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Thursday, May 23, 2019

What Is Ramadan?

(Much of this blog post was previously published on July 30, 2011, and on June 18, 2015)

Ramadan 2019 began at sunset on May 6 and continues for 30 days until June 5.

What does Ramadan really celebrate, particularly Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan?

If one understands the history of Islam and, especially, that of Ramadan, one will come to understand that such a commemoration, including iftar dinners at the White House, should be unacceptable to all those who oppose Islamic supremacism.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Fake Everything

Silverfiddle Rant!

Robocalls are a menace, and Caller ID spoofing is a sinister twist on this black art.  Remember the National No Call List?  It's a joke, brought to you by the same government apparatchiks who claim they can solve climate change if we just give them enough money.

Paul Starr rants about robocalls in his American Prospect article, The Robocall Deluge Is a Case of Government Failure.

And it's not just robocalls...
The robocall deluge is just one manifestation of a phenomenon I call “media degradation.” It goes along with spam email, spam text messages, fake news, deepfake videos, and much else.

Add to this a total loss of on-line privacy and "harmful content" in social media.  Mark Zuckerberg joins Paul Starr in calling for more government intervention.

I share their concerns, but not their calls for more Big Government.

Here's how I rank their concerns, #1 being the biggest:

1. On-line Privacy.  Government needs to pass a law. Now.  Stating no one may sell, buy, share or otherwise traffic my personal information without my explicit written consent.

2. On-Line Free Speech.  I want government to bust the on-line trusts.  Global corporations own the digital public square, so social media must be converted into a public utility that guarantees access for all who do not break the law. The Twitter Stasi banned the pro-life movie Unplanned's twitter account, un-banned it, and then erased all its followers.  King Twit Jack Dorsey needs to be dragged from his imperial palace by his hipster beard and publicly caned for all of the censorship he has engaged in.

3. Fake News. I do not want government intervening.  The situation is bad enough as it is.  The Infotainment News Media is going to have to police itself and clean up its act if it wants to up its approval rating, which is now lower than President Trump's.

4. Deepfake Videos. This is a biggie given how reliant as we are on video evidence and the unreflective credulity we invest in it. It's bad enough what the porn stuff can do to a person's reputation.  Think about deepfakes of "leaked conversations, etc" of world leaders, or deepfaked atrocities designed to propagandize us into one more rage mob or worse, another war.  What consoles me is the empirical fact that technology solutions solve technology problems.  Context, forensic examination, non-video corroborating evidence or lack thereof, etc will snuff most deepfakes, if the resulting hysteria doesn't get out of control first.

5.  Robocalls, Caller ID Spoofing, Spam E-Mails, Spam Texts.  These annoy me, but I don't see the need for government intervention, although I would like to see the tech industry try harder at deploying customizable apps to help us snuff this didgicrap.

6. On-line Trollery.  The Hill is rife with spam comments and obvious trolls, some flying false flags just to provoke. I would like to see some heuristic technology developed to eradicate such infestations.

7.  "Harmful Content" in social media.  If it doesn't break the law, Stop. Banning. It. I support some common sense community standards, but the Silicon Valley Archipelago has gone way overboard.  Turn them all into public utilities and regulate them as such.

What say you?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Education Today? (With Addendum)

In what world is this appropriate for a second grade teacher to do?

And why is the teacher still employed at the school?

Addendum below the fold:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"We are a Good People"

Silverfiddle Rant!
Rabbi Dov Fischer speaks for his people, and for America, in the wake of yet another hate crime hoax and calls for slavery reparations...

Yes, we are informed by the Shoah, as we are by the destruction of the Holy Temple that someday will be rebuilt in Messianic times on its promontory on Mount Moriah, as we are by the expulsions, Inquisitions, blood libels, pogroms, Communist terrors, and other persecutions that have visited us. That makes us vigilant. But we do not build a culture on thatI wish so much for others in other cultures to understand that no culture can be built in 2019 America on a slavery that ended in 1865 by virtue of 300,000 White men giving up their lives to end it.

Vestiges of our racist past remain.  Yahoogle "Sandtown Baltimore" for one example. We have stubborn pockets of racists, some noisy, some violent, and some quiet and sneaky.  We always will, but our polite society that snickers at blasphemy and vulgarity does not tolerate bigotry. 

