclination of authors to support their opinions with the sources that led them to their conclusions. In Saner Thought, The Ripening Wanderer, Learning to Speak Politics, R.R. Wolfgang; all are passionate about their own views and will support them with their own sources. There are many more, and to those that I’ve had deep exchanges of comments with that aren’t included, I’m updating my blogroll over this coming weekend.

I don’t always get it right. Some of the conclusions I come to are off base, but not because I don’t understand or am blind to the actual facts or truth. Some of my conclusions are based on experience, of which, I don’t have a lot to draw from within my new reality. I’ve been privileged to have several followers, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, leave comments that help me understand where I wasn’t quite right while at the same time offer an alternative. Helpful and intuitive comments that make me look forward to seeing orange dot in my WordPress application or get a ding on my mobile phone. Rarely do I get any negativity that prompts me to trash a reply, in fact, I’ve only had two in the 5 years I’ve had this particular blog. From what I understand, that is rare and uncommon, however with only 100-ish followers between WordPress and Twitter, it’s plausible.

Undoing 30 or so years of filtered news will take some time and I’m certain that I will continue to not get it right all the time. I’m hopeful that there are others going through the same type of learning journey that I’m on right now and thankful that the people I’ve come to admire online share my open-mindedness. I will freely admit when I’m wrong, and as demonstrated already, I’ve managed to get it right and offered an alternative to someone else that allowed them to change their own minds. This is an interesting community on WordPress, so many different types of people who, if in real life, I would probably not have ever connected with. I can honestly say to my family and friends that I have met people (online) that live all over the world and connected through words. My learning of the world around me will continue, and as such, I hope others will join me as we all find our own truth.

Listen to understand, then speak to be understood

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I’m not a typical American, at least that is how I think of myself. Politically, I generally lean left and support socialist views, however have an open enough mind to recognize that no one “group” is completely correct in their policies or agendas. My approach is to see the problem for what it is without the fodder that is thrust upon me from mainstream media, pundits, or other sources that would be served well by my sheepily following. I follow quite a few blogs and read news from dozens of sites so that I can absorb and hopefully understand what is being reported or said. Conclusions and viewpoints are formed once I believe I have enough information to do so and generally don’t make judgements without a lot of facts to support that judgement. This system doesn’t always work to my benefit, as I’ll demonstrate, but my reaction is that of someone who truly has an open mind: acceptance that my original view was flawed in some way.

An interesting post on In Saner Thought titled Burn Baby Burn yesterday got a lot of comments with good discussions back and forth. The post was about the fires in Tennessee that devastated Gatlinburg and surrounding communities. You can read the comments for yourself if you’re interested, for this post though, the details aren’t necessary. The rumor of radical Muslims starting the fire came up in one of my comments and was immediately countered, which started a back and forth between myself and John of The Ripening Wanderer. He is a self-described conservative and his blog clearly indicates that he is correct in the description 🙂 I however, was interested and didn’t want to let it (my point) go without defending, and he posted an article that supported his comments quite well.  So well in fact, it changed my view.

The point that stood out to me was this one, spoken by Brigitte Gabriel to Saba Ahmed:

“There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today,” Gabriel said. “Of course not all of them are radicals. The majority of them are peaceful people. The radicals are estimated to be between 15-25 percent according to all intelligence services around the world.”

“That leaves 75 percent of (Muslims being) peaceful people. But when you look at 15-25 percent of the world’s Muslim population, you’re looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big as the United States,” Gabriel continued.

“So why should we worry about the radical 15-25 percent? Because it is the radicals that kill. Because it is the radicals that behead and massacre,” she said.

The article concluded with this, and ultimately what altered my original view:

Ahmed continued to miss the point and whine despite claiming that she cared about the Benghazi victims. That’s when talk radio host Chris Plante jumped in and drove it home: “Can you tell me the head of the Muslim peace movement?” after he made it clear that he understood her point and agreed that the war won’t be won with the military alone.

“I guess it’s me right now,” she responded.

