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"God Hates Euroranger, Yes INdeed He Does"

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I Can Fix Illegal Immigration

Posted by Euroranger on February 6, 2017


As some of us have seen, and many more have heard, 84Lumber ran an “ad” last night during the Super Bowl wherein their takeaway message at the end of a nearly 6 minute long video was “the will to succeed is always welcome here”.

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Probably doesn’t help that the image this stirring message is superimposed on is a potential construction employer who, also, would be breaking laws by employing illegals.

A noble sentiment, to be sure…except for the part where, in their video, the “will to succeed” was illustrated as two supposedly Mexican nationals (sympathetically portrayed as a mother and her little girl) encountering a border wall…and then entering the United States illegally.

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Remarkable they considered a gate in the wall instead of having them scale it.  Almost as if there were intentional entry points where people could go to enter the country properly.

This ad has drawn admirers and critics both.  Personally, I think breaking our laws is wrong and American companies supporting the portrayal of such, even with characters designed to be heart-tugging (right down to the little girl knitting a United States flag out of discarded garbage) is irresponsible and wrong.  Skip for a moment that the corporation (a member of a usually demonized and evil group) who produced the touching Super Bowl spot is a lumber company that would like to sell even more of their lumber to the number two employer of illegal labor in our country, the construction industry, so they could make ever greater profit.  This self-serving fact is conveniently missed by those who are cheering this ad for the sensitive and thoughtful message of how we should welcome anyone who wants to come to our country regardless of whether they observe our laws doing so or not.  However, setting aside this curious bit of dogmatic blindness, I do believe we have a real issue with regard to illegal immigration to our country.

People who support such an ad as the one 84Lumber did like to point to our history as a receiver of other country’s “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and believe that people streaming unchecked and unknown across our southern border in violation of our laws is the same thing.  I could get into a discussion of how it’s clearly not the same thing but that debate is for another time because, as the title of my article states, I Can Fix Illegal Immigration (so no debate would be necessary).  My idea is to take the 1900’s example of immigration and apply it to today’s issues.

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Ellis Island, small but effective.

Back in the early part of the 1900’s, many immigrants to the United States came from overseas and ended up, often times, at Ellis Island.  Ellis Island opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years (it closed in 1954). From 1900 to 1914, the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation, some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day. Approximately 80 percent successfully passed through in a matter of hours.  Millions of people came through the station during its operation, an island of only 6 acres (or roughly 4.5 football fields).  Most that came to the United States back then came for various reasons: war, drought, famine and religious persecution amongst others.  They overwhelmingly had one thing in common: they were poor.  They often arrived by paying for a steerage fare (if you’ve seen Titanic, they were the people in the lower levels of the ship) and brought with them only what they could carry.  Upon arriving, they were tagged with information from the ship’s registry and passed through long lines for medical and legal inspections to determine if they were fit for entry into the United States.  Doctors checked for more than 60 diseases and disabilities that might disqualify them from entry into the United States. Those suspected of being afflicted with or having a disease or disability were marked with chalk and detained for closer examination.  Each passenger had to answer up to 31 questions (the answers recorded on manifest lists) before boarding the ship in their home country. The questions included, among others: name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, nationality, ability to read or write, race, physical and mental health, last residence, and the name and address of the nearest relative or friend in the immigrant’s country of origin. Immigrants were asked whether they had at least $25; whether they had ever been in prison, an almshouse, or an institution; or if they were polygamists or anarchists.  This information was part of the ship’s registry and passed to United States immigration officials upon arrival.

Immigrants weren’t charged for actually entering the United States but they were screened for diseases, criminal history and ability to contribute to our society (and not be a vagrant or social support case).  These are the conditions that proponents of immigration point at as superior examples of what we could be doing today for immigration policy.  The trouble is, we don’t have an analog to Ellis Island along our southern border and no way to force people through a funnel like that.  Back in the 1900’s the journey had to be made by ship which necessitated landing at a port…aspects our government could and properly did control.  A sea border of thousands of miles width, cannot be easily circumvented like an unfenced land border can be.

Before I go further, it’s helpful to understand why people immigrate to the United States illegally.  This isn’t about opportunities in the US that don’t exist in their own countries.  This is about the barriers to legal immigration to today’s version of the 1900’s “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.  This interesting article from Bloomberg sums the current immigration dilemma up nicely:

…to hire someone on an H-1B visa, a U.S. employer has to pay about $2,500 in legal fees; a $1,500 training fee; a $1,000 “premium processing” fee; a $500 antifraud fee; a $190 immigration service fee; around $125 in additional incidental costs; and a $100 visa fee. That totals almost $6,000.

Complicated immigration cases can cost eligible applicants $10,000 or more in legal fees alone.

…unauthorized immigrants from Central America pay between $7,000 and $10,000 in smuggling fees to get across the border…often more than once, because they get caught, thrown out, and try to return.

So, how much could—or should—we charge for the right to live and work in the U.S.? Becker suggested the U.S. should let in anyone who can pay $50,000 to Uncle Sam and pass a criminal background check. That may seem like a lot of money, but Miao Chi and Scott Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin estimate that, allowing for factors including age and education, the average recent Mexican immigrant with a green card (permanent resident status) earns roughly $20,000 a year more than the average Mexican immigrant without one (on a more limited visa or undocumented). So, allowing for education, the average immigrant from south of the border would recoup that $50,000 in less than three years.

For those who oppose the very idea of selling citizenship or residence…[t]he current EB-5 visa program gives green cards to people who invest $500,000 and create at least 10 jobs in the U.S. And the proposed (bipartisan) Schumer-Lee bill would provide a residency visa for anyone who simply spends $500,000 on buying a house. So Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress have already thrown their support behind a fee-based immigration system—all there is to haggle over is the price.

That’s a lot to digest but the upshot is that back in 1900’s you merely had to figure out how to pay for a way to get here and, later, have $25 in your pocket.  That’s a far cry from the tens of thousands that immigrants, both legal and illegal, spend today to come here.  The real issue is: if they are already “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” they likely don’t have the tens of thousands they need to come here.  Our current immigration system is, for lack of a better word, catering to an elite that it didn’t used to.  My solution fixes that.

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Hola y bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos!

My solution seeks to combine the security, registration and documentation aspects of the old system (which, in the case of illegal immigration, we currently lack) with the economic equality of access we used to have…and apply it to our southern land border.  Here’s the solution in bullet point form:

  1. Along our southern border we build new immigration centers designed to process up to 5000 prospective immigrants each per day.  These centers are built AWAY from current urban areas so that infrastructure and building surrounding them can be carefully controlled.  The only business taking place in these areas is immigration control and processing.  Essentially, copies of Ellis Island times however many we deem necessary.
  2. To anyone who voluntarily agrees to legally process through these immigration centers we propose the following exchange:
    – For registering to enter the country legally and be subject to and successfully pass health and legal inspections you will be given a social security number and a probationary visitor visa good for 5 years.
    – During that 5 years you will abide by the laws of the United States.  Conviction of a felony during that time period voids your probationary visa and you will be subject to deportation.
    – Because we aren’t charging you the $6000 or so in fees we currently charge to existing legal immigrants, you will forfeit federal tax refunds for those 5 probationary years in order to pay for your entry to the United States.
    – You will not be eligible for federal social support in the way of welfare or foodstamps.
    – You will take part in whatever federal health initiative exists (eg: ACA or whatever that turns into) and will be eligible to receive unemployment compensation provided you qualify via being previously employed in the US.
    – At the conclusion of the 5 year probationary period, you will apply for and pass a citizenship test and become an American citizen.
  3. Enforcement of 8 U.S. Code § 1324a (the federal law against employers knowingly hiring illegal immigrants) will become the top ICE enforcement focus with mandatory penalties for guilty findings.
  4. Illegal immigrants already inside the United States may not participate in the immigration centers from inside the country.  They must exit the country and re-enter and be subject to all health and legal inspections before being allowed to re-enter the United States.
  5. Impose a 25% export duty on sending funds outside of the United States after 1 duty free transaction per year via methods like Western Union and other currency transfer methods that do not require proof of identity and/or taxation documentation.  Legal immigrants will be allowed to open regular bank accounts to bypass use of such services that illegal immigrants use to send funds acquired through illegal labor back to their home countries.
  6. Finally…with the funds raised through tax refund forfeitures in point 2, penalties acquired via convictions of employers for point 3, funds acquired through drug interdiction efforts at the border and currency export duties in point 5…build a comprehensive border barrier to discourage crossing of the border illegally and encourage participation in immigration centers.  Once the barrier is built, the funds used to build the barrier will be dedicated to maintenance of the barrier and immigration centers as well as funding drug interdiction and Native American enhancement initiatives.

