Remembering the fallen: For some people memorial day is every day

The following was originally published Memorial Day Weekend, 2014.

Five years ago Greg Saroyan wrote just an amazing article in USA Today. The title is stunning in its simplicity. He called it “For some people memorial day is every day.” Let me, if you will, read just a portion of that article. And then tell you about two friends who lost their lives in Iraq.

He writes,

For grieving families the gathering place is section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery which has become a memorial to the sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. More  than 400 US troops killed in those countries are buried in section in 60, several hundred yards from Pres. John F. Kennedy’s grave.

…  from a distance section 60 resembles much of Arlington cemetery where 300,000 are interred beneath but a closer look reveals greater splashes of color were families keep replenishing graveside flower  arrangements

Mementoes, many from children or former comrades, are tucked next to headstones: construction-paper memorial cards in a child’s scrawl, medals and military insignia, teddy bears and stuffed Easter bunnies.

There is also a constant outpouring of grief, from those who shed quiet tears to the inconsolable. A father lies prostrate on his son’s grave; a mother sits in a thunderous downpour seemingly unaware her lawn chair is sinking into the softening earth.

“When you’re there, I feel like I’m totally focused on my own grief. And then each of the moms, they would just come up and kind of touch you on the shoulder. You turn around and they look into your eyes and tell you they’re sorry,” says Regina “Gina” Barnhurst.

One Christmas Eve, Leesa Philippon was among the first to pierce that veil of sorrow and gently pull Barnhurst into the club of grieving families.

“Gina was kneeling at her son’s site writing and had lit candles,” Philippon recalls. “I jumped out of the car, and I walked close to her, called her name and then immediately hugged her and introduced myself. She was so alone and in deep pain.”

 

I knew Leesa’s son, a Marine who is interned in Arlington. His name is Lcpl. Lawrence Philippon. A graduate of Conard High School, Larry chose the US Marines over college. His parents tell me 9-11 affected him greatly. For him it became a mission, even before he enlisted.

Larry was already an honored member of the United States Marines, a member of the color guard at Ronald Reagan’s funeral. Larry did not have to go to Iraq but like so many others he badgered the Marines until they let him go. Lisa Philippon remembers the day he left for Iraq. She said she did a flashback to the day she waved goodbye to him as he left for his first day in kindergarten.. Lisa  and Ray were never to see their son again, killed in action while hunting AQ house to house in Iraq. Today he is buried in Arlington Cemetery. Today I mourn the death of a great American hero Lance Cpl. Lawrence Philippon.

360 miles north of Larry’s resting place is the grave site  of another great American hero, Sgt. Felix Delgreco Junior. Felix grew up in Simsbury, played Little League (I know because I coached his team), went on to excel in high school and could probably have gone to any college he wanted. In Simsbury he was known as a brainiac. But, he too felt a calling that grew every day in his heart. Rejected by the Army for being, well a little too heavy, Felix trained night and day to get in shape so that the Army could never say no. When the Army finally accepted him, little did they know they were taking on a man would become one of their greatest soldiers.

He served with distinction in Bosnia and like Larry he too did not have to go to Iraq. But he volunteered and here’s why. In a letter he wrote just before his death to his parents, he told them he wasn’t sure if there were weapons of mass destruction … and didn’t care. What did matter were the children of Iraq. What mattered to him was that they would have the same opportunity he had to grow up free, to excel, to become whatever they wanted. This is what drove Sgt. del Greco.

Felix lost his life in Iraq when his convoy was ambushed and he took upon himself to grab the gun in the Humvee turret to protect his brothers. He died a hero.

This is the way America has been since its founding. Both my Dad, a Lieutenant on the USS Missouri BB63 (shown here as a newly minted Ensign), and and my step Dad, a lieutenant and Marine pilot, served together at Okinawa. Both survived, but their service left an indelible mark on their hearts. When my father passed, he asked before his death that his headstone simply read Lt AP Vicevich USN (active duty from 1942-1946, although he remained in the USNR for sometime after that).It is more than a calling … it is part of who you are.

