Tuesday, August 22, 2017

If You're An Older Black Man in the Marvel Netflix Universe, You're Probably Going to Die

I was hoping that this unfortunate pattern would be broken with "The Defenders," but alas, once again, an older black man died on a Netflix Marvel show.


Of all the pros and cons of the team-up series and each character's respective shows (and personally, I still think the good outweighs the bad) this is the most annoying.

To wit (most of these guys can be found under tvtrope's MCU:New York citizens entry):

  1. Daredevil: Ben Urich; choked to death by the Kingpin (with his bare freaking hands, no less). Urich and Karen Paige were both digging into Fisk's history for dirt, but Karen managed to slip past Fisk's radar. 
  2. Jessica Jones: Detective First Grade Oscar Clemons; shot in the head by Will Simpson. By the time this had happened, Simpson was hopped up on pseudo-super soldier performance enhancers, not to mention an obsession with keeping Jessica's step-sister/best friend safe. Clemons was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  3.  Luke Cage: Henry "Pop" Hunter; shot up in his own freaking barber shop by an overenthusiastic underling of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. Pop had made an arrangement with Cottonmouth to exchange some stolen money for the thief's life. Cottonmouth even told his underling to only go on the offensive if said thief tried to run. The thief never tried to run, but the underling felt shooting up a barbershop would send a message. Oh, and this was like in the second episode. 
  4.  Iron Fist: Lawrence Wilkins; shot in the head by Harold Meachum. Yeah; a guy getting shot by someone who was supposed to be dead makes for an interesting story. And Wilkins was basically a jerk, but still.
I have my issues with all of these deaths. Urich and Pop were killed basically to drive Daredevil and Luke Cage into action in their respective shows. Clemons was killed to show how evil Simpson had become. Wilkins' death came at the tail end of Iron Fist's season, and his death did little but make Danny Rand (and the Meachum kids) path back to running Rand less rocky. 

But the fact remains: all black men, all older than the main characters, all dead.

This is why I hope Nick Fury or War Machine don't ever show up in these shows; they wouldn't last past Episode 7. 

So who died in Defenders to keep this trend going? Well I won't spoil it yet, but he's technically the the oldest person of African descent to ever be in these shows, and he was very knowledgeable (Jessica would probably say a bit too much).  Don't lose you head trying to figure it out!

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Neo-Nazi Who Talked About Attending a Protest With Weapons Claims That He Didn't Want To Get Hurt

Seriously. But for me, here's the money quote:

“The problem is that my country has descended to a point where your political opinions get you charged with felonies, and that’s what I’m upset about,” he said. “I get a little emotional about the fact that all this is going on, and now people want to throw me in prison because I want to save my race and nation.”

Oh Please. I am curious to how removing statues celebrating pro-slavery is threatening his "race and nation." Last I checked the current President shares his views, and as far as his race goes, the demographics of those running Wall Street, Congress, and the entertainment industry reflect him as well.

Now economically-speaking...

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Thought of the Day

If people were as passionate about protecting the environment as they were about protecting statues, then out planet would be in much better shape.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

If You Really Want To Help

If you're not black, you witnessed what happened in Charlotte, VA, you are adamantly opposed to what the protesters are all about, have read stories like this and this, and are confused because you just really want to help and show support and don't know how...

Here's one humble solution, broken down in steps.

  1. Declare your candidacy for elected office (state or federal, executive or legislative, it doesn't matter).
  2. Run a campaign without taking lobbyist money (that way you won't be obligated to follow their agenda).
  3. Create/enact policies that will help the working class (here, "help"means "reduce their expenses and increase their disposable income."
  4. Make sure that these policies help as many people as possible in your sphere of influence.
  5. Refuse to do any TV shows and/or interviews that will not allow you to talk in details about your policies (your opinions are not relative to having the policies enacted).
  6. Make sure that some of your staff include those you are trying to help (and yes, they should both want to work in this field and have the adequate qualifications). 
  7. Encourage like-minded people in your circle of friends and relatives to do the same.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

They Are Still Punching Down

Michael Tomsky writes a very interesting (and sure to be shared) opinion piece about how that Donald Trump's uncouth approach regarding foreign affairs is an example of why Hillary Clinton should have gotten more votes from liberals/progressives:

I’ve been looking back over some articles from last year and am reminded that it was a surprisingly robust theme, this idea that Clinton was more dangerous than Trump. I doubt many votes hinged on this single issue, but it became a key talking point in the larger narrative that Clinton was corrupt and unprincipled and there really wasn’t much difference between her and Trump.

Do Tell.

Most of this nonsense came from the anti-Clinton and anti-Democrat left. Here, for example, was Jill Stein, a reliably useful idiot, appearing on C-SPAN last October: “On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia.” She favored Trump on Russia, of course, because she herself was a Friend of Vlad.

