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Joshua Lawson of the Federalist Op-ed: Giving 2021 A Fighting Chance Requires We All Choose To Do What Is Hard


Commentary by Joshua Lawson JANUARY 5, 2021

Even before the horrible year that was 2020, New Year’s Eve celebrations have long been filled with the near-certain expectation that things will definitely get better. Generally speaking, it’s a fine sentiment. Optimism is good; hope is good; and striving to improve the future from where we are today led us from the cave to the fields, across vast oceans, and into the limitless of outer space.

But nothing magical happens when the calendar year flips over. There’s no unexplained scientific phenomenon that shifts the incalculable number of atoms in our known universe into undaunted forces for good simply because we’ve reached the conclusion of this year’s cycle through the Gregorian calendar. Instead, history tells us things can always get worse.

After the stock market crashed in 1929, the Great Depression didn’t reach its darkest days until 1933. The 1938 Nazi annexation of Austria was followed by the invasion of Poland in 1939, then the steamrolling of France and near-defeat of Britain in 1940.

Yet while there’s no iron-clad guarantee that 2021 will be great, every one of us can contribute to the effort to make a redemptive year a reality.

No government action will make 2021 better than what we just went through in 2020. As with most positive change, any meaningful, lasting shifts in the trajectory of our towns and our nation will stem from individuals choosing to do good.

World events of a grand nature will remain outside our ability to master. Pandemics, wildfires, and — unless you live in one of a handful of swing states — presidential elections involving more than 158 million votes are things almost entirely beyond our control. Yet, even in the worst of times, we can control how we interact with our fellow Americans, and a shift in the right direction in this regard is one of the simplest — albeit difficult — steps we can take.

It’s within the grasp of each of us, as individuals, to decide if what we both consume and contribute is life-affirming or malevolent, restorative or toxic. In our workplaces, online using social media, with our families, and interacting with total strangers, we are responsible for how we live amongst one another.

In our current rancorous political environment, we’ll have a chance at a better year if we realize most genuine conversations or debates aren’t best served in a tit-for-tat on Facebook or Twitter but in person over coffee, lunch, or a drink after work. This doesn’t mean surrendering our principles or allowing ourselves to be walked over. It does, however, require we prudently recognize whose minds are open to change, and those who refuse to be unconvinced of what they believe; which arguments may bear fruitful discussion, and those that will only lead to more frustration and anger this country can do without.

Regardless of one’s faith, there is wisdom in the instructions given in the Bible’s 2 Timothy:

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (2 Timothy 2:23)

As the author of the epistle to Timothy later notes, being honest doesn’t mean being needlessly hurtful or tactless, and he reminds us to “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.” There’s an Aristotelian golden mean between failing to state a necessary truth and being an overly blunt jerk about it.

Similar valuable cautions are given in Titus 3:2 not to slander, to “avoid quarreling,” and to “show true humility to everyone.” Later in the chapter, we’re also reminded it may be best to walk away from those who continue to engage in foolish controversies:

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. (Titus 3:10)

Admittedly, it’s hard to do, especially in a climate that often mistakenly views the last person who responded in a Facebook fight as “the winner” or politeness as a sign of “weakness.” Even so, it’s one of the few ways to lower the temperature to the point where authentic, amiable exchanges and healthy debates are possible. We’ll be a better nation in 2021 if Americans take time to ask and reflect, “Will this truly make things better?” before acting.

Furthermore, giving 2021 a fighting chance will involve constantly “checking one’s priors” at the door. Or, as Jordan Peterson has phrased it, we’d do well to “Assume that the person you are listening to might know something that you don’t.”

As more Americans limit their media consumption to voices and opinions they already agree with, ideological and philosophical blind spots pose an increasingly higher risk. Yet rarely are things as simple as either the “left” or “right” (antiquated terms to begin with) being absolutely correct or absolutely wrong.

Taking in the views of only a small territory of the political spectrum is one of the contributing factors that led us to a place, never more evident than in 2020, where one half of the country can’t even stand being in line next to the other half — six feet apart, no less. We don’t have to agree, but we have to be able to at least relate to where those we disagree with are coming from. This begins with the humility to acknowledge we may be wrong about something, or, at least, not as correct as we think we are.

“Genuine conversation is exploration, articulation, and strategizing,” Peterson writes, “When you’re involved in a genuine conversation, you’re listening.” This may also require mingling outside a safe, “bubbled,” friend group, especially if that group is comprised of similarly like-minded folks.

