Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What if They Gave a State of the Union Address and the President Didn't Show Up?

Constituents of some districts will not have House representation at the State of the Union Address on January 30th. The following congresspeople will boycott.

Frederica Wilson (FL)
Maxine Waters (CA)
John Lewis (GA)
Pramila Jayapal (WA)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)

All Democrats, so far. It’s a safe bet that there are more to come. Most say they are skipping the address due to President Trump’s sh*thole remarks – which remain in the he-said/he-didn’t-say category.

But guess what: they don’t have to be at the address. None of the representatives or senators are required to be at the Capitol during the speech. The vice-president doesn’t have to be there, either.

And get this: neither does the president.

Here’s what the US Constitution says about the piece of communication called the State of the Union address.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States
Emphasis mine. From time to time. Nothing about how.

Thomas Jefferson sent memos to Congress.* Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his from the Oval Office – where a wheelchair could be much more easily concealed.

Oh sure, the SOTU is replete with tradition and ceremony, but there’s nothing in the rule book which mandates that a president’s SOTU must be in person or at the Capitol.

John Lewis
I would die of laughter if the president Tweeted/YouTubed/emailed his address, because you know the outrage would be FIERCE -- mostly because he would deny the boycotters a virtue-signaling opportunity.

I think he should do it. What do you think?

*A practice which lasted up to Woodrow Wilson.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations for Fecesholes

Let’s be real about the sh*thole controversy: we don't expect Third World nations to change the
A little feceshole irony. This is from Detroit.
conditions which make their more ambitious citizens emigrate to America or to other locals. If we did, we wouldn’t have all this outrage about sending temporary legal immigrants or illegal immigrants back to their home countries.

As I pointed out in my post at Da Tech Guy Blog this past Saturday (see link below), this used to be the expectation. It’s how and why my father came to America in 1959, along with dozens of other East African students. Father and his fellows of the Mboya Airlift were expected to become the intelligentsia of their soon-to-be-independent countries and the Airlift's intent was to give the demonstrably gifted the intellectual tools, at least, to do so. (Upon the occasions of their independence, British-held Tanganyika became Tanzania in 1961 and British East Africa became Kenya in 1963.)

Some refer to the “soft bigotry of low expectations” with respect to lowered standards of admission for black and Hispanic higher education students. I contend that, for Third World countries, there is a parallel: lowered standards of human, social, and economic freedom.

We don’t expect Haiti or El Salvador to spontaneously form a free market economy or elect a rule-of-law government. Even my father’s country can’t seem to hold an election without violence.

But many individuals who come from these countries and from other places dominated by bloodshed, poverty and/or corruption come to America and thrive; Indians, Nigerians, and various flavors of Caribbean Islanders, famously so.

And they don’t want to go back to the Old Country, because they believe that things won’t change there without massive societal and cultural upheaval. They are probably right.

However, we should keep in mind how many times this country experienced massive societal upheaval. We are celebrating the birthday of one of the catalysts today, ironically.

I'm not saying that they should leave; many of them make great Americans. I am saying that they -- and we -- should stop being hypocritical about observers' summations of their countries.

They left in order to come to a place where they could be free to use the talents that God gave them. For such people, the above does not describe their countries of origin.

Whether President Trump described such places as sh*tholes or not, this is what many of these places are and it has nothing to do with race. During the height of the Cold War, many who were born in USSR-created sh*thole that was also called the Warsaw Pact risked life and limb to escape.

The difference: they were the first to tell their American hosts about the sh*tholes they fled.

And now that the USSR and the Warsaw Pact are dead, we expect those who stayed home in places like Poland and Hungary and the Czech Republic to thrive where they live.

Why can't that be so for Haiti?

