May 6, 2021

Facebook Oversight Board slaps Facebook. Very lightly.

President Trump should be banned for 6 months instead of indefinitely?  Just wow. Not "WOW!" because we've all come to expect from these not-a-platform tech giants. 

May 5, 2021

Dave Rubin's take on the Facebook Trump ban

 Dave Rubin talks about a lot of recent events, because my take has been limited by my day job.

May 4, 2021

The straw man argument in action

A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the proper idea of the argument under discussion was not addressed or properly refuted. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be "attacking a straw man". Wikipedia

I saw this showing up on Facebook over the weekend (yeah, I know; it's Facebook, why would you be there?  It's a rarity, trust me):


A viral meme maybe, but still a straw man argument that socialists use to self-satisfy by believing they are among those too smart to fall for it.

But there are so many things wrong with this picture that it should not be worth the effort.  Yet since so many people are sharing this abomination that it sadly, requires a brief rebuttal.

(1) The rich guy is not a villain by being rich.
(2) The rich guy if he is a villain, likely wants the undocumented illegal immigrants in the United States so he can take advantage of them as cheap labor.
(3) The only reason the rich villain does not like the redneck looking guy is because he demands higher wages for various tasks.
(4) The reason the rich villain can take advantage of the immigrant population is because government allows them to come here despite not doing so legally.
(5) The socialist solution to this is to allow them to come, give them the low paying jobs, subsidizing that with welfare programs because on the books they have no income, thus squeezing out the guy in the middle, crushing the middle class, driving them to the lower class so they are forced to compete for lower wages or remain dependent on the government who - continue to expand the dependent class while dumbing them down and ensuring their continued voting allegiance by...
(6) Vilifying the rich guy they claim to be disgusted by.

And by sharing that meme you are buying into your own destruction and debasement.  This meme suggest something that is not true.  It hastens the problem it purports to detest by encouraging the expanded immigration, hastening the destruction of the middle class that cannot hope to compete with the billionaire class nor the unskilled labor working class.  All the while they hasten (in conjunction with the billionaire class) the outsourcing of potential middle income class jobs to China, India and elsewhere.

It's classic class warfare combined with misdirection and it's all being swallowed up by progressive socialist who believe they have the answers but everything they have ever tried has been an abysmal  failure.


May 3, 2021

A viral video about a problem that can be seen through many lenses

Johnny Harris is a YouTuber who makes some stunning quality videos on a weekly (approximately) basis.  I say stunning quality not because of the quality of video editing or videography (although those are quite good) but for the quality of the content.  Johnny Harris does journalism the way it's supposed to be done; classic journalism.

I felt not just compelled but obligated to share one of his most recent videos on the subject of Why McDonald's Ice Cream Machines Are Always Broken.  It's a video that needs to be seen for several reasons and through several lenses.

Watch the video below a few times.  First watch it through the lens of journalism.  Look at the extent he goes to in order to validate the claims he's heard.  It's as incredible as it is commendable.  Not only does he do his due diligence research, he tries to extricate opinion, including his own from fact, and exhorts the viewer to do some investigation of their own (all while warning that doing it to the extent he did is probably not advisable). He even offers disclaimers where he feels opinions are turning up in his video.

The man deserves an award for his efforts (and this video is just one example of that).  Contrast what he does with how the mainstream media operates and the dysfunction should become pretty obvious if you are a conservative (less so if you are a raging progressive, but at least try to find something to compare it against).  Mainstream media is rife with laziness.  It is more than 50% (often far, far more)  opinion journalism and not reporting, let alone investigation.

But I've droned on too long already.  Watch the video and I'll suggest some other lenses through which to view it afterwards.

Was I right?  He even goes beyond the surface explanation was offered everywhere else.  Why?  Because it seemed far to cut and dry.  There's another lens to view this video through - skepticism.  The skepticism present in this video should inspire the viewer's skepticism in not just the same subject, but every subject - including his videos.  By not being self-serving, he actually is being self-serving because it inspires your trust as well as your skepticism. It can do both. CNN cannot claim the same and deserves far more skepticism than you afford Johnny Harris.

Now think about crony capitalism and why it stifles innovation and hurts small businesses and consumers.  This sort of counter-productive activity is being encouraged by a big business and this is just one instance. There are cozy companies being just as lazy and counter-productive as journalists. Laziness and self-serving self-interest are two distinguishing features of crony capitalism.  And crony capitalism is not limited big business; it infects government.  Bureaucracies like the IRS or the EPA that exists to feed themselves and grow themselves are not above working with Democrats who want to do the same, or big business who want to use legislation to stifle competition. It's ubiquitous as well as nefarious.

