A Compilation of Pet Peeves

We All Have Things That Irritate Us. It’s Just Part of the Human Condition.

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Pet peeves grow on you
Pet peeves grow on you
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Pet peeves — we’ve all got them. Sometimes called pet aversion, or pet hate, these are things that others may find inconsequential but that drive us bat-crap. For example, I drive my wife a bit wacky when I keep telling her trivia facts and tales. Can’t help it; I find it fascinating but it just annoys her.

One line of thought is that having pet peeves actually help us cope by channeling irritation from bigger “real” problems like the consequences of COVID-19 lockdown. I was thinking about this the other day and decided to post on the topic; I believe there is some truth to the theory. Since I have insomnia, I have plenty of time to contemplate such deep subjects. Anyway, I’m going to list some things that really get under my skin. Let’s hear about yours in the poll on the right sidebar.


Some of My Pet Peeves; In No Particular Order

Because there’s no rhyme nor reason to this bordering-on neurotic stuff, yeah?

  • Grocery store employee shoppers that monopolize the aisles. This is a trend that really took off during the COVID-19 lockdown. Having grocery store employees shop for pick-up customers is really handy for a lot of people, like harried moms with kids and execs that work late and are trying to shave a few minutes off their schedule. But here’s the thing — in my experience — these employee shoppers navigate these huge carts with which they block the aisles, cut us off (like drivers on the road), and then refuse to give any consideration to us “normal” shoppers. OK, I get it; you are on a schedule and likely have a quota to meet. But remember (take note, store management) daily shoppers like me and my readers are the profit and the employee surrogate shoppers are the overhead.
  • Drivers at stores that just stop at the entrance, blocking traffic, so they can wait for their passengers to finish shopping. Not only are you being inconsiderate and blocking traffic, you’re parked in a FIRE LANE. I’m once again thinking of the Kroger where I grocery shop. Hey, there’s about 300 empty parking slots and no muggers. Why are you so dang lazy?
  • Walkers that walk two, three, or four abreast on hike/bike trails or at running races that obliviously impede other participants. This is annoying because they force others to go off-trail and break their pace. I don’t do many running races anymore, but when I did, this was a major annoyance. I don’t pretend that I was ever going to win anything, but I had trained hard and was trying to reach a goal. On the hike/bike trails I often see familes on bikes (with little kids) have to go off-trail because walking groups are too involved in their conversations to yeild a wee bit of space.
  • Phone call solicitors that don’t obey the “no-call-list.” I’m signed up for both the national and the Texas no-call lists. Has it helped? No. Why not? Because the law isn’t enforced. Sure, the government has the money to fund critical race theory programs, but when it comes to funding someone to police citizens from being preyed on by scam artists? Not so much. Even when you report an infraction, the response is a luke-warm, “we’ll make a note of that.”
  • Drivers that block the crosswalk. I run and walk a lot on and along the roads (for some reason there are no sidewalks in my subdivision and kids have to walk to school because the school district won’t provide busses because we are just shy of 1 mile from the institutions of learning). My tax dollars? Inconsequential, it seems. Altogether too often, when drivers are approaching a crosswalk, either for a stop sign or a red light, will pull up so far as to completely block the crosswalk, even when there are pedestrians already crossing! Every runner, walker, and cyclist should have a RoadID that lists their name, contacts, and any medical conditions in case they are hit by a car. Or even a 10-year old driving a golf cart on the road around here. Don’t laugh; around here golf carts are considered mass transit.


  • People who promote Critical Race Theory and other forms of control and racial superiority. Folks on the left are pushing hard to force Critical Race Theory on society. Schools are buying it; corporations are buying it; even the military is buying it. Sure, it’s a catchy phrase, but they don’t really tell you what it is. It’s Marxism with a facelift. Do you really want that? I don’t, but these people and their ideas are being coddled by almost every institution that we have to interact with.
  • Cancel culture. These folks think they are superior enough to mandate who gets to exist. Or they’re pushing an agenda. Or they’re demented. Or all of the above. A GOD complex gone haywire, and assuaged by the mainstream media.
  • Insomnia. Whew, this is a bad one. I suffer from the sleep disorder insomnia quite often. There are many reasons for it but not nearly enough solutions.
  • People that share their unhappiness with others. It’s true that we all experience some degree of unhappiness now and then. The problem is when we take it out on others. We all know someone at work that does this. Just like the fact that cheerfulness is contagious, chronic destructive unhappiness spreads its tendrils through society like the common cold. Find someone to confide in if you find the need to vent but try to put on a happy face otherwise. It really is therapeudic!

