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Dale Hansen on "Responsible Gun Owners"

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[News Media]
Dallas sportscaster, Dale Hansen steps away from the sports desk to deliver an insightful yet scathing monologue on the country's current inability to address the increasing domestic terrorist problem.


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Is Blockchain/Crypto Currency Investment A Risky Scheme?

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[Essential Factoids]
[Viral Marketing]
There's tremendous hype all over the Internet and the media about Bitcoin, crypto-currencies, "blockchain" and this new "innovative technology" that is supposedly making people rich.

Or is it?

Is crypto currency the future?

Are you actually doing any "investing" when you purchase and hold crypto-currencies?

Or is this an elaborate Ponzi Scheme or an outright scam?

Let's cut through the chatter and reveal what you need to know about the modern state of crypto currency, the "blockchain" buzzword everybody is using, and whether this is something real, or nefarious?

Those who have been in the industry for awhile certainly know what "crypto" is, but now laypeople are talking about it, so it's important to cover some of the basics:

What is crypto-currency?

In a nutshell, crypto-currency (of which there are literally tens of thousands of different systems) refers to a proposed method of trade that involves "digital currency".

What does that actually mean? Digital currency? It is currency, which is unlike traditional fiat currency and exists primarily as a "digital address" and sequence of codes.

Whoever has the code, owns the currency. If someone guesses/steals your code and executes a transaction with it, you just lost your crypto-currency. It's called "crypto" for short, because, supposedly the details of these codes are encrypted in various ways for your protection.

What is fiat currency?

Traditional fiat currency is often represented in coin and bill form, and is something you can hold in your hand and is easily transferable. In the case of the US dollar for example, it's mandated by law to be accepted virtually everywhere in your community.

Yes, traditional fiat currency can also be represented in "digital form" similar to crypto currency, as indicated in computers controlling peoples' banking accounts, but is subject to much more oversight and regulation. And there's a system to quickly and easily convert your banked currency to material form if needed.

Is there a material component to crypto currency?

Crypto currency, sometimes referred to as "alt-coin" typically does not exist in any material form. Like "fiat currency", it's a "placeholder" that represents a certain value that is used in the exchange of goods and services between parties.

But unlike traditional fiat currency, it doesn't translate well to bill, coins or other material items that can be physically exchanged. This is because what determines who owns the currency is based on who has the codes. You could print a bill that had the code on it, and that could technically be transferred to someone else, but every time crypto is transferred, these codes change. Plus a print of a code doesn't mean someone else doesn't also know the code and can take the currency without having access to the bill.

What is a "blockchain?"

This is a fancy new buzzword, and it's being used interchangeably with the term "crypto-currency" nowadays by various institutions who want to capitalize on the popularity of crypto.

Blockchain refers to the method by which many crypto currencies keep records of transactions.

A blockchain is basically a database of transactions, typically involving a few basic elements of information: the id of a buyer, the id of a seller, and a transaction amount, along with other information. This is stored in a database. It's not that much different than what might be called a "general ledger" at a bank.

If a "blockchain" is simply a ledger of transactions, why not call it that?

Because, "blockchain" sounds cooler and high tech!

It's easier to get hedge fund managers to invest peoples' retirements into something called "blockchain" than an old, un-exciting thing called a "general ledger." (Sorry, I'm a snarky person.. couldn't resist..)

What is special about crypto currency blockchains?

One element that distinguishes most crypto currencies from traditional fiat currency is the fact that there is no central regulation, or central repository of the blockchain (ledger).

For example, with Bitcoin, when a transaction is made, details on this transaction are sent to an array of different systems that maintain blockchains. The data is compared and collected and verified after a certain process. No single entity controls the blockchain. It's de-centralized.

It's also partially-anonymous. The people who execute transactions are only known by arbitrary IDs. The blockchain records that two parties exchanged currency and notes that the currency is now in the account of a different ID.

The past, present and future of crypto currency - it's not what it used to be.

The original concept behind crypto currencies like Bitcoin was fairly humble. And a lot different than it is now.

As I type this, the value of BTC is currently $12,870 USD to 1 BTC. By the time I finish this article, there's a very good chance the value may have changed anywhere from 5-20%. It's that volatile right now. Which is dramatically different from what it was intended to be.

