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From the Gas Pump to the White House

Growing up poor gives one certain insights that might be unavailable to more well off people. Well off children don’t hang out at gas stations, at least in my experience. They certainly don’t work at gas stations. They don’t have friends who pump gas. And they probably don’t think about or notice gas prices. Although I’ve never worked at a gas station, I have spent many afternoons and evenings in the Mini Marts, the Seven Elevens and Clark stations. I’ve waited, sometimes with a car on fumes, for the gas price to drop a few cents, a habit I have kept to this day, much to the chagrin of my wife and other passengers in my car. The tension when my low fuel light is on and I’m driving conservatively, passing gas station after gas station, because I know the Love’s 20 miles up the road is going to have cheaper gas is palpable. Sometimes I’m not sure I’ll make it. My passengers KNOW I’m not going to make it. It’s fun.

Where is he going with all this I can hear you think. Well, it’s simple. I know how gas prices move. The futures market traders think they know, and maybe at their level they do, but if so, why are they still working? I know how the price goes up a penny, down a nickel, and so on. It’s collusion. Not actionable collusion, but collusion none the less. It’s collusion by market signal. There is no meeting in a darkened room, full of cigar smoke, to set the price. That would be illegal. It’s much easier to just set some rules, make some suggestions, and have everything sort itself out. Here’s how it works.

You’re Shell. You have positioned your product as a premium product, so you set your rules, at the station level, if anyone raises their price, you raise yours so that you’re a penny more expensive. If you’re cheaper than the competition, you’ll lose business. Counter intuitive, yes. But it works. Shell’s customers are brand loyal, or credit card dependent. (Shell made bank on gas cards when I was growing up. I don’t have a gas card any more, or an individual store credit card for that matter, but I assume they still exist.)

Now let’s say you’re Clark Oil. Your rules are if two stores go up, you match the raise, if one goes down you match that. You don’t want to be lower than everyone else for three reasons. First, if you stay low, you’ll be flooded with business. That’s OK in the short term, but the attendant doesn’t want to work that hard, and the owner doesn’t want to hire for something that is going to be temporary in nature. Second, you will force the competition down, which will keep them from working with you. Third, if you’re selling at a lower price you’re making less money. Obvious, I know, but I’m trying to be thorough. When I said the competition won’t work with you I meant it. You have the numbers of all the other local stations behind the counter. When you’re not busy you call them up and ask them what they’re selling gas for. And they tell you. Sometimes, they even tell you their plans. This sounds like collusion, but it happens at the local level, perpetrated by gas station attendants, and they’re not making a penny off the price of gas. They make (made back then) $3.75 an hour, $5 an hour if they were lucky. This information just makes their job easier.

We could discuss other companies, but suffice it to say they have a system in place that causes gasoline prices to move together. Perhaps there is a ‘prime mover’ that causes the original move, or maybe it’s different each time. But it doesn’t really matter. The job gets done. What on earth does that have to do with the White House? I know. It’s non-obvious. If it were obvious, some well to do Harvard graduate would have noticed. And perhaps they have. Enough ‘gas station loiterers’ have noticed. So, what do they see?

The proud association of sometimes less educated, sometimes referred to as deplorables, or bitter clingers, have seen that the political landscape being rigged just as surely as the gasoline prices. It’s easy to point to major events as collusion. The five most important counties in the country shutting down their voting machines at the same time, then coming back on line with all five counties flipped resoundingly from Trump To Biden. The voting machines that seem to have infrequent, occasional errors, always in Biden’s favor. Just the voting irregularities could go on for thousands of words, but let’s move on from voting altogether.

On social media, if you have a conservative opinion, or fact, or meme, or even legitimate hate speech, you get censored. Liberals do not. This happens on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Do they call each other up? Probably. But they’re not colluding. They just agree. And they stand to make less money if they alienate 33-50% of their audience. I don’t think it can be collusion for a business to conspire to lose customers. Maybe it can. That’s a question for another day. If someone dares to create a new social network they try, as best as they are able to shut it down, discredit it, or get it regulated out of existence. No opinion but theirs gets the light of day.

On dictionary.com the definitions of words are changed. Court packing was changed so that the phrase could be weaponized against Trump and then actual court packing (as it was originally defined) can be accomplished without protest once Biden-Harris take over. The phrase sexual preference had the same thing happen after Amy Coney Barrett used it in her confirmation hearing. Did they call up Facebook, or even the degenerate from Hawaii that tried to upbraid her for using the term? Nope. Didn’t need to. They saw the news, and changed the price. That’s all.