All these, put together, create a system wherein we gain the benefits of legal immigration (health and physical security, increasing the taxpaying base, allowing immigrants the ability to benefit from social security via their participation in that program) while offsetting the costs to the immigrant which they likely cannot currently pay.  It allows the United States to truly take in the “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” while ensuring that the process is orderly and that our national sovereignty and security is maintained.  It ensures that people actually melt in our “melting pot” and commit to becoming Americans.

The thing that has always made the United States different from the Old World was that we ARE made up from different races, ethnicities, religions and that all those differences merged and melded together into defining what an American is.  That is what our Founding Fathers wanted, that is what we should also want and strive for.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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WE can’t fix Islamic terrorism…but I know who can

Posted by Euroranger on November 16, 2015


Here we are again…bodies of innocents in the street.  Entirely predictable too.

So, the world suffered yet another terrorist attack a couple of days ago in Paris.  Six separate but coordinated attacks conducted against targets like a soccer match, a concert hall, restaurants and cafes.  They killed 129 people (so far) and wounded over 350 others and the only common denominator amongst the victims was that they were citizens of a western democracy and they were out to have a good time.  In other words, they weren’t attending some anti-Muslim rally or reading a newspaper whose comic section poked fun at some subject militant Muslims get all shooty/stabby/explodey about.  There’s a fair chance, in fact, that some of the dead people were Muslims themselves.  The targeting was deliberate; the slaughter of victims indiscriminate.  As happens in the now wired, always in touch, constantly connected world we live in, when the first news reports started showing up minutes after the attacks started, I reacted in the same way that the vast majority of people did.  I said, “goddamned Muslims again”.  It happened back on 9/11 as well.  First reports of a jet liner hitting the World Trade Center made me think “Osama Bin Laden” but I wasn’t fully there yet.  But when the second one hit, it was cemented.  One plane could be a tragic accident but a second one was an attack and the first person most people immediately thought of was Bin Laden: the leader of the most well known Islamic terrorist organization in the world at the time.  If you were old enough to remember that attack, you’ll probably also be old enough to recall that a second possible perpetrator of that kind of horrific mass murder never even came to mind.  Fast forward to this past Friday and the same thing happened.  First thought to pop into my head: Muslims.  There literally wasn’t a second place runner up finalist and I suspect the vast majority of people reacted exactly the same way.

So, militant Islamic fundamentalist terror has struck yet again.  It’s happened so many times now that it literally defies an accurate accounting of incidents.  France immediately reacted by shutting down international transportation and closed her borders.  That’s how a nation state reacts when it starts to go on a war footing.  Because ISIS (those merry Muslim assholes who are slaughtering and terrorizing their way to a better and brighter Islamic tomorrow in what used to be Syria and Iraq) claimed responsibility for the attacks, France immediately counter punched the only way a nation state can: it launched a military attack against targets in the areas that ISIS controls.  However, we all know that this is merely symbolic and that this response, while absolutely necessary to sate the righteous desire of the French people for some kind of vengeful action, will do absolutely nothing to prevent more such attacks in the future.  NOTHING about this French response makes anyone anywhere actually think “well, we’ve seen the last of THAT kind of murderous madness”.  We all know it’s just a tit for tat response and an ineffective one at that…but it’s the only thing a nation can do…and it’s inadequate.  So today, if you turn on the TV, this issue is morphing from a news flash/current events kind of incident to a catalyst for a debate on “what to do about terrorism” and more properly, “what to do about Islamic terrorism”.  One of the most compelling questions I read (via Facebook) was someone asking (and I’m paraphrasing here) “what can we do about this kind of thing without destroying civil liberties”.  When I read that, it made me really think.  Just asking about the peril to civil liberties suggests why we have, so far, been unable to affect Islamic terrorism.  I think I understand the problem and I think I have an answer.

We (western democracies) can’t fix Islamic terrorism…but I know who can.

Whenever anyone starts to discuss Islamic fundamentalist terrorism the very first thing you’ll hear is how we can’t penalize all Muslims for the actions of a few.  According to the mighty Google, there are nearly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and anywhere from 15% to 25% of them would be classified as “radical” or “fundamentalist”.  That means there are as many as 400 million people on this planet who support the erasure of western civilization and culture (because that’s what we are to those people…we’re “infidels” or unbelievers and deserving of death and eradication).  That’s more people than the entire population of the United States and Canada combined so it’s a number worth recognizing as posing a serious and continual threat.  Furthermore, those 1.6B and 400M people aren’t confined to a tidy geographic area like a nation with borders.  They’re scattered throughout the world.  Yes, there are roughly 50 nations whose populations are predominantly Muslim but for the most part you can find Muslims and by extension radicalized, militant Muslims all over the world.  As of right now, the number of terrorists who conducted the actual attacks in Paris is EIGHT.  On 9/11, it was NINETEEN and Al Qaeda tried to send TWENTY SIX in total.  That’s it.  Eight attackers in Paris and nineteen on 9/11.  Think on this a moment: less than 30 people actively conducted attacks against the United States and France in those two incidents…and there are FOUR HUNDRED MILLION SUCH PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.  September 11 revealed gaping intelligence holes and since then, our government has gone on a rampage of establishing invasive and onerous intelligence programs designed to get wind of future such attacks so that we can pre-emptively act to thwart them.  Paris itself was attacked less than a year before by Islamic terrorists though and, presumably, France has similar efforts set up to monitor communications and try to identify and neuter such sinister efforts by would be terrorists.  Western governments share information they gather and France would have received such information had national intelligence organs in the UK, US, Germany and other western nations twigged to an upcoming attack.  The fact that France was caught totally unawares says that these terrorists met, plotted and coordinated in a way that was mindful of skirting the intelligence apparatuses of the western democracies.  There was no acquired intelligence that any government was capable of gathering that would have warned French authorities in time to prevent these attacks.  This leads to the conclusion:

Western governments and government in general is not the source for the solution to Islamic terrorism.

Pictured above: doing absolutely jack other than deluding themselves thinking they’re doing something about the problem.

Earlier I identified the civil liberties conundrum: a government cannot pass laws or regulations that target all Muslims in their populations without shredding civil liberties laws.  That said, that WOULD BE THE ONLY EFFECTIVE MEANS FOR A GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  It would look something like this: label Islam as a hate group (much like the KKK which has Christian underpinnings), overtly make clear that national intelligence and police organs are actively keeping an eye on Muslims (like the FBI does with white supremacist groups and members), emplace and enforce laws that allow greater police latitude in dealing with such groups and members (relaxing 14th Amendment restrictions against unlawful searches, for example) and so on.  The problem is that to do this, you pretty much have to shred the 1st Amendment’s prohibition about making any laws restricting the free exercise of religion.  This, of course, cannot be done.  So, if government can’t do the job, who can?  Well, think a moment: who stands to lose the most if Islamic terrorism goes unchecked?  Not western democracies because once fundamentalist Islam gets big enough to actually threaten the existence of nations, they get big enough to get dealt with militarily.  Not the suicide terrorists themselves.  They’ve already accepted death as their ultimate reward for their actions.

The real player who must act in their own self interest against fundamentalist Islam…is the rest of Islam itself.

The lack of electronic intelligence that preceded this attack means that the plotters likely met in person, probably many times, to scheme and plan their villainy.  Western intelligence organs already know this (especially the French) but for the rest of society: where can a bunch of Muslims meet, talk, go someplace secluded in our midst where they can exchange ideas for how best to slaughter their neighbors without fear of being detected or leaving a telltale electronic trail?  Their local mosque.  In fact, authorities have already identified a mosque in Belgium where, they say, most attendees were radical, fundamentalist Muslims.  This means that the would be terrorists do a fair amount of their organizing and plotting within the confines of their local mosque…in close proximity to other, non-radical Muslims.  Thinking about your own church (for those of you who go) we all know the “normal” folk and we all know who the quiet, distanced, or angry and strident members are.  We know who are new attendees and who are old familiar faces.  In other words, the rest of the attendees would have a fairly good idea who, in their midst, would be likely to be plotting mayhem and mass murder.  The real issue then is: what can government or society in general do to encourage moderate Muslims to police their own ranks and out these murdering bastards before they strike?  The answer would be: when society in general comes to regard ALL Muslims as criminals and terrorists and shuns them and excludes them accordingly.  In other words, when society begins to discriminate against all Muslims because of the actions of a few of their number.  And this WILL end up happening eventually.  Just because our leaders are so concerned with political correctness that they refuse to identify our foe doesn’t mean that individuals in society who do won’t eventually become the majority.  A Charlie Hebdo cartoonist draw a series of panels on Instagram this past Friday night (same night as the attacks) and he said in part in one panel “Terrorism is not the enemy. Terrorism is a mode of operation. Repeating ‘we are at war’ without finding the courage to name our enemies leads nowhere.”  This is a fundamental truth: we cannot begin to act against those who would deny us our freedoms and our lives if we can’t even collectively scrounge up the testicular fortitude to point at our victimizer.  What needs to be understood is this: there are still too many among us that are willing to trade insipid Tweets or Facebook posts or leave flowers or a teddy bear or a burning candle in a pile on the ground and think that such will do a single damn thing about the problem.  The time for “saying a prayer” or “standing with” the victims or our leaders “deploring” or being “shocked” and every other single inane and ultimately useless statement or gesture needs to come to an end.  Substituting grim and resolute action with inanities and symbolism only says to the terrorists, “you haven’t yet slaughtered enough of us for us to get around to dealing with you effectively”.  It’s us saying “the lives of the victims didn’t matter because we’re not outraged enough to effectively and seriously act”.  More people need to die for us as a collective society to actually act.

