The War on Reputations

There’s a new Civil War in progress and nobody’s winning. This Civil War is all about destroying the reputations of political partys, politicians, news media, government institutions, and ordinary people who have found themselves in extraordinary situations.

This is a many-sided war with battles being fought over the reputations of participants. In politics, it’s about Republicans vs Democrats and who will bend the government to their will while it loots USA national treasure for its party.

Outside of national politics, it’s about the reputations of celebrities, businesses and their leaders, and the burgeoning growth of internet personalities. The destroyers attack the reputations of famous people, the reputations of historical events, and the reputations of religion, morality, and financial institutions. And they especially attack the reputations of hard work, civility, deferred gratification, and common decency.

The weaponization of social media is the suitcase bomb of the 90s. The tools of social media allow everyone to become a potential bomb maker and everyone else a potential bomb thrower. In the hands of irresponsible people, the innocent-and-imperfect are attacked with weapons in which there is no defense. There is no defense from the lies that are told or the misrepresentations of the truth. It is scorched earth warfare.

The War on Reputations is an ugly war. It is anarchy on the internet. A “hater” chooses a target and launches his/her hate bomb. Others pick up the same material and fashion it for their own purpose. When government or businesses attempt to stop the bombmakers, other haters attack those same governments and those same businesses and accuse them of denying free speech or being fascist, communist, anti-this, or a sympathizer for that.

The only way to win this war is either not to play the game (a la War Games) or become totalitarian and control the content. For humankind, it appears that controlling the content is the only viable option. Self-control is preferred but “from the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

Just as newspapers and magazines controlled the content of their publications, the ISPs may be required to control the content in their e-publications.

Accusations and mudslinging will need an outside force to control them. And that is exactly what many fear.

The legislation that controls the content of the US internet will be foreboding at best; but to live with a free market of smearing, sneering, and fleering seems impossible. To give every person access to social media bomblets and permit the desecration of the innocent-and-imperfect seems too permissive. Not everyone is an adult and not everyone is equal. We should recognize that.

The War on Reputations could use a few Rules of Social Media Warfare and violations of those rules should likely become Social Media War Crimes with attendant consequences. Perhaps a new Geneva Convention is needed to craft those rules.

Any takers?

Sen. Ron Johnson- Naked and Unafraid (cough) in Oz

“This will get me in trouble, but I don’t care,” Johnson said. He argued that “groups of agitators” are to blame for the Capitol riot and not “tens of thousands of Trump supporters.”

“The group of people that supported Trump, the hundreds of thousands of people who attended those Trump rallies, those are the people that love this country,” Johnson told Weber. “They never would have done what happened on Jan. 6. That is a group of people that love freedom; that’s a group of people we need to unify and keep on our side.”

The woke Senator from Wisconsin is laying it all on the line, isn’t he? I mean , really, do you think he might pick up a brain while he is in the Land of Oz?

So, let’s begin by re-asserting what everyone else knew on January 6th and in the thousands of videos seen after that but NOW Sen. Johnson also knows this:

a) Of the tens of thousands of MAGA supporters in Washington on January 6th, a few hundred actually invaded the Capitol building while tens of thousands stood outside of it.

b) That invasionary element disrupted the Electoral College vote count and forced Senators to take shelter. They broke windows, broke doors, beat police officers, sprayed tear gas, and violently forced their way into the building. They stole mementos as trophies of their incursion.

c) That element was prepared to take prisoners and was shouting hang Mike Pence and seeking out Nancy Pelosi and AOC and any RINOs they could find.

d) The President ginned up his base and they believed they were acting on instructions from President Trump to “Stop the Steal”.

e) The President did nothing for two hours except rub his hands in glee as he watched everything unfold on TV.

With a medal of courage from the lion in Oz, Sen. Johnson doesn’t care if you know the truth that the people who committed this disruption are the ones who were inside the Capitol Building and not outside of it. NOW Sen. Johnson says it was just some agitators carrying Trump flags, shouting Trump slogans, and stopping the steal but they were not really MAGA supporters.

Sen. Johnson says this even though there is a photo of Roger Stone (dear friend of Pres. Trump) and six Oath Keepers (far-right anti-government militia) together in Washington that day.

