Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

By R.C. Seely

IS BURGER KING THE king of burgers? Hard to say since the Burger industry has so many choices. And the king has decided to go social activists rather than focus on their product.

Starting with a misleading video on Net Neutrality, the chain now introduced an anti-bullying PSA.

Now what’s wrong with that? You might be asking. It could be nothing, but it gives the impression that they care more about social justice than their customers.

Take the new ad, they have teen actors pretend to bully another teen and send their customers “bullied” burgers, and record the reactions. Will the customers be more upset about the burgers or the bullied? If it were me, I’d be furious that they care more about catering to activists than to paying customers.

I don’t go to Burger King often, so losing my business would be imperceptible to their bottom line but that they value their customers, so little is troubling. Especially when the market has so many options and burgers, are not their only competition. Fast food and restaurants are a demonstration of the success possible in the free market.

If examined, there are probably already signs of distress within the company because this. Keep in mind this merely speculation on my part.

Besides the willingness to dismiss their customers, the causes they are advancing, and the marketing campaigns are baffling. So far, Net Neutrality and bullying are their causes. And both campaigns have issues; the Net Neutrality one is blatantly wrong in their analogy and the bullying one is inviting a lawsuit.

Either they don’t understand Net Neutrality, or they are on the wrong side. To do their concept accurately it would have to be, the customers getting more than the asked for. Net Neutrality using their burger analogy would be the customer orders a a burger and they are served the burger and a chicken sandwich, fries, a chocolate shake, a dessert and everything else off the menu. Or they never get the burger at all and only get everything else that you don’t want.

As for the other ad, I’m confused exactly what they were expecting the customers in their establishment to do. Verbally confront the “bullies?” But what if the patrons turned violent on the actors? That’s not even all that unlikely given how passionately people have gotten on the issue. Or worse what if one of the patrons were armed? Is the little impromptu theater worth the life of one of these actors? It’s not the patrons’ responsibility to make and keep a safe environment, it’s the business owners.

However you look at it, this idea by Burger King management is asking for trouble, starting with that it appears both ads are online only. The chain could have put these ads online and on TV, a plan that would make more sense. Maybe it’s just my skeptical nature, but when things don’t add up, it generally is because of the worst case scenario. In this case, I suspect they are trying to reach a specific demographic, the youth. Those passionate youth, that will cause “the next social revolution” and won’t question these causes. Can we just get the fries and hold the social justice, please?

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture and has an upcoming new release–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible.

By R.C. Seely

AS PERPLEXED AS I GET from Democrats who vehemently hate Trump or the Hollywood Republicans that continually dismiss his faltering there is a group that confuses me more than both combined. The Hollywood Republicans who hate Trump. Most of them seem confused on the Republican part.

The two most noteworthy are Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Both are confused about guns in the party platform. Stallone calling for an all-out ban that makes Michael Moore sound reasonable. He adopted this attitude shortly after the death of Phil Hartman. Arnold’s not much better but has a far less benevolent justification saying he’s a “peace loving kind of guy.” If that’s true, then start by leaving us gun owners alone.

This is not the only issue the “Terminator” is confused on, he’s also a hard-core environmentalist. And he’s eager to take on the oil companies with full force. He charges that the oil companies are intentionally and without regards “killing people all over the world” by providing manipulated data on environmental change, and he’s determined to take them to court currently meeting with private law firms.

From The Hill:

“Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is planning to sue oil companies, alleging they are ‘knowingly killing people all over the world.’

‘This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,’ Schwarzenegger, a global environmental activist, said.

‘The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.’

Schwarzenegger accused oil companies of being irresponsible and vowed to go after them.

‘It’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,’ he said.

‘Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.’

He said he hopes to spread awareness about the harmful effects of fossil fuels.

‘I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first-degree murder,’ he said during the interview.

‘I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.’ “

I don’t put stake on the opinions of celebrities when it comes to the issues anyways but this idea of “labeling all fossil fuel” consuming products and taking out companies is particularly absurd. That will cost them massive amounts of money in a pointless Kabuki theater for egotistical means.

Schwarzenegger may believe what he claims or he’s simply trying to get attention, I don’t really care his goals, I do care that if he succeeds this will cost the consumer at the gas pumps. I care that he’s not using his influence to privatize the energy market, giving the consumer better access to alternative fuels. Getting rid of the federal subsidies on energy would force them to listen to the consumer and start manufacturing products that are more environmental friendly. Because that’s what the consumer demands.

When Trump cut the funding for social services–Meals on Wheels and after school programs–Schwarzenegger stepped up and started his own charity program to aid them, I applaud him for that. But why not do that for other issues he feels passionately about?

