Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lazy Journalism



Are journalists today lazy, or have they always been this way?  Why do they have such a profound lack of curiosity and lack the ability to do basic research?

When I was a student at Syracuse University I had the opportunity to write an article for the Daily Orange, the student newspaper at S.U.  That student newspaper was unique in that it issued on a daily basis and it was staffed mostly by students who were studying at the Newhouse School of Journalism. They had fairly high standards for a school newspaper.

I had wanted to write an article about a school leadership retreat I had attended where one of the Deans of Students, an elderly woman, admonished me for criticizing the school's response to a date-rape incident involving one of the football players.  She told me, "Mr. Bell, what you don't understand is how much money the football program brings into the school!" 

I thought it was a pretty appalling thing to say then, and even more so today, with our heightened awareness of sexual assault.  However what was interesting to me was the process of writing the article for the Daily Orange.  "Punch it up with quotes!" the editor told me, asking me to get direct quotes (or paraphrase them) from a number of other people who attended the conference.  The one quote that really made the article, he was hesitant to use, as he was afraid of offending the school (his "publisher" so to speak) and didn't want to use the quote unless I had three sources to verify it.

What I found was interesting was that journalism today isn't about researching and reporting facts, but rather talking to people and getting them to say a quote on the record.   This is particularly true with television.   I have been interviewed by a number of journalists in the last few years for a few articles relating to my blog.  In each case they wanted to quote me rather than quote the blog itself.  Journalism today is the science of quoting people.

I guess I was naive, as I thought the journalists would research subjects, going to the library and looking up things in books or tracking down other articles or other sources of data.  Maybe at one time journalists did this.  I'm sure Woodward and Bernstein did more than just quote people but actually did real investigative journalism in dissecting Watergate.

What drove this home to me, was recently I was approached by another media outlet asking me for quotes about the Elio fiasco that is playing out in Louisiana, where the old Hummer Factory was leased out to Paul Elio to build his three wheeled car.  According to recent SEC filings the production date of this car has been delayed yet again to the fourth quarter of 2019 which would make it almost a decade since the project was first announced.  Given the financial status of the company and their stated need for $300 million more in funding, it appears the project will never get off the ground.

In an earlier posting, I question where all the money had gone in during that time. They had received millions of dollars of deposits from would-be buyers, sold stock under Regulation A on the over-the-counter market, and borrowed money from various entities.  All this time the principles of the company were paying themselves six-figure salaries and receiving stock options.

All of this data was publicly available in SEC filings which can be readily found online just by searching. Also corporate registration filings can be searched at the Secretary of State's office in most states.  There is a plethora of data available online if you just bothered to look.   And I really didn't get a chance to look very far.  Others have researched this even further.

A Reddit user named "snugglesdog" has extensively researched the issue and provided a plethora of links to various filings, illustrating where all the money went in this project and what is really actually going on.  Part of the issue is that the massive factory is being leased to a real estate developer who is in turn re-leasing it to the Elio company.  After so many lease payments, the real estate developer could end up owning the building including 600 acres of land, outright, for not a lot of money.  And apparently in the interim, two large foreign car manufacturers have approached Shreveport looking to purchase the property but were turned away as the property was already tied up with Elio deal.

All of the data is out there and readily available, but you have to go look for it.  At the very least, you have to go to a few websites and read a few pages.  The reporter who contacted me, however, apparently couldn't be bothered to actually do this initial basic research but rather wanted me to feed her the story and provide some provocative quotes to spice up the text.  Again, journalism is the business of selling eyeballs and selling clicks, not telling stories.  It takes time and effort to develop stories, and it is a lot easier just to have somebody tell you the story.  It also shields the newspaper or television station from liability, as they are reporting what someone else said, not their own opinion.