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Halfrican Keeps it Real About Why 3rd World Immigrants Come to America

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Monday, January 8, 2018

That's a [No Adjective] Fact, Jack

Painting of Pontius Pilate asking Jesus the Christ a famous question. Что есть Истина, Христос и Пилат. Nikolai Ge. 1890.
From Managing (1984) by Harold S. Geneen (1910-1997), former President, CEO and Chairman of ITT:
Time after time in those early ITT management meetings, I would question a man about his facts, Where did he get them? (Usually from some other man.) How did he know they were correct? Were they facts? So I wrote a memo about “unshakeable facts.”

Yesterday, we put in a long hard-driving meeting mostly seeking the facts on which easy management decisions could be then made. I think the most important conclusion to be drawn is simple. There is no word in the English language that more strongly conveys the intent of incontrovertibility, i.e. “final and reliable reality” than the word “fact.”

However, no word is more honored by its breach in actual usage. For example, there are and we saw yesterday:

“Apparent facts”

“Assumed facts”

“Reported Facts”

“Hoped-for facts”

“Facts” so labeled and accepted as facts - i.e. “accepted facts” - and many others of similar derivation.

In most cases these were not facts at all.

In many cases of daily life this point may not be too important, but in the area of management momentum and decision, is all-important. Whole trains of events and decision of an entire management can be put in motion in the wrong direction - with inevitable loss of money, time and morale - by one “unfactual fact” accepted by or submitted by YOU - however unintentional.

The highest art of professional management requires the literal ability to “smell” a “real fact” from all others -and moreover to have the temerity, intellectual curiosity, guts and/or plain impoliteness, if necessary to be sure that what you do have is indeed what we will call an “unshakeable fact.”

So . . . start now IS IT A FACT? but more important, IS IT AN UNSHAKEABLE FACT?

No matter what you think, try “shaking it” to be sure.

Send this message down the line.
Sadly, the Coconut Treatment on facts and truth was already well underway by the fateful year in
which Mr. Geneen's book was published, hence his obvious pushback.

(Thanks to my Critical Thinking and Computer Logic Instructor; originally posted October 2, 2003)

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Identification of the Devil's Handiwork

Don't forget this!

*****
In May of last year, I made this observation:
We Christians are familiar—some only passingly familiar--with Jesus’ assertion that the Devil is the Father of Lies. That is, he is the progenitor of everything that is false. Let’s stipulate that and go further: he is the architect [and builder] of Lies. God is building His kingdom, and so the Adversary is building his. (…)

When we think of lies, we tend to think of them as linear, one-dimensional, straight-out falsehoods: 2+2=57, for example—a thing so outrageously false as to be laughable. (...)

Following the math example, think of the most complex mathematical statement that is true, then think of the inverse, a process that’s also complex but false. But how would most people know that the process is false? Its sheer complexity is its shield against the revelation of its false nature. 
I recalled this observation this morning while reading this piece -- The Making of an American Nazi -- at the Atlantic. I think it's mistitled, because the subject of it -- a guy name Andrew Anglin -- seems to be the very embodiment of the concept I described. It's not even just that his particular version of Carcass Worship -- white supremacy -- is a lie. That's secondary or even tertiary to my point. The primary point is that his persona itself is a complex anti-construction which covers up this one thing.

Nothingness. This man believes in nothing.
Shapeshifter. Unknown artist.

And, through trial and error, he has become pretty good at building personas, discarding them and his followers, and building new ones. Vegan, Anti-racist. Naturalist. White Savior to a Filipino tribe, flirter with Islam. Neo-Nazi. At present, according to the piece, he's attempting to shape-shift yet again. You have to read the article to see what I'm talking about. One wonders what this next shape will look like.