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  • The large amount of damaged goods at Walmart. I haven’t seen any other store, even Mom and Pop stores, that have so many dented cans and corner-squashed cardboard boxes. Are they buying damaged goods to save money? Are the stockers just careless? If it is the stockers, why don’t they get some training, like, stop throwing the merch around? I always bypass the bad stuff, but still, other stores put this shlock in a discount bin.
  • Zip-Lock type bags that don’t. If you buy frozen vegetables or smoothie fruits, cheese, or other goodies, it is likely that the package is called “re-sealable” and sports a zip-lock type closure. The damn things rarely work. I find myself squeezing and cursing for a few minutes and then going to the drawer that contains the clothes pins.
  • Pull-strings on dog food bags. Even though I make homemade dog food, sometimes I find myself between batches and have to resort to bagged kibble. Those string closures sewn onto the top of the bag never pull off correctly. Why is this so hard, Purina People? If you can make a product that has a shelf life of 10 years, you brainiacs out to be able to figure out a container that actually works.

This is my compilation of pet peeves that come immediately to mind. I’m sure there are more. Do you share any of these?


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Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

What is Critical Race Theory?

An Historical Look at the Social Justice Movement in American Society

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Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory
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Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a term that is much bandied about on social media and in the press today, but the average citizen is likely to be unsure about what it is. After all, the term is non-specific in meaning, the very definition of a specious term. We know it’s got something to do with race (in America), it’s a theory (OK, an academic concept), and it’s critical, so it’s a make-or-break thing. But, put those parts together, and it’s meant to convey… nothing of any substance. So, to go beyond pundit-spout, we must look at the roots of the movement. Which the mainstream media does not (will not) cover.

The History of Marxism

The Marxist Left structured its political program based on the theory of class conflict. Karl Marx thought that the basic characteristic of his day’s industrial societies was an imbalance of power between the few capitalist have-alls (the 1% in today’s terms) and the many workers. His solution to that imbalance was revolution: the workers would at some point gain consciousness of their situation, secure the mechanisms of production, overthrow the capitalists, and thrive in a new socialist society.

Since then, many societies have enacted Marxist-themed revolutions. Each and every one concluded in sheer disaster. Socialist/communist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere ended up killing nearly 100 million of their own (expendable or non-cooperative) citizens. Theory generated from the comfort of a London library was one thing, but in practice, Marx’s ideas brought about utter societal destruction.

Fast-Forward to the Mid-1960s

Marxist intellectuals in the West had finally begun to acknowledge these catastrophes. They wanted to close their eyes to Soviet butcheries and ultimately realized that worker’s revolutions could never happen in classic Marxist fashion in Western Europe or in the US, where there were already predominant middle classes and the standards of living were constantly improving. Americans had never really developed a sense of class consciousness or class division in the same sense as those in the Old World. Americans were brought up to believe in the American dream, the concept that they could rise above their beginnings via education, working hard, and practicing good citizenship.

With this realization, Marxists simply adjusted their revolutionary theory to work with the social and racial unrest happening in the 1960s. They discarded Marx’s economic theory of capitalists and workers and substituted the term race for class and initiated a revolutionary conglomerate of the abused based upon racial and ethnic categories, a move where they acted as the cancel culture on themselves! But, Americans preferred the concept of improving the country rather than overthrowing it. The Marxists needed a new strategy.



Critical Race Theory is Born

It was conceived in the 1990s, constructed upon the intellectual skeleton of “identity-based” Marxism. For many years it remained in universities and obscure academic journals. But insidiously, over the past decade, it has solidified into the default ideology in many of our public institutions. It’s been instilled in government agencies, public (and some private) schools, and human resources departments. You’ve probably seen it in the guise of diversity training programs, public policy guidelines, and school curricula. The accepted over-reach is mind-boggling. Writing for Imprimis, Christopher F. Rufo gives some examples:1

  • In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines.
  • Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.” This is the cancel culture at its finest.
  • The Department of Homeland Security was telling white employees they were committing “microinequities” and had been “socialized into oppressor roles.”
  • The Treasury Department held a training session telling staff members that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and that they must convert “everyone in the federal government” to the ideology of “antiracism.”
  • The Sandia National Laboratories, which designs America’s nuclear arsenal, sent white male executives to a three-day reeducation camp, where they were told that “white male culture” was analogous to the “KKK,” “white supremacists,” and “mass killings.” The executives were then forced to renounce their “white male privilege” and write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.
  • In Cupertino, California, an elementary school forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”
  • In Springfield, Missouri, a middle school forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and “covert white supremacy.”
  • In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “Black communism” and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela Davis from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder.
  • In Seattle, the school district told white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgment of [their] thieved inheritance.”