Dov Fischer again, from the same linked article:
We are a good people. We do not lynch Blacks or others. Rather, we had Loretta Lynch. Outside of New York, we smile at people we do not know as we walk down the street. When we cross a street, we wave to the driver who waits to make a right turn. We make friendly small talk at the grocery cash register, even a guy with a yarmulke when paying a woman with a hijab. We are a good people. And we deserve better than the despicable Big Lie that this country is riven on racial, gender, religious, or ethnic lines.
Very few of us had a perfect upbringing, and our family histories tell of struggle, oppression and every variety of unfairness life hands out.  Nursing grudges and grievances while believing people owe you something is a path to unhappiness and failure.

The best message you can give people is to encourage them overcome: Let go of the past. Do the right thing, work hard, delay gratification, get an education. Success--hard-won and self-earned--is the best response to the bigots and the haters.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Recommended Reading

See Democrat Contenders' Laughable, Massive Giveaways by Erik Rush.  Excerpt:
...Among the mind-bogglingly unaffordable proposals being floated are reparations for blacks for slavery. On April 8, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced a bill that would study the concept of reparations for descendants of slaves. Booker said that the bill is “a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy and implicit racial bias in our country.”

The persistence of racism, white supremacy and implicit racial bias in America is an utter fiction (unless one takes into account the uncomfy bed progressives have made for blacks), but blacks and rank-and-file liberals have been convinced that these are endemic to our nation.


...T]here are definitely enough propagandized blacks and foolish whites among us to make this a reality given the right (or wrong) combination of a Democratic president and Democrat-controlled Congress.
Read Mr. Rush's entire essay HERE. He discusses much more than race.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

For Mother's Day 2019

(For politics, please scroll down)

Four generations in January, 1978:

L to R: my beloved second cousin, whom I regard as my daughter (b. 1967); me at age 25; my mother (1916-1987); and, Wawa, my maternal grandmother (1898-1981).

The above photo was taken here in the living room of this old house, built circa 1935.

I miss you, Mom and Wawa.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Comment Of The Day

A few days ago, commenter Baysider posted the following insightful comment to Silverfiddle's May 2, 2019 post "Seattle Is Dying" here at Always On Watch:

I live in such a town - Soviet Monica. Crime (and vagrancy) is up, WAY UP, since the Crime Train is bringing boatloads more freeloaders into town. People are disgusted. We have to protect and defend ourselves. Government has abandoned that function in all but name only.

We ALSO contribute a lot to the private rehab agencies, but I'm not interested in YOU unless you want to take a step in the right direction. Don't expect free lodging and a latrine in MY yard. You can be willing to straighten up and move in the right direction and we'll help.

Our city actually threatened fines/jail to ordinary people like me who wash the filth away -- for spreading disease! What do they expect us to do, lick it up? My garage door guy wears a mask when he works in this area because of all the stench of urine which signals disease that he is working among.

Related reading: Medieval Diseases Are Infecting California’s Homeless: Typhus, tuberculosis, and other illnesses are spreading quickly through camps and shelters (The Atlantic, March 8, 2019).

How long can California survive this onslaught? Similar situations exist all over Southern California, including even in Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

Related...Police Union: LAPD Officers Contracted Staph Infection After Homeless Person Came Into Station (May 7, 2019).

Monday, May 6, 2019

Joe Biden's Brain

(At Always On Watch 2, in the wake of Mr. AOW's brain hemorrhage on September 1, 2009, and my consequent crash course in neurology followed by up-close and personal encounters with the rather peculiar phenomenon of confabulation, I posted a few times about Joe Biden's brain. This post is an update to those previous posts and is a post irrespective of Joe Biden's political views; in fact, I feel compassion for what I believe to be the man's neurological issues)

Joe Biden is known for making gaffes.  In fact, a Google search of "Joe Biden gaffes" yields lists of Bidenisms. One example of a Bidenism, an example which reads much like spinning tales around a campfire:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened." –Joe Biden, apparently unaware that FDR wasn't president when the stock market crashed in 1929 and that only experimental TV sets were in use at that time, interview with Katie Couric, Sept.22, 2008
Read the entire list HERE.

Just last week, there was this: Biden Tells ‘The View’ Obama’s Presidency Had No ‘Whisper of Scandal’.

Funny? Sure. But is something else going on?

