Donald Trump lost the election for the Office of the President of the United States of America to Joseph Biden.
It’s over, so we can relax now, right?
There is a lot of talk about “coming together,” and “reaching across the aisle,” and even speculating that Biden should pardon that rat.
On the one hand, pardoning requires acknowledgement of one’s crimes, and admitting one’s guilt; otherwise, there is nothing to pardon. Getting it on record may be an important step and faster than an actual courtroom trial and a federal pardon still does not, in any way, absolve one from state level prosecution for the same crimes. It also won’t be seen as heavily partisan as other options.
The rat couldn’t easily scream “witch hunt” if the Feds pardoned him and let him twist in the wind before state charges.
But it would not amount to a full public reckoning for and full rejection of that rat and his cult.
Allowing the judicial process to take place, on the other hand, will allow for digging deep and a very public exposure of one’s alleged crimes. A deeply damaging case can be laid out, in full, for the public to see. Just as entire towns and villages were made to walk into and through the various concentration camps in their jurisdictions and forced to confront the evil that many claimed having no knowledge of, forcing the United States to bear witness to the full rot committed by the MAGAt cult is an important and necessary step if we want the possibility of a complete repudiation and rejection of it.
But it carries an enormous risk.
A warning from history
On trial for treason after the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler was given a very public platform for his beliefs in the courts and he took full advantage of it. The unfortunate effect of the trial was his greatly increased celebrity, and the legitimacy his beliefs were granted, by allowing him such a public forum. His sentence was incredibly light, and he was given plenty of liberties that, again, he took full advantage of. During his time in prison, he dictated his manifesto and put his beliefs down in writing.
The MAGAt’s biggest liability and advantage is his own mouth, unfortunately. The rest of us will hear his dottering gibberish, incoherent rambling, nonsensical non-sequiturs, and insane conspiracy theories and will naturally recoil but his cult — his fanatics? They will hear him, loud and clear, as they always have and they will make a martyr out of him no matter which direction a trial may go.
Trump consolidated multiple groups with similar beliefs, created a platform, and legitimized all of them with his weaponized Twitter account and his coast to coast mini Nuremberg rallies, and birthed a fanatical anti-American movement. What he did was no different than what Dietrich Eckart and Alfred Rosenberg did in Wiemar Germany. They set the stage. Hitler took the spotlight and, eventually, Germany.
Another thing to consider is that if Trump ultimately faces federal prosecution for any crimes he may have committed before, and during, his time in office, remember how many friendly judges the GOP rubber-stamped into the federal judiciary?
The danger has just begun
November 3, 2020 was only the beginning of the most dangerous period United States of America has faced in at least a century and a half.
Trump may have lost the election and been voted out of office but rumor is that he is already looking at a 2024 run. If not him, someone with his blessing will run. The next one, embracing that rat’s MAGAt platform will have far less of their predecessor’s mental liabilities and all of his cruelty.
Are America’s institutions stronger than the Wiemar Republic’s was? We are certainly much older, but they have never been tested quite like the last 4 years, and counting, have tested them nor have they faced the potential enduring threat that Trump’s MAGA cult will continue to be for a long time to come.
Do you remember when a Presidential speech didn’t insult your intelligence?
Or didn’t whine about how unfair/fake/complicated/difficult things ere?
Or didn’t complain/brag about water pressure/washers/faucets/toilets?
Do you remember when a Presidential speech left you feeling energized not exhausted, inspired not dejected, filled with hope not dread, valued not anxious, and proud of America not ashamed?
Do you remember when a President could undeniably reject white supremacists and dictators, while giving no relevance to crackpot conspiracy theories, infomercial hucksters, insane medical advice, or a stupid baseball cap?
That criminally incompetent buffoon, his cronies, his enablers, his sycophants, his family, his ideals, his values, his legacy, and his grossly un-American platform must be rejected — rejected loudly, rejected unquestionably, rejected totally.
Get out there and vote for an America that we can all be proud of, again.
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I’ll get right to the point. Shopify has lost my trust. Here’s how.
This week, Shopify had a data breech. Though it is currently small in scope it looks like this may be the final factor to really take into account while I consider the benefits and issues I can face if I decide to migrate American Bogan™ away from Shopify onto a WordPress site.