It means not assuming to know the totality of someone’s beliefs and values based on their stance on a single issue. It means being OK with someone thinking, even acting, in a way we personally disagree with (as long as it doesn’t directly infringe on anyone’s rights to life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness). A tolerance of true intellectual diversity will be a key factor in helping 2021 rebound after the past year.

In what could be the most important New Year’s resolution we make, by exercising humility, patience, and grace, we can each take responsibility in helping make 2021 the year we all need it to be, one individual choice at a time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joshua Lawson is managing editor of The Federalist. He is a graduate of Queen’s University as well as Hillsdale College where he received a master’s degree in American politics and political philosophy. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaMLawson.

Peak Spock Speaks



disclaimerDrawn and Posted Chip Bok | June 5, 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://bokbluster.com/2018/06/05/peak-spock-speaks/

Aspiring novelist Ben Rhodes created narratives for the Obama administration. In a NYT story he once took credit for creating a media echo chamber to push the president’s Iran nuclear deal. But on election night 2016 Rhodes found himself at a loss for words. Peak Spock Speaks Now he’s written a book. It’s titled “The<!– AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on wp_trim_excerpt –><!– AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on wp_trim_excerpt –><!– AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on wp_trim_excerpt –><!– AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on wp_trim_excerpt –><!– AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on wp_trim_excerpt –>

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peak spock speaks

Aspiring novelist Ben Rhodes created narratives for the Obama administration. In a NYT story he once took credit for creating a media echo chamber to push the president’s Iran nuclear deal. But on election night 2016 Rhodes found himself at a loss for words.

Peak Spock Speaks

Now he’s written a book. It’s titled “The World as It Is.” Or “Peak Spock” as Maureen Dowd calls it.

In the book President Obama consoles despondent young Ben by telling him, “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.”

Back on earth Obama says, “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early.”

To which Matthew Continetti asks, “What was he early for?,” “Fundamentally transforming America?” “The moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow”?

Nope. According to Ms. Dowd, “We just weren’t ready for his amazing awesomeness.”

Ben Rhodes now works for MSNBC. His brother, David Rose, is president of CBS News.

White House Correspondents Nerd Prom


Drawn and Published by Chip Bok | May 1, 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://bokbluster.com/2018/05/01/white-house-correspondents-nerd-prom/

nerd prom

Hardened reporters cringed at Michelle Wolf’s comedy routine at the White House Correspondents dinner. She hit a new low when she played the light side of abortion for laughs. She didn’t get many.

Nerd Prom

And I haven’t seen anyone ridicule women the way Wolf attacked Sarah Huckabee Sanders since um … well, maybe The Donald.

FCC shoots down petitions to delay open internet rules


 URL of the Original Posting Site: http://www.engadget.com/2015/05/10/fcc-cant-stop-wont-stop/ 

Remember when a wolfpack of cable companies and telecoms — including AT&T, CenturyLink, the American Cable Association, USTelecom and more — filed motions to delay the FCC from enacting parts of its open internet order? Well, the Commission was having none of that. Late in the day this past Friday, Wireless Competition Bureau chief Julie Veach and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau chief Roger Sherman handed down an order dismissing those petitions, pointing out that additional protection for the internet as we know it is crucial and that the petitioners’ cases aren’t as strong as they think.Tyranney Alert

Most of those groups had their sights set on one crucial proviso: the FCC’s new rules would classify internet service providers as “common carriers,” which they believed would bring not only the industry but the infrastructure that powers the internet under tighter, heavier government control. Despite the fact that companies that would now fall under that umbrella wouldn’t be subject to the full scope of regulatory oversight per the Telecommunications Act, they’re still fighting back in the name of the internet’s future growth. To hear dissenting FCC commissioner Ajit Pai tell it, the FCC would have the “the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.” The petition filed by USTelecom, the CTIA, AT&T and CenturyLink spelled gloom and doom for the web as we know if the FCC gets its way:

“From day one, the Commission’s assertion of comprehensive control over the Internet will subject broadband Internet access providers – especially, small providers – to enormous unrecoverable costs and reduce their ability and incentive to invest in broadband infrastructure.”burke

To be clear, AT&T and company did not petition against the three “bright light” rules – no blocking legal content, no throttling and no paid prioritization – contained in the FCC’s Open Internet Order. While we guess it’s good everyone involved can agree on at least that much, it doesn’t change the fact that courts still have to rule on the lawsuits challenging the validity of the FCC’s plan. Tom Wheeler might be convinced of his eventual victory, but you can bet no one’s going to leave the ring until one set of ideals has been laid out on the ground.

