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Eclipse Day.

A large swath of America is going back to its primitive sun gazing roots today, and it seems like an appropriate time to let the political dust settle.

Besides, this town sits smack in the middle of the path of totality, and internet and cell service is expected to be impacted. The locals have been warned that outages and slowdowns are possible.  All in all, it sounds like  good time to take a break.

Hopefully if you are traveling you have arrived at your destination.  If you are staying at home, you have the fridge stocked and the BBQ warmed up.

It’s been said a lot, but please don’t look at the sun directly without protection.  Watch your little kids.  They may not want to wear the funny-looking glasses, or being kids, they might just take them off. That goes for babies too. If you are pointing and ooh-ing  and ahh-ing, they will look where you look.

So much for the PSA.  See you tomorrow.

TGIF – August 18, 2017

The power of Big Tech

On a personal note…enough already, Google!  I already bought a new fridge!

Like a lot us, I have a love-hate relationship with Google. I prefer my browser to be like a light switch. On when I need it, off when I don’t. When I say “don’t track” that’s what I mean, never mind the Google disclaimer that clearing my browsing history doesn’t mean they really will clear the history. Silly me.

There’s a lot of discussion and evidence about Big Tech abusing its power to censor and/or propagandize through their platforms. Let’s face it, Google is everywhere. Case in point…

I started looking around online for another basic cold storage appliance, and finally bought one last week. Google noted the search, but not the purchase.

Now I can’t get rid of nonstop Sears and Lowe’s and Amazon appliance ads. I check the local weather, and there it is, another $2,500 tech-heavy behemoth that I don’t want, never looked at and certainly don’t need. Many of the ads don’t even have an option to delete or close them anymore.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  As a freelance writer, I do a lot of research online on dozens of wildly disparate topics, and the type and volume of unwanted ad blitzes that causes is downright creepy. Ever tried to scan an article with rotating ads constantly pushing you back to the beginning? GAAH!

I understand that companies pay for ad space, and that pays for Google, but consumers should have rights too.

I for one would be open to regulating them like utilities, except for the fact that would involve another big government one-size-fits-all “solution” which as we know all too well, opens another can of worms.

Still, this Big Tech ubiquitous web “spying” and thought policing needs to find its brakes, or someone is going to install the brakes for us.  A bit of balance, please.

Sometimes, science works

Easy to miss it amongst all the political stuff, but reportedly there may be a blood test on the way (albeit a decade or so out, given the FDA regulatory process) to find Stage 1 or even pre-Stage 1 cancer before it can be detected radiologically or via biopsy.

The testing process is in the early stages of human testing now and early indications are that the test is about 67% accurate, with no false positives.  That 67 out of every 100 of those people who probably will not die of cancer. Not perfect, but not too shabby either.

There are a lot of steps to go through, but one day, perhaps we can beat cancer to the punch with just a simple test, instead of having to wait until it can kill us to detect it.

It is somewhat disheartening to think that we may have to wait a decade to have this available, but fixing that time lag is a story for another day.

Is it too optimistic to think that if we can find the common denominator so early, we can develop a vaccine to stop it?

I hope not.

No soup for us.

The lady stands in line at the supermarket return counter, patiently waiting her turn. She looks to be in her mid-thirties, her hair pulled into a ponytail, dressed in a tank top, black shorts and sandals. In her arms is a cardboard box. It is seven in the evening on a perfectly ordinary Wednesday.

When she gets to the front of the line she takes out 21 cans of Campbell’s soup and a receipt and asks for her money back.

When asked the reason for the return she simply says “I don’t want them anymore” and points at the side of the box.

Written neatly on it in heavy black marker were these words.

Campbell’s doesn’t support the President or America, so I won’t support them.

The cashier gave back her money (and the box) and went on to the next person. I might have been the only person close enough to hear the conversation and read the words on the box.

She didn’t make a big deal out of it, so I waited until she got outside to engage her in conversation.

She clearly wasn’t looking for publicity and she was hesitant to speak at first. Finally she said

“It’s just my own private little boycott. I don’t say anyone else should do it. But these humongous companies and their rich owners are such idiots. They would rather the country fail than admit that both sides in that riot were wrong. There was nothing wrong or bad or racist about what the President did or said about the riot. Both the far left and the far right are wrong. When my two boys get into an actual physical fight I don’t cuddle one and spank the other one. They both get a lecture on settling their problems without fighting, and they both get grounded. I can make soup and freeze it. I don’t need to buy it, and I won’t, ever again.”