Instead he would rather side with the environmental activists and Trump haters. Parroting the “Russians make him say certain things” and condemning his failure to call out racists after the Charlottesville shooting.

Trump and Schwarzenegger have been having a very public feud for quite a while now on Twitter. It’s covered both men’s shortcomings, and both have had bruised egos. It makes sense that Schwarzenegger is holding a grudge but get over it and start researching.

He derides Trump if he wants to bring back more coal mines that it would be detrimental to the since it’s “dirty energy.” Actually, it’s not, and majority of our energy is coal. Our energy sector is based on a system that utilizes fossil fuels, changing that takes time and money, a cost that taxpayers shouldn’t have to burden. Environmental activists are the ones concerned, they should be the ones to take the burden. The “warning signs” of environmental calamity have been going off for hundreds of years, there’s no excuse for letting it reach critical.

The Republican Party is supposed to be about limiting government, not limiting personal choices. While the party has a history of faltering on that, the stances these two Hollywood “Republicans” have taken are even worse. They don’t understand the consequences of what they propose. What they want will hurt people and leave them less safe. It hurts those that haven’t done anything wrong, takes away their choices and makes them further subservient to federal government.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture and has a new upcoming release–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible.

By R.C. Seely

ONE TERM THAT IS A favorite one amongst collectivists is “human rights.” It’s a term further advanced by the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” initiated by Eleanor Roosevelt, a former U.N. member. Problem is “human rights” don’t exist and those rights in question are either “natural rights” or free market products and services that they are trying to claim for their agenda of control.

That aside, there is the question of efficiency as well. The legislative actions of those in power have given valid cause of concern.

One such question is the concerns with health care. Should health care be conducted as a free market concern or government one.

I have had limited need for health care services at this stage in my life but have seen the differences when being there for family members. This is the observations I’ve made with health care: primary care is altogether superior to hospital care. It’s easy to see why too. You are treated as an individual, not a number. You have to set an appointment, you’re generally in faster and given more personal care.

Keep in mind this is not an indictment of the service providers but the nature of the business. The service providers I think do care and it’s not they who are not at fault. The business side of hospitals is inefficient and similar to the assembly line. Your done and on to the next one. It’s also not to say that hospitals are bad or unnecessary, emergency care is a needed social service–it could be provided in a better manner though.

Why is this relevant? Because big government pushes out the primary care competition. If they had their way all medical care would be done at the hospital. That would be a bad thing! Prices for services would go up exponentially and quality of care would be atrocious. Think the soup kitchen lines during the great depression.

The U.N. has even made it a goal to indoctrinate the children to misunderstand human rights by including educational materials, so they “understand” human rights and their importance. The most important thing we can do with human rights is avoid them.

We have something better, we have “natural rights.” The right to speak our minds, believe what we want, defend our selves in the manner we decide and private property rights and all not by an authority figure. Even the United States Constitution doesn’t grant its citizens it’s right but simply defines those rights.

Other concerns are dealt with by consumer discretion. Through boycotts, word of mouth and online ratings; the world is far more efficient and safe than any federal consumer protection agency or health and human services could employ.

Before we give the United Nations full governing power in our daily lives–the environment, gun rights, free speech, health care, foreign policy, etc.–the cost of adopting “human rights” over “natural rights” should be examined.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture with an upcoming new release–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible.

By R.C. Seely

WE HAVE TO DO IT, IT’S “for the kids.” We have to continue the War on Drugs, “for the kids.” We have to pass gun control, “for the kids.” We have to enforce EPA regulations, “for the kids.” We have to go to war, “for the kids.” We have stop internet porn, “for the kids.” We have to empower NAMBLA, “for the kids.”… Okay that last one could be a little far-fetched, but I think you see my point. We have to pass all these laws and give up all our rights, “for the kids.” This could be some of the most disturbing and gross manipulative emotional and psychological tactics utilized by activists. And clearly, it’s used by moralists on both sides, Republican and Democrats alike.

The worst I’ve seen is the rampant manipulation of the children prior to the Parkland shooting, especially of David Hogg. I don’t know if the shooting is his only intention or not, and it doesn’t really matter. Either way, Hogg is being used by the gun control activists. He’s still a minor and easily swayed by emotional arguments rather than logical–as we all are when we are younger.

This is not to say he doesn’t have arguments that should be ignored, he has an opinion and he’s entitled to it and to speak freely. It doesn’t mean action should be done because of it. He’s scared and believes stricter gun control is the right course, I doubt he’s read up on the information that discredits that. Before a few months ago, he probably didn’t read anything other than his textbooks. And his biggest concerns were his acne and the girl (or maybe boy) in the row in front of him.

