A Never Trumper sobers up


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Why I Now Feel Compelled To Vote For Trump

Derek Hunter
Posted: Oct 23, 2016 12:01 AM

Last time a Clinton was on the ballot, I voted for Ross Perot.  My vote didn’t deny Bob Dole the White House, but I confess I felt a smug sense of satisfaction in “refusing to settle.”  I sure showed them, didn’t I?

I haven’t been as vocal as other “Never Trump” writers, but neither have I hidden my dislike or tempered my criticism.  In a field of 17 Republican candidates, Donald Trump wouldn’t have been my 18th choice.  I’m still not a fan.  But they didn’t just ask me; they asked everyone.  And more of everyone chose Donald Trump.

I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t.  For countless reasons I’ve covered over the last year, I dug in my heels and proudly basked in my self-satisfaction.  I still defended Trump in this column and on social media when he was wrongly attacked by the left and the media, but I was steadfast in my opposition to the man.

So what changed?

Not Trump. He still gives rambling speeches with little focus and spends far too much time defending himself against insignificant slights when he should be focusing on policy (though his ethics reform proposal is excellent and will irritate all the people in Washington who need to be irritated).

Hillary hasn’t changed either.  At least not in who she is – a corrupt, self-serving liar willing to do or say anything to win and/or sell out to the highest bidder.  There isn’t enough Saudi Arabian money in the Clinton Foundation to get me to vote for someone who got rich off “public service” and a “commitment to helping the poor.”

No, what’s changed is me.  Not through introspection and reflection, but through watching the sickening display of activism perpetrated by a covert army with press credentials.

Bias has always been a factor in journalism.  It’s nearly impossible to remove.  Humans have their thoughts, and keeping them out of your work is difficult.  But 2016 saw the remaining veneer of credibility, thin as it was, stripped away and set on fire.

More than anything, I can’t sit idly by and allow these perpetrators of fraud to celebrate and leak tears of joy like they did when they helped elect Barack Obama in 2008.  I have to know I weighed in not only in writing but in the voting booth.

The media needs to be destroyed.  And although voting for Trump won’t do it, it’s something.  Essentially, I am voting for Trump because of the people who don’t want me to, and I believe I must register my disgust with Hillary Clinton.

I am not of the mindset that any vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary, but a vote for Trump is a vote against Hillary.  And I need to vote against Hillary.  I need to vote against the media.

After the last debate, when no outlet “fact checked” Hillary’s lie that her opposition to the Heller decision had anything to do with children, or her lie that the State Department didn’t lose $6 billion under her leadership, I couldn’t hold out any longer.

A Trump administration at least will include people I trust in positions that matter.  I don’t know if they will be able to hold him completely in check, but I know a Clinton administration will include people who have been her co-conspirators in corruption, and there won’t even be a media to hold her accountable.

The Wikileaks emails have exposed an arrogant cabal of misery profiteers who hold everyone, even their fellow travelers deemed not pure enough, in contempt.  These bigots who’ve made their fortune from government service should be kept as far away from the levers of power as the car keys should be kept from anyone named Kennedy on a Friday night.  My one vote against it will not be enough, but it’s all I can do and I have to do all I can do.

I won’t stop being critical of Trump when he deserves it; I won’t pretend someone is handing out flowers when they’re shoveling BS.  But I’d rather have BS shoveled out of a president than our tax dollars shoveled to a president’s friends and political allies.

The Project Vertias [sic] videos exposed a corrupt political machine journalists would have been proud to expose in the past.  The Wikileaks emails pulled back the curtain on why that didn’t happen – journalists are in on it.  I can’t pretend otherwise, and I have no choice but to oppose it.

This isn’t a call to arms for “Never Trumpers” to follow suit; this is a choice I had to make for myself after much reflection.  I wouldn’t presume to tell others how to act any more than I would accept the same from someone else.  I would encourage them to consider what awaits the country should Hillary win.  If they can’t vote against her by voting for him, at least spend these last two weeks of the election directing their ire toward Clinton.

Although most are principled, far too many “Never Trump” conservatives spend more of their time attacking him than pointing out her corruption.  I get it – in him, you see the fight you’ve been a part of being betrayed, and that leaves a mark.

