By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana is expecting snow this week.  Say what?

I know people in the north must laugh at us.  The inevitable “bread and milk” memes showing empty grocery store shelves come to mind.   I went to the grocery store yesterday out of necessity rather than any snow-minded panic, and the cashier lamented how busy they had been all day.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

“Snow in the forecast for Monday night,” I explained.

She had no idea. “That explains it,” she said.

All the jokes are true.  The meteorologists on the local stations broke the news Friday afternoon that models were setting up for a “wintry mix” which would “quickly turn over to snow” and that “accumulations of one to three inches are possible.”

Panic ensues.

My husband is from Iowa and he just laughs.  He is one of those who walked twenty miles up hill both ways in five feet of snow to get to school; he milked cows after walking through veritable blizzards to get to the barn and chipped ice out of frozen water troughs.  You know the type.

But around here if you say ice, we close the schools.  We can’t drive in that stuff.  The rural kids that ride school buses will freeze, not to mention that rural roads and bridges ice over.

This is a true story: one day about three years ago we were in school when it started to snow; it was about 10:30 in the morning, right before lunch.  Not big, heavy wet snowflakes but just flurries.  They closed the schools parish wide.  By the time I got to the interstate five minutes away it was all over.

Overabundance of precaution, they called it.

As soon as the local news said the “S” word Friday, everyone is on pins and needles checking Facebook and the news sites for notice of school closure.  Parents are stressing out about whether or not to find babysitters or take of work.  The school superintendent says he will make the call sometime Monday afternoon (Monday we are closed for MLK day).  This delay in making the call is angering parents as meteorologists speak with increasing confidence of “a winter event” and measurable precipitation.

Snow days are a rare treat for us down here.  While the Midwest and northern climes accept shoveling snow and not parking on the street because of snow plows as a part of winter life, we don’t have those issues down here.  So when we can get enough snow to scoop up in our hands, or look outside and see a blanket of wet, white snow on the lawn, it is in fact an event.  The high humidity here means we have heavy, wet snow, not powdery light stuff.

I can predict with near certainty that by Monday afternoon all of the news stations will have their intrepid reporters out standing by the perfectly dry interstate to report on road conditions.  Once the event occurs there will be tiny snowmen on the hoods of cars or the messy, muddy ones that required every bit of snow in the yard to create.

It could be a magical day.

Or it could just be rain.  Then we will feel robbed and cheated.

All of that bread and milk stowed away for nothing.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

The internet exploded into a veritable excrement storm when Senator Dick Durbin accused President Trump of referring to some countries as shitholes.  It is still not clear if President Trump actually uttered that phrase, but the storm that ensued was rather intense, with members of the liberal media and liberals on social media immediately decrying those remarks as racist.  That phrase is not racist, however it is politically incorrect.  A great many confuse the two, which is actually harmful, because overuse and distortion of the meaning of the term has greatly lessened the impact of justified accusations of true racism.

It is a well established fact that some nations are extremely poor and the people living in those countries suffer greatly.  Referring to them as shitholes may not be the most elegant or polite phrase, but it is accurate.  Poor nations are spread across the globe and are not limited to nations of just one race.  In fact nations of all races are included in the list of the poorest nations in the world.

The one unifying factor the links just about all of the poorest nations is that they now suffer from, or have suffered from, bad governments.  These bad governments can take on many forms but they all steal the wealth from the individuals living in those countries and mismanage the resources.

Countries with communist and socialist governments almost universally produce dreadful living conditions and very poor people.  Here is what one of my favorite authors, Thomas Sowell, has to say on the subject “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”  Venezuela is perfect example of what happens to a country when it transforms into a socialist nation, and so is Somalia.

If a country experiences frequent political upheaval it will become poor.  That is what happened in Haiti, and so many other countries.  Most often this upheaval will result in autocratic dictatorships, which micromanage the economies, and also leads to rampant corruption.  Concentrating political power always results in countries with poverty and corruption.  Governments always try to concentrate power in the hands of the few.  Distributing power throughout the people of a nation is the only cure for this.

Economies of nations are far too complex for one individual or a group of individuals to manage properly.  Any attempt to manage an economy will begin a downward spiral into poverty.  Letting a perfectly free market economy manage itself is the only way to guarantee long term prosperity for a nation.  Even nations with very limited natural resources will prosper with a free market economy.  Hong Kong is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Introducing any type of socialism into a free market economy will result in a downward spiral toward poverty.  Building a welfare state forces the increase of taxes, which will curtail business activity, which will then increase the need for more welfare, which will then result in the need for higher taxes.  That is the route Scandinavian countries are on now and the route Greece has traveled for a longer period. The Scandinavian nations have not traveled this route long enough to produce disastrous results, but it will. The United States has been traveling this route since the New Deal, and accelerated on this path with President Johnson’s Great Society.  The negative impacts of the United States transiting into a welfare state have been well documented but ignored by so many.  Free market economies produce the most universal prosperity.  Some are always left behind by any economic system, while the numbers are much lower for a free market economy.  Private charity has proved to be successful in taking care of those left behind and the widespread adoption by the people of a religion such as Christianity, of which charity is a major component of, is also most beneficial.