The original concept was as a "micro-payment system" that could be used as a proxy for bartering goods and services, and in the early days, this is what happened. The value of Bitcon was fairly marginal and in and of itself, worth nothing, but if you had some BTC and could trade it to someone else for something, that was cool. The first material BTC transaction was on May 22, 2010 by Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer who paid a fellow Bitcoin forum user 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. People harp now that the bitcoin to buy those two pizzas is now worth millions of dollars. But back then, believe it or not, the guy buying the pizza got the better deal. And you can bet the pizza seller moved his bitcoin shortly thereafter. Nobody in their right mind could have predicted that seven years later 1 BTC would be worth more than ten grand (and even now, this is arguable).

In theory, crypto currencies make sense. They're supposed to be a simple, direct, peer-to-peer transaction system that is nobody else's business.

Unfortunately, that's the OLD crypto model. Now there's a new crypto model and it's completely the opposite of this. Crypto currency in its purest form was never intended to be used as a security and hoarded, or monitored based on its value in any other fiat currency. Now companies are treating crypto like stocks and offering "initial coin offerings." This is not what the originators of this technology wanted.

What is crypto uniquely good for?

Because of its decentralized nature and (so-called) anonymity, it lends itself to transactions between parties who aren't necessarily interested in being tracked (criminal activities, drug traffickers, money laundering, black hat transactions, and governments and people looking to move money around without others knowing).

Some argue it's a way to transfer money outside of prying government eyes and taxation, but even in America, crypto currency is subject to taxation. Many industry leaders have gone on record expressing concern and/or calling crypto currencies Ponzi schemes.

What should crypto currency holders be concerned about?

The list of concerns is significant enough to warrant a separate article, but here are a few things that aren't as well known (NOTE: some of these vary slightly based on the crypto currency obviously but there are many generalities in common):
  • The blockchain in all likelihood is not really "anonymous." - In fact, blockchains like Bitcoin keep records of every transaction ever. So from the moment of inception, every piece of Bitcoin that's changed hands is recorded. It may be meta information and not peoples' names or SSNs, but there are plenty of ways to ID people through meta information and once that's done, the money trail is public record.
  • What a crypto is "worth" is nebulous - Many exchanges are allowed to set their own transaction rates and details, and it's becoming harder and harder to painlessly convert crypto into traditional fiat currency, which is one reason why the prices are so high. There are lots of hidden hassles and fees involved.
  • The value of crypto currency right now is promoted based on its conversion to more accepted fiat currency such as dollars, which is incredibly ironic given the fact that advocates of crypto insist their currency is superior. In reality, the value of crypto should be based on how easy it is to use in its natural form.
  • Crypto is perfect for stealing - The more value a crypto has, the more appealing it will be to anybody and everybody who might try to crack codes and take the currency. It's basically a lawless expanse, which means there's no reason why governments and corporations might also invest in ways to suck value from the blockchain in ways most of us would find unethical. (ICO's are a good example - treating alt-coins like stocks is questionably ethical)
  • Many crypto coins are "mined" initially. This is a process where people run "mining" computers to guess the codes to discover new crypto units. These formulas are designed so coins are easy to mine initially, but become progressively more difficult and resource-consuming to mine later. Early developers get a huge amount of crypto early on. This, like a traditional multi-level-marketing scheme, sets the stage to primarily reward early adopters if they can continue the scheme long enough to pump value into the commodity. If you're late to this party, you're basically giving your money to the early adopters and putting tremendous pressure on yourself to see a profit. This is assuming the crypto you're investing in ever increases in value, which is statistically unlikely.
  • Technology has not kept up with the needs of Crypto - It's no longer economically viable to mine for Bitcoin and hasn't been for years, so the only way to profit in BTC is by taking advantage of others. There are also big problems with the growth of crypto and the blockchain and there's controversy over how to manage the transactions. Some might argue this problem is localized to a few crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, but the fact is, all cryptos are susceptible to these problems and until they are traded at the rate of ones like Bitcoin, there's no evidence they're any more technologically stable.
  • Not all crypto-currencies are the same, and this is as bad as it is good. For example, Bitcoin, the most valuable crypto currency is by design, limited to only 21 Million units in existence. Etherium however, at present, the second-most popular/valuable crypto currency has a fundamentally different model, with a virtually unlimited number of potential units being released, limited to 18 Million PER YEAR. Yes, people are "investing" in something that dilutes itself by 18 million units every year!
  • There are tens of thousands of crypto currencies out there (There's even a web site dedicated to making note of some of the many crypto currency failures) - Anybody can create a crypto currency. In the near future, I predict you'll be able to go to a web site and create your own crypto, and it will be for all intents and purposes, as potentially valuable as any other. It's not unlike to see in the future individuals who have their own currency. By the way this breathes new life into the corporate business model of "points" you can give customers based sales. Every company can now claim their "brand-bucks" program is cyber-currency and a commodity. Expect everybody from Starbucks to Amazon to have their own alt-currency.