I could quote George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Eisenhower, or my dad’s favorite, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. All good and necessary. But for me all you need to know is that since 1776 each service member felt that same calling in their heart. To defend and protect the Republic. To make us safe and in the process preserve for future generations the freedom the justice that is the American way.

May God rest their souls. May we never forget.

 

Google de-listing conservative website content – including RVO

Yesterday morning, Internet and social media reports surfaced indicating Google was not showing search results from conservative websites. I checked myself, and sure enough, a bunch of sites were not showing in the normal, listed results.

There was some mention of liberal websites not showing up in results as well, but I did not notice anything during my search of the most popular sites.

The conservative-leaning websites that were blocked from the normal list of results for at least three hours included, but were not limited to:

Interestingly, most of the above sites did show up in the “sidebar” of the Google results. This includes the information Google curates from other sources – usually Wikipedia – with a brief overview of the website. The sidebar result is related to the search terms, but does not show the links to the news articles themselves.

Google is calling it a glitch, but it does seem to indicate Google has some sort of “switch” they can use to de-list specific websites from showing in the normal search results. They should explain themselves as soon as possible. We do not think RVO was included in Google’s “glitch.” (We’re small potatoes.)

Should Google be treated as a publisher?

I think so. Last week it took me about three minutes to find one of my articles here on RVO was not showing in the Google results. I did a simple search for ‘google’ using our own search tool in the navigation menu and found 280 results. I selected the first result.

I wrote this article about 10 years ago, and it was certainly not favorable to Google, but it included well-sourced and valid information. The original source I used was from the Big Government website, which was at the time part of the Breitbart family. It’s no longer published, but I referenced other sources including the San Francisco Chronicle who referenced Google’s Marissa Mayer is hosting President Obama for a Democratic party fundraiser. The entry fee was $30,000 per head. At the time, Mayer was vice president of Google Search Products and User Experience.

For unknown reasons, the Chronicle (or are they known as SFGate?) deleted their post that I originally linked to, but SFGate has similar information posted here. Business Insider also has the news report concerning the fundraiser on their website.

Mayer continued to host high-dollar fundraisers for President Obama through at least 2014 when she was CEO of Yahoo.

So, does my article show in the Google results?

Nope. They have excluded this article from the search results. The simple way to do this is search for the headline of the article and use quotes.

You’ll note the two results shown (here and here) have articles dated from 2009 and 2013, both before and after my original articles publication date of Oct. 28, 2010. You’ll note the headline of my Google post is displayed in the description portion of the search results. Almost certainly, this is because at one time the articles had listed the Google article I wrote in the sidebar of the page showing a list of recent or related posts.

How about if we use the Google site: function?

Nope, the article still does not show up.

Did I request search engines ignore my article?

Setting a website, page or post to “noindex” is a way you can request search engines do not index your content. I use this tool frequently for some of my clients when we want to not have a page display in search results. This is not the case in any of the articles on the RVO website. You can confirm by looking at the source code of the original article.

How about other search engines?

The article shows up as the number one result on Duck Duck Go, Bing and Yahoo Search.

What it comes down to is this: Google did not like my article and elected to remove it from their search results at some point. No notification or explanation, they just deleted it from their indexed results.

I have no idea if Google has removed other RVO articles from their search results. It’s really not something I’m willing to research further.

Review: Stalked by Socialism, Jana Kandlova

Editor’s note: This book review by Don Pesci was originally posted on his Red Notes from a Blue State blog on July 12, 2020. It is re-posted here with permission.

Jana Kandlova, author of Stalked by Socialism, has written a necessary book that raises the question: Are we here in the United States attempting to crawl back into the shed skin of totalitarian socialism?

History, which proceeds in baby steps, has taught us that the road to totalitarianism is paved with emotionally attractive socialist intentions, but there is a vast qualitative difference between intent and accomplished ends. That is the lesson bitterly learned by those in Western Europe who first were overrun by Nazism and later lived for decades under communism. All the important, autocratic totalitarians of the 20th century, among the bloodiest and most spiritually racked centuries in world history – fascists Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, communists Joseph Stalin, “breaker of nations,” and Chairman Mao of China — were socialists before they became totalitarians.

