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Member since: Tue Aug 7, 2012, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 1,522

About Me

Photographer, chef, gardener, lover of the bizarre, liberal socialist democrat, humorist. Did I mention lover of the bizarre??

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My observations .. very long .. the American Civil War never ended and our Gettysburg is coming

The ramblings of a madman ... very long. If you do not want to read the whole thing, at least scroll down to the where we are today section. This year's election will be our Gettysburg and we are all going to have to fight.

The American Civil War V2.0

In truth the ACW didn't end in 1865. The horrific war that was started by people who claimed that ending slavery would destroy their livelihoods and that because of their belief that any human being not having white skin was inferior and a threat, continued. The people that surrendered that day in Appomattox never truly surrendered. They clung to those ideas as if they were life rafts filled with hope that some day the South would rise again.

The world changed in many ways and the war continued. It wasn't named or given a description or an acronym. In today's modern world it would have been called a cold war. Both sides deployed whatever weapons they had in an effort to vanquish their enemy.

The defeated resorted to terrorist tactics and repressive legislation when possible. Yes, the Union was restored but keep in mind that our government is representational. They losers, voted in by their electorates did whatever they could to hold on to power and keep the old ideas alive.

The victors relied in most part expanded rights and legislation that tried to protect rather than harm. Often though the laws that were passed did not go far enough or were diluted by the opposition.

Even though warfare had ended, acts of violence, on both large and small scale, would punctuate our history. Riots, lynchings and bombings became tools for the underground war that raged.

Events and Battles ACW V2.1

Which brings us to our current position in the war. Events that occurred in the past 50 years have accelerated the hostilities to the tipping point again. The weapons have changed. Muskets and single shot carbines have evolved into incredibly effective killing tools. Electronic media and communications have supplanted the telegraph and the pony express. And though the participants are pretty much the same, with white supremacists blaming people of color for their plight and everyone else still trying to make things right, there is a core driving force still there and it is growing stronger every day. That core driving force is greed. The human desire for more is like a tick that thirsts for blood. If an economy were the circulatory system, left unchecked and untreated, the ticks of our society would drain it dry. Southern slave owners stood to lose substantial amounts of money if they had to actually pay people other than the hired workers, i.e. overseers, to do the work necessary to keep their fortunes intact. Today the plantation is a corporation and the slave owners and overseers have been replace with C.E.O.s, high level management and stockholders. True, not every corporation is run like an a plantation, but many are. Thank goodness slavery was abolished. Now it is more akin to indentured servitude.

The physical boundaries have shifted. The borders are no longer distinct, North vs South, but rather it seems the coasts vs the interior. And there is no longer clear distinction of black and white. It is now the haves vs the have nots. We have all been reduced to cheap, disposable labor. The current Masters and Overseers have no desire to reform the system and are working their hardest to ensure the system continues to work in their favor.

There have been watershed moments in the past 50 years which helped embolden the oppressors to a point where the ACW V2.0 is now at a crossroad. The old guard is dangerously close to seizing power, turning the USA into the CSA.
Legislatively, after ACW V1.0, southern states began enacting laws that were used to suppress the vote and disenfranchise blacks and poor whites. Coupled with segregation laws and un-prosecuted acts of violence, the eleven states that made up the CSA was able to maintain a grip on the old way of life
Acts of Violence 1950's and '60's

The late 1950's and early 1960's saw opponents to racial and economic inequalities facing extreme acts of violence. The civil rights movement of the time was gaining momentum and terrorist tactics to fight the it not only increased, but became more blatantly public.

Protesters in the south not only had to be concerned with underground segregationist groups such as the KKK, but with law enforcement. They were not alone. Protests in the northern states were also met with violence from established law enforcement. Tensions were acerbated by police, often resulting in riots in major cities, most notably the Watts riot of 1964 and the nation wide riots of 1967. Part of the arsenal used against demonstrators included attack dogs, high pressure water hoses and clubs.