People and institutions are now looking at crypto currency as an "investment" which is absolutely, positivily NOT what it was designed to be. And for this reason, a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money falling for the hype.

Crypto currency has even less intrinsic value than fiat currency.

Here's what's funny. Crypto currency advocates argue that fiat currency "has no intrinsic value", therefore there's not much difference between bitcoin and US dollars.

But this is a lie.

Let's say it again... Crypto currency has even less value than regular currency.

The US Dollar is a significantly more stable monetary concept than any crypto currency, for a number of very specific reasons:

  • It has maintained stability and usefulness for centuries.
  • It's regulated by the US government and a hierarchy of institutions with various checks and balances. (You may argue you don't like the nature of the system, but it still has checks and balances, much more than crypto as we'll see).
  • Everybody uses the dollar. It's the de-facto standard fiat currency in America and accepted in most other places around the world.
  • It's extremely easy to conduct transactions using US dollars.
  • There are numerous laws and regulations that guarantee peoples deposits in banks, and protect against fradulent transactions.

In sharp contrast, almost all crypto currency has virtually none of these benefits. There's tremendous value in a fiat currency that you know protects you from fraud, even if it involves your own incompetence. There's tremendous value in knowing that what a dollar buys today, you will also be able to purchase tomorrow. There's tremendous value in knowing that nobody is going to look at your dollar bill and go, "WTF is that? What do I do with it?" Or charge you a $20 "transaction fee" to convert it into something else. Beyond this, there's constant controversy about whether or not the blockchain technology has become unmanageable, and the de-centralized nature is giving way to a more centralized nature of exchanges, but the more popular an exchange becomes, the more likely it is involved in fraudulent activity.

But most importantly, with traditional currency at a bank, if the bank gets robbed, you're protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Company). And it's a lot harder to rob a bank of a million dollars than it is to break into an online exchange and instantly pilfer tens of millions in Bitcoin and other cryptos, which is now becoming common place. And when this happens, there is nothing you can do. Because you never really owned anything in the first place. You never owned anything that anybody guaranteed. You never owned anything that a majority of people in your community ever thought was of any specific value.

Why Would Crypto Currency and Blockchain Systems Be Considered A Ponzi Scheme?

In and of themselves, crypto is not a scam.

The scam part comes with anybody trying to tell you to "invest in crypto". That's when "blockchain", "bitcoin", "crypto", etc. BECOME A PONZI SCHEME.

The best way to illustrate why investing in crypto is a scam is to compare it to another popular investment: stocks.

Both crypto and stocks are sold in shares and have a particular value per share.

Investors buy these shares in hopes the price will go up. If they sell the shares when the price is higher they make money. If they sell when the price is lower, they lose money. That's pretty basic.

There are companies now promoting crypto like stock shares, offering what are called, "ICO's" - an "initial coin offering" much like an IPO is an initial offering of public shares. It gives people a chance to buy into crypto currency in the beginning. But, THIS IS A SCAM.

Because there's an inherent difference between investing in stocks verses crypto.

A stock represents shares in a material organization. If you own shares in Apple, you actually are a part owner of Apple, and part owner of all the assets Apple has. Even if Apple's stock price drops, you still have a proportionate share of the company's assets. And you can determine the relative value of their stock based on the company's assets. Traditional stocks have material valuation.

In stark contrast, crypto currencies have nothing. You aren't owning anything material. You do not have a share of anything you can examine or valuate. You merely have some numbers that indicate if you can find someone else to buy those numbers at a higher price, you might be able to turn a profit, but at the end of the day, you own nothing of value and never have.