Well, about all that: (1) Jill Stein's PBS interview was heavily edited; (2) most people, upon reading her platform, will come to learn that hers was just as progressive as Bernie Sanders, which is to say that it was demonstratively more progressive than Hillary Clinton's; and (3) Hillary has her own ties to Russia, thankyouverymuch.

(And before anyone says, "All those videos came from Jimmy Dore!" please try to find out what's actually inaccurate about them instead of attacking the source. Hint: not enough to discredit them!)

Moving on:

The point of this column is not to defend Clinton’s policies. She was somewhat too hawkish for my tastes. I’ve written critically of her vote for the Iraq War many times. And it’s the darkest irony of her political life that a vote that seemed the politically “safe” one at the time ended up crippling her politically for the rest of her career. It almost certainly cost her the Democratic nomination in 2008 and it damaged her badly in 2016, when Bernie Sanders hammered away at it.

See, this is the problem. The point is any politician should be subject to the review/breakdown of and then acceptance/rejection of their policies. It's not enough to vote for Hillary Clinton because she was running on the Democratic Party ticket. It's not enough that she would have been our country's first female president has she won. It's not enough that she backtracked on some of her (and her husband's) stances. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Hillary Clinton wanted to really become president, she should have ran in 2004, when the Iraq War was essentially strangling the Bush Administration and the Good Feelings of the Clinton Administration was still in the back of the minds of American voter. She was at her most progressive, and would have easily beaten John Kerry in the primary (the Democrat who campaigns to the left wins 9 times out of 10). All she would have had to do in this hypothetical presidential debate was say, "Look; it's Clinton vs Bush, and we all how well that went the last time for America." Would the Iraq war vote have been an issue? Sure, but no where to the degree it was in 2008 (or even now after God-only-knows how many conflicts).

So let's wrap this up:

On some other matters, I think she got an unfair rap. She wanted to do more in 2011 to help the anti-Assad fighters in Syria. True, there’s a chance her position might have kicked off a fateful escalation. But it’s hardly a certainty that it would have. Her instinct was to try to stop a slaughter, which in the end the United States and the rest of the world shamefully just let happen.
But this isn’t about her. It’s about a mindset on the left that helped give us President Trump. It’s a view of the world rooted in the conviction that Democrats and liberals, not Republicans and conservatives, are the real enemies of progress, because you expect malevolence from the latter, while failure by the former to stop them is the real problem.

OK; here's the thing: she lost all sympathy from the left of the Democratic Party when she:

  1. Dismissed the Black Lives Matter Movement;
  2. Started schmoozing with John Negroponte and Henry Kissinger;
  3. Ignored unions, the pipeline protests and the fight for a higher minimum wage;
  4. Embraced Senator chuck Schumer's strategy of courting suburban Republicans over urban Democrats;
  5. Decided to spend more time attacking Trump personally than on policy.
As for that last sentence: well, DUH. Of course progressives would not expect a party who wants to wall off Mexico, ban Muslims, blame black teens who got shot by cops for wearing hoodies, encourage cops to beat up protesters, ban all scenarios of abortion, keep transgender people from going to public bathrooms, prevent women from getting contraceptives, and keep universal health care of the table to be civil or respectful. But yes, the other party who claims that they are better should be fighting them at every turn on every front instead of thumb-pointing at them and going, "Do you really want to take your chances with these guys?"

In California, Democrats are preventing single payer from coming to life in that state. There's nary a peep from Democrats in New York about Stop and Frisk. Are any Democrats in Michigan banging the pots and pans over the water problems in flint? And Why did the Democrats in Congress give Trumps way more than he originally asked for in Defense Spending? Not sure about anyone else, but to me, all of these are examples of being "enemies of progress."

Democrats need to stand for something other than "We're not them." And if they stand for progressive ideas, that (guess what?) progressives will gravitate toward them. The Kronos vs Kang Argument will not work forever.

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Hypocrite Alert

Democrats Find Out West Virginia Governor Has Financial Ties To Russia Six Months Later, and Only After He Switches From Democrat to Republican

So having a billionaire coal baron was fine as long as a "D" was attached to him, but as soon as he turns Trump, all the "facts" come out.

This is a good example of why "making someone accountable after they are elected" is a dumb idea.

Democrats: please stop throwing your working class base under the bus for money and short-term electoral gains. Please.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Marvel's the Defenders Viewing Order

For those of you wanting to prepare for August 18th's premiere of "The Defenders" on Netflix, here's one humble blogger's suggested viewing (NOTE: I know some fans prefer particular shows over others for various reasons, but I'm recommending that people watch all four series):

  1. Daredevil Season One
  2. Jessica Jones Season One
  3. Daredevil Season Two (stop right after Episode 9, "Seven Minutes in Heaven")
  4. Luke Cage Season One (stop right after Episode 3, "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?")
  5. Daredevil Season Two (pick up on Episode 10, "The Man in the Box"
  6. Luke Cage Season One (pick up on Episode 4, "Step in the Arena")
  7. Iron Fist Season One

There's some minor character crossover with Daredevil and Luke Cage, so while switching back and forth may be a little annoying (the tones of each show are different, but not too much) it helps with continuity.

