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(9.04.15 BenQQ) Was it muscle or security? Now, I've been pushed around by security by the likes of either Memphis police or private security of such as Al Sharpton when he was here protesting the Bedford Forrest statue (scroll down for related) or by the Secret Service at such events as the Royals (not the team but the Brits) wedding visit. Its all a part of the job and most of the time everybody gets the etiquette rules in this often tactile sport. (When shooting the last KKK visit, one of the more pushy cops later asked me if I got any good shots. I responded I would have if the Klan had handed out donuts and coffee. It was a good laugh.)
However, I've never seen at a public event a private security bodyguard yank a protest sign from a political opponent in a public street. The guard reportedly punched out another protestor for trying to regain the sign.
That's muscle intimidating free speech, plain and simple (ok, if reported correctly). Trump may think its OK, but I don't. Reportedly The Donald has supported his guard, saying he would go to court with him. Interestingly, the media hasn't made much of it, but I see it as another crack in the Trump wall. This is going to be way different than misanswering an interview question. It has legs, albeit short ones if his Teflon holds out. See the whole thing here.
(9.04.15 BenQQ) Another in your face message from the the GOP pack leader Donald Trump. After stumbling on a question by radio guy Hugh Hewett, Trump on another interview show called him a "third-rate radio announcer" and said he used "gotcha" questions.
More to the point, its not that Trump says they actually are irrelevant, but he treats them as such. He's doing them the favor of doing their little interviews. Previously such an attitude would have condemned a candidate. However, with twenty years of growth of a generally condescending commentariot/news industry, attitudes have changed. They are now about the same as those toward government and the political class in general. Perhaps self-serving, too big, redundant, bloated with credentials and irritating.
His answer to their gotcha questions is this: I don't need to know the details of being a general, but I do need to find a Gen. Patton. That is his self-professed method and not just with the military, but presumably every area of government.
What has to be forthcoming is what it is he wants his Gen. Patton ("generals" in all areas) to do. I don't think he reads the public like a politician--just look at how carelessly he uses language--but the public reads him as one of them.
The media still have not got voters see a frame of reference in Trump they haven't seen in other candidates since Ross Perot. If they were voting for professorial eggheads, they just might draft Hugh Hewett himself. Hardly. In Trump, they see an energetic irreverence that meets their distaste toward professional politicians and mediasters both. Brewing ever since the internet as an alternative source of information emerged, both are seen by a huge voting block as irrelevant and self-serving.
But I don't think it even ends there. My suspicion: add to that government workers and pensioners, lawyers, doctors, union teachers (plus insurance companies put in the catbird seat by Obamacare) and you just might get that people are fed up with getting the short end of the stick.
Things may change for The Donald, but for now he poking his finger in the eyes of the know-it-alls and people seem to like it.-comment FB, Twit or email for possible post-
We in Memphis know two names really well. One is Jesus Christ. The other is Fred Smith, founder of Memphis based FedEx. In Memphis at least, we genuflect to both. Both had business plans of sorts with Smith legendarily writing his while he was a student at the local Rhodes
College. He is said to have formed the famous shipping company Federal Express from his college idea. He is a bonafide hero of capitalism. His life has been all about getting packages competitively from origination A to destination Z, not to mention managing a financial strategy to make all that happen.
Now, Pres. candidate Chris Christie says if elected he would ask Fred Smith to design a sort of tracking system. Christie was immediately villified for treating illegal immigrants like "packages"--items with addresses and RFID tracking code. And probably the FedEX general could come up with a way of indeed tracking that didn't seem like cattle herding, but whether he could or couldn't, his name brings star power, kind of.
But that's Christie's point. Find somebody with star power, create a mission the implementation of which is way over the top and maybe you have another wild immigration strategy hopefully like Trump's. Hey, its worth a try.
-comment FB, Twit or email for possible post-
(8.28.15 BenQQ) In the wake of the live TV shootings in Virginia, politicians are rote repeating once again for more gun control, completely discounting nothing, short of deep and intrusive government probes, would have stopped the shooter there.