The problem with this approach is that news stories become less about telling facts than giving people's opinions.  And as a result, stories tend to be one-sided these days, as you often only get one opinion in the matter.  Even worse are stories where journalists provide "both sides of the story" and "let the viewer decide" even if one side is more fact-based than the other.  It perpetuates the idea that opinions are all of equal value, and that selecting an opinion is merely a matter of choice, not logic.

Like I said, perhaps I am naive, and maybe journalism has always been this way.  But it seems like we've entered a new era of lazy journalism, where journalists basically barf up whatever they can get somebody else to say, rather than doing basic research on their own first.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tone Deaf or Dog Whistle?

Is  Trump just tone deaf or is he dog-whistling the far-right?

A lot of ink has been spilled about how Trump handled - or more precisely, mishandled - the protests and violence in Charlottesville.   The Police mishandled it as well - allowing people to show up at a rally carrying weapons.   Boston showed us how free speech and personal safety can go hand in hand - and no, carrying an axe handle to a protest is not "protected speech" under the constitution.   And no, that was not a question - nor an invitation to discussion, but a statement of fact.

The problem is, of course, that whatever crazy shit Trump says, always has some nugget of truth behind it, which often gets lost because he is the most inarticulate President we've had.   Ronald Reagan was "the great communicator" and even if you disagreed with his policies, you could understand what he was saying.   George W. Bush lowered the bar considerably, speaking in sentence fragments and inventing new words.

Our Reality Television President speaks in the 140-character lexicon of Twitter, and thus doesn't get even his half-assed points across.   And as a result, his message is muddled.   As I noted in an earlier posting, folks who attend protests carrying weapons are just plain wrong, and it doesn't matter if they are alt.right or "antifa" or anarchists or whatever.  Trump called that out as wrong, and then one mentally disturbed white supremacist decided to use his car as a weapon, and all hell broke loose.

Trump's refusal to disavow white supremacists and nazis right away was viewed by many as a dog-whistle to the far-right.   The KKK certainly thought so - that Trump was giving them a nod and a wink and saying "job well done, boys!"   His later comments about confederate statutes and equating Confederate terrorists (e.g., Nathan Forrest)  with our founding fathers further muddied the waters.

Again, there is a nugget - a slim nugget - of truth here.  If we take down statues of slave owners, not only Confederate generals but also founders of Harvard (which has happened already) then where do we stop?  Statues glorifying Jefferson, Washington, and the rest of the gang - who all owned slaves - could be seen in the same light.

Of course, what Trump fails to realize is that these Confederate statues were erected years later, often during periods where the KKK was resurgent, or during periods of de-segregation.   It is like the "In God We Trust" motto, which replaced "E Pluibus Unim" during the height of the civil rights era and the height of the "prayer in school" debate.   The words "One Nation, Under God" were also added to the pledge of allegiance at about the same time.  And yet many people would think these things trace their roots back to 1776.

The message of the Confederate statue in a public place is clear - it is asserting that the government is endorsing the "lost cause" of slavery and honoring the "heroism" of people fighting to subjugate an entire race.   And no, their heroism is no cause for celebration, any more than the heroics of those who fought for the Nazi cause are to be honored.  In fact, in Germany today, it is illegal to "honor their legacy" and there are no discussions there about "heritage, not hate".

The Civil War was a slaughter of human beings - the most vicious and deadly war America has ever fought in, killing more people than all our other wars combined.   And it was fought over a principle so vile it defies explanation.   The people who claim a connection with this "heritage" are using it as a smoke-screen to advance their cause of racism.   My Great-great-great Grandfather Robert S. Thompson fought as a Colonel for the Confederacy.  He also owned slaves.   I am neither proud of his "heritage" or ashamed of it, because genealogy is pure bunk and I have little or no connection to him, other than a few stories of only three sentences long, told to me by my racist Grandmother, many, many years ago.

People who tell you they have some deep spiritual connection with their "rebel" ancestors are basically lying.   Unless they are historical re-enactors (who are largely harmless, if not a little creepy and boring) odds are, their display of rebel paraphernalia is a smokescreen for advancing racist views. 