In schools and libraries across America we have Drag Queen Story Hour. The purpose of this is to normalize the ideas of cross dressing, homosexuality, and anything goes sex. Maybe these are great things. I don’t know. I don’t care. But I wouldn’t expose a five year old to sexual ideas of any kind. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but most of this center-right country agrees with me. But who organized the Drag Queens? George Soros? Unlikely. They just did it. They saw a piece they could do to move the needle in the direction they prefer.

I think those examples are enough to make the point. Just to spell it out, maybe there are huge ominous forces at work. But maybe people are just noticing the gas price changing, and adjusting on their own. That’s how markets work. One final thought, in case it’s not obvious. It need not be that the great majority of people are for these changes. It’s not that everyone is part of the price setting, or political mood setting. It’s just a few. Acting in concert, but independently, working towards a common goal. In my home town, specifically in the area I lived, worked, and tracked gas prices, there were about a hundred people who controlled it, and ten thousand who were harmed or benefited from it. Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Ask yourself, has the world changed? If you think so, do you think it’s just possible that a small group could be driving that change?

Look at all the hospitals collapsing

I promised an update and mea culpa on an article I wrote recently. Here’s the link to that article. http://drthomasnelson.com/another-prediction/

It had to do with hospitals collapsing. Here’s the quote that made me write the article.

“We need somebody to say this is what’s happening, this is how bad it is,” he advised. “We’re going to see hospitals collapsing in the next two to three weeks. And this is what we’ve got to do to address that. And just remember one thing, for the next three weeks the cases are already in pipeline. The people who are infected this morning will be the cases of next week in the hospital, a few days after that, and will be in the intensive care rooms and dying after that. So even if we did everything we could right now, we would still not turn this thing around for literally three to four more weeks.”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, on MSNBC

Today is the day. Three weeks, give or take. The Atlantic says it’s happened, at least until you read the article. No, sadly for the fearmongers, the hospitals haven’t collapsed. Maybe the next disaster will break your way. I sure hope so. I’m getting so tired of being in a constant panic over things that don’t happen. But I have to ask you, how do you feel about constantly betting against the health, safety, well being, and prosperity of the United States of America? It would make me sick to my stomach, especially if I was wrong every time I did it. Doubly sick. Once for wishing evil on my fellow countrymen, and again for being so. damn. wrong. Over and over. But that’s just me.

The Biggest Saddest Business Opportunity of My Life

I was working on a business plan today for a client and it hit me. We are in one of those times when it takes very little originality to create a HUGE business. It’s a big, scary idea and it sets my heart beating faster and my fingers trembling when I think of the possibilities and the repercussions.

Here’s the TLDR. Every business out there that used to serve all of us is ripe for a competitor to come on the market and eat half of its lunch.

We are so politically divided that I believe any business could generate significant customer traffic and sales simply by putting a philosophical stake in the ground. The proprietor or company would have to be willing to put up with (and budget for) MASSIVE publicity, especially if they chose to be the ‘conservative’ version of the business.

And when I say any business, I mean any business. Even accidental exposure of political or religious viewpoints drives traffic and anti-traffic. Look at Chick-fil-A. They make a fine sandwich. Is it better than Popeye’s? I don’t know. They’re both great. Haven’t tried Wendy’s yet but…wait, this isn’t about chicken….I’ve been in Mobile too long. OK. Back on track. They make a fine sandwich. But do you think their sandwich is so good that people wait in line a half hour (or more sometimes) in a drive through to purchase one? The customer is getting more than a sandwich. They’re getting to support a Christian company that has been manhandled by the LGBTQ (note to self, revisit this article periodically and change letter salad to whatever abbreviation is currently accepted) Twitter mob. At least that is what they feel like they’re doing. It takes a little longer, but it’s for a good cause, they think, so they sit in their Hummers and destroy the environment over an overrated sandwich, their alters on the left think. Who’s right? Doesn’t matter. Chick-fil-A wins.

I’m not cherry picking. The AARP was the only game in town until 2007. Why was AMAC founded? Politics. AARP is a liberal organization, and they support liberal causes. (They also sell insurance, and against the best interests of their members, supported the Affordable Care Act because it would benefit the company at the expense of their members, but that’s a whole other story). I don’t want to support ‘The Squad’ so I belong to AMAC. Not me personally, I’m not old enough. Just the generic conservative. Cell Phone companies have been started because AT&T & Verizon donate to Planned Parenthood. If you’re conservative, check out Patriot Mobile. They’ll bribe different sets of politicians and/or donate to different charities. Even pillows are political. If you’re a Sean Hannity fan you sleep on Mike Lindel’s ‘My Pillow’ and probably Giza Dream Sheets as well. (Full disclosure, I have a ‘My Pillow’. It’s all right. No Dream Sheets, although I do have Boll And Branch sheets which absolutely live up to the hype and got their start on Rush Limbaugh, and a Simplisafe alarm on my house, which was also first sold on AM talk radio.) The point is political beliefs are being leveraged at an incredible rate for successful businesses. Black Rifle Coffee. Marriott Hotels. (Trump Hotels now I suppose as well.) Hobby Lobby instead of Michael’s. Even Vegas isn’t safe. If you’re really conservative you stay at Las Vegas Sands properties, the Venetian and Palazzo. Well, not me. You have to be rich AND conservative to stay there. I’ve never been willing to pay the rate. OK, I think I’ve made my point. Except for social media.

