Donald Trump Doesn’t Like You

I mentioned that I don’t much like Hillary Clinton. She managed to lose the Presidential election to this really useless and rather egotistical fella named Donald Trump. These were our “candidates” for the 2016 Presidential Election. Since Donald’s narrow victory, the citizens of our divided nation have been arguing at some length about how and why it went down the way that it did. I have opinions, but that is not why I write today. Besides, that conversation has been so very intense, I’m not sure what new perspective I could possibly add.

Rather, another thought occurred to me and I thought I’d tell everyone: Donald Trump doesn’t like you.

There’s no more direct way to put it. Every registered Democrat will roll their eyes saying, “like, obviously.” That part IS obvious. Trump enjoys enraging Democrats. This message isn’t really as important for you to hear. That includes Liberals and Progressives in general. So you Bernie supporters, Greens, and Socialists get lumped into that “like, obviously” category.

With those folks out of the way, on to all of you Republicans including those who actually voted for Trump: Donald Trump doesn’t like you either. I think a bunch of you know this already. He’s gone back and forth on his word enough that all kinds of Conservatives and Libertarians – even the rather hateful alt-righters – can feel it. Donald Trump doesn’t like you.

Generally, anyone who has a sincere political belief they believe would lead to a better world for all falls into the “like, obviously” category.

So who is this message really for? It’s for the trolls. It’s for those who got kicks out of playing the game. It’s for all of the souls who needed to feel empowerment so badly they jumped on the Trump bandwagon as a middle finger to the world they hate. It’s for the builders of botnets, the scribes of digital theatrics, and the every-day run-of-the-mill 4chan lurker turned social media warrior with a vengeance. Donald Trump doesn’t like any of you. He’s not proud of you. He’s not making decisions on your behalf. You see, Donald Trump used you. He manipulated you like animals. He used your hurt, your passion, your frustration and anger, your weakness and your strength, and your brilliant potential. He gave you something you needed, something everyone really deserves I think, a reason to wake up each day and participate in life. And you did it. Collectively, all of you helped change the course of history and this moment will be remembered forever. But by the way, Donald Trump still doesn’t like you. He doesn’t care about you.

I’m sorry I had to tell you. I’m a little upset and I’m not sure I like you either, but I think all of us deserve better – including.. no, especially you.

 

My Biggest Issue With Hillary Clinton

Hillary Wall StreetI don’t like Hillary Clinton. Some of her supporters seem to assume they know why. I can clear up the two more common misconceptions now. First, it is not because of her gender. I actually want to see a woman as President a great deal. Second, it’s is not because of the myriad of conspiracies laid out against her in the news. The ridiculous accusations and wild stories, often spun up by conservatives, only distract from much more mundane but still extremely important issues with her character. So here, on my blog, in this boring and seldom visited corner of cyberspace, I’m going to write down why I, personally, have not and most likely will not be “with her”.

First Impressions

I was a gamer. I was influenced heavily by the cultural movement behind the first wave of first-person multi-player videogames. Not many years before this wave hit, my family didn’t have the funds to buy my sister and I things like videogame systems. However, while I was in high school my father landed the job that would ultimately allow him to retire. The job also empowered him to bring home our first family computer and my doorway to another world: a 486dx33 that could be overclocked to 66mhz with the press of a button. Eventually I would drag this rig over to friends houses and lan parties, hobble together a network, and spend afternoons trash talking each other as we engaged in virtual battle. At first it was a way to relieve stress and frustration. In time it became a way to make friends and, eventually, led to starting my career in the gaming industry.

It was early in my gaming career that I first heard Hillary Clinton speak. At the time, she was First Lady. Stepping back to set the context, this was when an activist by the name of Jack Thompson was spinning up a pretty good public fervor over violent content in videogames. The videogame industry has a lot of problems, but Jack’s pitch was wrong. He was fabricating causality. If what he said were true, my friends and I should have been extremely violent. Ultimately, he was discredited and even disbarred as a lawyer. However, Hillary Clinton took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. She stood before the public and said that “playing violent videogames accounts for a 13% to 22% increase in violent behavior,” and “violent videogames increase violent behavior as much as lead exposure decreases childrens’ IQ scores.” None of which is remotely true.

