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Monday, November 30, 2020

Free Speech

Silverfiddle Rant!

"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible." 
- George Orwell, The Principles of Newspeak 

One result of Election 2020 will be increased social media censorship of inconvenient speech.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc will please progressive government regulators by snuffing out speech that violates the progressive orthodoxy or morality of the moment.

What can we do?  Repealing Section 230 is not the answer.  Doing that would chill speech even more.

We The People established this government to protect our God-given rights. It does this by implementing laws and regulations, and we need a new statute that addresses the digital public square.

My proposed law would punish any social media corporation that violates our freedom of expression.  Some advocate an expansion of the Public Accomodation statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of political party and ideology, but I favor a federal statute that more broadly protects all speech.

Corporations now own the digital public square, so they should be declared public utilities under the law, and they should be compelled by law to respect our God given rights of free expression, and the Public Square Standards would be the same as an actual public square:  No vulgarity or pornography, no "fighting words," death threats, libel, slander, etc.

The law should be drawn to allow the widest latitude possible for all speech that does not violate the Public Square Standards. 

What would be the impact?  Would Fundamentalist Christian forums have to allow atheists free expression?  Must Muslim websites tolerate insults?  No.

If you have a forum dedicated to fly fishing, you can kick people off for talking politics, or cooking, or anything non-fly fishing related. Such on-line places would fall under the category of private club or religious organization as defined in the Public Accomodation statutes.

If you are a news outlet, you obviously have editorial standards and laws to follow, and none of us have the God-given right to compel a publication to publish our work or editorialize in our favor. The rights of a free press are well established and this would affect them not at all.

If you are a social media platform that entertains all kinds of speech, this federal regulation is for you!  You must honor the rights of everyone equally. You cannot establish your own community standards.  You cannot tell the street preacher to get off his orange crate and give the space to someone advocating the destruction of the internal combusion engine.  They both must be given the same opportunity to preach their message and attract adherents.

What say you?

Censorship:  The suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

Public Accommodation:  A place that offers goods and services to the general public such as a restaurant that is open to the public. Federal and state laws protect designated groups from discrimination in places of public accommodations, based on the premise that everyone is entitled to enjoy the goods and services of the public accommodation on an equal basis. 

Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the federal government prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of the following: race, color, religion, national origin, and disability. The federal government does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. However, numerous states protect against age, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity discrimination.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

Image from MIT Medical

What a contrast to the above is the below often-used image of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony!
Should we then feel sorry for ourselves: that this Thanksgiving 2020 we may have to forego some of the usual family gatherings and festivities?  I think not!

In spite of my own doubts as to just how dangerous COVID-19 is, I think that we should reflect upon how un-deprived we are, here in the 21st Century! 

Let us note the true hardships which our Pilgrim Fathers endured: a rough voyage of 65 days on turbulent seas only to arrive in November 1620 to inhospitable shores during brutal weather; a lack of enough supplies until the next gardening season because the Mayflower was supposed to arrive to the already-established Virginia Colony, where there would have been stores enough for the winter and good shelter; the deaths of more than half of the English settlers aboard the ship, because of the combination of both poor nutrition and inadequate shelter for a New England Winter. 

Yet, our Pilgrim Fathers heartily gave thanks — and, before disembarking, even managed to compose the Mayflower Compact, ancestor of our United States Constitution:
...[I]n the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims wisely chose to establish a government based on civil agreement, not on compulsory divine or biblical authority....
Therefore, instead of whining about what we are not doing this Thanksgiving 2020 and instead of complaining about our draconian Democrat governors and their anti-Thanksgiving edicts, let us be mindful of what Scott Powell wrote in his Patriot Post 2018 essay Thanksgiving: The First and Essential American Holiday
Times are very different than they were nearly 400 years ago at the time of the Mayflower’s voyage to the New World. But the qualities of character that made the Pilgrims exemplary are as relevant today as they were back then. A contemporary Thanksgiving makeover might include: rekindling a quest for adventure; growing the faith to hold on to a vision of a promised land no matter what; mustering the courage to go against the crowd and defend the truth; gaining determination to endure hardship; rejuvenating a joyful willingness to sacrifice for others; revitalizing respect and tolerance of people of different beliefs; and renewing the predisposition to extend love and gratitude at every appropriate opportunity.
Please read Scott Powell's entire essay HERE.  Worth your time.

Let us count our blessings!  They are too numerous to count!

There will be time enough later to take our draconian, anti-Thanksgiving political leaders to task.  For now...

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down) 

One of my favorite classical pieces — the first movement of Symphony No. 40 (1788) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791):

Peace.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Stick a Fork in It

Silverfiddle Rant!
The first clue President Trump's efforts to overturn the election were not serious was when he appointed stumblebum Rudy Giuliani to head up the effort. Everything that boob involves himself in is quickly reduced to a farcical shambles.

Rudy drools on himself in the courtroom and makes Biden look like the picture of youthful mental clarity, and judges all over the US are throwing out lawsuits left and right, but Team Trump continues to bang the drum on rightwing cable and talk radio.  Is this a money grab of some kind, keeping the campaign going? I have my own suspicions...

