What I’m Thinking About: All This Turmoil

Writers develop a unique understanding of words, emotions, and ideas.  Everyone learns a wide spattering of words and their meanings.  But writers usually find themselves when they go beyond those meanings, and find the meaningful connections between words.

Some words form greater connections with others.  Some words have limited connections they can make.  But usually it’s the writer’s choice of words that leads to the greatest impact.

From that, writers learn how to describe people’s thoughts, motives, places, actions, and all other forms of interaction to reach a very core system in all humans: emotion.  Writers learn that by finding words that connect to how one may feel about a given scenario will create a lasting impact, which is generally judged as good writing.  And that’s how a writer finds their way to entertain, inform, or otherwise capture attention.

Writers used to rule the day.  Scanning history while I write this, there are so many powerful titles out there, it’s truly hard to describe any one time where writers didn’t capture the biggest thoughts of their time, and were able to find audiences to inform, who went out and did inspired deeds.

Perhaps it’s because I’m living in this moment right now, but I don’t feel that we live in a very inspiring time.

I think we live in time where the idea of a writer scares the hell out of other people who carry influence in other aspects of life.  I think people have seen narrative as something they can control.

This is something that writers all grapple with.  Controlling the narrative.  One would logically think that a writer controls their story, because of course they wrote it.  They sent it to an editor who told them what they needed to correct, and they went back and exercised more control over that story.  Their narrative.

Their are two types of writers: those that think they control narrative, and those who know they don’t.  Writers don’t control the narratives of their story anymore than you control the weather where you live.  You can pick up your things and move, and then you find warmer or colder weather, but you’ll never be able to control it.

True, a writer gets to derive their story idea, but the narrative only goes together a certain way.  Even when writers plan their story, as they progress they usually find ways that the narrative changes.  It can be slight, or it can be huge.  Many writers detail the huge changes their story undertook as they wrote, when compared to their initial research and idea.

I write all of this to make this point: there are too many people in our world trying to control narrative.  They are trying their best to make narrative fit in the specific way they want it to.

Politicians, Technology and Data companies, media corporations, and many others are all trying to control narrative.  It may seem harmless, it’s only words after all.  But it’s truly dangerous to attempt to control narrative.  First, it’s disingenuous and it’s dishonest.  Second, it’s ignorant.  Third, it’s a spectacular exercise in failure, because that is the only way it ends.

Most writers know this all too well.  Those that don’t will soon.  In a book we can get away with controlling some elements, and frankly we can get away with controlling narrative in the technical sense of actually doing it.  However, the books where we do it expose the effort to readers, and that tends to lead to pointed criticism, which shuts down potential audience.  In the grand scheme of life, that’s a really small loss.

But when you apply this concept to bigger, worldly issues, it can lead to disaster.

Historically, we’ve seen this time and again.  The Ming Dynasty, Henry the VIII, Richard Nixon, the 1919 Chicago White Sox, and far more than I can recite here have all taken their shot at trying to control narrative in one way or another, and every single time it has led to death and destruction.

We are experiencing a lot of people trying to control narrative right here at home now.  From the national level, to the street in front of your house, there are more people trying to control the narrative – and in the past month I’ve watched countless people flat out deny the unfiltered truth, especially when it changes the very specific narrative they are imposing.

Life is far too nuanced for this approach to power to keep showing up, but here we go again.  People who are taking over positions that looked up to for the first time, and they are making fools of themselves.

Maybe they haven’t learned this lesson.  Maybe they don’t understand the power they have.  Maybe this is how they’ve conducted themselves all along.

But what writers know is that they are playing a dangerous game.  It will catch up to them.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t catch up to the rest of us too.

 

Why Men Should Study Psychology

We are sold things multiple times, every day.

Food, cars, houses, medical procedures, discount insurance, furniture, diet cleanses, vacations, video games (for some), sporting events, and list goes on.  Our entire world is about sales, even jobs that don’t have it in the description.

But the worst sales pitch you could possibly ever face is the one involving marriage.  Women routinely pitch themselves to men for marriage; we can pretend like it is the idea of men to get married, but it is not.  It is always at the suggestion of women, who will poke, prod, pressure, emotionally extort or otherwise blackmail men into believing it is their idea to get married.

Marriage, by its own definition, left to its own facts is a beautiful arrangement that needs no other interpretation.

What is unfortunate is that many women have manipulated marriage into something else.  This is why court systems in the US view marriage as a mere business arrangement – because the interpretation by women has made it so.

The argument is that lawyers have compiled marriage as this over time, but the fact is that the arguments made that have since re-interpreted marriage stemmed from angry women who refuse to face themselves, and the self-loathing they hold, coupled with the sense of incompleteness they feel about themselves.

It is amazing to think that feelings of inadequacy led to factual-interpretation of the holiest of institutions, but this is proof of how feelings can somehow remove logic from the room.

Be that as it may, (hopefully) long before marriage becomes a decision to make, the man will spend a long time evaluating the woman who is pushing him to get married to her.

The problem is that many men who go to college don’t spend their minor and elective classes on an extremely wise investment – psychology.