To anyone who didn’t know better, her correlation seemed reasonable on the surface and she sounded well informed. However, the research at the time (and since) shows that playing even the most violent videogames typically leads to less violent behavior – the same thing those of us in the industry were seeing. Either she was intentionally misleading the public or she was ignorant. I suspect, due to her political handlers, she was the latter. And in the years to follow, I saw Clinton continue this same pattern of pushing emotional issues in an appealing way, but using misinformation in a way that sometimes led to harm. It seemed to me that she followed mass appeal, flip flopping on what we would expect to be consistent core issues such as gay marriage. She looked to be a puppet and I had no idea where the strings were being pulled. It wasn’t enough to dislike or hate her, exactly, but I couldn’t really respect her message nor trust her as an authentic source of information.

The Birth of Webcraft Studios

I have always been entrepreneurial. I started my first company, Tempest Digital Solutions, in collaboration with a couple of friends back in the late 90s. We did well. But we shut it all down after just a couple of years – mostly because we were too young and immature to handle our interpersonal problems effectively. This early experience starting a company heavily influenced my career path and desires. I was often attracted to startups and startup culture. For many years, I wanted to set off on another company-building adventure like Tempst, perhaps even on my own. In fact, it may be that there was never a time I didn’t want to do this. And, eventually I did.

I made plans, worked hard, and by 2007 was finally ready to launch my own business: Webcraft Studios. I had enough cash in the bank to make it about a year if I kept my budget extremely thin. I had a new social media marketing concept called “digital theatrics” that nobody was doing. I found a much needed first client who provided me with an opportunity to prove the concept along side the rest of their marketing campaign. I recruited contractors to help. Thus, to some small degree, I can legitimately say that I created jobs! Our client loved our work, saying it was performing better than any other social media marketing campaign at the publishing company. Everything was lining up for success. If the product I was promoting did well, I would have the portfolio piece I needed to expand this service model to others.

But then, one day, my client just stopped paying the bills – without explanation.

The story that follows would take a novel to explain. I’ll try to provide a brief summary. Our economy crashed due to the implosion of the housing bubble. My client was funded by a primary investor. That investor got scared, froze accounts, and liquidated everything. Thus, my client’s company was effectively sold upstream to Southpeak Interactive. I and dozens of other small businesses who weren’t getting paid for their work began to complain and then to take legal action against Southpeak. It was too little too late. By the time I was awarded a default judgement in my case, there were no Southpeak assets left to seize. The value of my company, my client’s company, and hundreds of other little guys like me was quickly absorbed, in a series of upstream buyouts, right through the corporate veil into oblivion. My life’s dream, one of the things in life I’ve worked the hardest for, was gone in a matter of months. I was left with a pile of debt and unpaid invoices. I went back to work as quickly as I could find a job. In time, I fully paid all of my own contractors. It hurt me. It’s almost a decade later and I have not yet fully recovered.

At first, I didn’t understand the crash. But, I had a vested interested in understanding it. The story became clearer and clearer through the years and now we all know exactly what happened to cause it. Thousands of people knew it was coming, yet we had no warning. Corporations prepared for and benefited greatly from the crash; I was just one of many many victims in the process. The Occupy movement rose up as a direct result. As an American, I thought my government would be there to protect me from this kind of thing. Those responsible should have been held accountable. But, instead, my country voted to reward the big bankers who did this.

And Now, Hillary

Here we are in 2016. Today is the second day of the Democratic National Convention. Since last summer, I have been advocating for the Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Along with many other issues I care about, he wants to break up the big banks and hold people accountable for wrecking the economy. And he wants campaign finance reform, another component of the problem. He is the candidate who best represents the Occupy movement and their mission. But Bernie did not win the nomination. Hillary Clinton did. Recently leaked emails show how the Democratic party demonstrated significant bias in promoting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The same Hillary Clinton that earns millions of dollars just for showing up and giving talks to the very same bankers that should be held accountable for wrecking the global economy, no less. In light of every poll showing that Bernie Sanders would be more likely to win against the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, the establishment went out of their way to pave a path for Hillary Clinton.

