The D.N.C. is cheating AGAIN!

SOURCE: The Jimmy Dore Show, <https://youtu.be/BwjRnXGtkr0>, posted 8/27/2019.

^ This is what the Democratic Party does, they cheat the populists out of the process by manipulating their primary rules.  The Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) was against Bernie Sanders in 2016 because they were beholden to the Clinton machine and Sanders was the anti-war voice against Hillary Clinton.  Now, the D.N.C. is against Tulsi Gabbard because she’s the new populist voice speaking out against the corporate interests who bankroll the Democrats.  Changes in debate rules in the middle of the election season, discounting specific polls that don’t favor specific candidates, setting thresholds for fundraising as qualifyers for potential nominations, these are some of the subtle tactics that the dominant political parties (the Republican Party is guilty too) use to maintain power and shut out candidates who value the public over their party.  Populists are at an incredible disadvantage because our elections are all about party loyalty and fundraising.
President George Washington warned the American public about party politics, these fucking donkeys and elephants have taken over the nation!

Populists are at an incredible disadvantage because our elections are all about party loyalty and fundraising.

SOURCE: United States Representative Tulsi Gabbard, <https://youtu.be/es3lWK-wXLs>, posted 8/27/2019.

 

 

New Mexico – a lot of potential with an old mindset.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Living in New Mexico is like living in a trailer park that’s been granted statehood.  Our infrastructure is barely up to twentieth century standards, our politicians are unprofessional (technically), and most people don’t know how to drive.

 

School bus on Indian Service Route 5010 near Sanostee, New Mexico
Image Source: <http://www.newmexiconewsport.com/>.

 

New Mexico does have potential for growth if only the public would ditch this lingering old West, Libertarian mindset.  “Live free or die,” as they say – oh, wait, wrong state!  New Mexico’s motto is a question: “red or green?”  That’s also a good way to figure out if someone was born/raised in New Mexico, just ask the person if they like smothering their food in chili peppers to the point where you can’t even taste the main part of the dish.  Mexican-style food is delicious when it’s not smothered with one thing like chili peppers or cheese but I’ve digresed.

Perhaps I’m fixating on some things that don’t matter.  Perhaps I’m judging New Mexico a little too harshly.  New Mexican communities are heavily family-oriented which make for very cohesive communities, albeit communities that are not very well coordinated as one over-arching community throughout the entire state.  We’re more like a lot of isolated communties amidst an incredibly wide expanse of geography.  Maybe if we had some decent public transportation that was more widespread to more population centers, we could be operating as a more cohesive statewide community.

Albuquerque Public Schools should definitely do something about the lead in their sinks.

One area where New Mexico looks very promising is the film industry and we can hope that the state takes further advantage of of this.  With the new studio that Netflix is opening in Albuquerque, perhaps we can become the next Los Angeles in a few decades as an entertainment epicenter.

Can we all just play some games together?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Politics is becoming way too tribal these days and I’m becoming more inclined to simply opt out of the process altogether.  Why state my opinion if I’ll just get taken out of context and demonized by my opponents?  Why try to promote truth when most people don’t care about truth?  I’ll just stick to my dead-end jobs and enjoy my days off with some video games.

 

Destiny 2 5_16_2019 11_48_35 AM
A Hunter meets a Titan on Nessus (Destiny 2).

 

I think the best way to be politically involved is in your local community (at least).  Your home community will have the most effects on your daily life and your daily interactions can have some influence on the local culture (however small that influence may be).  Perhaps the keys to countering rising political tribalism lie in expanding your personal interactions on the local level.  Every facet of your life should not be a part of some grand political fight, that kind of life grows exhausting very fast.  We need to remember to take time away from our personal politics to just spend time with people – no politics, no grand-standing, no partisan bullshit – just spending time with your peers casually bantering with one another (like people used to do in the days before internet connections).

Personally, I would love to find some gamers in Albuquerque just to get together with a couple times a week and talk about video games for a couple hours.  Maybe I should start a “No Politics” club to attract more intelligent people. 😀 lol Maybe I can even bring back the Know Nothing Party. 🙂

Btw, my Blizzard gamertag is “Crabb90#1566” if any Destiny players want to jump into the Crucible with me. 😉

Trust me, I’m a writer.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Journalism is not supposed to be propaganda from politicians.  Journalism is supposed to hold politicians accountable for what they say (Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, 2019).”