I'm reminded of the Steven King's description of the Randall Flagg character in the author's uncut version of The Stand.
His pockets were stuffed with fifty different kinds of conflicting literature – pamphlets for all seasons, rhetoric for all reasons. When this man handed you a tract you took it no matter what the subject: the dangers of atomic power plants, the role played by the International Jewish Cartel in the overthrow of friendly governments, the CIA-Contra-cocaine connection, the farm workers' unions, the Jehovah's Witnesses [...], the Blacks for Militant Equality, the Kode of the Klan. He had them all, and more, too.
 -- pp. 180-181
When he walked into a meeting [of revolutionaries] the hysterical babble ceased – the backbiting, recriminations, accusations, the ideological rhetoric. For a moment there would be dead silence and they would start to turn to him and then turn away, as if he had come to him with some old and terrible engine of destruction cradled in his arms, something a thousand times worse than the plastic explosive made in the basement labs of renegade chemistry students or the black market arms obtained from some greedy army post supply sergeant. It seemed that he had come to them with a device gone rusty with blood and packed for centuries in the Cosmoline of screams but now ready again, carried to their meeting like some infernal gift, a birthday cake with nitroglycerine candles. And when the talk began again it would be rational and disciplined – as rational and disciplined as madmen can make it -- and things would be agreed upon.
-- p. 182

Say what you want about Stephen King, but the man can write.

Is it a coincidence that Anglin's ideological resume looks very similar to that of the fictional Randall Flagg, King's embodiment of a highly-placed demon? Probably not.

Something to keep in mind: no earthly organization seems to be immune to highly placed chameleons/nihilists  who can and will lead the spiritually unwary down into the abyss. This Anglin guy is just one on the list of Pied Pipers -- a long, old, ugly list.

Just doing the work of their father.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dilemma


The transcription service with which I supplement my wallet is back from its holiday hiatus, so I have a choice to make. To blog or to transcribe? I have to make some money. Transcribing is sure money but it takes a lot of time and I promised my readers I would put more time into blogging. But I have bills to pay, including rent.

Tell me what I should do. Or show me.

As usual, I will take Thursday morning off, but I'll be back in the afternoon.

Oh, and I still might put up another post this evening.

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My 2017 Reading List

Don't forget this!



Again with one of my PSAs: you can stay well-read without money.

I accessed most of these from the Los Angeles Public Library (via Overdrive) or Audible and "read" them in audiobook form because I'm almost always multitasking. Some are re-reads.

When I was using public transportation exclusively, I checked out a lot more eBooks, but about the only time I read bound books anymore is before falling asleep for the night.

If you decide to click through the following links to Amazon and buy, I'll get a percentage.

A World Undone by G.J. Meyer
It by Stephen King
Day of Wrath by William R. Forstchen
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance
Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley
Disinformation by Ion Mihai Pacepa
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Wealth, Poverty, and Politics by Thomas Sowell
The Third Terrorist by Jayna Davis
The Shack by William Paul Young

I'm pretty sure that I read a few more, but these were in my device history on my Overdrive app and in my Audible library. Just checked my Kindle and there are a whole boatload of books yet to be read by me. By the way, you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Baltimore's Murders and the Natural Man

Baltimore has broken a record.
Baltimore has set a new per-capita homicide record as gunmen killed for drugs, cash,
Cecil Cavert, the 2nd Baron Baltimore
payback - or no apparent reason at all.

A surge of homicides in the starkly divided city resulted in 343 killings in 2017, bringing the annual homicide rate to its highest ever - roughly 56 killings per 100,000 people. Baltimore, which has shrunk over decades, currently has about 615,000 inhabitants.(…)

Others blame police, accusing them of taking a hands-off approach to fighting crime since six officers were charged in connection with the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose fatal spinal cord injury in police custody triggered massive protests that year and the city's worst riots in decades.

"The conventional wisdom, or widely agreed upon speculation, suggests that the great increase in murders is happening partly because the police have withdrawn from aggressively addressing crime in the city's many poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods," said Donald Norris, professor emeritus of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Woven throughout the report is the notion that “generational poverty” is the culprit. That’s false. Like the high murder rate, generational poverty is one of the effects, not the cause. The cause is generational illegitimacy.

And I love how the reporter subtly wield the “generational poverty” wand, but expresses no connection as to how the Baltimore police – and police nationwide – have been deemed to be the enemy in any and all cases nor that the BPD’s withdrawal is a response to this paint job.

