Day 72: The Strongman Arises on the Left

Two pieces in the NY Times, I wish to discuss: California and Mandatory Voting.
An op-ed by an Australian illustrates the inability of the global elite to understand regional differences between peoples. His claim that mandatory voting moderates elections is really a reflection on the Australian character. Their treatment of refugees inspires Trump. Their treatment of race such as the unironic use of black face on national television fits into the views of the American alt-right.

Compulsory voting doesn’t stop voter ID laws and other attempts to stop turnout just adds punishment to those who fail to comply. If fear of fines is the motivating factor in minority turnout as he suggests then western nations have failed to assimilate outside communities.

Compulsory voting also is not inherently more democratic because more people vote in the final election. If citizens don’t participate in the primary process and the ballot question process (most sigs are bought for questions and funded by pacs) then is filling out a ballot truly a measure of civic engagement.
The act of the government enforcing voting is unconstitutional. We are the government and it represents us rather than the reverse as in order countries. Our rights do not come from elected officials as implied by compulsory voting advocates. The anger of Trump voters comes from active civic participation being perceived as ignored by long time voters and Trump inspired many to vote for the first time. His victory was not because he inspired a small GOP base but others outside the classic Republican coalition. A fact that the global elite appear incapable of understanding.
In California, the state is acting like Antebellum south believing their will and stances greater than their fellow citizens. Particularly Sheila Kuehl a member of the LA county board of supervisors who quote “I said ‘If you have to lie, cheat and steal, do it…Take federal money and just tell them you are going to do whatever they want.” That’s terrible to say as a private citizen outrageous to say as an elected American official. No one is above federal law. Think of the outrage Texas received when they played that role to Obama. A democracy is not one ideology system and to act as such as hinted at by California undermines our nation and empowers authoritarianism. Forget the fear of being cut out of Trump’s privatized infrastructure program (it will have no reward for the public). Fear the national guard coming down in ways Obama feared to act. There’ll be more death than in Ohio before 2020.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 70: Hey Hey LBJ

How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?
The New York Times like many liberal publications has been focusing on preserving Obama’s legacy in the wake of the Trump election. Today, an op ed claims Obama has the best democratic president since FDR. That’s 70 some years and a bold claim. Mainly in their dismissal of LBJ.
LBJ was a victim of history. His push on civil rights broke up FDR’s new deal coalition that depended on Southern racists to pass legislation which left out blacks and other minorities from benefiting from the greatest works of the Democratic Party. A compromise LBJ knew must pass for the nation to heal racially. On the other front, Nixon illegally interfered with the Vietnamese peace talks and extended the war by eight years. We don’t call his achievements the Great Society for nothing. His attempt to remove poverty from America was even a platform too left for Obama.
The liberal hate of LBJ seems to stem from most journalists background in the radical left of the 60’s. Could LBJ pushed more civil rights and faster? It is hard to say. On our side of the historic fence, it sure looks and sounds easy but this was also a period of time the national guard had to escort children to school. Now thanks to his efforts, we live in a land where that sounds as foreign as Star Wars. Vietnam is a complicated conflict largely escalated by LBJ before his attempts to resolve it. At the least, Obama should be judged the same for Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries are still wracked by violence and our military still serves and dies on their soil.
In the liberal and progressive rush to canonize Obama, we miss that his legacy will take generations to understand the full effects. It is not the words of his disciples that cement his works but those who lived them.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 71: American Leech, Swamp Water Rising, The Bro from the Black Lagoon

Treachery, thy name is Cameron Harris. -Shakespeare, probably.

Barring the inevitable nuclear strikes that will wipe out history as we know it, 2016 will be remembered as the beginning of a new age of propaganda. In the information age, information has become so available that time has become a much more precious resource. The way to win an argument on a national level is not to debate the facts or even distort them, but to outright lie and let the other side waste their time trying to clean up the mess. By the time that has ended you can have moved on to whatever lie or fact you wish.

Thus we arrive at the scourge of “Fake News”. I actually prefer the term “malicious fiction” because it would give novelists a little of that dangerous edge so sorely needed among modern authors. I am one of the few fiction writers I know that carries a loaded elephant rifle at all times, slung like a guitar over my back. Many colleagues and friends have frowned upon the habit, even though not one of them has ever been able to name a downside of the practice to me. It works wonders when dealing with practically anyone for any reason.

Regardless, I write today because of Cameron Harris.

Remember that name. Cameron Harris.

If by some miracle Mr. Cameron Harris is to read this, I hope he recognizes it for what it is: a total and complete condemnation of his character by a fellow citizen. And that somewhere there is a man who owns little more than a motorcycle and an elephant rifle who would gladly spend a day riding in any direction for the chance to confront him in person.