We are in rural Ohio right now, following the Ohio river up past one abandoned factory after another (and a few still in business).  This is Trump country, and we've laughed at how many cars and pickup trucks we've seen with Ohio tags and Confederate flag stickers on them.   "Heritage, not hate" - right?   But these history buffs seem to have forgotten which side of the Civil War that Ohioans fought for.

As for Trump?   I just assume he isn't smart enough to dog-whistle the right.  He's just an horrific communicator with muddled ideas.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why Does the Mainstream Media Act Afraid of a Website?

A website run out of someone's basement is not a "powerhouse" of journalism.

The New York Times and the Washington Post are at it again - trying to get us all confused and scared and to keep us clicking on their pages so they can sell ad space.   Trump is good for their Business, and so is Steve Bannon.  What they are selling is fear, and fear, as I have noted time and time again, is never an emotion to be trusted.

The latest gag in fear-mongering is Steve Bannon.   Now ousted as White House Strategist, he is "declared war!" on the Trump Administration, and everyone is waiting with bated breath as to what he will say next.  Behind the desk of his all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful Breitbart News, he can control the news cycle for years to come.   Petty newsletters like the Times and Post cannot possibly compete!



Or can they?   What people fail to realize is that Breitbart is nothing more than a website, that until recently, was operating out of Steve Bannon's old townhouse basement near Capital Hill - and moved to a new location only because of zoning restrictions (operating a business in a residential area).   Their staff is very limited, which is by design - coming up with crackpot "news" stories doesn't require a staff of investigative journalists, just a few people with creative imaginations, lead by a paranoid.

That is reality.   Breitbart is a very small megaphone, that talks only to a small "base" of people who are presupposed to listen to nonsense anyway.   Nothing much will change with Bannon back at the helm, declaring "War" or not.   Mainstream journalism still predominates.  Breitbart and The Druge Report are still in the margins and always will be.

So why does The New York Times and The Washington Post make so much of a website run out of someone's basement?   Well, the short answer is, they need a bogeyman to wave in front of their readers, to convince them that somehow lunatic fringe websites - and that is all they are is websites - are a threat to their readers.   That somehow a website run by three people in a townhouse basement is going to take down the grey lady and that Democracy will Die in the Darkness.

In a way, it is like Twitter.  No one actually uses Twitter except media types, which is why Twitter is losing money.   I've never been on Twitter, but I've been forced to read hundreds of "Tweets" as journalists think that Tweets are News.   Similarly, I've never read an article on Breitbart, but have been exposed to dozens of them by The Times, The Post and other mainstream media outlets which report on stories published on fringe websites.

Maybe - and this is just another one of my wild crazy ideas - if the mainstream media stopped re-posting crap from Breitbart, it would not seem to have as much impact or credibility as the media seems to think it does.   Breitbart is not a megaphone for the alt-right, the New York Times is, when they report on Breitbart as if it were relevant.


Bitcoin Versus Real Estate


When people start building condos in cornfields, the market is overheated.

Within my lifetime there have been two major real estate bubbles, the latter being far more serious than the former.  What happened was that people started buying houses and thinking they were made of gold.  Pretty soon people start to think that any house was worth a lot of money regardless of how well it was built or where it was located.  As a result, builders started building in places where no one really wanted to own a home, such as in the middle of a cornfield, two hours from major city.

A friend of mine bought such a place in 1988.  It was a long, long way from work, but on the weekend when he went out to look at it, it seemed like a short drive in the light weekend traffic.  Besides, everyone was getting in on this Real Estate deal, so why not him?   When the market collapsed in 1989, he had to cash in $10,000 from his 401(k) to bring to the closing to unload the condo, which no one wanted to buy at that point.