In addition to law enforcement, the white supremacist underground continued their reign of terror with lynchings , bombings and arson, along with the assassination of civil rights activists. Key figures were targeted, Medgar Evans, Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. being the most noteworthy.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Perhaps nothing fanned the sparks of the cold war more than that piece of legislation. The cauldron that had been simmering for the last 100 years was ready to boil over. During V1.0 there were physical boundaries. And though there were supporters and opponents living on both sides of the conflict at that time, the southern states in still had a majority of supporters that remains today. Politically the south remained a Democratic stronghold while the north was Republican. The southern Democrats felt President Johnson, a Democrat, betrayed them. The weapons and tactics they were employing were being stripped away. Desegregation and voting rights temporarily dismantled a large part of their arsenal.

Politically this began a major shift in party policies. The 2 major parties during and after V1.0 were the Republican in the north and the Democrats in the south. After Johnson declined to run for a second term, Richard Nixon used the civil unrest that punctuated the time to run on a platform promising to "Restore law and order." He chose Spiro Agnew as his running mate to help secure the southern vote. The party of Lincoln was now consciously courting the party of the "Solid South", the Democrats. His victory began the shift that basically reconstructed the platforms that each party was built upon.

His successor, Jimmy Carter had little popularity with southern Democrats. In his inaugural speech when he was elected governor of Georgia, Carter said,"The time of racial discrimination is over. ... No poor, rural, weak, or black person should ever have to bear the additional burden of being deprived of the opportunity for an education, a job or simple justice." Many segregationists who had supported Carter during the race felt betrayed.

Ronald Reagan

Reagan announced his candidacy for presidency in New York City on November 13, 1979 and on July of 1980 he became the Republican nominee. As part of his 1980 presidential campaign, he gave a speech on August 3, 1980 at the Neshoba County Fair where he promised to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them." This appearance took place about 7 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town associated with the murders of 3 Freedom Fighters in 1964. Critics at the time viewed his decision to give that speech in that particular town as a dog whistle to southern Democrats that the Republican party would free them to enact any law they deemed necessary. His eventual election shifted party alliances, both geographically and ideologically. Along with a promise to restore greater power to state and local government, the idea of "restoring law and order", a major campaign promise made by Richard Nixon, plowed ahead, full steam. Reagan's war on drugs became a tool of management for the incarceration many people of color and poor whites.

The new Republican party 1970's -
In the 1950's Dwight Eisenhower became the first Republican elected president since 1933. Voters liked Eisenhower much more than they liked the GOP but he was unable to shift the party to a more moderate position. By the '70's, liberalism has virtually faded out of the Republican Party, apart from a few Northeastern holdouts. The conservative agendas of Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes slowly but surely continued to advance that policies were beneficial for the wealthy and detrimental for the poor, especially poor people of color. The War on Drugs, Stop and Frisk and other initiatives supported by the party became tools that disproportionately targeted people of color and poor whites. The beating of Rodney King in 1991 revealed to the public the brutality of authority against black people. Was it any different than the beating overseers gave to slaves. Secret underground societies such as the KKK and especially Neo-Nazi groups grew in numbers and were now emboldened. They began speaking out publicly, touting the superiority of white Christian Americans.

During this period of repressive laws and increased blatant racism, the pro arguments used to justify, created a narrative that they repeated over and over. Fringe groups had a right to assemble. The conservatives would say they disagreed in principal but this is the land of the free and people have a right to swear allegiance to the CSA and th e Nazi party. Putting thousands into prison for drug offenses was winning the war on drugs. Citizens had a right to own a gun and shoot anyone whom they feared was a threat. Voting became harder and harder for people of color and liberals as the conservatives began passing laws to combat non-existant voter fraud.

Changes in media and communications also gave a boost to the new Republican party. The 1990's saw the rapid rise of cable news, giving birth to Fox News which would transform into the party's "Ministry of Information". The rise of the WWW was going to become a major player in the next century. Local radio stations and newspapers began to close or were purchased by corporate interests giving conservatives an advantage in pushing their agendas with very little resistance. Communication experts crafted the Republican messaging so black could be white, up could be down and 2 + 2 = 5 or 3, whatever they wanted people to believe. FUD; fear, uncertainty and doubt, became the norm along with a new vision of patriotism. Be scared but trust us. What we are doing to protect you ensures that this is the America our founders envisioned. Buy a gun to protect yourself against encroaching Federal government "tyranny", march for your rights as a true "patriot" and remain vigilant as the undesirable elements of society continue to take advantage of government "handouts".

