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Shoot the Troll?

Facebook is a bit like what I imagine crack to be like. You can get quite addicted to it. There is this artificial feeling of power in its use, but it can also make you feel quite sick and be poisoning. And if you are in it like me as a propagandist, you have to decide when someone is a troll to be blocked or when it is a thoughtful contributor who has a radically different view.
I am a “shoot first” kind of guy. This is how the conversation went.
I reposted this meme that I thought was clever:
words matter
pnc: Then there is:
“teenager” Michael Brown – 6′ 5″, 289 lb
“teenager” Trayvon Martin – 5′ 11″, 158 lbs
“boy” Tamir Rice – 5’7″, 195lbs
If someone pulls a gun out on me that is indistinguishable from a semi-automatic pistol, it represents imminent death. Reality matters.
Paxus Calta-Star

Paxus Calta-Star The cop who killed Tamir Rice shot him within 2 seconds of getting out of the police car. The judge deemed there was sufficient cause to charge him with reckless homicide and dereliction of duty. You are right reality matters. http://thinkprogress.org/…/what-everyone-should-know…/

Peter Clayton
pnc: The judge wanted to give a grand jury an opportunity to review all of the evidence. The grand jury found no cause for prosecution.
Paxus Calta-Star
Paxus Calta-Starthe city gave a $6 million settlement in the Tamir Rice case
Paxus Calta-Star
Paxus Calta-Starthey are generous in these things
Peter Clayton
pnc:  Absolutely. They’re going to buy a significant voting block making press like that.
===================
At this point I blocked pnc. This conversation had all the feeling of trolling, and I just don’t have the energy for it. But I am a highly public personality and pnc quickly found a way in through my blog comments (which I moderate).
Hello Paxus,
I’m sorry that a difference of opinion over “spin” in mainstream reporting caused you to eject me from your friends list on Facebook today, but I understand “propagandist” in its most fundamental form. Although I agree with a lot of the causes that you advocate for and positions that you take, I would like to believe that positive change can only be wrought when differing opinions are negotiated to compromise acceptable to all.
“Preaching to the choir” may be egotistically rewarding, but changes nothing. Refusing to engage people with opinions other than your own also changes nothing. I wish you the best of success in all of your undertakings.
Peace and Best Regards,
pnc
I am curious about my readership’s judgement – Shoot the Troll? or Engage the Critic? Perhaps I have done both here today.

CommuneLife Blog – Contributors wanted

On the first of May of this year, we will be launching the CommuneLife.org blog.  We are putting together a collection of articles and photo essays about the challenges and benefits of collective living.  We are especially excited about the flavors of community where there is a high degree of resource and income sharing.

in Mineral, VA, on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Acorn Porch – photo credit Sarah Rice

The proposed format for this blog is that we will do three postings each week:

  1. Monday – New article of general interest on community life
  2. Wednesday – Photo essay from communities across the country
  3. Friday – Historic blog posting which was popular and remains current

We are stocking articles and photo essays now.  If you would like to be involved in this volunteer project as a contributor, editor, social media promoter, photographer or in another capacity, please comment on this post and we will get back to you.

solar hot water and bikes

Twin Oaks Solar Hot Water System and Shared Bikes

The CommuneLife.org project is part of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) Point A project.  While the Point A project is promoting new communities in north eastern US urban areas, the CommuneLife blog is promoting both rural and urban shared living solutions across North America.

 

 

 

$27

Against all odds, Bernie Sanders still has a chance to become president.  Why do i say “against all odds”?  Well, it starts with the media.

Way back in December, the Sanders staff did an analysis of the mainstream media (MSM) and found that ABC’s World News Tonight had spent 81 minutes on Trump and 20 seconds on Sanders.  Other MSM outlets were similarly uninterested in the popular Jewish socialist running for the country’s top office.  Even the NY Times can’t bring itself to report on this anti-establishment candidate, while it rails endlessly on the establishment ills.