“The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice. A crisis born at the pursuit of profit… The trampling of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change. The trampling of racial justice is a cause of climate change.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Terminology

Some of the terms employed by its supporters to describe critical race theory are “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Equity sounds benign. It’s easily confused with the American principle of equality. And really, who among us would object to more home equity? That’s got to be a good thing, right? But the distinction is important. Equality, the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere non-discrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.



Critical race theorists and their sycophants like to project the image of themselves as benign social justice warriors, seeking only to improve the condition of society. Nothing is further than the truth. Like Antifa thugs and the more radical arm of BLM, they are Marxists who are determined “by any means necessary” to shift all the power to their control. Unfortunately, the media is only too happy to be complicit and corporate America pays them more homage than they do to consumers. That is capitalism turned on its head. Perhaps it is working after all.

Further Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.


References

  1. Christopher F. Rufo, Imprimis, Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It, https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/critical-race-theory-fight/

The History of Cancel Culture

History and Present-Day Deniers Seek to Modify Society, Generally to Totalitarian Class-Specific Ends

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Nazi book burning; an act of cancel culture
Nazi book burning; an act of cancel culture
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What does the term “cancel culture” mean today? Dictionary.com says it is, “the phenomenon or practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions: Cancel culture can ruin careers, but it can also make a public figure think twice before posting controversial comments,” and “the phenomenon or practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions: Cancel culture can ruin careers, but it can also make a public figure think twice before posting controversial comments.1

So, you should be concerned, very concerned. We have this “new face” of this form of social engineering and revisionist history, but consider this tidbit from the World War II-era:

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Martin Niemöller, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian opposing the Nazi rise to power

History of Cancel Culture

It has always been used by the powerful to control and isolate the elements of society that they disapproved of. Ironically, today the tables have been somewhat turned via the tools of the internet and social media in particular. Fake news is a particularly efficient vehicle. Here are some examples from a historical perspective.

Where did it all start? Most likely it has been with us from the beginning when a caveman was ostracized from the group for some slight or inability to contribute to the survival of the group. As historically documented though, American Thinker tells us, “Cancel culture has its roots in intolerance dating back to the French Revolution (1789-1794), when Robespierre’s Reign of Terror resulted in some 30,000 deaths — a period accompanied by a concerted effort to erase and destroy Christianity and its traditions and institutions.  The culmination of that phase of the French Revolution was marked by the regimes’ installation of a prostitute as head of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  With that affront to decency and elimination of God, Robespierre and his successors thought they could rule without moral constraints. “2



Russia introduced a kind of Photoshop mentality to the concept. As the head of Red Army, Leon Trotsky was instrumental in making the communist revolution come to fruition for Vladimir Lenin, and for his successor Stalin after the former died in 1924.  However, by 1927, Stalin had purged Trotsky from the now-powerful Communist Party and Soviet politics. He expelled him from the country in 1929. Then Stalin assembled a team to erase all photographs as well as references to Trotsky in each and every historical record. When the order ultimately went out to have him assassinated years later, the cancellation had been done and there was hardly an official record or photograph left showing that Trotsky ever even graced Russia with his presence.

China was hardly different. Mao Zedong’s communist revolution was founded on historical determinism. This was a fundamental tenet of this flavor of Marxism that required the cancellation of past history and the subordination of its citizens to the collective identity of the communist state. During the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, Mao instructed his Red Guards to unify the country’s populace to cancel and rid itself of what he held to be the so-called “Four Olds”: Old customs, Old culture, Old habits, and Old ideas. The result was devastating, with Chinese people turning on each other and confused, brainwashed youth betraying their own siblings parents, and grandparents. At the end of it all, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Chinese Cultural Revolution were responsible for at least 40 million deaths, both those for which Mao was ultimately responsible and those that sprung from the draconian, disastrous policies he obstinately refused to change.



The Current American Cancel Culture

Until recently, most Americans were rolling right along, prospering financially, advancing technologically, and seemingly happy as the proverbial clam. All was not so with the government apparatchiks in Washington. The mainstream media, in their own bellicose style, were alternately promoting the far-left agenda, and “reporting” (rather, chopped, pressed, and formed; just like your favorite pseudo-food) events with such a spin that fact-checkers couldn’t keep up. No matter, the fact-checkers in their employ were hardly non-partisan anyway. Classic smoke and mirrors.

