Sunday, November 27, 2016

The New Word Games of the Oh, So Busy, "Thought Police"

It has long been understood that the ability to control the conversation equated with the ability to control how most people think.  Not just their opinions, but the very words and language of their thoughts.

Back when all the media was owned by the Great Whoever such language use and control could be, and was, subtle.  And since the words and expressions the media sources all used was the only language most everybody read and heard the language of thought was amazingly consistent across the nation.

The opening of new media sources where one could see and hear different ideas -- sources outside of mainstream control -- meant that controlling thought was less easy. New tools such as the creation of PC "forbidden" words and topics were created, or, more often, old and commonly understood words were given a brand new meaning.

Suddenly people were said to be "homophobic." Not just a few -- but many. Even those who rarely thought about sexuality much at all.

"Racist" too!  And again that included masses of people who never thought (or cared) about race at all.

Resistance to all of the above has led to the creation of new categories of thought, newer yet words and phrases, and common thoughts turned into memes -- all with the same intent: To control what we each think. To make it (and us) uniform. And "safe." Especially that: Safe. For the Powers That Be.

Once one becomes aware of these new word games they can actually become rather fun to play -- Or to refuse to play.  More fun even than acrostics, anagrams and cross-word puzzles!

One of my own favorites is Finding the Media's Word of the Day.

Today, for instance, there are two. "Gerrymandering" and "Russian."

The first of the two is the new explanation of why the 'favored side' lost the recent election.  If you don't know the word "gerrymandering" just put on most any Sunday talk show.  You soon will! Yes, they are all into it!

The word "Russian," of course, isn't  new at all.  Its a oldie given a new life.

The word "Russian" started getting a new lease on life when WikiLeaks started doing a number on the Hillary campaign. And now it is being put forth with the equivalent of a flashing red (appropriate color that!) warning light -- especially by the Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post. Glen Greenwald gives the WaPo's game away here.  Give it a read!  (Then give it a play.)  :D

Then there is that other new game: "Phrase of the Day.

"Fake News" is a biggie right now. And it is designed to come with a double 0 number -- i.e., with a License to Kill.  (As in "Kill that idea! Quick! It's dangerous to us!!!")

The Fake News game is being especially pushed by Facebook, but it is being played by several other well known groups and people as well.  NPR, for instance, is getting into it in a big way.

Call something or some source Fake News and who will complain if you silence it.  Right?

Clever dudes.

Evil dudes.

One of my favorite ways of getting in on the current games -- and this without having to actually play them myself -- is to simply read the email and FB postings of a few self-serious FB friends. Mostly people on the left, but some, too, that favor the right.

I just look for a not quite common word or phrase that is suddenly appearing in several of their posts. -Then I Google the word and find it's hidden lair.

Typically that will be one or other other of the big media outlets -- and quite usually many or all of them.

Yes, the LOVE this game too!

If you are into word games this is one that you will enjoy.  "Find the Word."  Oh, and give yourself extra points for finding its source!

Any of these games is fun to play on your own, but could be yet more fun if one was to get several sharp-witted friends to play it together. Call it "Expose the Wordsters."

Find the word, find the source, and then make it public.  Henceforth refuse to use that word at all -- or, maybe better, give it a new meaning all your own.

You know. Like Hillary did when she created the word "Deplorables."

Now THAT was original!  Pretty good for someone who is anything but a Master. At anything.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

What Is It About "Home"?

Yes, we people are funny.

Sometimes funny "hah hah!"

Always funny "odd."

Last night, far past my usual bedtime, Jan and I arrived home from a glorious week in North Carolina where we'd stayed with our son, Aaron, and his wife -- our beloved daughter-in-law -- Soutpatthana. Great company -- indeed, some of our very favorite people in the whole wide world. Their gorgeous home. Warmth. Love. Kindness. And something always appreciated by persons Jan and my age -- their willingly sharing the knowledge and wisdom needed to allow us to (albeit, barely) keep up with life in the modern world.

