Saturday, February 28, 2015

As The Internet Burns

Listening to the latest political debate over the Internet, and Net Neutrality, one question floats to the surface. What are all these supposedly unjustly denied youths doing with their lives, if buffering, suggesting low download speeds (at least too low for their needs), should bother them?

Take a walk. Share a good meal with friends. Build a piece of furniture. Join a sports league; baseball, softball, or even bowling. Have a significant conversation with your wife (but young people are not getting married). Spend some time with your children (young adults see children as a burden, that’s why abortion is so important). Do something to improve your life. If it includes studying over the Internet, I don’t believe there is any service provider with insufficient bandwidth to provide you with the appropriate text or video. The computer can be a great tool and the internet a great resource. So what are these na├»ve self consumed youth doing with their time? Playing games? Watching Netflix? Do they know how to use a compass when their smart phone (not a recommended brain substitute) has GPS?

Too many live life through the screen of a smart phone. They take videos and pictures and post them instantly via Instagram, Facebook or whatever app is the latest fad. Does it make you feel important, young people, to have your life on virtual parade? Here’s a tip. No one cares. If they do, those people are not a productive part of your life. You’re going nowhere.

Is it any wonder that the millennials are clueless to the dangers of government oppression, the dangers government control of the Internet suggests; dangers to our freedom of speech, and simply to the freedom to live the lives we choose. Of course we could do without the Internet. Man has lived and died, failed and prospered, lived free and as a slave for thousands of years without the Internet. The vast majority of these past individuals are remembered and honored only through the value they held to their family and close community; which points to what is truly central and defining in one’s life. Family, it is where values are learned and your personal value created. We can’t all be Thomas Edison’s, if anyone knows who he is anymore. A person’s value does not come from an Internet presence and certainly cannot be dictated by government.

The FCC was initially formed to keep private sector radio bands from encroaching on military bands. It wasn’t long before it began monitoring and controlling content. The government further attempted to dictate content with the Fairness Doctrine; it mandated equal time for contradictory views. The doctrine failed. Newspapers, hitting financial hard times, and politically aligned with the left, now call for government buy outs, handing over control and content, and protest not a peep when government observers take up posts in their offices.

What does equal time mean? Every view needs an equal voice. Every company an equal opportunity. Sounds good on the surface but, what if one, speaking of the public, judges certain views to be immoral? Certain concepts to be poorly formulated? What If one believes a view or business model holds no merit, that the results and consequences of such a view or concept is detrimental to the well being of society? What if one view or product is simply more popular than another? If morality, results, consequences, merit or popularity, credibility, competence, knowledge or ability, if it all doesn’t matter, one needs to ask why. But more importantly one needs to ask where it will all end.

Why? If all views are held as equally valuable, then no single view holds any value. If all views are held as equal, then anyone who opposes any particular view, or believes one view better than another, is turned into the enemy. Every tyranny needs an enemy to distract the attentions of its people from their plight; an enemy like big oil, the tea party, conservatives, just plain republicans or Internet service providers.

And if the public cannot make determinations on the validity or value, the truth behind any view or financial or business venture than who can? That would be government. Because we, the public, are simply too incapable, incompetent and ignorant to make such determinations. Remember it’s only because government exists that businesses can succeed; providing the roads and infrastructure. It is not poor morals that turn people into mass murdering shooters, it is guns. If the government doesn’t give you your pot, then you’ll just break the law to get it. Indulge yourself in any carnal desires possible. The government will be behind you.

This is the accepted viewpoint of government, that the public is incapable of knowing what’s right, and that only government can be the determinant of the correct view; that only government can solve our problems. “Wait!”, you all knowing techno savvy individuals are screaming, “You said government says there is no correct view, that we are all the same.” Yes, and if you like your doctor you can keep him (or her). Your insurance costs will drop on average $2,500 per family under Obamacare, and the economy is improving; just don’t look at the economic figures after we correct them some months after they come out. “What difference does it make?”

Maybe, if you believe yourself wiser than most, you should begin to listen to those who knew that you wouldn’t be able to keep your doctor, that your costs would go up and not down, that their will be death panels in Obamacare and the government will eventually takeover healthcare completely. Maybe you should believe those same prophetic voices who now claim the government will control content and traffic on the Internet. Believe them when they claim that the government will censor and/or requiring licensing and oversight of the members of sites such as Blogger. Believe those who know that your costs for Internet access will rise and that the government alone will ultimately decide what the next great idea will be.

I will tell you where this control grab will start. It will start with pornography. Why hasn’t the private sector been able to stop this evil that victimizes women and children? They don’t care. They don’t have the capability. But government does. Even if the government accomplishes nothing and makes the problem worse, just like with Obamacare, the government will still have succeeded where the private sector failed.

And where will it all end? Where indeed. Everything is now run through the internet; commerce, education, mail, news, advertising, music, movies and TV, finance (you don’t even need a living broker) and publishing are all facilitated by the Internet. Ultimately, after monitoring and dictating our daily transaction and consumption habits, the government will end its power grab with the figurative burning of books.

Anyone can publish a book via the Internet. I have published two. I will publish two more this summer. The argument will be that what is being published, without oversight, is harmful, dangerous fanaticism. racist, bigoted, anti-Islamic, against scientific consensus and hate speech. The argument will follow, and this can be applied to any action on the Internet, that in the past their were gatekeepers of the public good; in the case of books, publishers.