American society seems to be on an unalterable path towards an oligopoly of a few big businesses and big government, a path that inevitably leads to dictatorial fascism.  A Road To Serfdom (mandatory reading for the uninitiated) indeed. This is why we need to follow Rules For Patriots and prevent it.  This stuff truly matters - far more than your YouTube playlist, or when the next season of Stranger Things will be on Netflix.  And this brings us back to Johnny Harris and his citizen  activism.  He's doing something and trying to point out things that matter in order to stop them from happening or from continuing.  You should be doing the same.

Or at least due yourself this service: Question what you are told, question the motivation of the teller. Think for yourself and ask critical questions. 


May 2, 2021

Rules for Patriots - Rule #6: Set Objectives, Build Momentum, Succeed, Move On


This is a continuation of my Rules for Patriots series, designed as a patriot's guide to success in fighting the creeping progressivism infecting America. It's a conservative response to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. This one is a lengthy read, but it is very important to understand.  Being able to use this approach, as a team, will simplify, streamline and expedite achieving our patriotic objectives.

Links to previous rules:  Rule #5Rule #4Rule #3Rule #2 and Rule #1.

Preparation is half the battle. But it's not the entire battle.  Winning a battle requires many things; prior proper planning, initiative, adaptability, situational awareness, and specific achievable goals that once achieved can be fortified and set aside so that the next battle can be engaged.

In order to accomplish our patriotic objectives all of that can be split into four distinct categories: Set Objectives, Build Momentum, Succeed, Move On.  It seems obvious, but it isn't always done, nor is it always easy to accomplish.

Set Objectives

The first step in setting objectives is defining the problem.  What is the problem we are trying to solve?  Once that is clearly defined the rest becomes easier.  The problem should be specific, actionable (there's no point in setting an objective that is impossible to reach; Greenpeace once tried to ban chlorine.  It's an element on the periodic table), debatable and thought provoking.  Once you have the problem stated, you can set an objective of solving the problem.

Let's assume the issue we are dealing with is censorship. Patriots believe censorship of ideas is anathema to American values.  But setting an objective of "stop censorship" is vague, multi-faceted and not achievable.  It needs to be trimmed down.  "Stop Big Tech's censorship of conservative voices" is more specific but it's still not down to battle level. "Stop Twitter from shadow-banning and banning conservatives on their platform" is specific enough that an end state can be envisioned.  It's a narrow-enough goal.  It does not stop all censorship, nor pretend to do so.  The goal is just one part in the broader battle of stopping big tech censorship of conservatives, which in turn is a sliver (albeit a big one) of stopping censorship of conservatives in general (in turn a sliver of censorship in general).  We have moved the goal from something massive and seemingly insurmountable into a manageable bit-sized  goal that we can attempt to tackle without feeling powerless and without hope.

The next step is to break the problem we are facing in reaching our objectives into distinct issues.

In our example, Twitter is engaging in shadow-banning conservatives, they are engaging in banning conservatives outright, they are agreeing to fix things and then not following through, they have established a Trust and Safety Council populated by leftists, they are engaged in censorship of what they consider sensitive content (among other nefarious deeds).  The list of issues should be as collective exhaustive in terms of potential issues as possible.  The list should also be mutually exclusive; the issue list should not overlap; if it does there is perhaps a definition or grouping problem.  Then organize the issues into groups and sub-groups in a decision tree format.  These allows us to divide the problem into manageable components, and to check whether we are looking at mutually exclusive collectively exhaustive issues.  It also helps establish a common framework for solution discussions.

The next step is to brainstorm potential solutions.

Because we have broken down our problem into groups and sub groups we can develop potential solutions by category.  We can then look for commonality among our solutions in order to keep the solution simpler and more manageable.  It allows us, importantly, to eliminate non-key issues that are either a distraction or perhaps intertwined with other issues and solvable with efforts at solving other issue groups.  In this stage we can likely hone down our solution set to a few distinct activities.

It's important to keep in mind that this stage not succumb to over-engineering. That can lead to confusion within a team. It can also be over-calibrated to a specific issue and not flexible enough as new information leads to a changed problem set.  The plan must be adaptable, which means the  issue solution set must be flexible.