So what's left? Obviously a psych exam. Should this particular test to own a firearm take effect, would people be required to go to a government shrink, wait in the office, pay him (or the state would pay at no doubt a much higher rate), get a check mark on a form and go back to pick up his license to own a gun? Or would it just take a call from his supervisor to flag him as too unstable to own a gun? Or would the state review all his social media posts to see if the applicant made an untoward statement politically or otherwise? If so, who would decide if statements were bad enough to prohibit him from buying a gun? His boss? A shrink? A cop? An angry girlfriend?
See any problems here? If you are a Democrat you probably don't. This never ending encroachment of modern government would result in another huge outlay of funds that would continue to restrict the rights of everybody under an emotional pretext. Ultimately, it would take the Supreme Court to strike it down as unconstitutional.
Politicians have found another reason to rant, but have little real solutions. Let's hear them. If Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants gun buyers to take a background test, let's hear the details. But a normal background check would not have stopped the shooter in Roanoke.
To be balanced here, it is much like some Republicans advocating defunding Planned Paranthood because of videos of PP people bargaining over human parts. Sure, that's bad, but defunding would effectively block a route to abortion, a constitutional right for women. That's what they are really against but are too dishonest to say it.
Politicians love pretext, especially emotional ones. Damned if that pretext always creates worse solutions.
(8.27.15 BenQQ) On a CNN interview yesterday Trump was asked what could have prevented the shooting of the Roanoke TV station employees. His response? More mental health but not more government control on guns. Assumption: people reject more gun control that stands in stark failure as illustrated in such Democratic places as Chicago and urban areas across the United States, despite the Clinton/Obama mantra to pile on more laws. People feel like he "gets it," despite his more strange remarks (below). His interview here.
(8.23.15 BenQQ) The crowd in Mobile paused. Did they hear that? The Donald actually sold himself on his genes (here at 42:00). Genes? Did he just say that? Yes, he did. If you watch, notice the pause from the crowd buzz. Nobody in the media seemed to take note. Perhaps it was just another Trumpian pecadillo common to some showbiz CEOs: total self confidence to the point of self indulgence. Its all about me.
Eventually, someone in the media who is not a credentialed copycat robot is going to ask: "Mr. Trump, you mentioned your self touted good genetics as a qualification to be president. How different are you from Margaret Sanger, who was a believer in negative eugenics or even Adolf Hitler? Hmmmm..."
As a Trump supporter (below), his crack in Mobile worried me because it shows a rhetorical recklessness that just may reveal real attitude. As the Mobile crowd seemed to hear, I am forced to ask, does he really believe that his personal genetics got him to where he is? Then I'm forced to ask, what about average joes or janes and by inference, me? Will his "make America rich" spiel just make the richer rich? What is he actually asking me to believe about him?
In Mobile, Trump delivered a stream of conscious that slipped under an increasingly higher bar of acceptability to, at least, people like me. Agree his delivery is a new gale in politics that can win him an election if he directs it properly, but his crack about personal genetics and--did you catch this one as well?--why not just hold the election tomorrow--will blow up in his lifetime-of-privilege face. Add those to his solutions of mass immigration deportation--instead of just building a fence and enforcing current law--and you have a revolution that's gone off its tracks before it even got started.
Hopefully his staff are not as politically sensory deprived as their boss nor so scared of him they can't say no. (Then we'll have another politician as tone deaf as Obama.) This is an internal campaign wakeup call to drill into who has so far been the political "Teflon Don" that what he says will eventually matter. Don't blow it, they should yell into his ear stuffed with hundred dollar bills. Running the country is not your personal corporate sandbox.
On the other hand, Donald, if you actually think your genetics is the reason--and not regular American values--for your rise to the top, just continue to expound on that particular birthright "qualification."