Sen, Johnson goes on to say that this “insurrection” was no big deal. (I hope he finds a brain soon.) AND blames the House Managers for cheating on the delivery of evidence.

Johnson said in the interview that the videos were “highly selectively edited” and that the trial lacked due process. He also questioned whether the group was truly an “armed” insurrection.

“When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask — how many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot, it was a tragedy, but I think there was only one,” Johnson said. “If that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots.”

(Due Process? More evidence that Sen Johnson doesn’t have a brain. There is no due process in an impeachment. It is not a criminal trial! Sheesh. Maybe he should read Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”)

So now Senator Johnson is claiming this just didn’t live up to the claim of being a planned armed insurrection! This is how Senator Johnson lies. He lies by conflation: mixing two things up and then saying: See? It doesn’t measure up!

I think Senator Johnson doesn’t measure up as a Senator for the United States of America. He falls woefully short because he lacks a brain and he lacks courage.

I don’t think he has a heart either. To the best of my knowledge, Senator Johnson has not expressed his empathy to his colleagues who were emotionally impacted by the days events. Nor to the families who lost their loved ones on that day.

Maybe Senator Johnson should ease on down that yellow-brick Republican road in 2022 and let a better American take his place. Or else fly his monkey-ass back into the sky.

p.s. Aren’t you getting a little tired of Republicans saying that it is all a fraud and the Dems are making things up? I am.

an idiot speaks

Not me…a different idiot..

“Moreover, free speech has never been more widely available than it is today. So much so that the cacophony of voices liberated by digital media too frequently drowns out well-informed and sensible opinion. Trump, who blurts out several hot takes every day, is himself an example of the verbal incontinence enabled by Twitter in recent years.”

Please don’t be stupid enough to think that Free Speech has anything to do with Twitter and other social media. Your speech may be curtailed by any person, organization, church, or motorcycle club in your neighborhood who chooses to block you from their website, newspaper, podium, or whatever. You do not have the right to have your barbaric yawp printed or distributed by everyone.

Free speech is about what GOVERNMENT cannot do. They cannot stop you from saying cruel and heartless things… unless you advocate insurrection, the overthrow of the government.

Cancel Culture is the negation of public figures by withdrawing support for them, their history, their products, and/or their contributions. This is rejection, not censorship. It is revisionism of the highest order. It is oppression.

I’m beginning to think we live on the island described in Lord of the Flies. You and I and others like us are “Ralph”.

The rest of the world is like Jack’s savages and soon they will be hunting us. They wish to put our heads on a spike because we adhere to morality rather than savagery.

We may need the military to save us. It’s happened before. Different places and different times.

Insurrection, my butt

Here are 6 examples of Insurrections.

https://www.history.com/news/6-violent-uprisings-in-the-united-states

Definition of Insurrection:: an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government

There are weapons and political aims and people are killed. They are not protests with anarchists. They are not looters or flash mobs.

Videos of looters carrying a vacuum cleaner out of Target is not an insurrection. It is an opportunity crime.

The only thing this President wants to do is to find a bigger stick than other people so he can threaten and bully anyone in opposition to him.

He looks for the worst and then uses that to humiliate and defame. He continues to ARROGANTLY debase others.

We should worry this President will suspend elections for made-up reasons and assert himself as president with emergency powers until the made-up reason no longer exists. If his big business donor base abandons him and he is facing his own humiliation, he may say “try and stop me”.

Who will stop President Trump? Mitch McConnell? Not likely. Nancy Pelosi? That’s a stretch. The military? Maybe, but not likely.

We have not seen the likes of a destroyer like President Trump since Napoleon.

This President could bring Civil War back to America.

What are you going to do when he comes for you?

The Acid Media

It’s patina tempered to a lustrous glow by the President of the United States, Acid Media has become mainstream. First it was media gossip, then it was bullying, then it was propaganda, and now it has become Acid Media.

Throw metaphorical Acid in the face of anyone and get away with it.

President Trump certainly brought the swamp to the White House with his Acid Tweets. It is now common place to throw acid at anyone without fear of retribution.

And yet when the President throws his Acid and then is called out for it, President Trump uses the power of the Presidency to punish.