Now add to all those joys the fact that Sou is a true gourmet cook. That the meals she prepares are always a joy for all the senses. For the eye. For the palette.  And that several of Aaron's interests nicely coincide with my own. His love of movies and home theater. Cool cars too. (His is a Tesla)

Put all that together and you may see where the funny "odd" comes in.  For after being surrounded by all of that I was still, yes, thrilled to get home.

To our home where it's often cold. To our home where everything that needs to be done -- and in an old house like ours that's always a lot -- has to be done by me. Or by Jan.

Yes, and where I -- hardly a gourmet chef -- have to do pretty much all the cooking.

This seems to make no sense. No sense at all.

But actually the "why" of this is simple. For especially as we get older many of us -- even the once adventurous -- start to crave something. And that something is routine. To have a sense of continuity in our lives. To be someplace that is truly our own. Someplace made to our personal liking. Someplace that is to us with our own unique individuality, "just so."

It was that which made me so joyful upon our return home late last night.

Yes, I'd got to bed late. But it was to sleep in my own bed. (And it being such I fell asleep in mere minutes.)

And then this morning, despite having fewer hours sleep than I usually enjoy, it was finding that at exactly 5:30 am, just as usual, with the stars still in the sky, that my eyes popped open. I was ready to "go." I was home. In my own, old, common, routine.  My place. My world.

There was actually no need for me to rush. There were no appointments to be met. No bells ringing. But despite that I almost jumped out of bed, my mind affixed on the espresso machine.

I turned on the machine and its little glowing lamp somehow brought me great comfort and joy.

And then, as the espresso machine warmed up, I went outside, opened up the spa, turned on its jets, and then added the needed chemistry.  Then back in the house I went. -To savor some of that now ready to be drawn 'elixir of life' -- my morning espresso. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!

Why do I/we find such pleasure in little things?  -Hot coffee made with favorite, just-ground, beans. Watching the sunrise -- especially, for me, from the warmth of the spa.

Those other "little things" too.  Such as my own little routine of setting things up for Jan's breakfast. Putting out a bowl and spoon and her favorite muesli cereal. Placing her favorite coffee cup in the brewer that it should be ready and waiting for her upon awakening. Why is there so much joy in things like these?

Again, the answer is found in two words. Home and routine.

And now -- those simple pleasures done -- to be sitting here in my office, at my computer. Tapping away at the keys. Writing, reading, thinking. Feeling a deep, deep, joy within. The one that comes from being in a favorite place -- my favorite place. Being here in my home in Peterborough.

Yes "home."

There is such magic in that word!

A magic that we make for ourselves. Our own little world. That place like none other.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pure "Rope-a-Dope!" Oh, What a Show!

Call it "The Great American 'The Joke's On You' Freak-Out!"  -All the fools -- and yes, that is what they are behaving like -- "fools" -- who got rope-a-doped by master deal maker Donald J. Trump before the general election and then did so again during the general election, are getting rope-a-doped once more. Will it be the last time?  I doubt it. Oh, what a show!

Are you finding it fun to watch? Or painful?

To me it is pure fun.  Pure "rope-a-dope" -- and being done to people who oh, so deserve it!

"Rope-a-dope" is a phrase said to have been coined by Muhammad Ali. It referred to a strategy he used to beat the considerably younger George Foreman in their heavyweight title fight in 1974.

What Ali did was lean way back against ropes -- something that made him appear to be totally helpless -- and let Foreman take one ineffectual swing at him after another. -Ineffective because being leaned back against the ropes as he was those otherwise mighty punches and jabs could not really have much affect. Well, except for this one: They totally tired Foreman out leaving him weak and ineffective.

That done, Ali pivoted away from the ropes, and "bam!" -- laid Foreman flat.

"Rope-a-dope" is exactly what Donald Trump is doing.  And no, it is not his only strategy -- but oh, it is proving an effective one.

During the primary season he used it, allowing one opponent after another to ineffectively swing at him until they had exhausted themselves. Each was 'knocked out' in turn. Then he used it again against Hillary, who ran ad after ad after ad against him to little effect, and then, on on election day, "Pow!" -- to borrow another out-of-time phrase -- "Right in the kisser."

Wouldn't his opponents learn?  It seems not. Because he is doing it again and these "fools" are again falling for it.