Black Lives Matter and Antifa entered the fray, orchestrating and participating in “peaceful” rioting, looting, destruction of both public and private property, and mercilessly beating anyone wearing a red MAGA hat. Others eagerly began to participate. Colin Kaepernick fanned the flames of the abolish-the-police faction of the movement with his infamous pig socks which he gladly flaunted to the press. Nike corporate capitulated and responded by signing him as their flagship lackey. College students were rallied in their legions by progressive tenured professors who had been roused from the slumber of their dotage by all the hoopla. The stage having been set, the left began making damnfools of corporate America and dismantling or renaming (taming) these icons of industry:

  1. The Muppets. Inanimate puppets which PBS saw as racially diverse are now seen by the far left as insulting. How does one meander further left than PBS?
  2. Aunt Jemima. Because you have to slave over a hot stove to get those pancakes out.
  3. Mrs. Butterworth’s. The same as her colleague Jemima but with the added slur of using a pronoun that is not LGBT-approved. Also, “Mrs.” rather than “Ms” is supportive of the ersatz concept of patriarchy.
  4. Uncle Ben’s Rice. Lawd no!
  5. Cream of Wheat. There’s a tiny picture of a Chef-of-Color on the box. Real black men aren’t stereotypical cooks unless it’s barbecue in a beer ad.
  6. Eskimo Pies. I get it — Associating indigenous peoples with a frozen confection is racist.
  7. Land O’ Lakes Butter. Lose the Indian maiden logo; alert all dictionary publishers to red-line the word “squaw.”
  8. Gone With the Wind. No longer a valid historical drama and brilliant cinemagraphic presentation because it not only portrays not only slaves-of-color but female slaves-of-color. You damn misogynistic bigots! Two strikes, damn your eyes!
  9. Cleveland Indians baseball team mascot. Because they don’t win enough?
  10. Washington Redskins team mascot. See number 9.
  11. Mr. Potato Head. Just because of the pronoun “Mr.” Company representatives actually said they didn’t want to limit its gender choices. #tubersaregenderfree
  12. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. They are saying it’s because he’s a bully. The way I remember it, he was the one excluded from the reindeer games and therefore, the victim. Besides not even getting the story line straight before passing judgement, it’s fiction, you progressive bullies!
  13. Dr. Seus. Oh, for crying out loud. They say the author may have had some racist tendencies which he evolved from post-puberty. When in doubt, pillory and convict.

Did Speaker of the House Pelosi Attempt to Cancel Trump in Violation of the U.S. Constitution?

Judicial Watch, a constitutional watchdog group working in the public interest, has filed a FOIA suit against the U.S. Department of Defense for records of Pelosi’s January 8, 2021, telephone call with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Defense (No 1:21-cv-00593)3 to answer this question.

At the heart of the matter is a phone call that Speaker of the House Pelosi made to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley regarding President Trump. She acknowledges that the call was “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike. The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”

The problem, as the Wall Street Journal editorial page sees it is, “Mrs. Pelosi’s call to Gen. Milley is itself a violation of the separation of powers by seeking to inject herself into an executive-branch military decision. She can offer advice all she wants, but this call at this time has the sound of an order. It might even be construed by some as its own little coup—conniving with the military to relieve of command the person who remains the elected President.”4

Did the CDC Communicate with Big Tech about COVID-19?

Big Tech has taken upon itself the mantle of Ministry of Health Truth by censoring users and doctors with which its opinions disagree. It demands that everyone march in lockstep. To what extent has the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) been involved in this?

Judicial Watch has filed another lawsuit to get to the bottom of this to which they say, “The public has the right to know about CDC’s involvement in Big Tech’s outrageous censorship of Americans, including doctors, who raise questions about the COVID-19 response. The Biden administration should stop stonewalling and release the records about the CDC’s role in suppressing the free speech of Americans.”

The bottom line is that the history of cancel culture and denial of truth is as old as mankind itself but is perhaps more dangerous today than it has ever been. Totalitarianism? Do you think it can’t happen here? The very fact that so many people are willing to accept erasing and banning from society something as mundane as a cartoon character because a manipulative minority finds it offensive (or contrary to a radical political agenda) speaks volumes. Inevitably, the pendulum swings, as it always does.