The solution, then, is to act individually.

It’s time to quit being cowed by those who would call a person a “racist” or an “Islamophobe” for deciding to shun or avoid the company of Muslims because they (the Muslims being shunned) refuse to collectively act to police their own community.  It’s time for the rest of us to effectively say “if you refuse to scour your community for these assholes and serve them up to our collective societal justice system, then you’re condoning their actions…agreeing with what they’re doing…and in so doing, you’ve decided to side with them against the rest of us”.  For myself, if someone sides against me, they’ve pretty much removed themselves from my social circle and I need have nothing to do with them.  I write this having friends who are Muslims and this troubles me for saying it.  But the point at which society will finally, collectively act will cost too much in the lives of past, and worse future, victims for me to wait.  If you’re Muslim and you’re reading this: I’m sorry.  So very sorry.  But Muslim voices ARE and have been silent on this.  You practically never hear about a terror plot being foiled by other Muslims coming out and reporting the would be killers of innocents.  You know who those people are in your community and your silence is their cloak of anonymity.  They actively use you and yours as shields to their activities…and you allow it.  This is a choice YOU need to make: side with our collective society and act to protect it…or side with them.  You are best positioned to do this.  It’s finally time you stepped up and took responsibility.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

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Time for an update

Posted by Euroranger on November 3, 2015


I’m back!

As happens from time to time, we all get distracted from some things by other things.  This blog is a shining example of that.  I haven’t dropped a new post on here in over a year but in the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a few personal acquaintances locate me through this blog and drop messages to me.  In other words, something I’d kind of abandoned has regained my attention and now I’m realizing that some folks know me only through this persona and not personally (like through Facebook).  Those people are no less my friends because they are online acquaintances and I have indeed been remiss in posting to this blog…so today, I remedy that oversight.  So, without further ado, let me update everyone on what has happened to Euroranger over the past year.

The last post on this blog was penned to publicly respond to an asshole and his lawyer who, in addition to robbing me (the asshole, not his lawyer) thought they could also silence my public protests of such treatment via laughable threats of legal action (the asshole and his asshole lawyer).  I’m simultaneously pleased and somewhat disappointed to report that their empty threats were just that: empty.  Hot air.  Blustering.  In other words, representative of the demonstrated content of their character (the asshole) and the deserved earned enmity for a profession whose reputation as whores who will say whatever their client pays them enough to say (the asshole lawyer).  As Billy would say: “much ado about nothing”.  I expected nothing more though so I can’t really claim disappointment.

Since then, though, things have dramatically changed in my personal life.  After having been married for just short of 17 years, I filed for and was granted a divorce just a little over three weeks ago today.  As I type out this next part, I am acutely aware that what I say can and probably will be saved somewhere in indelible form and that, one day, my kids, my ex and others to whom I may become personally important may read this.  As you read this then, be aware that I am still processing and hashing through my feelings on this change and that this represents only where I’m at a mere 3 weeks after the dissolution.  These feelings will almost certainly change over time.  Let’s start with the fundamentals: I’m the one who filed for the divorce.  I did so because of actions my ex had been committing that I became aware of due to an inopportune slip of her tongue.  Despite the revelation of what she had been doing (and it was worse than most would assume) I did try to salvage the marriage.  I attended counseling and encouraged her to attend.  She did go.  Four whole times.  After which she declared that counseling was of no help to her, she needed no help and her friends would suffice to act as guides for her behavior.  At my 5th visit, even the counselor confided to me that she felt the relationship was unrecoverable after I asked.  My lawyer was great and advised me expertly.  The evidence I recovered and kept from my ex’s iPhone in conjunction with the laws of the state of Georgia fairly much dictated that I could request and be granted a divorce on pretty much whatever terms I chose.  I chose to offer my now ex the option of an uncontested divorce on the grounds of no alimony (indeed her actions triggered a law that decreed that no alimony is orderable), that I retain the house and that the children stay with me (indeed, they both expressed their desire to stay with me).  I was eligible to request child support but declined.  My ex accepted the terms I proposed to the letter.  I didn’t ask for child support because I had been the sole breadwinner in the house for 17 years.  I’d been able to afford paying for their rearing all that time.  I didn’t want nor need her money to continue doing what I was already doing.  Basically, I set her free to pursue activities that I was incapable of accepting within our marriage.  She has since privately expressed to others that she made an enormous mistake but has never apologized to me or our children past saying “I never meant to hurt you”.  I’d like to say this entire thing took me by surprise but, in truth, it did not.  Things had been going poorly for some time and as far back as a couple of years ago, I knew that it was beyond my ability to mend on my own.  These are the facts.

My feelings ran the gamut from my discovery confirming what I feared most back in late April to the day the divorce was finalized to today.  I was incredibly sad and depressed (indeed, I lost nearly 30 pounds in the first 6 weeks) and was then resigned to my new direction, incredibly disappointed in someone who had changed so dramatically to today being fairly happy with where I am (a little over 6 months later).  There were days, especially in the beginning, where I’d felt absolutely worthless and as low as I’ve ever known myself to feel.  More than anything, I never wanted my kids to come from a broken home and, I have to admit, that I was angry (and still harbor some small resentment) that I couldn’t avoid that happening to them.  Everybody I knew who knew what happened advised me to give up on the situation immediately.  I did not.  I spent about 2 months trying to “fix” something that I hadn’t broken until one day I woke up and realized that even if I got everything I wanted at that moment, I would never be able to trust that person again.  My entire life from that point forward would be an exercise in stress and never knowing for sure what was going on.  They say trust is the most important thing in a relationship for a reason.

Anyway, I am now seeing someone who lives several states away from me.  I get to see her maybe twice a month on the weekends my ex has our children.  This person has become very dear to me and is someone I wish I’d met 20 years ago.  She is fairly much the polar opposite of my ex in terms of morals, ethics, behavior and pretty much any other quality you could mention.  I met her by total accident and have come to believe that she and I were meant to encounter one another at this point in our lives.  I worry that some of my feelings for her are a response to being alone after the betrayal by my ex but more and more I believe this isn’t the case.  I’m on an interesting path now whose end I cannot discern.  She cannot move here and I cannot move there (at least not until my kids graduate high school) and we both know this and have decided to try to have a relationship anyway.  It’s exceptionally hard some days and we’re still trying to settle into an existence that works.  I think she handles it better than I do though.  There is a lot more I could say about her and I could probably wear out my keyboard extolling her virutes but we’ve been pretty low key about things and I think I’ll keep it that way for the time being.  Suffice to say: if she is the prize at the end of this awful ordeal, it was worth the price.

I’m not effing stupid. I mean, I used to but, we broke up.

