Be Careful When Getting Excited About An Upcoming Trip

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a recent controversy in the knitting community. I am posting most of the article because I am not sure anyone could explain this as well as Mr. Hinderaker.

The article reports:

It begins with a young (white) knitter who expressed enthusiasm about an upcoming trip to India on social media:

On January 7, she blogged excitedly about her upcoming trip to India. She wrote that 2019 would be her “year of color.” She said that as a child, India had fascinated her, and that when an Indian friend’s parents offered to take her with them on a trip, it was “like being offered a seat on a flight to Mars.” She spoke of her trip as if it were the biggest hurdle anyone could jump: “If I can go to India, I can do anything — I’m pretty sure.” Templer, it should be noted, is white.

As someone who is mixed-race Indian, to me, her post (though seemingly well-meaning) was like bingo for every conversation a white person has ever had with me about their “fascination” with my dad’s home country; it was just so colorful and complex and inspiring. It’s not that they were wrong, per se, just that the tone felt like they thought India only existed to be all those things for them.

Following a major controversy in the online knitting community, the offender offered a Maoist apology:

Templer has since apologized for her post, writing, “It took women of color pointing this out for me to see it … which is not their responsibility, and I am thankful to them for taking the time,” and that she’d be continuing to raise visibility of people of color (and specifically black/indigenous POC) knitters and their work.”

The article concludes:

Social media also makes pointing out racism easier than ever. For weeks, POC knitters have used Instagram, and specifically Instagram stories, to share their observations, tag other knitters, and conduct polls about others’ experiences with racism in the community. Hundreds of people of color have shared stories of being ignored in knitting stores, having white knitters assume they were poor or complete amateurs, or flat-out saying they didn’t think black or Asian people knit.

There is much more–“whitewashing,” for example. If lefties can turn knitting into a hotbed of racism, what can’t they do?

Wow. Not even knitters are safe from racism.

Our Future?

I think most Americans realize that Big Brother is getting to be a bit intrusive. Our computer searches are mined for advertising information, Alexa listens to our conversations, our government has been known to listen to our telephone conversations. This is not headed in a good direction. However, it gets even worse when you consider the fact that the next step will be modifying our behavior to fit some ideal created by someone who believes he has the right to control everyone. Not a pleasant thought. Think it’s too farfetched? An article posted at Wired on January 23 might change your mind.

The article begins:

A friend of mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work.

When he offered to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by the government. A low social rating could prevent her from working or traveling abroad.

China’s social rating system, which was announced by the ruling Communist Party in 2014, will soon be a fact of life for many more Chinese.

By 2020, if the Party’s plan holds, every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state will affect one’s social rating.

Personal “creditworthiness” or “trustworthiness” points will be used to reward and punish individuals and companies by granting or denying them access to public services like health care, travel, and employment, according to a plan released last year by the municipal government of Beijing. High-scoring individuals will find themselves in a “green channel,” where they can more easily access social opportunities, while those who take actions that are disapproved of by the state will be “unable to move a step.”

We do an awful lot of business with China. When trade was opened with China, the idea was that our form of government and freedom would influence their government in the direction of freedom. Somehow, based on this story, I don’t think that is what has happened.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There is no way I can summarize all of it, but I would like to share a few more points.

The article continues:

Perhaps we are reading the wrong books. Instead of going back to Orwell for a sense of what a coming dystopia might look like, we might be better off reading We, which was written nearly a century ago by the Russian novelist Yevgeny Zamyatin. We is the diary of state mathematician D-503, whose experience of the highly disruptive emotion of love for I-330, a woman whose combination of black eyes, white skin, and black hair strike him as beautiful. This perception, which is also a feeling, draws him into a conspiracy against the centralized surveillance state.

The Only State, where We takes places, is ruled by a highly advanced mathematics of happiness, administered by a combination of programmers and machines.