Not just anyone could publish a book before the Internet. Authors were vetted by the publishing process in the past. Responsible editors and publishers verified the educational pedigree of an author. They were there to confirm the validity and merit of their work. Now, anyone can publish without even an editor. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to write or even spell. How can such a person be allowed to publish and unwittingly rob the public of their money? Who will solve this great injustice? What more qualified body, capable of judging what is good and proper, is there than the government; a vast improvement over the old system that relied on a variety of private sector publishing houses.

The Internet has changed everything. Everything has been changed by the Internet. If you give government control over it, the government controls everything. The books will burn along with everything else. But heah! As long as nothing interferes with your Netfix…

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Casinos, Arenas and Streetcars, Oh My!

I have a minority worldview that doesn’t conform to most religions. There is only one Creator and that is God. Satan cannot create anything and can only pervert what God has created in order to, first of all claim mankind as his, and then to ultimately destroy mankind completely. In that light gaming, wagering, a bit of bravado and putting one’s money where one’s mouth is, in an ideal world is not unheard of, in my view. Yet we can point to gambling as a great playground for Satan and his destructive objectives. There are moral considerations to be considered whenever a casino is proposed.

Here in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has rejected a proposed Menomonee Indian Casino in Kenosha. He is facing severe ridicule from local media, most of which would be considered conservative. I find these local talking heads extremely short sighted. The issue is much more complicated than it appears.

First of all, local talk shows have ridiculed Indian tribes for not supporting each other, sharing their casino winnings with less fortunate tribes. They point out the stingy nature with which the tribes support their local communities. The local Potawatomi tribe promised to support the larger community when they were given approval for their casino, yet most agree that they don’t give nearly as much as was expected, or as much as they suggest in their advertising that they are giving to worthy causes.

The Potawatomi stopped their payments to Wisconsin, payments that they believe would not be required if another casino were approved, even before the Kenosha casino decision came down. This corresponds to Scott Walker’s main reason for rejecting the Kenosha Casino; that it would be a fiscal burden on the tax payers. The governor is being harshly ridiculed for this reasoning, in light of the Menomonee and their partner, the Seminoles, promising to make up for any losses and even to pay for a new Arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, that would ensure the NBA stays in Milwaukee.

Well, is it a straight out open deal that the Kenosha casino prospective operators are promising or one yet to be worked out later (after approval) with potential strings and loopholes? The Potawatomi held back their payments in violation of the compact they have with Wisconsin. Further, the Potawatomi have promised to sue Wisconsin if the governor approves the Kenosha casino. Everyone says they could never win. Yet Scott Walker is public enemy number one in the eyes of government bureaucracy. I believe Wisconsin could easily lose the law suit, simply as a political attack against Scott Walker in his presidential aspirations. All the conservative talking heads rant that the law doesn’t matter anymore. They rant about how politically motivated liberal judges, ignoring established law, attack the Walker administration’s every proposal. They point to the wild and irrational opposition Scott Walker has had to endure. Would the bureau of Indian Affairs be any different?

Why do you, you local talking heads, see the casino as a giant economic boom, and not a Walker presidency that you may be jeopardizing by your irrational attacks? Can you not distinguish between a casino economy, and a booming private economy of manufacture and public service? How can you not see the potential, after all you’ve seen and reported on, for a trap, to not only make Scott Walker look like a flip-flopper but an incompetent? Have you been privy to the year of negotiations that preceded Scott Walker’s decision? Why are you being so blind?

You talking heads, is Scott Walker to take the stand that you appear to take, but are now ignoring; that the tribes are unreliable and that there is a political conspiracy to discredit him? Is that what you want him to say as you continually demand an explanation for his rejection of the proposed casino?

Consider the consolidation of political power, in the form of dollars, in regard to casinos. Everyone admits that a casino transfers entertainment dollars away from more traditional  entertainment venues. Those would be private sector, often small business, venues. To which party do the casino dollars generally go? To which party would small business dollars go? Are not Indian casinos dependent on government support, and in turn would they not be looking out for the interest of government, not the people?

In regards to the Arena, is not the NBA, and all professional sports leagues indebted to government on an ever growing scale, as arena deals are bought and sold with the public dollar? And what is the trend for arenas? Why does the NBA demand a new arena? Much like a casino, NBA franchises are consolidating all the entertainment venues, such as dining, under their personal umbrella. Again, taking economy away from independent small business owners and transferring it to a consortium the government can more easily manipulate.

The local streetcar project here in Milwaukee is another example of the consolidation of money under government, not to mention an assault on modes of personal transportation. Its unbelievable costs will deny the public of financial independence through an oppressive tax burden. Excessive engineering contracts are not required to repair a typical city street. Streetcar and other such projects, with their contracts running now into the billions, grow engineering and construction trades that then become dependent upon the government teat to survive in their bloated state. Their political contributions correspondingly support the party that puts forth the most succulent prospects. Better than a Union and on the surface more respectable than a phony green enterprise.

When no one can afford a car, when everyone must buy from shops along the streetcar route, shops government approved and subsidized, and we all gather at the casino, as our only source of entertainment, to watch the elite throw their money around, because we can’t afford tickets to the game and it’s not available on local broadcast television but only on paid TV, will we all be fighting for the approval of just one more casino?

An exaggeration? Or a trend? Is Scott Walker making a mistake or exercising extraordinary political understanding and prowess?