On Protesting

Seen on the Internets:

I’m not usually big on giving advice on here, but these are unusual times. Please keep in mind I was schooled in Unconventional Warfare (UW) by the best the US Army had to offer, and I personally applied it on behalf of our great Nation. Part of that training and experience involved Information Operations (IO), a detailed and effective method of controlling narratives and inserting key and manipulated information to affect beliefs and situational understanding, resulting in actions supporting “our side” occurring. My advice: stay home and do not get involved in any protests, of any kind, in the coming days, especially not the “called for” armed one on the 17th. I believe many different factions are using IO to try to fuel division and cause ignition of flashpoints that will drive people to accepting an agenda “in the best interests of the country.” Emergency declarations due to “extreme” conditions have been the method of despots since time began. Stay home, spend time with family and friends, exercise your patriotic duty by watching key events on television. Don’t play into the hands of those with destructive agendas. Don’t create or participate in the next “Emergency.” Let those with destructive agendas show up and be exposed on their own.

I’ve never been a very big advocate for protests to begin with, because unless you can turn out in truly remarkable numbers, the lawmakers have been there, done that. If all you can put together is something they see routinely, you’re better off not doing it.

You’re all far better off now (re)engaging with your local communities and figuring out how to route around big tech.

The Inauguration

Lest you all think I am talking about Joe Biden, I’m being inaugurated tonight, as my club’s president, a week ahead of Slow Joe. Though I believe our club’s transition of power will be a good bit more peaceful. I don’t think the outgoing president is planning any protests, nor do I expect anyone to storm the meeting room and steal my podium (because I don’t have one to steal.) Maybe they could steal the gavel or something. Though we have a backup.

Our inauguration is pretty low key to nonexistent. We don’t take an oath. It basically consists of switching the badge out on my lanyard from one that says “3” to one that says “1.” Whoop dee do.

One of the first things I am doing is recognizing one Board member for 20 years of service on the Board, which I’m happy to do because he’s a real nice guy, and over the years has saved the club a lot of money doing electrical work for us as a retired electrician.

Having observed people during this pandemic, I do believe it’s driving a lot of people stark raving mad. I’m sincerely hoping once the vaccine is rolled out and we tamp this down, the temperature will come down a little. I expect the next four years to be very challenging both for my club and for the nation. But I would encourage everyone to look after the health of their local community groups. Get involved. That kind of thing is going to become more important than ever.

The Great Crackdown

The most insightful observation of the past four years was that China is not importing our liberal values: instead we are importing their authoritarian values. I see this everywhere now that it’s been pointed out.

The tech monopolies aren’t even bothering to couch their censorship anymore. They’ve had their Reichstag fire, and now that they have nothing to fear.

I’ve thought the past four years Trump and the GOP weren’t doing nearly enough to curtail the tech monopolies. They’d call the oligarchs in for hearings, make them a little uncomfortable, but took no serious anti-trust action or started enforcement of the laws against anti-competitive practices, or even bothered to use campaign finance laws. The Dems have always been very effective at using government as a weapon, but the GOP frankly sucks at it, and I don’t notice that Trump was any good at it either.

My current internal debate is whether quitting social media is just giving in, and we wouldn’t do better to move communications to a lower profile and to trusted networks of people. I think I will greatly curtail my personal activities on social media. I cannot quit totally since I manage pages.

I will be focusing on traditional community building locally. I will try to get the blog back to some base level of activity, because the network of bloggers used to be a great tool for us before social media came along. We used to do just fine without the tech monopolies. It’s time to route around their censorship. We should stop trying to make another Facebook or Twitter. That is playing by their rules, and the network effects and anti-competitive practices of big tech make that an impossible prospect now. We need to focus on federated services and building networks they can’t shut down.

We need an open source movement for social media. Microsoft’s monopoly on the operating system was brought to an end by the first wave of open source technology. We need a second wave to commoditize the tech monopolists into irrelevance.

Where Does It End?