(8.16.15 BenQQ) That state fair chopper ride you gave to the kids and cameras was, as usual, genius. CNN scrounged around pitifully to find ways to discredit the spectacle of both a shiny big helicopter you own (and not rent) lifting symbollically up up up drawing the stares of cameras and corn dog scarfing commoner alike. They both know something's up.
So I've loooooved to see the oh-so-credentialed media failing to explain why you haven't crashed and burned. From the very start they pontificated, ranted and dropped their eyebrows to their upper lips in "analyzing" your exagerated political death.
Didn't happen. Hasn't happened. And now they're blaming the process itself. There must be something wrong with the process itself, they infer under their breath, heads shaking. You have thrown fresh cold water into the faces of Americans parched by the "best and brightest" advice of "experts," government officials and media gurus who didn't hesitate to act like they were annointed with The Truth. The rest belonged to the great unwashed.
Back to the Donald: we know your thing--after all, you did go to Wharton (but only as undergraduate) as you endlessly remind us--is negotiation and we indeed expect you to use it to our advantage. And that goes for our lousy bottom rung education, too.
Your people really want you to amputate--not trim--useless and even less effective--appendages of government and variously do other things: install some kind of flat tax system that shuts down the IRS and its vast bureaucracy, phase out the extravagant salaries and pensions of federal emloyees, and stop the growth of debt that can only be paid back by more borrowing destined to saddle the young with overwhelming debt (not to mention undermines our military.)
Of course launching a building program of your border wall and finding ways to halt the participation of illegals in the economy--which drive down wages for blue collar Americans of every hyphen (including Mexican)--would be an immediate priority. Of course, the Dems will wail because they won't have their millions of voters. But, then again, they'll wail because you--hopefully--will find a way to institute legal voter identification. Oh my, the years of s**t have built up a really full plate.
Simultaneously launch a quick and dirty war against ISIS by really arming our allies, putting back American warrior boots on the ground and, yes, blowing up their captured oil fields. Despite the Dems' waving their naughty finger, this expanding Islamic psychopathic branch that is replicating itself in various hydras gets 30% of their budget from the oil black market--budget used to rape, kidnap, torture and commit the likes of genocide against Christians and Muslims alike. America is the only power to stop it in its tracks. Do it.
Obama let it happen. History will no doubt condemn him and the illustrious Hillary, architect of Benghazi, for it. But that's not enough. We must not hesitate to finally kill the ISIS bastards, and fast.
And then, once all of that is taken care of--and this will take some looking at to get it right--launch a national sales campaign--you'd be a natural for that--to institute some kind of guaranteed basic income for every legal citizen in exchange of many, if not all, of the social welfare programs. Further, with the repeal of Obamacare, you could set aside an amount with a monthly GBI dedicated to insurance payment to companies anywhere in the country, or maybe even world. Of course, this would create true competition, thus driving down insurance costs for the average legal citizen that should be protected from catastrophic health events. But that would be only one of many benefits.
For the first time, Americans have got a real dose of a hard charging positivity belching salesmanship in politics. A large swath of the pubic likes it. If nothing else, its refreshing, at least for now.
And by the way, I've worked for both nonprofit and forprofit CEOs at various times in my career. The nonprofit were always the easiest. The successful for profit CEOs were always more complex. They were blustery, demanding, egotistical to the point of overbearance, but successful because they demanded it of others.
That's why they're not politicians.
AC Wharton, Mayor of Memphis (photo)
(9.02.15 BenQQ) The local elections coming up Oct. 8 will present another chance for this city to break away from following predictable voter habit: choosing the familiar over known options. Nothing against AC Wharton. He's done a pretty good job, but his election would give him another 4 years in office with the same old clique, the same good ol' buddy sysem that can't help but happen with any long term administration.
We think even two terms, after the city smartly set term limits, is too much. Besides, why does a mayor need eight years? What's he going to do with his next four? Go find another job. You've got the ultimage feather so far in your resume. His Linkedin page. There should be plenty more career opportunities for a well experienced mayor.