I’m not saying you should support him, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of opposing her.  If, or when, Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office, she needs to have as little support as possible.  Frankly, she needs to be damaged.  The mainstream media won’t do it; they’re in on it.

This is my choice, what I must do.  Each person has to come to this decision on their own terms.  And the fact remains there simply aren’t enough “Never Trump” Republicans to make up Trump’s current deficit, and that’s on him.  But I know what I’ve been wrestling with these past few weeks is not unique to me.  And I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot sit around knowing there was something else I could have done to oppose Hillary Clinton and I didn’t do it.

A simple protest vote for a third party or a write-in of my favorite comic book character might feel good for a moment.  It might even give me a sense of moral superiority that lasts until her first executive order damaging something I hold dear – or her first Supreme Court nominee.  But the sting that will follow will far outlive that temporary satisfaction.

I oppose much of what Donald Trump has said, but I oppose everything Hillary Clinton has done and wants to do.  And what someone says, no matter how objectionable, is less important than what someone does, especially when it’s so objectionable.  A personal moral victory won’t suffice when the stakes are so high.  As such, I am compelled to vote against Hillary by voting for the only candidate with any chance whatsoever of beating her – Donald Trump.

Cooking for poor poets and others: Autumn Salad With Lemon-Chili Vinaigrette


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The Wall Street Journal

Dan Kluger’s Recipe for Autumn Salad With Lemon-Chili Vinaigrette

Crunchy raw kohlrabi, fennel and Granny Smith apple are only the beginning.  Add a vinaigrette with chili kick and handfuls of herbs, plus farro and almonds, and you have a salad recipe that will brighten the chilly months

RAW DEAL | Shaved or julienned, vegetables that are typically served cooked can make great salads.  Here, raw kohlrabi and celery root add crunch and zing.  Photo:  Bryan Gardner for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Heather Meldrom, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian

Oct. 19, 2016 2:39 p.m. ET

The Chef:  Dan Kluger

Dan Kluger Illustration:  Alexander Wells

His Restaurant:  Loring Place, opening in November in New York

What He Is Known For:  Taking produce-driven cooking from hippie to haute. Raising city dwellers’ expectations of wholesome eating.

FRESH, CRUNCHY and packed with antioxidants and fiber, this autumn salad from New York chef Dan Kluger could be the most wholesome thing you eat this week.  His second Slow Food Fast contribution is composed almost entirely of raw fruits and vegetables—kohlrabi, apples, celery root, herbs and arugula—as well as almonds, dried currants and a kicky lemon-chili vinaigrette.

For Mr. Kluger, healthy eating is inseparable from a healthy food system.  “For me, when something is ‘wholesome,’ I think of the farmers,” he said.  “I’ve watched them care for their land and their kids over the years, and I trust their produce.  It’s really about land husbandry and relationships.”

Still, this chef never forgets it’s his job to compose a satisfying plate, however excellent the raw ingredients.  “I try and make food exciting with punches of flavor and texture,” he said.  Here he tosses in some cooked farro, a nutty grain, for texture and a little heft.  So we have those toothsome grains, toasted nuts, sweet-tart currants, fragrant herbs, the sharp citrus dressing, peppery arugula and all the vegetables playing off one another.

Once you master the balance of flavors and textures, you can play with the individual elements, swapping in the best of what’s available at the market that week.  “Use cherries instead of currants, or pistachios instead of almonds,” he said.  “It always goes back to good ingredients and using them well.”
Autumn Salad With Lemon-Chili Vinaigrette

total Time:  20 minutes Serves:  4

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked farro
1 cup thinly shaved fennel
¾ cup julienned Granny Smith apple
¾ cup julienned kohlrabi
¾ cup julienned celery root
½ cup dried currants
½ cup roughly chopped toasted almonds, plus more for garnish
1 cup tightly packed baby arugula
¾ cup roughly torn mint leaves, plus more to garnish
¾ cup roughly chopped dill, plus more to garnish
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon

1.  Make vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, a pinch of salt and chilies.  While whisking, drizzle in oil until emulsified.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, toss together farro, fennel, apples, kohlrabi and celery root.  Toss in currants, almonds, arugula and herbs.  Give vinaigrette a quick whisking then use it to lightly dress salad.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  To serve, transfer salad to a serving platter.   Garnish with extra herbs, almonds and lemon zest.

