Charlie's Blog: Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 27

9.10.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 27


First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me.
STEVE MARTIN


This is a heartwarming story. People still prefer real books to e-books. I am one of those people. I do own a Kindle and use it on the regular, but I would rather have the physical book than the e-book. The Kindle exists in my reading arsenal because it allows me access to a vast library of free stuff to read or to carry a library with me when I travel. But the experience of the e-book will never compare to a real book. Print is forever.

I also find it heartwarming to read about the continued availability and popularity of vinyl records. People love their old records and record players when they should have been relegated to the trash heap. But people still love records, and record companies keep making albums available on vinyl. I am not a vinyl audiophile, but I admit that I still listen to CDs and prefer them to mp3 files on a digital device. The same holds true with my DVDs. I'd rather use a disc than stream online. I always worry that my feed will cut out at any moment. Then, there is Nintendo's decision to return to cartridges. What does it all mean?

Today, media comes in two flavors. There is the digital file, and there is the physical object. The belief is that the file trumps the physical. These things are like spirits freed from the limits of physical bodies. Sounds Gnostic doesn't it? You would be correct. This is an aspect of humanity that media companies seem to be overlooking. Humans are physical creatures. They are corporeal as well as spiritual. They want things they can touch and hold.

The reason corporations want disembodied media is because it costs virtually nothing to produce and distribute. The problem with this is that they still insist on charging physical prices for the digital product. The public has responded by refusing to pay these prices. Instead, they either pirate the digital version or insist on the physical version for their money. The people with the biggest headache on this are the newspapers who can't decide to be online or in print. People aren't going to pay for newspapers anymore, but they still love them. The result is the proliferation of free newspapers with page after page of advertising. I grab them whenever I see them.

Digital gnosticism is heresy. The physical and the spiritual always want to be together.

2. LEVIN TO VOTE FOR TRUMP

It did not surprise me when Mark Levin announced that he was going to vote for Donald Trump. I have always known he was going to vote for Trump. This does not mean that he likes Trump or agrees with all of the things Trump says or supports. I also expect Mark Levin to be one of Trump's biggest critics should Trump make it to the Oval Office. But I knew Levin was going to vote for Trump for the same reason I am going to vote for Trump. Trump beats the alternative which is Hillary Clinton.

There are those who proffer third options, but they are nothing more than abdication when it comes to defeating Hillary Clinton. It's like a guy who refuses to fire his weapon at the enemy on the fear that he might hit an innocent person. This is not principle. This is cowardice.

Mark Levin is not a coward. He is a principled conservative, and I applaud his courage in declaring his intentions. A vote for Trump is a vote to defeat Hillary Clinton. After that, we can fight Trump to advance the cause of conservatism. I intend to be a huge critic of the Donald for some of his more stupid policy positions. But if he does nothing more than repeal Obamacare, his presidency will be a success.

3. SMARTPHONE RANT OF THE WEEK


Apple unleashed the iPhone 7 on the world this week, and tech writers tell us to not buy it because the iPhone 8 will be even better. The new features are waterproofing, headphone jack removal, and a dual camera on the Plus to help take better pictures. Of course, you could buy a great digital camera for one payment to that expensive data plan you have on your smartphone. Otherwise, the new iPhone is not a whole lot better than the old iPhone which won't make you trade up. But you will trade up when your iPhone 6 cracks to pieces when it hits the sidewalk. But rest assured, the iPhone 7 is just as fragile as your iPhone 6. It should break in time for the iPhone 8.

Meanwhile, my flip phone from 2012 still continues to work just like the day I bought it. The photos look a little foggy now because of scratches to the back, but I don't care. I have yet to use all of the features on my phone because I talk and text primarily. The phone is so durable that I suspect that upgrades like AT&T's decision to end 2G support may require me to buy a new phone at some point. But the last time I checked, they still make durable flip phones. When I bought my phone, the buzz was about the iPhone 4. That phone is utterly outdated now.

Smartphones are a massive scam to make paying customers pay even more to upgrade their devices. Apple is basically churning its cultlike fan base for more sales. Compare this to Microsoft that had to cajole, bribe, threaten, and force people to upgrade to Windows 10. There are still people and places still running XP. I am still using Windows 7 and resist the upgrade.