The "ropes" here are the long, elastic, lines of "niceness."  So Trump is being "nice" to Barack Obama -- thus, in analogy, appearing to himself accept being "on the ropes."  And the "dopes" are buying it.  Obama himself, of course.  Being the self-glorifying narcissist that he is I suppose he has to.

"Obama" Trump suddenly announces "is a very good man."  Uhuh. One that he intends to 'look to for counsel.  And Obama glows in satisfaction.

Obamacare -- something loathed by the American people and about to be totally removed and replaced -- has 'certain provisions,' Trump tells Obama and his obedient media dogs, that  "I like... very much."

Again, uhuh.

Even the right-leaning media is getting "rope-a-doped."  Or at least pretending to.

Take, for instance, Trump's announcement that he is appointing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff. "We’ve gone from RINOs to Rinso in one election" cries talk show host Michael Savage. Is he totally unable to see the brilliant gamesmanship on display? --That of enlisting the head of the RNC to be on his team -- under the guidance of Stephen K. Bannon who will also be serving Trump as White House "chief strategist" and "senior counselor."  -This the same Stephen K. Bannon, who had served as executive director of the Breitbart web consortium.  Using one of the oppositions strongest 'punches' against them?

And why all this?  Lets pretend for a moment that we, too, are brilliant strategists...

"In this corner, with two more months left him to cause all sorts of mischief and grief, the Light Weight Champion of the World, wearing a supercilious smile, Barack Obama."

"And in this corner, about to be Heavyweight Champion of the World (but presently powerless apart from very cleverly steering things), wearing an impish grin, the Great and Masterly Donald J. Trump.

Yup, pure "rope-a-dope."

Swing away Ex-Leader(s) of the Free World.

Ain't this fun to watch?  Ain't it?


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Some Thoughts About "The Media"

It is something most of us have experienced at one time or another. A dark and dreary day when for a brief moment the sun breaks through an opening in the clouds and reveals surprising, hitherto unseen, details about the surrounding landscape. When such occurs one looks about with pure wonder.

All of us who are awake and with our eyes open have had such a moment lately. That as a bright and revealing light has shown forth on the media revealing all that it is worth.

Which is little as it turns out. Very little.

Here then are a few thoughts that 'showed up on the lit landscape' from where I was standing.

The first is how large a field the media is. How much it encompasses.

For a time there was a phrase "the Mainstream Media." This was the 'same old, same old' group that was understood to include the big newspapers -- most famously the New York Times, The Chicago Times and the Washington Post and all their little brothers and sisters. Also the network TV stations -- those of the nightly news with their familiar-to-all hosts whose hair and articulation are equally well groomed.

Then there was the  so-called "new media" -- that which inhabited the lowlands with its snide commentary and revealed 'dirty little secrets.'  Among these the most famous is perhaps the Drudge Report but also to be included are such as the Huffington Post and Mother Jones.

Then there were those few that inhabited the supposed high places: The organs of the so-called Think Tanks (of the left and right). Less familiar to many, but highly respected among a few, such includes the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. Also a few who blended scholarship, both bogus and real, with some popular flair. This group includes such as National Review and the Weekly Standard -- both of the right -- and the left's New Republic, Politico and Third Way.

Each of the above has its own niche and partisan supporters, but in fact they have a heck of a lot in common.  Including a sharing in all that follows.

What Has Been Revealed

1) The were WRONG. All of them.

It has been said, with some humor, that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  If that is so than all of the above are less accurate then a stopped clock.  Think about that!

Most of America, every single day, "turns on" or "goes to" this or that of the above news and information sources, and during the last full year or longer, as perhaps the most major political story in twenty years unfolded, not a single one of them got it right.  The recent flash of light revealed that. People were feeding on... WRONG.

Will we forget this?  Alas, the power of old habits makes that likely. Let's not.

2) They are OWNED.

Evidence is abundant that that what they -- the media as a whole -- produce was 'incorrect', not just by mistake, but by intent. That each was, to varying degrees, paying homage to its master.

In many cases that master was He of the Status Quo.