How can a news organization today (particularly a new organization) gain the trust of the public given the current over-saturation of the market?  I think the key is transparency for themselves, each reporter/editor/producer must be willing to put their name in front of the public eye and stand up for their work in the face of criticism.  Make sure that any one of your readers/viewers/listeners can approach you with questions if they so desire and accept criticism with grace; do not let praise inflate your ego.  This is also just good advice in general – be honest with yourself about what you’re doing, try to be self-aware in what you do, and maintain an over-arching vision to guide your work.

It’s impossible to be completely objective simply because most humans orient themselves around their subjective feelings rather than logic and their objective surroundings but that doesn’t mean that we can not strive for objectivity for its own sake.  Every human has the capacity for logical reasoning through critical thinking and discourse, it’s what makes our species so powerful in nature – we can come together around common goals and manipulate our environment in ways other animals can not.  However; this attribute is a double-edged sword for, if we remain too long in one group with the same ideas in circulation over and over and over again, our minds become dull from ease and the group weakens with fatigue.  To maintain a competitive edge, a group of humans must always be inviting to a variety of ideas, individuals must be willing to challenge themselves to sharpen their arguments.  Echo chambers are dangerous.

This is exactly what modern media has become: an ecosystem of echo chambers.  People on the political Right-wing have their own sources, people on the political Left-wing have their own sources, and more moderately-minded people don’t know where to go for sources so they try to read multiple sources from both sides of the spectrum (if they don’t opt out of politics altogether) all the while animosity for everyone else increases and politics becomes more and more tribal.  Modernity is supposed to be more civilized than tribalism.

I think I’m digressing, let’s go back to the topic of modern news media.  I think the key to success in news media is transparency which is why I want to list what I think is important to discuss when it comes to political engagement, government functions, and such:

  • the role of a government relative to the society it presides over,
  • hearing from a variety of perspectives regardless of popularity,
  • clarifying differences between perspectives and taking care to NOT miss-represent one’s ideas.

I believe these to be important facets of news media – a result of my own beliefs in individualism, free speech, pluralism, government and corporate transparency, and democratic-republicanism.  My goal with my writing (both my personal writing and professional writing) is to promote inquiry into how our societies operate, encourage more people to ask questions that some people in positions of power may not want to answer.  I’ve written in the past about my belief in writing skills and their importance to civilization and I stand by that belief today.

City Councilor Draws Mid-sized Crowd at Weck’s on Louisiana Blvd. @ Montgomery

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson organizes a regular event in her district to meet with city residents (posted on the city website).  The meet-up this morning was a very cordial one of a couple dozen or so concerned citizens albeit the majority of attendees were senior citizens.

I was not disappointed about who was in attendance but rather about who was not in attendance; only a handful of faces in the crowd looked younger than 40.  It baffles me that most individuals from my own generation have no interest in prospecting their local political processes.  Although cynicism is understandable, it is not excusable.  Regardless of the overwhelming burden of political activism on an individual, it is still necessary to at least attempt to understand the issues happening around you and make an effort to exert your influence (no matter how small it may be) on the people elected/appointed to represent you.  Governments do not stop operating simply because you choose to bury your head in the sand.  In fact, averting your eyes from government processes will only ease the temptation toward corruption on government officials, a temptation that pulls on every human in a position of power.

The group discussion began with the possibility of a land bank for the City of Albuquerque, basically a method for the city to identify vacant lots and run-down structures to acquire and flip for productivity.  There was a majority support for this idea as a main concern throughout the meet-up was blight and property values.  I asked Councilor Gibson about this so-called land bank being used to identify vacant lots and dilapidated structures to be transformed into new public parks, she said public parks could be a possibility but the main focus was on acquiring old and vacant homes to flip on the housing market.  I also asked Councilor Gibson about how the Council could improve the city buses, she replied that she would like to see a larger fleet of buses to reduce wait times at bus stops.  Councilor Gibson joked that she would probably be long dead before we saw more bridges constructed across the Rio Grande so a larger fleet of buses is the next best thing to reduce traffic on the roads; she said that she is a ardent supporter of public transit.  The meeting ended with a vibrant discussion on how the city can “go green” regarding his consumption and energy use, it seems to be an issue on a lot of residents’ minds which is hopeful for the future.