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Supreme Court Agrees to Rule On Limiting First Amendment


http://www.infowars.com/supreme-court-agrees-to-rule-on-limiting-first-amendment/

Case will directly impact political hyperbole on the internet

Supreme Court Agrees to Rule On Limiting First Amendment

by Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com | June 18, 2014

Click on image to see movie trailer and more

Click on image to see movie trailer and more

FreeSpeech1-300x204The Supreme Court will soon decide if threatening speech posted on the internet is protected by the First Amendment.

The Court said it will hear an appeal from a Pennsylvania man convicted of making threatening comments on Facebook against his estranged wife, elementary schools, judges and the FBI.Anthony Elonis was convicted of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce and sentenced to 44 months in prison.

The case is Elonis v. United States.

Mr. Elonis’ lawyers argued an individual should not be convicted of making a threat unless there is evidence he actually intended violence. Elonis said much speech posted on the internet is “inherently susceptible to misinterpretation.” He insisted his posted remarks did not demonstrate a “subjective intent to threaten” based on previous Supreme Court precedent and are protected speech under the First Amendment.

The Justice Department countered by saying Elonis’ argument undermines “one of the central purposes of prohibiting threats,” which is to protect individuals “from the fear of violence and from the disruption that fear engenders.”

According to the government the defendant’s behavior was not merely “careless talk, exaggeration, something said in a joking manner or an outburst of transitory anger. The statements that qualify as true threats (from the defendant) thus have a significant, serious character.”

In the past the Court has ruled laws covering threats must not infringe on the First Amendment. This includes “political hyperbole” one may construe as subjectively threatening and “unpleasantly sharp attacks” that are not in fact true threats.

Eating-Away-the-First-AmendmentIn The Ethics of Liberty Murray Rothbard argues that threats must be “palpable, immediate, and direct” and “embodied in the initiation of an overt act” in order to be considered actual threats. Language, no matter how abusive or subjectively threatening, cannot be regarded as violence.

If the Court rules in favor of the government, the landscape of the internet will change dramatically. Political hyperbole, often uncivil and “unpleasantly sharp,” will become illegal and subject to prosecution.

Last month Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to amend the Constitution in order to limit political speech.

“If ultimately adopted, it would mark the first time in American history that a constitutional amendment rescinded a freedom listed as among the fundamental rights of the American people,” warns Ken Klukowski.

Political speech falling outside the parameters set by the ruling political class constitutes a threat to the establishment. This speech flourishes on the internet, specifically on alternative news media websites.

Many lawmakers may indeed be outraged by the ability of individuals like Anthony Elonis to issue verbal threats over the internet. However, for the elite, the overriding agenda is to limit and outlaw speech that may endanger their hold on political power.

VOTE 02

 

FCC to cripple the Internet


http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/05/14/fcc-to-cripple-internet/?intcmp=latestnews

The Federal Communications Commission thinks the Internet in the United States can be run at two speeds. Backtracking from an earlier proposal, the FCC now believes it will be just fine to let Internet service providers (ISPs) control what you access online, with a few exceptions that the FCC would police.

While this new proposal might not kill the Internet, as it exists now, it would certainly cripple it – at least for American consumers and businesses.

Multiple leaks about FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to the commission, which will be presented on Thursday, indicate that the agency would not allow ISPs to give preferential treatment – faster Internet access – to their own subsidiaries. But it would allow other companies to pay for faster, more reliable access. (No matter that such a similar restriction has already failed in the case of Comcast giving preferential treatment to its own Golf Channel.)

If the Internet does not maintain net neutrality, wherein all digital data is treated the same, countless businesses will suffer.

Tyrannical Censorship Alert

Unfortunately, there is no halfway approach to how data should flow over the Internet. It’s a binary proposition: Either access to the Internet is equal, no matter the type or size of the business, or it is not. Letting Amazon have better access because it can pay and because it is not owned by AT&T will not make the situation more equal.

If the Internet does not maintain net neutrality, wherein all digital data is treated the same, countless businesses – tech companies in Silicon Valley, auto companies in Detroit, health care providers in Houston, startups in New York – will suffer. And, of course, you and I will pay for diminishing service and be denied the option of choosing what we want to read, view and listen to at faster speeds.