The Road To Serfdom, first published in 1944, Friedrick Hayek writes, was offered “as a warning to English socialists” when Hayek was teaching in London. The precursor to socialism, Hayek warned, is “planning on a national scale,” which must of necessity be both arbitrary and anti-democratic. And those who naively believe that democratic forms alone are a bulwark against anti-democratic socialism have misread the times: “There is no justification for the belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source, but the limitation of power which prevents it being arbitrary. Democratic control may prevent power from becoming arbitrary, but it does not do so by its mere existence. If democracy resolves on a task which necessarily involves the use of power which cannot be guided by fixed rules, it must become arbitrary power.”

In the pre-and-post-World War II era, Hayek and other unheeded 20th century Cassandras – one thinks of Robert Conquest, George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, Whittaker Chambers and many other writers of distinction – sounded loud, clanging warning bells commonly disregarded by policy makers and the tribunes of the people who, burrowing into the moment, rarely had a clear view of the near future.

Like so many post-World-War-Two survivors of iron-fisted totalitarianism, Kandelora is an escapee and an immigrant to the United States. Her memoir of her years under the jackboot of socialist totalitarianism provides us with a view from inside the communist leviathan. And the subtitle of her book, “An Escapee From Communism Shows How We’re Sliding Into Socialism,” is a timely warning to the United States, a palace of security and comfort to the offscourings of a socialist inspired communism now prowling the byways of the nation that welcomed her and others like her, still lifting the torch of liberty beside the golden door and offering to the dispossessed a refuge against the often arbitrary rule of “men like gods.”

Kandelova recounts her years in communist occupied Czechoslovakia in the first three chapters of her book, a captivating, painfully written but easily read personal reminiscence. Here we meet her brave grandparents and parents. Her mother describes in a single line the made-in-Russia, communist planned economy of Czechoslovakia, intermittently free after World War I and during the short-lived Prague Spring, before Russian tanks arrived in the country to suppress an organic revolution.

“We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us,” her mother, a true Czech used to say.

Uncomfortable with socialist serfdom, Czechs in whom the fire of liberty had not yet been entirely snuffed out well knew that communist tyranny is the perfection of socialism, its logical endpoint. But the totalitarian mechanism, perfected in Russia and imported everywhere during the Stalin years throughout a war-racked Eastern Europe, was nothing if not an inhuman machine of spiritual destruction. The universal “equality” heralded by academic socialists very quickly became an instrument of oppression. The planned state can only be implanted in countries through intimidation, terror and remorseless force. The omnipotent and omnipresent state portrayed by Orwell must crush organic freedom, because liberty, natural to humans, is unalterably opposed to mechanized force.

Kandlova arrived in the United States when she was 18 years old. As had so many other immigrants fleeing the oppressions of the Old Word, she was delivered from the iron jaws of socialist communism by an inborn resistance to tyranny — that and the kind of serendipity in which Christians sometimes detect the moving finger of God.

It began when she and her younger sister Eva “got into collecting anything we could find that was Western: empty tennis ball cans, chewing gum wrappers, even empty Coke cans. All of these had once held products that weren’t available to us… It was all just stuff that belonged in the trash can, but back then, these things represented the U.S. to me, which was sounding better and better all the time.” The “dreary, hyper-controlled environment” of liberty-deprived Czechoslovakia had turned Kandlova into “a dreamer.” She had already been exposed to intimations of liberty by listening to The Voice of America. Her father, an ingenious technician, had built himself a ham radio and, through this media, the wider world was presented to Kandlova’s all too human imagination.

And then, of course, there was David, a friend whose family had attempted twice, unsuccessfully, to escape communist Czechoslovakia. Reprisals were quickly visited upon David’s family. A dozen years after their attempts to escape had been frustrated, “his family tried it again, this time going from Czechoslovakia to Italy, then attempting to immigrate to Australia (but being refused) and finally going to the U.S., where they settled in Hartford, Connecticut.

