Sign Me Up

by bauer on January 18, 2017

So, I finally get what Steve Bannon is doing. If you’re going to take control of the planet (at least the good parts), then everything makes sense. First and foremost, obviously, is to turn your biggest threat into your partner. Undeniably, an AmeriRusso Alliance would be the most formidable force in the history of the planet. After that, only China stands in the way. As their way of life pretty much can’t really be co-opted (they invented civilization in the first place) they need to be neutralized. China would be no match for the combined forces of the Alliance. Establishing the Alliance would probably only cost a few Baltic countries. And Ukraine. Maybe the Balkans. Strive for striking a global balance and a new world order.

Should be pretty straight-forward to get the Chinese to attack first. That’s not the real problem. The real problem is domestic. Liberal democracy is the best stepping stone to benign authoritarian rule. It just needs to be tweaked. Have to keep the core group of supporters happy and armed. Get them jobs (or the appearance of jobs) first and foremost. Keep them separate and antagonized, at first at a nearby but relatively harmless threat, one easily identifiable, say other-colored skin. Train them to think about overt defense (build a wall, fuel the already paranoid). Lay the groundwork for training them against the real threat - Truth, Justice and the American Way. Start with making the fourth estate the opposition party. Winnow down any minority rights through a set of appointments to the Cabinet. The real trick is going to be replacing the American Way with the AmeriRusso Way. That’s going to be the fun part, actually.

Europe, yeah, Europe. They’ll probably fall in line. Reach out and stoke the egos of those on the far right that have fascist tendencies. Meet with their leaders, marginalize the existing leaders of those countries. Augment the Russian programs of Kompromat and Dezinformatsiya covertly. They’re the experts. Maybe open some tunnels for them they didn’t know we had. Put together a program for denial, obfuscation, and conflation. Keep throwing stupid things out for the media to keep them occupied. Attack the entertainment industry.

I’m sure I’m missing a lot of details but feel like I’ve got the big picture. So, I’m only going to say this once. All you have to do is ask. Happy to help. Have some free time, obviously.

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Truth, Justice and the American Way

by bauer on January 12, 2017

In my youth, that was just a corny tag line to the Adventures of Superman, that black and white TV show from the 50s starring George Reeves. Truth was always a given; justice something that we just did; and the American Way just jingoism. Truth is now becoming the province of the governing, not the governed; justice becoming by the minority, not for the minority; and the American Way is on the road to becoming indistinguishable from the Russian Way, the culture implicit in the differentiation in the first place, manifested as Communism and revealed upon its dissolution as a corrupt, criminal culture at its institutional core.

This is a culture that has specific words for waging a disinformation campaign (dezinformatsiya) and for spreading compromising content (kompromat). This culture is being embraced by the Trump cadre. Steve Bannon, the shadowy “chief strategist” for Trump proclaims, “I’m a Leninist”. Kellyanne Conway, has been described as a “propaganda minister” by Carl Bernstein, he who exposed Watergate. Sean Spicer threatened Jim Acosta from CNN for asking questions Trump didn’t like. Truth is becoming indistinguishable from Dezinformatsiya. The American Way is becoming the Russian Way is becoming the Imperialist Way.

Is this such as a bad idea? Maybe it’s more realistic. Maybe it’s more effective. All we have to give up is American Exceptionalism. All we have to do shut up, stop asking questions, and believe what we’re told. It won’t be that hard. Spend a little time on Russia Today, the English language outlet for the Russian government. It’ll show you how. Should already be familiar to readers of Breitbart.

I remember being back in Lancaster, down by a bend in the Conestoga, drinking a Yuengling, watching my homies play cornhole. Bunch of guys, some women, around mid-life, a few more, a few fewer less. I only really know my oldest friend personally since college but I really know most everyone else. I can kind of tell we all grew up, more or less, in and around Lancaster - everyone pronounces the name of the Red Rose City correctly. Electricians, painters, carpenters, masons, truckers and me.

I imagine a number of them voted for Trump, even the union guys. I can understand why. He’d fit right in at the party. He spins some good yarns. Talks some surprising smack. Seems to have our back. So, sure, give him a shot. Jobs are tough, competition’s intensifying, Democrats are weakening. Besides, he likes Putin and Putin’s kind of our kind of guy. Throws people around, shoots stuff, surrounds himself with the most attractive women in the world. And we all like gold.

At the end of the day, though, I can’t believe we’ll give up being Americans. I remembered being little and seeing how the talking man in the suit sitting behind the desk on the black and white screen inside the little wooden cabinet was terrifying my parents. I’m sure we all share something similar in this regard. We don’t spread rumors, make innuendos, and outright lie to each other. Our principles don’t allow us to tolerate that kind of behavior. This is not about left vs right; at the least this is about violating the Constitution; at worst this is about committing treason.

