Recently, John Greenburg of  Politifact (a Tampa Bay Times project) rated President Trump’s public denial of his denying Russian meddling in our election as a “Pants on Fire” lie.

Trump Interrogation Mueller Russia Collusion by Sean Delonas, CagleCartoons.com

Politifact has repeatedly been called out for it’s blatant bias over and over and over again. While this is not surprising, it presents a good example and an opportunity to show the exact methodology used by it’s writers to turn a fact squarely on it’s head in what I call, “Operation Opposite Day” (which is a concerted effort by media outlets to mislead the public into believing the opposite of what’s happening in our society on a daily basis).

So let’s break down their own assessment step by step.

#1 The lead headline of the article is as follows:

“Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling.”

The key assertion here is “Russian meddling.” This is important to note because much of their methodology in assessing this will rely on statements that actually have nothing to do with “Russian meddling”. So what does “Russian meddling” mean? In the larger context there are two events being discussed; one overtly and another subversively.

The former, is the well established fact that the Russian government enlisted and deployed operatives to run a (dis)information campaign against American interests in the 2016 election. It is the assessment of our intelligence community and federal agencies that the purpose of this campaign was to sow discord, distrust and chaos in our electoral process, governmental bodies, political process and society at large. This is a fact.

The latter is the unproven conspiracy theory that members of the Trump campaign or even Donald Trump himself were knowing, willing collaborators with the Russians to achieve these goals in order to win the election. Ironically, this very idea is presented, in part, or originates in part as part of the former information campaign originated by the Russian operations. This is a theory.

Let me be clear, while the former fact of Russian meddling is significant, important and should be addressed directly, the implication of the latter theory of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign would be catastrophic to our social and political system. It supports the idea that Trump or his campaign committed treason, a crime punishable by death, if not impeachment and the invalidation of a Presidential election. However, like most conspiracy theories, there are no objective facts that support it. It is however, the goal of leftists to present arguments to convince people that there are facts that support it, such as the assertion that Trump denies Russia meddled at all; the inference being, that if he denies this fact, he must be a collaborator.

Just because you believe in the existence of God does not believe you don’t believe in global warming; is a common example of this kind of illogical and inaccurate inference.

The important distinction between the two aside from their factual basis is which one is being referred to when the phrase “Russian meddling” is used. It would be completely disingenuous to factual accuracy to include the latter theory in “Russian meddling” when it is more widely described as “Russian collaboration”. So it’s important to understand that any reference to the theory of U.S. persons collaborating with Russia in the former fact of “Russian Meddling” is an attempt to convolute the discussion out of context. Meaning, when we’re discussing “Russian meddling” we’re not talking about the accusation of Trump colluding with Russia but rather the efforts of Russia to meddle in our society.

The goal of convolution is to use two connected but distinctly different issues indistinguishable from one another in order to confuse the reader by making the issue too complex to easily comprehend and thus, making it easy for logical mistakes to be made in the readers comprehension. It is a direct attempt to deceive. A knowing and intentional attempt to deceive someone is a lie. So let’s see how many there are in this assessment of Trump’s statement.

Now that we’ve set the stage for understanding what’s being discussed, let’s look at the preceding event that triggered the discussion. Politico asserts that:

The indictments of 13 Russians detailing how they used Facebook and Twitter to undercut Hillary Clinton and promote President Donald Trump spurred a flurry of tweets from Trump over the weekend.

On it’s face, this may seem like an unbiased, factual statement. However, it’s loaded with bias from the beginning by excluding basic, important and significant information. It’s a lie of omission that would significantly impact the reader’s comprehension of the events impacts on both the former fact (Russian meddling) and the latter theory (Russian collusion).

13 indictments were handed down. However, they were not limited to the use of Facebook and Twitter to undercut Hillary Clinton and promote Donald Trump. What is excluded, and is of great significance, is that they were also organized, in opposition of Trump both before and after the election. Excluding this equalizing fact is a lie of omission (Lie #1). Most significantly, the majority of advertising money was spent in opposition of Trump after the election and that rallies were organized both in favor of and in opposition to Trump on the same day, in the same city, which contradicts the entire premise of the presented assertion (Lie #2). This gross mischaracterization is promotes the idea, as an accepted fact, that Trump won the election because of Russia which infers credibility of the latter theory of collusion. However, the indictment itself, explicitly states that there is no evidence that there was any impact on the outcome of the election (Lie #3).

The second factual misrepresentation is that the indictments are what spurred the Tweet by Trump which they site. However, it is more likely to be accurate to say that the mischaracterization of the indictments by the press themselves, as is highlighted above, is what spurred Trump’s Tweets. Regardless, they provide no evidence to support the assertion that the indictments themselves were responsible for spurring Trump’s tweets directly. This is a factually unsupported claim (Lie #4).

Now, Trump claimed:

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump wrote Feb. 18. “I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

Before I move on to analyzing Politico’s analysis, let’s stop and look at what Trump said, since it’s the focus of the debate here.

Trump makes four separate claims here.

  1. That he never said, “Russia did not meddle in the election“.
  2. That he said, “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.”
  3. The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
  4. The Trump campaign never colluded with Russia

The first two claims are pretty easy things to fact check. He either did or did not say those things. These are objective truth’s, that due to the fact that he’s the President, every word he utters is part of the factual record. So I would expect, the first attempt to discern that his claim is an outright “Pants on fire lie”, would be to provide the evidence of when he did say “Russia did not meddle in the election.” Because a reference of that quote would clearly, and without a doubt identify his lie.

No such claim is made in the entire Politifact assessment of this statement. Greenburg never directly refutes Claim 1, which is the entire focus of his assessment. What he dies instead is attempt to discredit the statement as I will show later.

Claim 2 is an irrefutable fact of the record from the first Presidential debates against Hillary Clinton.

Claim 3 is an assertion by Trump and a clarification of what he means when he says, “hoax”. Meaning that he believes that the latter theory is a hoax. While this can’t be proven as an objective fact, we can presume that he is stating a fact of his meaning, which can’t be refuted since you can’t tell someone else what they mean when they say something.

Claim 4 is an assertion by Trump which, there is currently no factual evidence to support. More importantly, it’s usually difficult if not impossible to prove a negative; that something didn’t happen. Thus, the absence of evidence to the contrary is the only evidence that something did not occur which makes this a known fact which future evidence may change.

Now, I’m not concerned with whether what Trump said is accurate or not other than to discern whether or not the analysis of what he said is being done in an honest way. The lack of this clear refutation of his statement immediately makes me question the method and bias of any analysis of it.