SOURCE: WATCH: Conservative’s PERFECT Response After Muslim Says Most Muslims Aren’t Terrorists

I had not considered that the radical Muslim population could actually be so large, a point that is rarely if ever given in mainstream media. The exchange between myself and John on the blog post was enlightening in that although I generally lean left, I need to not dismiss other sides of the equation as it ends up just being imbalanced.  At no point did I consider the fact that there wasn’t a defined leader of the Muslim peace movement.  The point made by Chris Plante implied that peaceful Muslims were complicit in allowing the radical Muslims to exist without any resistance was powerful.

We have a very interesting climate in our country right now, fiercely divided and dug in like ticks.  Protests in the streets by Clinton supporters creates imbalance. Negative rhetoric by Trump supporters to anyone not supporting Trump creates imbalance. Freedom of speech is all well and good, but when it’s exercised to someone elses detriment, it seems ineffective. I’m not saying we should all be politically correct, but we have to admit that we don’t always listen when listening is necessary. It’s a two-way street.  There has to be, needs to be, a better way of solving our problems that doesn’t throw groups of people under the bus.

John properly supported his statements with the source that led him to his belief. I read the same source and came to the same conclusion that he did. It ended up changing my opinion in a way that brought both of us to the same playing field, shaking hands, sitting down and having a coffee. I think it was a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte, because it’s the holiday season. THIS is something that, in our social world, usually doesn’t happen because it’s so easy to “unfriend,” “block,” and “unfollow” the people who even hint at us questioning our opinion comfort zones. That place we would all live in a perfect world. That perfect world doesn’t exist, never has, and like in The Matrix, a perfect world would end up being rejected anyway. A belief that is stronger now that I’ve finished the Black Mirror series on Netflix (post on that coming soon).

I want to thank John, here, now, for taking the time to show that his point of view was not just conjecture. He chose to listen and understand me, before trying to be understood.

It takes time to learn to listen and understand others, especially when their views and opinions are based on questionable sources. It takes time and control to not get angry, hateful, or dismissive of others when what they’re saying doesn’t match what you think or potentially know to be true. It takes practice to actually listen rather than just hear as there is a difference between listening to coherent intelligent words and hearing “blah blah blah”. I wasn’t always open-minded, in fact I lost friends in the past because I refused to listen to what they were saying as it wasn’t what I believed. I attribute this growth to the fact that I’m older, wiser, and intolerant of behavior that is anything but respectful. My time is finite when in person, my energy measured, and disrespect doesn’t earn the privilege of my time or energy. You can learn to disagree with someone without being disrespectful. We all have views, opinions and passions; we need to embrace that in ourselves and others.

If we can’t learn to move past ourselves, how will anything ever get solved?

Labels don’t help anyone

A liberal is defined as:

open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

A moderate is defined as:

professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme

A conservative is defined as:

holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion

You now what? I’m sick of labels. I get why we have them, it puts people into neat containers that assist others in interacting with us in a predictably certain way. In my life I don’t think I’ve considered myself completely a conservative; I see my parents as conservatives. They’re in a routine that spans the entire week, a daily ticker of tasks that are done in order. They get cranky and out of control when they’re routine is imbalanced, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I see a lot of people I’m friends with solid conservatives and that isn’t a bad thing. The problem I have in trying to accept their point of view and opinions is when they take me back to History class when I learned about Jim Crow and the horrible treatment people who didn’t deserve it went through. The Catholic Church is conservative. My Grandparents were conservative, and often to the point of me getting angry at the hateful crap coming out of their mouths.

I’m also not completely a liberal, or at least, not to the extent that it fits my viewpoints. There are some ideas and actions that I endorse that can fall conservative, some liberal, however the context around those ideas and actions are what drive me to support them. Not just the idea or action by itself. A good example, I’m opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed through property that isn’t the domain of the government; eminent domain is pure bull. I’m not categorically opposed to the pipeline itself being built provided that modern technology be utilized to make it something safe and productive. In 2016, I can’t believe that we’re not able to build a pipeline properly in the same fashion that we can build a 110 story building designed to resist an earthquake up to 8.0 magnitude. The point I’m making is that I see the benefits of being less dependent on foreign oil in the short-term (conservative) so that we can make the changes necessary to find alternatives to oil (liberal). Embracing both sides of the fence I see as being moderate; embracing the best ideas, on both sides, for the common good of all.