Social media is for all practical purposes a Blue Ocean (read Blue Ocean Strategy) for conservative platforms. There are a few startups, but they don’t really have traction like Facebook and Twitter. But one will. It could be yours if you jump in aggressively. And look how much the Zuck and Gandalf — I mean Dorsey — are worth. A conservative with guts, determination and style could own half of America’s clicks in short order. DuckDuckGo is trying to be nonpolitical to counteract Google’s partisanship, but why not a conservative search engine? There are several conservative news sites, that area is getting crowded, but only because conservatism has been practically banned from old media, and more or less completely banned from social media. Jump in. The water’s red, but still blue. (That works on a couple levels.)

Even accidentally revealing your political views can gain or lose you your entire business. Refusing to bake a cake for one group, not opening on Sunday, posting that you think people should immigrate to this country legally, whatever. It could all drive business your way, or away.

You do have to stay away from certain stances though. For instance, you could not have a business and not allow African Americans. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t have a business and not allow Caucasians, but I’m not certain. You can look it up. Some things are protected. Race, color, religion, national origin. Gender was added. There has been some effort to add gender identity and sexual orientation. Not sure if it’s been successful.

But this is about political beliefs, primarily, and how to profit. Most companies are racing to the left, so if you start an organization and race to the right you will almost automatically1 pick up 30% of the customers. The particular example that put me on this train of though is the National Association of Realtors. They’ve recently updated their…I don’t know, some sort of compliance document. If you’re a member of the NAR and you post something they deem offensive they’ll kick you out of their club and report you to the realtor police to get your license revoked. Joe McCarthy would be super proud. If you’re interested in the specifics look for Article 10-5 associated with the NAR. I’m not. I’m interested in the business opportunity. If I want to be a realtor (I don’t) and if I want to post bible verses on my social media (I don’t) they can bully me into shutting up, or take away my ability to earn a living. So why not start another anti-NAR? It worked for AMAC. It even worked on the NRA. Yes, the NRA was too liberal for many of its members (and had massive malfeasance, but again that’s another story, and one I’ll probably never tell). Along came the National Association for Gun Rights.

What other businesses can be politicized? My guess is all of them, if done properly. I’ve seen coffee shops, antique malls, restaurants, and many others. If you see a business you like, copy it and add political spin, and you can siphon off part of their customer base, whether or not you add value. It’s not pretty, but I bet it’s effective. There’s an old saying that a town which can not support one lawyer can easily support two. I’ve always thought that was sad, and a commentary on lawyers. It is sad, but I don’t think it says much about lawyers. I think it says more about us.

And that’s why this is the saddest business opportunity of my life. All we’re talking about when we talk about political belief is segmenting the market by one one component of its psychographic profile. (For those of you not mired in business stuff, your psychographic profile is just like your demographic profile, except instead of being made up of what you make, how old you are, and so on, it’s made up of what you think and how you feel.) And should it matter AT ALL who you think stole what election from who when you’re buying a chicken sandwich for lunch instead of eating the celery sticks with hummus that you conspicuously brought from home so your wife would see? No, it shouldn’t. But it does. And the market gets what the market wants. So, as long as these divisions exist, I would be remiss in my duty as an entrevangelist if I did not make you aware of this exciting opportunity, no matter how personally distasteful I find the situation that created its existence.

  1. No business is automatically successful. This is an exaggeration for effect. You will still have to work your tail off to make any business successful. However, I do believe that this component, as part of a competent overall business strategy, will help to make your business more likely to be successful, at least until we get over this partisan madness. But you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

Another Prediction

I’ve lived through a number of predictions. Global Cooling. Global Warming. Millions will die from climate change by 2020. Hole in the Ozone. Reagan will start nuclear war. The Rapture (several times). New York & Florida under water. Oil will run out (several times, one prediction was 2020). No glaciers left on Mt. Kilimanjaro by 2020. So. Many. More. I’m a little dubious of any prediction at this point.