Representatives of the country’s largest ISPs are claiming that the one solution to preserving net neutrality in the U.S. – legally classifying broadband Internet utilities as utilities – “would threaten new investment in broadband infrastructure and jeopardize the spread of broadband technology across America, holding back Internet speeds and ultimately deepening the digital divide.” That’s according to a press release attached to a letter signed by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the first place, those companies are proposing to introduce their own digital divide, in which consumers would have no choice. Faster, more reliable Internet access would be granted only to those companies that would pay AT&T, Time Warner, et al. Want better access to your child’s school website? Too bad, Verizon will say no – unless the school can fork over the kind of fees that an Amazon or Facebook would pay. Thus, the digital divide would grow exponentially if these CEOs have their way. 

Secondly, there is no “threat to new investment in broadband.” Indeed, the situation is quite the opposite. There is constant improvement in optical switches, which increase speeds. And there is plenty of motivation for ISPs to upgrade: It’s called competition (can you say Google Fiber?). You and I pay dearly for these services every month, but if it’s not enough to run their businesses properly, then AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon should start charging subscribers more up front and providing better service. Crippling the Internet for their own profit, with no promise of improvement, is not a solution. It’s a disincentive for ISPs to upgrade.

Moreover, access to and the flexibility of the Internet have done nothing but improve under the de facto standard of net neutrality since the early ’90s. Suddenly handing over control of how reliably and how fast certain content gets sent to a few companies would kneecap the U.S. economy.

It would stall such initiatives such as autonomous cars, which will save lives by preventing deaths on American highways but which require high-speed Internet connections. Allowing ISPs to charge more for that access would stymie such innovation and, to put it bluntly, ultimately cost lives. The idea that Comcast or Time Warner might give YouTube better online access than a doctor sending critical diagnostic information to a hospital is frightening.

Failure to support net neutrality and to reclassify broadband Internet service as a utility will also handcuff American businesses that have to compete on a global stage. Companies in other countries would have a marked advantage with full and equal Web access. Consider how many startups would move just a few miles from Seattle to Vancouver to get a Canadian Internet advantage. Meanwhile, the burgeoning startup scene in cities such as London and Berlin would also be given a boost.

The big ISPs like Verizon and Comcast are right about one thing: The FCC cannot micromanage how every content provider gets information onto the Web. Provisions established when Comcast purchased NBC Universal have already failed. And even if such restrictions could withstand legal challenges, enforcement would take years in each case, by which time businesses would be shut and innovation squelched.

When President Obama was running for office, he said on multiple occasions: “I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality.” This week, it’s time the president got into the front seat.

So what can you do? Email your members of Congress, email the White House … and email the FCC – if, that is, you can get through.

John R. Quain is a personal tech columnist for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @jqontech or find more tech coverage at J-Q.com.

VOTE 02

Harry Reid Defends Latest Obamacare Delay Because “People Are Not Educated On How To Use The Internet”


http://conservativebyte.com/2014/03/harry-reid-defends-latest-obamacare-delay-people-educated-use-internet/#Et2VcvVetPq6Gcm4.99

Posted on March 26, 2014

Another excuse to serve as a takeover of America. Liberal logic doesn’t have to make sense.

At first I thought this had to be a joke, unbelievably, it is not.

Listen to the news broadcast yourself

(http://youtu.be/AAtgsizDWV0)

Reid

Complete Message

Lesson Learned


Author Unknown

An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids.  He applies for a janitor’s job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test.

The human resources manager tells him, “You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.35 an hour.  Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop.  Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.”

Taken back, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address.

To this the manager replies, “You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist.  Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm.  Good day.”

Stunned, the man leaves.  Not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers’ market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes.  He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit.

Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.

During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day.  By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly.

Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck.

At the end of a year, he owns three old trucks.  His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.

By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.  He continues to work hard.

Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manageThe tomato company’s payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work.  His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars.

Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance.

Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances.  Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.

When the man replies that he doesn’t have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned, “What, you don’t have e-mail?  No computer?  No Internet?  Just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!”

“Ha!” snorts the man. “If I’d had e-mail five years ago I would be sweeping floors at Microsoft and making $5.35 an hour.”

Which brings us to the moral of the story: Since you got this story by e-mail, you’re probably closer to being a janitor than a millionaire.

Sadly, I received it also.

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