Having only seen David twice — the two had a pen-pal relationship — David invited Kandlova to visit him in Connecticut. It had been astonishing easy for 18 year-old Kandlova to get her Visa in order. “I guess the officials thought,” Kandlova writes, “a young girl like me, traveling alone, was sure to come back… I was scared to death to make this huge, irreversible move and told just about everyone I knew that I was going, hoping someone would stop me. The one person I didn’t tell was my father, who definitely would have put a stop to it but never got the chance because he was on a business trip when I left. My new, free, independent life was suddenly within my grasp.”

It is the burden of Stalked by Socialism to trace in great detail the ruinous socialist path, rejected by Eastern Europe after the shedding of much blood, sweat and tears, that has now gained a foothold in the United States, a Westernized socialism re-presented to a new generation of Americans as a native grown liberation movement.

Part two of Stalked by Socialism, “Reflections on Liberty and Liberty Lost,” twelve short chapters, is devoted to an examination of the modern day menace as seen through the eyes of a European socialist ex-serf who’s been there, seen that.

Through a lucid analysis of the modern iteration of “socialism with a human face,” Kandlova emerges as her mother’s child, a master of concision – “We pretend to work, they pretend to pays us.” If the note sounded throughout is that of a wise, cautioning, contrarian libertarian, it is because libertarianism is the best defense against socialist tyranny, especially that smiling tyranny slipped under the door of a free market system by socialists with knives in their brains.

In chapter fourteen, “The Freedom Spectrum: Trending towards Red,” Kandlora asks, “How can you determine where we currently land on the freedom-verses-socialism spectrum?… Here’s an easy, three-step way to gauge it: 1) The more money you’re required to give to the government, 2) the more enforced contact you have with the government, and 3) the more your everyday behavior is dictated by the government, the higher the level of socialism in your society and the less freedom you have.”

Stalked by Socialism places Kandlova in the same theatre of resistance once occupied by the Cassandras mentioned early in this review. Here is an escapee who, to deploy a phrase used by André Malraux of Whittaker Chambers in 1952, has not “come back from hell with empty hands.”

The first tick of the pandemic clock

It’s still March and feeling like we’ve been cooped up forever, but we’re in only the first tick of a Wuhan Virus pandemic clock destined to possibly tick on for decades. In comparison to the multiple social, economic, geopolitical and military impacts of 9-11, we are only at the equivalent point in time of impact of the second plane on the World Trade Center.

We are separated and hunkered down to prevent an overrun of our health care system, while the virus is overrunning our lives without physically touching most of us. While we wait for the transmission curve to peak we pray for a miracle cocktail of drugs to mitigate the virulent effects of this nasty invisible invader. Meanwhile, we all know that real protection, a vaccine, is a year or more away. We’ve abandoned our schools, many are locked out of our jobs and we’ve got absolutely nowhere to go in our towns. For most of us, a trip to the supermarket has become the major outing of the week. We are reduced to the pathetic thrill of satisfaction to find a package of toilet paper on a grocery shelf.

Although virulent and highly contagious we know America will get through the pandemic attack. But how will we survive what are sure to be tectonic after-shocks to be driven through our social order, our economy and financial system, our politics, and the very fabric of our free republic? So many clichés fill the airwaves: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; don’t let the cure be worse than the disease; this is no time for politics…never let a crisis go to waste.” They’re not lightly called clichés – there’s a kernel of truth, or more, in them all.

And one thing is for sure – this pandemic seems as potent a wellspring of conspiracy theories as to rival the Kennedy assassination. For all the predictable reasons, our government is unlikely to tell us the whole story of the origin of this particular coronavirus. So, investigative reporters will likely spend years speculating on what happened in Wuhan in the fall of 2019. Mountains of material will be generated about just what was going on inside the walls of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab within the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There’s plenty of grist for the speculation mills here, and many creative explanations of the outbreak are sure to take hold in the American psyche in the coming months and years regardless of what we are told by our officials.

But let’s examine the lines along which the pandemic’s after-shocks will play out over time.