Conventional wisdom would claim that Trump is saying more outrageous and newsworthy things.  I would be hard pressed to disagree on the outrageous part.  But someone advocating for free college tuition and expansion of the ever controversial Obamacare program to cover all US Americans with free health care is saying some pretty newsworthy stuff.  Despite Sanders being remarkable, the MSM is still owned and controlled by a class which finds his radical views unacceptable.

 

As a political candidate for president in the US you need to have exposure.  What i found canvassing for Sanders in Virginia was lots of people had not heard of him.  So if you can’t get the MSM to cover you, then you need to pay for ads, but these are crazy expensive.  Here is where Sanders is again running against all odds.

Sanders raised $140 million from individual contributions through the end of February.  Clinton raised $160 from people over the same period.  But add to this $60 million in Super PAC money for Clintoand you can see how things are harder for Sanders.

Sanders does not take money from Super PACs. [For a reality check Republicans have raised almost twice as much money as Democrats and over half for the GOP money is from Super PACs, contrasted to 15% for Democrats.]

The thing about long shots is you need to know when to double down and when to walk away.  I don’t generally give money to politicians.  Despite voting, i am still an anarchist and find most of the personality politics repugnant.  I am giving Sanders $27, which is the average amount he has received and feels like a good number to me.

sanders landslides

The reason you double down on the right long shot is not because you are going to win, but it is to be part of the springboard of hope.  Sanders has amazing momentum.  Consider helping the campaign in non-monetary ways if you can, especially if you have friends in NY or California.

After the recent set of landslide victories in Washington, Hawaii and Alaska (which were largely ignored by the MSM), it is time to double down.  The odds are still against us, but the odds are always going to be against us.  I am sending my $27. I hope you will too.

 

 

RNC – What could go wrong?

The petition is only one week old and it has garnered 50K signatures.  It is the Change.org petition to make the Republican National Convention in Cleveland an open carry zone.  This means anyone with a legal gun is permitted to carry and display their firearm.

pistol.jpg

Guns + booze + Trump supporters + fanatical Christians + Protesters  + massive media

If you have ever been to a political convention, one of the things which is very common is the consumption of alcohol.  Many people who come are working or celebrating hard.  Some are drinking because they are excited about their candidate’s success.  Others are drinking because it now seems their candidate can’t win.  And this RNC is holding its fingers on the amplifier knobs with the prospect of Trump having the nomination stolen from him in the second ballot.  There will be a lot of drinking in Cleveland.

booze drinkers.jpg

Bars are open late in Ohio

Ohio is an open carry state (though the Quicken Loan Arena is exempted).  All three top Republican candidates are actively pro-gun, one of whom is the Governor of Ohio who could influence this circumstance.

What could you add to a sharply divided group of gun carrying strongly opinionated people?  That would be thousands of protesters and a bunch of poorly trained riot cops (who can’t train because their riot gear is late).

Thousands march through Manhattan to protest police violence

There will likely be many protests in Cleveland.

What could go wrong?

 

 

Cities, Judges and US Americans say no to nuclear power

Three different but related news events have happened in the last month and each in a different way bodes ill for the future of nuclear power.

In Japan, the district court has ordered the closure of two reactors at the Takahama complex.  Reactor block 3 had recently restarted and block 4 was scheduled to be the fourth running reactor in a country which had over 50 reactors running before the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Takahama Reactors 3 and 4

Judge agrees with locals that Takahama reactors are not safe enough

The surprise ruling cited the failure of the evacuation plan and lack of tsunami protection as the reasons the court agreed with the local plaintiffs.  This is the first time a Japanese court has ever ruled against a reactor.  And one of the very few times in any country that a court has stopped an operating reactor.  It seriously endangers the Abe administration’s plan to return shuttered Japanese reactors to service, all of which were closed within a year of the Fukushima triple meltdown.  Both people protesting nuclear power in Japan and the court ruling in their favor were nearly unthinkable before Fukushima.