Here’s one from yesterday. “We’re going to see hospitals collapsing in the next two to three weeks.” Obviously this has to do with corona virus. This will happen according to Dr. Michael Osterholm. I’m not sure he believes it because he said specifically, ‘we need someone to say this’ which gives him weasel room. But that’s what weasels do. They find a way to instill fear, then when tragedy inevitably doesn’t strike (but they’ve got the fear response they were trying to create) they say, “that’s not exactly what I said” or “I was being hypothetical” or whatever. Here’s the full quote so you can make your own decision about what he said or didn’t say.

“We need somebody to say this is what’s happening, this is how bad it is,” he advised. “We’re going to see hospitals collapsing in the next two to three weeks. And this is what we’ve got to do to address that. And just remember one thing, for the next three weeks the cases are already in pipeline. The people who are infected this morning will be the cases of next week in the hospital, a few days after that, and will be in the intensive care rooms and dying after that. So even if we did everything we could right now, we would still not turn this thing around for literally three to four more weeks.”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, on MSNBC

This was yesterday. What I’m going to do, is leave this here, and then, in three weeks from yesterday, on December 10th, I’m going to revisit this issue. I’ll be looking for Dr. Osterholm to say ‘oops, I blew it’. What do you think the odds of that are? If it is addressed at all, which it usually isn’t, there will be some extenuating circumstance that happened. Maybe hope for a Biden Presidency is a natural vaccine to covid, I don’t know.

If, on the other hand, we have hospitals overburdened with patients, I will say, ‘Oops, I blew it.’ Just like I did with global cooling, and warming, and the ice caps, and the ozone, and the extinction of polar bears, and nuclear war, and the thousand-thousand other doomsday predictions that came true that I had to apologize for not believing in and/or making fun of.

And the Winner is

Those Kooky Sociopaths

I’d like to announce the winner of the 2020 Presidential election. I will not be the first to call the election. Tons of media outlets have done so, virtually all for Biden. They’re probably right about who gets to sit in the chair, but whether or not they are, there is an actual winner in this election. And it’s crystal clear. There will need to be no recount. There will be no argument. Once I lay it out, everyone will agree that I’m correct. It’s not sleepy, creepy, Joe. It’s not ‘hair like piss colored cotton candy’ Trump. (And no, sadly it’s not Jo Jorgensen either….)

It’s the online gambling sites. Until the election is ‘officially called’ they’re keeping the money from both sides. Over a billion dollars was wagered. Every day this drags on, they’re earning about $14,000 in interest. OK, it’s not a lot in the big scheme of things, but compared to the poor gamblers, who will get nothing additional for all the time their money is tied up it’s pretty massive. And if the online casinos aren’t concerned with it, I can give them my public key so they can deposit it in my bitcoin locker. I’d be delighted to help.

The casinos still might lose overall, the money favored Trump by a lot, and the odds weren’t able to keep up. If Trump pulls this out the interest gains will be more than offset by how short the major services are on the Trump side. But if Biden is installed, as is now all but certain, it will be a big payday.

Of course, one other thing could happen here. Trump could flip a couple states in the courts. I haven’t read the ToS on any gambling site, but it is conceivable that they reserve the right to declare extraordinary circumstances like this a push, which would mean that neither side wins the bet. If they do that (if they are able to do that) they simply return all the punters’ money, avoid the Trump payout losses, and keep all the interest payments. Ain’t gambling great? If you’re the house, and you don’t care about the country.

The Democrat Enemies List

There have been several calls for holding people ‘accountable’ for supporting Trump. Various Democrats have suggested keeping lists, reeducating Trump supporters or worse. There’s a group called the Trump Accountability Project that was created for that purpose. The Congresswoman who doesn’t like to be referred to as AOC tweeted this.

“Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future”

A writer at Slate called for the imprisonment of one of Trump’s advisors because he was advising Trump. Others have said that everyone associated with the Trump administration be ‘blacklisted’ so they can’t get jobs and so on. McCarthy anyone? Anyone questioning the election (and that should be everyone with a pulse) should never be allowed to serve in office, on a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite society’ according to Jennifer Rubin.

Jen, can I call you Jen? If your idea of polite society involves never questioning things that stink to high heaven, I’m really not interested. I have better liquor at my house than you have at yours. I probably make better appetizers. And I’m more entertained by any number of things than I am likely to be by your mindless, slavish drivel.

Also a few weeks ago, Robert Reich called for a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ to ‘…erase Trump lies, comfort those that have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.’ (emphasis mine) That doesn’t sound ominous. Not at all.