Let's face it, left or right, those on the 'inside' have their entire living -- and not just the monetary part of it -- connected to keeping in power those presently in power. "Those" being the people, the institutions and even that 'status quo' mode of thought. But also another group of status quo lovers:  Us.  Yes us. You and me.

Yes, satisfying us  -- their readers and listeners -- telling us what we wanted to hear --also affected what they said and wrote.

Said and sang Paul Simon in his song The Boxer...

    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears
    What he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

As did Simon's boxer, so do we.

And that is another lesson to clearly keep in mind and remember.

3) They were EVIL

Okay, this third point is a judgment call -- but I stand behind it. Here's why:

Our nation has been sinking for some years.  Like a mighty ship that has been taking on water.

That is not a point of view of just the left, or just the right, or just those caught somewhere in the middle. As recently as Nov. 6th -- just days before the critical election -- when the respected national poling organization Rasmussen Reports asked Americans of all stripes and persuasions whether the country was "heading in the right direction," just thirty percent of likely voters said they thought it was.  Thus getting things right should have been seen by all as of prime importance. And in a republic with a democratically chosen leadership, the key to that has to be the spreading of accurate and all-encompassing knowledge. But that is not what we he people got.

Largely the straining of information was done to aid one side:  The campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Note that this is not the same as saying that the editorial leanings of most of the above sources were in her direction.  No, it is the fact that critical information about Hillary, as well as her opponent, Donald Trump, was hidden from listeners and readers.  This included some extraordinary stories of corruption from the Clinton campaign's own emails that had been revealed by Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks organization.

"But Assange was taking sides!" some will say. "He was only revealing Clinton's "foibles."

Perhaps that is true.  But it matters not.  Such would be akin to him having an editorial stance -- something he was entitled to do.  What matters is was what he was revealing true? -Was it significant?  If so -- if it was information that would have helped a voter get a clearer understanding of a candidate -- either candidate -- than it needed to be 'out there.' Broadcast widely. And it wasn't.

If Assange had an editorial POV -- something, btw, that Assange denies -- well so did the outlets of the right.  What is amazing this election is that largely their -- the right's -- editorial slant was in the same direction as the media on the left. They said and wrote only what would help Hillary, and damage Trump.

No, their reasons for doing so were not the same. -At least not all of them. But they did share the same selfish desire to protect their own little patch of turf.  In other words the right-leaning media was as a rule just as dishonest as that of the left.  And this about their own supposed candidate!

Any time a 'broad brush' is used some details will be covered over. Some reputations tarnished a bit unfairly.  And certainly that is true here.  For there were a few, on both the left and the right (and in that supposed "center") who tried to honestly find the pertinent facts and to share them, allowing their effects on the outcome of the election to fall where they may.

But that said, such were few. Sadly, few.

Now we are approaching a week after the election. The election that proved pretty much all of the media wrong, owned and yes, evil.  Have they changed?  Not at all. Are we as a nation suffering for it? Yes.

The "ship" that is America may yet be put right. Most of us hope so. (I, for one, believe it will.) But if it is little if any credit will belong to the media, be it the old, the new or that of the 'rarefied air' intellectuals.

What can we average citizens do about all the above?  Actually a great deal -- if we are brave enough. If we are willing.

One is that we can stop listening to the media -- all of it -- in the way we used to.  Yes, we can still listen to and read their words -- but not with trust. We can -- indeed we must -- force ourselves to leave our respective comfort zones and ease. We must see the media -- all of it -- for what it is: People with their own agenda. And that that agenda likely does not at all match what is good for your or my individual long-term welfare. No, nor for that of our nation.

No, be it the NY Times, NPR, National Review or one of the more "high brow" intellectual news and commentary sources, be they of the left or the right, we must see them for what they are. Opponents to our common good.

Two is we can vote with our wallets.  Turn away from those who mislead us to the same extent that they did so. Hold them in derision. Laugh at them. And let their monetary supporters see and know that we are doing so.  ("You advertised where? Hah! Some chance I'll be buying a widget from YOU!!!")