Otherwise, things are remarkably unchanged.  I’ve had a new contract (that coincidentally started just 2 days after my discovery of all the bad crap my ex was doing…so that was a fun time) for some time now and they’re pretty good so far.  My budget, despite this contract paying slightly less than normal, has opened up.  I have disposable income for the first time in decades and it’s nice going to bed not worrying about how to make my bills.  I have recently restarted gaming after a long absence.  I was rusty at first but that disappeared after a few hours and now I occasionally enjoy being a pain in everyone’s ass on whatever server I decide to afflict.  Being a single parent has been an interesting transition.  I’ve found that many of our mutual friends seem to be sympathetic to me despite that they were initially my ex’s friends that I came to know through her.  Some of her friends from as far back as her high school have reached out to me to express their regrets at how things turned out.  Some have not.  What’s curious is that how they have separated out hasn’t produced any surprises.  I’ve always questioned my ability to judge the character of people but in this, I have been remarkably accurate.  Being a single parent to a teenaged girl and boy has been challenging.  I do more housework and cook more suppers than I did before but, sadly, these are really the only noticeable differences to our existence.  There is no more fighting and yelling in the house, no more drunken tirades, no more constant level of barely suppressed anger.  All that is now gone.  We (the kids and I) are still trying to sort out our new family and there are indeed bumps…but I think we’re doing okay.  I am learning by leaps and bounds (at least I hope I am).  My neighbors and friends have been incredibly helpful and supportive.  I am blessed to know such good people.  And my folks…well…what can you say about parents who have to watch their only surviving kid’s life disintegrate in such a public and humiliating way.  They’ve been supportive but not in an overbearing way.  I would not have made it through to the other side without them guiding me and just sitting and listening to me rant, whine and dump out and sort through the mess of thoughts and emotions this all caused.

So, while I’ve gained a year I’ve lost a wife.  I’ve lost some weight and gained a new brighter, happier future.  I’ve lost some innocence (if I ever had any left) and the ability to truly trust someone but I’ve gained some wisdom in exchange and that, in itself, is a solid trade.  All in all, I’ll look back on 2015 in a few months and I’ll say it started out bad, got infinitely worse…but ended up okay.  I have my health, my life, my trade, my children, my friends and my peace of mind.  I really can’t ask for more than that.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

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Open Letter to Mustafa Sualp and AEFIS

Posted by Euroranger on October 26, 2014


[Preface: I am sharing an event I am experiencing as an example for why we have laws and rights and why it’s important to not simply surrender them in the face of intimidation.  The following post (and I need to make this so clear even a Philadelphia lawyer won’t fail to discern it) IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AND OBSERVATIONS OF EVENTS MIXED WITH FACTUAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THOSE OPINIONS THAT HAVE AFFECTED ME AND MY FAMILY.]

Dear Mr. Sualp:

I am in receipt of your lawyer’s, Stephen Goldblum, emails from both 9/24 and 9/25 of this year regarding exceptions you took with portions of a post on this blog dated June 10, 2013 wherein I related my company’s experience doing business with you and your firm, AEFIS, Inc early last year (2013).  I note, with much amusement, your demand that I provide you written acknowledgement that I have removed said post by September 30, 2014 or that I will be in peril of “institution” (fancy word, that) of a suit against me.  As you may or may not have noted, the post remains unchanged.  I assure you, I did the presumably anticipated quaking in my proverbial boots at his threat of filing suit and seeking fees and expenses “pursuant to Section 9(d) of the Independent Contractor Agreement” which, incidental to Mr. Goldblum’s surely rapier-like attention to legal detail, is the section concerning Notice…as opposed to what I presume he meant to be Section 9(e), the Attorney’s Fees part of the contract.  I will thank your lawyer though for bringing up a salient point which I’ll remind you of here shortly.

Anyway, my post remains where it is.  It is my opinion and clearly does not come even remotely close to a disclosure of confidential information (do you or he even read these contracts?).  I will thank you for the momentary smile I enjoyed at the ludicrous stupidity of such a claim, though.  But hey, let’s break this letter for a moment and let everyone see what I’m talking about.

Let’s start with your opening shot. I’ve decided to informally reference this as “fuck you Exhibit 1″…because, well, fuck you.

 

I’m gonna follow up with this, our exchange, which I’m entitling “fuck you Exhibit 2”

 

And finally, my response of the next day which we can refer to going forward as “fuck you Exhibit 3”.

So, Mustafa, I did, tragically, miss that September 30 deadline.  Before you and your learned legal counsel get all lawsuit-y, I want to say this one thing: PLEASE, do me the favor of suing me for all the things your letter threatens.  I want you to man up and actually follow through on your assertions because, in front of a judge in a court of law, we both know which of us will actually bring evidence of their claims and which will not.  We both know I have a transcript of our entire Skype chat history, and amongst other damning FACTS (because, hey, to a judge this kind of shit will actually matter) the email from your “operations coordinator” explicitly acknowledging that I had indeed worked in excess of 40 hours (46 to be precise) and to not perform further work until requested (hours for which I was never paid).  Oh look, here that email is now:

We’ll go ahead and entitle this one as “oops”…because fuckyouExhibit4 would be just so cliched by now.

Anyhow, I have to make one correction to our ongoing conversation because I believe, and pretty much any and every court in this country will agree, facts and accuracy matter.  I had originally advised your counsel that my claim for unpaid wages (the 4/24/13 email I and he refer to in “fuck you Exhibit 2”) was $2675.  I regret to admit that amount is in error and we both have your esteemed Counselor Goldblum and his manifest inability to correctly identify pertinent sections of a binding contract to thank for prompting me to greater accuracy.  I was so moved by his adroitly applied legal blustering that I went and checked Section 9(d) of our contract.  Guess what I found?  Oh, fuck you, let’s not guess:

Since we already called one “oops” I guess we’ll go ahead and call this one “massive fucking fuck up Exhibit 1”.

Would you believe it?  You and AEFIS never did “deliver by hand or mailed by certified or registered mail” your notice of terminating our contract?  Did you send an email to that effect?  NO!  You didn’t!  But your fucking “attention to detail” lawyer did!

Kind of running out of clever titles to apply this. Let’s just note how it’s explicit in that it’s being delivered “VIA EMAIL” which is pretty much not keeping to the contract…which, in itself, is at least consistent.

Guess what that means, Mustafa: the contract is, legally, still in force.  So, with that in mind, remember the part where I admitted that the amount of my claim for unpaid wages is incorrect (I hope so because it was just up the page here).  Well, if you remember that then I’m sure you’ll remember our negotiations wherein I accepted your lower than normal rate of pay for a guarantee of a minimum of billable hours per week (to make working for you actually worthwhile because I was assuming you’d be a man of your word and honor your contractual agreements) which was enshrined in the addendum to the contract (which Mr. Goldblum helpfully supplied me in this recent resumption of our communications):

How many “oopsies” do you and AEFIS commit annually? Hope it’s not this many.

Oh hell.  Does that say a minimum of 20 hours per week at the stupidly low but still mutually agreed to rate of $50 per hour?  Well, let’s see now…time for some math!  So, if I’m generous and use April 30, 2013 as a start point that works out to…lessee here…oh, my…that’s exactly 80 weeks today.  Hm.  80 weeks.  So, at 80 weeks times 20 hours minimum per week times $50 per hour PLUS the back wages you owe me of $2675 the total amount you owe (as of today anyway) comes to:

 

$82,675

 

And let’s be clear for a moment: your smartmouth lawyer suggested I could bring this situation up when “when we sue you for defamation…if the defamatory post is not removed and you fail to provide written confirmation to this effect by September 30”.  Let’s forget for a moment that such a suit would be frivolous because the statute of limitations of your claim has clearly and unambiguously elapsed.  Let’s say I don’t immediately assert that slam dunk defense and let’s say the judge sees some kind of merit in equating what were clearly expressed personal opinions to defamation (which he/she won’t but hey, we’re playing fantasyland here).  Guess what: we won’t be trying such a claim in Philadelphia.  We’ll be trying it in Georgia.  The doctrine of personal jurisdiction is actually a thing (ya’ll might want to look that up) and should you bring your frivolous lawsuit for defamation in any place other than a court that has jurisdiction over my location, it’ll get tossed out.

So, in the event you were hoping your empty, specious threats of legal action against me for discussing my experiences and reactions to your theft of my services and nonpayment of my entirely valid claims would work…they didn’t and don’t and fuck you for thinking they would.

Mustafa Sualp, if you don’t want to see your name or AEFIS’ name come up in a vanity search for the same and discover things like this, there is a much easier way to ensure that this doesn’t happen: honor your agreements, abide by your contracts, and act with a veneer of at least some pretended decency.  The money you failed to pay me for services I rendered is the same money I use to pay my bills and feed my children.  If you think for a single moment that your lawyer and your ridiculous threats relayed through him mean anything in the face of the ABSOLUTE FUCKING TRUTH then you need to attempt to associate with people possessed of dignity, integrity and honesty because this isn’t how you deal with us effectively.  A lawyer friend of mine whose counsel I value once told me of the legal maxim “the truth is an absolute defense”.  The post of June 10 was such a truth mixed with my First Amendment right to express my opinion and this post if more of that.