This website is built with WordPress and hosted on Dreamhost (Affiliate Link). Originally, it was under a different domain existing on Squarespace. Migrating away from Squarespace onto WordPress was a project that was more complicated than it needed to be, and highlights the risks involved in subscribing to a full website building platform instead of a building a site on a real webhost’s infrastructure.
Fact is, I have been mulling it over for a bit, now, based on little things that have been popping up. Shopify’s data breech will most likely the final factor.
Beyond the data breech, which all providers are at risk for from multiple attack vectors, I am noticing how much each Shopify based store is used to promote Shopify, without necessarily informing their users about it. Some people are fine with this. I am not.
ConsentMatters and #PrivacyMatters
You can see “Powered by Shopify” links in the footers of Shopify based websites, for example. Some users leave it because they do not know how to change it. Other users can remove “Powered by Shopify” (Google Search) through Shopify’s backend to read “Powered by Clown Farts and Dick Blisters,” but it does not change the actual hyperlink. The average user won’t necessarily know how to change the hyperlink through editing the theme’s code, but they can look up how to change it on the backend.
Problem is that any text you change it to, using Shopify’s backend, will still link back to a campaign-tracked back link to Shopify. Back links remain a classic SEO component. Nearly every Shopify store is coded with, what amounts to be, a hidden back link that isn’t easy to get rid of for most users.
One can argue that isn’t an issue BeCaUsE iTz ShOpiFy’s SeRviCe aNd PLatForm, and that is an absolutely correct and valid argument to make. In the end, it IS Shopify’s platform. Not yours.
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t care about Shopify’s willingness to platform MAGAt oriented shops. Trump’s campaign, and Breitbart’s webshop come to mind right away. To be fair, Shopify also hosts shops whose values are much more in line with mine; however, by using hidden backlinks in the footers of websites, Shopify is giving their subtle endorsement of that particular web-shop’s policies and politics, as far as I am concerned.
Beyond the monthly hosting fees and transaction fees (depending on your payment processor), Shopify’s SEO is benefiting from those sites by using them for their SERP-enhancing backlinks.
The biggest factor, however, comes down to trust in the platform and control over my own content. In a nutshell, if I lose trust in one service provider, how easily can I migrate to a new one? As a corporation, my trust in Shopify has always been tolerant at best, and nearly non-existent at worst. This data breech, how they’ve responded to it, their use of un-disclosed backlinks, and their willingness to give a platform to (and use those backlinks to gain additional benefit from) the MAGAt cult, and multiple other minor limitations and factors, which I will get into below, have really started to pile up on top of each other.
I’ve already seen how complicated of a process it was for migrating my website away from Squarespace when it was primarily a blog and portfolio based site. I am now looking at rebuilding a fully functional e-commerce shop because the products, themselves, won’t easily migrate away. Printful, the main print-on-demand vendor (Affiliate Link) I am using, cannot re-connect one shop to another and push all product data back to the new platform.
Once the migration and rebuild is done, several things become possible:
I can have daily, weekly, and monthly backups of the entire website and can restore them at anytime. Shopify does not have backup functionality available for users. This is an enormous risk.
WordPress has more than a few free themes that include backlinks in their footers. No big deal. If I decide not to dig into PHP and CSS code snippets to change it, I can always install a different theme that doesn’t include backlinks in their footers.
Not that any product I create needs more than three options and 100 variations, but they’d be unlimited under WordPress.
I can create multiple pages and blog posts to look pretty much how I want. With Shopify, the homepage is where most of the ability to alter the design is, at least for the free themes. Separate pages and blog posts are rudimentary, at best, and are very basic in design.
If Dreamhost ever lost my trust, migrating to another WordPress installation on a different host will take, at most, a day if I am feeling lazy. Two if I am feeling exceptionally lazy.
I can add on a support forum or other social features, up to and including a full blown social media site, if I really feel up to the challenge.
Speaking of social features, both platforms allow for guest-checkouts. You can order a product without creating an account. With WordPress, I can help increase the overall security of my customers by requiring a social media account to checkout. That way, no user password is ever stored on my servers.
Product reviews are already built into a WordPress based shop
All of this for about $30 less per month.
Things that I will be giving up are minor, to me:
If I want live shipping rates, I can only use one fulfillment vendor. With WordPress and WooCommerce, I cannot have products from Printful and Printify in my shop and use live-rates from both vendors. I’d have to stick with complicated shipping tables, or just use flat rates and price accordingly. I do, however, have to pay Shopify an extra $20/month just to turn on live-shipping if I don’t want the full $80/month plan.