Next the solution set must be analyzed for robustness. This may require investigation. Is it achievable? Does it solve all of the problem set? Is it cost-effective? Do we have the resources to do it? Can we assign responsibilities, action items, deadlines? Are there any gaps requiring special consideration, further planning or outside resources we can leverage?   Can we identify and incorporate milestones so that we can measure our progress?  All of this needs to be done as part of the planning stage in terms of setting the objectives.  Once it is done we will have a blueprint for achieving our objective. We have our battle plan.

Build Momentum

A successful plan will have milestones.  There should be synergy in those milestones. That synergy should make subsequent steps easier. For example, winning a court battle should make it easier not to have to continue fighting that particular part of the battle (assuming it's a resolute, not challengeable court decision).  It should free up resources, it should make the next, related court-battle easier to win.  It should boost morale.

Building momentum requires these identifiable milestones in the plan and reaching them should require an appropriate level of celebration that inspires rededication to the next stage of the battle.  

Building momentum requires inspired teams.  That requires inspirational leadership and a true sense of teamwork. A football, basketball or hockey team succeeds only when each player focuses on their specific tasks and is dedicated to playing their role as best they can. 

Momentum also requires checkpoints. At regular intervals we must dedicate ourselves to checking our progress. This does not mean measuring our progress towards a particular sub-goal (although that is important), but rather checking between our hypothesis and real-world situations; 

  • Has the situation changes such that we need to adjust our course? 
  • Do we need to consider an alternative plan for this particular sub-goal?  
  • Does the sub-goal still contribute to the overall goal, or do we need to adjust it?  
  • Are there new hurdles?
  • Are there new issues that have not yet been planned around?
Momentum requires progress. More importantly it requires progress in the right direction.  There is no point in sticking with a plan that no longer reflects reality and will not achieve our goals, tie up resources and demoralize our side.

Momentum also requires adaptability to be quick.  Use the 80/20 rule.  If we can solve 80% of the problem, let's not waste weeks or months trying to plan for the other 20%.  We can worry about that while enacting our 80% solution.  Wherever possible avoid indirect solutions which typically take longer to achieve results and are more prone to failure. 

A few other key points to consider while in progress and needing to adjust on the fly:
  • avoid obstacles.  There's no sense tackling a difficult situation if you can simply sidestep it.
  • leverage experts wherever possible. There's no sense reinventing the wheel.
  • don't be afraid to be creative. There are no bad ideas until they are fully investigated.
  • avoid negativity. "It won't work", "Tried it before", "We can't" all may be true, but not at the ideation stage

Succeed

This is simpler than previous steps.  Success should be obvious because it should be measurable. In today's complicated world that can not always be so simple, which is why in the planning stage it is so critical to come up with a measurable success definition.  But succeeding alone is not the end of the road.

There are things needed to cement the victory.  Planning is as important as it was at the beginning.  A lot of considerations come into play.  

  • How do we ensure the success remains intact?  What do we need to do to enforce it?
  • How many resources are needed to divert to holding this victory in place?
  • What are the potential challenges to this success that we are likely to face?
  • Are there any dangers lurking?
  • Did any part of our sub-goals not get completed and do they need to be followed up on?
  • How can we share this success with other patriots?  
  • How do we tell this story?  It is important to tell the story before the opposition tries to paint it a certain way.
  • What did we learn along the way that we can incorporate going forward?
  • How can we measure or track the impact of our success?

Move On

In case you haven't guessed it yet, the war of ideas is never over. As you approach your accomplishing your goal, you must begin the planning cycle for the next battle. Because we have narrowly defined success, there are other battles to fight.  A new planning cycle needs to start before (but not too far before) we succeed in our goal.  There is no point in dwelling on your success as other battles rage on all around you.  There is also no point in being caught flat-footed and having to waste time before engaging in the next battle.

Yes, take time to celebrate your victory.  But be prepared for the next battle.  Be prepared to inspire others that this next battle is equally important or even more so than your hard won success so far.  Standing still on the battlefield is a recipe for disaster.  Your opponent sure as hell is not standing still.  They just lost, they will be energized.  By default victory drains energy just as defeat grows it.  The only way to overcome either is by using momentum.  Victory must inspire further effort just as it must demoralize the other side.  The only way to do that is to land the first metaphorical blow in the next battle. 

Move on, do not stand still.  If you are in a leadership role, detail the reason for the next battle, detail the plan, engage your team to get involved where they can contribute.  And if you are a team member, volunteer where you can best contribute.  Your energy and enthusiasm will  inspire those around you to do the same.

Sunday verse

 


April 30, 2021

April 29, 2021

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