You have three options as I see it (this would be an example of an opinion about to be expressed):

  1. Pay me what I am owed and, as I generously offered in my 9/25/14 email to your mouthpiece, I’ll remove the offending portion of the June 10, 2013 post as a kindness.  NOT in consideration of your payment…but because you eventually decided to act honorably and decently and I’d consider myself to be mean and vindictive to continue to display my opinions of a complaint amicably (if ridiculously tardily) resolved.
  2. Stop with your fucking threats and sue me for either breach of contract or defamation.  Bring your “evidence” and I’ll bring mine and we’ll ask a judge to decide.  You know how that will work out and I will, of course, also tack on a claim for legal fees and costs I incur for even addressing your outrageous assertions.
  3. Shut the fuck up and put up with this post and the previous one and take it as a lesson for what could happen when someone thinks you’ve defrauded them for services rendered.  I essentially wrote off what you owed me long ago…but fuck you if you think I haven’t purchased the right to complain about it.  I have.  You want to buy that right from me?  Contact me and I’ll be happy to discuss a mutually beneficial agreement.

Either way, take your own insipid advice and don’t underestimate MY fucking resolve.  I am the wronged party here and I do not bend knee to idle threats or compromise my personal integrity or principles.

Oh, and by the way, per the combination of the contract addendum and Section 9(d)…the meter’s still running, asshole.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Amusing, Coldfusion, Errata, Web Dev | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Brave New Transparent World

Posted by Euroranger on December 4, 2013


No kidding.

So, a very brief post today (as I am actually gainfully employed and doing employment related tasks).  I contribute to a tech site as the resident CF expert (to answer your question, no, they probably couldn’t find anyone else to do it) and that site has a common forum area where various folks post conversation topics and then other people comment on them and so on.  Usual intarwebz forum.  Anyway, talk to enough people over time and you do start to get to know something about them.  People make references, drop tidbits of info that, individually don’t make up very much but taken as a whole can start to give you an idea of how those people might be in person.  One of those people is a woman whose persona, in my mind, has taken several definition turns in my own mind.  You know how you form an idea of someone you’ve never met and then you learn something about them so you update that mental picture you had?  That’s the situation I’m talking about.  I read what she writes on the tech forum.  Some time back, we friended one another on Facebook so I thought I knew her well enough as a complete stranger anyway.  To her, she’s who she’s always been.  She knows her.  I don’t.  Anyway, I mention it because earlier today as I was bored and rolling through things to alleviate my boredom, I ran across a link to a blog she keeps.  I thought, hey, I know this gal…let’s go see what she has to say.

Turns out, I didn’t know her at all.

I don’t want to be callous or uncaring or perhaps say something untoward that might come off as unfeeling but several months back she went through some personal relationship turbulence and used her blog as sort of a personal diary outlet.  Oddly enough, I tend to do the same here from time to time…but not to the degree this lady did.  I read several of her blog posts that, presumably, she didn’t mind everyone knowing the content of.  After a time, I quit reading because it felt almost like I was reading someone’s diary.  I discovered personal details about her that I didn’t know about and while I don’t mind knowing them (they don’t change my opinion of her as a person) I wonder how she’d feel knowing I’d read them.  We’ve never met, never even exchanged words really but I feel like I’ve intruded someplace I ought not to have been.

What I come away with is a new appreciation of how technology is changing personal interactions people have (or may not have) with one another.  I’ve read all sorts of personal things on the web before.  I wander and surf and read all kinds of stuff.  I’ve never read them though about someone I had a preconceived image about…and it was awkward.  I’m in the last leg of finishing a web application that has a strong social media element to it and, in fact, I’m working on how to allow people to incorporate their blog postings into an overall, one glance snapshot of their business.  I’m now ruminating on how I might could build tools into my app to allow people to perhaps edit or sanitize social media entries.  Maybe I’m overreacting.  All the same, it’s been some time since I encountered something on the web that really makes me pull up short and pause and consider things for a moment.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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October-geddon

Posted by Euroranger on October 4, 2013


Oh look…it’s our economy under the leadership of Hopey McChange.

I’m not a self-important man.  I’m not a petty or boastful fellow.  I’m not so convinced of the superiority of my intellect and/or common sense that I disdain others’ opinions automatically.  I can and have been known to be wrong (if you consult the lovely and talented Mrs. Ranger she will enthusiastically confirm this).  I actively police my opinions for such personality flaws.  I do try and “put myself in the other guy’s shoes” and try and discern the merits of opinions I don’t necessarily share.  Because of all that, I’m going to write this post to memorialize something I’m about to say that, I believe, will turn out to be probably (sadly) prophetic:

Obamacare will seriously gut this country’s economy

I’ll keep this brief (and I really mean it this time).  All I’m going to do is to spit out a few facts of my own personal situation and then make a few observations and leave this here so we can all either come back and laugh at it later…or wonder why, if I was so damned prescient, didn’t I play the Powerball.

I am a married father of 2 kids living just outside of Atlanta, GA.  Our ages are 47 (me), less than 47 (Mrs. Ranger), 13 (Ms. Ranger), and 11 (Mini-Ranger).  None of us smoke or are morbidly obese.  We have a health insurance policy that I secured via eHealthinsurance.com that I pay $4665 per year in premiums that features a prescription drug plan and has a 20% co-pay and $3500 individual deductible.  It’s with a reputable highly rated company.  It’s not cheap and the coverage is, by no means, one of those “Cadillac” plans we’ve been hearing the President and his parrots in the mainstream media snorting derisively at.  I’m a middle class guy earning a middle class paycheck and this is the health insurance coverage I can afford.  Obamacare, as pretty much all of you by now have heard, started a few days back (October 1).  I’ve had coverage so I never really concerned myself all that much the dire doom and gloom warnings we’ve all heard about the economic Armageddon we’ll all get cordially invited to when the entirety of the the ACA (the soon-to-be-widely-recognized-for-its-immense-irony named Affordable Care Act, aka: “Obamacare”) kicks in.  That said, I got a letter in the mail from my carrier the other day inviting me to partake of a one time opportunity to reset my current health policy to a December 1 inception date (so that it runs from 12/1/13 to 11/30/14) for a mere monthly premium increase of $40.  I looked at this letter and wondered “why the hell would I volunteer to pay nearly $500 per year more for the same coverage I already have”?  It was then that I came across an online forum wherein a poster (we’ll go ahead and safely and with little real debate refer to him as “f***ing idiot”) was crowing about what a great thing Obamacare is and will become.  To prove what a great thing it is, he helpfully posted a subsidy calculator (check it out here: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/) to tell you how much “free money” you’d qualify for to help pay for your healthcare due to the changes coming with Obamacare.  Needless to say, because I worked hard, went to school, got an education and then actually worked at many and several jobs over the years…my family doesn’t qualify for a subsidy.  Oh well, I thought, that’s hardly surprising.  But what I read further down the page on that site after I entered my details really took me by surprise.  It told me that the predicted cost for an unsubsidized premium for a “silver plan” (read: “worse than the plan I currently have”) would be $9780 per year.  Let me say that again: for worse coverage (in our case, higher deductible and coverages we don’t need, don’t use and don’t want) we can expect to have to pay 109% MORE THAN WE DO NOW!  Even their cheapest plan coverage level, “bronze”, comes in at a predicted $6656 per year or just a 42% increase (and with much, much worse coverage).

It’s almost like he’s talking to every voter who cast a vote for Obama…oh well, the 1%’ers will now be the people with good paying jobs AND healthcare. Way to go you f***ing ignorant illiterate idiots.

Well, after I emptied the outrage-inspired crap out of my trousers, I said “to hell with predictions, let’s go quote a policy and see what I can find”.  So, I went over to eHealthinsurance.com (where I bought our last two policies) to see what I could get for a quote today.  Cheapest that I can quote now is $7104 per year and that’s with the deductible getting jacked up to $6350 per person and going to a 30% copay. That’s a jump of 53% in a single year…and that’s literally the cheapest private option on that site for us for much worse coverage.

Just to summarize: I’ve been “invited” to extend our current coverage and pay an additional $500 per year to do so but because of the absolute crap premiums I’m staring down due to Obamacare, that’s actually a great deal.  The absolute best I can hope from, from what I’ve been able to discern just earlier today, is a jump in my family’s health insurance premiums of at least +40%.  Let me be clear here: this isn’t predictions or estimates or “according to statistics from blablabla”.  This is the actual, no shit reality me and my family is facing as a direct consequence of this country voting for Barack Obama as our president.