She turned away, and I thought she was finished when she suddenly turned around.

“You know what I think about those CEO’s?  I think the ones that quit were saying, ‘F.U. Mr. and Mrs. Working America.  We were only here because it looks good on our resumes. We don’t care about your needs at all.’ That’s what I really think they are saying.”

And then she really was gone.

For people that missed the story that prompted her actions,  the President had put together two forums of business and financial leaders to help him formulate business, employment,  tax, and trade policies to help improve America’s economic outlook.

A bunch of those corporate CEO’s got their skirts in a ruffle over the President’s remarks that both sides in Charlottesville were wrong, and resigned from the two main forums as a sign of protest, citing board and stockholder pressure to do so. One of those resigning was the CEO of Campbell Soup.

Since he was going to lose many if not all of the forum members anyway, President Trump then disbanded both forums.

Musings has no way of knowing if Main Street America as a whole sees the fallout from Charlottesville in the same light as the soup return lady does, and as a practical matter, even if they do, it isn’t possible to boycott everything these corporate giants make or do.

The point of reporting this little vignette is that it so perfectly illustrates the chasm between the politicians, the media, the elites and the people.

Main Street thinks in terms of the practical. That doesn’t mean pitting black against white for political gain, or choosing hate over tolerance.  It means charting a course for the country that gets us all back to relative prosperity and safety.

Corporate America,  you might do well to remember that.

There might be more soup return ladies out there than you counted on.

America’s cultural cleansing movement.

You may have heard that phrase before. It’s been used by such people as Tony Blair and UNESCO director Irina Bokova to describe the destruction of the history of the Middle East by ISIS.

Churches, monasteries, mosques and Islamic shrines, medieval and pre-Christian  historical sites, even museums, no longer exist, destroyed both for profit and simply because the Islamic State doesn’t want any doctrine but their own on display.

The world recoiled in shock as centuries-old buildings, many of them predating the rise of Christianity were looted, bombed, bulldozed and beaten into unrecognizable fragments.

Parchment and papyrus texts, many of them the only written record of unique moments in human history no longer exist, and thus that history no longer exists.

That’s akin to going to national monuments or onto reservations and sandblasting Native American or pre-Columbian petroglyphs, or smashing 18th century  pottery or burning the earliest Tlingit carvings.

Some of those cultural records in the Old World and the New told the story of some pretty bloody moments in time.

Let us not forget that Assyrians, Egyptians, Aztecs,  Mayans, Incas, even early African and Native American tribes enslaved others.  Some cultures even killed and consumed people or parts of them as a part of religious rituals.

That’s macabre and revolting. Does that mean we should blow up the pyramids or bomb Chichen Itza, or level the Nazca ruins so we can pretend it never happened?

That’s exactly what is happening in 21st century America today.

Perhaps, since so many secularists now seem to see religion as more evil than empirical data, we should burn all the Torahs, Bibles, Tripitakas (an important Buddhist text) and Qurans.

Part of our history is no prettier than the sacrificial altars of the Mayan Empire. European colonists slaughtered early native populations just because they were in the way, and yes, they carried slavery here from across the Old World.

That doesn’t mean we can make our history prettier by destroying Confederate monuments. That not only doesn’t change the truth, it endows the statues with a sort of cultural martyrdom.

One of the true ironies of our time is that certain groups call the secessionist South traitors, while on the West Coast another group embraces secession as the vehicle to begin establishing the Socialist States of America.

You can entertain whatever political viewpoint you want to, but this wholesale blood lust to destroy  whole swaths of our history is barbaric. There have even been calls to disinter Confederate soldiers from Arlington Cemetery.

Perhaps, since Arlington was created from land belonging to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, we should just level it and build low-income housing there. Then we could pretend that soldiers don’t die, especially in war.

The  soldier’s statue in Durham, North Carolina wasn’t glorifying Robert E. Lee.  In fact it was a generic composite of the average rank-and-file soldiers who served in the Confederate Army.

The people who pulled it over have a pretty checkered history of their own, if  the composition of the mob described in an article originally attributed to the Durham News and Observer is accurate.

We can and should debate and decry the racist rhetoric of the KKK and the anti-Semitism of the Neo-Nazi’s, but destroying our collective history simply proves that perhaps too many of us are brothers and sisters under the skin with ISIS and other revisionist history re-constructors.

