The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.
Public servants my ass!
Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.
You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.
Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.
None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.
The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.
Meanwhile in the real world. . .
Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.
He is digging a hole too.
He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.
He has been called the backbone of America.
Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’
These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.
They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.
As if the mother Zucker wasn’t bad enough with obvious societal conditioning techniques built into his flakebook algorithm, now twitter is showing its hand. They too have had their user privacy issues, but twitter was always a place where you didn’t feel as controlled and manipulated. You could reach out to people the world over, and if you added them to a list, you could see everything they posted. If they were not English speaking, you could click the translate button to see what was on the minds of people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. . . to gain a more honest global perspective than what we are offered in American media.
That ended today!
Twitter has been ramming the “New Twitter” down our throats for a while, but we had the option to revert to “Legacy Twitter” which many users did. It wasn’t an option today, and the Translate Tweet function was gone in addition to some other user niceties.
‘We can’t have American minds being contaminated by other countries.’
They are closing up the box with us in it.
This final straw will hasten my departure from anti-social media. They just keep taking away all that was good about these platforms and replacing them with more ads and user data collection. I don’t need to stick around to watch the death of social media, I’m just glad to see it go.
So, you want to take a stand; be a voice of reason; change things. . .
Years ago, I too once thought change was an achievable goal if I reached out to humanity through social media. Now, I mostly share funny or inspirational memes on facebook as well as pretty photos on twitter in an effort to offer triage－a happy place－for the shell-shocked social media veterans limping back from the front lines carrying their injured souls; who arrive in desperate need of some R&R.
The primary objective of social media is to identify and break the spirited in a war of the mind.
So many of my author “friends” have “thrown their hat in the ring” on one or all of the most hotly contested issues facing America, or, to a lesser extent, the UK. When they put their rational viewpoints out there, they will inevitably encounter the opposition who do not give a rat’s ass about reason. It’s not why they lurk. This is their job, and one day we might just find out there is automation behind it all. This is purely speculation on my part, but what follows is not.
Pick your battles.
If you feel you must speak up on an issue, by all means do so, but don’t do it daily. Schedule one day each week to visit the political or societal hellhole of your choosing. Your voice will be heard. You will be happier. Your followers will be far less likely to mute you.
Do not attempt to wage war on multiple fronts.
Today, it would be so easy for me to weigh-in on all the areas I’m passionate about, but I rarely do. The war on women; government corruption; church influencing state; injustice in the legal system; how I was lied to about living at the dawning of the age of Aquarius. . . It’s all bullshit that has been with humanity for, what we told is, our entire recorded history by the patriarchy which has been running the show for 5000 years, give or take.
The world is not unravelling, YOU ARE, and social media kingpins are behind it.
Thank the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, who facebook co-founder Chris Hughes recently slammed in the New York Times:
“Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”
If that isn’t bad enough, he went on to mention:
“… how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders.”
But wait, he had more to say:
“Just last month, Facebook seemingly tried to bury news that it had stored tens of millions of user passwords in plain text format, which thousands of Facebook employees could see.”
“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech. There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people. Facebook engineers write algorithms that select which users’ comments or experiences end up displayed in the News Feeds of friends and family. These rules are proprietary and so complex that many Facebook employees themselves don’t understand them. In 2014, the rules favored curiosity-inducing “clickbait” headlines. In 2016, they enabled the spread of fringe political views and fake news, which made it easier for Russian actors to manipulate the American electorate. In January 2018, Mark announced that the algorithms would favor non-news content shared by friends and news from “trustworthy” sources, which his engineers interpreted — to the confusion of many — as a boost for anything in the category of “politics, crime, tragedy.”
An investigation by the Associated Press revealed the platform automatically generates videos and pages which elevate extremist groups.
And here is my personal favorite:
“Mark Zuckerberg cannot fix Facebook, but our government can.”
I have my doubts.
Use high-altitude photo reconnaissance to see the big picture.
In other words, take a step back to see the play. So . . . the real war waging is monopoly vs. government. As things currently sit, monopoly can decide what government they can “work with”. This is not good.
“Live to fight another day.” －a better way.
What if every intelligent, experienced, and knowledgeable person on social media just posted puppies, kittens, babies, rainbows, daffodils, and unicorns sprinkled with fairy dust instead of being incensed by, and debating with, morons? If your page(s) is always negative, create a new one where you can be you and post whatever brings you joy and peace. This will force you to balance your time spent on social media to offset the negativity.
This is how to beat them at their games.
Gather your real verified people; create an email group chat to move your agenda forward without being distracted by the lurkers. Write letters collectively as a group and send them to the appropriate level of government demanding action and a reply.