Housing bubbles collapse.  I experienced this first in 1989 and then again in 2009, neatly 20 years apart.  People never learn from experience, as their economic memory is only about 18 months old as I have noted time and time again.  I was fortunate in that the free-standing house we bought in 1988, within commuting distance of the city, largely held its value during those lean years.   The entire Real Estate market went down from 1989 to about 1994, but some properties fared better than others, and the condos-in-cornfields did the worst.

Many prognosticators have noted that there appears to be a similar bubble taking place in cryptocurrencies.  It is not that Bitcoin has heated up to an unsustainable level necessarily, but that there are so many other cryptocurrencies hitting the market at once, as everyone wants to get in on this "cryptocurrency" deal.

In terms of a real estate analogy, perhaps Bitcoin represents the prime condominium development located near the center of the city, which was sold out early on and which is still highly desirable, if not overpriced.  Many of these newer Johnny-come-lately cryptocurrencies represent the condominiums built in the cornfields hours away from the center of the city.  People think these later developments are worth as much as the former, but they are mere shadows of the original idea.

In the Real Estate venue, when the market collapsed, the condo-in-a-cornfield depreciated in value very quickly, while the more desirable properties fared better.  However, the entire market was affected as the result of the crash.  Similarly, when stock markets decline, even premier equities decrease in value, as we saw in the stock market crash of early 2009.  The real gems recover quickly, but the real stinkers go bankrupt.

If you apply this analogy to cryptocurrencies - at it is a valid analogy, I think - you can see a similar thing may take place.  A lot of these Johnny-come-lately cryptocurrencies will be like those condos-in-a-cornfield.  They will depreciate rapidly and end up going bankrupt.  But the major players the market will also be affected, and their value will decrease accordingly.  Bitcoin, being the premier cryptocurrency, will be severely affected by the ultimate crash of these other "crap-to currencies" but may recover where others fail.  People will still lose money, however.

There can be too much of a good thing in any Market.  And the market cannot support an infinite number of cryptocurrencies, or condos in cornfields.

Why Staring At The Sun Is Idiotic

Mormon missionaries prepare to view the eclipse.


The media loves to hype things, and for some reason, this year, a relatively routine event - the periodic eclipse of the sun by the moon - is being hyped as the end-all to humanity.   I am not sure why, because we no longer live in the middle ages, and things like comets and eclipses are no longer viewed as signs of God's wrath, witchcraft, or whatever.


We are told that we "must" go to some place to view the eclipse - an event that is over in a matter of minutes - and spend thousands of dollars booking hotel rooms, flights, etc. to see this "once in a lifetime event" - which I have seen at least twice in my lifetime.

What really irks me is that the media has accompanying stock photos with most of these stories, showing grinning yuppies staring at the sun, wearing nothing but sunglasses.   Only one media outlet that I could find actually had an article about the dangers of staring at the sun (it can blind you for life) and a testimonial from a oldster who nearly did just that.

I remember the total eclipse of 1970, and back then, people were advised not to look at the sun, but rather to construct a shadow-box.   Crazy ideas like looking through exposed film were discouraged.  The media was a little more responsible back then, interested less in capturing eyeballs (no pun intended) and more in real journalism.

I am sure there will be plenty of "Eclipse Apocalypse" stories tomorrow, about all the traffic and crowds, and people visiting emergency rooms with eye damage.  And the media will wring its hands and say, "who knew that staring into the sun could be dangerous?   Who knew???"

And we will set ourselves up for the next eclipse mania, which is only a few short years from now.....

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tourists, not Terrorists

Is tourism destroying Barcelona?   Why did terrorists target the tourism industry there?

A recent article on the BBC profiles a young man who is part of a leftist effort to destroy tourism in Barcelona.  These leftists argue that tourism is destroying the city as it is raising rents and making it harder for locals to find a place to live.  Of course, what they fail to consider is that tourism is a huge part of the local economy, and many of them cannot afford to live there at all if there were no jobs and income generated by tourism.

The recent attacks by terrorists on the tourism district underscore that this is not just a cause of the far left, but also the Islamic right. Islamic Terrorists have systematically attacked tourist destinations worldwide, in Islamic leaning countries and elsewhere, where westerners like to vacation.