Further Reading


Resources

  1. Dictionary.com, Definition of Cancel Culture, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cancel-culture?s=t
  2. Scott S. Powell, American Thinker, Cancel Culture: Its Origins and Implications for America, https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/03/cancel_culture_its_origins_and_implications_for_america.html
  3. Judicial Watch, JW v. HHS CDC Social Media complaint 00625, https://www.judicialwatch.org/documents/jw-v-hhs-cdc-social-media-complaint-00625/
  4. The Wall Street Journal, A Coup of Pelosi’s Own, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-coup-of-pelosis-own-11610148740

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

It Can’t Happen Here

Authored by Sinclair Lewis; A Book Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Rise of the fascist brown-shirts
Rise of the fascist Brown-Shirts
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Sinclair Lewis wrote the dystopian political novel It Can’t Happen Here in 1935. Fascism was experiencing its heyday in Europe exemplified by the likes of Adolph Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy. The book describes the rise of a US dictator similar to how Adolf Hitler gained power. Today the book is seen as a cautionary tale.



The story describes the rise of one Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after injecting fear into the population and promising comprehensive economic and democratic socialist reforms while promoting a return to classic patriotism and “traditional” American values. Following his election, Windrip assumes complete control of the existing government and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force similar to Hitler’s Brown Shirts. The basic plot centers on one journalist Doremus Jessup’s covert opposition to the strong-arm regime and subsequently, his struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.



The story isn’t simply a history of how a complacent population allows itself to be taken over and subjugated with empty promises by (all too familiar) politicians. It also illustrates, through the narrative of one average man, Jessup, how the human spirit, can not only resist, but endure.

How relevant is this story to current-day America? That is a matter of personal opinion for each of us to decide. The world we live in today includes so many more variables that Lewis’ contended with.

  • The Internet facilitates fake news.
  • Just before, and at an increasing rate since Biden took office, social media networking platforms have been censoring conservative viewpoints with impunity.
  • Biden/Harris have put packing the Supreme Court with liberal and Democrat Socialist justices on the table. The Constitution does not specify how many there can be. The current number has been accepted by both parties until now. The “gentleman’s agreement” is out the window.
  • The mainstream media has lost all credibility and has abandoned the principles of impartiality.

It Can’t Happen Here is not only entertaining; it’s well worth a read to examine how it is a mirror reflection of what we are going through at this point in history.

Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Philosophy of Martin Luther King

Non-Violence in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi

by Kelly R. Smith

Martin Luther King and Barack Obama
Martin Luther King and Barack Obama
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Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth name was Michael King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He died on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. The central theme of his teachings and leadership was his philosophy of non-violence in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi.

The King Center explains the Triple Evils that MLK defined, “The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils. To work against the Triple Evils, you must develop a nonviolent frame of mind as described in the ‘Six Principles of Nonviolence’ and use the Kingian model for social action outlined in the ‘Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change’.”1

The Triple Evils

  1. Poverty. This Evil encompasses unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, infant mortality, and slums. Poverty is not something new but we now have the resources to get rid of it. “The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for the least of these.”1
  2. Racism. This Evil refers to prejudicial mindsets, South Africa style apartheid, continuing ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, sexism, colonialism (the one that Obama is frenetic about), homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes.
  3. Militarism. This Evil concerns war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, domestic terrorism (Antifa, BLM), human trafficking from undocumented illegal aliens to sex workers, media violence, drug proliferation, child abuse, and violent crime.


King’s Six Principals of Non-Violence

MLK defined these fundamental principals in his book Stride Toward Freedom.

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and like happiness, emotionally.
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation. Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body. Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win. Nonviolence believes that our righteous God is a God of justice.


Fact: Today over 700 streets in the Unites States are named after Martin Luther King Jr., with one such street in almost every major city.

King’s Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change

  1. Information gathering. To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position in order to have empathy.
  2. Education. It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.
  3. Personal commitment. Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.
  4. Discussion/negotiation. Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.
  5. Direct action. These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.
  6. Reconciliation. Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community.’

The philosophy of Martin Luther King is sound and timeless. Unfortunately, his concepts are sadly lacking in today’s society. Instead, the mainstream media, social media, and the monied few seek to indulge in social engineering through fake news, censorship, and rigged elections. We can do better, can’t we?

Others are Reading

Reference

  1. The King Center, https://thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy/#:~:text=Fundamental%20tenets%20of%20Dr.%20King%E2%80%99s%20philosophy%20of%20nonviolence,to%20evil.It%20is%20aggressive%20spiritually%2C%20mentally%20and%20emotionally.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Fake News and Cognitive Ability

Information Overload, Attitude, and Social Media are Odd Bedfellows

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Inundated with fake news
Inundated with fake news
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This article was updated on 02/22/21.

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Fake news has always been with us, but the advent of the internet and social media really gave it legs. And under President Donald Trump, it really became a “thing.” In view of the recent presidential election, it seems ironic that Trump called the press out on it in no uncertain terms while Joe Biden created a lot of it. He’s made a cottage industry of fabrications, either to pander certain groups or to puff out his own feathers.