It’s Monday so be sure to set a new goal for the new week and try and be a better than person than you were last week.  We all have our “bad days” but, if we tackle life just a little bit at a time, we can get through anything.

NewWeekNewGoals

 

Apex Legends bashes through a wall into the battle royale genre.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

There is a new battle royale game available that blows Fortnite out of the water.  With over ten million players in its first week upon launch, Apex Legends is geared to compete in the rising gaming genre that pits players in an arena-style map to fight to the death.

Did I mention that the game is free to download? 🙂

One reason that I prefer Apex Legends to Fortnite is the greater details in the gameplay.  Fortnite‘s cartoonish asthetic gives it an immature and child-like feel, limiting my suspension of disbelief in the fictional world.  That child-like feel combined with the fact that there are no unique characters in the canon makes the environment too superficial.  It’s true that Fortnite players can customize their appearance through the purchasing of various skins but it is purely for aesthetic purposes.  Apex Legends players have a choice of a select group of characters to play in the map and each character has unique abilites to use in combat.  The characters not only add variability to the gameplay but also add to the lore of the story.

You can decide for yourself which character is best for your style of gameplay but here’s a subjective guide of the characters from YouTube user “ImMarksman.”

Another reason why Apex Legends is superior to Fortnite is the more intricate map.  The little details in the terrain (more rocks to use for cover, more ledges to climb up on for a better view, the various paths you can take from one end of the map the another, etc.) make all the difference in the battle royale genre, a genre that is inherently limited by a set map that gets smaller the longer you play.

 

ApexLegends-map
Image Source: <https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/04/apex-legends-hands-on-gameplay-videos-highlight-fresh-battle-royale-tactics/>.

 

An unfortunate down-side to Apex Legends is that the game currently has no solo mode, you are forced to play in a team of three players.  That specific caveat would not be a  problem if more players would speak to each other cooperatively over the built-in voice chat.  In most matches, you’ll find players (like myself) wandering off on their own and not even attempting to coordinate with each other.  Those more solitary players would prefer a solo mode.

Despite the forced team play, Apex Legends is fantastic for newcomers and veterans alike, it has a beautifully designed map with detailed twists and turns that make for endless possibilities for potential strategies with rumors of more maps in the works from creator Respawn Entertainment.  I recommend this game to anyone craving some mindless competition while still looking for some decent world-building.

Counter-Productive Opposition to New Mexico’s HB31

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Yesterday, New Mexico’s House Commerce & Economic Development Committee discussed House Bill 31, the “Phased-In Minimum Wage Bill” and a lot of people traveled to the capital to express their opinions in-person to the committee (there were plenty of people for it as well as against it).

A curious citizen can view the recorded committee session here.

The restaurant industry sounds the like the most vocal demographic in opposition to HB31 and much of the criticism against the bill seems to be focused on the fact that the merging of the serving wage with the minimum wage will likely mean less tips for restaurant servers.  The loss of high earnings of tips for a successful restaurant server is an understandable fear but I think this fear misses the point of the bill.  The purpose of the bill is to create a living wage for all employees.

As of 2016, there are approximately 7.6 million individuals in the nation classed as “working poor” (working but still living below the poverty line), according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Why should anyone be living in poverty while they are working full-time or near full-time?

A tip is not a mandated exchange from a customer to a server, it is a voluntary gift supposedly based on the merit of the server’s work and attitude toward the customer.  It’s true that an employer in the restaurant industry is required by New Mexico law to make up the difference in a lack of tips to bring a server’s earnings up to the minimum wage level, but then why have two different minimum wages at all?  Why not dispense with the server’s wage entirely?  I’m confused about the double standard.

Why is it acceptable for a restaurant owner to outsource the burden of waiter/server pay to the consumers? 

