Towpath Trail

Trump's In - What Now?!

By Pete Medek - 11/23/16

Yes, this is the Ohio Bikeways blog. So why the political topic? I read and post bike news everyday. Since the election, I've been reading a lot of political gloom and doom from bike advocates who are obviously distressed and visibly shaken. So I thought this was a good opportunity to point out something that most everyone seems to be missing.

The Big Picture

There is usually a bigger picture than the one you or I are currently focusing on, on any given day. That generally holds true whether your focus is on personal matters or how your country is run.

So whether you are fretting or celebrating the recent election results, let's set that aside and look at the bigger picture for the moment. Here are some important questions I ask you to consider. I've taken the liberty to submit my answers. I encourage you to formulate yours as well. --

Why is the popular vote not the deciding factor in a U.S. presidential election?

In the U.S., the land of government "by the people & for the people," we allow bureaucrats to set up systems designed to control outcomes.

Why are presidential races often a matter of voting for the lesser of two evils?

In a country as large as the U.S., there are many individuals who would make fine candidates. But unless they are embraced by one of the two major parties (& their respective power brokers), in a very real sense, they do not exist.

Why are there only 2 major political parties?

Because they prefer it that way. It gives them at least a 50% chance of obtaining virtually any public office across the country. Did you know that there was a proposal to require 3rd-party candidates in Ohio to pay $50,000 to be allowed on the Ohio ballot? Thankfully it failed earlier this year. But it illustrates how the 2 major parties look to lock out competition.

Furthermore, limiting all U.S. political ideologies to essentially 2 principle parties, means that each is overflowing with factions that cannot work together. As a result, power struggles, inner-party sabotage and dysfunction become the norm.

Why do politicians make a lot of promises, then regularly break them when they take office?

This is the timeless tactic to get your vote. Once in office, they are beholden to those who paid large sums of money (donors) to help them get there. The politician will take care of the donors and their own self-interests while in office, then they may give a few scraps to the voters to pacify them in the hope that it will be enough to gain re-election.

This well-worn tactic has delivered consistent results through the years: Voters get little or nothing in return, regardless of which party is in power at the time.

[Their are a few legit politicians that see themselves as public servants and conduct themselves accordingly. Unfortunately, those members are a distinct minority that have no real power over the status quo.]

How does this corrupt system maintain a stranglehold on U.S. citizenry?

At the moment, Washington politicians have firm control over the U.S. people. They formulate the laws, structure governmental policies and actions and appoint judges that permit them to do business as they choose.

If this were all done for the people, instead of under the guise of being for the people, it would not be such a bad system. Instead, federal politicians decided long ago that they prefer to operate by their own rules. They enjoy their own health care & retirement benefits (superior to yours, dear voter), while pilfering social security funds intended for working people's retirement.

They spend, waste and steal taxpayer money as they see fit, but are never held accountable for wrongdoing in our modern time. If a scandal surfaces, they offer up a sacrificial lamb to be fired. But no one is typically prosecuted, as the recent presidential election clearly demonstrated.

The Key Question

Why has this corruption been tolerated by the people?

Now that's the real question. But no disgruntled bike advocates are asking it. Why not?

Hey, advocates -- couldn't your projects use some of the billions of dollars that your government is routinely throwing away every year? Don't you realize when you direct your anger, disgust, frustration at the opposing political party, that you are merely fighting over scraps?

In Part 2 on this topic, we'll delve deeper into how federal politicians manage to maintain their preferential status and governmental control, while perpetuating the fraud that is "government for the people, by the people."

See Part 2 below.

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Trump's In - Part 2

By Pete Medek - 12/15/16

News Is Dead

Once upon a time in the U.S., there was something called the "News." And news reporters were dedicated to reporting facts only. I'm not referring to Opinion Pieces or Editorials... just news. Just the facts.

And journalist integrity - being able to report the news in an unbiased fashion - is a crucial part of any free society. It's the basic right of a citizenry to be properly informed not only about governmental issues, but issues that affect their communities as well as the world they live in.


Welcome to the era of Fake News. Today virtually all sources interject labels, opinions, bias, fake facts, etc. into everything that's reported. That's the norm now. Therefore News no longer has factual integrity. It no longer exists in pure form. It's skewed. And it's skewed deliberately. For those unfamiliar, there's a name for deliberately contaminated news. It's called propaganda. Maybe you've heard of it.

Propaganda is used to influence the masses, and when doled out properly, ultimately control people's minds. (One reason dictators are particularly fond of it.) We've seen a lot of propaganda fall out after the election.

And beforehand, voters were inundated with vile vitriol toward their opposition party. So much so, that many are now convinced that the president-elect [now president] and his administration are truly evil, and not merely a party representing differing views.

When the situation is dumbed down to us (good) versus them (evil), propaganda has done its job. It's convinced you that discussion, independent thought, open mindedness and free speech are nonessential. It's a powerful tool used to create hate, class warfare or whatever condition is necessary to ensure that citizens are sufficiently distracted, so the size and power of government can continue to grow unabated.

The Propaganda Messengers

Of course, to doll out this propaganda, one needs a delivery system. We live in the so-called "information age." This allows for a tremendous proliferation of propaganda from a myriad of sources that in the end, simply magnifies the overall effect.

However, if many of them were still reporting (real) news, we'd be fine. Of course they, the media, are not. And you can thank them for that.

This likely explains why many of the millennial generation, as well as the snowflakes still in college, were devastated by the election results. They were born and raised on propaganda. They are fully indoctrinated. It's hard not to be, if that's all you know.

But for those of us who have weathered more than a handful of election cycles, we are not necessarily as prone to drinking the Kool-Aid. We remember a time when finding (real) news sources wasn't difficult. So our perspective is understandably different. Broader.

That's not to suggest that older Americans are immune to being influenced. Far from it. Thanks to the insidious nature of propaganda, the more exposure it gets, the more victims it claims of all ages. And the less attention paid to the beneficiary and perpetrator (& its willing agents) of the propaganda machine. In this case, the U.S. Government and its corrupt 2-party system.

Have you been propagandized? Take our test to find out. Go to Part 3 below.

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Trump's In -- Part 3

By Pete Medek - 1/12/17

Politicians are expert at dispensing rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of being persuasive. Regrettably, being a persuasive speaker has nothing necessarily to do with being a person of meaningful action.

Since Americans have been inundated with propaganda for so long, the obvious question is: Have you been propagandized? Let's find out.

Have You Been Propagandized?

If you agree with any of the following statements, consider yourself propagandized.

  • Freedom of speech is ok, as long as it is politically correct
  • Hate speech should not be protected by the Constitution
  • If we could just get the right candidate(s) elected, everything would be fine
  • I feel I have to side with my preferred political party, no matter what
  • I like news sources that make me feel good and reinforce my beliefs
  • There is nothing wrong with the U.S. Government or its electoral system
  • I would never vote for a 3rd party candidate

If you've read all 3 parts to this blog topic, you know that I started this subject as a reaction to all the (additional) political propaganda that's been infused into online bike advocacy posts since the presidential election.

I hope that some of those writers who may come across this blog will take a look in the mirror. It's important to note that when you participate in the propaganda game, you lose credibility with readers who can still distinguish propaganda from fact. And of course, those who side with the opposing party. In the end, you're only preaching to your choir. It's good to remember that advocacy strives to do more than that.

If you regard yourself a credible writer, you should relish publishing your own unique perspective, rather than being a political mouthpiece that passes along party line dogma.

And that raises an interesting question. Once one has taken a drink of the Kool-Aid, can one ever go back?

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