Cameron Harris is the 23 year old recent college graduate who spent last summer creating a “fake news” website, and was the author of the smash hit story “BREAKING: ‘Tens of Thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton Votes found in Ohio warehouse.” He deliberately chose a domain name (Christiantimesnewspaper.com) that would be confused with a real news site. He deliberately attached pictures to his stories that would be confused for visual evidence of the fiction. Cameron Harris went as far as catering his fake news towards stories he felt would be more believable, to increase traffic. Why the need for traffic? So he could make more money.

In what appears to be the new rationale of the twenty-first century, Cameron Harris makes the plea that he didn’t have a job and needed money. He made roughly 22,000 dollars on the website, but spent the money on rent, student loans, and car payments.

In short, he made a living by purposefully deceiving people through malicious fiction, not just because he enjoys it, as though there is a moral leg to stand on. Cameron Harris should be informed that the rest of the nation goes to great lengths at time to pay rent, student loans, and car payments. And we manage to do so without spewing misinformation in the most convincing manner we can across the internet during an election cycle.

I will not fall into the trap of victim blaming- that those who are fooled are at fault because they are somehow less intelligent for being deceived. They are not at fault. The man with the unlocked window does not deserve to be robbed. The woman who answers the door does not deserve to be assaulted.

Cameron Harris will not be clean in my eyes until he becomes a journalist and does hard time, informing the public while fastidiously fact checking his stories. Until he does good and honest work as a part of the scrupulous media, he should be, as E.C. Fiori put it, “a scarlet google search”.
-Jack Delaney

Day 71: cowardice and those who practice it

A fake news editor didn’t want to be known to protect his reputation while he flung shot for a dollar. Cameron Harris is his name and any potential employer should remember and see his spineless nature. I hope he can’t work a job for the rest of his life, a scarlet Google search. I hope the money he made peddling trash is the only dollars he earns.
Harris, a Trump supporter, says he can’t believe that his fellow Trumpers believed his postings but still voted for the man and published libelous filth. He is the shittiest form of human, a being who stands for nothing but self profit. He wasn’t even trying to help Trump but exploit fellow citizens.
The NY Times should be ashamed of their profile of Harris. He has been rewarded for his dishonesty. His Twitter is full of claims of major publications publishing fake news. The most recent being Buzzfeed and the Trump dossier. I disagree with Buzzfeed’s publishing of the unverified document. However there is a massive difference between Buzzfeed’s actions and Harris’, he never believed his claims to be true and doctored evidence to falsify his claim. He deserves jail time for his intentional and knowingly false smears.
His defense of everyone in politics stretches the truth is ridiculous. First it isn’t an argument just a cliche. Second there is a difference between misunderstanding and lying. No wonder he supports the grandest liar to ever enter American politics. Harris and his ilk are leeches in our politics and need to be drained from the swamp. I doubt Trump has that kind of courage being a spineless draft dodger and career huckster.

Update: He has been fired

-E.C. Fiori

Day 69: Carnival Life

David Brooks wrote an interesting piece regarding the ancient ritual of the Carnival.
The internet is the modern carnival, for we live in a world that no longer can afford to have non-permanent spaces in the physical world. The carnival was where the taboos of normal life can be broken for the moment. Virtual space provides the ultimate venue for the world’s largest carnival, where all users can meet on an equal ground. For the virtual world can allow one to break all material chains besides the tools needed to access the internet. Thus the CEO can be the fool and blog ironic comments about his coworkers. The 14 year old boy can use their computer knowledge to humble the biggest superstar through dismantling the virtual illusion.
The internet especially in Web 2.0 thrives on the exploitation of the taboos. Sex being the largest and most profitable example. For porn is not a realistic interpretation of sex. It is exaggerated and often experiments with fetishes that one would not mention in public, in fact porn openly celebrates all the fetishes, no matter how strange. Now with the added ability of users to upload their own content. People through virtual masks commit private acts in public to an unknown and uncontrolled audience. Thus we are the producer consumer.
There is also the dark side of the carnival, the love of both the grotesque and the mockery. The grotesque can be seen is some of the bizarre porn and the communities that praise it for its statement on the human body such as 4chan and Something Awful. Rather than deny and reject, they embrace the disturbing as a beautiful source of humor. Yet, this “respect” and desire doesn’t extend beyond the computer terminal. In the real world, those communities follow the standard rules. The same goes for the vulgarity and racism that exists within the comment section of any website. Users do not interact or accept others as people, but rather as other actors within the performance.
The internet is truly the reverse side of the world, where people can flee to to escape the pressures of everyday life. In a world that has a 24 hour business day, a new carnival was needed. One that could be anywhere in the world and be access at anytime as per needs of one’s business schedule. You can do abnormal activity as long as it is for the internet and to quote the motto of 4chan for “the lulz”.
This is the best description of both the internet and the carnival. All acts are okay as long as it is for light entertainment. Serious thought is not welcome unless as part of a larger subversion. The goal is not to end society, but to bend the rules in order to feel the release. The carnival is the valve of the pressures of conforming to the norms, not a leak in the dam. Yet as we spend more time in revelry, reality will continue to crumble.
-E.C. Fiori