That’s not a union to which we should aspire to belong.

Would anyone fight for America today?

That’s quite a question.

It comes from Frank, a twenty-year Army veteran and successful small business owner.

His concern is that the disconnect between today’s under 35 crowd and the ideals of the country he fought for is so profound, he doesn’t think any of them would lift a finger to defend the country. Frank lives in California, so it’s likely that his opinion is influenced by the politics of that region.

Still, it’s a question worth exploring. If we were attacked, by North Korea or any other country,  how many 20-somethings would  join up and fight for the United States?

He is appalled at the underlying anger that resulted in Charlottesville

Frank is no bigot.  He married a woman of Asian descent, and says one of his sons is married to a wonderful woman whose lineage is racially mixed, although one of her grandparents was black. He has little sympathy for today’s identity politics.

He has even less sympathy for what he calls the subversive generation. It bothers him that a crowd pulled down a statue of a man who was just another soldier.

Frank was unexpectedly in the hospital on Election Day, and so didn’t vote.  He says he isn’t sure if he would have voted for Donald Trump,  but he marvels at the nonstop attacks on any duly elected U.S. president. He notes that many people were not crazy about the two Bush presidencies, and even Obama’s win, but this is far beyond any simple sour grapes.

Actually, considering we have an all-volunteer armed services, it’s likely that Frank doesn’t have anything to worry about presently, but his question does highlight the uncertainty about the future of  the country.

Speaking of the country’s future, it may be a bit premature to high five over North Korea’s pause in its nonstop provocative speech.

August 21 is not just Eclipse Day.  It’s also the anniversary of the cease fire  that put the Korean War on pause.

For the present, Frank has an answer  to worrying about something he can’t change.

He dropping his cable provider and plans to watch a lot of Netflix. He says he’s pretty sure if a war starts he’ll know about it, and other than that, he doesn’t need to  pay good money to watch bad TV.

And yeah.  If he could, he would join up again.

Restoring order.

After listening to numerous journalists from widely divergent publications report that law enforcement let the Charlottesville situation get completely out of hand before trying to defuse or control it, maybe it’s time to have a discussion about civil OBEDIENCE.

Yes, a Federal judge with pudding for brains forced Charlottesville to allow the event to happen, but it was local authorities who allowed the two sides to get together.

Smart.

What’s behind the hate?

While we are on the subject, does anyone remember that we fought a war against the original Nazis? So why do we even have neo-Nazi groups? Even Germany, also a bastion of liberalism, has refused to ban neo-Nazism, in spite of recognizing that they want exactly the same goals as did Hitler.

The Neo-Nazis are worldwide, often masquerading as some form of Socialist or People’s party.  They exist at least partially due to the postwar rise of the cult of multi-culturism, or as it used to be called, the New World Order.

In Germany, back in January of this year, the judges based their decision to allow the groups to exist on the premise that there weren’t enough of them to hurt anyone.

This, in spite of the fact that loose-knit confederations espousing roughly the same ideology can reportedly be found in a minimum of 31 countries.

That’s exactly how ISIS was born and why it continues to exist today.  Some SFB politicians decided that there weren’t enough of them to hurt anyone.

Why haven’t they learned better by now? There are reasons, but they aren’t good reasons.

One of course is the suborning of the meaning of free speech to include any speech, no matter how threatening.

Another is the breakdown of society in general regarding accepting any norms for, or control of, behavior and respect for authority.

It’s no secret that since Ferguson, the police can’t do anything without being accused of brutality. By and large the police aren’t the enemy, and it’s time we started letting them protect us.

We have hundreds of liberal cities and even a few states defying the Federal government and basically telling the world that if they don’t like a law, they’ll just ignore it. Is it any wonder the citizens take their cue from that?

Neanderthal-brained celebrities want to hug it out with jihadists, and the President of the United States is disrespected on a level that makes us the laughingstock of the world.

It seems to Main Street America that the inmates are running the asylums.

Contrary to what the left would have you believe, ordinary citizens do not embrace these nut jobs.

David Duke is a foul-mouthed, sorry excuse for a human being, and his followers are indeed low-life thugs using a self-delusional world of phony Southern pride as a cover for their baser instincts. The best estimates are that their confirmed numbers are around 6000 to 8,000 people.