There’s the background. Now, you should know I’m not a huge fan of Trump. I didn’t vote for him in 2016, and I didn’t vote for him in 2020, although I would have if I hadn’t been certain that my state would be solid Republican. Not that I like him. I don’t. I don’t agree with all of his policies. I’m especially critical of his spending trillions of dollars of my grand children’s money that was supposedly necessitated by shutting down the economy for what was supposed to be 15 days to slow the spread, and turned into the greatest destruction of real wealth I’ve ever, ever seen. But the Democrats were complicit, and in fact wanted to spend more and close more so they wouldn’t have gotten my vote at the point of a gun.

I say that to tell you this. If you’re making a list, put me on it. The fact that you think a difference of political opinion calls for black lists and reeducation camps and whatever the hell else makes you my enemy. So we should be clear. I will fight you at the ballot box, although it’s becoming increasingly clear that the entire process is a sham. I’ll fight you in the classroom where I’ll offer alternatives to your fantastic ideas that are fantastic except for the tiny fact that they fail every time they are tried. I’ll fight you by spending my money to support people who do not think losing or winning an election are reasons for revenge, or to burn down cities. I’ll fight you in the judicial system until it’s too corrupt to matter. And, if you come to me with violence in mind, I’ll fight you with gun, knife, baseball bat, IED, or anything else that I can imagine. I’m smart, I’m resourceful, I’m educated, I know how to use a hammer, a drill press, a firearm, and a chemistry set. I do not want this, or any kind of fight, but if you’re determined, as the picture at the top of this post says, ‘I’m you huckleberry.’

Remember Remember

Been Caught Stealin’

Jane’s Addiction

I walked right through the door. I walked. Right. Through. The door. Hey all right! If I get by it’s a-mine! — Donald Trump and/or Joe Biden probably

I have no idea who won the Presidential election, but I know who lost. America. There will be lawyers on both sides, lots of bad noises, endless accusations of cheating. And I believe them. I believe all of them. Do I think that Trump would send in lawyers to disenfranchise voters? Yes I do. Do I believe that Biden would do the same? Yes I do. What do I base this on? Primarily the idea that they are politicians, but also the tons and tons of real-world stuff that has been going on, preparing us for this.

The Democrats were not competent to run the Iowa Caucuses. Democrat primaries have had counting troubles and balloting scams reported. The general election has been rife with suspect voting stories. Use a search engine other than Google and find them if you’re interested. The list is depressingly long, and just as depressingly uninspired. Paying for votes. Registering the dead. Forging ballots. Stealing ballots. Disposing of ballots. Et cetera, ad infinitum.

At least one Republican was found guilty of requesting multiple mail in ballots. The President encouraged people who voted by mail to ‘go to the polls and try to vote’. The reasoning was supposedly that if your ballot had been counted you’d be turned away. Ok, maybe, but I’m inclined to think otherwise, because I don’t trust these people. At all.

On balance there has been a lot more news on one side than the other, but maybe that’s just because one side is better at it. And I don’t care. Any is too much.

A greater bit of stupidity visited on us, the American people, is changing at the eleventh hour our voting procedures. It is my opinion that this was done to sow confusion and allow for fraud. I don’t know what is in the hearts of men, I am not The Shadow, but the idea that a ballot that you mail out (often without request) and gets filled out in the privacy of who knows where and sent back in, and even the signatures don’t have to match is as secure as a polling place watched by both major political parties with identification checks and counting cross checks is prima facie absurd. Anyone arguing otherwise has an agenda.

At this time, lawyers are descending on Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia at least, maybe other states. And they are not there to make sure that all votes are counted. Make no mistake, no lawyer from either side is there to make sure that this is fair. They are there to win. This is a high stakes game where the victor gets access to tremendous amounts of power and influence. They will mouth the right words. I’ve already seen it. The Democrat line is ‘every vote counts’, and the Republican one is ‘every legitimate vote counts.’ This difference allows an astute observer a tiny peek into the battle plan. The Democrats have probably flooded key states with illegitimate votes, or votes that shouldn’t count. The Republicans are going to attempt to identify those votes and keep them out. In addition, they’re going to target other groups of votes and argue that they are illegitimate on some technicality. For instance, late arriving ballots. The Republicans will (rightly) say if the ballot arrived after the day it was legally required to be here it shouldn’t be counted. But they won’t look too closely at Republican districts, and they’ll probably push for an exception for military ballots because they tend to skew Republican.