When it comes to human rights though, I’m very much a liberal in that we need to shed the conservative views of the past, and big time. We live in an age where people are gay, lesbian, trans-gender, bi-sexual, pan-sexual, etc. (all labels by the way). My frustration starts with the lack of understanding as to why any of these people, all human beings by the way, do not have the same rights to live as they want as Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, etc. live in this country. Being fundamentally opposed so something doesn’t mean that the person who *is* that something should be treated any less than human than you. The level of prejudice in this country is at a ridiculous level, but it’s always been like this. The only difference now, as opposed to the past, is the Internet. Our species has been connected in such a way as never before in history and our reaction to this interconnection is fear. Real time atrocities come at as from all directions and we don’t have the capacity to process it properly, we acknowledge the fear and fall back on fight or flight response. We have a lot of healing to do before we can expect things to change at all, if they ever do.

Capitalism is defined as:

an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state

Socialism is defined as:

a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

Here is my issue with these labels. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a capitalist economy, but not politically. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a socialist political system, but not economically. This system of socialism, where the wealthy elite control trade, industry and the means of production, distribution, and exchange of said industry while the rest of the country languishes in what’s left of a capitalist system just doesn’t seem to work. I know this because the people most affected by this clearly biased system silently made their voice heard regarding the Democrats and elected Donald Trump as our next President. I’m not saying he isn’t the right person for the job nor am I saying Clinton would have done better or worse than him, please don’t comment about that. My point is trying to show that our system is broken, hopefully not beyond repair, and I hope that the Republican controlled WH, Senate, and House can make the changes necessary to start repairing the system as a whole.

Our path forward is a foggy sea of labels and preconceptions. We need a storm of change to blow away the fog and finally get us to a better place as a species. It starts with one, then two, then four, then eight….. we can spread tolerance and the need to treat people with dignity as quickly as hate and prejudice spread now. Years ago, I used to be “that” guy with a “black friend” that thought he knew everything about treating others with respect. It took someone very wise, that I consider a close friend and life mentor, to break me of that learned behavior and see the world through his eyes. I was appalled at how I had been living and thinking, I attached labels to everyone. Even more disturbing was that I felt ashamed that I had lived my life completely opposite of how I “thought” I had been living it. What he taught me, showed me, helped me understand is priceless. Most of my writing reflects what he was able to make me understand over several years after graduating high school. I’m not perfect, my archives show that, but I’m listening and in turn, I’m learning. I don’t label others anymore, except my brother, but that’s a topic for another day.

We can all learn something from everyone, we just have to give them a chance to do it. A label puts you at a disadvantage every time.

Open letter to Commission on Presidential Debates

I would like to offer my congratulations to you for once again stifling the opportunity of the American people to learn about more than just two candidates.  This year I believe is going to be the last year that you’ll have the opportunity to operate in the shadows quietly supporting the Republican and Democratic parties and the two-party system.  There is a growing sentiment in the American public that believe that a two-party system no longer represents them completely.  The favorability number on Trump and Clinton are clear indications of this sentiment.  In addition, the arbitrary rules that you have created to prevent another Ross Perot 1992 incident from happening appears to be in contradiction of your own mission posted on your website.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. (Source:  Commission on Presidential Debates:  Our Mission)

According to your own mission, you “ensure that debates … provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.”  The requirement that a candidate (not part of the Republicans or Democrats) meets 15% support in allegedly random polls selected by your organization is unfairly biased and restrictive to anyone opposing the two-party system.  Two of the five selected national polls were owned by the same company.  I wrote about that here.  This 15% rule was enacted, I believe, after the 1992 election cycle where Ross Perot had secured 20% of the popular vote that year and threatened the two-party system as an Independent.  The 15% rule is too high, and, if a candidate is listed on the ballots for all 50 states, should automatically receive a spot in the debates so voters can be given the best possible information on a candidate that is statistically able to achieve 270 Electoral votes.