The article concludes:

Beauty is the ultimate example of human un-freedom and un-reason, being a subjectivity that is rooted in our biology, yet at the same time rooted in external absolutes like mathematical ratios and the movement of time. As the critic Giovanni Basile writes in an extraordinarily perceptive critical essay, “The Algebra of Happiness,” the utopia implied by Zamyatin’s dystopia is “a world in which happiness is intertwined with a natural un-freedom that nobody imposes on anyone else: a different freedom from the one with which the Great Inquisitor protects mankind: a paradoxical freedom in which there is no ‘power’ if not in the nature of things, in music, in dance and in the harmony of mathematics.”

Against a centralized surveillance state that imposes a motionless and false order and an illusory happiness in the name of a utilitarian calculus of “justice,” Basile concludes, Zamyatin envisages a different utopia: “In fact, only within the ‘here and now’ of beauty may the equation of happiness be considered fully verified.” Human beings will never stop seeking beauty, Zamyatin insists, because they are human. They will reject and destroy any attempt to reorder their desires according to the logic of machines.

A national or global surveillance network that uses beneficent algorithms to reshape human thoughts and actions in ways that elites believe to be just or beneficial to all mankind is hardly the road to a new Eden. It’s the road to a prison camp. The question now—as in previous such moments—is how long it will take before we admit that the riddle of human existence is not the answer to an equation. It is something that we must each make for ourselves, continually, out of our own materials, in moments whose permanence is only a dream.

This is scary–not scary enough to get me to get rid of Alexa–but scary.

The Video vs. The Media

Yesterday Reason posted an article about the incident at the Lincoln Memorial. The magazine took the time to analyze the entire video of the incident.

This is the entire video as posted at YouTube:

Here are the key points of the video as noted by Reason:

Phillips enters the picture around the 1:12 mark, but if you skip to that part, you miss an hour of the Black Hebrew Israelites hurling obscenities at the students. They call them crackers, faggots, and pedophiles. At the 1:20 mark (which comes after the Phillips incident) they call one of the few black students the n-word and tell him that his friends are going to murder him and steal his organs. At the 1:25 mark, they complain that “you give faggots rights,” which prompted booing from the students. Throughout the video they threaten the kids with violence, and attempt to goad them into attacking first. The students resisted these taunts admirably: They laughed at the hecklers, and they perform a few of their school’s sports cheers.

It was at this moment that Phillips, who had attended a nearby peace protest led by indigenous peoples, decided to intervene. He would later tell The Detroit Free Press that the teenagers “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals” and he decided to attempt to de-escalate the situation. He seems profoundly mistaken: The video footage taken by the black nationalists shows no evidence the white teenagers had any intention of attacking. Nevertheless, Phillips characterized the kids as “beasts” and the hate-group members as “their prey”:

“There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

Again, all the evidence suggests that Phillips got it backward.

He also claimed that he heard chants of “build the wall.” While I cannot rule out the possibility that some of the kids indeed chanted this—those who were wearing MAGA hats are presumably Trump supporters—I did not hear a single utterance of the phrase in the nearly two hours of video footage I watched. Admittedly, the kids do a lot of chanting and it’s not always possible to tell what they are saying. Their stated explanation is that they engaged in a series of school sports chants: That’s what one student told a local news reporter. His account largely tracks with the video.

“We are an all-male school that loves to get hyped up,” said this student. “And as we have done for years prior, we decided to do some cheers to pass time. In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips, with Phillips beating his drum. They forced their way to the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.” According to this student, the smiling student was grinning because he was enjoying the music, but eventually became confused, along with everyone else. (Indeed, multiple people can be heard to shout, “what is going on?”)

It would be impossible to definitively state that none of the young men did anything wrong, offensive, or problematic, at some point, and maybe the smiling student was attempting to intimidate Phillips. But there’s shockingly little evidence of wrongdoing, unless donning a Trump hat and standing in a group of other people doing the same is now an act of harassment or violence. Phillips’ account, meanwhile, is at best flawed, and arguably deliberately misleading.

Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallies—where everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.

The writer accurately sums up the situation:

The boys are undoubtedly owed an apology from the numerous people who joined this social media pile-on. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest major media misfires in quite some time.