Truth, Justice and the American Way. This isn’t corny to me anymore. It’s becoming sacred.

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Modern, Medieval, Ancient

by bauer on June 13, 2016

I was thinking the other day, watching the eulogies for Muhammed Ali, that that’s the Modern America. All faiths - and none - commemorating a Being, a Human Being, in resonant celebration. Before I could post my thoughts about how this was counter to Trump’s campaign to Make America White Again, Orlando happened. I reflected upon the Medieval Monstrosity that is Radical Islamism, and their inspiration to turn back Humanity a millennium. I dwelled upon the Trump doctrine, the thought of killing the family of that racist, homophobic animal. I thought back further, to the dawn of civilization, when the ruling elite butchered entire villages, rolled severed heads down pyramids for days on end, bathed in their blood, and wore their skins as cloaks - all while taking the finest hallucinogens and singing songs of retribution. I feel the draw of the ancient. But then I feel that draw slip away. This was one perverted, sick “humanimal”. How can a modern civilization respond? By listening to our Founding Fathers: It’s right there in our Constitution. We should only BEAR ARMS IN A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA. AR-15s have no other purpose than killing human beings - THEY ARE ARMS - and they should only be BORNE by members of a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA. An INDIVIDUAL does not have the right to bear arms ALONE. SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS TO VOUCHSAFE THAT INDIVIDUAL - and accept the MORAL responsibility if that individual does what this deranged psychopath did with that weapon. NO MORE INDIVIDUAL OWNERSHIP OF AR-15s. THIS HAS TO STOP. HOW ABOUT IT, NRA? HOW ABOUT STEPPING UP? HOW ABOUT ACCEPTING SOME MORE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS? HOW ABOUT FORMING A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA?

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Internet.Org

by bauer on November 8, 2015

Dear Mark. Apologies for the open letter as we haven’t met yet. The Internet has called and it needs its domain name back. Please call 303 888 5881 to discuss terms. Thanks!

The Steward

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Relentless Inquisition vs Free Speech

by bauer on May 6, 2015

This morning I was watching CNN. Chris Cuomo was interviewing Ben Ferguson about the attacks in Texas. The issue of free speech was raised. Ben Ferguson made a series of statements concerning an unnamed conference where unnamed speakers had called for violent jihad. His point being that free speech protected these statements and that the Texas conference should be afforded the same consideration. I had never heard of this conference let alone these statements. I wondered if this was held somewhere in similar scale and prominence to the Texas event. Chris went on to make some statement that it seemed to be liberals that were the ones who didn’t think the Texas conference was so much free speech as it was hate speech. I can’t quite quote the specifics as I didn’t record the show. The specifics aren’t quite important. What happened next was.

I tweeted to Chris under my pseudonymous handle: “@ChrisCuomo don’t bother verifying @benfergusonshow Islamic anti-American conference claims yet feel free to paint left in broad strokes?” The point being it seemed like it would be pretty basic to ask what conference was being referenced yet a bit of a stretch to associate half of the political spectrum with having the same perspective on a first amendment issue.

Chris’ response was “ben will tell you I was testing his side as well. don’t confuse your bias with my line of questioning.” I could see Chris was doing just that and had no idea what point was being made about bias. I replied “I was asking for verification of the @benfergusonshow claims and restraint on painting left. How is this bias?”

Chris replied “being openly hostile is not a way to get verification. ask a question. please.” In the interim, both Ben Ferguson and another favorited Chris’ tweet about “confusing my bias”. I followed up saying, “really feel you misrepresented me, I was asking about journalistic practice - verification and characterization.” With no reply I concluded with “I just asked to verify what conference @benfergusonshow was talking about and what claims were made by whom. This is hostile?” No response.

I feel compelled to share this in public for the following reason. ISIS represents an existential threat to the entire planet. This threat is diabolically sophisticated. It is literally a matter of life-and-death that we get our facts straight and have the utmost self-awareness in our response. Setting us upon each other using our greatest strength - free speech - may very well be a deliberate tactic. This is why I’m acutely concerned about getting attribution and verification about who’s accusing whom of what. The free press stands our post here and needs to be particularly vigilant this time around. Frankly, the free press let us down the last time. Had they questioned those who spoke at the UN and not merely taken their word - as I seem to have been asked to do in this instance - then we might not be facing this looming peril in the first place.

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Punks and Thugs

by bauer on April 29, 2015

I had no idea until today that thug was a synonym for the n-word. I understand some believe this but I reject that equivalency. I’ve never thought of thug in any other way other than its core definition - one which relates back to colonial India: murderous thieves that preyed on travelers. I’ve always imagined thugs as those mafia heavies, enforcing the code, or simply as large men that attacked people for money. The key is that thugs are up-close and personal. Those in Baltimore who were pelting the police are more accurately punks (or just rioters). A thug stands to; a punk hits and runs. (And looters are just looters - yet why the police did not just immediately guard the Oxycontin is simply beyond me). Now, the kid who cut the fire hose was a little bitch. His wearing a gas mask, jumping on his little bike and pedaling away made him a punk-ass little bitch. This is the proper construction of the epithets. Nothing to do with skin color (although pointing out the misogyny is valid). If only more people were more precise in the specificity of their use of derogatory terms, the world would be a much better place. On the other hand, the single mother #TonyaGraham who smacked her son, is all red-white-and-blue. She’s every American’s mom.