The CPD obtains the funds required to produce its debates every four years and to support its ongoing voter education activities from the communities that host the debates and, to a lesser extent, from corporate, foundation and private donors. Source:  Commission on Presidential Debates:  An Overview

As I’ve not reviewed the tax records for the CPD, I’m only theorizing as to the sources of funds required to produce the debates.  It’s stated here that corporate, foundation and private donors provide a smaller portion of the funds required.  Corporate donors as in large mainstream media corporations?  Foundation donors as in The Clinton Foundation?  Private donors as in oligarchs such as Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers?  I’ll leave this one for others to think about.

The final sites and dates for the debates are chosen by the CPD board of directors and announced approximately one year in advance; this allows for complete logistical preparation by the CPD and the media, and for the sites to take full advantage of debate-related curricular additions. (Source:  Commission on Presidential Debates:  An Overview

Although the dates were selected for this year over a year ago, they interestingly fell on dates that traditionally had other major events going on:

  • September 26th: Monday Night Football
  • October 9th:  Sunday Night Football

Why wouldn’t all the debates take place on a Friday or Saturday to maximize complete viewership and accessibility?  It just seems odd to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has made this complaint.  Case in point:  Trump Complains About Debates Conflicting with NFL Games, ABCNews

As a registered voter and an American, I’m disappointed with the CPD and their obvious manipulation (with their own rules) to ensure that the people don’t have everything they need to be as informed as possible.  I agree that the CPD is required, however it should have membership with people who are not affiliated at all with politics to remain as nonpartisan as possible.  I support Gary Johnson’s and Jill Stein’s fight against the Commission on Presidential Debates, however the system had prevailed and blocked them from being able to participate unless they met the 15% polling requirement (which they didn’t).

It would appear an informed electorate is frightening to the rulers of the “used to be” Democracy.

Real news makes me nauseated

 

counterpunch Inside the Invisible Government; War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump

So, I read this over lunch today.  I stopped eating, having gotten sick to my stomach.  What I can’t figure out is whether the American people are so trusting that they believe everything they see on mainstream media (MSM) or they just don’t want to discover the truth through a collective TL;DR mentality.  I read Counterpunch.org on a daily basis now.  I choose now to not fall into line with the rest of MSM and what they’re feeding the American public because I think its important we know what is actually happening.  If all the details aren’t known, the opinion you form on what *is* known is fundamentally flawed and incomplete.

MSM is so good at delivering news to us, usually in the background, that broadcasts almost have a lulling type of cadence to them.  Speech is measured, tone is even and dull, anyone listening is lured into a false sense of security and understanding.  Where is all the reporting of even half of what’s in the above article on Iraq, Iran, Honduras, Syria, Yemen?  Why aren’t people angry over the fact they’re getting played for idiots?  Well, not being one of them, I can’t give an honest answer; I’m reading real news, I’m angry, I’m talking to anyone who’ll lend me half their attention to shake the fog that has descended over the American public.  Knowledge is the power the MSM, government, politicians, and rich white privileged people don’t want “commoners” to have.  The propaganda spin machine is full throttle and speeding along faster than ever in the last 100 years.

counterpunch Roaming Charges:  Comfortably Dumb

Here is the opposite side of MSM and it’s minions.  When things are happening that are hard to hide from, you just ignore them.  No comments, no reports, no opinions.  Just play “dumb” to the few scant reports that actually get through the paid-off, sort of self-imposed, media blackout of the events.  HRC has a long and verifiable history of dodging claims of impropriety, greed, war mongering, and the such.  When you know the media is owned and controlled by people that are in collusion with you to feed the propaganda machine, it’s frightening easy to make up whatever story that suits your needs.

I think I’m going to create the CounterPunch diet.  Read real news, everyday, and you’ll lose weight because you won’t WANT to eat anything.