My money was stolen. My company and the dreams I built with it were destroyed. I was one of thousands who experienced this. I voted for Obama believing he would help right these wrongs. He saved the economy from imploding, but he didn’t punish those responsible, break up the banks, or restore protections that will keep this from happening again. Bernie seemed to be inspired to finish the job. I have no reason to suspect, much less believe, that Hillary is in a position to right this wrong, even if she actually wanted to.

There are many important issues at play in this election cycle. There’s a lot of time between now and the national vote. I will be supporting those Democrats who are being labelled Berniecrats for their support of Bernie and his policies. I’ll certainly participate in reforming congress and carrying on with the political revolution.

But if you’re asking me to vote for Hillary, you need to consider where I’m coming from or you’re just wasting your time. Honestly, you’re probably just wasting your time. I am glad I will most likely get to see the first female US President. However, I fear that we will come to regret choosing Hillary to be that role model. Right now, I can’t see any other future, and that’s not a future I can vote for. I hope time will prove me wrong. Perhaps I can lay to rest my own unaddressed issues in light of some other, more important national good. However – putting aside my own emotional suffering and personal desire for justice – I fear we are headed into economic unrest, violent international conflicts, and a great loss of liberties. I fear this not because of Hillary Clinton, but because those puppet strings seem to lead behind that corporate veil, where my money went.

 

 

 

Bernie Endorsed Hillary

546495100-bernie-sanders-introduces-presumptive-democratic.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeBernie told us when he entered the race as a Democrat much of what he was and wasn’t going to do. He said that he would not run against the Democratic party. He also said that he would endorse Hillary if she won. I trust Bernie because he has consistently been faithful to his word. Had he not made these agreements, the DNC never would have given him room on the stage and he never would have been able to connect with so many people. He has been, and still is, doing all he can to impact positive change. And, technically, it’s still possible (tho unlikely) that the nomination could somehow swing in his favor at the convention.

But Bernie won’t be running as an Independent against Hillary this year. If he did, he would be breaking his word – the thing that has so many of us supporting him in the first place, right? What he is doing is more powerful than running outside of the system; he is directly influencing the Democratic platform and agenda. Maybe not enough for some of us, but it’s still amazingly awesome.

Bernie has a way of always showing up on the right side of history. That’s because he’s been fighting hard for a long time. So long as the Democratic party continues to honor their agreements with Sanders, he should honor his agreements to them. Knowing what bits I do of his history, that seems like exactly what he would do right now. And he did offer his endorsement of Hillar. I can only respect him for it, even if I am terribly disappointed overall.

The Rise of the Independents

US Party IdentificationMy single biggest personal rebellion has been in being a political independent. Ross Perot’s Presidential run in 1992 inspired much of my generation to question the existing two party political system. At that time, I was too young to vote for Perot. I ended up making a t-shirt and wearing it to school. He earned 19% of the popular vote.

After the 1992 election cycle, the percentage of Americans identifying as Independent rose steadily for half a decade and then fell back down as the Republican party rose in 2004. However, since 2004, both parties have continued to tank while Independents are on the rise, now at historic levels.

At this very moment, the day after Super Tuesday, Pundits and talking heads are on the news explaining what voters like me are thinking – how we are going to react. I don’t think they get it at all. However, I’m not going to try to explain or sell you the Independent point of view. What I do want to bring attention to is the momentum behind the indie movement in politics happening right now.

Today, I’m supporting and expecting to vote for the Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders decided to run for President via the Democratic party. He does not identify as a Democrat. As a party outsider running on their ticket, he is drawing an enormous amount of support from Democrats. So much so, he may win their nomination – holy crap! On the flip side, he is still bringing over Republicans as well. From my father, a devout conservative: “If it’s Clinton and Trump, I’m voting Trump. If it’s Bernie and Trump, I’m voting Bernie.” This is not an uncommon sentiment. Bernie has support for reasons that have nothing to do with party affiliation. Those who are very focused on party politics are just not seeing what’s happening outside of their context.

