Tag Archives: Google

California Rebs

(California was a magic spot when I lived there a spell in the early 1960s. But no more. Today’s post is written by Victor Davis Hanson, a historian with the Hoover Institution.)

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9942878-confederate-flag-rendered-with-fabric-texture1MORE THAN 60 percent of California voters went for Hillary Clinton — a margin of more than 4 million votes over Donald Trump.

Since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat, the state seems to have become unhinged over President Trump’s unexpected election.

“Calexit” supporters brag that they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for California’s secession from the United States.

Some California officials have talked of the state not remitting its legally obligated tax dollars to the federal government. They talk of expanding its sanctuary cities into an entire sanctuary state that would nullify federal immigration law.

Californians also now talk about the value of the old Confederate idea of “states’ rights.”

They whine that their state gives far too much revenue to Washington and gets too little back.

Residents boast about how their cool culture has little in common with the rest of the U.S. Some Californians claim the state could easily go it alone, divorced from the United States.

Sound a bit familiar?

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Today’s leftist

In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.

In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.

Like California, South Carolina insisted it could nullify federal laws within its state borders.

Like California, South Carolina promised to withhold federal revenues.

Like California, South Carolina and other Confederate states bragged that their unique economies did not need the Union.

They boasted that “King Cotton” had created the wealthiest class in the United States. Silicon Valley now often assumes that Google, Facebook, Apple and others are near-trillion-dollar companies that are a world unto their own.

Slavery and the extravagant income from cotton warped the Southern economy and culture. A wealthy plantation elite, with its millions of exploited slaves, ensured that there would be virtually no middle-, working- or small-business class.

Huge estates were surrounded by the impoverished shacks of servants. Hardscrabble farmers or small businessmen often fled westward to escape the shackles of wealth disparity.

The export-dependent Southern elite demanded unfettered free trade. It offered bitter resistance to Northern protectionism.

South Carolina elites were opposed to federal infrastructure projects such as the building of roads, canals, bridges and reservoirs, and other such unwelcome “progress.”

Confederates boasted that their antebellum culture was more romantic, natural, pristine, healthy and moral than was the bustle, grime and hyper-capitalism of Northern industrialism.

Southern aristocrats believed that they were culturally superior — in terms of music, art and literature — to other Americans.

Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is superliberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.

Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the United States are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.

California is likewise becoming a winner-take-all society. It hosts the largest numbers of impoverished and the greatest number of rich people of any state in the country.

Eager for cheap service labor, California has welcomed in nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants.*

California has more residents living in poverty than any other state. It is home to one-third of all the nation’s welfare recipients.

The income of California’s wealthy seems to make them immune from the effects of the highest basket of sales, income and gas taxes in the nation. The poor look to subsidies and social services to get by. Over the last 30 years, California’s middle classes have increasingly fled the state.

“Gone With the Wind”-like wealth disparity in California is shocking to the naked eye.

Mostly poor Redwood City looks like it’s on a different planet from tony nearby Atherton or Woodside.

The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways and affordable housing for the coastal poor.

California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.

California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.

Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s.

No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.

But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.

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* Old Felipe prefers “illegal aliens.” He also continues what appears to be a one-man war against the use of “liberal” and “progressive” when referring to leftists.

Invasion of privacy?

I DON’T USE Google Search. Instead I use the weirdly named DuckDuckGo which hypes itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you” as does Google, famously.

But I do not dodge Google Search because it tracks me. I don’t give a hoot if it tracks me. I dodge Google whenever possible due to its flagrantly left-wing politics.

I don’t get this privacy thing that excites so many people.

Facebook catches lots of criticism too because of privacy issues. The info that it, Google, and other websites gather, as I understand it, is to fine-tune advertising sent your way.

finalpadlockThis bumfuzzles me. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me. My online connection is 99% via a desktop computer. I use an ad-blocker. I rarely see ads whether they are fine-tuned for me or not.

Why are people worried about their “privacy”? Are they putting Social Security numbers, ATM pin numbers, credit card numbers, etc., in plain view online? Nah.

Those things you should worry about, but Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., do not collect those things.

What am I missing here? Why the hysteria?

Getting stuff

ONE OF THE many adventures connected to living on the hardscrabble outskirts of town is getting stuff, mostly stuff in the mail.

parcelThere is no house-to-house delivery in my neighborhood. What happens is that all the mail for a certain area is dropped off at a central spot, which can be a small, corner grocery or it can be somebody’s home.