Bad moon rising (for real)


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The Wall Street Journal


Hospitals Really Believe Bad Things Happen On a Full Moon

Doctors and nurses see them as harbingers of chaos in emergency rooms; psychotic episodes and a ‘spooky’ birth

A ‘hunter’s moon’ rising this weekend in Yorkshire, England. Photo:  Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Zuma Press

Cloud Shapes: a poem


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Sometimes my dreams are fatal
To myself or to others,
Though I’m not near the kind
To be macabre to my sisters or brothers.

I don’t claim to understand dreams.
I just let them come and go,
Fragments of a wartorn psyche.
In Halloween clouds, such shapes will grow.

Not to worry, not to fret.
With every sunrise comes a sunset;
With every sunset comes a sunrise
And forecasts of crisp, clear, November skies.

by S.A. Bort

illustration by Celia Birtwell

Left-leaning press censors Clinton crimes


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The Wall Street Journal

The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins

As reporters focus on Trump, they miss new details on Clinton’s rotten record.

Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in Washington, D.C., Oct. 22, 2015.   Photo:  Corbis/Getty Images

Dylan: The Shakespeare of our times!


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The Wall Street Journal


Yes, Bob Dylan Deserves the Nobel Prize

The songwriter is a master of an American colloquial style, who discovered new ways of setting words and narrative to music.

Oct. 13, 2016 2:35 p.m. ET

For those who endorse awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature, the question might be:  Why did the Swedish Academy wait so long?  For those who oppose:  A songwriter?

But there is never an expiration date on the acknowledgment of excellence, and Mr. Dylan is much more than a songwriter.  One may quarrel that the award delays what appears to be the inevitable recognition by the academy of novelists Haruki Murakami and Philip Roth, among others, or that a composer for musical theater like Stephen Sondheim is the place to begin if songs are considered literature.  But no one who knows Mr. Dylan’s work and its impact on his and subsequent generations of authors and composers can dispute its high quality.

To the point of whether the words to songs comprise literature:  It is the rare lyric that can stand on its own without the rhythm the music provides.  The irony of assessing Mr. Dylan’s words absent the accompaniment is that he changed popular music by discovering and then exploring, repeatedly and often magnificently, new ways to set distinctive narratives to melody and rhythm as in “Mr. Tambourine Man” or “Like a Rolling Stone.”  There is no comparable body of work, regardless of standard of measurement, by any other artist of the rock era.

The academy is acknowledging Mr. Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”  This is a precise definition:  It doesn’t claim that Mr. Dylan’s lyrics are poetry and thus comparable to the work of Nobel Prize-winning poets T.S. Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Pablo Neruda, W.B. Yeats and others.  It suggests that his contribution to literature exists in a separate category, one in which he is a dominant figure.  This is fact and it remains so.  Those who think Mr. Dylan’s great writing can be found only in his most familiar early folk works—such as “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’”—should know that he is still writing well, even if his albums are no longer in the vanguard of rock and pop.  His late-1990s and early 21st-century narrative songs like “Cold Irons Bound,” “High Water (for Charley Patton),” “Love Sick” and “Pay in Blood” are comparable in their storytelling prowess to one of his rock masterpieces like “All Along the Watchtower” or “Hurricane.”  In recognizing that he is extending an American tradition, the academy is careful not to limit Mr. Dylan to a specific style of composition. He has written great songs in the form of the blues, country, folk, gospel and various styles of rock.

Mr. Dylan’s words can resonate independently because he is a master of an American colloquial style—a writer who sets words and narrative to music.  All but inevitably his lyrics include an insight or turn of phrase that is distinctly his own.  Born in Hibbing, Minn., Mr. Dylan is an American writer who emerged from the same upper Midwest soil as did F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elmore Leonard, Sinclair Lewis, Carl Sandburg and Thornton Wilder.  As revealed in “Chronicles, Volume One,” his delightful autobiography—and also amply evident in his lyrics—Mr. Dylan is a voracious reader who appreciates story as well as wordplay and the flow of language.