My significant other and I recently moved out of our apartment and started a community house. Looking for housemates, we posted a Craigslist ad that included a mention of being Bernie supporters. We were overwhelmed with Bernie-centric responses. Many wrote that they knew they wanted to live with us based on that one point alone. While it would be easy to trivialize that experience as an inconsequential story, it had a profound impact on my perception. I now see that the energy of Independent political thinking is driving the momentum of the Bernie Sanders campaign – and it’s beautiful.

Bernie is building a culture of participation and immediacy. The people – especially Independents –  love it. He is building a “machine” made of people. He is enabling those people to have a voice and know they can use it. The “machine” behind the political revolution really is us. It is growing in size and running in the background of this campaign, quietly shifting the tides. Will Bernie win? I’m not entirely confident that he will be the Democratic candidate – perhaps. However, I think that Bernie will probably be our next President.

Bernie may not get enough delegates to supplant Hillary. What will happen next? It is a fallacy to believe that Bernie is a dedicated Democrat. I expect him to choose to stay in the race. He would then have the lion’s share of support from the 40%+ of Americans who identify as Independent, including myself. He would pull over a huge portion of the Democratic base, which is already below 30% of the nation anyway. He will also attract many of those fleeing Republicans who comprise even less of the nation than the Democrats. Those numbers add up to a win for Bernie.

The only message more powerful than electing Bernie Sanders as President will be doing so without the support of a major party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Government

I was born into a world where my native country seemed to have a troublesome but adequate government. I was given an idea of what a government was through public education. I was never really given reason to be curious about the idea of government. I tend to blame it on the way our education system works, tho I’m not sure I could articulate that explanation even if that were the focus of this post. Rather, I’d like to leap forward to today where I ponder systems of mass collaboration on a daily basis.

I feel that the vast majority view government as an oppressive machine which the people are always at war with. To me, it looks like the people (all of us) are just at war with each other. I’m not sure which is more to blame for the state of things, the government or the people. See, the thing is, we all would benefit to realize that the government is our responsibility as well as our opportunity.

Capitalism is fantastic. As a system, it uses competition to drive innovation. The most powerful analogy I’ve heard for Capitalism is puberty. Both will make you grow quickly. We’ve embraced a lot of Capitalism, and we’re now a superpower. Go US! However, puberty is a transitional phase. Perpetual rapid growth isn’t a viable long term plan in either case. Capitalism is not the only tool in America’s bag. We manage our system of Capitalism with this thing we call the government. Just about the only power we gave these United States upon her creation dealt with trade. My how things have grown.

Look at what this monster of a government provides for us. We are sovereign. That’s a big deal. Then there’s that public school system I mentioned. Collectively, we humans of America own massive infrastructure. Seriously guys, we own one of the most powerful military forces to ever have existed. We have people floating in a pressurized box way up skimming the surface of the atmosphere. This concept of collaboration is producing some cool results, like those recent high resolution images of Pluto.

When we look at government from a very meta point of view, it exposes an obvious necessity for some kind of system. For many reasons, we love to hate our system. Most of us alive today had almost nothing to do with it’s design. We barely understand it much less feel we’ve participated in it. And many of the major politicians in the upcoming election are saying the whole thing is being consumed by corporate interests. It can really feel grim.

Fear based decisions are rarely good decisions. In a moment of panic, our instincts can serve us well – or at least to motivate us. However, long term exposure to fear leads to a less empowered state of being. If we who are born into an existing system only experience reasons to feel oppressed by an existing system, it becomes considerably less likely that we will be able to influence that system. Thus, I think it valuable to reconsider how we present the idea of government to one another.

Government should be seen as our point of agreement. Government is how we collaborate. “Hey everyone, would you like to have emergency response services in case of major disaster? Yes? Ok, here’s how we get that done… Hooray! Thank you government.” The system can always be evolving, or for the code-monkeys among us, refactored. The the system isn’t going to change itself, we have to participate. And we have every reason to be excited that we CAN participate. Government is a great human endeavour. For our own government, for all of it’s faults, it can be improved. We have the opportunity to improve it each and every day by participating. It’s not just civic duty, it’s civic opportunity. Many of us feel that opportunity doesn’t exist, and that is merely one of the things needing improvement.