In the end, we’ll have the President who’s machine is best able to manipulate the levers of power, and that I suppose is some sort of a litmus test for how effective a President they might be. It’s not the one I want, but it is, I suppose, a necessary political skill. And as a bonus we’ll be treated to another four years of ‘they stole the election’ from whatever side is unsuccessful in stealing the election. And even if the ‘right’ side, that is the side that would have won without interference, gets the Presidency, it will still have been stolen, not from the other candidate, but from the American people who were supposed to be able to have faith in our representative republic, and now can’t due to all of this crap.

After over 200 years of elections, why are some states able to get it right, and some not? Why do those states most often have Democrat governors, and why are they ‘swing’ states? Counting is not hard. We have computers for that. Determining who is allowed to vote is not hard. We have rules. It really seems like we’re making this harder than it should be specifically so the results are not in the hands of the people.

Jack Dorsey Wants My Help

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey appeared (virtually) before Congress today and was grilled pretty severely. At one point he asked what Twitter could do to ‘earn our trust’ or some such. I can’t speak for anyone else, and there is no way Jack Dorsey would be interested enough in my opinion to read it, much less act on it, but I’m going to offer my thoughts on the matter. As a former Twitter user, I can tell you what it would take to get me back.

First, you can advertise anything to me you want. The platform has to make money. You can sell my likes, show me ads for penis and breast enlargement at the same time, even attempt to track me across the web and develop a deep understanding of me as a consumer.

Now, what do I want in return? It’s pretty simple.

  1. Declare that the First Amendment of the Constitution applies to your platform. That means that, barring certain very limited exceptions such as direct threats, if I post it, it stands. That’s it. If I post hateful comments about races, so what. I’m sure the world will take care of me. It doesn’t need you to protect it. If I post that Donald Trump is actually a lizard in a human skin, leave it up. Humans can sort through this stuff. We don’t need a nanny. This is going to cause you some consternation, because you’re used to allowing liberal insanity, but not conservative insanity (or even conservative fact) and it’s going to mean you don’t get to control thought. You’re still rich. Go with that. I mean, you’re rocking the whole Rasputin + nose ring look. Do you need to control our minds too?
  2. Show me what my friends and the people I follow want me to see. As a logical continuation of point one, if I’m free to say it, others should be free to listen. Don’t hide things you disagree with. Don’t silence voices you disagree with. Let the arena of ideas defeat the bad ideas. I understand some of those bad ideas might be your own. It sucks. I have things that I believe very strongly that have been rejected in the arena of ideas. I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong, but I am sure that if the ideas were more compelling I wouldn’t be as alone in having them. The market works babe. Let it work. And remember, roughly half of all people disagree with you. In business we have a word for those people. We call them customers. We take their money. We fold it in half, put it in our pocket, then pull it out when we go to McDonald’s or buy a Lear jet.
  3. While you’re showing me what I want to see, don’t influence it in any way. If I follow Michael Moore, and I don’t engage with his tweets, SHOW THEM TO ME ANYWAY. Don’t organize my feed in a way to promote engagement. Don’t organize my feed at all. Give it to me chronologically. Give it to me completely. Intersperse ads, so you can make money, but that’s it. Don’t decide that someone, say Glenn Beck, isn’t worth my time, and so you just don’t show me what he puts out. I followed him (for example) for a reason. I WANT TO SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. If you can’t respect that, as you currently don’t, you won’ t have me as a customer.
  4. Don’t put your nose ring in between me and what I want to see. I don’t need to have information flagged, fact checked, or covered up. I don’t need to be told to think before I tweet. I’m not a child. I know that Donald Trump isn’t really a Lizard (maybe) and if I don’t who cares? I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said believe half of what you see and even less of what you read on the internet. Your transparent attempts to shape the conversation are insulting to my intelligence at best, and in my opinion, treasonous at worst. Stop. (And if you think Snopes is reliable, stop again.)
  5. This is kind of an obvious restatement of the above, but don’t ban or block people unless they break the law. I want terrorist cells planning their next ‘outing’ on Twitter. I can see them there. I want people who believe that we didn’t go to the moon exchanging conspiracy theories online. If I happen to see it and be entertained, hooray for me. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but terrorists and conspiracy theorists buy things. That means that they are, and I used this word earlier, so I’m assuming you get the point, customers. Don’t kick customers out of your store.

Now, I can imagine Jack stroking his beard, fidgeting with his nose ring, cleaning the mucus off of it with a pinkie fingernail, reinserting it and saying, ‘But we don’t want to support bad stuff. Terrorist are bad. Conspiracy theorists mislead people. And Trump is the worst!’ Yep. Ok. You want to be a publisher then, not a platform. Let’s say a play is performed in New York, and judged by the authorities to be obscene. Who do they arrest? Maybe a lot of people, but they don’t arrest the stage. If you want to be a platform, a stage if you will, then be a stage. If you want to be the producer, then you have to take responsibility for all the content, not just the content you don’t like. You have to, in the ever popular sports metaphor, be prepared to call balls and strikes. The umpire doesn’t rule on 20% of the pitches in a game. They rule on every one. Unless you’re willing to do that, stick to being the boards under your actors (customers again — as a business prof I felt like I had to make that point one last time) feet. It’s a job you and your platform can, with a few minor but painful changes, perform admirably. Do that, and I’ll be back.

