Rover

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NASA has done it again. They have pulled off a scientific and technological feat that is astounding, really. I watched the thing unfold and the landing appears to have gone flawlessly, even though the actual testing of this event was theoretical and computer modeling.

That’s all pretty cool stuff. But it raises some questions for me.

The first one has to do with the way it is powered.

It isn’t solar this time. It’s basically a small nuclear reactor. So, if there is technology to use this kind of thing in space and if there is technology to use something even bigger on our military naval vessels, why aren’t we using this technology to power our homes? Our schools? Our hospitals, stadiums, cities, our cars, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it be better than the options we have now?

The second question comes back to the “search for life.”

Proof of life only has to be a single cell microbe of something. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they can define it as “living.” Of course it would be hailed as an incredible scientific discovery and lauded for all time. It will raise other questions too.

What gets me on this one is that a small single cell microbe will declared as “living” but a human embryos and fetuses are still seen as “not living.” Human, multicellular organisms on earth aren’t considered life by a bunch of people up here on this ball of dirt, thus they don’t see any problem with destroying that life. How wrong and misguided is that? It astounds me.

Anyway, a robot on another planet (again) is pretty cool. I am sure it will help answer some questions, but not all of them.

One man’s…

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Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

The Ban

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The ban from Twitter heard (or not heard) round the world. An interesting case of “private” versus “public” property, business, and serving the public. Can we trust the ban from tech no matter where or who it is?

Parler, a “conservative” alternative to Facebook, is banned by Apple, Google, and Amazon. The reason, supposedly, is for the fact that there is no “moderation” of the site and the planning of the WA DC riot took place on this venue.

I have seen some of my friends talking about this stuff on social media and saying that such bans don’t violate the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of Speech because the clause specifically refers to protection from oppression of private citizens by the government. That is true.

But over the years, that protection has been expanded beyond just the government oppression of citizens and been used to protect lots of different situations where people were upset with something someone said. Protections was extended to protect what people say because of the “marketplace of ideas” concept.

So there are some real contradictions when you see a private business (whom obviously serves a wider audience than just the public or private citizen, AND us a publicly help corporation) decided who can and who can’t use their service. The issue become rather problematic when you start applying the standards to some, but not others.

A friend posted on Facebook the other day (in regards to Parler), “…They are all privately owned businesses who can do business with whomever they choose. Would you as a business owner,…, like to be ‘forced’ to do business with someone who didn’t match your companies [sic] values?…”

Apparently this justification of “freedom to do business with whomever I please” is appropriate to apply on some situations when it fits the liberal narrative, but not the conservative narrative.

A few situations come to mind:

  • Shall I be forced to create a flower arrangement or bake a cake for a same-sex union if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?
  • Shall I be forced to pay for abortions or provide health coverage that includes the abortion pill if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?

In the cases above, the government has forced people and companies to “serve the public” even though the people they were going to be forced to serve were clearly going to go against the company’s values. For all intents and purposes, the lawsuits filed against the owners of these companies were basically told they couldn’t discriminate against people who had different values than they did.

Isn’t that what we have going on here when we talk about banning a service that is used by people who differ in “values?”

Liberals and liberal companies discriminating against conservatives and conservative companies?

Clearly, when violence, threats of violence, or breaking the law is at the heart of the service being provided, then a company should be able to limit those who have violated “community standards.” Did the president do this? Maybe. But, did the vast majority of users on Parler do this? Likely not. We’re talking about a small portion of the community, but the whole community was punished.

The result is you appear to be silencing an entire group of people simply because you don’t agree with their perspective, their opinions, or their beliefs.

There is dangerous precedent in this.

The big deal here is that if it happens here, where else can it happen and who else or what else can they do?

Idiocy

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I hate to say it, but America (the land that I love and still think is better than anywhere else in the world) has become the land of idiocy. Yesterday, as well as the events of the last…well, pick a time frame…either way, this stupidity has been going on for a long while. A LONG while. Yesterday, and many events over the last year, are just coming to a head of ultimate stupidity.

Let’s be clear, the events of yesterday and storming the Capitol building are unacceptable. It should have never happened and I hope that it never happens again.

History has shown us (our own history) that displeasure with the government isn’t all that unusual and leads people to do things they would not normally do. Our Founding Fathers led a rebellion against a king and a government they found to be unjust. Those who supported the king and did extreme things in their support of the king likely found some actions despicable when the “other side” did them. Those who supported the colonies and eventually a free nation likely found the “other side” despicable when they did some of the same extreme things. Heck, even during our Civil War, both sides did despicable things to each other. Vietnam era protests? Yep, still some ugly things happening even then.

The difference between now and then?

Increased, instantaneous communication. It exists now, it didn’t at any time in the past.