Governments interfering with the free market through regulations will always create a downward spiral into poverty for a nation.  Once regulations are introduced, the free market will begin to falter.  The almost universal response to this phenomenon is to introduce more regulations, which will result in more negative consequences.

The authors of the US Constitution produced the perfect recipe for a successful nation.  Unfortunately we have abandoned this recipe and have suffered increasingly negative consequences ever since.  Their recipe had four key ingredients.

The first ingredient was to distribute all political power throughout the entire population.  They created a government of the people who elected political servants. The political power was distributed through five distinct levels with each level up having less power and authority.  The first was the individual, who had ultimate control over all levels of the government.  The next level up, local governments, had the most political power and authority.  This level was granted the most power because the people could exercise the most control over it.  County governments coordinated local governments while State governments coordinated county governments.  The federal government was granted a very limited number of clearly defined, or enumerated, powers.  The federal government was only granted the power to keep the States from squabbling with each other and to negotiate with other countries as one nation.

A firm belief in individual rights, the second ingredient, is an essential component to the peace and security of the people in any nation.  Protections of individual rights and private property are the most important building blocks of the US Constitution.  The Bill Of Rights was added because it was believed that the Constitution did not go far enough.

Thirdly, the US Constitution prevented the federal government from interfering with the free market economy, which resulted in a prosperous nation, The Commerce Clause only granted the federal government the power to regulate the large scale movement of goods between the States, not the economic activity inside of the States.

Lastly, tt was believed by the authors of the Constitution, and those that ratified it, that a widespread adoption of various Christian sects by the people was essential to maintaining a free and stable nation.  They created a government that left the people free to regulate their own affairs.  They believed Christianity was a perfect method for the people to regulate their own behavior.  They also believed Christian charity was the perfect way to help those in need.  Any belief system will work as long as it has an emphasis on individual rights and self control of one’s behavior.

Alexis de Tocqueville documented the prosperity and tranquility of the United States, and examined in great detail the root cause, which was the system of government created by the Constitution, when he wrote Democracy in America.

I’m old enough to remember when John Boehner was the only man crying on Capitol Hill.

Boehner cried when he got the House gavel. He cried with the Pope. He cried with kids. He even cried with Arnold Palmer, fer cryin’ out loud.

I was glad he retired.

Now the tears are in the Senate. Cory Booker:

“I hurt!” he yelled. “When Dick Durbin called me, I had tears of rage when I heard about his experience in that meeting, and for you not to feel that hurt and that pain and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues … when tens of millions of Americas are hurting right now because of what they’re worried about what happened in the White House, that’s unacceptable to me!”

Really.

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The former mayor of Newark, N.J. – not exactly the garden spot of the Garden State – allegedly did not live there during his term. He spent a large part of his time away from the city in speaking gigs, while still being paid by his former law firm. It was Cory Booker’s Newark Mirage

The criticism that Booker was not focused on his day job stuck. The Newark-based Star-Ledger tracked the days Booker was out of the city 118 days in one 18-month stretch, often earning lucrative fees for speaking gigs. (The newspaper later did the same for Gov. Chris Christie, who shared a similar reputation for being an absentee executive.)

That reputation for detachment didn’t help when the bad headlines hit.

There was a corruption scandal at the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Authority that centered on Booker’s friend and ally, Linda Watkins-Brashear. One watchdog group said the authority had gone “Hog Wild,” while overseeing Newark’s water and sewer infrastructure. Top officials were convicted of taking millions in bribes, kickbacks and engaging in other misuse of public money. Booker had to distance himself with the sheepish, yet accurate, excuse he had not been paying attention, had not been to meetings.

The water authority has since gone into bankruptcy.

More (emphasis added),

Months after he first entered the Senate, the New Jersey comptroller alleged that under Booker’s watch—or, more likely, because he was not watching—corruption ran rampant at a publicly funded water-treatment and reservoir-management agency, where Booker’s former law partner served as counsel. And speaking of his former law career: Despite having resigned from his law firm once entering the mayor’s office, Booker received annual payments until 2011, during which time the firm was profiting handsomely off of Brick City. That would be the Brick City that Booker professed to love with the fire of a thousand suns, but did little to fundamentally change. Murder, violent crime, unemployment, and taxes all rose dramatically under his stewardship.