For example, when he tried to generate support with civil liberties advocates by telling this outrageous lie. The Washingtonpost.com reported Biden’s quote, “This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid. I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island.1 The problem? It never happened.

But that’s the problem with this kind of self-serving fake news. It sticks. And, it forms and solidifies opinions to some degree. But do those opinions remain set in stone? Even after fabrications have been fact-checked and exposed as fraud? It’s really a sliding scale; it depends on the level of the cognitive ability of the recipient.



What is Cognitive Ability?

In order to understand this sliding scale, it is important to understand what cognitive ability is. Sharpbrains.com says, “Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They have more to do with the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention, rather than with any actual knowledge. For instance, answering the telephone involves perception (hearing the ring tone), decision taking (answering or not), motor skill (lifting the receiver), language skills (talking and understanding language), social skills (interpreting tone of voice and interacting properly with another human being).”2

The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability and Attitude Adjustment

Changing one’s opinions after learning that the initial reporting was fake news is surprisingly rare. People are polarized and resist changing opinion. But a person with high cognitive ability (we might unscientifically say open-minded) will take the fact-checking under consideration and re-evaluate. The low cognitive will not. Others lie somewhere in between.

An experiment reported on by ScienceDirect said, “The present experiment (N = 390) examined how people adjust their judgment after they learn that crucial information on which their initial evaluation was based is incorrect. In line with our expectations, the results showed that people generally do adjust their attitudes, but the degree to which they correct their assessment depends on their cognitive ability. In particular, individuals with lower levels of cognitive ability adjusted their attitudes to a lesser extent than individuals with higher levels of cognitive ability. Moreover, for those with lower levels of cognitive ability, even after the explicit disconfirmation of the false information, adjusted attitudes remained biased and significantly different from the attitudes of the control group who was never exposed to the incorrect information.”3

Compounding this problem is the fact that the case can be made that the social media platforms are using their power of censorship to shape opinions, and further, to suppress those opinions that they don’t agree with. This is why there are so many congressional hearings (which just turn out to be lip service; congress members bloviate but then they just do a press conference).

Fake News and Social Media

It may be called “social” media, but it has become so much more than that. Dustin Carnahan, an assistant professor of communications at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, explains it thus, “We’re reaching a critical point regarding what role social media should play in society as these platforms — and how we use them — have evolved. Instead of being places where people stay connected and share the details of their lives, they’re increasingly being used as sources of information. A recent Pew survey found nearly six in 10 people regularly use social media for news and while it’s not their only news outlet, it’s an important one. As a result, the quality of information people receive from social media is becoming a bigger question.”4

Take for example, the recent situation, prior to the presidential election, when Twitter censored the New York Post’s posting about an article detailing Hunter and Joe Biden’s shenanigans. Part of this was misusing the power of the office of vice president. “The story story outlined the connection between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and money then Vice-President Biden held hostage from the Ukraine until they dismissed the prosecutor that was investigating the energy giant Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden sat.”5

Actions such as this go beyond shaping opinion; this is interfering in a presidential election. Twitter’s rationale? They said the story violated the policy against the “distribution of hacked material.” Hacked? They knew that as soon as the posting was made? In the end it turned out to be be not only true, but on Hunter Biden’s computer.

In the end, the proliferation of fake news, filtered news, and censorship by the mainstream media and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook do have consequences. The end result is nothing less than social engineering. Corporate attitude adjustment.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Resources

  1. Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post, Biden’s ridiculous claim he was arrested trying to see Mandela, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/25/bidens-ridiculous-claim-he-was-arrested-trying-see-mandela/
  2. SharpBrains, What are cognitive abilities and skills, and can we boost them?, https://sharpbrains.com/what-are-cognitive-abilities/
  3. Jonas De Keersmaecker, Arne Roets, ScienceDirect, ‘Fake news’: Incorrect, but hard to correct. The role of cognitive ability on the impact of false information on social impressions, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160289617301617#ks0005
  4. MSUTODAY, The truth behind fake news and politics on social media, https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2020/the-truth-behind-fake-news-and-politics-on-social-media/
  5. Kelly R. Smith, I Can Fix Up My Home Blog, Social Media Censoring New York Post to Protect Biden, http://www.icanfixupmyhome.com/WPBlog1/2020/10/16/social-media-censoring-new-york-post-to-protect-biden/

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Is Tuition-Free College an American Right?