2001 – 2008
The beginning of the 21st century saw both subtle and significant changes in the on going war. During the first 8 years 3 major events stood out. The attack on 911 and the subsequent second gulf war, hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis. These events did not directly target but gave the new masters additional fuel for the fire.
The 911 attack fed the propaganda machine. Brown skinned Muslims were now tossed into the mix. The message was “They aren't Christians”. And because of what was now considered “politically correct”, skin color was not specifically targeted. Yet white Americans who were foot soldiers picked up the banner and displayed it with pride.
Katrina saw the poor suffer the brunt of the destruction while aid and assistance was spotty and chaotic.
The masters caused the financial crisis but suffered the least in the aftermath. It was as if, say, after the first Civil War the ex-slave owners sold homes and then took the houses back but demanded that the buyers still pay.
Both sides used these events to and vance their causes.

2009 – 2012

It was during this period it became obvious we were in a war. Barack Obama became America's first black president. This may have been the event in ACW V2.1 that was akin to the attack on Fort Sumter. This gave the Right the opportunity to openly declare war. Political leaders on the right immediately began their assault by attempting block every piece of legislation that the Left offered. State legislatures on the right increased efforts to restrict voting rights. The Right's propaganda machine fed the fire and urged sympathizers fight back against the Left. The message was that now the very existence of the American way of life was in danger of disappearing.

The message received saw the birth of the Tea Party movement. This political movement grew during Obama's first term. As they rallied against electing Obama for a second term, the signs of racism were no longer tacit. The media arm of the right was growing into an effective tool for recruitment. Fox News along with radio talk shows spewed divisive talking points 24/7.

Physical violence was also on the upswing. Black citizens were being shot with alarming regularity and the assailants, more often than not , were never charged with a crime. If they were charged, they were often declared not guilty.

It was also during this period, current president Donald Trump became a central figure in the war.

During the presidential campaign in 2008, conspiracy theorists began the “birther” movement. Claiming that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, made him ineligible to be president. Trump was the most prominent and well known figure in this movement. He already had displayed his racial prejudices. Over the years he discriminated by race in housing. He refused to believe the youths arrested and wrongly convicted for the murder of a woman in Central Park were innocent. He had called for the death penalty and even after the reversal of charges, he continued to say they were guilty.

2012 – present

By this time the participants in the war were not North vs South as Left vs Right, Liberal vs Conservatives.

Donald Trump inserted himself as candidate for the presidency. Old school conservatives, as well as the Left saw him as an outlier. He ran on the idea that America had declined as a result of Obama's presidency and proclaimed he was going to “make America great again”. That became the dog whistle that he shouted through the bullhorn. He convinced the foot soldiers that America was failing and it was all because of Obama, Mexicans, Muslims, whites that sympathized with those groups, journalists, take your pick. His message disturbing yet effective. The South will rise again was now MAGA.

ACM V2.0 was now raging and ready to enter V2.1.1. Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. Once in office he began implementing executive orders to persecute people of color. White supremacist groups became more vocal and public. The President was condoning their actions by not disavowing them. Politicians from the right that previously viewed Trump as an outsider to the club, now embraced him and supported his efforts. The deep divides in the psyche and politics of the country had become obvious. The old motivators of economics and white supremacy were once again the reasons to rise to battle. Immigrants took your job. The factory closed because the Left made deals with the Chinese. Gangs of rapists and murderers are roaming the streets and those gang members were people of color. Bus loads of illegal immigrants were committing voter fraud. His message was and still is that the American way of life was under full attack. At least the way of life for white Americans.

Where we are today

The war is raging and the biggest battle is coming.

The upcoming election could be V2.1's Gettysburg. Both sides are preparing for what could transform from a cold war into hot one. The Right is still siding with Trump though there are some who foresee a loss and are on the fence waiting to see how it will end. If Trump wins, they will regroup saying they were with him all along. If he loses, they will distance themselves and claim they had supported him but saw the light and came to their senses.