With crypto currencies, the value of these shares is solely based on what you can get someone else to pay for them. This is completely arbitrary. At any point, this entire market could completely implode into nothing. That would never happen with a traditional company -- a traditional company has assets, and investors have a fiduciary duty to monitor and maintain the company's viability. There is nothing of the sort with crypto currency, except the standard network-marketing-style approach of constantly enticing other people into buying your crypto at a higher price than you paid.

The Only Way You Profit In Crypto Is At Someone Else's Expense

With traditional stocks, you earn profit often through the growth and success of the company. When they do well, the shareholders do well. Everybody benefits.

With crypto, you only earn profit at the expense of later investors who, are now required to hype the crypto up to a higher level, in order to create profit. This is an impossible, un-tenable business model. It's the exact definition of a Ponzi Scheme.

Crypto Isn't Bad As Long As You Don't Consider It An Investment

I'm not panning all crypto. It works for what it was designed.

The problem is, what's going on now, with "Initial Coin Offerings" and "blockchain technology investing" is bullshit. These are people and institutions that smell money and want in on the scheme.

The only way crypto would ever be ubiquitous is if it became very similar to existing fiat currency, and we have hybrid systems like this in place right now, such as credit card payment companies. So true crypto is only really useful when it's largely valueless, and used in small, inconsequential transactions (like 2 pizzas for 10k - that makes sense). Beyond this, it becomes another "Pet Rock" or "Dutch Tulip" that salespeople are trying to get you psyched over.

So does this mean, "I hate Bitcoin?" Not at all. I love the idea of crypto currencies.

What I hate are all the predators who are now in the market, trying to make the intangible medium, seem like a security. This makes the housing markets' "default credit swaps" look like gold bouillon. Please don't fall for it. There are better ways to create value without becoming part of a scheme that centers on misleading people.

- Mark Pile, BSAlert.com

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#MeToo Movement Wins A Few Battles, Losing War

Posted by Pile (978 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

While the mainstream media focuses on today's accused sexual harasser, are women overall losing the war? Are they being distracted and misdirected at low-hanging-fruit? A very insightful editorial published in the New York Times raises the question...

It would be easy to end 2017 with the impression that, whatever its afflictions, it was at least a game-changing year for feminism.

“The Female Revolution Is Here” and could “Smash Patriarchy at Its Core,” social and mainstream media headlines declared. “We are blowing the whistle on the prime directive of the master/slave relationship between women and men.” “This is the end of patriarchy” — this from Forbes! — “the male domination of humanity.” Twitter, the newsstand and the street concur: This year witnessed a transformational moment in American sexual politics.

Surely the results of the #MeToo phenomenon are worthy. It’s a seriously good thing Harvey Weinstein is gone and that the potential Harvey Weinsteins will think twice or thrice or a thousand times before harassing women whose fortunes they control. But “the end of patriarchy”? Look around.

This month, President Trump signed into law a tax bill that throws a bomb at women. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act systematically guts benefits that support women who need support the most: It means an end to personal and dependent exemptions (a disaster for minimum-wage workers, nearly two-thirds of whom are women). An expiration date for child-care tax credits and a denial of such credits for immigrant children without Social Security cards. An end to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. And, barely avoided, thanks to Democrats’ objections: an enshrinement of “fetal personhood” in the form of college savings accounts for unborn children, a sly grenade lobbed at legal abortion.

Not to mention that Republican congressmen plan to pay down the enormous federal deficit the bill will incur by slashing entitlements that, again, are critical to women: Medicaid (covering nearly half the births in the nation and 75 percent of family planning), Medicare (more than half of beneficiaries 65 and older — and two-thirds of those 85 and older — are women) and so on.

And that’s on top of all the other Trump administration insults: reviving the global gag rule on abortion, suspending tracking of the gender wage gap, deep-sixing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order and much more.

Which leads me to wonder, if we get rid of a handful of Harveys while losing essential rights and protections for millions of women, are we really winning this thing? How is this female calamity happening in the midst of the Female Revolution? An answer may lie in a schism that has haunted women’s protest for 150 years.

American women’s activism has historically taken two forms. One is an expression of direct anger at the ways individual men use and abuse us. It’s righteous outrage against the unambiguous enemy with a visible face, the male predator who feeds on our vulnerability and relishes our humiliation. Mr. Weinstein’s face is the devil’s face du jour, and the #MeToo campaign fits squarely in this camp. The other form is less spectacular but as essential: It’s fighting the ways the world is structurally engineered against women. Tied to that fight is the difficult and ambiguous labor of building an equitable system within which women have the wherewithal and power to lead full lives.