After our amazing scientific industry tames the virus, when will we shake hands again – will we ever, or will the reflexive outstretched hands of our more seasoned citizens be met with elbows, fist bumps or merely waves from the Millennials and Gen-Zers? Will hugs and kisses be strictly reserved for family members, or retired to a pre-pandemic memory? Surely our personal hygiene habits will be more thorough. Will arenas and theaters put us into every other seat while they plan massive retrofits? Will restaurants rearrange seating with a minimum of six feet between tables? Will they ever reopen self-serve buffet tables? Will food servers and cashiers face us with masks or plastic face shields? Will we ever stack-in at the bars shoulder to shoulder to get a drink – yeah probably. Will we ever pack into the subways again – we’ll have to if we want to get to work.

Sadly some industries, such as retailers, movie theaters and playhouses, and other entertainment venues already struggling against seemingly endless media and online alternatives, will likely shrink significantly. Other industries will be transformed by online collaboration and video technology enabling effective remote working and education.

The university system in particular is in for a virtual tsunami of financial, physical campus and live attendance challenges. U.S. universities have been bloating themselves up on low-interest, government-backed loans and crushing the family budgets of America’s middle class for decades. The virus has forced a long overdue reckoning for these indoctrination mills, and for those of us who value critical thinking, thankfully they will never be the same on the other side of this passage. Online higher education is now reaching critical mass. Corporations will accelerate the hiring of applicants with two-year degrees and specialized training focused on the job at hand. The value of obtaining a BA with a major in gender studies is thankfully about to pass over the horizon. The universities will shortly become incredibly cash-squeezed and likely many will implode before our eyes. Quinnipiac University has already instituted five percent professor and staff salary cuts, and indicated this is just for starters. This is all of their own making – you cannot deny reality forever.

But it is the damage and dislocation to our economy and financial system which will have the most devastating and far-reaching impact on the lives of every American for years after the virus is defeated. The reasons go back to the financial crisis of 2008 and earlier. The sub-prime mortgage rush, accelerated by collateralized debt obligations and “insured” by credit default swaps precipitated a credit freeze in the national financial markets, a cascading stock market crash, liquidity crisis, and unemployment spike rendering the country in a “great recession”. The cascading events petrified the financial elite both on wall street and in government, most of whom saw their personal fortunes evaporating before their eyes.

Rather than go through the financial pain of letting the economy find its rightful, economically justified footing through true “price discovery”, our leadership’s response was to borrow unprecedented sums of money into existence, aka debt, and inject a massive financial narcotic into the U.S. economy. And the narcotic of near-zero interest fiat currency continued to be administered to the system monthly over the ensuing decade. The Fed’s intervention in the overnight repo market is one simple tell. To prevent interest rate spikes the Fed, after QE was ostensibly wound down, began purchases of banks’ overnight repos in quantities of $100 billion per night. The Fed Chair has recently advised these repo purchases may now be as high as $1 trillion.

The result was an unprecedented bubble in government, corporate, consumer and education debt – just waiting for a pin, in the form of a “black swan” event, to burst it all.

The pandemic now seems to be just that event. Rather than have to bear public responsibility and criticism for having created the financial disaster, the Federal Reserve now has the cover of the pandemic to take all the controversial actions it deems necessary to prolong its illusion of a functioning healthy economy. But this time they will not be able to reassemble the pieces. Before March was over the Fed was injecting an additional $4 trillion into the financial system and economy, and Congress was adding an additional $2 trillion of relief and fiscal “stimulus.” Most sober observers have noted this will likely not be enough – there will surely be more to come.

The Fed has been suppressing interest rates through both public QE programs and under-the-radar purchases of bonds and even stocks for over a decade. In so doing they have “managed” the yield curve and inflated stock prices. Now, the Treasury and Federal Reserve are working in concert publicly to enable the Fed to take equity stakes in companies to which it is providing funds – the President and his economic spokesmen have confirmed the equity program in numerous public statements. Trump actually said “we have to get something for the American people for their investment.” It all sounds so compassionate and helpful, but with the federal government taking ownership stakes in American businesses, specifically the airlines and other strategic industries, the government will be setting the foundation to control these markets. There’s a specific, historical descriptive term for such an arrangement – “economic fascism.” Regardless, the nation’s financial picture and its health will look vastly different on the other side of the pandemic.