Should Government Force Taxpayers to Pay for Other People’s Children’s Education?

by Kelly R. Smith

Is tuition-free college a fair trade for tax-payers?
Is tuition-free college a fair trade for tax-payers?
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This article was updated on 01/08/21.

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Tuition-free college is one of those concepts that can be labeled as a “political football” just as topics such as abortion and drug criminalization are. Whether the ideas gain any traction and effect legislation after any given election is doubtful but they are certainly bandied about for the purposes of pandering and invoking the dog whistle.

Painting with a broad brush, it is a safe bet to say that liberals, leftists (yes, there is a difference), and Democrats favor some form of “free” college while those on the right, libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans oppose it. None of this is surprising since the left favors collectivism and the right prefers independence and personal responsibility. But in the end, the question looms — is tuition-free higher education an American right?

Does the Constitution Name Education as a Right?

No, the US Constitution does not express an opinion on the subject of education. You surely have an inherent right to get an education, the have the right to educate yourself, and the right to provide an education to others if you desire. That’s covered under the 9th and 10th Amendments:

  • The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So the Constitution, by deliberate omission, negates the notion that free tuition is a right. The only way the concept could hold water at all would be if the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) somehow made an interpretation and rendered a decision. Not that that is beyond the pale; consider how Justice Roberts allowed Obamacare by somehow interpreting the meaning of the words tax and penalty. Through what lens of reality does that man peer?

Why Tuition-Free Higher Education is Morally Wrong

Let us assume for a moment that all Americans (and as Bernie Sanders and AOC champion, even illegal aliens) have the right to a “free” education. In life, nothing is free. In this case, it’s all tax dollars, baby. This means that applicants would have a “right” to the labor of others. What is the definition of that? Slavery. As per the 13th Amendment, you have no right to the labor of others. Look it up.

Walter Williams nails social justice
Walter Williams nails social justice

So who does end up paying? Obviously, there are those who simply have chosen to go straight into the workplace after high school. They’re paying their own way; why should the law mandate that they shoulder the financial burdens of those why simply want a free ride? Consider these others:

  • In school year 2017–18, the national adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students was 85%. Those without a diploma are not headed to college; at least not right away. They will be too busy paying for middle-class kids.
  • Retirees, many of which have already paid to educate their children. Enough already.
  • Members of the workforce making minimum wage or fighting for commission sales.
  • Entrepreneurs taking financial chances and providing jobs for others.
  • Citizens who go by choice go into the trades after high school, becoming carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, etc.
  • People that choose the military or police track. Why should they pay to educate those that they are defending? What an insult.


But Don’t We Pay for Free Elementary and Secondary School?

Yes… it’s apples and oranges. Elementary and secondary education is administered and financed on a local level, not federal. Communities have a self-interest in getting their citizens through this level of life-preparation for local economic, cultural, and security reasons.

How do you now feel about tuition-free college being an American right? If you are looking forward to having someone else support you while you pursue a college degree it’s probably because it’s like free candy and you’ve got a sugar tooth. But the path already exists. Do your bit and take advantage of the G.I. Bill. Get a part-time job. Apply for Pell Grants. Apply for scholarships. Take out low-interest college loans. Take responsibility. That’s my take. Many readers might wonder how I justify my opinion. Well, just to be transparent — I worked part-time at the local library while I used the G.I. Bill. When that ran out, I was a full-time carpenter during the day while attending night school. And after it was all done, no student loans.


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Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

The Biden Family/China/Russia Connection is Breaking Open

by Kelly R. Smith

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Forget Trump’s Russiagate and the four-year waste of time and money in an attempt to impeach the president. The real story is the Bidens doing back door deals. The mainstream press has been rather successful in protecting Joe Biden.

It all started on Oct. 14, when Delaware computer repairman John Paul Mac Isaac claimed that in April 2019, a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought a liquid-damaged MacBook Pro to his small repair shop. That MacBook is now in the possession of the FBI and is reputed to have some very damaging emails about the Biden’s dirty business deals. The ramifications and details are in the video below. Let’s make it go viral. The election is nigh.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Social Media Censoring New York Post to Protect Biden

by Kelly R. Smith

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Twitter massive fail censoring New York Post and users to protect Joe Biden
Twitter massive fail censoring New York Post and users to protect Joe Biden

What a sad turn of events for America. The New York Post has been booted out of Twitter over an article that they published on Joe Biden’s alleged corruption. According to business reporter Noah Manskar, it was because the story violated the policy against the “distribution of hacked material.” If that rationale strikes you as lame as well, you are certainly not alone. It is out and out smoke and mirrors.

