Please Join the 21st Century

Dear Rural Roadhouses and Dive Bars,

Please join the 21st Century and start accepting credit cards.

Who uses cash anymore? Honestly.

You suck (until you join).

Politico

The world might be going to shite. But just as likely is that most fears about this are overblown. In any case, if the world is going to shite, I'd rather spend my remaining time rocking and biking and  spending time with good people, not worrying myself unnecessarily about complete unknowns.

Tim Kaine...yay.

WTF is America coming to?

What happened to awesomeness?

And why are we settling for far less?

Oh I understand the rationale.

Tim Kaine is perfectly neutral and won't upstage Clinton.

Let all the light shine down on her.

Plus, he's a corporatist too.

Wow, America. You're standards have really sunk.

Say what you will about Trump but the DNC has pretty much elected him President at this point. At least Trump inspires his bigoted, misguided supporters.

Ugh. My disgust with America is thick.

Sure, I'll hold my nose and probably vote for Clinton this time. But I'm only giving her the first four years pro bono. If she hasn't inspired me by 2020, it's third party all the way, irrespective of who the Repugnicans throw up.

She has officially been given notice. Weak sauce will not be tolerated. Maybe she doesn't care about my one puny vote. That's fine. Let's see if she cares about it this November, because I could withdraw my support at any time.

I am simply leveraging my vote to up her game. Isn't that why we vote?

Changing the Rules

Another piece of circumstantial evidence that Republicans (note upper case R) lack a sense of fair play is the attempt by the anti-Trump ("Never Trump" sounds too much like "never nude," which is probably by conscious or unconscious design) wing of the Republican party to change the Republican convention rules in order to disadvantage Donald Trump from getting the nomination. To wit, they are petitioning to "unbind" pledged delegates so that they can essentially change their vote and "unpledge" to the candidate they pledged to vote for based on the popular vote in the primaries. There are a couple of other desired changes as well, but that's the main one. For more deets, visit this link: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/republican-leaders-consider-rewriting-convention-rules-221972.

I don't like Donald Trump. No one with a thinking brain and a conscience likes Donald Trump. That being said, republican (note lower case r) primary voters chose Donald Trump as the Republican presidential candidate. No one knows why. But they did.

If you change the rules in the middle of the game (in fact, right before the end of the game), you play right into republican voters' perception that the system is rigged (an accurate perception, though the blame for it is misplaced onto minorities, Muslims, gays, and women, instead of on the actual culprits - corporatism and big banks).

The Democrats aren't much better as far as rigging things goes. They succeeded in disenfranchising the Democratic candidate most true democrats (progressives) wanted, Bernie Sanders, in favor of the moderate corporate hack, Hillary Clinton, the "safe" choice of the elitist left wing establishment.

Republican (lower case r) voters chose Trump. He is a charlatan and he sucks dirty donkey scrote. But this is a democracy, so you give the people what they want. The consequences will speak for themselves. Don't be a sore loser and try to change the rules when you are losing.

Donald Trump should never be President and any Democratic candidate should be able to trounce him handily if he or she plays his or her cards right. But you still have to play your cards within the rules of the game. Hillary Clinton is weak sauce, but that's who the DNC wants to play against the Trump card (see what I did there?).

Though unrelated to the thesis of this post, it bears repeating that Donald Trump bankrupted his own casinos. CASINOS! Businesses designed to make money no matter what. Support for Donald Trump can only be seen as further supporting evidence that fear and hatred are far more powerful drivers of human behavior than rational thought, which begs the question: how has humanity survived on this planet for this long?

Why the Corporate Mainstream Media Preselected Clinton and Trump

It's remarkable that if the presidential election were held today, Clinton and Trump would be virtually tied, and this is likely to be the case come November as well.

This is by design. The corporate mainstream media love a good horse race, even if the horses are lame and unimpressive. To be more precise, the corporate advertisers that underwrite the media love a good horse race to keep people glued to the telly/internet and exposed to their messages of persuasion. The corporate media need the horse race to satisfy their underwriters so they can pay the bills.

It's not to say the corporate advertising CEOs and mass media moguls get together quarterly and hash out some diabolical plan to mesmerize audiences. It's more of a passive Darwinian natural selection sort of thing. Over time, the mass media outlets that most please their corporate advertising overlords are more successful and survive longer than the ones that don't do so. The media naturally act in ways that foster their long term economic survival, and that means attracting and entertaining audiences the advertisers want to reach (demographics).

There may have once been an objective and unbiased mass media in America. Advertisers didn't need to have their greasy fingers in the news media, in theory, because entertainment programming was thrilling enough to keep eyes glued to cathode ray screens and commercials there were hard to avoid. But advancing technologies like VCRs and DVRs and premium cable channels and Netflix allowed consumers to effectively tune out advertisers' messages, and network programming became mediocre over time, so the companies needed to expand their reach.

It's not to say network news programs didn't have commercials. It's just that newscasts were considered to be generally not very compelling most of the time, unless something exciting or tragic were happening in the world, so ratings for network news shows weren't attractive to advertisers, with the exception of sporting events. So you might see toothpaste or restaurant ads during newscasts and that's about it. In order to strengthen the persuasive power of ads during news programming, news shows needed to be more exciting and entertaining.