Greenburg begins his attempt to discredit Claim 1 with the following assertion.

Trump might want to focus on collusion, but his blanket denial that he ever questioned Russian meddling runs up against his own words.

This assertion is misleading (Lie #5). The claim that the statement made by Trump is a blanket denial that Trump ever questioned Russian meddling is blatantly false. There is a significant difference between questioning Russian meddling and making the factual claim that “Russia did not meddle.” Also, Trump has not denied questioning Russia’s involvement, which he himself acknowledges having done so, in his quote from the first Presidential debates.

It’s also important to note the context here. The quote Trump provides from his own debates precedes both his Presidency and his classified briefing on the Russian interference in the election as well as over a year prior to the recent indictments. Not knowing all of the facts, he made no assertion as to who was responsible for hacking into the DNC’s computers, which was the context of his conversation. At the time, nobody in the public knew for sure who was responsible for that action and to this day, no public, formal charges have been brought. The facts still remain undetermined in this area, though it is clearly likely it was Russian hackers. However, at the time, it was not as clear. So at the time, what Trump said was factually true.

So assertion #1 by Greenburg that Trump made a blanket denial of Russian meddling remains unproven.

Greenburg then makes assertion #2 but provides two arguments to support his claim.

Early on, Trump treated any mention of Russian interference as an attack on the legitimacy of his victory.

In a May 2017 interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” Trump continued in that interview to say, “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

That statement earned him PolitiFact’s 2017 Lie of the Year.

Greenburg’s first argument for Assertion #2 is that Trump treated any mention of Russian interference as an attack on the legitimacy of his victory. The key here is to understand the hyperbolic nature of this assertion, which is important because it is the very nature of it’s absoluteness, it’s all encompassing scope, that presents Trump in such a negative light. “Any mention” can easily be disproved by any mention to the contrary.

The quote provided is in the context of a discussion regarding the former theory of collusion and not the latter fact of meddling. It is a clear misrepresentation as it involves “Trump and Russia” as being the “made-up story” (e.g. “hoax”). This is consistent with Trump’s assertion rather than supporting the argument that any reference to Russia is a reference to his legitimacy as President.

Moreover, the “It” Trump is referring to, in context, is the “Trump and Russia” hoax not the Russian meddling. Again, this is an attempt to convolute the two issues together and confuse the reader.

However, I would note, that one could argue that the attempt by Greenburg here is to create this correlation in the reader because Greenburg is doing the very thing he is accusing Trump of doing, which is to falsely associate the latter fact with the former theory. An assertion that is reinforced by Politifact’s 2017 Lie of the Year (which I think Politifact should have won for having twisted this quote on it’s end last year).

In September 2017, when reports of Russian-backed Facebook ads came out, Trump tweeted, “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

Greenburg’s second argument for assertion #2 is that the above statement proves his point. While it does prove that Trump sometimes, often or even frequently does redirect Russian interference to a defense of his Presidency, one could argue that this is the normal response to the convolution of the issue by the media itself. It is convenient to accuse someone of something and then complain about their denial of the accusation. However, this does not reinforce in any way the principle assertion that Trump denies Russia meddled; in fact it confirms his belief that they did. Lastly, note the reference to “Russia hoax”, as the actual ads on Facebook promulgated the idea that Trump was collaborating with Russia. Trump himself clearly identifies the latter theory as being part of the former fact here (which is true when one understands that the collusion theory itself is part of the Russian meddling and that those promoting the theory are actually themselves unwitting or knowingly supporting the Russian meddling.).

When the Washington Post reported in December 2016 that the CIA had concluded that the Russians wanted to boost Trump’s chances, Trump rejected it.

“We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College,” he said on Fox News Sunday on Dec. 11, 2016. “I guess the final numbers are now at 306. She’s down to a very low number. No, I don’t believe that at all.”

The third claim to support assertion #2 is a false representation to present a statement made by Trump as if it were in response to or in objection to the CIA’s conclusions. Just as is done previously with the current indictments, the conclusions of the CIA regarding wanting to boost Trump’s chances are also misrepresented here. The CIA in fact concluded that it wanted to achieve deligitimizing both candidates as well as undermine the winner with the hopes that Trump would win as he would be the easiest to undermine post election making this a lie of omission again (Lie #7). The date, title and source of the referenced Washington Post article is not provided, making this an unsubstantiated claim (Lie #8) as is any direct reference to Trump rejecting the CIA’s conclusions (Lie #9).

As such, the comments made by Trump from the Fox News Sunday bare no context to the CIA’s statements and simply don’t support assertion #2 in any way (Lie #10).

While assertion #2 can clearly be refuted without any valid supporting evidence, as I’ve already shown it is more easily refuted by even a single mention of Russia interference that lacks treating it as an attack on the legitimacy of Trump’s victory as I originally stated.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.” ~ Donald Trump, Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Signing the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, August 2, 2017.

This public statement makes assertion #2 blatantly false (Lie #11) because it is clearly a reference to Russian interference that addresses the overall goals of “subversion and destabilization” which are not mutually exclusive to the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and have broader implications.

Then we come to assertion #3 in an attempt to prove that Trump said Russia did not meddle in the election.

In a December 2016 interview with Time, Trump said two things: He didn’t think Russia meddled, and that it might have.

“I don’t believe they interfered,” Trump said. “That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’”

But a moment later he said, “I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.”

“I don’t believe they (Russia) interfered” is a pretty close proximity to “Russia didn’t meddle in the election.” but there’s a huge distinction between the two. Keeping in mind that this interview was done only eight days after the election and prior to any classified security briefings on Russia’s actual interference, precedes the publication of the Steele dossier (published January, 10th 2017) and even the public’s knowledge of the extent of Russia’s involvement.

At this point, the only thing the public knew as a fact was that someone had hacked the DNC and, in theory, it was the Russians. So was fully true. His belief, accurate or not, is not the fact but rather his belief (at the time). He also states clearly that while he didn’t believe it was the Russians, it could have been; clearly means that he was not stating the objective fact that they did not do it. This directly refutes the entire premise of the principle assertion that he said they didn’t meddle in the election; yet it’s used as an argument to the contrary (Lie #11).

Not believing something to be true, lacking evidence of it is not stating something didn’t happen as a fact. Assertion #3 is clearly false (Lie #12).