Good conversations are being had among the sensible, but for the most part no one is backing away from the precipice we find ourselves at. My more fever swamp righty sources spent the better part of the day saying the cosplay revolutionaries were Antifa trying to make MAGA look bad. Once that was thoroughly debunked, they switched to “no riot at all.” Some are even suggesting that Ashli Babbit who was shot dead by Capitol Police isn’t really dead, and it’s all a false flag op. It’s classic: “my team can never do wrong.” I see more and more people descending into Q-anon bullshit. People who should know better. I see more and more lefties descending into their own fever swamps, where they are the anti-racist saviors who will defeat fascism. This is all a lie. None of this shit is real. Instead of trying to understand what drove Trump supporters to Trump, are doubling down on shaming the deplorables for supporting white supremacy.

This will not fix a damned thing, and will only make things worse.

Trump was often his own worst enemy. Historically, leaders who bring about political realignments are politically talented, but total lunatics. Think of Napoleon as being the archetype of this. Met his Waterloo and ended up in exile, but he changed the entire political landscape of Europe for generations. FDR might be the rare exception who was successful at effecting a long realignment but managed to not be a complete lunatic.

Would be change agents often their success is short lived because their own megalomania defeats them. Trump had that in spades. His strength was in media, which I think he has a very strong instinct for. But when it came to political survival, and moving the ball forward, he wasn’t able to carry much over the finish line. He almost certainly revealed the possibilities of a coalition that is more diverse racially, and more working class. I hope someone comes along who can carry that coalition forward who has fewer self-destructive tendencies than Trump. But that’s liable to be an insider, and I don’t think that coalition would tolerate someone on the inside.

Trumpism is not fundamentally an economic grievance, though economics is downstream from that. It is a deficit of dignity. The anger over politicians and elites who seem to care more about people in other countries than they do Americans here at home, that don’t care about the decay of small towns and cities due to job flight, that want to solve the problem by offering Universal Basic Income, which will only make the dignity deficit worse.

All it takes is a little respect, and maybe accepting that it’s better to pay extra for some things to ensure other Americans can make a decent living and provide. Maybe every election shouldn’t be about owning the “libturds” or the deplorables. Maybe we could agree that politicians are generally horrible people that shouldn’t be trusted with a lot of power. Maybe we can accept that we do actually need police reform in this country. Or that if Congress wants to make something illegal, it should have to pass a law, rather than having most of our laws made by people who are unaccountable.

But one thing is for sure, if we double down on hating our political opponents, calling them names, and descending farther down into the fever swamps, conspiracy theories, and thinking half of your fellow Americans are flaming racist xenophobes, this is going to end very badly.

The Only Losing Move is Not to Play

The thing R-leaning people need to understand is that mail-in voting is just easier to manipulate than in-person voting. I’m not talking fraud, necessarily, though mail-in voting is also easier to manipulate in a fraudulent way too. But that’s not what I’m speaking about here.

Never underestimate the friction of having to get a warm body before a poll worker. It’s significant. In fact, GOTV for in-person voting is considered a critical part of that game. We all know how that works, and how to play. But this game is different.With mail-in voting, its easier for activists to get legit votes from people who don’t give a shit, and who are easily influenced on-the-spot, by promises of free shit, or just a good salesman. That’s fundamentally why I oppose it. You should have to give a shit enough to go wait in line yourself. Social media brings another whole bunch of dynamics that make it easy for activists to generate votes from people who otherwise were going to find better things to do on election day.

The problem Republicans have is the Dems are much better at playing this game. The GOP just whines that it’s unfair or unethical and refuses to play. They are beating you at the mail-in ballot game. Yes, there’s probably some fraud in there, but I do believe the Dems own the mail-in game even if you don’t count fraud, because it plays to their strengths.Your only choice is to change the game so they can’t use those techniques, or play along with them, and be just as shameless. You’ll have to work harder, because they have some structural advantages that you don’t. But if you want that overnight vote dump to look more realistic, you have to play. This is the opposite of War Games: here the only losing move is not to play.

PS – I’m looking at heading in a new direction for the blog, but I just don’t have time anymore. I used to make time come hell or high water, but that gets tiring. But we’re headed into dark times, and I feel like we made a horrible mistake moving to social media. I can’t easily be silenced here, except by Verizon pulling my business-class FiOS. I own all my servers. I used to get people asking me why I self-hosted. I’ll bet you aren’t asking that anymore!