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Income Inequality in 60 Seconds

Until I searched for it on the net, I thought I was the only one irritated by the AAG reverse mortgage commercial starring former Senator/Prez candidate/actor Fred Thompson. Then I saw comments with adjectives such as “arrogant”, “condescending”, etc.

Let’s take a moment to break it down. Fred is walking down the street talking about a financial instrument that only real estate owners would have any interest in. We are talking about middle class and up.

As he passes the local newspaper salesman, he asks “Jesse” to agree with his pitch. “Right, Jesse?” as he tosses change at the dude, grabs his newspaper and keeps walking.

First, since Fred starts his pitch before he is anywhere near Jesse, clearly Jesse couldn’t know what the hell Fred’s talking about. And therefore Fred doesn’t really give a damn how Jesse feels about the matter.

But let’s suspend judgment for a moment on the logistical absurdity of the ad. Let’s say Jesse did hear the start of Fred’s pitch. The answer to “right, Jesse?” should have been:

I wouldn’t know much about reverse mortgages because I can barely pay my f$&@ing rent. Do you think everyone is contemplating financial instruments to help in their retirement? Do you realize I will NEVER retire much less own a home? Do you realize I’ve peaked? Do you understand I will die selling papers on this damn street? Do you have ANY idea how I and people like me struggle every day, living paycheck to paycheck?

Keep your money, take the paper and shove it up your 1% ass. Right, Fred?

Not only does this ad illustrate income inequality in 60 seconds, it also shows how oblivious the privileged are to it. What purpose does “Jesse” serve in this ad other than to show Fred is on a first name basis with the unwashed underclass? The stark contrast between Fred in his tailored suit and Jesse is so gratuitous you have to wonder what the producers were thinking.

It prompts the rage that fueled Occupy Wall Street, a movement that fizzled as fast as it started. As we head into the election season, will any presidential candidate address the vast gap between the haves and have nots? Hillary will certainly not do so credibly. Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders don’t stand a chance.

So the poor, basically, will continue to be screwed. Right, Jesse?

What do you think? The bar is open.

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Various and Sundry

Are Protesters Fungible?

One of the things you hear whenever violence emerges from an otherwise peaceful protest is “they don’t represent us” or “they weren’t protesters, they were just hanging around”. Aren’t the organizers of a protest responsible for the outcome of a protest? And if the protest has no formal organizer maybe we’re off to a bad start to begin with.

Two cops got shot during a Ferguson protest. The suspect in custody claims that he was actually trying to shoot someone else, not the cops (there’s some consolation for you). If the environment surrounding a protest is so fundamentally volatile, perhaps protective measures need to be taken, such as limiting protest to daylight hours.

Bottom line: I’m not so disposed anymore to letting protesters off the hook when someone among them breaks bad.

The End of the Movement

Several months ago at least one of my bar patrons remarked that “movements” are self perpetuating and resistant to termination. I was reminded of this when I watched this week’s Face the Nation. Host Bob Schieffer asked two representatives of the increasingly irrelevant NAACP why protests were still going on in Ferguson when the verdict on rampant institutional racism was in, was damning and was being addressed. The answer was that there was still work to be done. Maybe there is but when will we know the work is done?

How will we know when the civil rights movement has succeeded? When all white folks like black folks? When all discrimination has ended? How do we know when discrimination has ended? How do we know when a man is treated poorly because he’s black or because he’s an asshole? As long as folks have different skin color won’t the doubt always be there?

If we could set some metric that tells us the goals of civil rights have been reached, what would that mean for those whose life work (and compensation) depend on getting justice for the aggrieved? No more aggrieved people, no more movement, no need for the advocates.

Do goalposts move in order to perpetuate the movement? Can any movement be immune to organizational self preservation?

If Words Matter, They Matter for Everyone

The frat Sigma Alpha Epsilon is in hot water for one of its chapters being caught on tape singing racist chants with references to lynching and the N word. A side note has arisen from the national conversation on this but it’s an important side note.

Over the past 30 or so years, billions of dollars have been made by ignorant blacks rapping and singing N-this and N-that. How did this ever come to pass? Why was the outrage when the first “nigga-song” was produced insufficient to nip the whole thing in the bud?

How can we expect whites to treat us with respect when we self denigrate for profit?

Not Ready for Hillary

Finally some thoughts on email-gate. As the liberal media turns up the volume on the laugh track, the facts point to no laughing matter.

1) Clinton violated standards set by the administration and applied to her subordinates.
2) Clinton thinks we are idiots. She made this about “devices” but we all know multiple email accounts can be accessed from a single device. Her “convenience” argument is an insult to our intelligence. Besides when have any of you been able to tell your boss that convenience trumps company standards?
3) We have no proof that she turned over all work related materials before leaving her post. If she signed exit papers that, equivalent to being under oath, claim that she did, when she did not, then she actually committed a felony.
4) The campaign has not yet started and already we have scandal. This is par for the course. An HRC administration will be immersed in scandals, real and invented, on a regular basis.

It’s high time we had a woman president but Hillary is not that woman.

What do you think? The bar is open.

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“Mitt” the Movie and Obama the Juror

“Mitt” the Movie

At long last I watched the Netflix film “Mitt” a documentary about Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 runs for President.

If more folks had seen this side of Mitt, he might be President today. When the film ended even I felt bad for how severely I had judged him. Any suspicions that Romney is Fred MacMurray’s Steve Douglas from “My Three Sons” are confirmed in this documentary. Mitt is truly from a different age. He is wholesome to the core. Very devoted to family and to his religion.

In a telling moment Mitt complains about his lot as the “flipping Mormon”. He remarks that he can’t change the Mormon part and then quickly corrects himself that he WON’T change the Mormon part.

Other notable moments are his intense admiration for his father George Romney and his brutal honesty in the wake of his 2012 defeat where he refuses to say in his concession speech that all will go well with Obama. “I’m not going to be soothing” says Romney.

I have a problem with the way the film was edited. Seeing Romney go through the 2008 primary process humanizes him. We don’t get to see him go through the 2012 primary process and how hard he had to fight in an anyone-but-Romney lead up to his nomination. So the Mitt we see in 2012 is a hardened Mitt missing the softer edges that made him sympathetic in the film’s first half.

Still what stands out is Mitt obsessively picking trash off the floor when he’s nervous, his decent self deprecating humor, and the degree to which his family adores him – and how hurt they are by the process of running for POTUS. If nothing else, this film is a cautionary tale for the families of Presidential hopefuls.

Obama the Juror

It started on July 20, 2009 when Lynn Sweet asked Obama to weigh in on the arrest of Professor Skip Gates (a question she would never have asked a white president). Obama, self important bloviator that he is, fell right into her trap:

I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.

While I felt at the time (and still do) that both Gates and the cop were stupid, Obama would have been wiser to say “no comment”. Or better, “Lynn would you be asking me this if I were white?”

Then on March 23, 2012, he did it again:

My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.

This comment became more absurd the more we learned what a thug Trayvon was. Again, refusing to comment on an ongoing investigation would have been smarter.

But wait, there’s more. This past Friday Obama felt compelled to comment on the murder of three young North Carolina Muslims:

No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.

Only one problem. We do not know with certainty that the victims’ religion played a role in their deaths. Again, Obama plays juror and renders verdict before all the evidence is in.

Obama may feel some special pressure as the first black President but this series of public pronouncements just comes off unpresidential at best and negligent at worst. Sometimes the best thing to do Mr. President is just shut up.

Just shut up.

What do you think? The bar is open.