They can yammer on all day about voting machines and mathematical algorithms, but until they bring the proof in a court of law, its all BS. It's time to pack up the circus tent, send Rudy off to rehab, and have the president deliver a gracious concession speech.  

To my fellow Donald Trump voters, I urge you to turn it off, tune it out and drop the bullshitters from your life.  Donald Trump did great things and showed the GOP how to win, but its time for him to go.  And not return.

Disagree?  Bring Evidence.  Not Hannity blather, not talk radio talking points or news conference video.  Evidence that can be presented to a judge in a court of law.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"The People have Spoken. The Bastards!"

Silverfiddle Rant!


Every now and then, some reality pokes through the "mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia." This rare event has happened twice in four years, and both times, Donald Trump was the catalyst.

He shocked the world four years ago and shook the arrogant progressive class from its confident perch upon the arc of history, and he instigated teeth-gnashing turmoil on the right.

El Donaldo struck again this election, with a different result and different realities surfacing. The margins in the upper Midwest that swept him to victory four years ago are not so different this time, but the President is on the losing side, no Jill Stein to siphon Democrat votes.

Here are the realities as I see them:

Both parties continue their unholy alliance with global corporations and international finance, but The Democrat Party is becoming the party of upscale elitists, while the GOP is looking more like the party of  rural folks and the working class. The GOP is now the America First party, and the Democrats are the standard bearers of globalism and interventionist foreign policy. 

Demographics is not destiny. Hispanics are now the nation's largest minority group, but they don't herd easily and they are not a homogenous group.  Donald Trump won between a third and a half of them, doubled his black vote and saw a solid increase of the LGBTQ+ community voting for him.  Will the Republicans pay attention and build on that?

We are a divided nation.  Working class whites and working class people of color have more in common with each other than each group does with its professional, university educated class.

Biden did not restore the upper Midwest "Blue Firewall."  Those are now battleground states.

The South is no longer solid red.  Georgia is now a purple battleground state, and North Carolina is four to eight years behind Georgia, on the same trajectory.

Biden's margin of victory came from people who just wanted this four year national heart attack and leftwing toddler temper tantrum to end.  He is the calming Mr. Rodgers, here to soothe the nation, turn down the volume, use nice words and restore sanity and civility.  I think those people are delusional, but I understand them.
The sole Democrat win of Election 2020 was the presidency: a pyrrhic victory that will produce two years of gridlock. Republicans will hold the Senate (even a tie would produce gridlock), and the GOP has taken 9-12 seats (at least two in California) from Democrats, trimming Empress Pelosi's majority to a threadbare margin, and ending all that foolish talk about what a political genius she is. 

The Democrat political strategery will be to promise everybody everything:  Full bailouts for businesses and corrupt, fiscally criminal blue states and municipalities; student loan forgiveness; free college; "green jobs" for everybody who wants one and Lord knows what else.  This will force the GOP to be the party of No and make them look hypocritical, coming off a multi-year, multi-trillion dollar spending jag.    

Census 2020: People are voting with their feet.  For the first time ever, California will not gain a congressional seat.  New York, Illinois and other creaky blue Midwest and east coast states will lose seats.  Texas could gain three. 

Republicans will dominate redistricting at the state level, so prepare yourself for tortured screams of "Gerrymandering!" from the left.

My conclusion is, a bare majority of voters wanted Trumpism without the bombast, vulgarity and gratuitous insults of Trump himself. Republicans can build on this GOP big tent, if they are smart.

All the entertainment this next two years will be on the Democrat side.  The loony lefties and the sensible Democrats will be in open warfare.  

This is America, a vibrant and diverse nation.  The map is never static.

"The People have Spoken...  The Bastards!" -- Dick Tuck

George Orwell:  
"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia."

Monday, November 16, 2020

COVID-19: The Long Term Effects?

I have long expressed concern about exactly what recovery from COVID-19 looks like.  What the medical profession considers recovery is really not a desirable recovery. 

After all, Mr. AOW is considered recovered from his stroke of September 15, 2009, but the recovery doesn't look good at all: hospital bed in the living room, bedside potty in the living room, mobility scooter, and totally dependent on me his caregiver for his ADL's (bathing, getting dressed, etc.), frenetic searches for a viable restroom when we're out, the occasional pit stop at the side of the road.  You get the picture, I'm sure: Mr. AOW's stroke recovery is one of total disability.
Also, the tragic case of Nick Cordero got me to wondering, "what does recovery from COVID-19 look like?"  
Apparently, the variables are many and even unknown.

Before weighing in, please watch the short video below and read the articles at the bottom of this blog post.

Mayo Clinic article (October 7, 2020) HERE.

From Harvard Medical School (October 8, 2020): The hidden long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19.

Questions, then, arise: 

What is the appropriate and Constitutional role of the government for COVID-19 prevention during this pandemic?  