The Personnel Connection

Just last month that the Post1 reported that Carlos Monje, who was Twitter’s director of public policy, left Twitter to take a position with Biden’s transition team. Now, it is plain to see that Twitter is actively suppressing information that reflects badly on the Biden campaign, and indeed, on Hunter Biden.

Monje now serves as co-chair of Biden’s infrastructure policy committee. Earlier he served as the director of agency review on the team that prepared for a possible Hillary Clinton administration. Even before that he served in former President Obama’s White House. At a glance it is not a stretch to deduce that he is not an impartial player. The question is, is he still pulling partisan strings at Twitter? Now, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but…

The Post Story

The story story outlined the connection between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and money then Vice-President Biden held hostage from the Ukraine until they dismissed the prosecutor that was investigating the energy giant Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden sat.

It would be fair to ask, “Where did the Post get their info?” It was based on exclusive emails that resided on a laptop computer that was allegedly left at a Delaware computer repair shop. The Post reported that the FBI seized the laptop in December 2019.

Part of the story the Post printed concerned how the emails were obtained. What the emails themselves illustrated was that Hunter Biden, while serving on the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma, personally introduced his father, who was then Vice President Joe Biden, to executives at that company. After that introduction was made, Joe Biden held back $1 billion in aid to Ukraine until that government fired a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma for wrongdoing. Oh, what a web we weave.

While running for president on the Democrat ticket, Biden has consistently denied any knowledge of Hunter’s position with the company or business dealings. Clearly, this is one of Joe Biden’s lies (misstatements if you reside on the left) that he has bandied about.

Joe Biden forgets strong-arming the Ukraine to protect Hunter, his son

This isn’t the first time that social media has indulged in suppressing or promoting information to sway public opinion. Indeed, Facebook banned or punished many people that are not on the same page as Mark Elliot Zuckerberg. Censoring the New York Post to protect Democratic presidential candidate Biden and injure the Republican candidate Donald Trump sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the fabric of our political system and our first amendment rights.

Update: I just posted this article on Twitter and it was rejected until I edited the post to take the image out. Yes, I was censored by Twitter for posting an article about Twitter censoring. My head is spinning.

References


  • Yaron Steinbuch, Twitter’s public policy chief departs to join Joe Biden’s transition team, https://nypost.com/2020/09/18/twitters-public-policy-chief-leaves-for-biden-transition-team/

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Columbus Day: History and Controversy

by Kelly R. Smith

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Christopher Columbus discovers land
Christopher Columbus discovers land

Columbus Day falls on October 12. It is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. As early as the 18th century it was celebrated in many cities and states and it was designated a federal holiday in 1937. The day honors Columbus’ achievements and celebrates Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s including Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who set sail in August of 1492, bound for Asia with financial backing from the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, He had 3 ships — the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. The plan was to chart a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. But alas, things went sideways. On October 12, 1492, he arrived at the Bahamas. He was the first European adventurer to explore the Americas since the Vikings occupied colonies in both Greenland and Newfoundland back in the 10th century.

Columbus was confused quite a bit but it was understandable; Europeans didn’t know the Pacific Ocean existed. He sighted Cuba and thought it was mainland China; come December the expedition encountered Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. There, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

The Columbus Controversy

In 1792, New York’s Columbian Order (Tammany Hall) staged an event that commemorated the historic landing’s 300th anniversary. They took pride in Columbus’ birthplace and faith. Italian and Catholic communities in many parts of the country began organizing annual religious ceremonies and parades in his honor.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday. In 1937, in 1937, largely as a result of intense lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal organization.

Things have changed. Many groups, seeing themselves as social warriors have taken to demonizing not just Civil War heroes but Columbus. BLM and Antifa come to mind. They see Columbus as a colonizer.

Anti-immigrant groups in the United States have also rejected the holiday because it is associated with Catholicism. These are the same people that took God and the Pledge of Allegiance out of school.

Alternate Holidays

South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon and have officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, as have cities like Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Ironically, the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeast the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole also participated in the institution of slavery. You don’t see Black Lives Matter having an issue with that inconvenient fact.

In many Latin American countries, the anniversary of Columbus’ landing is observed as the Dìa de la Raza (“Day of the Race”). This is to celebrate the Hispanic culture’s diverse roots. Venezuela renamed the holiday Dìa de la Resistencia Indìgena (“Day of Indigenous Resistance”) in 2002, to recognize native peoples and their experience and to promote socialism.

Do you plan to celebrate Columbus Day? I know I will. Please participate in the poll on the right-hand side of this page for a study I’m doing. Thanks!



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.