This is what a media mob looks like, and provides us with another reason to distrust the media.

 

 

When Congress Does Not Represent The American People

The American Thinker is reporting today that a Gofundme page set up for building the border wall has already collected more than $3 million. I guess the American people have shown Congress what their wishes are regarding the border wall. It is a shame that Congress has chosen not to listen.

The article includes the following:

• My name is Brian Kolfage, I have a verified blue check facebook page as a public figure and I’m a Purple Heart Recipient triple amputee veteran. (snip)

• The campaign is set to the MAX that Gofundme has at the moment… working to get it raised 

• USE #GoFundTheWall as a hashtag on social media (snip)

The government has accepted large private donations before, most recently a billionaire donated $7.5 Million  to fund half of the Washington Monument repairs in 2012; this is no different. 

Like a  majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still. 

As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of  the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.

I have grandparents who immigrated to America legally, they did it the correct way and it’s time we uphold our laws, and get this wall BUILT!It’s up to Americans to help out and pitch in to get this project rolling. 

“If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall.” That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that’s half the wall. We can do this. 

Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn’t get his victor. They’d rather see President Trump fail, than see America succeed.  However, if we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians. 

This won’t be easy, but it’s our duty as citizens. This needs to be shared every single day by each of you on social media. We can do it, and we can help President Trump make America safe again! 

Let’s build this wall!

Hoisted On Your Own Petard

There are many Americans who believe that Robert Mueller is engaged in a witch hunt. The indictment of thirteen Russian companies was part of that witch hunt. The plan was that the indictments would show that there really was Russian influence, the people involved in the companies indicted would never set foot in America, and Mueller would look as if he actually found evidence of Russian interference. Well, the best laid plans…

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today updating us on the status of the Russian companies who supposedly interfered in our election. Things have not gone as planned for Mr. Mueller.

The article reports:

In an effort to tie their corrupt investigation to Russia, the Mueller team indicted 13 Russians after presenting their cases to a grand jury in February of this year. Immediately, these indictments were suspect as everyone on to the corrupt Mueller team knew that these ‘Russians’ would never be brought to justice, even if they were real, because they would never come to the US to stand trial and risk being put in jail.

Unfortunately for Mueller however, this soon turned into a royal mess. Lawyers defending one of three Russian companies indicted with the 13 Russians, Concord Management, showed up for court. Mueller’s team was caught off guard and never expected this. They immediately asked the judge for more time but the judge denied their pleas noting that they were the ones who indicted the Russian company in the first place.

When the case proceeded, the Concord attorney’s noted that another of the three companies indicted by Mueller was not in existence at the time of Mueller’s indictment. They called this a case of Mueller indicting the proverbial ‘ham sandwich’.

At a following court appearance, the attorneys representing Concord stated that the corrupt Mueller team’s allegations of 13 Russian individuals impacting the 2016 election were “made up” nonsense. The individuals were not even real.

The article continues:

Concord Management’s lawyers revealed that Mueller’s team had ignored over 70 discovery requests they had made for information in the case. In response Mueller’s team offered to give Concord Management’s lawyers a massive amount of social media data from those dangerous trolls who sought to influence the US election and the majority of the data was in RUSSIAN.

Mueller’s lawyers then admitted that they didn’t even have English translations for the Russian social media posts. However, somehow Mueller’s lawyers believed Americans were influenced by these Russian language posts?

The case of the Russians has now turned into a big joke as the legitimacy of the Mueller indictment is being challenged by Concord Management.

In a hearing on October 15th, Concord Management claimed that the Special Counsel’s entire case is built around a 100 year old law that he Mueller team is trying to use in a manner it was not built for.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is rather complex, but gives a lot of insight as to the political aspects of Mueller’s investigation, Hopefully this mess will be wrapped up shortly. It has cost American taxpayers large sums of money and is strictly the result of political maneuvering.