That’s the best case scenario…and I get absolutely nothing more for that huge outlay than I’m getting today.  To put it another way: my already tight budget is going to need to squeeze out an additional $2000 in 2014…all so someone else can have what I have but didn’t bother to work for to afford.  And this is merely the best part.  We didn’t even discuss what employers are going to do when this shitstorm hits.  Companies are already turning full time jobs into part time jobs (cutting hours and pay) because the employer mandate says the employer only needs to pay the health care premiums for full time employees.  It’s pretty mercenary of an employer to do that but hey, this isn’t their idea, is it?  Employers do what the economy dictates and this law dictates that full time employment will now become an elitist, status symbol…ironically driving even more people to the public dole than Obama has managed to do in his first 5 years in office.

The American Dream officially died today people…and you have Hopey Hussein McChange to thank for it.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Military members: trusted to fight wars, not trusted to carry weapons at work

Posted by Euroranger on September 18, 2013


One of the more cogent arguments against gun control. Read on…

Posted in Errata | Leave a Comment »

Comfort in Wisdom

Posted by Euroranger on September 17, 2013


2012 - 2013 arctic ice sheet

Remember when the Arctic was gonna be ice free soon due to Global Warming? Yeah…about that. Never mind. L to R: Arctic sea ice coverage 2012, 2013. In case yer a GW fanboi, the right pic is what’s known as “more” and not “less”.

If, like me, you were trolling around on the internet within the past 4-5 years you likely ran into an article or forum conversation regarding global warming.  Remember those days?  The world was heating up so drastically that within 30 years the Great Plains would be a desert, Venice would be under 10 feet of water and the Arctic would be a summer paradise?  Droughts, floods, famines, wars, environmental apocalypse was virtually at the door and that we needed to ACT NOW TO SAVE THE PLANET!  Remember all that stuff?  Remember how, if you didn’t simply automatically swallow the “hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies” that proved Global Warming (or “GW” at the time for the in-crowd cool kids) was a thing and that it was undoubtedly linked to increased CO2 emissions by modern human civilization, that you were a global warming denier, didn’t believe in science, was likely some kind of fundamentalist anti-science wingnut?  Remember the “good old days” of being a tree hugging concerned leftist and how absolutely sure you were that anyone who opposed your views on this subject were simply evil, degenerate idiots who lacked the smarts to agree with your views because…”science”?

I hope you remember those days because, well, they’re kind of gone…again.

It all started just a few years ago with actual skeptical people (which apparently didn’t include a whole lot of scientists unfortunately) observing that, hey, it hasn’t gotten warmer where I am.  Those folks were told (you evil, degenerate idiot you) that local conditions vary but, by the-God-we-don’t-believe-exists-but-whose-name-makes-swearing-a-lot-easier, Global Warming Climate Change (the new and improved accepted term because evil, degenerate idiots kept pointing out all the “warming” holes in the theory) was real because SCIENCE (and you’re a stupidhead if you don’t automatically agree).  Then someone who also wasn’t as smart as all the patchouli smelling hipster kids pointed out that the temperatures on Mars was also rising.  Naturally, he too was shouted down as a troglodytic Luddite (even though he was a scientist) because “[h]is views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion,’said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England’s Oxford University” (because it’s not actual science that determines fact but the consensus of a group of people).  I mean, sure, human produced CO2 emissions MUST be the cause of rising global temperatures (even though there are pretty much zero people on Mars…since Gary Sinise left in the alien spaceship anyway) and definitely NOT because the Sun (the giant ball thermonuclear fire that burns at around 27 million degrees at its core) was in a more active than usual cycle (remember kids: CO2 > enormous ball of nuclear fire next door…when it comes to what makes the planet hotter).

And surely you remember being the fool who was chided for looking smug when the whole “Climategate” scandal broke.  You know…that event where hackers got hold of thousands of emails from scientists who were convinced that GW/Climate Change was occurring as a result of human activity and that, unless we radically changed our entire society (pretty much just western society which actually contributes the minority of the CO2 but hey…don’t get stuck on facts NOW) we were all GOING TO DIE?  Yeah, you recall that.  Remember how prior to that scandal one of the issues skeptical people had with this whole cabal of scientists shrieking from the rooftops of all the ivory towers how this was all going to be one enormous environmental disaster was that they wouldn’t grant access to the data they were collecting, wouldn’t honor freedom of information requests so skeptics could truly look at the raw information to see if these dire predictions were true and how the scandal exposed emails wherein the scientists were worried about how to spin observations that showed their “climate models” that were all apparently forecasting global annihilation weren’t jiving when they should be…and that those findings should simply be ignored or maybe put through a algorithm that would churn out “acceptable” data that would jive better with their models?  Remember how if you pointed at that and said that such activities aren’t those of people on the up and up and that perhaps a less biased, less fueled-by-millions-of-research-dollars studies MIGHT be a better idea…that you were once more pilloried for being a backwards, delusional fool?

Chicken Little press conference.

Pictured above: someone who rational, level-headed people probably wouldn’t trust with a forecast of the future OR the latest demiGod to those on the left who seem to exist solely for the purpose of wringing their hands over the latest manufactured crisis-du-jour. Either or.

Anyway, remember all those good old days of…just 3 years ago?  Yeah, well, turns out, if you were thinking with your own brain and thought that taking the word of a bunch of leftist organizations who seemed a whole lot more interested in how to leverage the scare about Global Warming into a socialist wealth redistribution scheme via “carbon offset credits” wasn’t a sound basis to frantically be doing the scientific community version of Chicken Little…step up to claim your prize.  Turns out that an early report leaked from the IPCC (the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is trying to figure out how to spin revelations that all those peer reviewed studies who were all in lockstep uniformity just 20 years ago that predicted global temperatures would rise by 0.2C (a big number on a global scale)…had only risen 1/4 of that (0.05C).  Yeah, it seems that of those 117 studies who all uniformly foretold climate doom back in the 1990’s…that were the backbone of the entire Global Warming/Climate Change crowd…only 3 were even remotely close and 114 (that’d be a whopping 97.4%) weren’t just wrong but, on average, overestimated the amount of global warming that actually ended up happening by more than 200%.

What does this have to do with wisdom though?  Only this: wise people realize that a new field of study that suddenly gains enormous prominence, the attention of the entire globe and sees hundreds of millions of research dollars being handed out to anyone willing to conduct a global warming study MIGHT be susceptible to influence, bias and corruption because (get this): scientists are people too.  People are subject to the same weaknesses and sins and scientists are no exception and scientists AREN’T machines incapable of mistakes or outright lying…they’re people just like you and me.

Does this settle the idiocy of the ever panicking leftist crowd vis-a-vis Global Warming/Climate Change/the Sky Is Falling?  Of course not.  You’d have to believe that facts and subjective thought have any effect on such thinking and, subjective observation long ago ruled out that theory.  What it does do though is to re-affirm that cooler heads (not an intended pun but an apt one nonetheless) are called for and, in this instance (as in most others), those who say “stay the course, let’s see if this is real or not” turned out, yet again, to be right.

Let’s be entirely clear here for a moment: the globe DID get warmer.  There seems to be a lot less proof now that CO2 or other greenhouse gasses are to blame for the rise than was previously thought but the fact still remains that we did get warmer.  Also, regardless of whether there is a human origin for such a rise it’s still a good idea to move our economies away from a fossil fuel basis for energy supply (and towards cleaner, renewable sources).  This is simply a good idea even minus the typical hysterical climate reasoning.  What skeptics like me have always said is that while we need to move towards those goals, there is no emergency thundering toward us that should stampede us collectively into stupid, half-baked solutions to problems that don’t really exist.  And that’s why wisdom, sometimes, is comfortable.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

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The difference between Left and Right

Posted by Euroranger on August 22, 2013


…and just like kid’s shoes, the two sides work better when they’re closer together than when they’re miles apart.

This brief post will be about politics.  Not politics in specific, though, but the political spectrum in general.  We all choose political sides on issues.  Some of us choose them on specific issues and because the sides sometimes switch between topics we like to think of ourselves as “free thinkers” or simply not being entirely aligned to a political “side” for what passes for politics in the United States these days.  Some of us have a “hot button” issue that then directs us to support the opinions of the political party on other issues that champions our view on our dearly held issue.  Regardless, there are two basic sides in America and we all arrive there via some means of thought or value process.  In all fairness, what I’m about to discuss isn’t a new concept and isn’t breaking any new ground but with revelations over the past couple of years, is, to me, a lot more stark example of where the origins of thought are when discussing how people in our single country can be so politically polarized as we appear to be.

I believe the genesis of someone’s leaning in one direction or the other comes down to one value: “confidence“.