Doing the above can be -- yes! -- "fun and games."  That of getting the better of our self-appointed Guardians and Masters. But like the best of all fun and games doing will require hard work and acquiring some learned skills. Firstly that of learning to think for ourselves. -To see things for what they really are. And then 'playing the game' accordingly. With enthusiasm. And to win.

So, yes, the media let us down. Badly.

The good news is that less were fooled during this election than were in the past -- and this despite them -- the combined media --playing their best possible game and playing it to win.

Yea us!

As they say in gameland -- "may the best man and the best team win." And may it always be We the People.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post-Election Recriminations That Are (Once Again) Missing the Mark

After every election there are recriminations expressed by the losing party.  Unexpected, or especially severe, election losses typically raises the volume of those some.

But this year we are seeing something different:  Recriminations from both parties -- not just from the one that "lost."

That is so because essentially both parties lost.  Yes both.

The Democrats lost in the typical sense -- the candidate bearing their banner did not get elected to office.  That both the party, and especially the candidate herself, saw her election as pretty much a pre-ordained "given" made those recriminations somewhat worse. But apart from that they are typical.

"What should we have done differently to win the election?" they ask. A different candidate? Different advertising themes targeting, perhaps, different groups in different ways? What? What? What?

The Republicans see themselves as having lost too -- this despite the fact that the candidate bearing their banner won and won big.

In the case of the Republicans the recrimination is that the candidate bearing their party banner wasn't actually a part of their "team."  He'd not come up from the minors to the majors as a team member ought to have. And while he willingly carried the party's banner his hat -- very noticeably --had another team's logo on it.  His own.

Apart from that the recriminations are, again, for both parties, pretty much normal. "What could we have done -- and what should we in the future do -- to win the election?"

And that, dear reader, is the problem.  Yes it really, really, is.  For the error is not being properly framed.  The real issue is not 'what do they need to do to win the election' -- for it is that very focus that has put each of the parties on the loser's bench.  It is not the election methods that failed, but both parties' lack of attention to what the election is supposed to be about:  Satisfying the governmental needs of the people.

In other words making whatever changes are needed at election time is, and in the future will be, too late.

This is equally true for both parties -- although, rather interestingly, things came to a head with this failing mostly for the party whose banner carrier actually won:  The Republicans and Donald Trump.

There was -- and this is the key point I am trying to make -- there was no way, no tool, no gimmick, no slick technique that could have changed the outcome of this year's election. None.  Any changes would have had to have come earlier. Much earlier. And that change would have had to have been much more fundamental. As fundamental a change as was/is the candidate who won -- Donald Trump.

In other words the parties -- yes, both of them -- will need to change their very focus. They will need to start focusing not upon winning elections, but upon winning  the hearts and minds of the people by actually caring about what those people -- all of we people -- care about.  Not gimmicks. Not phony election-year issues. But the the very place that we the people wish government to play in our lives.

Not the place that the government and its massive employment roster (More people in the USA today work for the Federal Government than work in manufacturing!) wants for itself  -- but upon our wants and needs. Not at election time, but all the time. Every day. In our cities. In our towns. In our small communities. In our families. In our own private lives.

And mostly that is a small part.

And there's the rub. For government -- itself so focused on itself -- has lost sight of that essential fact. That they -- the political parties -- both of them --  have come to believe their own blather: That the welfare of the people depends largely upon them. And fundamentally that just isn't so.

You know that is true about yourself at least. -That what makes you happy is not government.  So do I. But they -- government itself, and the political parties -- don't. And until they learn that fundamental truth -- that what really matters is not them, but us -- their post-election recriminations will miss the mark and gain neither them, nor us, anything at all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Few Quick Thoughts on Last Night's Wonder

First is that it was just that: A wonder. America has once again, I truly believe, seen the grace of God.

History is not pretty. It is not Story Land. But the growth of freedom, and the enjoyment of it by more and more of the human family speaks to something great. Something too great for most of us to quite define.

America exists because over and over again the right leader was found -- sometimes in the seemingly most unlikely places -- to move the cause of liberty, and law, and equality under that law, ahead.

A gangly, witty, often self-deprecating -- but strong as steel --self-taught, back woods lawyer named Lincoln.