If the Democrats Lose

If the democrats lose the upcoming Presidential election there will be lots of finger pointing. I am not going to speculate too much on who the democrats will blame. I’m sure it will be cheating and dirty tricks, and stupid bible thumpers, and all the usual suspects. Instead, I’m going to point fingers, with full realization that it is very likely that they will win, and everything I’m writing will not have mattered. But, I like to write, and I’m trying to write more often, and this is what is on my mind, so in no particular order, here’s what went wrong, if they lose.

I said no particular order, but this first one is really big, and probably the only one that affects their own party members. The democrats blatantly stole the last nomination from Bernie Sanders. I’m still mad about that, and he wasn’t my guy. But I believe in the process, and they abused the process. The evidence, other than it was obvious even to a casual political observer, was plain to see in the stolen (not hacked — add this to the list of constant big lies, another item I’ll get to if I get to it…) emails. If they’ll rig their own primary, what else will they do?

Changing the rules in the middle of the game doesn’t sit well with anyone, especially conservatives. I know there is a pandemic, and some of the changes being made with mail in voting and such are well intentioned. But changing the way we vote, introducing the potential for fraud, so close to what is at least the most emotional election in my lifetime will make people distrust you. There doesn’t have to be any shenanigans for this to matter. Just the possibility being introduced is enough to sow discord, and the perceived threat to the integrity of the election has motivated the right.

I’ve read over 30 instances of ballot problems including pay for votes in Minnesota, ballots in ditches, Post Office employees cherry picking ballots to ‘lose’ and so on. Some deliberate rigging of previous elections have made the news as well. These events don’t have to be statistically significant to be effective. They are fuel for the fire.

In 2019 9 unarmed black men were killed by police. I’m not sure of the situations of all of them. The most published, George Floyd, was clearly a case of excessive force and was horrifying. Some of the others were less clear cut. That’s not important to the point I’m making. What is important is that we have protests going, and the phrase ‘mostly peaceful’ is applied to them, even when the cities are burning in the background. It’s not that their protests are not justified. It’s not even that the people the protesters are harming are in no way responsible for what they’re protesting, although that will motivate some voters. It’s that the public is being lied to, over and over.

Which brings us to the media. It is OBVIOUS that they are a propaganda machine for Biden and the far left. They have said nothing, NOTHING good about Donald Trump in 4 years. Prison reform. Nothing. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, crickets. Did you know there is a peace agreement between Israel and some of its Muslim neighbors? And the opposite for Biden. Everything is good. Trump-Russia collusion was a story for four years, until it was conclusively shown that it didn’t exist. Biden-Russia-China collusion? No story here. We have a laptop, we have emails corroborated from multiple sources, we have individuals corroborating the story as well, and what do we get? We get the story ignored, or squashed. Twitter banned the newspaper that published the original story and has yet to lift the ban, even with TONS of corroborating evidence. As Joe would say, comeon man!

Which brings us to social media. Twitter, Facebook, etc., are companies. Yes the First Amendment doesn’t apply and they can do what they please. But second only to Obama using the IRS to suppress conservative and Tea Party 501C3’s the suppression of conservative voices online feels the most unfair. Terrorist organizations can recruit on Facebook. Liberal Hollywood ‘comedians’ can post pictures of Trump’s severed head without reprisal. But posting a picture of a ballot sent to your house in someone else’s name, that you could fill out and send in, is disinformation (notice that it actually happened, so by definition it is not disinformation — remember pics or it didn’t happen? No, Twitter doesn’t either) and is subject to censure, up to and including deplatforming. And if you’re an actual conservative and trying to get your message out? These companies tested their muscles with Alex Jones. When they got away with it (first they came for the Jews….) they moved on to Prager and Breitbart and Beck. If you start at the right, and begin removing information, and keep chopping off, from the right, then moderate becomes right and thus we move the conversation further left. It’s insidious. It’s deliberate. And conservatives see it.