Black Americans have a complicated relationship with law enforcement. I’ve told the story about how my American dad would constantly be stopped by the 1960s version of the LAPD as he returned home from his job a Thrifty Drugstore night manager. He was never arrested or brutalized, but he said it angered him greatly. He also said that the harassment reduced as his age advanced.

Why did he not get out and confront these police? Because his father had trained him how to stay alive in such cases – a father who had to bear real and overt oppression from police and fellow citizens alike in his own youth and adulthood. Dad now has a son-in-law and a grandson who are LEOs, along with an uncle and a sister-in-law who are retired from the profession.

I could go on and on about this complicated relationship, but there are two bottom lines I want to get to, one of which – illegitimacy culture – I’ve already touched on here and many other times. The other is tribalism and how it has snaked its way into so much of our thinking that many of us can’t even perceive of it and will scoff if you point it out.

And the mindset has gone way beyond race and ethnicity. It’s an easy pattern to see, however, if you’re actually open to seeing it.

Blacks are all rioters and looters who burn down their own neighborhoods.

Whites are all racists, who oppress everyone who is not white, straight or male.

Mexicans are all illegal alien criminals, who drive drunk.

From the racial delineations, we get these:

Police are all racist murderers.

Military members are all psychotic.

Conservatives are all heartless.

Liberals are all stupid.

Politicians are all corrupt. (Wait … I think that one might be true.)

It’s easy to put all members of a given group into a category because 1) discernment takes the type of mental effort of which many are unwilling and/or unable to make, and 2) to be honest, categorization often keeps the categorizer in physical safety.

Because some blacks are thieves and vandals, some whites are racists, and some Mexicans are illegal alien criminals. Cross categorize, blah, blah. You know the drill.

But what happens when the categorization is wrong? Small things like hurt feelings and large things, like when the categorized turns back around and makes categories of his own. Or even larger things like a municipal police force standing down from its duty after being demonized by Baltimore’s state attorney, even after that attorney was forced to drop the charges in the Freddie Gray case.

We all remember what happened after that.

But now, the violence in Baltimore has turned inward – where it was well before Freddie Gray was arrested for the final time -- and has ramped up. This points us right back to my assertion that generational illegitimacy is the foundation for the various forms of degeneracy we’ve seen in inner cities for decades.

Tribalism is natural for all humanity, but natural is not a good quality.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
-- 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)

I looked up the verse in Strong’s Concordance and found these other translations from the Greek word psuchikos (ψυχικὸς) : animal, sensuous. It’s seems to me that third English word, one often used in Christian circles, can be used as a reasonable translation: carnal.

The results of natural, animal, sensuous, carnal thinking is what we see all around us; decades of planting, cultivation and cross pollination.

It so prevalent that it seems normal and correct.

There has to be a way -- more than one -- to step back from this brink and pull others along. I'm trying to do my small part right here.

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Bread on the Water

1 Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

-- Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

I'm always a little amazed at my ability to type out a few ideas and have it become 500 words in less that 20 minutes. That's what happened with the Trump post from yesterday.

Every year since about 2008, I've promised myself, and, sometimes, my readers that I would write more. It's very strange; I love to write and really like getting paid for it, but there's also the feeling of repetition. Even some of the high-traffic posts from last year are repeats or contain portions of posts that I composed years ago.

I feel a little guilty about that, especially since I have people supporting this effort. I know that most of you don't mind, but I do. However, I'm always thrilled to find someone who has never read any of my essays, and they are more in number --obviously -- than those who have.

My tagline says that a free person creates her own job, so my New Year's Resolution is to go to the job daily. I had been making a little money with the transcription service, but it was shut down for the holidays, so I made none. This week, my rent, electric and Internet are due: $700 still needed.