In general terms, it is the level of confidence in one’s self to be able to succeed with varying degrees of government “help” to do so.  If you feel that you can be successful without the government lending a hand you tend to lean one way.  If you feel that you need the government to “level the playing field” for you in order to enhance your chances of success then you tend to lean another.  Now, understand, most people don’t hold opinions wholly in one direction or wholly in another…it tends to be a shade of grey somewhere in the middle…but in general terms, I believe a individual’s confidence (in more than just themselves) is what starts the leaning in opinion in one direction or another.  In fact, going back to the first example (the level of confidence in one’s self to be able to succeed with varying degrees of government “help”) it’s also a measure of which do you feel more confident in?  You or the government?  Now, because I, like everyone else, has a political opinion, how I describe that may unintentionally convey a leaning in and of itself.  That’s unavoidable but being aware of it should explain any received bias, if any.  People who identify themselves on the political “right” in this country would probably tend to say they prefer to rely more on themselves and less on the government for their success in life.  People who identify themselves on the political “left” in this country would probably tend to say that not all people are equal but that everyone should have an equal shot for success in life and see the government as the means to enact such “balance”.  In shorter terms, people on the Right tend to trust in themselves overcoming obstacles to success more while people on the Left tend to trust in the government to remove obstacles to success for them.  In even shorter terms than that: people on the Left tend to have confidence in and trust the government more than people on the Right.  With this value in mind, you can look at nearly every political issue in terms of that balance between confidence and trust in yourself and confidence and trust in the government.  Thinking on that theory for a moment, consider some of the news of the past few days and realize that there is a change underway in this country.

One of those news items was this: welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, creating little incentive for Americans to take entry-level work and likely increasing their long-term dependency on government help.  That’s a fairly stark statement and, for this country, has never occurred before on a scale like this.  What it means is that our government is taking so much from those who work and giving so much to those who don’t that the incentive for those who don’t work is to not even consider working in first place.  Wealth (individual as well as collected wealth) in this country is generated by those who work.  Our entire economic system is based on the productivity of the American workforce and the rest of the planet, like it or not, is reliant on the American economy.  This percentage of people in poverty who are living at the pleasure of government entitlements has exploded in the past several years and shows no signs of abating unless radical and drastic changes are made…and those changes would be painful and very controversial.

The other news item is yet another revelation of how our own government views its relationship with its governed populace and how their view appears to be changingTurns out, contrary to each and every statement denying such by the NSA, the White House press secretary and the President himself, the NSA is, has and continues to spy on Americans who have nothing to do with foreign threats or terrorism.  The trouble with the news article in that link I just posted is that it contains so much troubling content.  The government spying on their own people is one thing.  The government outright lying to the only body that stands between them and the people (the FISA court judge) three times in the past three years ought to be even more troubling.  Keep in mind now, when I say “government” in this context it’s actually more like the executive branch and the legions of bureaucrats that the executive controls and not Congress.  This is alongside the other and previous scandals like the bureaucracy of the Justice Department running weapons into a neighboring foreign country, lying about it, getting caught lying about it and nothing happening as well as the bureaucracy of the IRS actively stifling political speech that would likely be contrary to the political views held by the current executive (President Obama) again with no apparent penalty.  Those, of course, aren’t the only three incidents where it would appear our own government executive branch regards itself as separated from the populace and at least appears as though it has a divine right to rule.  That kind of thing has always been the case but it’s only recently that that same executive, at least via it’s actions, seems to regard the rule of law as not applying to it and, what’s worse (if that’s possible), that the populace it governs is contemptible and possibly adversarial.

Look carefully at this image. That building that looks like a fancy grain silo? That’s the Bastille: the very epitome of a repressive regime. Those people on the bottom? That’s the repressed. Those things they’re holding? Weapons including guns. Situations like the one depicted in this image are the very reason we have a right to keep and bear arms…a right that our own executive branch stands opposed to today.

Obama’s own healthcare law was, by law, to go into effect August 1 (about 3 weeks ago)…and Obama simply said “no, I’m delaying that part”.  It’s the law.  How does the president believe that he has the authority to suspend the law whenever it suits his personal or political whim?

People who remember history or have even watched a passably accurate movie about historical events would remember governments who had agencies called things like “the Cheka”, the NKVD and finally the KGB.  They’d remember such government organs like the private Sturmabteilung (SA) which eventually was superceded by the governmental Schutzstaffel (SS) and went hand in hand with that other famous contemporary governmental agency, the Gestapo.  What all such governments had in common was that they were swept into power by a popular revolution of sorts.  In Russia, it was a revolution against the Tsars, followed by a civil war where the Bolsheviks (who were promising their version of Hope and Change) won with the support of the people.  In Germany, it was the National Socialists who were elected as the largest minority group via the very people they’d turn around and cull from their ranks, the homosexuals, the Jews and every other undesirable via death factories like Dachau (a death camp actually on German soil and operating before the war even started).

In both such recent cases and the case of the American and French revolutions further back in history, the government serving the people was either repressive or criminally inept and corrupt…and so a radical change was made by the people.  The point I’m making here is: all governments come to that point.  No government or system of government is eternal.  China, Greece, Rome, the Pharaohs, various emperors, kings and queens…they’ve all ruled and they’ve all eventually fallen.  Were there governments that didn’t fall?  Of course, but they were the ones who weren’t victimizing their own people to the extent that the people revolted.

The ones that did victimize their people had government agencies to excessively seize wealth and property from their people (agencies like the IRS) and agencies to keep an eye on those people because the government realized that with enough confiscation of the peoples’ money and property, they might get mad and turn their anger against that same government (agencies like the NSA).  Is the United States there yet?  No, and not by a long shot.  However, what the government spends isn’t matched by the wealth the IRS seizes from us individuals.  These days they borrow the money…except the point is fast approaching where they won’t be able to do that anymore and they’ll be forced to either cut back drastically on what they spend (which will cause a revolt amongst those who are dependent on the government handout) or they’ll have to take more from the people than they do (which could also cause a revolt).  In either case, you have the executive branch of this government using both instruments (the IRS and the NSA) to act against the people in a manner that exceeds their prior activities…and for that everyone should ask the simple question: why?

If you have confidence in yourself and not as much trust in the government you may answer that question in a way that matches your values.  If you have more confidence and trust in the government you may get an answer to that same question that also comports with your values but will be almost entirely opposite the answer the first group arrived at.  Regardless, the conditions that Americans face today (a repressive IRS and a domestic intelligence gathering effort by the NSA) are both new things…and if you’re not asking “why the change” then maybe you should start.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

Posted in History, In the news, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Watch Where You Step

Posted by Euroranger on August 16, 2013


GIFT

This is known as the Greater Internet F***wad Theory. Seems funny or amusing but the more time I spend on the net (and I spend a ton) it becomes less “theory” and more “law”.

As most of you know who do roll through here, I’m well into my forties, am married, have kids, 2 dogs, a mortgage and so on.  I also own my own internet consulting business, am an application developer, game online and have a fairly juvenile sense of humor.  In other words, the first factual statement doesn’t typically have a large Venn diagram overlap with the second but, that’s me and I like it like that.  Most days anyway.  It seems I’ve managed to successfully master being a responsible adult and parent while still retaining my enjoyment and occupation with things that normally draw younger and, typically, much less mature folk.  And while I have no idea when or how that happened, I’m okay with it.  Sometimes, though, I forget that I used to be one of those very people until I run into one (almost always online) and then I’m reminded of just, well, how much I’ve aged I guess.

You see, a couple of posts back, I got to enjoy the attentions of someone though, who they are actually employed as a chief information officer, seemed to know remarkably little about how the internet actually works.  She stalked me to this blog, read something she didn’t like and up and terminated a development contract on that basis…and that’s fine.  It was entirely their prerogative to sever the relationship anytime they so chose.  What was interesting though was rather than be up front and honest about why they did so (they said it was work performance which, as of day 9 of a contract, is kind of a joke and despite moving more support tickets in those 9 days than they’d moved for probably 6 months) she lied to me in an exit interview whilst thinking she was being sly and crafty with her internet skulking around.  I like to imagine she had the Mission Impossible soundtrack playing in her head while she did her digging.  I also imagine she was less than amused when I penned an article about her complete with a hidden message that I only advised her about AFTER she decided to ask her HR people to “add it to my file” (as though a file on a 9 day employee will amount to anything anywhere to anyone).  Because she decided to copy everyone, I was kind of pleased to see her hoist by her own petard, so to speak, when I hit “reply all” to expose her idiocy to everyone who bothered to look (and yes, they did).  Now, in all honesty, I thought her particular kind of ignorance of a medium for which she was employed to be at least semi-knowledgeable about was probably a rare thing.  You can imagine my surprise when I encountered it again today.