This IS the demagogue we feared would one day be in the White House.

HE has arrived and his taint will stink for a decade.

Along with him, are those who spend their days spraying acid on the innocent as they take aim at the face of their victim.

Acid Media.

A Citizen’s Arrest?

You’ve seen the footage of the Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the head of a detained man. That man died. You’re aware that FOUR police officers present were fired from their jobs as a result and that charges are pending.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/26/us/minneapolis-police-encounter-death-trnd/index.html

The question that came to mind was if I were present could I have acted to prevent this death? Followed by: Would I have acted while a witness with three other police officers present?

We all want to say yes to that question but would we?

There were three times in my life when I stood up for people who were being victimized. Never like this situation but… I was risking physical harm in one instance and personal respect in the other two. In one case it was a civilian woman being harassed by a small group of sailors. Physical harm was possible but it didn’t happen.

One time I made it my business to stand up for a colleague that had been taken advantage by a corrupt taxi driver. That’s a long story that ended with a bunch of taxi drivers asking me if I was going to have the man arrested. I decided not. And another time, I challenged two obnoxious strangers to cut the crap as they made fun of a young shuttle bus driver.

When these things happened, I acted without thinking. I was up on my toes and I was leaning into the action. I was affronted and I acted immediately.

We never know what we will do until it happens but I like to think I would have acted to confront the police officer with his knee on the man’s neck.

Which leads me to wonder, from the safety of my keyboard, what would have been a good approach to intervene and create a different outcome?

A Citizens Arrest may be personally dangerous with three police officers present but it seems as if it would have changed the narrative, the dynamic, just enough to maybe save the man’s life.

Why do I think this way?

  1. The scene was being recorded so there would be evidence of what I did.
  2. If I shouted that the police officer was using excessive force and that is a felony, each of the policemen would have recognized I knew what they were doing was a felony.
  3. If I shouted a second time that this was a felony and if the physical restraint of the man was not modified that I will make a citizens arrest of the police officer as was my right under Minnesota law. This would get their attention, too.
  4. If I shouted a third time that the witnessing police officers are to be charged as accomplices if they do nothing to change the restraint on the man, everyone will know I am serious.
  5. Under the law, I am allowed to take physical action to prevent a felony and then announce they are under arrest.

My hope is that the witnessing police officers would tell their buddy to get his knee off the neck of the man before number 5 happened.

It is likely I’d be arrested in any event. A small price to pay to save a man’s life but one never knows when courage flows in the veins what one will do.

When the heart pounds and the call-to-arms is all you can think of, one never knows how it will end.

I know I would be considered a threat. Up on toes, fingers extended, accusing officers in no uncertain terms that their actions were felonies and the felonies were being recorded, I can feel their eyes on me even now.

I hope I have the knowledge to understand who is being victimized by whom and adjust my behavior accordingly. I hope I have the courage to act in situations like that, too.

I hope we all do…

Can anyone vote Republican anymore?

There’s a title I never thought I’d write. And yet the rot and decay in Republican Party values has created an overwhelming stench.

Evidence demands a verdict. Consider the evidence:

a) A President who blames all his troubles on someone else. A President who demeans 49% of all Americans. A President who is actively wrenching Republicanism away from its core values of decency, respect, the rule of law and God, and replacing those values with buffoonery, humiliation, and maniacal tweets.

b) A Majority Leader in the Senate who perverted the impeachment process and emboldened and enabled a cover-up of criminal and unethical Executive Branch actions.

c) A federal Republican party that will not display nor support the humble and decent values of Ronald Reagan and countless other Republican presidents.  A congressional Republican Party that seeks to break the US Treasury during times of crisis.

d) A Republican Party that no longer believes in a Republic and instead seeks Presidential immunity from prosecution and immunity from congressional oversight,  a party who seeks a King to revere,  and a party who asserts that all accusations against the President are a crime.

How can and why should anyone vote for the rot in the Republican Party?

And how can anyone vote for the Democrat Party either? Socialistic, bleed-the-bank programs, corrupting the ethics of self-reliance, independent thinking, and the advancement of the greater good in all men, the Democratic Party has failed to engage its collective brain and has failed its mission to rear decent Americans.