Many people assume wrongly that their goal is to decrease the influence of decadent foreigners on Islamic societies.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Their goal is to destroy the underlying economy, so that people become so desperate they will embrace radical Islam.

Fascists have known this for decades.  If people become so desperate they are starving, they will embrace fringe ideologies as a means of solving the economic problems.   This is how the Taliban took over Afghanistan and was welcomed as liberating heros at the time.  If conditions are not desperate, then what you need to do is make them desperate.  This is why many on the far left were happy to see Donald Trump elected, as they knew that Bernie Sanders and his ilk could not be elected to public office outside of Vermont, unless conditions became desperate.

This is why the New York Times and the Washington Post report with glee every the mis-step of the Trump Administration.  Every stupid thing that Donald Trump says or does is one more paving brick on the road to an  Elizabeth Warren presidency.

Leftists and Catalonian separatists in Barcelona have the same goal.  If they can destroy the lucrative tourism industry, people become desperate and vote to secede from Spain and institute more far-leftist policies.  When everyone is making money, no one wants to rock the boat. When people are starving, they're willing to try anything.

It seems odd that Islamic radicals and Spanish leftists both have the same goal - to destroy the tourism industry of Barcelona.  But when you think about it, they really have the same goal - to disrupt and destroy in order to promote their own radical agendas.

Maybe what Spain needs - what the world needs -  is more tourists and fewer terrorists.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Why Robotics Are A Sign Of Our Failure

 Are robots the ultimate sign of humanity's defeat?
 
Many people have held that robotics are a sign of the advances of our society.  However, it has occurred to me that the implementation of robotic devices is not a sign of humankind's advance, but rather an admission of its ultimate defeat.

We are traveling in our camper and driving on the highway.  And it's not hard to see why the Federal Highway Administration has been pushing for self-driving cars for several decades now.  People drive horribly.  And by this I don't just mean the people who are inattentive or make mistakes, as we all do on occasion, but the people who intentionally drive badly because they feel they need to get ahead.

If there is even a slight backup, such as when a truck passes a truck, people start racing around each other trying to get advantage.  It is human nature at its worst.  "Out of my way, I'm a motorist!" they seem to say, as if nobody else needs to get anywhere but them.

Self-driving cars, while being a technological advance, are an admission that we no longer have the ability to drive.  Even over-the-road truckers, professionals who were once the "Knights of the Road" swerve in and out of their lanes as they look at their phones and texting devices will driving 50,000 lb rigs.

We stopped at a rest area in South Carolina, and a plaque probably proclaims the restrooms are "fully automated" - everything from the toilets, to the urinals, to the soap dispenser, to the faucets, to the hand dryers, and the paper towel dispensers are automated and only you need only wave your hand to be served with a flush or a wipe or a dollop of soap.

Again, this is an advance in technology that would amaze our ancestors of only a few decades ago.  But the reason for these automated devices has a dark side.  In the past, people would wad up rolls of paper towel and shove them in the toilets and sinks and leave the faucets on or flush the toilet repeatedly in order to flood the restroom in and act of petty vandalism.  And judging by the signs I'm seeing in various public restrooms - imploring people not to flush paper towels down the toilet - this activity still occurs regularly.

Automated soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers are not only convenient and sanitary, they also regulate and control the amount of product dispensed.  People are greedy and selfish, and gladly grab for more paper towels or soap than they really need, not thinking about the cost or the inconvenience to others when the dispensers run out.

The same is true with manufacturing and even retail.  People are concerned that minimum wage jobs in fast food restaurants may go away as kiosks replace order takers, and automated machines flip the burgers and make the french fries.  And indeed, part of this is to save money and in an era where minimum wage unskilled workers are demanding $15 an hour - another sign of our greed and selfishness. We all believe we are due a certain amount of income regardless of our lack of skills or incentive to work.   Where did you think the idea of "guaranteed minimum income" comes from?