Men of good faith could theoretically justify such an unprecedented action, but if not reversed, men utterly lacking such good faith most assuredly will eventually follow in their footsteps. As the financial effects of the national shutdown manifest, we will likely see unemployment levels at 20 percent or more as Secretary Mnuchin has already publicly speculated. Such a national calamity will be fertile grounds for spreading the Marxist propaganda and solutions we are certain to see from the Leftist politico-media complex during this fall’s election. In fact they have already been previewed in the Sanders campaign. Being locked down in our houses and emerging to find unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression is a crisis far too tempting for the American Left to avoid exploiting. And a V-shaped bounce-back full recovery is much more a prayer to the almighty than a rational expectation.

The financial shock waves to come from the government’s reaction to the pandemic will likely shake Americans to their core, and an analysis of their potential awaits a subsequent article. And if you naturally distrust this government’s massive federal bureaucracy, with its regulatory fiefdoms always itching to control more of American society, the cover of the pandemic provides them the opportunity to amp-up surveillance activities to levels of which they’d only dreamed. The busy beavers within the Administrative State will most certainly be developing liberty-restricting “protocols” to use medical emergencies to restrict our Constitutional liberties. New York’s mayor de Blasio has already threatened to “permanently close” houses of worship that do not comply with mandated shutdowns. We’ve already read that there can be apps on your cell phone to alert you when you are approaching people with documented virus cases. The “feature” would be to alert you, but the potential peril is a government tracking it all, which then decides to step in and physically constrain you – just for your own protection of course. Recognition of the Franklin quote about the folly of “giving up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety” is appropriate here. For the “surveillance state” is sure to exploit our current highly vulnerable situation to advance its interests. Do not doubt it – it is simply human nature.

It certainly seems we are in a pivot point in our history. To borrow from the Strauss & Howe book, we have been in a “fourth turning”, since 2008 and we have now entered its “crisis phase”. Unbelievable as it seemed just a month ago we may now be in the biggest national crisis since WWII. Returning to the pandemic clock metaphor, this piece has looked ahead several ticks in an effort to illuminate the tracks along which the major national impacts will develop and play out. Let’s be aware and vigilant in guarding our liberty as events unfold. And we’ll return to assess the state of play after a couple more ticks run off the clock.

NYT anonymous “Trump administration insider” opinion piece

On the big radio show this morning – 9 a.m. to noon ET – Jim will be discussing the very unusual anonymous New York Times opinion piece posted yesterday.

Mike Walsh will be a guest on the show today, and he’s got his own commentary posted over at American Greatness … The Spy in the White House, the Dogs in the Manger.

Jim will also take a look at Allahpundit’s updated post over at Hot Air, including this tweet in response to the NYT OpEd.

Criminal illegal aliens kill people

Not all, but some do. Sanctuary cities. Light enforcement of the law – if any enforcement. This is a problem, and President Trump really seems to be the only one to call these atrocities for what they are. From the Denver Post.

Ever Valles, 19, was arrested on Oct. 20 in Denver and held on multiple charges including possession of a weapon, vehicle theft and eluding.

ICE tagged a “detainer” notice on Valles, with the expectation that when he was released, ICE would be notified by Denver jail officials. ICE agents would then be at the jail to take Valles into federal custody.

Before October, Valles was a known gang member and juvenile offender.

… ICE believed him to be a “known gang member whose gang history is documented in the Colorado gang database.”

A Colorado Bureau of Investigation arrest report for Valles says he received 2 years with the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections for a drug case in 2014.

Let’s make something really clear. You don’t get two years in youth corrections for “smoking a little weed.”

This criminal illegal alien is no “dreamer.” There are hundreds of thousands of these criminal illegal aliens in the country, and due to the political correct hogwash, they frequently roam free. Even though Immigration & Custom Enforcement (ICE) put a detainer on Valles, Denver didn’t care one bit. They released him on Dec. 20, giving ICE a total of 26 minutes to come pick him up.

Denver jail officials said Friday they sent notification of Valles’ impending release by fax to the local ICE office at 11:33 p.m. Dec. 20 after Valles posted $5,000 bond earlier in the day. Valles was then released from jail at 11:59 p.m.