During an overseas trip to Asia in November 2017, Trump spoke of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A reporter asked how Trump brought up the issue of Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ ” Trump said. “And I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”

Assertion #3 is what I call “The Stretch”. It infers, indirectly, that because Putin denies meddling in the election, Trump’s public statement regarding Putin’s denial is itself a denial of Russian meddling in the election. It is often misquoted by more dishonest journalists as “I really believe that.”

Asked again if he believed Putin, Trump called several top U.S. intelligence officials “political hacks,” and argued that other matters were more important.

“You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that,” Trump said. “Now, you’re not going to get into an argument. You’re going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.”

Any honest assessment of these statements by Trump takes into account some key phrases that either taken out of context or changed, have an entirely different meaning. The first of which is “when he tells me that, he means it.” What Trump is clearly trying to express here is that Trump believes that Putin is being sincere. However, sincerity and honesty are two different things.

The entire purpose of “plausible deniability” is to afford a political leader the ability to tell lies while being totally and utterly sincere. According to all the current evidence, the the conspiracy to meddle in our election was orchestrated by a Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, on behalf of the Kremlin. However, there’s yet no evidence that Putin had any direct knowledge of the program and was himself involved (though such evidence may be forthcoming). Which would make what Trump has said not only factually accurate but subjectively honest as well, especially at the time he made these statements. This is evident by Trump’s explanation of his choice to redirect the topic with Putin to Syria and Ukraine rather than challenge Putin further on the issue.

The sheer fact that Trump recognized the need to pivot in this discussion shows that he does not in fact agree with Putin because if he did agree with him, there would be nothing to argue over. Having to pivot to avoid the argument directly counters the narrative that this is somehow an example of Trump denying Russian interference in the election (Lie #12)

So there are any number of occasions when Trump has denied Russian meddling across the board. But at other moments, he has acknowledged that it is possible.

Here Greenburg makes assertion #4, which is that the previous claims support his first assertion that Trump made an across the board denial, repeatedly. As I have shown his claims to be false, they don’t support the first assertion (Lie #12).

Then Greenburg makes assertion #5, which is to state that Trump has acknowledged it is possible that Russia meddled in the election. I believe, given my previous arguments that this is factually accurate. However, part of the assertion is the use of “But at other moments”. The use of “But” is to countervail a preceding statement, meaning to offset the previous assertion (#4) by the equally opposing force of an argument. The assertion then becomes that assertion #4 must be true because assertion #5 is true. This is like claiming that a cat likes water but sometimes avoids it, when in fact the opposite is true because the cat doesn’t like water and that’s why it avoids it.

Trump clearly can not both deny and acknowledge Russian meddling in the election. It’s like saying I deny the existence of the sun but I enjoy sunbathing. The acknowledgement of the meddling is a refutation of the idea that he denies it, yet Greenburg is brazen enough to even use this as evidence for his assertion (Lie #13… my personal favorite).

At a January 2017 news conference, he said he thought Russia did hack into the DNC, but he blurred the picture.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said. “But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

Pressed on his apparent acceptance of the intelligence agencies’ findings, Trump backpedaled.

“All right, but you know what, it could have been others also,” Trump said.

Greenburg makes assertion #6 as more of an inferrance rather than any direct assertion, claiming that Trump “blurred the picture” with his statements in regards to Russia’s involvement in the hacking of the DNC servers in the January news conference. This is an outright false assertion (Lie #14). Trump clearly does not “blur” the picture. He emphatically states “I think it was Russia”. He ads, that we also get hacked by other countries and people, which is an absolute objective fact as China has or attempted to hack into nearly every governmental system we have. This is not a blurring of the picture. The reality of foreign involvement in our electoral system is that Russia isn’t the only player in town and other governments such as North Korea, Iran, China, as well as organizations do much of the same thing in a much larger and ongoing cyber-war against the U.S. That’s more accurate clarity not less.

Our Ruling: Trump said that he “never said that Russia did not meddle in the election.”

In reality, he called the matter a “made-up story,” and a “hoax.” He has said that he believes Russian President Putin’s denial of any Russian involvement. He told Time, “I don’t believe they (Russia) interfered.”

Even when he has acknowledged the possibility that the Russians interfered, he has added that it could have been other countries or even individuals.

Trump’s denial doesn’t match what he has actually said.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

The final conclusion of Greenburg’s analysis is a summation of fourteen different lies with a few extra on top.

The conclusion that Trump called the matter a made up story and a hoax, is a convolution of the former issue of Russian meddling and the latter theory of Russian collusion. Trump called the collusion theory a made up story and a hoax, that there is no question of, however he has not called the latter meddling of Russian in the election either of those things. To assert that Trump has made such a statement is a bold faced lie (#15).

There have been many occasions where Trump has acknowledged the possibility of Russian interference without adding that other’s could have been involved. To suggest that this, in conclusion, is always true is another bold faced lie (#16).

Trump’s denial (that he didn’t say “Russia did not meddle in the election”) does in fact match up with what he has said. To assert that it does not is a gross misrepresentation of the facts supported by only lies (Lie #17).

Concluding Trump lied in his statement “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election” is factually disputable and to present it as the truth is a lie (Lie #18).

My conclusion is that John Greenburg and by extension, Politico, is intentionally lying, misleading and dishonest in their analysis. I believe it is important to note that these misrepresentations of the truth are repeated by nearly every mainstream news outlet almost ad-infinitum in one form or another. There are two principle effects of these lies. The first is to support the very theory of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in order to delegitimize both’s Trump’s presidency as well as undermine our confidence in the electoral system. The second is to allow leftists and Democrats to use this distrust as political leverage against Trump and Republicans during the mid-term elections and throughout his presidency.

This serves the principle goal of Russia’s meddling in our election, which, as the recent indictment states is to “sow discord” in our politics and society.

To me, that sounds like an open, brazen attempt to support the Russian campaign against the President and our country. To publicly and brazenly misrepresent the truth in a way that benefits our enemies is to collaborate willingly with our enemies in an information war against our nation.

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2148.)

While I’ll leave it up to you to come to your own conclusion, that looks a lot like adhering to their enemies, giving them aid (in an information war) and comfort and might be subject to the charge of treason.

Porn Presidency

Posted: October 17, 2016 in Randomness

Hillary Clinton truly loves to go after Trump for being a misogynist. But let’s take a look at Clinton family politics with a little bit of, lets say, what’s good for the goose is good for the Bill. Back when we had a Clinton as President he bragged about his economic growth policies that left us with a budget surplus rather than the nearly 20 Trillion dollar deficit we now have.