But from the customer side of  the equation, we all quietly applaud these moves toward robotics.  The order-taking kiosk is more accurate and easier to use than talking to a person behind the counter who may be heavily accented or barely speak English.  Not only that, the kiosk is faster, as we don't have to wait behind some self-entitled fellow citizen who feels that since they're at the head of the line it's their turn to make everyone else wait.  Again, the baseness of human nature rears its ugly head.

And granted, fast food is bad and poorly made, but most of this is because the people making it don't do a very good job.  I've noted before how in may fast food restaurants, there's a passive-aggressive game with a french fry machine, as nobody likes to put down the fries or take them up because they get splattered with hot grease.  As a result, nobody actually makes the fries until there's a backlog of people in the parking lot, at which point they hastily make several orders of fries which are not cooked sufficiently enough.

An entire Subreddit exists of people posting pictures of what their fast food sandwich is supposed to look like from the pictures on the menu, versus the mashed up piece of crap they actually get in the box or package.  Automation would fix this problem, and the food would be prepared consistently and perfectly every time, something that humans no longer seem interested in doing, but were once capable of.

Of course, the excuse given by the people working at such places is, that since the pay is poor they should do a shitty job.  However pay in restaurants and diners has always been shitty throughout history and yet we have often been able to get very good food from such places in the past, but not today.  As a result, today, we tend to accept shoddy service and poor products.

Even when pay is high, humans no longer seem to be interested in doing good work.  Robotics have already taken over in many industries.  Automobile production today is largely automated, mostly by necessity.  In the past, cars were largely handmade, even if they were made on an assembly line.  If you look at old videos of automobile assembly plants, you'll notice there's dozens of people at each station and thousands of workers overall.  And back then, those were top-paying jobs in the community.

Like the fast-food workers today, auto workers by the 1970s decided been doing a shitty job is all they were paid for, and quality of American automobiles plummeted, mostly because of poor assembly.  Today, we have robots paint cars which come out consistently even and perfect.  Critical and essential elements are assembled by robotics and bolts are no longer missing from cars as they go down the line. Today, no one would accept the build quality of automobiles for the 1970s or should they be expected to.

Robotics represents a failure of American management, failure of the American worker, and the failure of our society as a whole.  The impetus for robotic technology is not necessarily the availability of it, reducing labor, or reducing costs, but the fact that human-based labor has such a poor track record, which is the fault of both labor and management.

Perhaps in the brave new world of robotics, our robot overlords will finally get us straightened out as human beings and put us back to work - this time, not allowing for mistakes and slacking-off.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Deli Meats? Kentucky Legend!

Deli Meats are probably not very good for you.  They can also be expensive.  There are alternatives, however.

Usually when we make a trip to the grocery store, we stop  by the deli to get some deli meats and cheeses to make sandwiches fo r lunch during the week.   Wal-Mart has good prices - many deli meats are around $6.99 a pound (versus over $10 a pound at Publix) and cheese are fairly cheap, too - about $7 to $8 a pound.   They even have a "deal" where if you buy one pound of deli meat, you get a half-pound of cheese for "free" - all for $9.  This is a good deal if you buy Pastrami at $10.99 a pound and basically get the cheese for free - but that shit's not kosher (mixing meat and cheese).

But the hassle of waiting at the deli and the cost have forced us to look elsewhere.   You can buy pre-sliced swiss at the wholesale club for under $6 a pound, sometimes a lot less.  And recently, we found something called "Kentucky Legend" pre-sliced Turkey and Ham in the meat department (NOT the deli department)  for $5.22 a pound (or less!), which is far less than the $6.99 a pound. they charge in the deli department.

The quality is better, too.  First of all, it is thick sliced which is easier when you are making sandwiches or adding meat to a salad or whatever.  Most delis slice meat razor thin, or worse, cheese razor thin, and it ends up as a massive blob than you cannot pick apart later at home.