So began the epoch of "infotainment" and "reality tv." The advertisers encouraged news media gatekeepers to amp up programming with controversial and emotional issues, and to avoid the dull but important stuff. It happened progressively over time, but now the news is filled with nothing but sensational and divisive non-issues like abortion and gay rights and terrorism (a "bogeyman").

The only reason there is some semblance of objectivity in the media today is because of the doctrine of "fair and balanced" news reporting. This is the unspoken rule that you have to give equal time to both sides of an issue in the news. It's completely bogus, because the two sides are selected by media gatekeepers and many issues have more than just two sides. The main goal of "fair and balanced" is actually to "divide and conquer."

America is more divided than ever before and Americans are fearful and insecure as a result of the social cues they consume via corporate mainstream media. The advertisers love this because they can tell you what things to buy in order to quell your insecurities. They can also, indirectly via the media, tell you what candidates you should and should not vote for to ensure a nail-bitingly entertaining (albeit ridiculously slow) horse race.

Why did the media give short shrift to Bernie Sanders, notwithstanding his high popularity with progressive democrats, even though Hillary Clinton was rejected by Americans in 2008 in favor of Barack Obama, a relatively unknown Illinois senator? Bernie Sanders would have trounced Donald Trump by a huge margin according to just about every poll taken on this question. But where's the fun in a landslide clobbering of one "side" by the other? That's not a fair and balanced horse race.

And there it is.

Hand Washing is Important

I have pretty much washed my hands of Presidential politics, now that the two lobed (Republican and Democrat) Corporate Party has all but disenfranchised me. I shant participate again until the General Election.

This mass media fasting has been terrifically liberating. My thoughts are literally clearer and my mood is perhaps as good as or better than I can ever remember. The only time I feel angst is when I am inadvertently exposed to corporate media and I realize how fabricated it is, designed to corral the collective public mindset into the slaughterhouse of the two party system.

I feel like this: https://youtu.be/LGh8YDoLnOU

Sanders

Bernie Sanders is expected to endorse Hillary Clinton today, after negotiating with the DNC to get key progressive issues put in the Democratic platform.

That means these issues would have been ignored without Bernie Sanders. Think about that a little bit today.

The Problem of Police

Police departments started militarizing after 9/11. A militarized police force is an adversarial police force, intended to fight wars against enemies. Police are supposed to protect the communities in which they work, not treat their communities as "the enemy." When police militarize, they declare war on the communities they police and become an invasion force, unwanted and disrespected. So is it surprising when the invaded communities resist and fight back? Tragic, yes. Surprising, no.

We need to rethink the policing paradigm in America. Police need to be part of their communities and fight for their communities against criminals. Until that happens, expect increasing problems with police in some communities.

Here's the thing. In America, you are almost 10 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist, especially if you are a minority. It's interesting that there is so much attention paid to fighting terrorism, yet so little paid to reforming the way we police communities, especially communities of color.

Cavalry vs Indians: An Allegory

Let's say, hypothetically, you are a Native American living in the mid 19th century in a place where the "white man" has recently started appearing. Maybe they are there to build a railroad across your land. Maybe you don't really give a sh!t about the intrusion on your land or the trouble the white men sometimes cause. After all, they have cool stuff to trade with your people, clothing and guns and something they call "sugar." It makes your squaws fat, but it is so delicious. However, you notice that whenever the United States Cavalry shows up in the white man's settlements, your people start getting shot for no particular reason and sometimes hanged for crimes they did not commit. After a while, you might start to get a little fearful whenever the Cavalry shows up. Maybe you are tempted to run in the other direction, not because you did anything wrong, but because you are scared and intelligent enough to see a correlation between the Cavalry and a truncated lifespan. You talk to others in your community and discover they have the same fears and agree that the Cavalry poses an elevated threat to the livelihood of people who look like you. So you decide to approach the white men and ask for restraint and perhaps even justice for some of your fallen friends or family. The white men just laugh at you and say your life isn't any more important than anyone else's and if you would just behave and do what the white man tells you to, you have nothing to worry about. But the extrajudicial killings of Native Americans by the Cavalry continue. In fact, they increase because now they think your people might be resisting their authority, collectively. The leaders in your community eventually get fed up with the abuse and decide to declare war on the white man, in self defense. Your chief sends raiding parties to attack the Cavalry and try to eliminate the threat to your livelihood, since justice does not seem to be forthcoming in the white man's judicial system. This only angers the white man. He demonizes your people in public opinion. "Savages!" reads the headline in the news publication from the nearby white man settlement. You don't understand. You thought the Cavalry soldiers were the savages. How could they so brazenly call your people - the victims - savages? The Cavalry retaliates against your people with ridiculous cruelty and violence and bigotry. You want to leave, but the white man is everywhere now and they don't want you in their community. Frankly, you don't want to be in their community. But you have nowhere to go. You feel hopeless, maybe even like life is hardly worth living. You need to feed your family, but the white man has thinned the bison herds to try to make you go away. Eventually, you are forced to work for the white man at the sh!ttiest jobs, just to get by. One day, your son is killed by the Cavalry, and filled with anger and frustration, you go on a rampage, killing every Cavalry soldier you see, until eventually you get shot and killed. "See?" the white man says. "This is the kind of savagery we white men are up against. We need more Cavalry soldiers, armed to the teeth to deal with these low lifes."

Hypothetically.