How does that play a part in all this? Well, it literally takes no time for a rumor, opinion, or thought to spread far and wide. In an instant “information” can be disseminated to any number of people at one time. That’s a problem. It could be a good thing, but for the most part I think we see more problems with it than we see positives for it. Why?

It eliminates the possibility for someone to evaluate information and immediately creates an emotional response. There is little time for an individual to consider the information, process it, and then evaluate a response. Instead, people have devolved into an instantaneous, emotional response. They don’t think. They let their idiocy take over.

Instead of thoughtfully considering a response, or thinking clearly about their actions, they just respond. No forethought. No consideration. No evaluation. No wait. No weighing of consequences. No evidence. No proof. No nothing. Just response.

That, folks, is a terrible thing.

Social media has killed our ability to thoughtfully consider, to evaluate response, and restrict our own actions. Instead, we feed our need of immediacy, our need of instant gratification, with regrettable words and actions. We don’t wait for facts. We don’t consider another’s point of view. We don’t tolerate those who are different from us, think different from us, or believe different than us. We just don’t. We are not better off because of this.

We are actually becoming unrecognizable.

We are no longer a bastion of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity.

We have divided ourselves into camps of this or that. We have let ourselves be divided into those camps. We are not what our Founding Fathers believed we could become. And the direction we are currently headed won’t get us there either.

This idiocy can’t continue. We are in trouble if we continue to let it happen.

Arbitrary

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No rhyme. No reason. Definitely not science. Just arbitrary rule making and enforcement. That’s just where things have been and are when it comes to a government that is willing to grab power and the ability to make decisions from the people.

A local establishment has caught the wrath of the government because it’s “outdoor dining” doesn’t quite fit the same description as “outdoor dining” that others are doing. No common sense enforcement, just arbitrary wielding of power because some of the local “Karens” have decided the business doesn’t fit, in their judgement, the safety standards set out by the government. Oh, and there isn’t any science to support the enforcement, just opinion and personal preference.

The restaurant in question has five giant garage doors that it can open up to elements. FIVE. Essentially, these are removable walls and is a trend in many other places around the country (dare I say, world?). Difference is that in many places the weather is warm and a nice cross breeze can be generated with the doors open. Here in the Northwest it isn’t warm but when the doors are open at this place there is one hell of a cross breeze, along with some sideways rain, or mist, or general damp air.

In WA, the rules right now say that “outdoor dining” can only take place in a temporary structure with, for all intents and purposes, one open side so there is adequate air flow.

The establishment above, according to the state, doesn’t qualify because it is a permanent structure. Doesn’t matter that two of the major walls of the structure are virtually non-existent then when the doors are open. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to realize that the walls of the structure are open, regardless of the roof over one’s head being permanent, and there is air flowing through the room like the breeze blowing through a deck or park gazebo.

Hell, there is less air flowing through and airplane but we are allowed to do that? See what I mean? Arbitrary.

So, I know where I’ll be ordering food from this week.

Get out there and support those local businesses you want to see stay open. Hell, get out there and support any local business, because in the end they are your family, friends, and neighbors that working there. Don’t be arbitrary about that support. Be very intentional and very targeted.

Doorknob

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WTF? Who is this doorknob and who the hell let him pray? An utter embarrassment to himself, to those who listen to him, to those he represents, and to all people of faith in general.

Leave it to the Democrats to make a circus out of something so basic.

Amen and awoman“? You gotta see it to even believe it.

I am stumbling all over myself at the stupidity of this. It’s hard to even put into words how uneducated and unnecessary something like this is. It doesn’t take much research to know that “amen” means “so be it”. It has nothing to do with gender.

But this doorknob has to make an issue out of a word he clearly doesn’t know the meaning of. Actually, I believe there were quite a few words in his “prayer” that he didn’t know the meaning of. Not because he is ignorant (actually, he might be), but more because his speech writer likely used a thesaurus to write the speech. It sounded a lot like the essays I would get from my high school students who were trying to fill space by using words that made them sound smarter than they were and sometimes didn’t even fit in the sentence correctly. Whatever is going on there, it was a piss poor display of speech writing and intelligence.

Please, sir, never pray again. You obviously don’t actually know what it means, understand how it is done, or have a concept of where a prayer comes from – the heart. It isn’t a political tool, or stunt.

Are you Sears-ious?

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You’re gonna like this! No seriously, I am telling you to like it. But whatever you do, don’t expose yourself to free thinking. It’s bad for you. No seriously, it’s bad. Bad for some, that is.

If you haven’t encountered one of J.P. Sears’ videos, well, you just haven’t been on social media. They are everywhere! YouTube, Facebook, … you know, everywhere! No seriously, you will like these because they’re everywhere. I mean it.