“Information technology only includes 8 percent of our employment, but now it counts for a third of our economic growth — along with jobs that pay, by the way, about 80 percent above the private sector average.” Bill Clinton, 2000 State of the Union Address

What Bill failed to mention in his little braggadocio moment of economic growth and prosperity was something we now know as not only a cultural phenomenon but it’s emblazoned into the historical origins of the Internet it’self; The Internet is for Porn. Even today, over 12% of all websites are still pornographic. 42.7% of internet users view porn consuming 35% of all internet bandwidth by over 70 million people per month.

In the late 90’s, very little commerce existed on the Internet except for porn. In the adult industry there were fewer than 2500 adult film titles produced every year. Now there are over 20,000 yearly.  It was a bubble in the billions. US Census bureau records from those years show that the industry generated over $2.5b billion in new revenue year after year according to Forms and accounted for 80% of the growth of the Internet itself. Now that industry is over 4.5 billion in the US alone and quickly approaching $100 billion globally with every single media company having cached in on the impossible to resist market, including Disney. In the past decade, 80% of porn consumption has become free with technology companies transitioning to selling data in order to capitalize on the low/free cost of porn and it now drives 89% of US data consumption.

In other words, Clinton credited the success of his presidency, the prosperity of our country on the rapid, global expansion of porn. Together with the “Father of the Internet”, Clinton’s V.P., Al Gore, the Clinton presidency really should be known as the Porn Presidency. It was the key milestone of the economic success of the country, his presidency and ultimately our entire current economy.

Now what was it that Hillary had to say about what she has done for women?

I find it personally laughable that anyone by the name of Clinton would criticize anyone for how they treat women and simultaneously attack the spouse of a political opponent for having worked in the milder side of adult entertainment (artistic nude modeling). After all, it’s all thanks to her husband and her efforts during his presidency.

So thank you Clinton for porn! At least we have something for free to entertain those who don’t have jobs thanks to to NAFTA; if they can pay their cell phone bills.

When I first started playing Starcraft, a long time ago, in a version far, far away, there was a very distinct division between Arcade games, PC games and home systems. One of those distinctions was that most PC games were not multi-player. Real-time strategy games were often slow, clumsy and lacked even the most remote sense of game balance. PC games had a lot of competition with actual arcades for play time by their users and multi-player games were few and far between. Consoles dominated the multi-player space and when your friends came over, you played the console.

Then came Starcraft with it’s peer-to-peer (cough) modem connections and it’s LAN mode which let you connect up to eight players at once. What made it, in my opinion, deserving of the popularity it received was it’s Spawning Mode which allowed players to install the full game on any number of computers and play with up to eight people on a local network. The sheer number of LAN parties that this game created was astounding. The most ingenious rigs were devised to house, transport and connect eight bulky desktops and the room heaters we used to call monitors. Needless to say Spawning mode was what made sharing this unique little game with your friends as easy as it could have been in those days.

When Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty came on the scene, I was excited to play it and like before, to share it with friends. Because as we all know, there’s no greater gamer pleasure than actually being able to see the look on your friends face after mass zerging them or dodging the flying corn-dogs across the room because of your cannon rush cheese. Ultimately however, I was extremely disappointed to find out that this all important feature of one of the most successful games in PC history had been left in the past like the Cathode Ray Tube monitors we used to play them on. No spawning, no free game, no LAN party. I logged in, played online, told my friends on Battle.net that they should try it out, played with the few that bothered getting the game and sulked in a silent satisfaction for my enjoyment of this game.

Blizzard however had it’s own expansion in mind and eventually, as if to honor the loving memory fans had of this former feature, they launched Spawning Mode. Yes, you could give a Starcraft II: Starter Edition to your friends but it wasn’t like it was before. It was an extremely limited edition of the game with access to only one race, maps and ultimately the user experience just seemed to be stopped just short of victory like a Zealot thwarted by a Supply Depot.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty has a fantastic campaign mode and a great expansion (Heart of the Swarm) and it’s definitely worth paying for. It even comes with an arcade of thousands of mod games developed by the community that didn’t exist in the original Starcraft. Problem was, that stupid Supply Depot block that kept players at bay, helplessly running in circles looking for something to attack but being unable to actually get beyond that wall. All those great features that nobody knows about because unlike the early days, there’s a lot more competition in the market and a lot more easier places to get your game on for free.

That’s all about to change because Blizzard finally had the sense to go all-in on the free multi-player aspects of the game like they did before. So that Supply Depot gets lowered and Blizzard announces not only are they opening the Starcraft II: Starter Edition to include all three races for multi-player games for free, they opened the arcade for free as well. It seems somebody at Blizzard missed the spawning mode like I did, so much so that they have even re-released the infamous Big Game Hunters money map along with a whole new set of modding tools to make modding maps, custom arcade games so powerful that it’s potential as a game architecture itself is, well, like a maxed out army running across the map for a base race.

So if you, like me, used to play Starcraft and you have stayed away, try checking out the latest fast, free expansion, Starcraft II: Starter Edition, invite your friends over for an old-school LAN party and warm up those corn-dogs because somebody’s gonna get rushed. For more info on the recent changes, all the new free features and the actually amazing release of the Art Tools (more on that later) for game developers check out http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/ or watch the video below.

Once upon a time, in a land without the Internet, there was a publisher and editor who worked with an artist to convey an idea not with words but with pictures. The impact of this social commentary was so powerful and important that it became interwoven into the very fabric of our national discussion on a daily basis in the form of the editorial cartoon. These cartoonists, while not necessarily achieving rock-star like fame with the public, played an equally important role to the journalists who put word to paper and informed us about the world around us. These artists gave us context, perspective and impact along with a kind of social rallying cry, that words no matter how eloquently or impactful, simply couldn’t accomplish.

Then along came the spider. As the web grew, like most everyone else, editorial cartoonists were slow to jump on the digital publishing bandwagon. They likely didn’t join MySpace, were reluctant to start using Facebook and still most don’t use Twitter or other social media networks. The fact is, this is partially due to their undying love of print media. After all, it has served them so well for so long and they owe their careers to the medium. Why abandon it now?

That little web spider got bigger and eventually gobbled up most of the Internet and as a result, we have Google and Facebook, which by all accounts, make up the vast majority of the way people find their news now. The print industry is shrinking and the digital media world is a maelstrom of chaotic information with no real editorial guidance. Yes, newspapers have gone digital and some with great popularity. Yet by and large, the cartoonists who once played an equally important role alongside their journalists counterparts have been absent in their own role to engage themselves in the digital conversation. Meanwhile another new highly enigmatic medium of expression has popped up in that void and taken hold of the new generations attention. Possibly with the result of drowning out the once prolific social status of the editorial cartoonist.