But even if I don't get it in time, I plan to write daily -- to cast this bread on the waters of the Internet and hope it comes back to me, in bread and in feedback. Thanks.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Trump, Twitter, and the Sifters of Information

When we think of empathy, it’s usually in the context of being able to understand what others are feeling and, thereby, to give comfort to others during emotionally painful situations.

But is there a singular word for the following similar concept?

You are able to put yourself into your ideological opponent’s shoes, think like he thinks, and in that way, defeat him.

Observing as President Trump uses Twitter to get the traditional media in a spin over the news of the day – or to set the tone for the news of the day – made me think of this. Donald Trump has been a media manipulator for decades, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he has grabbed hold to the media vehicle of the moment and used it to his advantage.


And I’m not the first person to suspect that he uses it to direct attention away from things he wants done without press coverage.

The other day, I got to talking with two young men. Democrats. Black. They were appalled by Donald Trump, so I asked him what he had done that was so appalling. It was the things he says on his Twitter feed. I asked them how that affects us, our area, or our finances.

They pointed to Former President Obama’s contrasting personal and Twitter demeanor.

“So, President Obama speaks smoothly, kindly and looks the part. While President Trump is funny-looking, old, and blunt.” They agreed that this was the case.

“Tell me how President Obama’s demeanor helped any of us.” Temporary silence, then they admitted that it meant nothing, that things had actually gotten worse when the man who looked like us was president.

“You guys have been around, have you not? You’ve seen good-looking smooth-talkers who will rob you blind. That’s what President Obama did. He took our pride at having a black president and told us to sit down, shut up, and lie back while he screwed us!” Exhibit A was illegal immigration.

“And we shut up, too because he’s black.” Well, not me, of course but you get the idea.

I admit that I was unnerved by the president’s Twitter bluntness and candidate Trump’s nastiness during the campaign. But, he has opened a door to the presidency that can never be shut, nor should it be. Many -- like my friends -- lament that his post-inaugural missives are "un-presidential," but what does that even mean?

What is the definition of presidential behavior and who defines it? Speaking softly while you're directing your DOJ to investigate a reporter?

Looking suave while you're screwing over your base? Or one of your allies?

Many people want to be soft-soaped, but we get none of that from Donald Trump. He has pushed the media rudely aside while he speaks directly and plainly to the targets of his message(s) and, does it in a way to manipulate the attention of the former. It’s something he’s been doing for a very long time and I don’t know why we were all so surprised at his deft handling of the sifters of information.

The media will never forgive him for this, but I don’t think he cares. I certainly don’t. We bloggers have long been trying to do this ourselves.

But while we laugh as President Trump continually outsmarts our old enemies, we should keep the other eye on his concrete actions. He’s been doing very, very well as president, much better than I expected. But he’s still a man … and still our servant.

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My December 2017 Post Digest from Da Tech Guy Blog

 New feature: quotes from me.

A Different Kind of Coming-Out and Why Many Won’t Do It
 [T]he team I hope I suit up for is decent human being.
Here They Come to Save the Day! Introducing the White (SJW) Nonsense Roundup
“See what I did for you people?”
Man Trap 
Because thieves need to be soiling their underwear.
Playacting
I hope this guy has made enough money, because it will be hard for him to get a real job again. Maybe he should apply for a job at CNN.
Obama’s Hezbollah Drug Report Mirrors the CIA Drug Cartel Theory
Tank the economy of the country, fuel an opioid crisis among whites, and voila! Vengeance.
How My Dad Stopped Me From Becoming One of Those Women  (Instalanche!)
My parents had spotty success with getting me to do what they wanted using threats or shame, but they could almost always manipulate me with logic.
The New Night-Riders are Just Like the Old Ones (Instalanche!)
... I don’t think that these foot-soldiers for Leftism have the slightest bit of self-awareness or historical perspective about this proposed action against a man’s home or about harassing brown-skinned Americans for what they believe.
Obama and Iran’s Mullahs: A Love Story?
It’s almost as if they have some hidden hold over him. Or maybe I’m just a racist.
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