Have certain state and local governments overstepped with the measures they are taking?  Two examples of recent measures, and there are many more recent clampdowns: (1) the mayor of Chicago has basically canceled Thanksgiving and Christmas and (2) the governor Virginia has limited all public gatherings to 25 people or fewer (previous limitation was 250).

Do we even know which measures work?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)
That time of year — although, where I live, the peak has ended:

Program music for the above:
Celebrates the peasant, with songs and dances, 
The pleasure of a bountiful harvest. 
And fired up by Bacchus' liquor, 
many end their revelry in sleep. 

Adagio molto 
Everyone is made to forget their cares and to sing and dance 
By the air which is tempered with pleasure 
And (by) the season that invites so many, many 
Out of their sweetest slumber to fine enjoyment.

The hunters emerge at the new dawn, 
And with horns and dogs and guns depart upon their hunting 
The beast flees and they follow its trail; 
Terrified and tired of the great noise 
Of guns and dogs, the beast, wounded, threatens 
Languidly to flee, but harried, dies.

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Future

I know that many of you don't like Tucker Carlson and what he often has to say. Even so, if you have not seen the video clip below, please watch now.
Related reading, this comment by Bocopro, frequenter of Z's blog, and this comment well states the future I see for our country (erstwhile republic)...
O.K. Everybody who voted “for” Biden – living or otherwise – legally or not – only once, or frequently – by proxy – whatever . . . listen up: 

Until the intermittent moron, quid-pro-Joe, mysteriously disappears from the White House and the Marxist concubine wiggles her seditious butt into the power position, just remember – you own it. 

And when Sundowner Joe is in ICU at Walter Reed after a massive cerebral artery clog and Horizontal Harris begins issuing EOs in end-runs around the Senate, just remember – you own it. 

Let’s not hear complaints about higher taxes, new taxes, excise taxes, value-added taxes, rising prices, unemployment increases, inflation, exorbitant health care costs – just remember, you bought it. 

Don’t get your knickers in a wad because of massive fees to support climate control or skinny paychecks because of reparations – you asked for it. 

Just suck it up when your stocks deflate and your 401K dries up like a west Texas mudhole in August . . . it won’t be Trump’s fault. 

Become a devout stoic when your children learn nothing in school except political correctness and “F-E-E-E-E-lings” and “White males are the problem” even though the costs have risen exponentially – it’s what liberals do when they have the power. 

Step into your big-boy hat and big-girl panties when you lose your job because millions of illegals suddenly become citizens and millions more Muslim “refugees” appear and take your job – that’s what you wanted, isn’t it? 

And be reasonable when minimum wage rises to the point that employers can no longer afford to employ you or your children or your grandchildren, much less offer them benefits . . . it’s only fair, right? 

And when “peaceful” protesters such as Antifa and BLM destroy city property and crime rates soar and your community is no longer safe to live in . . . hey – that’s the “new normal” you said we have to adjust for. 

And when jobs dry up because the capital left the country and it’s cheaper to import things from Asia, just remember who told us that “China is not our enemy”: that was quid pro Joe, who made grunches of money off deals with China. 

And you should be happy when interest rates on loans get so high that you can’t even consider asking for one, and you can’t afford to replace that old Chevy, and you’re suddenly upside down on your mortgage – that’s your boy, the silver-tongued sniffer. 

No complaints, Dems . . . the hateful Orangeman is gone and Happy Days Are Here Again now that we have a proper career politician running things. It’s what you asked for . . . so just keep your trap shut and own it. Nobody wants to hear you bitching about getting what you said was best “for the American people.” 

You asked for it, and now you own it. Congratulations, Meathead.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Weekend Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

An unusual piece for this most unusual year of 2020 — performed by The Choral Arts Society of Washington, my favorite choral group in the area in which I live: 

Text for the above:
A flame 
Dispels the dark 
Its delicate light dispels the shadows 
A flame alone 
Brings within its flicker 
A welcoming warmth 
A single flame 
That shares its light 
Is but strengthened by this splitting in two 
And as each flame 
Begets another 
Its life and life are multiplied 
To become unending 
Forever burning 
A beacon that both beckons and guides 
So to light the world.
Many years ago, I was privileged to be an alto in The Choral Arts Society, then under the baton of the founder, Maestro Norman Scribner (1936-2015).  What a wonderful and unique education I received during those three and one-half years!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Now What?

So, here we are, the day after the 2020 National Election.  At least six states are "too early to call."  Why is that?

Both Democrats and Republicans are claiming victory, with the latter crying "Foul!"  Perhaps the Democrats are, too.  I haven't checked.0

The great divide continues.

Where does America go from here?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Breaking Speculation!

Delivered with dramatic lead-in music and breathless voices — as if those touches will change or predict a single thing. My email inboxes reaches overflow within a few hours every single day the past few weeks. 

 I wonder how many hours I have spent deleting emails? Those hours must have added up to at least several weeks. I kid you not! Hours upon hours deleted from my remaining finite hours.
I'm so sick of all this breaking speculation with regard to the 2020 National Election. We will find out the election results when we find out. 




Meanwhile, "THE COVID" is doing what viruses do: spreading.  Hysteria does nothing to prevent the spread.