Shopify does have multiple channels available to sell through, integrated nicely by default, and you can add more. If I want to create Facebook ads, I can do it from within Shopify but they are limited in scope, and not always very efficient. I’d have to do them by hand, through Facebook.
That’s not really an issue, since half of my stuff gets hilariously auto-rejected by Facebook’s algorithms, anyway.
Shopify has integrated a rudimentary abandoned-cart email function. I’d have to find an effective one under WordPress (Adrianfeliciano.com uses a free one that is already more functional than Shopify’s),
What I’ll be giving up, realistically, is only the convenience of a well integrated e-commerce backend and a highly competent front end, for the ability to fully own and control all of my website’s content on a webhost that I trust (Affiliate Link) where I can build it to be whatever I want, to help better protect the privacy and security of my customers by having backups and the ability to improve on our security posture, and to reject a platform that tacitly endorses and benefits from dangerous, anti-American, ideologies.
What do you think?
Given the line of thinking in the post above, would you still consider Shopify for your e-commerce shop? Please me know in the comments below. You can leave comment after securely logging in using your Social Media account. It helps to greatly reduce spam on this website.
Trying to challenge Q-Anon and MAGA is an exercise in pointless futility, just like confronting any abuser directly or trying to intervene with a friend enthralled in an abusive relationship. They will only continue to dig in. They want to wear you out intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
Challenging Q-Anons Is Like The Siege of Troy
I once got into a discussion with one of my professors during a class about epic poetry (specifically we were on the Iliad and the Siege of Troy) on how to confront UMass Administration more effectively than marching into the building and making a loud spectacle inside. At the time, UMass had multiple sexual assaults that were getting covered up, or ignored, and students were expressing their frustrations about how they would write messages out in chalk that would get washed away daily and that maybe they should march to the admin building and stage a sit in.
I pointed out that direct assault on a fixed and fortified position was always the worst idea, given a choice, and the building was designed in the style of a classical fortress when you looked at it carefully. Look at the Greeks attacking Troy; it was going on for ten years already by the time the Illiad started. A siege is a horrible waste of time and resources.
My prof asked what I meant, so I explained that it was on raised ground, exterior walls are difficult to climb, and the primary entrance was via a long ramp that funneled all foot traffic into a very narrow approach, etc.
He asked how I figured that and I said I had just gotten out of the Army a year earlier, and those were the details I noticed. Prof Freeman then asked, “Okay, so how would YOU take on the Admin building?…I said it was simple. Sun Tzu has already figured it out.
Use The Art of War, by Sun Tzu to Counter Q-Anons and MAGA
Staging a sit in was fighting the last war (relative to 60s era styled protests) and the Admin building was designed to fight the last war. Don’t ever go direct. Starve them out. You don’t write chalk messages that can easily be washed away cuz UMass doesn’t care about you, the student. They already have your tuition. If they were to protest, do it right in front of the walking tours for prospective students from high school. Target your messages to them. Make them question whether their children (daughters specifically) will be safe at UMass while they are evaluating where to pay for school with the threat of missing out on incoming students the next year.
It’s the same with Q-Morons and MAGAt Red-caps. Never confront them directly. Mentally, that is what they want. They will make you try to prove over and over and over how wrong they are while laughing at the effort you make to convince them until you wear yourself out in mental exhaustion.
Even if they start throwing “bUt iTs a DeEp StAtE pEdO rInG aNd TrUmP iS gOnNa eXpOsE tHeM aLL dO YoU aGrEE WiTh PeDoZ?????” don’t take the intellectual bait. Don’t try to have a rational discussion or dO sOmE rEsEaRcH to support your side. It’s what they want you to do so they can wear you down. They will never be open to actual discourse.
The only way to handle them is to find ways to go over, above, below, and around them. Out vote them. Out organize them. Out think them. Out flank them. Out last them.
Aim your message at people not already in their orbit, and cut off their ability to “supply and sustain” themselves in the field. Isolate them and render them as irrelevant as they deserve to be and counter the relevance that they have been given.
Do Not Confront Q-Anons or MAGAts
They are desperate for any confrontation. It feeds their cravings for self-victimization and reinforces their narrative and sense of self-importance as a result.
