How Americans Are Becoming Less Free…

Got an old VCR around? The kind anyone could hook up with a length of coax to your TV? Watch one show, record another? Those were the days, weren’t they? The consumer was in charge, made the decision what to watch on TV and when. Slip in a VHS tape and record up to 8 hours of shows. Simple enough that a kid still in kindergarten could do it! Compare that to what you’d have to go through today with one of our “new” and inferior VCR’s…

Buy a VCR today and the first thing you will notice is that there are no coaxial connectors on the back. Instead there are a bunch of different colored connectors you plug wires into. These come in difference colors and you have to match the color of the wire to the color of the connector. You will need two sets of these. One set goes to the TV (hope your TV is a more modern kind that can accept these). The other goes to your converter box (digital to analog, cable or satellite box). Here you have to plug in the second set of RCA wires into the correct connections. You’re going to have a problem however if you have one of those adapters that only has coaxial connections on it. Then you need to buy what is called an “RF Modulator” into which you have to connect both the coaxial connections and also the connections with the RCA connectors. You will need two sets of these, one for your VCR and the other to your TV (hopefully supplied with the proper connectors here).  Then you can start setting up the VCR, which is pretty much the same as it used to be. There will be one problem however. You have to set your TV to “source” (differs with different makes). This allows you to switch your view from the TV to the VCR which you have to do in order to set the clock, set the program, etc. Once you have done this, you have to change your TV back to its regular channels. If you don’t, you may or may not get a picture, but most likely it won’t be of the quality you get with your TV set to its usual channels.

If you have had experience with the old style VCR’s, you’ll wonder “why” all of this is even necessary? Prior to these “new type” VCR’s, you might have to had to set your VCR and TV on either channel 3 or 4, but otherwise than this, along with the loss of the ability to watch one show while recording another. Setting up your VCR was no more trouble than before.

So how did this state of affairs come about? Those corporations that supply entertainment saw a golden opportunity with the switch from analog to digital to put an end to people recording their product. This is also where the cable and satellite companies come into the picture. Supply people with a device that allows them to “time shift” entertainment, but not permanently record it. Thus the “DVR”. Uses a hard drive (like a computer), but does not offer any means (except to perhaps real skillful computer geeks) to actually save their recordings to something that allows the use of a removable storage media. There is one exception to this, and that is the Magnavox DVR/DVD recorder. This also has a “tuner” in it so it can tune different channels (if you use an old fashioned antenna). However, this recorder has been “castrated” by not being able to send its data stream by “rf coaxial” to your TV (or any other storage device). You can however “burn” a DVD with it that may be “read” by your computer or another TV with a DVD player. Thus if you want to use the hard drive to record a show to watch later, in order to do so you have to change your TV to “source” in order to see what you have recorded.

All of this added complication has obviously been “designed in” to the system in order to make it as difficult as possible for people to record TV shows. When you compare even the Magnavox device to what exited a decade ago, you will see that “SOMEONE” has had a “hand” in all this… The makers of consumer products would not make things this difficult unless the federal government, acting on behalf of the major donors to political campaigns now has effectively been acting not in behalf of the American people, but instead in the behalf of the infamous “1%” whose wealth has already now corrupted our political system!

One reason “why” our political system is so incredibly “easy” to corrupt is due to the nature of our elective political process. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, you cannot personally finance a successful political campaign today for Congress, let alone the Presidency. The last person to actually “create waves” was Ross Perot, and he was a billionaire. He did manage to divide the electorate to the point that sufficient right of center voters went for Perot instead of Bush. Which in turn elected Bill Clinton with a minority of the actual popular vote. Here locally a libertarian candidate did draw enough votes from a Republican to elect a Democrat in her place. Which was actually a good thing since the Democrat was actually the better of the two state house candidates to start with!

The problem is that it is becoming increasingly expensive to run for political office today. This in turn along with recent decisions by the Supreme Court to remove all limits on political donations to someone’s political campaign. The Court claimed this was to preserve the right of free speech. The effect however is to make it impossible for those candidates with lesser funding to ever have much of a chance to win over the voters… Naturally the “special interests” can now afford to sway the political process in their favor. Which is “why” the VCR you buy today is inferior to the one you could buy a decade or so ago. It may still “work”, but you will have more difficulty with it, and the entire process is one that likely will “encourage” a lot of people to “give up” and let the cable or satellite company provide you with a DVR on which you can “time shift”, but can’t “save” anything. Naturally this delights the content providers, who are now pushing for scrambling “over the air” TV so that there will no longer be any “free TV” any more. You will have to pay monthly for the “descrambler” or simply give up and let the cable guy fix things up for you. The fact that you now have to pay for something that was “free” since the beginning of TV broadcasts is again proof that we no longer have control over what government does today!

 

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About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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