Some 250,000 people live in Newark. After crying over “tens of millions of Americans”, did Booker save any tears for them?

Four years ago, Politico was saying,

“Beware of men who cry,” the writer Nora Ephron once cautioned. “It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

Remember that the next time Booker starts emoting.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Way back in the 1990’s my friend at work Brian introduced me to a game called Colonization still one of the best games ever to come out from the magnificent mind of Sid Meier (and a game that still holds up will 20 years later although an updated version with 3D graphics and multiplayer mode is available as well) but in those old DOS windows 95 games to an old Avalon Hill gamer like me Colonization was tops.

We were both hooked and would often talk about our various games at work.  During one of those days he mentioned causally that he would leave his PC on overnight connected to the net.  Now I was years removed from my previous and my next tech job but I told him I didn’t like the idea of an open line that others would have to my PC data without me noticing, but my suggestion that anyone could get in via that internet connection to his PC was scoffed at in those innocent early days of AOL.

Over the years I have repeated various versions of those warnings to people like

Just because a machine is made by Apple it doesn’t mean you can’t get a virus or a hacked
If you’re cellphone acts as a PC it can be hacked like a PC
If you can remotely access your appliances and doors then so can someone else
If Alexa or your TV is listening to you when you’re talking to it that means it’s listening when you’re not.

All of these propositions have invariably been greeted with reactions as if I was some kind of conspiracy theorist but of all the warnings I have given over the years the one I have repeated the most and is the most evergreen of them all is this:

Never write anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your wife or mother to see.

This is a lesson that John Podesta learned to his regret during the last election cycle and that James O’Keefe and Project Veritas has reinforced by his sting of Twitter.

Pranay Singh, a Direct Messaging Engineer for Twitter corroborated Haynes claims in a meeting with a Project Veritas journalist on January 5, 2018:

“Everything you send is stored on my server… So all your sex messages and you, like, d*ck pics are on my server now…”

“All your illegitimate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been f*cking around with, they’re are on my server now… I’m going to send it to your wife, she’s going use it in your divorce.”

“So, what happens is like, you like, write something or post pictures on line, they never go away… Because even after you send them, people are like analyzing them, to see what you are interested in, to see what you are talking about. And they sell that data.”

Remember Twitter, Facebook snapchat are not public utilities nor are they charitable organizations. Somebody is paying for all those people and all that infrastructure and if it’s not you it’s someone else, and the product they are selling is YOU

According to Twitter software expert Mihai Florea, “To actually charge the advertisers the money we have to prove it was you, and that’s why using email address, or like a cookie or something that can track you.” Florea continues, saying, “You’re paying for the right to use our website with your data basically.”

Now these are such basic common sense facts that the idea that tens of millions of people don’t realize this is astounding to me. Moreover given what we’ve seen from the social justice warriors at Twitter and/or Facebook the very idea that a conservative would trust them to handle their data fairly is about as laughable as it gets.

And as Jazz Shaw reminds us, it’s in your car too:

What sort of data can the manufacturer assemble from your GPS? They can hone in on your driving habits, how often you exceed the speed limit, where you like to shop or go out to eat… and all of that information is tied to your real name, financial data and contact information. This might have remained one of those stories which only suggests possible bad behavior were it not for the fact that the WaPo is quoting somebody from a data firm which is already selling this information to advertisers and splitting the profits with the automakers.

and asks the ultimate question

So your phone and your car are both spying on everything you do and ratting you out. At this point I can’t blame you if you’re wondering… what next? No need to wait, citizens. The answer is already here. Thanks to the Internet of Things, your refrigerator is already tracking what you’re doing and will be preemptively preparing shopping lists and menus for you. What’s the harm, right? I mean, it’s just going to help you avoid drinking spoiled milk. But if it knows what you’re buying and how often, don’t you think there would be a buyer for that data as well?

So let me close with with one final fact that every should remember at all times

All of your data, from the stuff on your phone, game system, computer, cloud and even from your car and appliances are only as secure as the least careful person with access to your passwords and the least ethical person with access to it via any company that you have either stored it with or given access to via an end user agreement.

Should you get batshit paranoid about it, no, but should you be aware of it and act accordingly, YES!

Closing note. You can still buy the original Colonization and the new version Civilization IV Colonization on Steam (subject to the user agreement of course). I highly recommend and endorse both games.


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Get your Tickets today!

You can still buy tickets for our President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant in Leominster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tickets via eventbrite.The event co-sponsored by the Worcester Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chinese buffet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (moderated by DaTechGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxiation
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chapter of Act for America
Christopher Maider from the Meat and Potatoes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insurrection blog

Tickets are available at the door or you can get them here.  Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.