A physically disabled, but ever strong in spirit, millionaire who somehow felt for the common man, FDR.

A 'B-school' Hollywood actor who somehow -- judged by his works -- proved smarter than all the egg-heads of his generation, Ronald Reagan.

And now, yes. Donald J. Trump.

That is the hope. That is the promise.

His proven ability to do what others say is impossible is there for all to see. His strength. His energy. His rare and almost uncanny ability to sense the moment. His absolute unwillingness to lose. -These will now all be focused on healing our nation's wounds, correcting its someday (I truly expect) to be seen as unfathomable mistakes, and to opening up its door to opportunity for another generation.

Many, of course, are disappointed, dispirited and fearful. It is human nature to be more comfortable even with a demon that we know than to enter into the unknown.

To those feeling that way I say: Give Trump time. Try to get past your mistrust -- not by closing your eyes, but by keeping them open.

And as to Hillary Clinton, well please observe, painful as it may be to do so... Last night thousands of people who had entrusted her with their hopes, and in many cases poured themselves out on behalf of her dreams and promises, were sent home without her even deigning to make an appearance or give a personal word of thanks. Possibly -- just possibly -- has Kind Providence saved us from what that small "oversight" suggests?


Monday, November 7, 2016

Do We Really (Still) "Reap What We Sow"?

'Old school' thinking says "you reap what you sow." To the non-agriculturally minded that means that whatever seeds you plant in the ground is what's gonna come up in your garden. ("duh!") Oddly that's an axiom our current culture prefers to deny. Denver, CO, is among the nation's most "proud to be hip" cities and thus is one of the better places to test out that axiom, and many, many others. "Out with the old, in with the new" being there a fundamental principle. And among the "silly" and "out-of-date" laws one of the first to be canned was the one that banned pot. "Hey, what's a couple of joints between friends?" Or so Denver's thinking went. Well, those seeds have been in the ground now for a couple of seasons, so we reasonably ask: How does Denver's garden grow? Here are some findings' from 2014 -- one year into the experiment: – Marijuana-related traffic deaths had increased 32 percent – Almost 20 percent of all traffic deaths were found to have been marijuana related (compared to only 10 percent less than five years earlier) – Marijuana-related emergency department visits had increased 29 percent – Marijuana-related hospitalizations had increased 38 percent – Marijuana-related calls to the rocky mountain poison center had increased 72 percent – Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states had increased 25 percent Of course that change in law was limited to "adults only" -- well, at least in intent. But what do we see in the actual garden? A survey of school resource officers and counselors provides at least part of the answer. Such told us that pot is having a tremendous impact in the schools. “Kids" (the official report says) are "going out on lunch breaks, getting high and coming back to school loaded on marijuana." Gee, what a surprise. Who could possibly have predicted that? And just this morning CBS Denver Channel 4 shared a report about one Tyler White, a twenty-five year old Tennessean who had recently moved to Denver, seeing it, he said, as a great place to get a "new start in life." He, the report says, had smoked some pot, and then drove 134 mph on a city street, causing a 4 car accident that took the life of another driver. He then fled the scene and was apprehended a bit later dancing stark naked on a public statue. Yes, he did admit that he'd be "smoking" -- but insisted that he was not "feeling high." No, “Something" he said "just took over me, told me to go there.” He was, in his own estimation, just "being stupid." Yeah, I guess. And what about the people who created this mess? They're probably running for re-election, and if so, Denver being "hip" Denver, I bet their chances are very good. Now there are several arguments that could be raised against all the above. One being that there are many pot smokers who never drive 134 MPH under the drug's influence or dance naked on public statuary. And that is certainly true. Another is the old saw "yeah, but what about alcohol drinkers?" And again, that argument is not totally without merit. But bottom line is the fact that societies -- all societies -- struggle with various things that release people's demons. Pot is just one of them. Was there really a shortage of such in Denver that made it somehow advantageous to add another to the list? And in so doing was there some recognition that there would be actual, real, and possibly painful, societal costs in doing so? More likely, or so it seems to me, this was just one more example of the spreading 'anything goes' spirit consistently popular with youth -A spirit traditionally held in check by the more mature members of a grown-up society. One that goes along with what other "hip" cities are doing with things as disparate as the allowance of public drinking, allowing public urination, and the public denial of traditional, biology-based, gender. Okay, I admit it. My questioning the wisdom of any of the above is anything but hip. But as to me -- here at least -- I'll stick with the old ways. How does that song go? Oh yeah... Gimme that old time religion Gimme that old time religion Gimme that old time religion It's good enough for me. "Religion" here being not so much some old, blindly-accepted, dogmas. But time honored and time tested truths. You know... Things like "what you sow you will also reap."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Learn, Think, Know, Speak and Act