I was thinking about that MAGA moron’s recent tweets lately, in particular the recent “14 words” tweet.
Although he is a moron and probably didn’t think this up all on his own, if a coded dog whistle was indeed the goal he happens to be surrounded by sycophants who are much more intelligent and literate than he is.
But first, something to keep in mind is that there is a defense policy funding bill, the NDAA, that is currently working its way through Congress to the White House, but you are barely hearing about it.
It is not out of the question that someone wrote out his “14 words” tweet, and handed it to him to knowing full well that as long as it was presented as “if you tweet this it will piss off a lot of people and get them all talking, meanwhile, we will strip out the requirement to report any offers of foreign assistance to your re-election in the $740+ billion dollar military funding bill that you’re gonna sign,” that self-serving puppet won’t hesitate to tweet anything and he won’t even bother to actually read it.
That tweet is the distraction. Here’s another example. Do not doubt there will be more in order to keep all your attention focused on his overt racism and “14 words” tweet etc, and not the stripped provision, or any other activity that will benefit him and the Republican Party.
No matter how much he bleats and tweets about not signing the bill because he is against “rEnAmiNg R gReAt ArMy bAsEs,” do not believe him. He will sign the bill because the requirement to report foreign interference has been stripped from it. It opens him, and the GOP, up to receiving all the foreign assistance money can buy, and they don’t have to disclose a god damned thing.
That is how Trump will try to cheat the election in 2020.
I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out directly, and express my gratitude for your support over the last couple of months, and to update you on a couple of things.
I am seeing some delays on product orders getting fulfilled, primarily with my printed t-shirts, tank tops, crop tops. So far, the average fulfillment times have increased to between 14-21 days due to COVID-19’s effects on global supply chains. I’ve added printed t-shirts on my Teespring and Redbubble shops where their fulfillment times are generally a little better in most cases. I also put up some fractal art patterned products. Some items are political in their message. Other items are photography related, while others are snarky, or just plain ol’ weird. Kinda like me. 😀
Speaking of “politics”…
About George Floyd, Riots, and Police Brutality:
Like a lot of you, I am subscribed to several email marketing lists from different companies. It seems like, lately, I’ve received quite a few long winded statements from those companies with massive legal teams that have helped them to craft the perfect on-brand statement concerning current events. I did not want to be left out, so I felt it was time to make one of my own.
I am releasing the following statement in order to let you know where I stand unambiguously and without question as a person, a photographer, a citizen of the United States of America, and human being after consulting with my vastly underfunded legal team, friends, family, higher power(s), God, the quantum state of 4th dimensional time, my root through crown chakras, my conscience, ancestors, AND my mother:
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
If you would like to support this very important movement, please consider donating your time or resources to the following organizations:
About Face Veterans – Post 9/11 Service-members and Veterans
Website — aboutfaceveterans.org/who-we-are Facebook — facebook.com/VetsAboutFace Twitter — twitter.com/VetsAboutFace Donate — aboutfaceveterans.org/donate Tell Troops to Stand Down for Black Lives – aboutfaceveterans.org/take-action-now-veterans-tell-troops-to-stand-down-for-black-lives
I have been watching the protests, riots, and anger of the last week, couple of months, and even over the past several years and wanted to chime in, but in a very limited manner because it is not my place to really opine on it.
I am a first generation Filipino-American citizen who doesn’t even like to use that designation. My background and heritage is Filipino but I have been raised to be an American, first. It took a long time to understand that being raised “American,” usually means to be raised to fit into a predominantly white, cis, Christian, and male-friendly society. Because of that, in my heart and mind I am an American citizen who, looking back, has been raised with a variety of social privileges that this nation has systemically and structurally denied or made far more difficult to attain than many of my fellow American citizens.
Are the opportunities to attain them there? Of course. The “American Experiment” is on going, and ever evolving by design, but that does not mean that everyone has an equal path in front of them, nor do they have equal resources available to help them. Some people don’t even get an opportunity to begin from the same social starting line.
My perspective, even if I am POC isn’t really relevant to Black Lives or to other POCs’ experience in the United States because my experience is, frankly, white; therefore, my opinion on <insert modifier>LivesMatter only serves as an irrelevant distraction to real, justifiable, and righteous anger felt by a segment of the population whose experience I cannot ever fully relate to.