The clarion cry against individual male predation and the push for broader gender equality may seem part and parcel, especially now. When Donald Trump is the titular head of the machine, it’s tempting to imagine that the machine itself has orange hair — and that to defeat Harvey Weinstein is to win. But the patriarchy is bigger than the patriarch.

The two forms of women’s protest intersect, of course. Just ask generations of female workers at Ford Motor Company, who know that workplace sexual harassment undergirds a system of oppression. But fighting the patriarch and fighting the patriarchy are also distinct — and the former tends to be more popular than the latter. It’s easier to mobilize against a demon, as every military propagandist — and populist demagogue — knows. It’s harder, and less electrifying, to forge the terms of peace. Declaring war is thrilling. Nation building isn’t.

How this plays out in feminism has been evident since the 19th century, when American women started the “social purity” movement against prostitution and “white slavery” of girls. The most popular women’s mobilization of the 19th century wasn’t for suffrage — it was for Prohibition, a moral crusade against demon men drinking demon rum, blowing their paychecks at the saloon and coming home to beat and rape their wives. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the nation’s largest women’s organization.

Did that war against men behaving badly feed into the larger battle for women’s equality? In many ways, yes: Susan B. Anthony herself began as a temperance organizer. But a good number of women who railed against alcohol’s evils shrank from women’s suffrage. Fighting against male drunkenness fell within the time-honored female purview of defending the family and the body; extending women’s rights into a new political realm felt more radical and less immediate. Frances Willard, the temperance union’s formidable second president, eventually brought the organization around to supporting the female franchise by redefining the women’s vote as a “home protection” issue: “citizen mothers,” as the morally superior sex, would purge social degeneracy from the domestic and public circle. But Willard’s attempt to further conjoin morality efforts with the second form of activism — her “Do Everything” campaign for a shorter workweek, a living wage, health care and prison reform, among other things — was snuffed out upon her death, as the union’s leadership abandoned its support for broader social reform.

The challenge today is the one faced by Anthony and Willard: how to bring the outrage over male malfeasance to bear on the more far-reaching campaign for women’s equality. Too often, the world’s attention seems to have room for only the first.

A few weeks ago on a chilly morning in Pittsburgh, two women named Chelsey Engel and Lindsey Disler chained themselves to the entrance of the building that houses Senator Pat Toomey’s local office to protest the tax bill. “The situation is so catastrophic and so dire,” Ms. Disler said, her scarf-swathed torso shackled to the doors. “Something has to be done.” She delivered her words to two dozen onlookers and a few police officers, who, by 8:30 a.m., had sent the two women packing. Their protest barely registered outside a few area news outlets, on a day when the media was aflutter with reports of the latest celebrity accused of harassment, Peter Martins, director of New York City Ballet.

The two forms of female protest can even be positioned against each other. In the 1980s, the “War on Pornography” campaign set off the damaging “sex wars” within the women’s movement itself, at the very moment when a backlash against women’s equality was amassing its forces and Ronald Reagan’s administration was formulating policies that would disproportionately hurt half the country. The “sex-positive” feminists who worried about restrictions on free speech and questioned the condemnation of all pornographic material found themselves labeled, by anti-pornography feminists, as shills and pimps for the industry. Today we’re already seeing the long knives come out for sister travelers who have called for some due process and proportionality in confronting male harassers.

A similar quarrel surfaced in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. Some feminist-minded women deemed her an unacceptable choice to pursue the art of dealing and compromising necessary to running the state — and running it to the greater benefit of women — because she’d already compromised herself by staying with, and defending, Bill Clinton.

The forces behind this divide are so intractable in part because they are so psychological. To fight the devil is to be on the side of the angels, to assume the mantle of virtue and purity. The political arena, by contrast, is no place for angels, and its victories are slow and often incomplete. Without gainsaying the courage of “silence breakers,” one can note the flip side: that their words, especially now, can generate instant, and dramatic, response — and more immediate gratification than one gets from protesting economic and legal structures.

