Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What's going on in America

I want to be honest and state that it wasn't easy for me to write this post. To start I will always state that the idea of "white supremacy" is always worth opposing as it's considered very abhorrent to the nation that we want. However, I consider how much of a dying idea it has been and isn't really worth what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Today my biggest concern isn't any resurgent white supremacist movement as it could be the groups whether we call them the "alt-left" or "antifa" who have pledged to oppose them. We're seeing extreme efforts to not trigger bad feelings in different groups for example ESPN pulled an announcer from a football game because of his name - an Asian man's name is similar to the name of a Confederate general in the Civil War. Even worse a mascot name of a California university resembled the name of a horse owned by this same Confederate general - OMG TRIGGERED.

Political correctness in this great nation is starting to become problematic and it's causing us to make some causations that aren't there. I may understand the protest of Confederate monumnets thanks to the popular idea that the Confederate States of America generally supports slavery. Changing names and holding against a man who in reality has no bone in the continuing observance of the Civil War is starting to go too far.

Another aspect of this is identity politics. Years ago Martin Luther King Jr made a nice speech about recognizing a person not for the color of his skin, but the content of his character. Unfortunately I'm seeing on social media posts about punching Nazis and even worse the person you punch may in fact not be a Nazi. Even worse still the people who pledge to fight racism instead think it's OK to castigate an entire race of people for crimes of centuries past.

With this in mind now I somewhat understand what set up Charlottesville. Unfortunately the white supremacists who attempted to rally in that Virginia town got their points made. And the "alt-left" and "antifa" movements are continuing their fight, what I have to figure out what is the end goal in using violent or disruptive tactics in a fight against racism.

Often when we see "antifa" in action - primarily through social media, FOX News, or even other alternative media - they're often wearing masks. They're fighting the good fight however they don't want to be seen. Another tactic they counter demonstrate, however, it's not because they disagree with an opposing point of view. On the contrary they find ways to demonize the other side.

To be honest I'm struggling to come up with a conclusion. So let me keep it simple demonizing an opposing viewpoint in a land with free speech is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately if this has been something that has been going on for years Charlottesville has become the results.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

My thoughts on #Charlottesville

Should've written this here, but I will copy what was written over at The Moleskine regarding Charlottesville, Virginia. With the video clip above this time, it's not the whole breadth of the situation as it has turned far more tragic! [VIDEO]

HAVING GOTTEN THE GIST OF THE TRAGIC situation in Charlottesville, Virginia it reminds me of how we should know people hold hateful and racist views of their fellow human beings. We should know and of course find ways to denounce them. They shouldn't be ignored and you should never fight them.

Once upon a time in America the Klu Klux Klan has some power in this country to suppress Black citizens in parts of this nation. Today anyone even remotely related to the Klan no longer have the legal power of old. Thus the Klan doesn't have much teeth other than the individuals who hold such abhorrent views of their fellow American citizens.

With this said the so-called "white nationalists" were only in this Virginia city to disrupt. This is their new power as I have started to believe these racist organization are largely irrelevant as a force. By engaging these groups violently you only incur the response of "see who hate us". Let's us prove we're the opposite of their ideology and of course oppose them, but realize hating the haters get us nowhere.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

It's time for "The Trump Effect"

[VIDEO] The Trump Effect : Deprogramming the American Mind is something I had put on the back burner since late last month posting it at "The Moleskine". Basically it's an hour of author/filmmaker Lawrence Jarvik (@LaurenceJarvik) talking about President Trump and how he's going to crack through the political correctness prevalent in this nation.

What I responded to most was the President's background. Trump is already independently wealthy, he comes from a construction business background, he also largely comes from a wealthy family and doesn't have to worry about where he's going to live because he's mostly lived in Trump properties. Jarvik sees these as positives in deprogramming the American mind. He was able to live his life individualistically without being restrained by having to please bosses.

Everything else, I had trouble grasping and it's possible that I need to be deprogrammed. Jarvik cites 9/11 as the start of this PC culture or at least it got far more intense, but as illustrated as you go through this vid political correctness has been around for years. Even worse it was probably found in other totalitarian regimes whether the Nazis or certainly in Communist regimes.

Another idea of note, Trump approaches issues and policies - not from an ideological approach - he approaches them from a realistic approach. That makes sense he is in real estate and you have to solve real problems of construction or maintenance so thus you realistically can solve the problem of structure or perhaps an hvac unit.

Perhaps in American politics the realistic approach is what is missing. With this in mind although I never voted for Trump last November, I can appreciate his unorthodox approach to the Presidency. Yeah he's certainly had plenty of rough bumps since taking office in January, however, some aspects of getting through the noise of the mainstream media (well "fake news") I certainly understand why he takes to twitter to send out his messages.

Great video, perhaps some of you will take something from this. BTW, Trump could be the inspiration for many in a variety of ways, perhaps many of us can start our own business empires and get wealthy, perhaps we can be more outspoken on some issues that we care about, perhaps we can seek out more of the truth on our own, or conversely discredit those who often tell lies. One thing we want to be careful about is that so far Trump can be Trump.