Another activist, Emma Gonzalez, is a different matter, even before the shooting she was an activist for gay rights and started the Never Again movement in response to the shooting. Just what the world needs, another emotional activist, getting her ego fed. I’ll bet these two loved their kudos from Oprah. Yea! You’re a winner!

The mantra during this has been there’s an “epidemic of gun violence” in the US. An epidemic! The numbers reported killed by guns–even if you include the leading cause, which are suicides, according to the CDC study–are in the low thousands. The population of the US is 300 million–what epidemic? How can you possibly be so heartless as to belittle these children? They suffered such a tragedy and are scared? It’s not only gun control activists that are scared after a shooting, it’s gun owners and gun rights activists that are and rightly so.

For that short period after a tragedy, activists will use anything and anyone for their agenda. Children become emotional pawns in the game because they act before they think. It makes them perfect spokesmen for political action. Calls for gun control, for example, are at an all time high after a shooting but return to normal a couple of months later, that leaves a short window for gun grabbers. Having the children out campaigning for it makes it all the more difficult to say no.

The children activists are basically the political version of the temper tantrums at the grocery store for not getting their favorite cereal. It’s okay to tell them no.

While the focus of this writing has been on gun control, this despicable tactic has been effectively used to advance many other goals, many noted at the beginning paragraph. It’s effective in getting prohibitions passed because we have an innate primordial instinct to protect children, even they are not related to us in any way. That makes it an evolutionary Achilles heel, but if you want to protect the children, protect their rights not attempt to protect them from their rights.

The world isn’t perfect and complete security is an unobtainable utopian dream, things happen, some good some tragic, but making your children safe won’t be accomplished by giving into fear or emotional blackmail. That’s the best thing you can do “for the kids.”

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture and has new upcoming book–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible–soon to be released.

By R.C. Seely

WITH SO MUCH COMMUNICATION being online and not in person, misunderstanding have become common. This is especially true with online dating when people feel particularly vulnerable. It has gotten better with the advent of emojis–digital symbols that are representative analogues of the human face–but the problems haven’t gone away entirely.

Why is this? Well, mostly it has to do with those who didn’t grow up with the internet still adapting to it. Many of us older millennials–in our mid to late thirties–haven’t fully altered to the digital communication exchanges and treat them as a regular exchange. Even talking on the phone has a lesser chance for misunderstanding since a verbal tone is present.

Another factor is that we have increased interaction with others who are basically strangers, from all over the world. Using a platform with less cues to gather information about the intention of the other person, we are more on guard than in a physically present discussion. Body language comes into play to tell us what is on the others mind, so we can react.

So, what’s the solution? Trust everyone online? No, definitely not. There are plenty of sexual predators and con artists on the internet, so protecting yourself is important, just maybe learn to be better at online interaction.

Misunderstandings are generally on both sides so consider how you may have contributed to it. Were you to eager to make a judgement on the other person? Did you get too personal too soon in the discussion? If you wouldn’t share the information about yourself on a first date, you probably shouldn’t in your first online discourse either. Learn to read online cues and don’t get frustrated, it gets easier. As in real life, it could also be the timing.

Online dating sites have made measures to assist you in staying safe. After all, in the information age a bad review or rating has more clout than word of mouth. It teaches more consumers a lot faster, so keeping visitors safe is a top priority. Look through their suggestions. Most of all remember what you’re there for, if you joined a dating site, treat it like such. It’s not a social site like Facebook, it’s for meeting people. Don’t get upset at others when they want to meet up.

I’m not suggesting blind trust but what author Stephen M. R. Covey (son of Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) calls “Smart Trust,” the concept a certain amount of trust is appropriate. If you start out with distrust for others that’s what you will get in return. So, give them the benefit of the doubt until they give you a valid reason not to trust them. In regard to online interaction, where you can simply “block” or “unfriend” anyone, this should definitely be put in practice.

A meme that I found is a fitting description of what dating has become:

So many good women have dealt with the wrong man and so many good men have dealt with the wrong woman that by the time you to finally meet, you‘re both afraid of each other.”

 

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books of pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

THE MEDIA HAS REPORTED that “malls across the country are dying off.” The supposed culprit for their demise is the internet and its impact on the business models. I don’t think so. The internet simply demonstrated the vulnerability of big business, they over extended themselves.

At times of excess before the great recession of 2008, the biggest retail organizations in the United States just kept building while ignoring the looming change in business. The internet did what mail order did and gave the customer more options; in areas with few brick and mortar stores, this proved to be a saving grace; in areas with more stores losses were inevitable.

And with both additions to the market, the “big boys” complained about the competition, but ignored the fact they were responsible for the damage by not adapting when they should have. So, they had to perform massive scaling back measures closing many stores and cutting the jobs. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the internet has made it easier for the little guys to fill the niches. Online commerce has proven to be the leveler of the market that had been distorted by big corporations, all thanks to the minimal regulations and restrictions on the “information superhighway.” The internet is mostly tax-free on products, and fees for advertising and selling are minimal, making it ideal for growth.