- By SUSAN FALUDIDEC. 28, 2017, New York Times Editorial Page


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How America Got Into Its Economic and Social Mess

Posted by Pile (1192 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

Noted economist, Robert Reich outlines his "Big picture" of what's happened to America over the last 80+ years and where we're going. A simple, yet powerful outline of the path and trajectory our country has been headed..


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Burger King Ad Promotes Something Besides Its Products: Empathy

Posted by Pile (3558 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

[Mean People]
It's rare when we at BSAlert call attention to a corporate ad campaign on a positive note, but the latest commercial from the most unlikely of sources, Burger King, actually tugs on the heartstrings as well as the mind of consumers in a very creative way, and it's worth sharing...

It's also amusing to note that this is from the same company that several years ago launched an ad campaign that stated, "un-friend 10 people on Facebook and get a free whopper" at which point Burger King contacted each of the un-friended friends letting them know their friendship wasn't stronger than a free Whopper... so while we're not apt to completely forgive Burger King, we can appreciate their new turn... for now.

As corporations become more powerful and influential in our society, it becomes important to note advertisers have a choice of how they want to motivate consumers. Traditionally selfishness has been a pivotal factor in consumerism. We're happy to see that benevolence, empathy and concern for others being explored and promoted. Burger King does this in a very poignant way, not only promoting a concept but making people aware of how their choices need adjustment.

According to Burger King:

Scrawny. Short. Ugly. Fat. Weird. 30% of school kids worldwide are bullied each year and bullying is the #1 act of violence against young people in America today (Source: nobully.org). The BURGER KING® brand is known for putting the crown on everyone’s head and allowing people to have it their way. Bullying is the exact opposite of that. So the BURGER KING® brand is speaking up against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the BURGER KING® brand Bullying Jr. experiment, more people stood up for a bullied WHOPPER JR.® than a bullied high school Jr. Visit NoBully.org to learn how you can take a stand against bullying.


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The Hamster Wheel Of Gun Violence And Citizen Helplessness

Posted by Pile (2965 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

[Beating Dead Horses]
It's that time of the year. Domestic terrorist shooting time. It seems to have a season, not unlike fishing or harvest time.

Along with it comes another season: Blaming, Whining and Complaining.

Will Americans actually do something or are they cursed to merely complain and flail their arms in the air helplessly?

The current issue of GQ magazine has an editorial by someone named Drew Magary, entitled "Las Vegas Is What Happens When America Happens"

I can relate to what the author is saying, but while he crystallizes everyone's frustrations, he also epitomizes the cause of the problem: helplessness and detachment.

"It’s already begun. As I’m writing this, over 50 people are dead in Vegas and already the fruitless cycle has started. There are liberals like me begging for gun control that will never come to pass (I can only look back at this post and laugh bitterly)"

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Yet this is what people do, over and over again.

He's right. This does appear to be a characteristic of the new America, but it's not merely related to gun violence. There seems to be an ever-waning sense of personal responsibility the populace feels regarding everything bad that happens. We toss our arms up in the air and flail every now and then, but we really aren't willing to do much more than that. And every now and then we poke our heads up and get angered that the world has not changed for us like we wanted.

"Because by now, I don't know what I can do to change the fundamental anatomy of America"

Comments like the above can be maddening, because in reality, this guy, like all of us have been wearing the ruby slippers all along. We're more accustomed to complaining about problems than solving them, but the answers are there, right in front of us if you want to pay attention...

I would submit the first step in this process is to give America an MRI.

Examine at its core how it works.

You don't like the laws?

Rather than scream that laws need to be changed, take a good look at how laws are made, the process, by whom, how those people get in power, and develop a plan to address it?

Wouldn't that be better than barking orders into cyberspace?

The tea party went from nobody to completely running every branch of the government in less than 20 years.

The left sat by while they took over, wallowing in their helplessness.

And still, they don't want to acknowledge how brilliant their plan was?

The left could follow the same pattern and win.

Start local. Stay issue-oriented. Maintain solidarity with those on your side. Don't try to re-invent the wheel - pick the dominant political party you're closest aligned with and take it over - from the inside. Little by litte, one piece at a time.

This is how the tea party took control. They didn't immediately demand the Bill of Rights be amended. They planted their seeds locally and nurtured them.

This "outsider coming in to save us" plan continually fails. Stop doing it.

The left tried this a little bit, but then gave up when everything didn't work perfectly.

