Full circle to Chrome

board

I AM VERY ideological, and I give moral, sometimes even financial, support to the good folks who share my sharp view of things.

An organization that does not share my sharp view, to state it mildly, is Google, which is a cauldron of leftist and PC — redundancy, I know — nonsense, and they wear their views right out in the open, shamelessly.

To this end, I try to steer my tiny corner of cyberspace away from Google to the extent it is possible to do so, which sometimes it is not.

Alas, Google owns YouTube, which I love.

I do not use Google Search, and I do not say or write “Google something.” I say “internet search,” and I use one of the many fine alternatives.

Years ago, when Google debuted Gmail, I was one of the first to sign on, and Gmail was my primary email for a long time. Google did not appear so blatantly leftist in those days, and perhaps I was a tad calmer too. That was before the Western World turned into the sorry thing it is today.

About three years ago, wanting to dump Gmail, I went on an email safari, and found Fastmail, an excellent, inexpensive, paid service from Australia.

At the same time, I was using Google’s Chrome browser, but a year or so later I dumped it too, for ideological reasons, and I’ve tested and used a number of alternatives like Opera, Maxthon, Vivaldi, Brave, Sea Monkey and Pale Moon.

I also used Firefox for a long time in the distant past before switching to Chrome. Buggy Firefox has gone downhill if you didn’t know.

The best of the above-mentioned lot is Opera, which consistently gets high marks from people who know about such stuff. I used Opera until recently. It has a few things I dislike, mostly its Bookmark design.

On a lark a few days ago, I downloaded Chrome to take a look. Damn, but it’s good! So I’m back. I’ve gone full circle. Sometimes comfort trumps ideology.

In any event, a good number of the other browsers appear to be built on a Chrome foundation, so why not go to the source?

But I still don’t use Gmail, but if you send something to my Gmail address, it will be forwarded to Fastmail.

Don’t be a stranger.

The spitting snake

WHEN WE MOVED into the Hacienda almost 15 years ago, watering anything in the yard was a challenge. The only way was with a bucket.

But times have changed. I’ve installed various storage tanks, pumps, faucets and, the important part, I’ve connected to the municipal water supply.

Now it’s pretty easy.

This morning, I turned on one of the pumps, grabbed a long hose, walked here, there, everywhere, watering. Then I sat in a web chair on the Jesus Patio and watered some more, and I taped it for you.

Until recently Vimeo was my favorite video site, but it has reduced the number of videos one can download with a free account. Actually, it reduced the number below what I had already downloaded, but Vimeo’s gonna leave me in peace about that.

So I’ve returned to YouTube where I’ve had a channel for years. YouTube is Google, of course, and I dodge Google when I can. But it’s free, and there’s no limit, so here I am again. Any future videos will be on YouTube.

My Vimeo channel is still alive, however. I will miss their freewheeling attitude toward copyrighted music. YouTube is far more strict about that.

Above is the World Debut of “The Spitting Snake.”

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.)

* * * *

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?

new-image
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.

* * * *

* 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?