If you want to keep democracy, you must use the process.
Arguing about issues online only serves the monopolists.
Conservatively, I estimate I “invested” 1400 hours of my life into Facebook over the past four years which is 500 hours more than it took to produce my book. Let that sink in a moment. I have dwelled on this for some time now. It is because of this significant amount of time that I did not just delete my Facebook account when the final straw arrived. I was close though. For better or worse, there is a legacy we leave behind on Facebook for our “friends”, if not the general public. However, if you posted as I did in a willy-nilly devil-may-care sort of way, you will spend days trying to clean it all up in order to leave a “best of” collection of posts worth scrolling before saying your final farewell. Be prepared for Facebook to “limit” your profile and page(s), a.k.a. putting you in Facebook jail, when you attempt such radical changes.
1) Some people are not who they claim to be.
I am not talking about authors writing under pen names － which is absolutely necessary to avoid harassment － I am talking about people with multiple online personas. Don’t make the mistake of PROJECTING your level of integrity or values, a.k.a. honesty, discretion, and honour onto people you meet. It will bite you every time.
You can protect yourself by using a free deep web search at: pipl.com.
If aliases appear, search each one. If you know multiple locations where they have lived, search each city by each alias. It could take a while to compile all the data, and you should prepare yourself as the results can be nothing less than staggering. Look for, and even search, relatives, known associates, and phone numbers to confirm the site has not made an error. There are pay sites starting from $2.00 that generate a full report including criminal activities. You might want to consider one of these if you are in deep with someone you met online. May your god be kind with what you find.
2) Don’t be naïve.
If you look up naïve in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see my picture there. I viewed joining the author communities on social media as an opportunity to connect with bright, engaging, open-minded seekers of wisdom . . . kindred spirits who would share thoughts as pen pals would, only using modern technology. Overall, nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, you will encounter a few worthwhile decent types, but in a game where we count followers in the thousands, they represent a minuscule percentage.
3) “Haste makes waste.”
I remember being excited about making “friends” on Facebook when I first started out. So excited in fact, I would send friend requests to anyone who had the words author or writer on their profile. Back then, the prevailing theory suggested the key to success was a numbers game; the one with the biggest following would get a publishing deal. People were actually buying followers 10,000 at a time. I didn’t buy into this. I viewed social media as a popularity contest which does not translate into book sales ─ the equivalent to putting flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes. I have yet to see data which is convincing enough to see it any other way. If I knew better, I would have cultivated relationships with influencers, readers of my genre, publishers, publicists, agents, reviewers, and bloggers ─ all the people I did not have as “friends” but who might have made a difference to the success achieved by my book. Had I known then what I know now, my friends list would look very different than it does today.
4) Cocaine would have been a better choice.
If you are going to choose an addiction, social media is the worst possible choice. THERE IS NO HIGH, and the more time you spend on social media the less happy you become. Anyone who has read my book, knows I am anti-escapist regardless of whether the high is produced naturally or artificially. Regular cocaine users know the drug has a diminishing return. The high is never as good as the first time they tried it unless they increase the quantity used; and the more they use, the more frequent their cravings become until it affects their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hypocrite. I let my demons out for an occasional stroll, but I pick my poisons carefully to ensure that none take charge of my life. Social media hooks us on being connected and never being alone. It is dangerous because humans must be alone in order to think, learn, and grow. Social media stagnates the mind and, Facebook at least, seems bent on depressing the populace. Endless distractions thwart creativity and productivity. If you: feel obligated to post on social media; look in regularly for comments on posts; have never turned off Messenger or notifications or your device, then you should pick different poisons for a while until you get a handle on the monkey on your back.
5) I kept my promise.
I used my Facebook profile page as a playground where I could share multiple aspects of my personality. This allowed me a place to vent . . . and vent I did; or more correctly, am continuing to do here in what will become my last post to Facebook. Early on I promised the real me would be on display at all times to my “friends”. The people on my friends list did not get an artificial construct or watered down perfect illusion of who I am. Nope, they got the full Monte, or at least as much Monte as Facebook would allow. My inner bad boy posted what little nudity Facebook community standards would tolerate for two reasons: Firstly, I am a rebel who sees freedoms dying faster than the planet is losing species; and secondly, nothing in the world is more beautiful to me than the female form. I shared my sense of humour as well, even when I knew it might be crossing someone’s line every now and then. I also shared my philosophies, and those from others which resonated within me, in what I now see as a futile effort to awaken the sleeping oblivious sheeple. The proof is in the likes. There were next to none. Recently, I wanted to find out if I was out of Facebook jail so I posted: ‘Somebody, anybody, tell me if you can see me.’ This post got more attention than a year’s worth of meaningful posts, and at the same time, it made a sad statement on the superficiality of the average Facebook user.
6) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
As an author, I should have divided my time equally between Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook because Goodreads has proven itself to put your books in front of readers, and unlike Facebook, you can reach out to everyone and anyone on twitter. Time is the one thing you can never get more of and it does not allow do-overs. Spend yours wisely.
7) Nazi hamsters! WTF?
Fuckerberg, and the Nazis in the shadows behind him, are using facebook for data collection on each and every one of us, as are most of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. The difference is Facebook knows far more about us than Google, and possibly even the makers of our devices and the companies that supply operating systems as long as they do not breach their published privacy policies which most have already been caught doing. Facebook considers EVERYTHING you share to be their property. This includes Messenger. Yup, your selfies and home-made porn videos are all sitting in a data farm somewhere and you can never truly delete them. They lured us away from My Space with the promise of something better. A promise which was never kept right from the beginning. Their endless adjustments to the algorithm, have severely limited our outreach to readers while they stayed busy categorizing and compartmentalizing us into something reminiscent of a box filled with hamsters where everyone is climbing all over each other. Good luck. I’m out.
8) Let’s see Facebook for what it is: a societal manipulation site.
That doesn’t have the same innocuous ring to it as social media site, does it. In my time on Facebook, I have been appalled by posts in my News Feed ranging from animal cruelty to the shooting of an unarmed man by police, with a far too great number of others in between. Were they fake news as with the Trumpeter’s election campaigners who mysteriously showed up only to disappear shortly after the election? We can never know. What is clear however, is we are affected, influenced, and manipulated by what we see and hear in all forms of media. Worst of all, we become desensitized to atrocious human behavior and I believe this is NO ACCIDENT; but where they are intentionally herding the minds of the sheeple. When three billion users worldwide have been programmed to no longer give a shit about life, the world can easily fall into anarchy. On that day, the frightened sheeple will willingly turn over the last of their freedoms for safety. The single biggest difference between other forms of media and Facebook is there are no restrictions placed on what Facebook is allowed to broadcast. Facebook can do what they want with the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being a social media platform not responsible for the content created by users. There is no Editor In Chief to hold accountable for what is thrust before our eyes. Facebook’s new take on morality is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either.
9) Some people make it bearable.
If I look at my years on Facebook as I would my life, there are some parallels. I have a few regrets but there was also a great deal of laughter. There were a handful of people who made the time spent on Facebook almost seem worthwhile. I hope they keep in touch. There were also some standouts who stepped up when it really mattered, and they have my deepest gratitude.
10) Facebook is what you make of it.
If you are just an individual who wants to keep tabs on people you already know in the real world, or if you want to find people you have lost touch with, then have at it while being VERY cautious of what you post or message to people. Keep your circle small and be wary of people you have not met in person when they send you a friend request. If you have the misfortune of being a writer who is following conventional wisdom, a.k.a. forced kicking and screaming into the social media spotlight as I was, then things will be tougher. Absorb and retain the previous 1800 words and I will leave you with the immortal words of my favorite Zen master: ‘Mind what you have learned; save you it can.’ – Yoda.
You are the 1%–the morally bereft industrialists, bankers, spiritual leaders, and mega-corp board members who view the world and its people as THINGS to be exploited and controlled. You are not likeable, but we labour not for the 50% we give to you, but for the remainder which allows us a few simple pleasures. You limit what we can know, and yet we still manage to find out more than you would like. YOUR scientists and politicians put on quite a show through YOUR media. They keep many of us spinning, but not all of us. Your arrogance has blinded you to a few simple truths.
We tolerate your presence among us because we crave security and peace of mind in our small work-a-day lives.
We see you destabilizing economies. We see your security states. We see how you cultivate conflicts. We see you attacking our Constitutions. We see you passing laws to benefit only yourselves. We see you feverishly working to divide us. We see you killing. We know you envisage a world without us, but we also know you cannot DO for yourselves. We know about many of your safe havens. Who do you think built them?
You need us . . . or at least some of us.
And herein lies your problem. NONE of your assets are maintenance free. Not a single one. If you examine each of them closely, you will see at least a small crew of work-a-day people who possess specialized skills and knowledge that you do not. Your architects, designers, builders, and landscapers create your dream, but they don’t maintain it. There are the lawn and garden people; the pool, sauna, and hot tub people; the chimney, fireplace, roof, and eves people; the security, cable, satellite, electronics, electrical, plumbing, and appliance people; the driveway, patio, helipad, and tennis court people . . . You get the idea, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You are surrounded by us and always will be.