As normally happens when it comes to braggarts and those in general who are far more impressed with themselves than facts would normally allow, this fellow felt he was safe behind the invincible banner of internet anonymity when he should know better that he’s not and so he proceeded to bluster about as though he were more than he actually is.  And you know what, where I might once have cared about such things, these days I know that imbeciles like that are literally a dime a dozen and that the internet is rife with assclowns like that.  It’d be like getting miffed at a raindrop in the middle of a downpour so I resolved to pity the turd and move on.  And that’s where it would have ended even after I got to have this poor excuse for a boy actually trying to threaten me earlier (if making silly boasts on an internet message board qualifies as this generation’s “threats”):

Now, in all fairness, when he says he’s “coming for me”, it could just be one of those terms kids use to declare his undying gay love for me. I have no idea what he meant by “growing eyes in my ass” though. I guess it was supposed to be threatening.

But see, I’ve HAD kids threaten me before with the whole “I got yer IP” and such.  Normally, such outbursts occurred in gaming servers and simply expressed the outrageous amount of butthurt they were enduring due to something I did, was doing, or was continuing to do.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen this but I normally chalk this up to being 11-14 years old, prepubescent, little rage machines but even with this, it was all kind of sadly amusing and entirely dismissible as someone who lacked even basic impulse control.  That was, til he decided that making minor humorous threats on a chat forum wasn’t enough…and so he came here to continue:

His best shot I suppose. I especially like the line about “white women”…as though that’s some kind of special qualifier. It’s just so darn precious.

Or maybe “awkward chinless turtle”. Whatever. The turtle’s got himself a “real assault rifle”…although I doubt an adult was around when this pic was snapped.

Now, as most folks who know me personally will likely attest, I’m a kind of laid back guy and will let most slights roll…but damn if that’s just not how I feel today.  See, for a dude who likes to make threats and go about calling himself “Apoplectic Ape”, when you actually cast a glance at Eric Giroux, “ape” is probably the last animal you’d likely ascribe to his general appearance.  Maybe “skinny weasel”.  Or perhaps “dimwitted jackass”.  Whatever you come up with, it’s hardly likely to be a synonym for “hardened, ass-kicking, internet tough guy”…but that’s apparently the way he sees himself.  What’s truly impressive is that he’s apparently a “digital marketing specialist”.  This suggests he ought to know something about how that whole internet thingy works.  Which is surprising because it takes little to no effort to unmask my sinister stalker.  See Eric here, well, he lives in an apartment in Lawrence, Kansas (awful long way for you to “come for me”) but works for a company called “DealerFire”.  I wonder how they’d feel about one of their recently hired account managers posting juvenile inane crap like he seems to enjoy doing.  Wonder how they’d feel looking at all the time he spends on social media sites being a smartass, repellent dick in general?  Maybe someone should ask.  I’ll bet they’d be interested to know.  I mean, outside of throwing cash, pouring gold bottles (“gold bottles”?) on white women and “stomping on the homeless when the cops aren’t looking” (establishing his “badass” cred I’m guessing here), Eric stays busy pissing away a fair chunk of his day spouting all sorts of puerile bulls**t whenever the mood strikes him…and that appears to be “frequently”.

What’s more amusing is his attempt to spread what he considers his “dopeness” (yeah…really…it’s a word he uses to describe one of his “notable” web properties) as though some 20 something, former KU frat boy douchebag whose entire claim to fame to date was sticking his folks with his offspring while he goes recording himself drinking beer (gasp!) outside (Gasp!) IN THE SNOW (GASP!) whenever he’s not laying down his essential brand of internet toughness on those he clearly has established to his own satisfaction that he’s superior to (read: “everyone who ever beat his geek ass in school and those who can’t actually reach him to do it today”)…all in orange crocs.

So, word to you Eric: I promise…really REALLY promise…I’m veritably pooping in my drawers at the very thought of you coming for me via my IP address (which of course you don’t have because, hey, you can’t get one simply because you wish REALLY hard and hold you breath for it).  Yep, I’m trembling in abject fear of your gangly, gawky, awkward self “coming for me” despite the eyes I’m furiously growing in my ass this very second in breathless anticipation of your arrival.  Before you head out on your quest for epic internet retribution for calling you out as the spineless, ignorant, boasting dumbass you simply had to double down on to emphatically prove me right (I didn’t need the assist), maybe you should share your evil plans with Mommy, Daddy, Ashley and little Jackson.  Mommy and Daddy will likely chuckle with mock levity at my impending doom at your assuredly fearsome hands…and then offer you a juicebox and cookie and send you out to play.  Ashley might take you more seriously and wonder if this is yet another ill-considered battle she’s going to go need to rescue her eternally deluded little bro from.  Jackson, well, if you don’t come back, he can probably succeed in changing his name to something that doesn’t link his future to his daddy’s idiotic past.  The kid needs a better chance than that.  Maybe you shouldn’t sell your uncle’s couch.  It’s not likely your new “girl”friend will want to keep it…what with all the stains on the upholstery and such.

But anyway, enough of this.  I have no plans to roll into Lawrence anytime soon (especially not since you’re up in Oshkosh right now) so let’s go ahead and call a truce.  You stick to being a back-flipping, pretentious, string bean, bag of douche with delusions of grandeur that exists as an object lesson to…well…everyone who isn’t you and I’ll stick to me being me.  However, if you’re still going to go about casting yourself as some kind of internet marketing specialist, go ahead and learn how pathetically simple it is to dig you and every facet of your insipid life up in a matter of a few minutes.  Oh…and “bland life”?  LOL!  Yep, guess I’d have to tip the hat to you on expertise on that, sport.  You’d be best to judge…from either Lawrence or Oshkosh.

Pictured above, Eric Giroux of Lawrence, KS. Proud graduate of KU and holder of the prestigious May 2012 cover of (what the hell incestuous mag was that called?…oh yeah) AutoSuccess Magazine. Thrower of cash, pourer of bottles, stomper of the homeless, seller of other people’s furniture, comer for motherfuckers, and general all around bad ass of the intarweb tubez. Also, proud possessor of the Orange Crocs That I Wear While Attention Whoring (some more…for crissake, give it a break kid) On My Mommy And Daddy’s Front Lawn. Yeah, I know you thought I was kidding about the orange crocs. Sadly, not even close to kidding. Are you really surprised tho that my newest nemesis dresses via Garanimals? I’m not.

Addendum:  So, for those who don’t read the comments, young Eric here has chosen “bluff” rather than “man up”.  I myself have a stepson in his 20’s who also makes exceptionally bad decisions (except he’s learned from his for the most part).  All kids that age do.  Eric, however, was given a couple of chances to accept what is patently obvious and sail away relatively unscathed.  I gave him a clear route for taking this post down…he responded by switching accounts on the site where this all started and then posted…hell, I’ve lost count…quite a few comments to this blog today starting from begging and pleading and eventually running straight to outright lies, more ignorant and offensive language and finally to outright daring me to inform his employer (whose time he has wasted in exceptional amounts today).  I truly would have preferred he not push it to this point…but hey…so be it.  Maybe his employer won’t care.  Maybe they’ll be cool with his smack talking and acting like a prick on the web.  Maybe they won’t care they’re paying a salary for some kid to internet stalk people while he should be doing company business.  I guess we’ll find out.

Trace 1 – This is the account he uses to post his particular brand of insult on the social media sites he whiles his days away on. http://disqus.com/Apoplectic_Ape/ Make note of the link to his web property sneakhype and that he lives in Lawrence, KS

Trace 2. This is sneakhype.com’s contact page. Notice the 4 Twitter accounts (we’re down to 4 people). Anyway, 2 of them are Kansas with one specifically Lawrence.. 

 

Trace 3. This is the one specifically matching Lawrence, KS just like the Apoplectic Ape account. Gee, what are the chances that of the 4 accounts, 1 of them would feature a background image of an ape, contain tweets referencing the site he visits as Apoplectic Ape and both this account and the Ape account are from Lawrence? Pretty close to zero.

Trace 4. Unfortunately, while also talking smack, referencing clear connections and such, our genius of social media uses this same Twitter account for his actual job (as opposed to the one where he curbstomps the homeless).

Trace 5. Of course, when you’re too lazy or stupid to use a different Twitter account for your repellant social media tendencies, people who you threaten and harass might decide to follow that up. This here is the account he’s speaking to, in this case, Corey at Dealerfire. But surely that’s not enough to go on right? Nope, you’re right…

…but this probably is. Says it there bold as day. Also claims the sneakhype site as his as well.

Anyway, this is how someone who decides to follow, harass, threaten and then finally dare someone gets famous on the internet. Or, you could just call it “bad judgement”.

My name is Euroranger and I was dared to approve this post.

Posted in Amusing, On the web, Web Dev | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »