The Usual Suspects

2020 is coming, too soon if you ask me. It’s not the year itself I have a problem with, it’s the barrage of political B.S. we will have to put up with by people running for office. Before I stopped watching/ listening to the news I noticed there were almost twenty people fighting to be the person to run against Trump. Out of everyone there was only one that I could see having a chance and he is not the guy that the media is pushing. This post isn’t about Andrew Yang, instead it’s about our weird marriage between news media and politics.
The Berning question you might have, see what I did there, is why not support Bernie? He was the guy that would have beat Trump back in 2016, the guy that should have received the nomination over Hillary Clinton but was bent over and plowed by his own party. Why can’t I back Bernie? He didn’t have the balls to stand up to his own party. His loyalty is in the wrong place and while loyalty can be a great trait to possess, to continue to engage in a relationship with a group that stabs you in the back, bends you over, and humiliates you in front of the world, if you are unable to learn what the true nature of a group is after experiencing such a betrayal then how the hell are you going to stand up against another party or another country? Bernie was my guy but he bitched out in the end.
When I heard Kamala Harris was running I rolled my eyes and shook my head. A professional liar, I mean lawyer, was the last thing we needed. She has changed her position on policies more than the number of people she sexually harassed while working as prosecuting attorney in the state of California. You don’t pay out 3 million in settlements when you are innocent.
Cory Booker is running and the only thing I know about him is that he is having sex with Rosario Dawson. Dude, I think you have better things to do than run for president. Enjoy your life.
Elizabeth Warren is an embaressment to herself. She took a DNA test to prove that she is part Native American and fail that test. When Trump became president she was formidable with his appointments to his cabinet but in the end she approved unqualified people and played along with his perverted agenda. Another betrayal.
Surfer babe, Tulsi Gabbard has not impressed anyone with a poorly stated message and coming off as “too chill” in my book. Tulsi is the stereotypical hot babe who is easy to look at but hard to listen to. A veteran of the middle east wars I have respect for her when it comes to serving the country but I have to say maybe it should stop there.
The rest of the group is a bunch of white men and women who already have weird scandals that I’m m starting to believe were fabricated to bring attention to their dying campaigns. The whole thing is a joke.
I found my guy early on and people love pointing out that it is the longest of long shots and I am fine with that. When I point out that Obama came out of nowhere, I receive weird rebuttals that border on racist without crossing the line. From one white person to another, I know what you’re really saying.
This time around I’m going to follow my guy, Andrew Yang and enjoy the ride as long as it last. If he gets a shot at the white house I’ll tune in and see what happens. When he is out of the race, so am I. I want something different, I want to have something real in this country. While we still have ancient turtles like Bitch McConnell keeping the country in a constant spiral down a toilet poop chute I have little hope of any change in this country. We need a plague and it can have the initial outbreak in the capital building. Nature may abhor a vacuum but an artist cannot create a masterpiece without a blank canvas.
I want to be excited. I want to wake up and hear what new breakthrough has happened. What has changed for the better. Instead, what we get is a flaccid, stagnant, impotent government that is too lazy to do anything but jerk each other off. The weather outside today is how the last couple of years have been, a dark dreary cool wet day with a lack of sunlight to have things grow and too cold to enjoy and one has no ambition to venture outside because of the dogshit on the lawn. We are all stuck in a bubble of our own making and until we build up the courage to go outside and face the fake boogiemen of our days that we will never end up having a better place to live.

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71Republic, Teaching Economics While NOT Understanding it

I read an article today written by Atilla Sulker called “No Andrew Yang, Technology Is Not Killing Jobs.” One should not be surprised to find that such an ignorant article was written by a high school student and depends on Patreon to pay what ever Fortnite bills he might have. Getting past his young age, Atilla tried to argue that technology creates more jobs than it eliminates. I don’t know how much experience Atilla has in the job market but I would guess it isn’t much.
My first job doesn’t exist anymore. I was a bagger at a grocery store when I was in high school. A few years after I left that job and started college that job no longer existed. Other jobs that disappeared from that grocery store includes the people working the bottle return stand, now a series of machines managed part time by one of the stock boys. The normal Sunday shopping would see twenty lanes open for check out all day long. The last Sunday I went shopping I saw four cashiers working at the store’s peak hours and a long line at both self-checkout lanes. The army of cart retrieval boys who would be in the parking lot was replaced with one guy and a “Quick Cart” robot that pushes up to thirty carts at a time back to the main entrance. 25-30% of the jobs this supermarket once had are now gone.
Over the last twenty years the jobs that technology replaced eliminated jobs from the market permanently. With every wave of invention, the participation numbers of Americans declined with the majority of those lost workers leaving the work force permanently. Currently, the US job force is 62% of the population. As the baby boomers continue to lose their jobs to automation, they will choose to leave the work force, retiring years earlier, and those jobs are not opening up to the younger generation coming into the workforce. Atilla, good luck finding a job in journalism when you graduate.
At the Library I work for we have several volunteers who once worked for the Kalamazoo Gazette. The news paper is only printed three times a week now and the majority of their material is found online. What was once a powerhouse of media is now a small office with twenty people writing their witty little click bate adds and offering the poor examples of journalism that litter the internet. Journalist, editors, and photographers now spend their hours sorting through donated books hoping for the day that they might see a job opening at the library they volunteer for.
Technology is killing jobs and it’s doing more than that, it’s taking away meaning from people’s lives. Suicide and overdoses now outnumber deaths from car accidents in the United States. I lost two cousins to both of these in the span of a year. Whatever jobs that are created when trucks start driving themselves, food service is replaced by robots, trees are cut down by machines, and people start checking out their own groceries at the store are going to be such a small fraction of the jobs that are lost you will have massive unemployment, an increase in suicide, and more people turning to drugs to deal with their pain. Add the fact that wages have not increased since the 1970’s to match inflation and that student loan debt is now at 1.2 trillion dollars we are now at a tipping point where the American workers can not support themselves in this economy.
One part of Atilla’s article that made me laugh was the idea that if the production of bolts was automated the abundance of those bolts would create jobs in places like automotive. I live in Michigan, those jobs, installing the bolts in cars, is automated now. I can let my uncle who worked for GM for thirty years tell you about that. Forced to retire early with a fraction of his pension he is one of those people I mentioned that left the work for years before he should have because there were no jobs for him to move to in his field.
Atilla may be onto something. He noticed Andrew Yang popping up in the news and heard his message and like the pseudo journalist infesting the internet he saw a click bate opportunity and took it. Atilla may have a future but he is ignoring the fact that the majority of America’s work force has no future in the current economy. You can help support Atilla and 71Republic on Patreon because automation and the internet killed real journalism in America and producing click-bate they are not directly paid for is the new shitty business model plaguing the industry. This is why we have Trump for president.

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Post Death Fame

The true test of an artist is finding fame after they are dead. Over the years this has become a reoccurring theme. When a singer dies CD/ download sales skyrocket to number they never saw during there life.
The first time I saw this was when Curt Cobain died in the early 90s and Nirvana became a household name. Stieg Larsson the author of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, never saw the fame or money that came with the publication of his trilogy. He died from a heart attack after the elevator broke down in his apartment building and he had to take the stairs. There is a theme here, where the public doesn’t notice somebody until there is the news of a tragic death. Regardless of age we hear the same “they were so young” and “they could have done so much more great stuff” and yet these people never bothered to find their work while they were still alive.
Americans had a weird fascination with death. There is a long line of famous people that never made it to their 28th birthday. We appear to thrive on these stories of the fallen hero even when their death is the result of their own hand. Suicide has become a common method to end one’s own life if they have reached a certain level of fame. Recently Brody Stevens passed away and I have to admit I had never heard of the guy before. Other people I know pointed out movies he had been in and yet I seriously had no memory of him. In the past I would have gone on YouTube or google and learned as much as I could about this man. This time I can’t. I personally know too many who have committed suicide over the years. I had a hard time with Anthony Bourdain’s death last year, something that hit me harder than I would have expected.
I don’t know when this measurement of fame first started to appear, when a person was celebrated more after their death then they were during their life. We gaze upon the flaunting aspect of what could have been while we didn’t appreciate what had already been accomplished. People look back on JFK as if he was one of the greatest presidents in our history, but when you look back, he didn’t do much during his two years in office and the one thing he is remembered for is taking a bullet to the head on television.
Solidifying one’s legacy in death has become the new normal. A large number of people that shouldn’t have been forgotten from our memory are disappearing over the years. Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal, both men lived their lives to their last days and died of natural causes and yet most people will never read their books as time passes. Hunter S. Thompson and Hemingway both ended their lives with a gun and people seek out their books in droves. I can’t explain the phenomenon, this strange criteria for immortality through suicide or death by misadventure, but the numbers are there. The one thing I wish we would change in our society is celebrating people for what they have done as opposed to thinking about what could have been. Isn’t that the romance that comes from these deaths, thinking about the pieces they would have created had they not died?