The internet was sent up in the 1980s, and started showing the signs of the coming changes in the nineties. By the early 2000s if you didn’t have an email address for your business you were behind the curb, the big companies least affected by the web already designed a solid online infrastructure. Target, Walmart and Home Depot, didn’t lose as many stores as the other large corporations. They welcomed the new manner in doing business and fewer local economies were hurt.

The damage done wasn’t due to the internet but short-sightedness on the part of the large companies who foolishly believed the internet was simply a fad–a similar sentiment about mail order, I’m sure. It’s a fairly effective way to avoid culpability for your failures, and make the other guy look bad for doing so.

Many of us do business almost entirely online thanks to Amazon. All my books couldn’t be possible without the services of Createspace, one of Amazon’s subsidiaries. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything the company does, but they perform services along with selling discounted products that benefit the consumer and that can’t be denied.

Amazon has also given another point of consideration, while many are shutting down their brick and mortar stores, this retail giant recently opened its first one. Clearly, they don’t see this as the end of malls and they have been pretty accurate in their predictions so far.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

CRITICS OF CAPITALISM ARE eager to point out the hypocrisy of us capitalists statement of “Communism (or Socialism, or Progressivism, or any other isms) has killed X number of people.” They point out that many have died from capitalism. Since capitalism doesn’t make the promises of perfection that the other mentioned isms do, that’s a false comparison but it’s not the only problem. It also discounts the lives that have been improved or saved because of capitalism.

The instinct to assist perfect strangers in disasters in one such example. Charity is a free market concept, the isms are by force, hence not true charity.

Now take that and multiply it and you have the potential for good that a company is capable of. During the natural disasters–the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, for example–one of the first organizations to help out is also one of the largest, The Home Depot. Volunteerism is a large part of the core culture of the company and it’s not by government force but free market forces. At the end of the day, it’s charity and because of their name recognition that to they act. Two concepts of the free market.

It’s not only because of the need from natural disasters that innovations are born. One such innovation was mentioned in CanadianBusiness.com:

    “Canadians are pretty good at flying things into tough-to-reach places. We’ve produced iconic backcountry aircraft such as the Twin Otter, the Dash 8 and the Beaver, and if Jay Godsall’s plans play out, the Caracal, the Chui and the Nanuq will soon join that list. These three “buoyantly assisted aircraft” are designed to go where traditional transportation can’t (at least, not easily). And they do it using a small fraction of the fuel that a traditional jet would need.  

Developed by Godsall’s Toronto-based company, Solar Ship Inc., these aircraft gain lift from a wing that pairs buoyant helium gas with aerofoil geometry. Powered by fuel that can be offset with energy drawn from photovoltaic solar panels, the unique aircraft have been dubbed “hybrid hybrids.” They can take off and land in a few hundred metres and come packaged with all necessary storage, energy and communications infrastructure. “You could be dropped off with it anywhere, and you’d have everything you need to get out again,” Godsall explains. No airports, access roads or power lines needed.” 

    The ways that such an aircraft could save lives isn’t difficult to imagine.

    From Cambridge Massachusetts, a startup has developed a form of wearable technology with numerous health implications–the Biostamp. The practically invisible sticker stretches with the skin and is mostly used for monitoring body temperature and hydration of the wearer. But the future innovations planned are for digestible and surgically applied tech. One specific development is that of contact lenses for monitoring diabetics blood sugar levels.

    According to a Pew Research study the number of people lifted from poverty–living on $2.00 or less a day–between 2001-2011 was 700 million. Poverty is and has been a global killer. GMOs help since they can be grown anywhere but are there other options as well. Yes, there’s an app for that. SokoText, is tackling that problem.     

    The for-profit is handling the issues by buying below and selling low, buying at 30% below retail and selling at 20% below to vendors. “By aggregating individual purchasing orders, SokoTech can obtain produce on behalf of local fruit and vegetables vendors at wholesale prices,” reports Canadian Business.com. Just like so many other tech company this text-message-based firm generates it funding through mobile phone ads.

    These are all fairly recent companies, so the true scope of their impact is yet to be felt. But they are following in the footsteps of many others who have offered us more options, which make our lives better if not saving them entirely. From amber alerts that make children’s lives safer, to the innovation of lamp oil that cut back on whaling for whale oil. 

    Medical tech, communications, entertainment, food and everything else was brought to you by the “selfish” self-interest of its inventor. Whether for profit, notoriety, or charity the motive was some form of gain for the actor. That is the Quintessential Virtue of Greed.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.