In terms of, "Why watch all four?" I'll answer by the series:

  1. Daredevil introduces the titular character, the general tone of the Defender's world, and their future adversary.
  2. Jessica Jones introduces the titular character, gives a preview to who Luke Cage is, and gives you a different perspective of what's going on in New York (Hell's Kitchen in particular).
  3. Luke Cage fleshes out the titular character, gives some character development into a crossover character, and expands on the criminal elements that plague New York. 
  4. Iron Fist introduces the titular character, and not only expands on the Defender's primary adversary, but adds a twist.
  5. All four series introduces support characters who who show up in the series in some fashion.
One thing to note is that there isn't that much in terms of "filler." Each series runs a 13-episode season, and even ones that feel like they drag either has a good reveal, a nice cliffhanger or some interesting character development.  And for those who like cool Marvel Easter Eggs, there are plenty to be found (although the majority come from Daredevil and Luke Cage).

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Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Not Just About The Money.

Nancy Pelosi is a fundraiser for the Democrats, and a darn good one. But considering that Hillary Clinton raised more money than Donald Trump and still lost the election, we should not equate "raising a lot of cash" with "winning elections."

Yet, that is what appears to be happening.

Wining elections will come when the Democrats show that they are fighting in Congress. The best (but not only) way to do this is introduce legislation that gives words and life to their message and values.

I know, "What's the point if it doesn't pass in a GOP-controlled Congress?" The point is that:

  • There is a record that Democrats advocated something;
  • It could garnish enough attention to give them on TV, where that can control the narrative;
  • They can go after Republicans for repeatedly shooting down their attempts to improve the lives of millions of Americans.
The GOP got votes not because they just talked about repealing the ACA, but because that's pretty much all they did in Congress during President Obama's term in office. They showed the voters, that, with a few more victories, what they were trying to do could be accomplished (the fact that Trump is himself responsible for its failure is another story).

This "Better Deal" that Chuck Schumer is proposing is lacking some of the traditional elements that older voters would associate with the party. Words like "Unions" and "single payer/Medicare For All" don't seem to be part of it, at least not the flashy parts.

I'm currently combing through the nitty-gritty of the BD; we'll see how much teeth it has. In the meantime, the Democrats need to get started on some legislation a.s.a.p. Money will only get you so far. 

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

It Only Matters When It Affects Them Personally

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Messaging vs The Message

The Democratic Party's problem, in a nutshell, is that they believe their recent losses and the "sudden" lack of enthusiasm from their base and the "center" is due to poor articulation.

They want to move on, and with a plan to win the middle again.

To do this, they are being lead by the same Democratic Senator who said losing one Democratic voter from the urban areas to gain two Republican voters from the suburbs was ideal.   He's not exactly a fighter for the people.

But I digress: the new better deal includes some things that might have helped Hillary Clinton win the damn election, as well as things designed to get the attention of dissatisfied Trump voters.

Maybe it will give them just enough seats in the mid-terms to keep this tug-of-war with Republicans going, while both parties focus on things they agree on (like conducting war for profit).

What it doesn't do is "wow." There's not much in this proposal that makes me think that the Democrats are doing more than fishing for votes.

Schumer has been around since Clinton and Bush; these ideas would have been considered radical then, but now?

A majority of people want Medicare for all and campaign finance reform. Those two issues would really rock the political boat. And it would send a message.

But sure, continue with the platitudes and pictures. Continue to cozy up to the corporations who do not have the working class' best interest in mind. Continue to push for wars over oil.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In Politics, Status Quo Is God

Because Status Quo keeps those who make money in a place to keep making money.

Because politicians are too lazy and/or scared to do actual research to make necessary changes.

The ACA, aka Obamacare, is now status quo (as flawed as it is).

But it is Status Quo, Republicans can't really change or repeal it. And Democrats aren't lifting a finger to improve it.

Sure there are things like "voters" and "the will of the people," but those pale in comparison of Big Pharma, who is essentially accepting of this particular Status Quo. So much so they pretty much run the most Democratic, left-leaning state in the country.

Remember when the GOP promised their voters that they'd outlaw abortion every election cycle, yet could never push it through Congress?

Remember when Obama pushed for Single Payer as a candidate an was rewarded a Democrat-friendly Congress, only to essentially nationalize Mitt Romney's health care plan?

Status Quo is their God.

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