A New Approach To Getting Out Of Doing Something You Don’t Want To Do

High School is not fun for everyone. Teenagers are often not the kindest of people–particularly to anyone who might actually be an individual or be different in some way. Social media has made that worse–bullying doesn’t stop anymore when you close the front door of your house behind you. Bullying on social media has resulted in teen age suicides. Bullying has always been a problem, but it seems as if we are not teaching our children to be resilient. One article seeking to solve the problem might without realizing it illustrate why the problem exists.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article stating the following:

Middle and high school students are citing anxiety as their reason for pushing back against assigned in-class presentations as research shows that nearly one-third of teenagers have an anxiety disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that an estimated 31.9 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 exhibit some form of anxiety. It’s an increase that experts say has been driven by the rise of social media, more pressure on students to go to college and other factors.

Students and teachers are split about whether offering alternatives to oral presentations will help anxious students or hurt them by letting them get around developing public speaking skills. The issue was brought to the foreground of discussion after a Sept. 8 tweet from a high school student that said “stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” was retweeted more than 130,000 times.

“Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” a 14-year-old eighth grader identified only as Ula told The Atlantic in a Wednesday story. “Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it’s part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn’t something a student should fear.”

The word I would use to describe the above statement is not suitable for this blog. If students are not taught to face their fears as students, how are they going to face them as adults? Taking challenges away from students robs them of the opportunity of learning how to overcome challenges. The world is not always going to be sweet and padded. They might as well learn that before they leave school. For example, if I were allowed to vote on whether or not to go for my annual physical exam, I would vote not to do it. It makes me anxious. Therefore I should not have to do it. I really don’t think that works in real life.

Submitted by Amy Collett

Tips for starting a home-based business

First-Timer Tips for Getting Your Home-Based Business Off the Ground

It’s easier than ever to start your own home-based business, and this sort of project can not only be fun, interesting, and convenient, but also it can be profitable as well. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the opportunities are there you don’t have to plan carefully. If this is your first home-based business, you will need to consider what type of work truly suits your lifestyle, what tools you need to get started, how to draw people to your business and how to keep yourself motivated. Here are some essential tips.

What business is right for you?

Sure, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. But why start from square one when you can give yourself a head start? Hobbies can be turned into thriving businesses. Professional skills you’ve learned through other careers can be monetized. Getting a new business off the ground is hard enough, and you will make it significantly harder if you try to do something you either aren’t good at or that you dislike.

So, first step is to do something you love. But that’s not all. The next step has to be evaluating the market potential of your business. Selling a product from home is a great idea for many, and the Internet has made it simple these days. High-tech products such as selfie drones, HIIT equipment and smartwatches are profitable business ideas. You may make the best bird-themed potholders the world has ever seen, but you can’t make a successful business out of it if there’s no market for them. Ask around. Do some research. As Inc.com notes, “What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family.”

Don’t begin without the ultimate tool for success

The best tool you could have to aid in your new business is a ton of start-up capital. Of course, the vast majority of people don’t have that. So settle for making sure you have the second-best tool for success: a strong online presence. The first step of creating this is in your website. Your website is your portal to growing your local business. It should be well-made, clear, easy-to-navigate and fast. You should focus on reliable hosting and outsource the job of building it if you aren’t experienced in web design.

Optimizing your site for local search (when people search for things “near me”) and having SEO (search engine optimization) in mind is the first step to drawing customers, notes Forbes. Beyond that, getting involved in social media will help you make a name for your business. It’s vital to have well-maintained Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat presences. Blogging can also help, as having good online content associated with your business can boost its ranking in search engines.

Stay productive at home

Working from home poses a unique challenge: How do you stay motivated when you’re surrounded by all that comfort? You have a business to run, but lurking everywhere are distractions such as the TV, kids or your bed.

First things first: Force yourself into normal office hours. Instead of simply working off and on whenever you feel like it make sure to stick to a schedule. Some other great tips include getting up and getting dressed (literally) for success, keeping a separate office space away from everything else and making sure you get some exercise throughout the day.

Starting a business can be scary, but you should know that you have the tools available to you to succeed. Part of the joy of running a business from home is that you don’t have to pay the overhead of a brick and mortar space and you get to be your own boss. While that sounds awesome, it won’t work unless you pick a business that truly suits you, set yourself up to accomplish your goals every single day and utilize the power of an online presence.