On Feb. 7, Valles and another criminal illegal alien robbed and murdered Tim Cruz.

A man who was shot to death early Tuesday near an RTD station on the Denver-Lakewood border has been identified as 32-year-old Tim Cruz, authorities said.

Cruz was shot during a robbery at 4:33 a.m. Tuesday on the 1100 block of Sheridan Boulevard, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.

He was pronounced dead at the RTD station, according to a news release by Steven Castro, spokesman for the coroner’s office. The manner of death is homicide, Castro said.

On Feb. 17, Valles and the other scum ball were charged with Cruz’s death.

You tell me. Does someone have blood on their hands here? Sanctuary cities are a serious problem that must be dealt with harshly. They should not be considered a “point of pride” for any city.

You’re getting your news wrong, all wrong

Bring on the comet! I’m not certain if I’m embarrassed for my fellow man, or ticked off at the ignorance many display when they find – and then share – the “news” read in a Facebook post, Instagram meme or other “news” websites. Take a step back from the keyboard and say this out-loud any time you’re about to comment, or share a news item or meme you find on the Internet. (I apologize for the language, but it’s necessary.)

“Most of the stuff I read on the Internet is total bullshit.”

Then, if the story seems over-the-top or contains any quote from Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, President Obama, or just about anything to do with guns, say this out-loud.

“This is certainly total bullshit.”

My approach may seem extreme, but it’s the only way we’ll save ourselves from total embarrassment.

Question everything, share nothing until you’ve checked at least six times to verify the information. If you are unwilling to follow these easy steps, you’re part of the problem. You’re also proving that you are totally ignorant about the subject and showing your uninformed bias. You’re a low-information person, who form their staunch, “justified” opinions quickly and without actual thought. Congratulations. I hope you don’t ever vote.

And don’t tell me that it “sounded like something he or she would say because of what they said in the past.” You idiot, that thing you heard “in the past” was most likely total bullshit as well.

If you are unwilling to put the time into understanding just the basics of the subject at hand, don’t comment on it or share it. It’s that simple.

The latest embarrassment showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. It linked to a fake news website targeting conservatives, libertarians and Republicans that has two buttons just below each headline; “Show Facts” and “Hide Facts.” I’m not kidding. That’s right, this parody website mixed one paragraph of facts, with five paragraphs of fake Sarah Palin quotes created from the mind of a totally delusional writer who is certainly chuckling about all the readers who will think their fiction is real and will share it.

Of course, you barely notice the “show” and “hide” buttons, and that’s all part of the plan to ensure you are dumbed-downed voters.

What’s disturbing is you’re reading this stuff and forming opinions based on total fiction. Then you’re sharing it with like-minded lemons who think it’s real. And then you vote! God, save us all.

The example is in the screen shots below. I really was tempted to leave the names in place to embarrass these folks, but this time I’ll cut them a break. No, I’m not providing a link or even the name of the website. Never even saw it before this morning, but it’s certainly totally full of complete bullshit targeting conservatives and Republicans. (There are sites targeting liberals and Democrats, so don’t think this is one-way stupidity.)

Facebook Thread

Note there were one or two folks who tried to point out this is totally fake.

facebook-feed-2

Fake News Story

Are they protected from liable laws by simply adding the show facts and hide facts buttons?

fake-news

New website layout for Radio Vice Online

I’m not sure how long we’ve had the current website theme in place, but it’s been a long time. Even though I have not been writing for quite some time, we needed to make a change.

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Video: Officer defends himself, shoots teen near Ferguson, Mo.

Overnight, a police officer shot and killed a teenager outside a gas station in Berkeley, Mo. just west of Ferguson. I almost never write about breaking news anymore. Usually when some sort of tragic event happens, the information in the first hours or days turns out to be totally wrong. But today, I’ll make an exception to reference how the story is being told at the outset.

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Brown family reaction: “Burn this bitch down”

The small group is quiet and reverent for the first few moments after they realize the grand jury did not deliver the indictment they were looking for. Lesley McSpadden tearfully speaks. CNN and The New York Times captured the video at this moment. Then came the demand to “burn this bitch down” by McSpadden’s husband Louis Head.

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