We are also in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump is using every trick in the book to use the pandemic as an excuse to stifle voting. Voting by mail is fraught with danger. He is hoping the election process will be on his terms. If he can stop voting by mail then he is counting on people not showing up at polling stations. If that is the case, foot soldiers for the Left will need to accept the risk that they may contract a deadly disease. People in all probability will die in this battle. The potential death toll due to voting in person can not be estimated, but rest assured people on both will sacrifice their lives for what the believe in.

While the loss of life is tragic one must remember that this is a war. If the right wins the election the Left may not recover. Casualties during the Gettysburg battle was estimated to be between 46,000 – 51,000 combatants. Hundreds, perhaps thousands may die due to exposure to the virus while they vote in person. Though far less than the loss of life at Gettysburg, the importance of this election will determine which America will be the victor and both sides will have casualties.

If Trump wins reelection the they will have taken control without having fired a shot. They will have won the cold war that has been going on for the last 175 years. 180 years ago they left the Union to form their own country. This time they may merely turn the whole country into what they have been fighting for all along.

Photography 101 ... Exposure and Metering Quirks

As the newbie as registered DUer, (long, long time lurker) I thought that since the photography group is my favorite place to post and read and visit after I scan the latest and greatest threads, I will periodically post little lessons for those interested in learning more about photography.

Most of the info I will post can most likely be found in that little manual that came with your camera ... but who reads that stuff, eh!? It can also be found all over the interwebs. But these little lessons will be coming at 'cha straight from a DUer. How great is that!?

I start with exposure and metering quirks ... one of my favorite subjects. The reason I am beginning with this is because cameras are stupid. Armed with a bit of knowledge, one can compensate for the camera's lack of reasoning and command it to do your bidding.

Let me begin. Ahem (clearing throat)

A camera on automatic setting wants to make every picture you take a perfect exposure. And this is great if what you are taking a picture of is of "average" exposure values. It's meter measures the light reflecting off your subject and adjusts itself so it is perfectly exposed .. not too light and not too dark. But problems will arise if the reflected light is really bright, an example being a sandy beach, a polar bear in a blizzard or your favorite bride, all dressed in white while standing in front of the white marble altar. It will also try to correct for really dark scenes or subjects, the classic example being the black cat in the coal bin.

Let's examine a very light subject.

I used these lovely white sea shells for this example. The camera see bunches of light coming in and says to itself, "Oh, I'm going to adjust my settings to take a perfect average picture". And this is what happens

The photo is under exposed. To the camera it is perfectly exposed. It measured the light coming in and made adjustments for an average amount of light. What the camera operator needs to do is say, "Bad camera!! It needs more light!" This is where you take over. If you have manual override you merely let more light enter the camera ... a slower shutter speed or a larger aperture (fstop). If your camera has picture modes search for the one that is for snow, or beach, or backlit, or something ... you may actually have to consult your manual for this info.

By changing my settings to allow more light into the camera a better approximation of actual scene is captured ...

The little graph in each picture is representative of how many pixels in the picture are in each tonal range ... darker pixels to the left side and lighter pixels to the left. As you can see in the top graph, everything is pushed to the dark side, Luke. In the second shot they are more evenly distributed with many more pixels in the lighter range. This is good.

The camera does the exact opposite with dark scenes and subjects. It thinks to itself, "Gee, there's not much light coming in so I better increase the exposure." The end results are an over exposed picture. We, the photographic geniuses, know that this is wrong. So we make the camera submit to our wishes and command it to cut back the exposure. A faster shutter speed, smaller aperture or some combo of both.

The overexposed dark subject

And the compensated, correct exposure

So keep in mind:
If the subject/scene is light, white, bright; don't let the camera underexpose the shot ... compensate by going manual and decrease shutter speed or use a larger aperture or a combination of both. No manual available ... check your camera's scene modes for beach, snow or backlit.

If the subject/scene is dark, black, spooky; the camera is going to overexpose. Compensate by going manual and increasing shutter speed, using a smaller aperture or a combo of both. No manual override check your scene modes for night scene, fireworks or black cat in a coal bin setting.

Remember, the camera is trying it's best but it has no idea what is correct for every subject unless you tell it. Left to it's own devices, it can and will disappoint at times.

The end.

(There will be a short quiz next week but it won't be graded)

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