The Nobel Prize in Literature confirms his status as something more than a songwriter of a kind with those who preceded him.  For those who follow him closely, savoring his witticisms, poignant observations and the unexpected word at precisely the right time, the acknowledgment is long overdue, with all respect to Messrs. Murakami, Roth, Sondheim and others.  Sentence by sentence and verse by verse, Mr. Dylan’s body of work is worthy of maximum celebration.

Cognitive dissonance and today’s polarized political world


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An interesting quote from a famous Black psychiatrist from Martinique that a friend of mine came across:

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong.  When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted.  It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance.  And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

So, you have die-hard Democrats who say:  Hillary is not a criminal because she was never indicted by the FBI, and you have die-hard Republicans who say the Donald is not a misogynist because he apologized, or because he was just speaking “locker-room banter.”

The ability to set all that aside and vote logically instead of rationalizing one’s “white-knight” candidate is the balancing act.

Is it even possible in today’s polarized political world?

above photo from:  https://www.facebook.com/hillaryisacriminal/

Parkinson disease Test 3 of 4: 12 October 2016


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Parkinson disease DaTscan (Dopamine active Transporter scan)

Test 3 of 4: 12 October 2016

*“DaTSCAN is a solution of ioflupane (123I) for injection into a living test subject.

The iodine introduced during manufacture is a radioactive isotope, I-123, and it is the properties of this isotope that makes the solution visible to a gamma camera. I-123 has a half life of approximately 13 hours and a gamma photon energy of 159 keV making it an appropriate radionuclide for medical imaging. The solution also contains 5% ethanol to aid solubility and is supplied sterile since it is intended for intravenous use.

Ioflupane has a high binding affinity for presynaptic dopamine transporters (DAT) in the brains of mammals, in particular the striatal region of the brain. A feature of Parkinson’s disease is a marked reduction in dopaminergic neurons in the striatal region. By introducing an agent that binds to the dopamine transporters a quantitative measure and spatial distribution of the transporters can be obtained.”:

*From:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioflupane_(123I)

above photo from:  https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Imaging-Center/For-Patients/Exams-by-Procedure/Nuclear-Medicine/DatScan/DaTscan-Procedure-Information.aspx

Cries on deaf ears at the turnaround of a dead-end street


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There should be a test called “What represents a crime, and what represents a not-crime, and which is worse?”  It should be against the rules to lie on the test or write off the test answers as “relative” and therefore unnecessary to waste time on.

An obvious problem with the test is one of generationally-ingrained blind partisanship.  There are now too many people of voting age who have been conditioned by parents and/or mentors to believe that if you can get away with it, then it’s a not-crime, and if it’s contrary to your partisan belief-system, then it’s a crime–even when it’s truthfully not.

Somewhere along the line, truth was kicked in the ass down a dead-end street.  Most people now thrive, at least politically, at the intersection of partisanship and relativism.

Hillary and Bill are criminals relative to whether or not they got caught, and if caught, whether or not they got indicted.  They each have broken numerous laws over the decades, but with the exception of Bill, they weren’t convicted of any.  Crimes?

Trump is a criminal relative to whether you’re partisan to the Democrats or to the Republicans.  Trump has broken no laws, at least, it has yet to be proven.  Not-crimes?

A dilemma, these cries on deaf ears at the turnaround of a dead-end street.

by S.A. Bort  10 October 2016

photo from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_end_(street)

A Second Internet: uncensored!


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A Second Internet, Coming Soon, Courtesy of the Blockchain



Muneeb Ali speaks at TEDxNewYork 2016 – Down the Rabbit Hole, September 10, 2016, at the SVA Theatre.  Dian Lofton, used by permission

A lot of weird stuff has been happening to data inside the internet’s walled gardens.  It has been getting shut down by the people who own the sites we all depend on.  There’s a protest going on at Facebook over the issue right now.  One Turkish journalist is saying that his account has been blocked inside the country, at his government’s request; Palestinian journalists have a similar problem.  YouTubers believe that their videos have been getting unfairly de-monetized by mindless robots.

On a more macro level, publishers that had worked hard to build a Facebook driven traffic strategy saw their traffic plummet when the social media giant decided it preferred user generated content.  These decisions cut more deeply because so many organizations depend entirely on the big social sites for relevance.  Some of them don’t even have standalone websites.