Neo-Nazis don’t give a tinker’s damn about statues of Confederate generals, and their sympathizers are found in nearly every country in the world. They are simply cut from the same cloth as their idol, Adolf Hitler, and are just as despicable.

Neither faction represents the American center, whether right or left, so there is nothing there to unite. Most Americans don’t identify with any sort of –ism, including populism.

The black-garbed thugs on the other side of these riots aren’t fighting for a lofty principle either.  They  are essentially left-wing mercenaries for whom this is a business. and they don’t represent most Americans of any political persuasion either. Their control agents are sometimes harder to identify, but they are there paying the bills too. Follow the money.

These are people on both sides that want to hurt other people, and who, like ISIS use ideology as an excuse, but operate largely on the same level as any other psychopath.

These types of “protests” are not protests at all. They are engineered riots, and should be treated as such. Their cover story at the moment is racism.

Contrary to this idiotic headline from the Washington Post, President Trump is not the cause of racism in America.

In over 150 years, we have never solved the problem of race relations, and it’s largely because identity politics is so damn lucrative.  If we all really did get along, it would defund a lot of pretty nefarious characters, so it’s to their advantage to make sure we don’t get along.

Perhaps if we start finding, charging, and convicting the ringleaders and financiers of these domestic terror armies and putting them in solitary confinement in a Federal super-max prison for 20 or 30 years, perhaps saner heads would be able to prevail.

President Trump is 100% right when he says that we must, for our own survival, bring law and order back to our streets.

There are safe and sane ways for people to disagree.  For instance, how about one-on-one debates that are televised, but not able to be attended in person?

Or a hard and fast crowd size rule, say ten on each side? They can still harangue each other and call it free speech, but it wouldn’t result in a riot.

In fact, probably the most astonishing thing about Charlottesville is that a large number of people were legally and openly carrying, but this didn’t turn into a shooting war.

We won’t be so lucky every time.

Stand down.

David Duke and Jason Kessler and the ugly doctrines of their white supremacist groups don’t speak for any white people that most of you know, any more than Sheila Jackson Lee or Maxine Waters speak for the vast majority of black people.

Unfortunately, to listen to the media, you’d never know that.

Musings has made the point several times before that you can only  beat the tribal drums of racism so long before everyone starts dancing.

The left has been screaming racism and playing the “kill white privilege” card for so long that the crazies on the right were bound to take the bait.

Hopefully this will be an isolated case, but history tells us it won’t be the last incident of this type.

Of all the places this could have happened, Virginia is one of the worst, simply because it’s the former location of the Confederate capital in Richmond, which is just about an hour away via I-64 from Charlottesville.

As has been true in most of these phony protests, the paid thugs made a beeline to join the fray, with one man brazenly handing a Fox reporter his business card, advertising riots on demand.

The best thing that could have happened was for everyone to just stay home that wasn’t on the payroll of one side or the other.  Sadly, several high profile local government decisions such as relocating Confederate statues simply stoked the fires and brought out both the press and the looky-loos.

There is no such thing as a perfect world, and you can’t condemn the lunatic left and excuse the radical right. Both sides are wrong.

One Virginia congressman called this political terrorism.  It probably is that on some level, but it has a profit motive too. The organizers knew exactly what they were doing and why.

The organizers of this protest as well as those on the left where there have been similar outcomes should be jailed on Federal charges, charged with inciting a riot and tried, in this case for murder (for the pedestrian that was run over and killed) and aggravated battery. They didn’t drive the car, but their actions put the driver behind the wheel.

Hopefully the local government will institute a dusk to dawn curfew, but in this PC world, don’t count on them having that much foresight.

This is no more a free speech issue than were the riots at Berkeley.  This was a deliberate attempt by a fringe group to start a race war..

These things only work when they have an audience. Had there been no reporters and cameras there, this would have petered out and been an insignificant  blip on the radar.

And of course there are the larger political issues.

This has been building up for a long time, and all too predictably the left is blaming the President for all of it. Never mind that he has been on Twitter nonstop condemning the violence. Nothing he could do short of walking up to the riot organizers and blowing them away would satisfy the blood lust now.

Perhaps cooler heads will prevail, but this has a very familiar look.

What you can do is stay home and keep your kids at home, even if you have to hogtie them to keep them out of harm’s way, especially in the evenings. . News footage shows far too many young teenagers standing on the sidelines with their phones.

This isn’t worth dying for, so don’t put you and yours out there in harm’s way. .