You then have to go there, the store or the home of some stranger, and ask for your mail. Of course, you have to know mail has arrived in the first place. Nobody comes and tells you. It’s a mystery-challenge.

I avoid the problem most of the time by having a post office box downtown, which is where 99 percent of my pittance of mail goes.

The quantity is small due in large part to not getting junk mail like one gets above the Rio Bravo. I wonder if that’s still a problem up there, like dinnertime phone calls. I don’t get those anymore either.

But sometimes I buy stuff from Amazon, the Gringo version. Amazon just recently opened a Mexico branch, which is great. Here’s the problem with ordering from the Gringo version, which I still do if necessary when what I want is not on the Mexican site.

You never know how it’s going to be sent. Regular mail or express mail like FedEx or DHL. Asking does no good. And the express services do not deliver to post office boxes, or so they say. Mexican magic can make it happen on occasion, but don’t hold your breath for that.

So putting the delivery address on the Amazon package is like Russian Roulette. If I put the post office box and they send it DHL, I’ve got a problem. If I put my home address and it’s sent regular mail, I’ve got another problem, though not so serious.

My main problem with the central drop-off here in the neighborhood is that I’ve never trusted it. It seemed like a black hole.

On rare occasions in the past, when I knew something had been sent to my home address, I would go to the fellow’s house where all the mail is dropped off, just over the railroad track, and ask. His wife would answer the door. Or, more commonly, no one would answer.

If the wife answered, I would ask if her husband was home. He never was. I would ask for my mail. She would know absolutely nothing of the mail.  It was her husband’s job, not hers.

Repeated visits to the home got identical results. No answer or an absolutely clueless woman. Living here can be challenging.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered camera accessories from the Gringo Amazon. For some reason, I assumed it would be sent express mail, so I put my home address on the package. It was sent snail mail instead.

Even so, Amazon provided tracking.

This morning, I checked. It was delivered yesterday, four days before the promised delivery of Aug. 10, next Monday. Though it had been “delivered,” it was nowhere in my line of sight.

Here’s where it gets juicy. That man who gets my mail in his home, the man with the clueless wife, the man who is never at home?

That man is the man I recently hired to weedeat my lawn. This means we have a personal relationship, very important, and not just that. I pay him money. He is now quite interested in me. I have hooked him.

Living in this country is all about personal relationships, which is why Mexicans have the reputation of being so freaking friendly.

Personal relationships facilitate lives. That’s true most everywhere, but it’s more true here. It can even keep you out of jail.

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While writing the above this afternoon, the doorbell rang. It was the package delivered by my “mailman” who weedeats the yard and lives just two blocks from here with the clueless woman.

The label says it arrived by something called MRU Post. I have no idea what that is. I have never heard of snail mail offering tracking, but this arrived in the typical two-weeks time of snail mail. It appears to be a new sort of snail mail. A Google search provided no answers.

It pays to have a personal relationship with the mailman. He never used to bring stuff to my house. Now he does. We are connected.

He likes the weedeating gig. And I like getting my mail.

Relationships.

Suburban renewal, change, death

Before
Last year
After
This year

YEARS AGO, I spent hours in the hammock. Now, I rarely sit there, much less lie down with my feet up. Habits change.

So do neighborhoods. A year ago, I opened the upstairs bathroom window and snapped the top shot. I wrote about it here. That window is the sole spot in the Hacienda where you can look out back. The only other option to see in that direction is to climb to the roof, which is easy to do via the circular stairway on the upstairs terraza. Circular stairways are fun.

I like to peek out that window before I shave and step into the shower stall lined with black-and-white ceramic tiles. Lots has happened on my neighbors’ property this past year. The main thing, which you cannot see because it’s just below the photo, is a high wall that separates them from the street. They had been closed in on three sides, but now it’s the full Mexican four.

But due to our elevated position, I still see easily into their expanding homestead. The advantage of altitude.

At the back they added a room of rustic planks and topped it with plastic and tar paper. At the photo’s bottom right,  however, is a more substantial edifice of actual brick. It has a real door and windows and whitewash on the front. The roof is simple, wood beams topped with opaque plastic rectangles. Just outside the door and to the right, they planted a mimosa tree, a nice touch that will grow.

Essentially, they are camping out on a permanent basis.

A huge loudspeaker hangs by that front door, pointing the other way. God knows where that comes from. Mexicans are collectors. You never know when something might come in handy, when you want to play La Cucaracha  for the entire town at 5 a.m.