There's a rule: Whatever "they" can control they will control.

The divide is that real and that great. It really has become "them" against us -- the self-important governing class -- the "elites" --  against us, the common man and woman.

Keeping us -- you and me -- focused on only the small and immaterial  is the key to their keeping power. They know that. "Bread and circus" is how the rulers of ancient Rome described it. And they -- the rulers of ancient Rome -- thus provided both.

(Usually, it is worth noting. less "bread" and more "circus.")

Doing that left deciding about the important' matters up to them -- the ruling class. And that was just the way they liked it.

Empowered elites today know and follow that same rule and make every effort -- some seen, but much unseen -- to keep the common man and woman likewise focused on life's 'littler' things. On 'bread and circus.'

But what of those of  us that won't play along? -That prefer to think about and discuss matters that the ruling class see as their own prerogative? Such are quietly silenced.

The internet was for a time a true "free for all." A place where anyone could say just about anything. And amidst the trivial and garbage alike was much of greater worth.  And search engines such as Google made it all easily accessible. It was then a matter of "just ask."

That, sadly, is no longer the case. Algorithms have been designed and instituted in search engines such as Google to consign undesirable material to the mere periphery -- making it hard to find -- and increasingly to consign some of it to the cyber garbage bin where it will never be seen by anyone.

That free political thought would fall into this category of the banned and discarded was a given. For nothing so threatens the self-assigned governing class as does a free flow of information about both the choices they daily make to control our lives, or the choices we might make for ourselves were we to become free from their ever-steering, "superior," knowledge.

If we understand this should we really be a surprised that the Obama Administration has given away control of the internet -- an American invention -- to a non-democratic, United Nations, body? Control. Control. Control. That to the ruling class is everything.

Note that all the above is not just theoretical. Even now things are already getting bad.  And noticeable. Our ability to post and access material that is not "approved" by our self-assigned 'masters' is becoming more and more difficult.

I, myself, have seen attempts to cross post a live political event to Facebook thrice thwarted -- until the event was over. Then, suddenly, my post about it appeared -- too late to do the ruling class much harm or to do potentially interested people much good.

Two days ago I shared information on Facebook about a respected writer and thinker (with a medical degree with specialty in psychology from Harvard and a Doctorate in Political Affairs from MIT) who had himself posted a controversial idea about current US politics-- and low and behold saw his website disappear from the web.

It was gone for two day. Now, interestingly, its headline status gone, it is back.

The above happening is hardly unnoticed. Return pressure is being applied, sometimes with success. But the battle is far from won. Indeed one can expect that this battle has only just started.

Is there anything we -- that is people who care -- can do?  Yes.

Know about the above. Care about it. That is the first step: Be aware that others -- those in positions of power and influence -- wish to both silence you and keep from knowing what it is they are doing.

Continue to think, speak and post boldly -- that's the second.  About not just the trivial, but about things that really matter to you.

I am not suggesting that one must reject "bread and circus."  Life is much more than politics and the world's affairs. So yes, continue to post to Facebook and the like about your favorite recipes and restaurant visits. Share photos of your family and friends. Shout out about your favorite music, sports teams and movies.

But if your mind and  spirit cries out for things of greater depth don't allow "them" to limit your interests. Or your expressions.

Learn. Think, know, speak and act.

In the end it comes down to our continuing to do those five things.

It did for the ancient Romans.  It does for us today.

Remember: They are the few. We are the many.

Also remember: They only have as much power over our lives as we are willing to allow them.