 

 

Electing The 99%, an open letter….

Dear 99%,

Hi. I’ve been paying attention to Occupy Wall Street. This evening, I had a chat with my girlfriend about the spontaneous eruption of democracy that is Occupy Wall Street. We had an idea I have to share with the rest of the 99% out there.

We create a new party where candidates agree to a much more specific job role during their political term. They would agree to:

  • Inform the public of their progress as real time as possible. For example: live stream all meetings, post materials related to all votes, post video updates multiple times a day, etc.
  • Vote on all issues using popular vote. Use some yet-to-be-built voting platform to collect votes from anyone who wishes to cast a vote. Something as reliable as Reddit or Digg is enough, and I have no doubt we could build something significantly better. I want to see something completely open source and distributed in nature.
That’s it… inform and act based on popular vote. It’s not bullet proof and it won’t stop corruption, but it would shift the balance of power to the people in a dramatic way. We just have to build the software and elect a few honest people who are good at communicating.
Hoping to hear back,
Koda

Solving America’s Illegal Immigrant Problem

And that’s how some people want to approach the issue of illegal immigrants in the USA. Everything I know and understand about life aligns clearly to say that building a wall between the US and Mexico is a horrible idea. It’s not like Mexico is mounting an attack and we have to defend the castle. They’re sneaking into the country to find jobs. To cover the issue from my own perspective, I’ll offer three planks and then a plan.

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Stephenf, iPad, and some rationality…

ComputerSo I see this trending topic going around called, “I need to talk to you about computers.” It didn’t take me long to facepalm. See, Stephenf does a fine job of painting a perspective of technology evolution with a wide scope. He also has a fine point about consumers desiring more specialized and easier to use devices.

Unfortunately, Stephenf missed obvious points. First, the trend isn’t strictly with computers becoming more specialized. There’s also a trend of specialized devices becoming more computerized. Actually, we’ve had specialized devices for a long time. Take a car radio for example. A car radio was once electro-mechanical with no logic circuits. Somewhere along the way car radios became digital devices with lcd displays. Now, folks have full blow media centers inside their automobiles. There exists a giant webbing of technological points and the tendency is for those points to converge – for gaps to be filled in. Netbooks are an example of a gap being filled in. The devices are more powerful than smartphones yet more portable than laptops. Netbooks are popular because they filled a need.

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About Texas – From A Native

Texas Flag

Texas Flag

I’m the only member of my family born in Texas. My parents, sister, and half-brother’s family all still live in Texas. I currently live in Colorado. Recently, governor Rick Perry started a dialog about Texas leaving the union and now NPR is picking it up. I don’t want to get into the issue of Texas potentially seceding from the nation. The issue is widely misunderstood as Texas holds no right to leave, merely to split into 4 individual states.

As I’ve travelled, I’ve found as much dislike of Texas inside the US as I have for the US in other countries. No where have I found as much anti-Texas attitudes as the snow covered slopes of Colorado. This past season I got in a gondola full of kids who were skipping school. Their entire dialog on the way up was littered with stories about “dumb Texans.” What’s worse is spending enough time on the slopes to see that they’re largely right. When Texans come here on vacation (and they come in flocks), it always makes for a less enjoyable day.

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On The Pirate Bay Sentencing

Pirates

Pirates

The file sharing rant has raged on for years. While the media industries claim that file sharing has hurt their market share, the movie industry is seeing record sales. For many, it’s obvious what is going on. With the advent of new media, we saw a shift in how things work in our world. Once upon a time, you had to have a lot of money to record media and distribute it. This need gave rise to a collection of media industries, music and movies in particular. Now, recording and sharing media is very cheap and very easy. The MPAA and RIAA are no longer important. However, with their size and power, they will do anything and everything they can to keep the status quo.

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