Conservatives are sick of having language used against them as a bludgeon. The euphemism treadmill is exhausting to keep up with, and at some point rational people just get off. Conservatives find phrases like ‘women with penises’ just ridiculous. When you say man gives birth, they shake their heads and wonder how you can still claim to be the ‘party of science’ and call them science deniers. Being told that negro was ok, then it was black, then that wasn’t ok anymore, and it’s people of color seems like something designed to ‘catch’ people and make them feel as if they’re unconsciously prejudiced in some way. Case in point, Amy Coney Barret used the phrase sexual preference and was castigated for it. Biden used it and it was OK, but not her. As a matter of fact, Merriam Webster changed the definition AFTER SHE SAID IT to make it a bad thing to say. Conservatives get it.Whatever they say is bad, even if liberals say the exact same thing. Ok, let’s move on.

The constant drumbeat that all whites are racist. If they admit it they’re racist, if they don’t admit it they’re racist and just don’t know it. Even if the ‘do the work’ whatever the hell that is, they can never not be racist because they’re white. Does that sound racist to you? Someone has a characteristic because of the color of their skin and there’s nothing they can do about it. Hmm. And what does that have to do with the election? All of this stuff is supported by the left, but not the right. If the democrats lose, it is a referendum on not just Trump, but all of this stuff that has been crammed down our throats, into our companies and classrooms, into our movies, and even into our sports.

The idea that Trump is racist, and won’t deny white supremacy, is especially vexing. He dated a black woman. That was spun that after he found out she was black (as if– imagine that, in the throes of passion he looks down and says, ‘oh, wow, you’re black, gotta go…’) he stopped dating her. She said that wasn’t true, he said that wasn’t true, but no matter facts. He left a political party because white supremacist David Duke joined. If the party had room for David Duke it didn’t have room for him. His words, not mine. He has denied and denounced white supremacy in public many, many times, much of it before even running for office. And he’s still being called out for refusing to denounce it. People say he said of white supremacists ‘there are good people on both sides’. The sentence before that he specifically said he wasn’t talking about racists and white supremacists. SPECIFICALLY. But do you see that part of the speech. Hell no. Conservatives saw it, and it pisses them off that you (media, democrats, social media, etc.) practice the big lie and seem to get away with it.

It feels like bullying. These minority beliefs, being portrayed as majority beliefs feel like being browbeaten into submission. The repeated lies, piled on lies, feel like bullying. The media bullies Trump. Social Media bullies Trump. By extension, they’re bullying half their market. It doesn’t make business sense, but it makes perfect political sense. Beat them until their name is, even in their own minds, Toby.

The candidate should probably be higher on this list, but I didn’t plan this post, I just wrote it. Even if the democrat party decided to rig the primary and the power brokers were to select the nominee, wow. This is your guy? I can only assume that he was the easiest to control. No other explanation makes sense. You had the opportunity to give Sanders a second chance, and put socialism on the ballot. Elizabeth Warren was a stronger candidate than Biden, and for the social justice crowd she ticked one box and 1.6% of another. You could have run your own billionaire, or a very, very well spoken homosexual. Buttigieg might have made a great candidate. I think he would have had a lot more enthusiasm than Biden. There were more, but you get the idea.

Trumps handling of Covid was less than stellar. Of course there is blame to go around, but in hindsight I’m sure everyone could have done better, at least according to them. However, at the time, as things were happening, the things he did right were reported as wrong, and now that we know they were right (example, immigration control, limiting flights from China, etc.) he is still getting no credit. But of course he isn’t. If he did, conservatives would be less pissed off, but no one cares what they think. And all this time later, we still don’t know what’s what. The news on masks, lock downs, curfews, drugs, and all the rest change day by day. But no matter what the current belief is, we know one thing for certain. Trump is wrong.

The histrionics. Rational disagreement is fine. But this insanity of disagreement is exhausting as well. Women walking around in hats shaped like vaginas, or in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ garb to protest. Really? That’s how you make your point? You look ridiculous and it’s hard to take you seriously. Putting guillotines in people’s yards? How is that any different than a burning cross? Why on earth should I care what you say when you choose that mode of expression?

In short, it’s not that conservatives or middle America love Trump. They don’t. It’s not that Americans are racist, sexist, homophobic, stupid, bible loving, gun loving, or anything else. It’s that they can not stand the environment that the left has created. Conservatives wish that he was more soft spoken. They wish he didn’t tweet. They support things he’s done like taking care of HBCU’s and pushing the Platinum Plan. They support ‘the wall’ which is code for a rational immigration policy. They’re mad about stuff he’s done too. No one I know approved of the bump stock ban. Many conservatives are not too keen on his trade policy. I’m sure there is much more they don’t agree with, but that is not the topic of this post. What conservatives don’t want is burning cities, sky-high taxes, information control that is positively Orwellian, and all of the rest that comes with a Biden victory.