Trump can weather these attacks as far as his business dealings or even any allegations of sexual assault towards women. So far it doesn't matter, however, not all of us are made of kevlar or teflon. Bottom line if you do your own thing expect people to want to attack you because it's not what they would do!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Saw Spider Man Homecoming....twice

[VIDEOSpider Man Homecoming is a movie I enjoyed seeing twice. The iconic Marvel Comics superhero is essentially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tony Stark featuring heavily as something of a mentor to this young teenage meta-human. And yes for the most part comic book fans already know his origin.

When you think about it, this isn't an origin film. Basically the movie starts after Spider Man's cameo appearance in Capt. America: Civil War facing off against needless to say Capt. America and his allies. Then back to NYC where Peter Parker is juggling adolescence, superhero business, school, etc.

Even weirder Spider Man's suit is the coolest suit ever seen and near the end he had it taken away from him. Parker had to rely only on his meta-human abilities and identity essentially concealed by a homemade customer consisting of sweatpants and a hoodie. The suit is made by Tony Stark and has all types of cool bells and whistles which for a brief time was also taken away from him.

BTW, this movie's version of Aunt Mae, I'd be trying to gain favor from her also. The youngest and most prettiest incarnation of her ever. Although for most of her portrayals she had little clue of Parker's double-life. Time may tell if future movies go with this, but it looks like now she knows!

How this film was portrayed? Well you're reading the blog of a man who used to be a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I wanted to know martial arts like they did and wanted to be a hero. A kid likes to think about heroes and probably wishes they could be like Peter Parker with heart and the ability to beat bad guys.

I feel as if I gave away some plot points, but before that film leaves theaters near you go see it. Spider Man Homecoming essentially is the third superhero move of the summer. I was glad to see almost two months after a June release Wonder Woman is still going strong and having seen Guardians of the Galaxy which was also a good movie to see.

And I almost forgot about Logan which is a movie that rubbed me the wrong way. Main thing about that movie was that it ended on a depressing note and it was mostly a very dark feature. Although to be fair perhaps a fitting note to end Hugh Jackman's time as Logan/Wolverine.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Cook County Beverage Tax #tweetyoureciept

It seems here in Chicago our politicians have this great need to engage in some form of social engineering. I wish I had been paying attention to whatever debate took place at the county regarding this tax. Of course these things are never about encouraging people to change their behaviors it's about the revenue. It's about taking some of YOUR money!

Out of Cook County Chicago we have examples of a plastic bottle tax which is per bottle in the city, the idea is to discourage people from buying these plastic bottles that may or may not biodegrade. Just like these plastic grocery bags we'll talk about in a bit. Either way want a pack of bottle water however many there in too bad a tax per bottle. So far it appears the city has little interest in repealing that tax as far as I know. In stead my mother prefers to go outside of the city to buy a pack of bottle water.

Of course more recently is the bag tax. During the past year Chicago attempted to ban the simple grocery bags to discourage their use among city residents. Well that failed and around New Years a 7 cent tax was instituted on plastic and paper bags. The idea was to encourage people to bring their own bags to shop, although the reality is again for the city to further collect more revenue. One report has shown that the city actually has come short of their expected revenue forecasts. Irony one ordinance to discourage use of grocery bags was repealed and now a new ordinance to address this issue also hasn't lived up to expectiations.

And now the beverage tax and even our county board president who at first hides behind the idea that instituting this tax will promote public health admits this is about raising revenue:
"Raising revenue was never my first choice," Preckwinkle said in November. "This measure provides important revenue, not only to avoid damaging cuts for public health and public safety systems, but also to expand our community-based interventions in both arenas. It also puts us on a stable financial footing for the next three fiscal years, during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases."

Cook County is depending on the tax revenue. It had been expecting the tax to bring in $67.5 million this year and $200.6 million in 2018.

The county lost about $20 million from not being able to collect the tax in July, said Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Preckwinkle. It will have to make up that money in order to balance the budget, and that could mean layoffs. Shuftan said a small number of employees have already been laid off, but he couldn't provide an exact figure.
This article makes sure to note that this law was poorly written and it was made clear that no business people were at the table to help write this law and institute this tax. In fact a business group filed a lawsuit to block the tax back in June. There was an injunction that was recently lifted that allowed for the ultimate implementation of this tax which was originally supposed to start in July.

I was late to the party by the twitter account of the Tribune Editorial Board wanted citizens to post their reciepts to show the amount of the beverage tax. Hopefully to show some discontent and even though this was almost a day old by the time I learned of this, you can see my tweet below.

Also I see via the CBS Chicago link that there was at least one vote against this tax by Commissioner Boykin who's a Democrat. There are 17 members of the board of commissioners. I got to find out how many votes were in favor and who voted on it.

BTW, this is the only one that caught my interest there are other laws implemented by Chicago that may prove damaging to businesses, workers, and residents. I'd like to share my thoughts on them in the near future. And furthermore as much as these laws are well meaning my concern is that they could also result in the opposite effect.

BTW I forgot that the County is attempting to sue this anti-beverage tax business group for $17 million. The county wants the money they lost out on as the injunction prevented them from collecting on the taxes. My tweet upon hearing about this