 

Americans live under multiple governments.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

It seems like most of the corporate media’s focus is on the dealings of the national government, the federal government.  CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC provide 24-hour coverage on what is happening with various national politicians.  It is too be expected since those organizations brand themselves as national news outlets but what about the states in which they are based?  The state governments that those organizations operate under have more of an effect on them than the national government.

A key component of a democratic-republic is its federalist structure (a separation of powers).  The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution give the national government ultimate authority in conflicting areas of interest between the national government and the state governments, but the state governments have their own authority within their own respective territories; the states can stand up to the national government in particular instances. Scholars of constitutionalism refer to American states as “laboratories of democracy” because elected officials in each state (and, by extension, their respective municipalities) can tailor their government to their particular populations.

I have yet to see a news program that focuses on the legislative processes of all the governments under which Americans live.

#Election2016 – we’re in the home stretch!

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The year is now 2016 – an election year in the United States, one that has enormous potential for the future of American politics.  The voter turnout this November will determine the nation’s next president and the field of contenders is crowded.

On the Democratic side of the arena, we have Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley as the primary contenders.  Hillary Clinton is a former US Senator, and a former US Secretary of State as well as the wife of (former) President Bill Clinton.  Recently, Mrs. Clinton has addressed issues relating to social equality (equal rights between males and females, heterosexuals and homosexuals, etc.), economic reform, immigration reform, and national security (national security and immigration reform are looking to be ongoing topics of discussion throughout this election cycle).  You can listen to Hillary Clinton discuss her economic vision for the nation in this recorded C-SPAN production here.  Although Mrs. Clinton is currently leading her two opponents (according to RealClearPolitics), she has been labelled as a “flip-flopper by critics.  A video compilation put together by The Guardian shows Mrs. Clinton juxtaposed between differing positions she has held on social issues and economic issues.  Mrs. Clinton is also receiving her largest campaign donations from the financial industry (according to OpenSecrets), which raises questions about how she would implement economic reform.  The former Secretary of State also has a history of hawkishness, often advocting for more militaristic measures in international conflicts such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Ukraine (as catalogued by Abby Martin at RT).  Hillary Clinton may be the best funded among the Democrats, but she may not be as “liberal” as her supporters may believe.  In comparison, US Senator Bernie Sanders is on similar ground with Hillary Clinton (in terms of this election cycle) but extends his rhetoric much farthur.  He identifies as a socialist and is constantly advocating for an expansion of our government’s social welfare programs, citing those of Europe as examples.  While there may be an irrational fear among American capitalists against any kind of public policy that puts people over profits, Sanders breaks through that fear by appealing to Americans with an immense grassroots coalition (bypassing the corporate media gate keepers) and identifies socialist mechanisms already engrained in American culture.  Policies such as Medicare, which provides healthcare for senior citizens in the United States, are working in European nations providing healthcare for every citizen as a basic commodity.  Sanders also seems to have a more consistent history than his rival, Hillary Clinton, having been advocating on the side of union-backed, American jobs and against global militarism ever since he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981.

“When Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist, served as mayor here in the 1980s, he often complained that the United States had its priorities wrong, that it should be diverting money from the military to domestic needs like housing and health care,” writes Katherine Seelye at The New York Times

“Mr. Sanders, frugal by nature, set the tone.  And together, they conducted the first audit of Burlington’s pension system in a quarter-century.  They moved the city’s money into higher-yielding accounts.  They raised fees for building permits and for utilities that dug up the city’s streets.  And they ended the cronyism by which the city’s insurance contracts had been let, opening them to competitive bidding.  Taken together, these moves saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars (Seelye, The New York Times).

When Hillary Clinton’s militarist tendencies is compared to Bernie Sanders’ populism, it seems like an easy choice for me.  The former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, has not been able to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, so his campaign seems kind of pointless to me.  I think this upcoming primary election between Clinton and Sanders will be a metaphorical fight over the soul of the Democratic Party.  As a nation, do we want to continue policies that follow corporate agendas that fuel the military industrial complex, or do we want to draw inspiration from the Rooseveltian progressives and create a more altruistic culture where the lower-classes are given what they earn as the backbone of the economy?