Check out the following information about confabulation:

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Animal Humor

(For politics, please scroll down)

With thanks to Warren, who emailed me the link to the video below:

Bonus video below the fold.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Seattle Is Dying

Silverfiddle Rant!
Mrs. Silverfiddle and I watched the captivating documentary, Seattle is Dying, available on YouTube.  It is a professional one-hour production and has almost 3 million views.  I recommend you cast it to your flat panel and enjoy the hi-res camera work.

The entire film is one long parade of homelessness and drug abuse, and the sadness and misery and crime that results. It's all exacerbated by the city's inability to address the growing problem.

The wife and I found one part particularly galling.  A homeless clown, enjoying it all as street theater because we are a nation rich enough and stupid enough to allow bozos like him to make a joke of it all...

In related news, the brain surgeons running Washington DC, thought it would be a great idea to put up homeless bums and drug users in luxury apartments, but it ain't working out so well.

Seattle defenders are pushing back against the viral documentary, but they've got a fight on their hands.  Even good liberals are fed up in this city that voted 87% for Hillary and only 7% for President Trump.

What say you?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Broken Borders

Silverfiddle Rant!

President Trump spoke for all sane Americans:

"We have the worst laws of any country in the world. ... You have to fix the asylum situation, it's ridiculous."

Damon Linker, a sensible liberal who excoriates President Trump daily, begrudgingly agrees:
It's a mess. But things truly cross over into the absurd with the recent decision of a California judge to block the Trump administration's effort to get most migrants to remain in Mexico until their asylum hearing. The U.S. is confronting a flood of migrants fleeing oppression, violence, and poverty in one country (usually Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador), crossing a massive intermediary country (Mexico) that no one claims is persecuting them, and yet a judge insists that it's a violation of the law to deny them entry.

That ruling is either an outrageous warping of the law, in which case it needs to be quickly overturned by a higher court, or it is a demonstration that the law itself needs to be changed […]. In the current situation of years-long backlogs and restrictions on detaining kids, it amounts to a wide-open door to anyone who shows up on the border with a child claiming asylum. To the extent that current law requires this fiasco, it needs to be scrapped and replaced.
Bernie Sanders agrees as well, stating he is not for open borders:
What we need is comprehensive immigration reform. If you open the borders, my God, there's a lot of poverty in this world, and you're going to have people from all over the world. And I don't think that's something that we can do at this point. Can't do it. So that is not my position.
The ground is shifting under the Democrats.  President Trump may be demagoguing the illegal immigration issue, but his demagoguery is working, and it is needed to wake us from our media-induced stupor.

Our president is stymied by our idiotic immigration laws and Trump-hating judges who allowed the previous president to make up his own immigration laws, but Democrats will pay a price in 2020.  

President Trump's trollery and demagoguery have manipulated Democrats onto the side of open borders and illegal immigration, where some don the presidentially-proffered political suicide vest, while others scramble and scurry to split hairs, make excuses and confect distinctions without differences. 

Despite losing every battle, President Trump is winning.  How do we know?  After struggling mightily to deny reality, Democrats now acknowledge the crisis, but blame President Trump.

At least half of the world's 7.5 billion people want to come here. Government needs to act.

See also:
Democrats Powerless to Stop Red Wave
David Frum - How Much Immigration is Too Much?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Musical Interlude

Flute Concerto in A Minor, composed by German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767):

Wonderful polyphony and antiphony!

Friday, April 26, 2019

¡Viva el Presidente!

Silverfiddle Rant!
Corruption is killing many struggling countries around the world.  Yes, we have corruption in the US, but we are so wealthy, with so much easy credit sloshing around, chiselers can rake off their take without the stupefied public taking notice.

Not so in poor countries.  Hunger and misery serve to sharpen the senses and narrow an intense focus on injustice.  Haiti is mired in misery nine years after an earthquake made the miserable nation even crappier.  Over $13 billion in aid has poured in (as of 2015), and outraged Haitians are asking where the hell it all went, because it sure has hell didn't go to the people.

Mexico is also afflicted by endemic corruption...
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he will create a “Robin Hood” institute to return to the people the ill-gotten wealth seized from corrupt politicians and gangsters.

A 2017 report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development noted that recent studies estimated that Mexico lost between 5 percent and 9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to corruption annually. (Reuters)
Mexico's GDP is just north of $1 Trillion, so the amount stolen by corrupt oligarchs and criminal syndicates is staggering $50 to $100 Billion. That's how a country ends up a shithole despite having good, hardworking people.

I fear he will be killed before he reforms the system. May God bless and protect President Obrador.

Thursday, April 25, 2019