NowThis was feted at its founding in 2012 for building a news organization that assumed all of its content would be distributed on sprawling social networks, but it hasn’t caught on as a cultural force.  Social network driven growth was seductive way to reduce friction marshaling powerful network effects to build audience, which made it easier for content to go viral.  That said, it seems like publishers forgot to consider the potential downside of depending on someone else’s IP to distribute content?

Blockstack browser, still in private alpha.

Blockstack browser, open on a desktop, still in private alpha.  Courtesy of Blockstack

A Union Square Ventures and Y Combinator backed startup called Blockstack, just barely out of stealth mode, has been designing an alternative browser for what could be fairly described as another internet, one powered by the bitcoin blockchain.  “They are in it for the long run,” Muneeb Ali, a CTO and Cofounder, said of his investors, during an interview with the Observer at his office.  “They actually believe that this is the future.”  In other words, even if a different kind of internet undermines past investments, investors still want to be positioned well for the next ones.

Blockstack’s browser, a fork of Chromium, is the first application for an internet that works much as this Economist journalist described in a prior post by the Observer.  In its first version, it will only have access to this new internet.  Some day, it could be built to work for both.

Ali spoke on the TEDxNewYork 2016 stage, describing an internet that couldn’t be censored.  In that talk, he said, “The new internet takes away power from these large companies and takes it to where it always belonged, with the people.”  The architecture the team has built is completely open source.

We met up with Ali alongside his co-founder, Ryan Shea.  In their view, users will generate data by using services, but that data will not be held in those services’ databases—users would store all their posts, messages, photos and engagements on their own cloud sites, like Dropbox.  Sites on this revised internet would access the data people created only as long as those people let them have access.

“The only people you get to see it are the people you share it with,” Shea added.  “There’s no company in the middle.”  It’s invisible to most users, but there is a company in the middle of nearly all our interactions online now.  Verisign registers all .com domains today.  It’s the company you have to trust that you’re really looking at the site you navigated to.  Blockstack would use the blockchain to log where data can be found and who’s authorized to view it, but not to store the data itself.  That’s the users’ job.

For a deep technical read on how Blockstack works differently, check out their login paper.

It’s a step further along the road of decentralization than the founders of crypto-powered social network Steemit have gone, letting users earn a stake in the system by posting, but ultimately storing all their content in one place, the Steem blockchain, which is owned by all users of the Steem currency.

Naturally, there would be nothing to stop sites built for Blockstack from making plaintext copies of users’ data, but if the originals all got stored in people’s own digital chests of drawers that gives the rightful owners considerably more power.  We recently reported on another decentralized web product that makes it easier for creators to track attribution of their work across the internet, Mediachain.

The Blockstack approach should make shutting down the internet or blocking a particular site considerably more challenging.  Domain registration is turned over to a blockchain (right now, that’s the original bitcoin blockchain), and no private interest needs to be involved.  There’s no single point to tell computers where to look to find a site.  There’s lots of places, and the more people use it, the more places there will be.  If one path to information is shut down, another can found.

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea, Blockstack co-founders.  Brady Dale for Observer

On this internet, no one would need to log in to websites, because your browser would use its built in public-private key pair to validate you on each site you visited.  Online payments would not need a middleman like PayPal, either, because they would be made using the cryptocurrency wallet built into the browser.  All of this, by the way, also makes building websites easier, according to Ali and Shea, because developers aren’t responsible for securing your data or your passwords.

“You could imagine an app that’s 200 lines of code,” Shea said.

Their first product was Onename, a decentralized identity service.  When the system goes live, each person will have an identity, as will each browser and each application.  That way every single part of the system can be permissioned.  “It’s simple to sign up,” Shea said.  “If you go to an app, it’s very similar to an app that logs into Facebook.”  About 60,000 identities have been registered on Onename so far.

We recently reported that Microsoft has become convinced that identity will be the blockchain’s first true killer app.  Blockstack is already in the giant software company’s ecosystem, though it is not the only company working to create a better, more secure digital identity.  Additionally, the United Nations has set a goal of universal access to official identity by 2030.

Other companies are working on their own products for this distributed internet now.  For example, the team told us to also look forward to something that works much like Medium around the time the team opens the browser to the public.  After all, who would want an internet you couldn’t blog on?