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In my own little bubble

I stopped watching the news about two weeks ago. YouTube has a habit of loading my feed with several news stories that I have to scroll through and I’m starting to hate it. I only subscribe to a few channels and besides posting my own videos I don’t know if it’s worth watching anymore. I don’t know if my stress level is any better than before since my daughter has woken up early every day that I stay up late to work on my next book. Today is Friday and the lack of sleep is piling up.
Andrew Yang is the only politician I have been supporting this election and he is the only one that doesn’t comment on the recent news events as part of his election campaign. I follow his post on Instagram and make snotty comments to the Russian trolls that have started to pop up. You know when your candidate is a threat when the trolls start to appear.
Audiobooks have become my vise these days. Last month I read The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria and even thought it was written ten years ago it still applies today. Roughing it by Mark Twain gave some insight into the world of America’s greatest writer. The David Foster Wallace Reader was a struggle like any of his books are only in this case they were lumped into one volume. The Inklings was insightful with the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis explaining the many reasons why these two are still read today.
I awoke with a massive headache yesterday that never went away. It could have been a lack of water, maybe a lack of coffee, or not enough sleep which I need more of in my older state. This morning it was gone and along with a tall glass of water I also consumed two glasses of milk and standing next to me is the first cup of coffee I have had all week.
There was a pleasant surprise waiting for me in my banking app where I found my tax return had been deposited. Most of it was transferred into savings and the leftovers stayed in checking as a buffer for any future “oops” that might come my way. I don’t have a house payment due until April and while I would like to be further ahead and have more money going towards the principle a new washer and dryer ended up on my plate, both at separate times. The proverb of “Shit Happens” is alive and well and while I can sit here and complain the bright side is that I had the money to take care of these problems. 52% of Americans don’t have the money for an unexpected $500 bill. Thankfully I am somewhere in the 48%, and I would like to stay there.

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Why the Media Sucks so Bad

Over the years I have seen the shift from real news media to the joke we have today. I grew up with the big three networks who, for half an hour every night, informed the public about the world without the interruption of commercials. Looking back, I know what happened and I’m sad to say I don’t know how to fix it. There is a mental illness that leads one to believe that everything can be better if it is privatized and modeled for profit. That model is killing the first amendment.
There was a time when cable channels cost extra and it was the gateway to profanity an seeing breasts at night. One man had an idea for a 24-hour news network and it all went downhill. Instead of covering “cat stuck in tree” rumors of news filled the airwaves dropping the ethics of reporting to that of a high school rumor tree. Things have become worse since then. Channel carry a banner, a flag to show what side they are on. They have to adhere to ideology instead of stating facts. The qualification for a hews host to be on tv isn’t from their education or how they do their job but instead what percentage of the public would fuck them if given the chance. There is little difference between the news channels today and the playboy network.
I came up with a list of things that made me scratch my head, things that might help steer the boat back into the right direction. For starters, Tweets are not news. I don’t know who made this policy but they should be fired and exported to Antarctica. Going viral is not news, by the time you are reporting it the people who would care already saw it.
Breaking the news first isn’t great for ratings but it does make sure that you’re called an asshole when all of the facts are wrong. Try waiting, looking through all the information before you blast Breaking News across the screen because something might have happened. When your coworkers spend a year on a story try spending more than a day going through the information instead of acting like a child with ADD.
Celebrities are not news, unless they kill somebody. Kim Kardashian’s ass is not news. Somebody being pregnant is not news. A divorce is not news. Rap battles are not news. This is tabloid crap that is meant to be read in a check out lane in the local supermarket, so let’s keep it there.
Fact checking is part of your job. Let’s keep this in mind for a long long time shall we. Had the media done its job back in 2003 we never would have gone to war in Iraq. The government is not an expert source when the story is the government. Its like repeating the question to answer the question, you are not going to get far.
If you are deciding the stories to cover by the possible ratings you will receive then you are not doing your job. This is why the internet is beating you. The majority of the stories spreading online is stupid shit that feeds the masses a load of junk food, what you should be concerned about is offering high quality food for the lowest possible cost. Instead what we get is Taco Bell.
I don’t know if any of this will help. I don’t know how many reporters know how to read anymore. The more news I watch the more I realize that Anchorman 2 was a documentary instead of a comedy. If you don’t want to be called the enemy of the people than please start doing your jobs. You created the monster that you still feed. Television is your own Little Shop of Horrors and a monster is yelling “Feed me!”

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