We are the working class and you cannot maintain your lavish lifestyles without literally hundreds of us. You are reliant on each of us. We feign friendliness and loyalty, but never assume you can buy all of us. Each of us share a different morality than yours. We still feel sympathy and empathy towards our fellow humans despite your attempts to program these out of us on YOUR social media sites. Yes, we picked up on this too.
You are grossly outnumbered and scared of us. We get that.
Perhaps, it is time you consider how easy it would be for us to get to you if we were to be incensed by the loss of our friends and loved ones. You can vet us all you want–hand picking us–but there will always be one of us near you who is waiting for the right moment.
I am a seeker. I read nonfiction to find answers to big questions.
One big question of many that perplex me when it comes to the State of Israel and Jewish people is: Why are 14.2 million people more newsworthy in the West than the other 6.86 billion people of the world? Is there more to this than media control, ownership, or the claimed disproportionate number of Jewish people working in Western media? I don’t know. When I don’t know something, I read, and keep on reading until I find answers. This tiny segment of the world’s population endlessly reminds us of their stories of persecution; some of these stories are based on historically documented facts, while others have so little empirical evidence they border on the mythological. A media spotlight affords a tiny state some protection from transgressors, but in doing so, it can also cast a shadow on any freshly dug graves.
If you want to truly get a handle on a culture, you must dive into their indoctrinations.
The world’s religions mastered indoctrination long ago, so this, I thought, would be a good area to acquire a better grasp of a people without diving into the more volatile areas of politics and economics.
Yesterday’s read began with enthusiasm as I found a book which was touted to be: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom; something that appealed to me on a couple of different levels even though I am not Jewish, and have—putting it mildly—a general dislike of almost all religions for their exploitive, for-profit business model which excludes aid to anyone who is not a paying customer. Firstly, this book appealed to the researcher inside me as I am usually forced to open dozens of books over several days just to find puzzle pieces which I then have to make notes on and later assemble into something that makes sense. It’s a good day when you find an author who has done all the work for you. Secondly, I have not given Judaism its due, relative to the volume of reading I have done on all of the larger religions. Oh sure I have skimmed the Tanakh and read the greatest hits of the Torah in my fact-finding missions to compare stories from other religions, but I really did not have a “feel” for this group’s beliefs. I really hoped this book on the mystical side of Judaism: Kabbalah, would give me a better understanding of the big picture.
A great many authors should thank their lucky stars I don’t publish reviews or ratings below three stars on a five star scale.
This book dodged a bullet. When we choose a nonfiction book to read, we are encouraged to pay attention to the credentials of the author as though only a credentialed person can put forth a valid thought—or so the publishing world a.k.a. print media would have us believe. The author is a Rabbi and an educational psychologist so I expected a balance of theology with logic and reason. What I got was a heavy dose of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural with a smattering of references to empirical research that, at best, offered a weak endorsement of how the magic worked. The spiritual mumbo-jumbo, of course, told the believer how to think and live “correctly”:
‘You must be a giving person.’
In fact, there was an entire paragraph on how to appropriately greet and compensate a Kabbalist or Hassidic rebbeif you were ever fortunate enough to garner their attention.
‘You must not be an egotist.’
And yet the author saw fit to publish a photo of himself with the Dali Lama instead of one where he was feeding or counseling “displaced” Palestinian children.
In fairness, I expect hypocrisy in all books from theologians, however once you strip away the nonsense, there were about fifty pages of good reading where the author succinctly explained: The Ten Sefirot, the meaning of the Star of David, and he interpreted a number of commonly used Jewish religious terms while passing along some insights into Judaic “philosophy”. The book was just 200 pages so I’ll give it a 1.25 star rating.
Every book will give you something.
What did I learn? Nothing Earth shattering, but it would appear that Judaism:
Is a very complex belief system which requires significant interpretation.
Has a significant number of teachings related to self.
Places women closer to men in terms of equality.
Has roots in Zoroastrianism.
Is open to different planes of existence, science, and multiple universes.
Believes they have all the answers.
Believes Hebrew is the Holy tongue—necessary to enter a higher reality.
Believes their religious men are above the average follower.
Believes the Torah contains a hidden spiritual code supported by mathematics.
Codify beliefs into law in much the same way Muslims do.
This lackluster book did however point me at a new target of inquiry. It seems that in the 1700’s a scholastic elite were the only ones with access to Jewish literary works. This wreaks of potential tampering akin to Constantine or King James. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up once I have chased down this lead.