Photo by Pexels

 

The Media Double Standard

The media double standard reflects the double standard of some of the more vocal protest groups. Forbes posted an article on Tuesday that beautifully reflects this double standard. The article deals with the environmental threat posed by the protesters at the site of the future Dakota Access Pipeline. The threat is not a perceived future threat, such as is claimed by the protesters if the pipeline were to rupture, but an actual threat that must be dealt with before the spring thaw. I strongly suggest that you follow the above link and read the entire article–it is done almost as a parody of The Twilight Zone.

The article reports:

There is of course no national media uproar condemning the protesters who have created the current mess, or the conflict groups that helped to organize them, raised millions as a result of the conflict, but are contributing nothing to the cleanup.  Nor is there any negative media mention of the dozens of celebrities who have visited the site to get a little free publicity over the last several months, or drawn attention to themselves by supporting the cause on social media, but who also are doing nothing to help with the clean up effort.

The Washington Post managed to find space to publish a story on the situation on Monday, but its story angle was completely sympathetic to the protesters – whose efforts have now cost Morton County taxpayers almost $33 million at last count, with millions more to come – and to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose national call to action last summer was the catalyst for the influx of the outside protesters.  Indeed, a January tally of the almost 600 protesters who have been arrested during this protest action demonstrated that more than 94% of them hail from out of state, and more than 180 had criminal records.

The Washington Post’s story makes no mention of any of that, no mention of the dozens of abandoned cars or of the estimated 200-plus large truckloads of garbage left behind by the protesters that remain at the site.  No mention of all the arrests of out-of-staters, or of the massive cost to Morton County.  Indeed, the only real mention the Post makes of trash in the camp reads as follows:  “In the slurry running through camp are the remains of a mostly abandoned mini-city: an unopened packet of Top Ramen, a broken shovel, a mud-soaked glove, a pacifier.”

The article explains the threat to the water supply of the area:

The state of North Dakota also manages a website – NDRESPONSE – that provides excellent documentation of the real status of the protest site.  Their reporting has very clearly demonstrated that there is far more “in the slurry running through the camp” than the Post’s report implies, and with another week of spring-like weather to come, concerns about the potential for that slurry turning into a stream carrying pollutants into the nearby lake are very real indeed.  “We are very concerned about the potential for significant flooding and runoff into the lake later this week,” Keller said.

Given the way in which this situation has developed over time, it is fair to provide an admittedly partial list of well-heeled celebrities who have either visited the protest site since last August or expressed their support via social media for the #NoDAPL protest, and who are now making no effort whatsoever to assist in cleaning up the looming ecological disaster their “water protectors” have left behind:

The pipeline poses a minimal potential threat. The protesters have created an environmental disaster. If the state of North Dakota cannot clean up the mess before the spring thaw, the local residents will not have safe water to drink. The protesters have done immediate damage. The pipeline is engineered to be safer than alternative methods of transporting oil.

This is a picture of some of the mess left behind:

The double standard here is amazing.

 

 

Social Media Can Have Drastic Consequences

The Daily Caller posted an article about a selfie that went wrong. In this case, wrong is in the eyes of the beholder–I think it went wonderfully right.

The article reports:

The head of Air Force Central Command reported that an online selfie of an Islamic State militant led to airstrikes on a base held by the group “in less than 24 hours.”

Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle said in recent remarks that airmen at Florida’s Hurlburt Field were scouring open-source online feeds when they found a photo of “some moron standing at this command” and “bragging about the command and control capabilities” of the group.

Don’t ever post anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of The New York Times.

Islamic terrorists generally use social media very well. It is one of their prime recruiting tools and is also useful as one of their communication tools. There has been some consideration of making social media unavailable to terrorists, but aside from the obvious problems in doing that, in the case of the terrorist selfie, a terrorist social media post helped the western powers fight terrorism. We need to fight terrorism using every method at our disposal.