Anyway, the man has been busy and is producing videos that just make you wanna sit back and think. No, seriously, think.

Is he serious, or is it comedy? Is it satire or is it truth? I’ll let you decide (provided you haven’t seen any of these already). These direct links to the videos are very specific, but if you click on that link up above, you’ll be taken to his channel where you can view all the stuff he has done. You can thank me later for this deep dive and lost afternoon of work, sleep, leisure, or whatever else you were planning on doing.

Socialist Media – The New Rules

How To Raise Weak Children During Lockdowns

My Apology to Facebook

A Communist Christmas

Instagram’s New Terms of Service – Not Sketchy at All!

Wanna be angry about something? Wanna be fearful and obedient? Wanna be controlled? Then don’t watch the videos, because they might enlighten you and no one wants that. That’s why Facebook has threatened him with de-platforming.

It takes brave people to standup and shout against the mainstream. I suggest you support this creator when you can.

Pork

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The amount of pork in the “stimulus” package passed by Congress and challenged by the President, even a lame duck president, is stupid. For a body that says they are trying to help the American people, they sure know how to help themselves to our money. This stuff, among other things, is why so many Americans don’t believe the government is working and is broken beyond repair.

For the record, I don’t believe it is beyond repair. However, I do believe it is not working the way it was intended or should.

Is it really necessary to include money for foreign countries in a bill that is aimed at helping American citizens? Is it really necessary for the country, already in debt, to make it larger to help people outside of the U.S.? Is it really necessary for our congressional representatives to stuff every spending bill with frivolous pork barrel crap just so they can get themselves re-elected and pad every pet project brought to them by the countless lobbyists?

Honestly, there is nothing stimulating about the bill.

For those who need the direct payment, it isn’t enough. For a majority of Americans (including myself), they don’t actually need a direct payment and so it is too much. Once again, Congress isn’t actually addressing the real issues and they have delayed real help by including a massive amount of stupid spending at a time when many Americans are looking at their finances and wondering how to make it from day to day.

Don’t forget the money a government spends wasn’t theirs in the first place. THIS MONEY COMES FROM YOUR POCKET! So, in one way or another, they are taking if from you: payroll taxes, income taxes, sales tax, death tax, capital gains tax, etc. The list is seemingly never ending.

The least you could do is demand that your money be spend in ways that make sense. Spend wisely. Use and follow a budget. Save.

There used to be a joke (maybe it still is a thing) that when you bought stuff from China it was cheap and would break almost immediately. People would say, “You get what you pay for,” meaning the more you pay for an item (in most cases) equates to the quality and durability of the item. Though it is cliche, the thought hold weight because there is some truth to it.

The same can be said of our representative government. We get what we pay for. Unfortunately, most of us can’t pay for a senator or a representative, so the people and companies with real money get what they pay for.

This “stimulus” bill and all the pork in it just proves that’s true…again…

Governmental abuse

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This is what a government looks like when free choice and free will is taken from you.

The premise behind the shutdowns/lockdowns is “we’re protecting you.” However, that premise goes right out the door if that order is limiting your ability to make choices for yourself.

As an adult, you have the free will to make choices that are good or bad for yourself. When your ability to do so is limited or taken away then there is a line that gets crossed and it isn’t one that should be taken lightly.

We all know smoking (anything, really) is bad for you, and those in close proximity to you. Whether is is first-hand or second-hand smoke, there is an affect on the body that deep down you know is going to have detrimental effects. Its a proven fact, be it cigs or marijuana, or whatever. The government hasn’t banned you from being able to make this choice, even when it harms yourself and others. Why? Well, that is probably debatable, but likely because they collect tax dollars from it.

So why then are people not allowed to make the decision to dine out for themselves? People who choose to go out and eat obviously know the risk by now. They are adults and responsible for themselves. They are allowed to make these choices, so why is this choice taken away and not others? The connection is lost and the “we’re protecting you and others” argument holds little water when people are 1) making a free will choice to stay open to the public, and 2) people are willing to take that risk and visit said open establishment. No one is being forced to dine in these places.

Government gone wild. There is no review because the legislature isn’t allowed to meet and the state Constitution has given the governor virtually dictatorial powers in an “emergency” or a real emergency. So, there is no way to stop it and one man (or two, if you include the state health guy) have virtually unlimited power. These rules basically task a governmental department with enforcement powers with little oversight since the people in charge or enforcement aren’t elected.

Smells a lot like late 1930s Germany…or post WWII Soviet Union…

AND…the fact that citizens are snitching on their neighbors or community members smacks of American 1950’s Red Scare, only it isn’t about Communism this time. It is all about “Covid under everybody’s bed.”

Sad. Infuriating. Scary.