If you believe in the decency of the common man, for goodness sake, vote for someone other than a Republican or a Democrat. If you want to save America, vote independently and vote for a different set of legislators.

 

Autocracy in the New Millenium?

It appears to be true.

Across the globe, elected leaders are seeking to kill democracy and assert themselves as rulers for life in their countries.

In March 2018, Donald Trump, addressing a crowd of donors at his Florida estate, told what sounded like a joke. He was talking about the recent amendment of China’s constitution to remove presidential term limits, allowing Xi Jinping to serve in that office indefinitely. About Xi, Trump said: “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give it a shot someday.” The crowd cheered and applauded in response. In fact, Trump has told one version or another of this joke many times since becoming president.

And though Trump’s remarks are generally perceived as facetious, many of his counterparts on the world stage are quite serious. In January, Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian nation in an annual State of the Union–esque speech. Alongside pledges to improve living standards by, among other things, offering free hot meals to schoolchildren, he proposed major constitutional reforms that could see the presidential office weakened and the prime ministry and State Council strengthened—measures very likely aimed at ensuring that Putin can remain in power after 2024, when constitutional term limits will force him out of the presidency.

I remember when President Bush II  was reported to have said (paraphrasing?) “The Constitution is just another God-Dxxx piece of paper”. (You can read that here if you like.)

Do you remember reading about Kings who sought legitimacy for their rule by having the Pope recognize their earthly authority?

And what about The Divine Right of Kings. ?

It seems that every autocrat seeks legitimacy when they assert they are the rulers over others.

And as near as I can tell, there is a steady progression towards The Unitary Executive Theory in the US in which no other branch of government can challenge a sitting President even when the President overrides Congressional intent.

The Autocrat of the United States may be just around the corner. It might be President Donald Trump…

…or maybe Jared Kushner…

Removing local control over the siting of cell towers

Goodbye local control over the siting of cell towers in Wisconsin.State statute 66.04040 removes all vestiges of town or municipality control unless the political unit of government has zoning authority. This removes almost all towns and some villages from local control over the siting of cell towers. It vests some authority to the county but limits that authority severely.

Ok, so why is this happening? Why is the Wisconsin state legislature removing local control over so many items?

#1. The frac sand industry took a shellacking when the travails of the Town of Cooks Valley with the frac sand industry became public knowledge. Using blogs and the Wisconsin Town’s Association as megaphones, the word quickly spread to town officials that if you want to control your destiny, you better adopt ordinances to control the industry before it comes to your town. Numerous towns enacted protective ordinances modeled after Cooks Valley’s to ensure they did not lose air, water, or lifestyle quality in their towns. The frac sand industry sought to fight the issue in court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled with the towns and against the industry.

#2 It is so much harder to get the Supreme Court to invalidate laws than anything else so crafty industry professionals began lobbying legislators  to enact legislation that removed town authority and placed authority in state laws. When state laws pre-empt local towns from taking any direct action against the industry companies, it forces towns to sue the state government if towns want any power at all. The advantage to industry is that state authority and legislators are a defense against town action. Good gig if you can get it. And they did.

#3 People want to be let alone but today’s industries terraform the surroundings into inhospitable places to live. From high capacity wells that drop the local water table to farmland run-off that causes a loss of aquatic plants and an increase in algae blooms, local people are tired of industries creating problems that cannot be solved locally.

#4 The transmission of useful information through social media to local officials means that industries no longer have years to operate with invisible/hidden tactics that take advantage of small town officials who once were not aware what was happening 100 miles away.

So the cell tower industry chose to pre-empt local control and establish state authority for the application and siting of cell towers. A smart move on their part to limit the ability of local authority to do anything about it.

2. If a political subdivision has in effect on July 2, 2013, an ordinance that applies to a class 2 collocation and the ordinance is inconsistent with this section, the ordinance does not apply to, and may not be enforced against, the class 2 collocation.