Let’s take the current events in Syria for example. As events have unfolded over the past month cartoonist began to weigh in on the issue. However, it might be that their opinions were already shaped by the greater social commentary and discussion already being had in the memeverse. Thankfully Google Trends gives some great insight into this issue. Comparing “syria cartoon” to “syria meme” over the past month, it’s becomes explicitly clear that the general audience is no longer looking for the views of editorial cartoonists as a key visual commentary on the issue but rather to the memetically inclined. Knowing this can be frustrating for those of us who not only enjoy editorial cartoons but depend on them for a living because it’s our industry. Even more frustrating is the fact that, I would guess, most cartoonists don’t even realize the window of opportunity to recapture the audience is closing rapidly.

Internally, cartoonists squabble about the journalistic ethics of re-purposing even their own work, creative laziness in repeating their own ideas or taking each other’s’ ideas, the ethical implications of copyright infringements, the declining staff cartoonist positions at newspapers and a variety of other issues that matter only to those stuck in an era bordered by black ink and grey paper. Meanwhile, in the void of their participation in the digital discussion that has drowned out national interests, propelled revolutions both in the real world and the virtual worlds, the meme generators of today have usurped the once powerful voice the cartoonists had themselves and are quickly, chaotically running roughshod over their future.

Even still, memes aren’t the only competition editorial cartoonists face. If a meme and a chart had a child it would be an infographic. The proliferation of interest into infographics rivals that of even it’s predecessors and they are getting easier to make all the while diluting both the visibility and impact that editorial cartoons have on our national political dialogue.

So here’s my own personal challenge to you great stalwarts of editorial cartooning; make a meme, put out an infographic, stretch your medium, your art, your creativity and engage in the digital conversation as if there were no such thing as a daily newspaper. If you want the art form to survive the digital tidalwave, you need to figure out how to attract the attention of my 12 year old son, who is taking a Jr. High level publishing class and being taught by a 30 something digital media junkie who has a meme poster from Philosoraptor plastered on the wall behind his desk. The new generation barely even knows how to get or buy a newspaper but they learn to use Google pretty fast.

I was reading over Daryl Cagle’s blog post today on the Lemmings and thinking about the recent controversy over in the editorial cartoon industry with the concept of cartoonists repurposing old cartoons and ideas, e.g. self-plagiarism. I noticed a large correlation between this journalistic conundrum of professionalism and the ability of cartoonists to stay relevant with one of the biggest competitive challenges cartoonists face in the industry; meme’s.

For decades long, cartoonists have enjoyed a rather non-competitive space as free thinking journalists who, for all their seemingly unique perspective, frequently come across the same metaphor when covering a story. Daryl Cagle, owner of the Cagle Cartoons, Inc. content syndicate refers to this as the “Yahtzee” of cartooning. Some examples of this are the now ubiquitous Steve Jobs memorial cartoons with his silhouette cut out of the Apple logo. Daryl’s recent blog highlights his own reuse of the “lemmings” running off a cliff, when the metaphor seems appropriate. It’s not all that uncommon that humorists and critics come to the same metaphorical conclusion when looking for the obvious. In political cartooning, it is that very aspect that has sparked the debate about whether or not that’s professional editorial journalism or simply a shortcut taken to save time and pump out more work.

While that debate seems to rage on among the very small group of professional cartoonists that are able to hang on to their ever shrinking staff jobs in an effort to avoid being cast back into the world of independent publishing and illustration, there is another force silently encroaching upon the debate that seemingly has gone unnoticed or at least unchallenged by these artistic elites; the Internet Meme.

For those of you who don’t know what a “Meme” is, the term was first coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in an attempt to explain the way cultural information spreads. It is, in essence, an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. In a sense, it’s the metaphorical metaphor of a flu. To get a better idea of what a meme really is, think of some of the big ones, “Where’s the beef”, “This is your brain on drugs” were some popular meme’s around the world back before things became truly viral on the Internet. Now, thanks to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, meme’s can become nearly pandemic in their ability to spread through the blogsphere and Internet.

This gave rise to the “Internet Meme” which, possibly, the most notable of which is simply “lol”, meaning “Laughing out loud” and with it, new words began to enter our language, much to the chagrin of our college English professors. In it’s simplicity, however, these little meme’s began to change our cultural landscape, our language and our art. As this form of speech has began to increase, it was inevitable that it was picked up by the youthful rebels of the blogsphere, a memeverse among itself, with a volcanic like explosion of meme’s pouring from it’s basement keyboards from sites like cheezeburger.com and reddit.com daily with no end in site.

So what does this all have to do with political cartoonists? If you were on Facebook or Twitter any time in the past year, you probably noticed a political cartoon or two, maybe three pass by your timeline. It’s more likely that your friends however have been sharing the unending stream of image based meme’s such as the Demotivational Posters, Lol Cats, Fail Blog, Victorian Greeting Cards or, well, the list seems nearly infinite. One of the simple problems that meme’s present is that technology has now elevated those previously without a pair of dice in the Yahtzee game to not only having the dice but being able to roll them more often.

Why do I say more often? As I said when I first started, some editorial cartoonists can and do, use common metaphors when the situation arises. It’s a time saver and it’s good for appealing to a large audience without making too sophisticated an argument for the average newsprint readers. That doesn’t mean however, that they aren’t keeping up on the issues and aren’t providing some honest journalistic insight. They do tend to be a news junkie type crowd. Along with that, they actually create, draw and produce art. This is a concept that, in this argument, is beginning to get lost because in an effort to put out good cartoons, they are now competing with the Jr. High School student with access to his free online meme generator tool.

As the old saying goes, (I wonder if this is a meme?) if you have enough monkeys all typing, eventually they would type out the works of Shakespeare. While that may actually be more of a myth than reality, the reality is, if you have enough college students, eventually they are going to come up with the same basic caption. While they may not be artists, they have tools like Google Images to find an image that accompanies their idea enough to get the point across.

As political cartoonists are challenged from within to maintain journalistic standards, their audience is both continually distracted and entertained by the lowest form of political journalism, the digital street meeme, with it’s often abrasive but effective capability to not only reach an audience but to convey the same principle messages as are found in some of the best political cartoons, one has to start asking the question; are political cartoonists losing their relevance and is that part of their own journalistic standards?