Still having said that, Mayor Wharton's rationale for status quo maintenance isn't good enough. Not that any bold and fresh solutions from any of the candidates were heard in the recent Ch. 5 WMC TV debates that were carefully controlled like a middlle school classroom. In fact, the audience should be allowed to toss a few spitballs. Some might stick. Next debate: Ch. 3 WREG TV at 6:00 pm hosted by news anchor Claudia Barr. Perhaps one debate question could be: if elected mayor, would you commit to one term? Yet another could be: what do you see as the surest way to turn Memphis into Detroit?
So fantastically enough, we'd like to see the mayor withdraw from the race while he's ahead. He could endorse a competitor that would not reinstate the old pension plan and declare one administration is enough for any mayor. He would show cities don't need long term mayors but do need new people to constantly refresh and replace methodologies.
So let another fresher job hungrypolitico step in with new ideas. The Academy of your youth awaits you, Mr. Mayor. Quit while you're ahead.
(8.30.15 BenQQ) Its coming as sure as tomorrow's sunrise, like marrying your robot, if you're into that sort of thing. All these transformations in small areas, like trackless bitcoin currency, driverless cars, nations without identity, and males emasculated by unisex culture makes "neutral" pronouns that don't imply gender downright unavoidable, thanks in a small way to the University of Tennesse Knoxville.
As someone who has always craved two things: simplicity and the inability of people and government to discover what I'm doing privately, the idea of genderless pronouns, at least on one level, is appealing.
For example, if I can mask my gender in speech, I don't have to worry about people adding meaning to what I write. A "he" advocating, for example, absolute and immediate destruction to psychopathic torture cults, like ISIS, is differerent than a "ze" who does not burdened with outdated masculine traits that corrupt "his" every thought.
A pronoun of universal acceptance. When I think about it, that's what we need! Countless times have doctrinaire females imbued meaning to what I was saying because I was "male." By implication, a genderless pronoun frees males from that just as feminism freed us from the shackles of male dominance--or so feminists claimed.
After all, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know ze exists, when zirs work is done, zirs aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it our selves." Call it xe speech. Thank you UT. Another step for man..., uh, humankind.
(8.28.15 BenQQ) Half of the American population are terrorists. Maybe the burden of that knowledge makes her look like she just stepped on a land mine (or mind, depending) every time she gets in front of reporters. Hillary Clinton is worried, big time. There are millions of terrorists running around out there free to say anything--ANYTHING!
They must be stopped. It matters not how she does it. The ends justify the means. As obvious terrorists, every Republican, including people with secret furtive leanings toward same, should come forth and register at their local fire and police stations. First responders should know where Republicans live for immediate roundup before they start throwing molotovs. Of course, they should be put on no fly lists as well.
I declare I am not a Republican and swear to turn every one of them I know over to the proper authorities forthwith. God Bless America. Hillary's comments here.
(link below) H.K. Edgarton, former president of the North Carolina NAACP, displays one several flags he carried with him as he walked across the South in sympathy and in Confederate uniform. Photo is from my documentary Ghosts and Symbols: Last Stand of the Confederacy.
(8.19.15 BenQQ) On a personal note, after hearing of the Charleston, South Carolina mass shooting and the attention given to Confederate symbols such as flags and statues, I remembered I had shot a lot of footage of a national convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Memphis, 2002. I thought it would add to the "conversation," such as it was/is, of symbols in Southern history and therefore culture.
Yesterday, the city council of Memphis, TN voted to move the statue of CSA Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest at what was formerly called Forrest Park where he is interred with his wife. The statue is featured prominently in the documentary.
I admit my movie is one sided because it was all shot at the convention. However, you get the attitude, look and historical context of both Memphis and the priorities and emotions of Confederate bloodlines. As is for the other side, this side is personal, too.
I believe it is worth looking at because we seldom hear or see in any kind of depth to the side of Confederates in media.