 But is it fresh?  Well, it comes in a shrink pack of about 3-5 pounds, and it is the same shrink pack that the ham and turkey comes in at the deli department.  So in terms of "freshness" it is a wash - in fact, deli meats are generally preserved meats anyway - how do you think Ham was invented in the first place?

So today, we skip by the deli department and buy the Kentucky Legend pre-sliced turkey and ham, as well as pre-sliced swiss cheese from the wholesale club or Wal-Mart (often priced less than the deli as well!).   The thicker slices are easier to deal with, and also cheaper in terms of price per pound, sometimes (in the case of the ham) almost half-price.

Sliced some up this morning and made a ham and swiss omelet!   Yea, I know, a real heart-healthy meal.  At least it was affordable!


UPDATE:   A reader notes that these types of foods are not "heart healthy" (actually several readers noted this.   I agree.   But once in a while.... )

Another reader asks if I am being paid by Wal-Mart or being given free product, as apparently a number of blog sites mention this product and also mention they were given free product in exchange for a review.

No, Virginia, I wasn't given free food.  Because I am too stupid to think of such things.  Also, I ain't selling out for a bag of chips!  If I mention a product on this blog, it is because I bought it with my own money and liked it.

My monetezation experiment is reaching the six month mark, and I am not sure I will continue it past one year.   Yes, it generates about $200 a month in income.  No, that isn't the price of integrity.

There's A Light....



You can have a lot of fun with cheap Chinese LED lighting strips!

I installed these lights on our golf cart and they are a lot of fun - plus they make the cart more visible to other motorists at night!   I added two strips to the Casita under the "beltline" and it looks pretty cool.   Cheap fun on a budget, to say the least.

The lighting strips come packaged on old reel-to-reel tape deck reels.   Instructions are minimal, so be prepared to figure out things for yourself....


Buy this crap from China while you can, before Trump shuts down all international commerce by imposing tariffs.   It is 1929 all over again, and Trump is the new Hoover!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Glorifying Terrorism

Say hello to your friendly neighborhood Nazi!

Or your neighborhood Anarchist!

Two recent articles, one in USA Today and one in The Washington Post are, in my opinion, a little too cozy with their subjects.  They seem to be normalizing radical thinking as "the boy next door" and making violent political protest seem like a new norm.  Both articles made me throw up.

President Trump is getting a lot of flack for a statement he made before that loser from Ohio (lived with his mom, had a cat instead of a girlfriend, flunked out of basic training) drove a car into the crowd.   Trump noted that there was violence from "many sides" which, while we might not like to think about it, was actually true.  Of course only one side ended up killing anyone, and only one side started the entire melee.

The horrific pictures from this weekend include those of "antifa" protesters wielding clubs and beating people, as well as Nazis and KKK folks doing the same thing.   When you show up at a protest wearing helmets, carrying shields, and brandishing clubs and firearms, you are not there for a peaceful protest.   It doesn't matter what "side" you are on, it is wrong.

Why the Police allow this is beyond me.   When I was a kid, if you brought a sign on a stick, you were turned away from a protest, as the sticks could be easily detached from the signs and used as weapons.

Today, we let people bring guns to protests.  It makes no sense.

And then the media glorifies these idiots, with nice articles and accompanying photos, instead of denouncing these fringe lunatics with the strongest language possible.

I don't want to "meet the anarchist next door" - I want him put in jail for the rest of his life, and ditto for the Nazi Neighbor.   Toss 'em in lockup and throw away the key.  They can work out their political beliefs behind bars while the rest of us get on with real life.

But the media loves this shit - it generates clicks and generates eyeballs for advertisers.  "Protest violence videos coming right up!  But first, a message from your local Chevrolet dealer!  Chevrolet, as American as Basball (bats), Hot Dogs, and Apple Pie!  Drive one through your next protest rally!"

That seems to be where we are going with this...