Where I can make a firm stand, however, is in my getting out of the way as much as possible whenever possible. I strongly suggest that others — those who are unsure of what they themselves feel, or agree with, or are on the fence over, or even don’t agree at all — do the same and take yourselves out of the picture if it’s not your pain, your anger, or your lived daily experience. It’s not about you, and it will never be about you.
I refuse to tell black lives how to feel, protest, mourn, or live. I suggest more of you start doing the same. Shut the fuck up and listen to the voices of your fellow citizens. They are all around you, and they are in immense pain.
You’re being asked to wear a cloth mask to cover your face to reduce the majority of the droplets you exhale from combining with the droplets that other people exhale, in a community effort to lower the overall risk of contagion to others.
It will absolutely not 100% protect you from inhalation of droplets, and that is entirely the point of making it a shared effort to reduce the total volume of respiratory droplets in the same air breathed by everyone. Less droplets exhaled leads to less droplets inhaled.
Photo #1: I am wearing a polyester neck gaiter as a simple, single layer, face mask. Even though it is not intended to act as protective personal equipment, or a medical grade filtered mask or respirator, that’s not the point. It helps to reduce, not eliminate, the droplets that I exhale. It’s not perfect, nor is it the most effective, but it is better than nothing. I can breathe just fine, and go about shopping at a local Asian market for what I need to stock up on, where everyone else is masked. The risk is there, of course, but greatly reduced for everyone present. With my asthma, I never felt restricted in any way, never felt my breathing was compromised, and could easily function with very minimal impact to my oxygen levels.
Photo #2: I was wearing a chemical protective mask and full chemical protective suit designed to filter out or reduce the impact of a variety of airborne contaminants, sprayed droplets, or vaporized hazards including: mustard gas, CS gas (tear gas, for you civilians), a variety of nerve agents, blister agents, weaponized anthrax spores and some biological hazards, and toxic chemicals due to fire and smoke and it was still was not 100% effective against every threat out there. It just reduced the risk to a much greater extent and for a longer period and I would have needed a fully sealed suit with its own air supply to be completely protected against all contaminants.
At the time the photo was taken, it was August, around 3pm, during a training exercise in Georgia. It was hot, miserably humid, and I had been wearing the full suit for about two hours with another 2 hours to go before someone gave the “All Clear.” The mask absolutely could not be removed until then. I could hydrate through a tube at the opening of the mask, connected to my canteen. Otherwise, physically, I had to still carry out the training mission, fully dressed in the suit and mask (MOPP Level 4), during the hottest part of day, and the hottest day of the year, in a Georgia swamp, at a high tempo, until whenever someone in charge decided that the exercise was over.
The point is, even under conditions most civilians whining about masks will never face, MOPP-4 did not kill me. Although it made me miserable, overheated, and exhausted over the course of 4-6 hours, MOPP-4 was designed to protect me from an incredibly contaminated environment. The biggest risks I faced during that particular exercise was dehydration and possible heat stroke. Imagine, now, having to wear MOPP-4 in a real combat environment.
By comparison, a face mask is not meant to protect you from the contaminants within that environment. It is only meant to help reduce the contamination to a shared environment by reducing everyone’s exhaled droplets. It’s the same as trying to get everyone to reduce their collective carbon footprints (and we know how well that is going), only this time it is trying to get everyone to reduce their COVID-19 footprints.
For the majority of you, certain health conditions aside, even an improvised face mask is not going to cause any risk to you, outside of a slight inconvenience to your pride. Realistically, listening to Donald Trump will more likely get you killed, assuming that rat has convinced you that “mAsKs r A dEmOcRaTiC tAcTiC 2 gEt U 2 GiVe Up Ur FreEdUmBz MAGA!”
If a training exercise with the US Army 3rd Infantry Division for several hours under MOPP-4 conditions during the hottest part of a brutally hot and humid day in a Georgia swamp did not kill me, wearing a simple cloth mask to go grocery shopping for 20-30 minutes will not kill you.
I am scared of the future of this country, the “American” ideal that drew my family to immigrate from the Philippines and that was held up to me growing up as the shining example of having the best opportunity to live the best life possible.
From a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003.
For that reason and others, WHO has begun referring to the virus as “the virus responsible for COVID-19” or “the COVID-19 virus” when communicating with the public. Neither of these designations are intended as replacements for the official name of the virus as agreed by the ICTV
Referring to SARS-Cov-2 by any other name is incorrect.