The right, kept going, trying, and they won. This is why they run everything now.

And still, the left want to throw their arms up in the air and say "This is America. We're screwed."


25% of the country took over the other 75% and the 75% are "screwed?" Awww, poor majority of Americans. WTF happened? Not our fault! Waaaaah!

That's a shame. It's crazy that the smarter half of the country is so clueless.

We just watched the biggest group of idiots ever in the history of America take over the country right in front of our eyes and we're like, "Durrrrrrr How could this happen?"

Right now, the tea party people know exactly who they're going to vote for in the next election. They've been building local coalitions for years.

The liberals.. they have no idea. They can't even name anybody who's planning to run against the republicans. But darned if they're not awesome in re-posting condemning tripe about Trump every five minutes on Facebook.

Come the midterm elections next year, the right will have everything lined up to maintain power. The left will poke their heads away from their iPhones for about 10 minutes and say, "We have no chance to win. We're in a red state. Waaaaaa" and pen a few more whiny facebook posts lamenting how much everything sucks."

Social media is full of temporary directors of the movie called, "America." They always appear just after a tragedy, barf out their simple solution for fixing things, and then retreat back into posting pictures of their lunch, cats or fridge artwork.

"Ban guns now!" "Repeal the second amendment!" Sounds great in theory, but how are you going to do it in practice? If the voice of reason appears within these threads it's attacked for being arrogant, dismissive and condescending. Yea, I'm part of the problem, having the audacity to ask how you're going to repeal the second amendment when you can't get a law passed that says it's a bad idea to shoot someone dead for looking at you funny.

I often ask what's going on? Do people really want change, or do they just want to vent? Because these arbitrarily, reactive demands appear toothless and unrealistic.

It's reminiscent of children playing in a playground saying to each other, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I want to be a cowboy!"

"I want to be a princess!"

"I want to repeal the 2nd amendment!"

That's amusing and poignant when you're 5 years old, but if you're 35 and you're still harping, "I want to be a princess!" Perhaps you do deserve some eye-rolls?

Hey, I'm not saying don't dream big. But if you're going to demand big change, have a big plan. I'd like holodecks and faster-than-light space travel, but posting that on Facebook, unfortunately, probably doesn't get us even a millimeter closer to that goal.

You say you want gun control? Great. How? Oh you live in a red state and don't want to get off your ass to campaign because you think it's futile? How conveeeeenient! Oh you think it's impossible to de-throne the republican incumbant in your district? Despite the fact that probably only 15% of the eligible voters actually voted for him? And you want to convince us you're serious and worth paying attention to when you bark out orders, but aren't willing to really work to make these things real?

Perhaps one day, we as a people will accept responsibility and recognize that true change takes time, and happens in little bits? And it requires focus and dedication. If you get butthurt because someone, on your own side, on social media doesn't find your arbitrary dictate on society realistic, how are you going to deal with true adversity?

I keep waiting for the losing team to start paying attention to how and why they're getting their asses kicked, but they seem to primarily enjoy wallowing and complaining. We can have change, if people care enough to work. Focus on small, incremental wins and move forward that way. I apologize if I'm too snarky and not more diplomatic, but it's very frustrating to hear concerned citizens rail on about social problems, but never gain any ground. There is a way. There is an alternative to endless complaints if you're serious.


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What is Net Neutrality And Why Should You Care?

Posted by Pile (3829 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

What is Net Neutrality and why should people care about it?

In a nutshell, NN is the idea that the Internet is a shared, global network that should not be tampered with at its base level. If you want to be part of the network, you have to respect the network. This means, if you want your sites to be accessible to everybody else, then you have to make sure your customers have access to the entirety of the Internet. You can't break it into pieces and show either prejudice or favoritism in determining which content can be accessed over your system.

Simple as that. You want in? All or nothing. Play FAIR. Treat others the way you like to be treated.

Beyond this, it's important to note that before the Internet came around, there were plenty of private networks created and run by private companies. They could do what they wanted. But the Internet was created by taxpayer money and made wide open to anybody because it was a public resource. Because nobody "owned" the Internet, it prospered and eventually became the default network.

Now private companies want to take control of it and slice it into pieces and charge extra for parts, or deny you access to parts of it if the content isn't something they agree with. That's really bad.