In Europe, 30 northern European cities from Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are petitioning for the closure of two Belgium reactors which have had a long series of technical problems.  The petition includes two lawsuits, one against the plant operator and the other directing the European Commission to block the continued operation of the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 plants in Belgium.  There has never been such an international effort to block nuclear inside the EU before.  These plants have seen a disturbing recent increase in cracking and unsolved sabotage strikes.

belgian reactor

Tihange plant was opened, then shut down after a fire in the electrical system, then restarted again.

In the United States, for the first time since Gallop started asking in 1994, a majority of US American’s oppose the use of nuclear power.

gallop poll on nuclear power

This is the right trend

The work is not done.  The US Congress and Japanese parliament are both in the pocket of their respective nuclear industries and continue, against the will of their populations, to support these failed technologies.  But even more writing is on the wall.  Nuclear power is dying and almost everyone knows it and wants it to die.

 

The Limits to Violence

Donald Trump has a problem.  It is not that he is a fascist, he’s not.  Trump has developed a brilliant presidential campaign strategy which uses “earned media” instead of paying for ads.  Earned media is where you say or do sufficiently outrageous/interesting that the press covers your actions for free.  The problem with this approach is there is tremendous competition for media attention and to get coverage consistently (as Trump has) you need to be increasingly shocking.  You can’t simply repeat that Mexico is going to build a border wall for us, you need to threaten to attack them militarily if they don’t.

The latest chapter in Trump’s discount media strategy is inciting violence at his rallies.  This has worked quite well.  Television news is drawn to violence, especially when there are video images of it, like moths to a flame.  He has “earned” tremendous media coverage with this approach.  Former opponent-turned-apologist Ben Carson is warning this violence will escalate.

Trump’s problem is not the violence, of course.  He is reveling in the increased media attention while simultaneously claiming his rallies are “love fests“.  His problem is what he is going to do as a follow up act, because the media (driven by impatient viewers) has a short attention span and craves something new and different.

Trump has a bigger problem with violence that he is perhaps unaware of.  Violence in a political context is a turn off.  I’ve been involved in dozens of discussions in many cultures about whether violence, even in self defense, is a workable political tactic.  Every one of these conversations, even with some very radical participants, decided that there was far more to lose than to gain from the use of violence.  Leaving aside the important ethical discussion about people getting physically hurt around political disagreement, violence in every cultural context I have worked in does not fly.

 

trump-unfav-2-28-16

Trump has lost 6% of his net favorability since the end of this poll, perhaps because he incited violence at his rallies.

It is dangerous to quote political pundits these days, because they have really blown it with some of their recent predictions, including Sanders shocking success in the Michigan primary.  And it is worth pointing out that with the exception of Kasich and Sanders, all of the major candidates have had net negative favorability ratings (where disapproval number are higher than approval ones).

candidates_favorability

Published March 13, 2016

However in the end, unless apathy prevails (which is a bit unlikely in this contested election) it does not matter how excited your fans are, if nearly twice as many people don’t like you than those who do, you are not going to win the election.

Trump’s candidacy has always been an anti-gravity affair.  Pundits confidently predicted he would implode early and not get the nomination. He has been defying these predictions for months now.  And if recent polls are correct, Trump will handily win 4 out of 5 of today’s primaries (3/16) including all 99 of Florida’s winner-take-all delegates. This will put Trump way out in front and give him well over half the total delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. It will also knock Marco Rubio out of the election for being unable to win his own home state.

It will also propel us on the rocky road to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18 thru 21 where we may well see more violence than any convention since Chicago in 1968.

Chicago 1968

DNC Chicago 1968 – 800 injuries many from tear gas

[I do find it especially ironic that the RNC official website shows this event happening in the Quicken Loan Arena, the usurious and often criticized lending company.]

 

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