Editorial cartoons have to compete for the same audience. In order for the industry to stay alive, they have to be capable of connecting with people and in today’s world, that’s a large audience to connect with. Over the past year, the term “political cartoon” was overtaken in Google’s search by “political meme” along with the rise of the Infographics as a new player in the space of visual political journalism.

Few cartoonists have ventured into even beginning to use the common structures of political Internet Meme’s and even fewer probably understand them from the artistic or production level because they simply dismiss them. However, it’s almost like the dinosaur dismissing the humanoid for being small and insignificant. One of them survived, the other went extinct. I don’t recall having seen anyone with any scales or claws lately and I have to ask myself, if my son didn’t have a father that worked with editorial cartoons every day, would he even know what they were by the time he got into high school in just three short years?

The reality of that question is that he probably wouldn’t and that over the next few years, political meme’s are going to not only grow in prominance on the Internet, that means, eventually, it’s own idioms and style will influence the editors of print papers to a large degree as they begin to recognize that the audience they are trying to reach is looking for something different than what political cartoonists are offering.

So while cartoonists debate about whether or not it’s a professional or not to repurpose your own work or whether or not reusing the same basic cartoon, redrawing the same idea is the work of a hack or just part of the job, I think they should be asking themselves the following; am I going to be replace by a kid with an image search and a website? After all…

Meme

The Straw Man Strike

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Body Politic

As teachers go on strike in Chicago much of the public struggles to understand exactly why they are striking. After months of negotiations and large concessions made by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) over wages that would grant them potentially 16% pay raises over four years the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) seems to be holding strong into their second day of strikes over teacher evaluation policies.

Most of the press characterizes  this as a conflict between CTU wanting schools to have more local control over both how teachers are evaluated and what teachers can be hired as new positions open up by granting preference to previously laid off teachers regardless of their past performance.

No matter which side of the argument you are on, there is something far more critical at stake in this battle over benefits. According to the CTU’s report entitled, “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve: Research-based Proposals To Strengthen Elementary and Secondary Education In The Chicago Public Schools)”, a primary conclusion of the report hinges on the argument that, “Corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes”, “Taking public tax-money back from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) programs and into the service of school children must be a top priority.”, and “By implementing taxes on the wealthy, we can reign in reckless speculation, encourage long-term productive investment, and decrease income inequality while bringing needed revenue to services for children and working families.”

Ultimately, they propose nearly $750,000,000 in new expenditures at a time when the current budget faces a $1,000,000,000 shortfall in 2014. How do they propose to not only cover the existing shortfall and fund the massive increase in not only one time expenditures but drastic increases in long-term commitments?

Easy, just tax the wealthy, “aggressively”.

The CTU’s entire “report” is an argument for increasing taxes on the “wealthy”, through direct redistribution of wealth, aggressive progressive taxation at a tax rate of 90% for the upper 5%, an end to corporate subsidies, implementation of a capitol gains tax, implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street reallocation of prison system funds to education. Those are their words, not mine.

While it’s hard to argue that students don’t deserve the educational resources, facilities and support that the CTU proposes, it’s also dishonest for teachers to strike when their very own union is not negotiating in the public trust with an honest message. It is undeniably clear that the CTU does not just believe this is a local Chicago issue as their own website states, “It’s Not Just Chicago” with a “Global Solidarity” blog designed to gain support for the very Democrat party line liberal political objectives.

Given that this is an election year and a highly contentious one at that, it’s difficult not to ask the question of whether Rahm Emanuel, who is President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, is truly negotiating in the interest of public trust or working as an insider to help inflame an issue using a false flag political tactic. All with the result of giving media attention to an issue that lends credence to liberal political arguments as well as President Obama’s reelection campaign, which is only echoed by the CTU’s positions.

Rahm Emanuel makes the perfect “straw man” in this little tale of teachers and taxes with the unique ability to elevate what seems at first to be a local issue to a national debate over progressive taxation, income inequality, social justice, race relations and class warfare. After all, how better could Obama draw both Romney and Ryan into a clear, emotional driven debate over social justice issues than to allow Rahm to put the children on the chopping block.

Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, “See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.” ~ Harry Brown,

I find it hard to believe that Rahm will find himself on the opposite end of this issue from Obama for very long and that in the end it will be very clear that they were never on the opposite side of this argument. In 2004 Bush was accused of “wagging the dog”, it looks like 2012 will be the Straw Man Strike.

Residents of Anaheim, CA are familiar with the slight smell of smoke in the air from the nightly fireworks show put on by Disneyland, famous for it’s moniker as “The happiest place on earth!” Last night however, residents were not just hearing the pop and crackle of the fireworks they were used to. It was the popcorn spattering of police gunfire in the downtown community as riot police took to the streets to disperse protesters outraged about a string of lethal police shootings in the city.

The first thing I heard was the unusually large number of helicopters. Living near the freeway on the border of Anaheim and Fullerton, I generally ignore them. I was spending time in the evening with my son and girlfriend when I started to get multiple texts from local friends asking if I was okay, which I was. I was aware of the shootings but not what had happened yesterday and over the weekend. I looked for news on local channels but as usual that’s not a very reliable source. So social media filled in the gaps very quickly.

Thanks to a friend over at Inside Fullerton it wasn’t long before I was watching the live video feed of TimCast, an amateur journalist on uStream. While KCAL9 and Telemundo reporters were on scene, they were watching from a relatively safe distance among their own personal security. Tim Pool, however, was not so timid in his reporting as he followed the protesters without the safety of being behind the police line. Ultimately, he and another social media journalist were shot at with less than lethal weapons by police, continuing to take fire after attempting to flee (adhering to the dispersal) and at one point being pinned down by gunfire unable to flee without risking injury. The story told by Tim Pool’s cast is a bit different than what you will see out of the manstream media or press.

I learned today that according to Anaheim police, over 1000 people ultimately gathered outside and inside city hall. When they were told to disperse, the crowd pushed back but gave ground. For a few hours the protest was allowed to continue but was eventually declared an unlawful assembly and ordered to disburse. The situation quickly devolved into what was immediately declared a violent protest and a riot. Angry residents who felt they had not been given a voice or opportunity to be heard by the city council were pushed out into the streets by police. Yes, they set trash cans on fire, blocked a few intersections and then there was that all too familiar sound of gunfire as police began to fire less than lethal rounds into the crowd.