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Thoughts on Denver New Tech

by bauer on February 27, 2015

Here’s what I wish would happen at New Tech Colorado Meetups. These are monthly meetings showcasing Denver Technology Start-Ups. The format involves allowing a few companies 5 minutes to present their new start-ups. Before that, those start-ups that haven’t made the 5 minute cut are invited to give a 1 minute synopsis on their companies. After all of this, there is usually a discussion on a set of related topics, such as whether the format is valuable, what else should be discussed, and why we are all here.

Here’s what usually happens. The bulk of the meeting is focused on the interrogation of the five-minute presenter. Invariably, this interrogation results in someone grilling the presenter on the economic value of the start-up. While this questioning takes various forms, it usually boils down to some variant of asking what’s the Net Present Value of the company.

Here’s why this sucks. If this is the main criteria for determining whether or not a start-up should be considered, there’s absolutely no reason to have these events. No start-up at the stage they are typically at when presenting themselves at this kind of forum can satisfactorily answer this question. If they could, they wouldn’t be at this event. They wouldn’t waste their time. They would already be in front of VCs and they would be so far along, they’d be arguing Discount Rates.

It’s completely appropriate to ask how a company is going to make money. It’s totally inappropriate to ask a company how much they’re going to make when from whom. Financial considerations should provide the framework, not the focus. Entrepreneurs are trying new things, learning new things, and making new things. The audience could learn a lot from these entrepreneurs. Instead, we hear the same old things from whomever has the larger ego to serve.

What I’d like to see is change in moderation. It would be great to me if a framework was established for evaluating all of the presentations. Sure, ask the money question but also add technology, behavioral, and marketing questions as well. Have the presenters ready to answer these questions. Get them each to make elevator speeches. Give them a single slide with their logo and contact information. Let’s then have a forum where we can give them all a little more time to answer these questions. This might not have to require a lot of work on a moderator and would provide a lot more value to the attendees.

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American Cowards

by bauer on October 25, 2014

I’m sick of the right-wing fear-mongering American Cowards - Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling, Greg Gutfield, and Robert Beckel. They are all more Yellow than Red, White, and Blue. Close the borders! Stop the flights! Find the wolves! What a bunch of whiny little boys. Grow up. Act rationally. Be men. Stop blowing things out of proportion. Stop acting like you’re tough guys. Stop sowing fear because you’re afraid. I think of my father and my uncles and what harrowing terrors they went through in World War II. I learned from them about how real men handle real fear. Quietly brave, not bombastically spastic. We’re losing a generation that defined what it is to be an American. We’re gaining a generation that’s got to define it once again. We’re stuck with a generation of American Cowards. ISIS is winning thanks to you. Ebola will be harder to treat thanks to you. Our children will have a harder time handling the future effectively thanks to you. Get some balls.

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ISIS

by bauer on August 31, 2014

I really need to get this off my chest. President Obama has taken a lot of heat for not having a strategy for ISIS - Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (although I prefer ISIL - Islamic State in Levant for its accuracy). It was the simpleton thinking like getting rid of Saddam Hussein that got us into this mess in the first place. From a cold, real-politik perspective that thug kept these lunatics at bay. Now we have to deal with an ideology bent on world domination. The piece in the New York Times on the use of media by ISIS shows just the surface of the real battle being waged here - a battle of ideologies that dwarfs even the Cold War. That was a conflict over economic systems; this is a conflict over the very definition of humanity. For all intents and purposes these aren’t even Earthlings to me - they are Aliens challenging the very definition of being humans. And as that piece points out, they are wielding the most advance weaponry brought to the planet - virtual mind control (and if you think they’re advanced on the social media side, imagine how advanced they must be on the clandestine side). We honestly have nothing right now to fight back against this. Frankly, the notion that fueled the thinking behind the Iraq invasion - “Freedom and Democracy” - doesn’t have the same visceral appeal of 72 virgins and a single world under a god and some messenger. What I’m looking for is something, actually someone, who can embody something greater than some 7th century fantasy that’s spreading a metastasizing cancer. The President is looking for this something; trying to cobble together something real to stand up to fantasy. Of course, maybe some on the right who are simpleton thinkers might just be right here for a change. Just nuke em. I’d personally prefer a 21st century messiah with no connection to the sons of Abraham.

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Nielsen Regression

by bauer on June 5, 2014

nielsenregression1

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