I think this desire to keep hitting up the customers again and again is the reason the smartphones are so utterly fragile. Yes, you can buy an ugly case to act as a casket for your elegant iPhone. But if it is going to get stuck in a case, why make it look so good? It could be puke green and not matter since it will be buried in an Otter Box. And if you don't case it, you are courting certain disaster. Either way, you are going to pay for an accessory, a repair, or an upgrade.

My cellphone company calls me all the time about upgrading. I let it go straight to voicemail. I will not upgrade to a smartphone, and they should be satisfied that I pay my bill every month without fail. But as I say daily, evil is never satisfied. It always wants more.

BTW, those new wireless earphones called "AirPods" cost $159. One or both will certainly be lost on the regular requiring you to buy another set.

4. GARY JOHNSON

Gary Johnson is not a true libertarian. He is basically a liberal who smokes dope and wants to legalize it. Wanting to legalize drugs is essentially what makes a libertarian. Beyond that, the Libertarian Party has made a joke out of being the "party of principle."

There are Establishment Republicans and neocons considering Gary Johnson as a protest vote. Why? Is Trump so bad that you would vote for someone worse than him? Yet, this pothead could cost Trump the election if he gets 15% of the vote. There is serious talk that he might actually be on the debate stage with Trump and Hillary. That would be a victory for Hillary.

If you are Republican, just vote for Trump. Even the liberal writer Stephen King voted for Nixon because he believed rightly that Tricky Dick would end the war in Vietnam. Voting is not a referendum on your principles. You are simply picking the best option that is available. Yes, you may be angry that Trump got the nomination. But that fight is over. He is our guy, and we need to avoid a Clinton presidency in the worst way. When you are seriously considering casting a ballot for a man who made a promise to lay off smoking dope as president, you are not principled. You are foolish.

5. WIKILEAKS

Did the Russians leak the DNC emails? Does it matter? I think it does.

When Watergate broke, a lot was made about the identity of Deep Throat. Was this person a hero? When it was revealed that Deep Throat was disgraced FBI man Mark Felt, it asked the question again. Was Felt a hero? The answer is no. Felt merely acted out of revenge against Richard Nixon. His actions may have done good, but his intentions were not good.

When Bradley Manning leaked to Wikileaks, people hailed him as a hero acting out of principle. The Army said that Manning was a disgruntled homosexual who hated the Army and acted out of revenge and sabotage. I thought this was an unfair and awful assassination of the man's character. Then, I saw this:


"Chelsea" Manning convinced me that everything the Army said about Bradley Manning was correct. The guy had no pure motives at all. He just wanted to get out of the Army.

Wikileaks is becoming a clearinghouse for governments and people in governments to pursue vendettas and settle scores with each other. Julian Assange seems to be a man who hates all government and power, but it is ironic that he has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy for the last four years. Why does Ecuador protect Assange? They want to embarrass the USA. Likewise, Edward Snowden lives on Putin's good graces for much the same reason. Now, it appears Russia is using Wikileaks to influence the US election.


One of the slogans of Wikileaks is "we open governments." But is this really true? For instance, suppose some damaging information about Ecuador was delivered to Wikileaks. Would Assange publish it and risk alienating his benefactor? Similarly, Edward Snowden dished the dirt on the USA while enjoying protection from a government that is exponentially worse when it comes to privacy invasion and corruption. Snowden and Assange like to believe they wield some sort of influence and power armed with their truth and information. The reality is they are little more than pawns in a chess game between people with real power.

There is a fine line between being a whistleblower and being a traitor. Whistleblowers have little credibility if they are not also willing to face the consequences of their actions and revelations. As it stands, Daniel Ellsberg ranks as the one of the few truly principled people in this regard. He was willing to go to prison for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Everyone else look like mere troublemakers in contrast. If you are going to be a whistleblower, it should come with the expectation of also becoming a martyr.

6. THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SAID

ITT Technical Institute existed as a sponge for federal student loan dollars, and it was no surprise they went belly up when they turned off the faucet on the free money. As bad as that is, virtually every other university and trade school in this country is no different than ITT. They need to end student loans NOW. Perhaps college would become affordable again and a ticket to the middle class instead of a highway to debt slavery.

7. JOKE OF THE WEEK

What is red and bad for your teeth?

A brick.

8. Q & A


A: This question comes from the 3 Quarks Daily blog. The speaker in the video never really answers the question. The speaker is also a leftwinger which complicates it a bit for me. But I will try and answer the question purely as a philosophical and strategic thing.

There are two ways to win an election. The first is to agree with a majority of the people on the issues. The second is to lie and say that you agree with the majority of the people on the issues. You cannot win an election without agreeing with that majority either honestly or deceitfully. Now, it is never permissible to lie or to do do evil so that good may result. This strategy is known as consequentialism. The end justifies the means. Basically, the speaker at 3QD is debating Machiavelli.

The electorate basically wants three things. They want a maximum of government goodies. They want to pay no taxes. And they want no interference as they indulge their vices. The perfect candidate would be a socialist conservative libertarian type who would eliminate the IRS, guarantee a national income, and let you do every drug or perverse sex act your imagination could possibly conceive. So, why doesn't this candidate exist? The answer is obvious. The electorate does have a level of common sense. They know that this indulgent form of government cannot exist. So, they think and reflect upon what government should be and vote accordingly.

It would be easy to dismiss the electorate as just some stupid unprincipled mob, but the reality is that they are quite principled to a degree exceeding the politicians. The problem is that they do not agree on their principles. The socialist has a very different set of principles than the conservative.

The politician wants to get elected, so he has to broker some sort of compromise between these differing groups of principled people. This is where the lying comes into the picture. The politician pays lip services to these differing groups speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He just has to beguile them enough to get elected.

Principled people have run for office and continue to run for office. One example is Ron Paul who was a darling of libertarians and Tea Party people, but who had as much of a shot at winning a national election as Frosty the Snowman getting a job with the fire department. The lesson is that honest politicians can't win. In fact, the term "honest politician" is considered an oxymoron.

The fundamental problem with politics is that a majority of the people do not agree on the right set of principles. Winning an election is the illusion that you have gained some sort of power or influence over things. If you measure success as winning at the ballot box, then you lie. But if you measure success as changing the people's minds to the right set of principles, then you practice honesty.

Conservatism is the belief that "statecraft is soulcraft." You have to change hearts and minds. To that end, pundits and others hold more sway than elected officeholders. This is because they can practice honesty to a high degree. Honesty is more effective than lying or winning office. There is a potency to truth. If there weren't, politicians would not exercise so much effort to suppress the truth.

I am on the side of honesty. I am not so naive as to think honesty can win an election, but it can win hearts and minds which matter more than holding office. For me, I'd rather be a talk radio host than a president. If you change enough hearts and minds, the rest will follow including electing principled people to office. Instead of agreeing with the majority, work towards getting the majority to agree with you.

9. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Be so good they can't ignore you.
STEVE MARTIN

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
OSCAR WILDE

So many books, so little time.
FRANK ZAPPA

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
MARK TWAIN

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
ALBERT EINSTEIN

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
DR. SEUSS

10. ODDS AND ENDS

--I am in total support for ad orientem in the ordinary form. Bring back the altar rails and get rid of the extraordinary ministers and altar girls.

--I can call it now. The Apple Watch is a failure for Apple. It will eventually disappear and be forgotten.

--Snowden should get on the next plane to New York City.

--Men should never get plastic surgery. It is unmanly.

--Dell fires American workers and imports foreign workers to take their jobs. Wow.

--Wells Fargo is a dirty bank. Unfortunately, I bank there.

11. LINKS OF INTEREST

The Miraculous Story of How the Last Apostle Died

5 Responses to the Ridiculous Rancor of Some Toward Mother Teresa

Luther Looks at Islam

Fahrenheit 451

How Apple sells its controlling ways as futurism

Never-Trumpers vs. Reluctant Trumpers

You Have To Admire The Logic

All this technology is making us antisocial.