While one might want to think this was a normal police action, it gives a person pause when they understand what happened just a few days prior that is conveniently excluded from most news stories on the events just following the fatal shooting of Manuel Diaz. Local residents, angry at the brutality of the shooting, expressed their outrage at the police who quickly lost control of the situation when residents began throwing water bottles. The police response to a public outcry against police brutality was itself, inexplicably brutal. Imagine police, firing indiscriminately into a crowd of men, women and children, including infants. Imagine letting a K9 loose into the crowd. This was not an orderly dispersal of an unruly crowd. It’s not something you have to imagine because it was caught on tape.

According to witnesses, a five year old girl was shot in the eye with a less than lethal round. Another young girl came forward to say that she was shot in the leg. Take that in for a moment. Are these “rioters” or are these actually children? Ask yourself what kind of mentality it takes to follow an order to fire rounds into a crowd that includes children in large numbers; in their neighborhood. This just makes no sense but it happened.

I would be remiss if I didn’t express my personal and vehement outrage at the idea, much less the reality, of police opening fire into a crowd that included children much less letting a K9 loose whether it was an intentional order or not. I don’t much care if the K9 units involvement was unintentional as the police seem to have claimed or how quickly the K9 unit was restrained. You don’t use dogs on children. You don’t point guns at children.

Unless I’m mistaken, we as a society, haven’t tolerated the shooting of an unarmed man in the back, ever. Even in the 1800’s, the days of the wild west, it wasn’t legal for an officer of the law to shoot a man in the back. Those that did became outlaws themselves and often met their end at the gallows. Today, in the 21st Century, we give them paid administrative leave and far too often look the other way.

Police, yet again, attempting to disperse the crowd outside city hall on Tuesday, failed to do so without ultimately again using gunfire and it’s no surprise the protesters turned into rioters. All in all, the actual physical damage caused by the rioters was minimal with the bulk of damage to “persons and property” being done by the Police themselves. A Starbucks and a few other local businesses windows were smashed in, a few very small fires were started and a few people received minor injuries aside from those shot by the police. The Anaheim police reported that they had arrested over 24 people in relation to the riot. Some of those arrests include a few skater youth detained without much cause at the VONS late in the evening as can be seen on the TimCast archive.

While the mother of Manuel Diaz, the man shot in the back and the head by police officers, has filed a 50 million dollar lawsuit in federal court she also made statements to encourage the community to end the violence on both sides.

Sadly, this is not the beginning of this story nor is this the first time the residents of Anaheim cried out for justice against police brutality. This is the second police shooting in a week and the fifth so far this year along with a string of suicides and strange deaths occurring in Orange County jails. Anyone who has lived in Anaheim or nearby knows that racial tensions between the police and the Latino community have never been good but now they are on the verge of a complete breakdown as tensions mount over the shootings. I’ve lived in this town for over a decade and the Latino community is strong here but it is far from the happiest place on earth. Protests against police brutality in Anaheim goes far back as the 1978 Little People’s Park Riot which bares striking similarities to the incident that occurred this past Saturday when police shot into the crowd of women and children. Following the 1978 riot many changes took place in department policy but it’s fairly evident that over the years those policies have not kept in stride with the community nor helped to alleviate the racial tensions between the now dominant Lantino community of Anaheim and the Police department that is sworn to protect and serve them.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the police department to protect and serve the public; their public. Even more importantly, to protect the innocent and the law abiding residents of Anaheim and at an absolute minimum, the children within this community. What strikes me as most appalling about this entire story is that which is best said by the very children who were involved. These are, after all, the next generation of this community. No matter what happens, they deserve a strong, peaceful community and it’s up to us to make sure that they get it.

It’s difficult to say whether or not this incident and the outrage of local residents will have any impact on policy or local government here in Anaheim. However residents have their neighbors in Fullerton to draw inspiration from. After the horrifically brutal, deadly beating of Kelly Thomas, a local homeless and mentally ill man, by Fullerton police officers, Fullertonians united and took to the streets in peaceful protest forming what has now been dubbed as “Kelly’s Army”. In the end, that peaceful but outraged movement ousted the Fullerton police and city council members who failed to serve the community and sought justice for Kelly’s family. I would hope that the residents of Anaheim can draw from the example of Fullerton and rather than take their rage to the streets that they take their city back, ballot by ballot rather than block by block.

Then someday, maybe the children who live here can call it the happiest place on earth.

In 1981 William Gibson wrote his seminal short story, “Johnny Mnemonic” which was later included in his book “Burning Chrome” and adapted to the big screen in 1995 featuring none other than Keanu Reeves of The Matrix in an unsurprisingly similar role. Gibson has since been crowned the father of CyberPunk; a postmodern genre of science fiction characterized by “high tech and low life” social extremes. One of the things that made Gibson’s work so amazing was his ability to think into the seemingly not so distant and possible future of technology and geopolitical fallout with a somewhat idealistic and slightly dark perspective.

Gibson had no idea we would soon delve into a World Wide Web of digital and virtual life interconnecting each of us through information technology advances and simple, sublime but powerful tools and massively revolutionary ideas like Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone. In his story Johnny Mnemonic, the main character, stores secret information on a hard drive implanted in his brain in order to smuggle the data from one place to another as a courier because the information itself was too sensitive to be transmitted over the “Net”; Gibson’s forward thinking, virtual reality equivalent of what we now see as the Internet and an inspiration for the aforementioned, Wachowski brothers, The Matrix.

The idea that, in the real world, you could interface a human brain with a computer has often been the outer reach of science fiction writers and Gibson’s work was once the pinnacle of that idea. The evolution of that idea inspired the Wachowski brothers to create what Gibson himself said “[The matrix] is arguably the ultimate cyberpunk artifact”, as they expanded upon Gibson’s idea of not only interfacing technology with the brain but extending it to the mind by culminating their epic trilogy with the main character Neo achieving mind-over-computer abilities in his “real world”.

Even a decade ago it all seemed so very science fiction and fantasy. A decade from now, it may be more common than we ever thought possible.

Over the past few years, some advances in technology have been made that are no less than amazing as universities all over the world have tackled the “Brain Computer Interface” challenges. The results have been rapid, revolutionary, thought provoking and even in some cases a bit scary.

Scientists at the Honda Research Institute announced in 2009 that they had created a helmet to control their robot, Asimo, using EEG (electroencephalogram) technology. Though this technology wasn’t ready for commercial application at the time and had it’s problems, finding solutions to those problems was only a matter of time.