An interesting thing: Look at the rear property wall, there where a bit of plastic roof sheet droops to the left. Behind that hang various artworks of La Santa Muerte. Make of that what you will. In Mexico, many narcos are followers of La Santa Muerte, but non-narcos are fans too.

A few short miles from here, on a road around the big lake, there is a building — a home I think it is, but the people may actually live next door — that is a shrine to La Santa Muerte. It is open to the public and is chockablock with some very weird stuff.

Look at the property ground. Near the out-of-sight gate in the unseen wall is some stone laid in the dirt. The rest is packed earth, which gets swept regularly. How you can sweep dirt is beyond my understanding. Mostly, I imagine, it removes the chicken poop (there are chickens, of course) and provides an even surface. And it looks better that way, which matters.

Suburban renewal. Onward and upward, as it’s said.

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Habits change. Things change.

When I segued from The Zapata Tales in 2011 to this Moon thing, I wrote that this space would only now and then touch on Mexico, that I preferred other topics. My preference is fiction, the ideas for which usually came to me in those foggy moments of the mind while lying in bed at dawn. Hasn’t been happening lately. Dunno why.

(Plug pause. See the Pearls of Zapata.)

Fiction and the occasional jabs at politics, particularly the diversity and political correctness insanity gripping the traditional white man’s land of the United States and Western Europe. And, of course, its current most visible manifestation, the abominable presidency of Barry.

Diversity and multiculturalism are noble goals. Truly, they are. If only they were workable. Any good knowledge of human history clearly demonstrates they are not, people being what they so sadly are. But I repeat myself. What’s the point?

So I’ve been writing more of Mexico of late. Yuck. You can get that lots of places, mostly praises of sunsets, fiestas and margaritas. And, of course, we lovely people. We, I say, due to my having become one.

I recently opened a Google+ page, and resurrected my Facebook page after a few years of hibernation. If you know the name on my birth certificate, feel free to join me over there. If you don’t know, ask someone. We might have wonderful times together.

None of this is to say that I’m retiring the Moon as I did my previous website. I must at least hang on until my 70th birthday in August. I’m planning to publish my own obituary here, just in case. For me, especially, I feel writing my own obituary is the best idea. I only have two living blood relatives above the Rio Bravo. Here is what they would write:

Sister: He was an old white man. Good riddance.

Daughter: He moved to Mexico in 2000. Adiós.

I prefer an obituary with a bit more flesh, so to speak, so I’ll do it myself.

My child bride could write it, but it would be in Spanish, so few of you would understand. An obituary should be understandable.

I’ll likely keep on trucking past 70, but it’s impossible to know for how long. My father made it only to 75, but mother sailed on to 90, not too steadily, but she made it that far. One thing my obituary must feature is fade-out music. It might be:

 

 

Dump Google

As I recently abandoned the micro-loan website called Kiva (don’t go there) due to its aiding Mohammedan despotism, I am now trashing Google for its flagrant and Godless collectivism.

On special days, Google has a tradition of putting photos of something relevant on its main page, the one with the search bar.

Not Jesus
Jesus?

What did they display on Easter Sunday? A representation of Jesus? No, they put Cesar Chavez, the dead labor organizer. What in the world does he have to do with Easter? Nada.

Chavez did some real good work for the migrant farm workers. I’ll grant that, but he has his place, and Jesus has another.

Jesus owns Easter.

Chavez, of course, is a hero to the left-wingers, and Google is run by left-wingers. Google loves Obama, for instance.

Well, a guy must stand by his principles, so I’m dumping Google to the extent that I can. My main email is gmail, but I’m going to phase it out. One is judged by the company one keeps, and I don’t wanna smell bad.

I’m dumping Google’s Calendar too. And Chrome, which has been my alternate browser. I’m mostly a Firefox man. I’ll resurrect Opera as backup.

And I’ve switched my default searcher from Google to Bing, which is No. 3 after Google and Yahoo, and Yahoo Search relies on Bing to a great extent.

Bing is a Microsoft product. I wasn’t a fan of Bill Gates for a long time, but he’s looking good again. His Hotmail, an abysmal thing in recent years, is biting the dust, and Gates has debuted something dubbed Outlook.com.

It is not your daddy’s old Outlook, and it’s got a Calendar.

My Outlook email address is listed on the sidebar page titled Felipe  if you want to send me a personal note — or wire me cash.

One Google product I will keep for now is Picasa, the photo site. I’m not willing to chop off my nose on principle. However, if anyone knows of a good substitute, please holler. It would have to be easy because I’m a simple man.

Dump Google. It smells bad.