3. A political subdivision may regulate a class 2 collocation only as provided in this section.
4. A class 2 collocation is subject to the same requirements for the issuance of a building permit to which any other type of commercial development or land use development is subject.
The passage above from 66.0404 says precisely what it means: 1. If a local town already has an ordinance , this law negates that ordinance. 2. The local town is not permitted to get creative in how it controls the siting of cell towers, its power is limited to what the statute specifically gives it.  3. Local officials cannot create a new requirement for cell tower ‘permit applications’ different than any other commercial development or land use permit applications.
Sneaky law. It snubs local authority like a red-headed step child.
Too late to do anything about this attack on local control. Barron County’s cell tower ordinance has been killed by 66.0404 and the only thing that Barron County can do now is write a pablum-oriented ordinance in compliance with state law.
Forget the fights about abortion and immigration, our liberty is at stake. I have said many times that local control is being usurped by the feds and by the state. At the federal level, we are the Federal States of America instead of the United States of America. At the local level, we are simply becoming vassal political units with the responsibility to carry out state mandates and no authority to create ones ourselves.This loss of freedom and liberty to choose for ourselves is what makes the current state of affairs so heinous.
The Freedom to Choose is the foundation of liberty. Controlling the list of what we can choose from is tyranny and oppression.
We are up the river without a paddle if this momentum to remove local authority continues.
When the feds centralize power over the state and the state centralizes power over municipalities, nothing good can come from it.

 

WI Legislature: Damn the Citizens! Full Speed Ahead!

It is not enough to take away local control and invest it all in the State of Wisconsin (SOW). Now the WI legislature desires to place limitations on public input and debate about legislation in process.

This is, apparently, Governor Walker’s America: control by the State, influence by lobbyists, and legislation by corporate accord. Damn the Citizens! Full Speed Ahead!

Kathleen Vinehout comments on Changes in Committee Workings Public Input.

I hope she does not mind that I excerpt almost all of what she wrote:

Committees are the doers of the Legislature. The process is designed to be slow and deliberative and to encourage public input. However, speed and secrecy are increasingly being used to limit public involvement and careful legislative deliberation.

Public hearings are one place where people can make an impact on a developing new law. By testifying at a hearing, a person can directly provide input. Those who cannot travel to the Capitol can send emails or letters to members of a committee and request changes in legislation.

In recent years, small but significant changes are taking place in the workings of committees that limit public involvement — changes like shortening the length of notice before a public hearing; providing a public notice of one version of a bill and then offering a complete rewrite shortly before the public hearing; limiting speaking time for those testifying; limiting questions from committee members; allowing “invited testimony only” in a public hearing; or voting on a bill immediately following the public testimony.

All of these actions have been used for decades. But it is the increasing frequency with which they are used that concerns many of my constituents.

Committee chairs have extraordinary power. They set rules by which public hearings are held. They decide whether and when to hold a hearing, whether the hearing receives enough public notice for widespread citizen involvement, and who, if any, invited speakers might testify. During the hearing the chair determines the order of speakers and whether to limit speakers’ time testifying.

Following the public hearing, the committee chair decides if and when committee members will vote on the bill. Usually the process involves consultation with members. Discussion following a public hearing can involve conversation about new information made public during the hearing. When a substantial rewrite of the bill appears necessary, the committee chair sometimes convenes a working group to work through bill changes.

Thus correct language for new legislation emerges from a careful process of give and take. Members and the public have adequate time to prepare and concerns are addressed. This process is slow — so slow it sometimes involves several legislative sessions.

Speed and secrecy will kill public input. And changes in the actions of committee chairs can, over time, create a Legislature that listens primarily to the input of lobbyists, paid to represent the interest of their clients. Those voices without paid lobbyists are increasingly not heard, their concerns not addressed.

…….more

For example, a recent public hearing was held in the Senate mining committee on a bill to limit local people’s voices in sand mine operations. Many traveled by bus from western Wisconsin to testify. The first six hours of the testimony focused primarily on the concerns of those who benefited from the legislation — none of whom lived near a mine. The committee chair finally got to calling the majority of those opposed to the legislation very late in the afternoon — after the bus had to leave taking many opposed to the bill back home.

These unfortunate scenarios are increasingly common in the state Capitol. When citizens take the time to journey to a public hearing and are not able to testify, they rightly feel left out of the process. It’s easy then to give up.