Net Neutrality opponents argue that Net Neutrality is anti-freedom-of-speech, but they are lying. What they really mean, is that they believe they should have the freedom to deny you access to content over their network, and if you don't allow it, you're denying them their rights. It's a bizarro, irrational argument.

Why do some companies want Net Neutrality abolished?

Simple. They can make more money charging their customers for access. They can shut down competitive Internet services so they're the only game in town. The abolishment of Net Neutrality will cost consumers more and offer them less choices.

The Net Neutrality fight is split clearly along party lines.

The Republicans and the Libertarian parties are in favor of abolishing Net Neutrality. Their corporate benefactors have paid them well to push a variety of narratives convincing people it's a good thing to get rid of. To them, it's about money and control. Their idea of "freedom of speech" is refusing to carry anyone else's traffic on their network if they can't monetize it the way they want.

The Democrats have been the only party to consistently fight to protect the neutrality of the Internet. If you care about this issue, there is a party you can vote for that will protect it. Remember this in 2018. It's really important if you want full access to information, news and everything else.

It's quite popular to say, "both parties are the same" and they both are pawns to special interests, but not all parties are equally beholden to special interests, and the Net Neutrality issue is another clear example of this. If you care about the Internet, protest, contact your representatives. If you don't want to have to keep doing this over and over, vote for people who have a clear respect for the Internet. Pay attention to which parties are easier to reach and more attentive to your needs.

Some corporations are being deceitful.

You may on occasion hear that AT&T or Verizon is in favor of Net Neutrality. In reality, they and other large providers have spent millions to shut it down. Now they're muddying the waters trying to re-define what Net Neutrality means. If they can't get it abolished, then they'll write their own series of bills that re-defines what NN is, and includes the loopholes they want to filter and control traffic on their network. No matter what they say, the large providers are not friends of Net Neutrality. Beware of ANY legislation they propose which supposedly "protects" the sanctity of the Internet.

VOTE IN 2018!

Additional references:

Democrats vs Republicans: The Battle for Net Neutrality

Democrats Introduce Open Internet Preservation Act To Restore Net Neutrality

Democrats Are Bracing For A Big, Public Fight To Protect Net Neutrality


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Ten Commandment Statues Are Really Taxpayer Money Grabs

Posted by Pile (4374 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

Within days of the controversial Ten Commandments monument erected on the courthouse grounds in Arkansas, it was destroyed by an irate citizen. Beyond the obvious controversy of the state endorsing a particular flavor of religion, what seems to be going on with municipalities continuing to put up these displays when there's overwhelming evidence they will be rules unconstitutional and taken down?

Filed public documents in the Akansas case make it very clear: This is a thinly-veiled attempt to funnel taxpayer money to select private religious legal groups...

In the Arkansas case, legislation was enacted in 2015 proposing the erection of the monument. But what's interesting, is in the legislation, a dictate is made to designate an outside, third party legal team, the "Liberty Legal Institute."

The monument under this subsection shall be exempt
14 from §§ 22-3-301 et seq. and 22-3-501 et seq.
15 (c) In the event that the legality or constitutionality of the
16 monument under subsection (b) of this section is challenged in a court of
17 law, the Attorney General may:
18 (1) Prepare and present a legal defense of the monument; or
19 (2)(A) Request that Liberty Legal Institute prepare and present
20 a legal defense of the monument.
21 (B) A request that Liberty Legal Institute prepare and
22 present a legal defense of the monument shall not be subject to § 25-16-702.
23 (d) The placement of the monument under this section shall not be
24 construed to mean that the State of Arkansas favors any particular religion
25 or denomination over others.

Details: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2015R/Acts/Act1231.pdf

In the end, the state loses in court, but the Liberty Legal Institute wins and gets paid well. It's safe to assume that same organization probably also contributes to various politicians election campaign efforts.

To add further insult to injury, the Arkansas man who destroyed the monuments, contrary to what right wing media are claiming, is not an atheist, Muslim or secularist. He's a Republican Trump supporter who is a devout Christian.


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The Difference Between An Imperfect Friend And A Deadly Enemy

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Bill Maher on the myth of the "lesser of two evils" which tends to turn off liberal voters, especially those who were butthurt that Bernie did not get the nomination, and instead stayed home instead of voting for the Democratic nominee. We all have reaped what they sowed, and Bill has something to say about it...


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