In 2011 a company called NeuroSky began selling a device to the general public$100 that uses EEG technology allowing users to control software and hardware with nothing but their mind. NeuroSky’s vision is one that is truly revolutionary thinking as they say, “We will see a day in the near future where heart attacks will be mitigated, seizures avoided, machines operated, movies edited, games controlled, REM prolonged, bullseyes scored, and lessons learned using only the power of biosensors”. So far, they’ve already started putting their ideas to work in some increasingly creative ways and one example is Necomimi, their personally controlled cat ears.

So maybe thought controlled robotic cat ears aren’t exactly the next revolutionary step in telepathic computer operation. Neurosky however, isn’t the only company making leaps and bounds in human computer interfaces using the mind. In April of 2012, professor Jose Millan of the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland demonstrated the ability to enable a paraplegic man to control a robot 60 kilometers away using EEG technology. His goals are to develop wheel chair controls, electric skin sensors for amputees with cybernetic limbs, and spinal chord implants that would allow paraplegics to walk again; possibly starting clinical trials within the next year.

With technology like this developing not only in research but in the commercial world, one has to recognize the similarity between it’s evolution and the evolution of the MP3 music format and the entrance they made to the commercial market prior to the resulting and indefinably revolutionary iPod by Apple. Technology is exploding at an astounding rate. In less than a decade, the wave of new advances in communication with smart phones and now tablets as well as social networking has changed the very landscape of not only our lives but of our politics. Through the expansion of the Internet into the Twitterverse and beyond, we see a wealth of new ideas exploding into culture best described as the memeverse where meme’s are “units of cultural information”. No one can deny the seemingly accurate and ubiquitous “There’s an app for that” which propelled Apple’s iPhone to unprecedented popularity and success, making Apple one of the largest companies in the world.

While we allow our inner child to bask in the amazement and fantasy of mind controlled robots and computers you control by thinking, actually being reality rather than fiction, there is a slightly darker side to this story that our giddy enthusiasm might tend, as a society, to overlook. We live in troubled times, both economically and politically. While our society attempts to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology, so does our government and many of those in government up until a few years ago didn’t understand the difference between email and text messaging let alone Twitter, Facebook or human brain computer interfaces. We can’t exactly call our elected officials Internet savvy; or can we?

In 2012 on the heals of the NDAA, which many claim is a power grab by the Executive Branch to empower the President with the ability to indefinitely detain enemies of the state without trial or their constitutionally protected right of due process, Congress presented the American people, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which failed due to it’s obvious overreach and unpopularity followed by none other than the mother of all Orwellian cyber spy plans, CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). CISPA proposes the sharing of Internet traffic and other digital information between the government and technology and manufacturing companies under the auspice of enabling the government to investigate cyber threats and ensure against both internal and external cyber attacks. While CISPA is threatened with a Presidential veto over the failure of the bill to adequately protect civil liberties and safeguard constitutionally protected rights, it is clearly the first round in what will likely be a long and heated debate over our real world virtual reality.

Much of the debate over CISPA focuses on aspects of people’s use of the Internet through technologies like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Facebook and even iPhone Apps. The U.S. Government is now building a $2 Billion facility that covers a mind boggling 1 million square feet with four 25,000 sq. ft. server farms as part of the “Utah Data Center” for the National Security Agency as reported by Wired Magazine. Even Orwell wasn’t this Orwellian. The simple fact that the government is trying to build a facility designed to store more information than we have a mathematical name to describe should be disturbing to say the least.

Now consider that it is practically a foregone conclusion that the EEG technology enabling computers to read your mind and thus enabling us to subsequently manipulate computers and machines is going to advance at a rapid pace. It will get smaller, faster and cheaper. It will likely even be as common as your “smart phone”, after all, what’s smarter than a phone that you can talk to? A phone that knows what you are thinking.

If you’re web enabled phone knows what you are thinking however, so will the government if the NSA has anything to say about it. Because to them, that’s just information on the Internet. It begs the question of whether or not George Orwell made the same mistake in his opus “1984” that William Gibson made in regards to underestimating the evolution of fiction to reality. After all, in his distopian world controlled by an all-powerful oligarchy, even the infamous Ministry of Truth didn’t have the ability to read your mind but the NSA in the not so far foreseeable future very well could.

Who knows, maybe Tin Foil Hats might come into fashion after all.

The Holopresence Election

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Tek

Every once in a while our society undergoes a truly revolutionary event. Most often, these revolutions go unnoticed by the majority of people until the tipping point where society experiences a subsequent event that changes life for everyone, every day. Rarely do these social events impact politics in a drastic way. Facebook, Twitter and Social Networking for example went largely ignored by the political machine until it had already become adopted by the masses of tech savvy youth marching forward like an unstoppable army sweeping over the economic landscape and changing the very facet of how people communicate. People in government rushed to understand, adopt and implement the technology before they became lost in the sea of digital information.

Imagine if you will, a world where people were not required to physically be in the presence of one another in order to have fully interactive experiences. Imagine if you will, a world where politicians could gather without traveling, where world leaders could meet in person without leaving their respective countries. A world where the United Nations could congregate without necessitating the facilities that are so costly to maintain. Imagine a presidential candidate going on tour without the cost of a bus, plane, personal security, travel accommodations and the costly staff that accompanies them.

Recently I ran across an emerging technology by CISCO that takes us one step closer to the fantastic vision of the “Holo Deck” from Star Trek and, as any great technological innovation, moves us one step further than we ever really imagined. Sometimes truth is truly stranger than fiction. This technology is the Cisco TelePresence Live Holographic Video Conferencing. In short, it enables individuals to conduct meetings using interactive holographic projections of themselves with much more continuity and realism than provided by George Lucas’s visions in Star Wars delivered by the always lovable R2D2.

As society is currently caught up in the debate of whether or not the United Media Supreme Court decision has enabled unfettered campaign contributions to corrupt our electoral and political system another breed of technology savvy political strategists are no doubt trying to figure out how they can use money smarter. Just imagine the potential for a campaign trail not centered on kissing babies and shaking hands but town hall meetings, back to back in major metropolitan centers or even simulcast in multiple places at once. The possibilities are endless and to say that they are revolutionary is almost an understatement.

It’s been a long time since the campaign trail was marked by dominance of the railroad and the caboose speeches. It’s possible that the next generation will have a completely new experience in political interaction. Only time will tell.

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Randomness

“Down & Pretty Close To Out In Grand Cayman” column on Romney went viral, check it out: http://ping.fm/0uy0Z