I will never suggest that men need to exclusively study psychology, because you don’t need to be a psychologist to make it through life.

However, it only makes sense that men invest some of their time studying and reading about what they have to look forward to when these ‘saleswomen’  start approaching them. And rest assured, these women approach you, no matter how much you think you made the first move.  Surely they won’t admit to it, but even if you made the “approach” and said some cute one-liner, she staged it for you to do it.

Psychology is not an answer to all your questions – the general study of it is not going to tell you anymore about women than you already don’t know.

However, learning basic principles, how they are studied and applied, and then focusing on behavioral psychology provides a huge leg up for men trying to make sense of the most important choice they’ll ever make.

You need to know this for your entire life; words mean nothing, behavior and actions mean everything.

There is no second chances in marriage.  You either get it right the first time, or you don’t and it’s over.  And you can guarantee this much: it will not end the way you want it to.

If you pay attention to people, you’ll find that people don’t do what they say they will, and much of the time the things they do fulfill some aspect of self-preservation, not because it’s something they ought to do necessarily.

Very few people in this world will ever hold themselves to a standard that anticipates that they need to take actions beyond those that ensure their comfort.  But, if you train yourself to examine people, you can find these people among you, and develop friendships with them, thereby surrounding yourself with people worth investing your most precious asset into; time.

When it comes to women, they present themselves at-will to a man that they believe is worthy of relations – which they end up interpreting as marriage.  A side note to this paradigm, most women aren’t interested in marriage, and they don’t know how to rectify that with the expectations they set for themselves.  While it may seem mean, this war of thought is the very definition of insanity.  It’s not to say women are insane, but this particular part of their patterning is, or least presents itself insanely to them, and thus how they pursue, or do not pursue the paradigm.

With all that said, men owe it to themselves to even the playing field.  You are being approached by people who are acting out of self-interest, are coping with psychological issues, are wrestling with their own competing thoughts and expectations, and all the while these people are hiding their deepest internal struggle:  that they need strong-willed people to act as a security blanket on their behalf, because they can’t figure out what they want out of life and are at their base, scared.

It’s not a man’s job to make everyone feel comfortable, especially at the sacrifice of their own pursuit.  As a man, you sacrifice yourself only for those things that are worthy of that sacrifice.  Marriage certainly is worth that sacrifice, but the person you marry must be worthy of marriage.  Unfortunately, you will find in your lifetime that a lot of women will present themselves for marriage, but will disappoint in virtually all aspects, because they themselves are either not truly interested in marriage, or not actually aware of what it means to be married.  They just view it as another thing on a check list, or they are trying to prove to themselves that they are worthy.  But the fact remains that these people reveal themselves over time.  Their actions and behaviors will never line up with the words coming out of their mouth.

Learning behavioral psychology is one of the biggest things any man can learn to give himself an advantage over the numerous people that come into, and out of his life.  Being able to evaluate people based on their own performance is a great skill to have.  Not every man who is good at this has taken to formal education.

There are some men out there who are naturally gifted at this skill, and the experience they have with others only gives them more and more practice.  The bluntest way of dealing with this problem yourself, is if you are a college-degree seeking type, to use your electives and your degree’s minor to focus on psychology.

Education in this field applies to so many different aspects of life that the study and use of psychological evaluation becomes invaluable to business leaders, politicians, public safety, and just about any other industry you can think of.  Eventually you will use this skill to not only cultivate a true partner, but you’ll end up using it in any number of social scenarios you find yourself in life.

If you’re not going after a college degree, and I applaud you for that, reading books on the topic are indeed useful.  There are even individual online courses that cover these topics that don’t necessarily back track into a university program, meaning you don’t have to go through a bunch of nonsense to sign up and attend.

Men are living in an age that doesn’t value men.  And the best way to deal with this problem is for men to develop skills that provide them the best way to evaluate people, so that they can quickly decide next steps.

Your biggest challenge in life will revolve around interaction; and how successful you are at that will determine how successful you will be in all other aspects of life.

Why Does Small Town America Matter?

The flyover States. The Midwest, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains. We have these large portions of land, water, grain, cattle, manufacturing plants, real home cooking, original buildings that display their character, and a truly visual representation of community.

The drawback for much of these communities is that they have smaller populations, limited resources, and an inability to capture large financial commitments they need to expound on their qualities, and make their respective destinations a draw for outsiders.

And then of course, that limitation goes to an on-going problem that America faces: competition for tourism dollars.

Many small towns across America have jumped onto the concepts taught at the former National Main Street Center were encapsulated by the ability to re-vitalize their downtown cores to eventually attract tourism dollars; the best money any municipality in this country can hope for.

Tourism dollars bring larger tax percentages (think those 20 percent or higher hotel taxes), and spend-happy customers at various retail shops that otherwise wouldn’t see the types of draws that would support their rent and utility payments.

Tourism is great, and getting something in place that is sustainable is certainly a goal worthy to have; but understanding that not every town can expect a major tourism draw is not merely a belief, but a principle that any small town looking to reclaim its luster should abide by.

The real truth is that it takes years of building (and a lot of rebuilding!) in all other directions before those first tourists will ever show up.  Merely propping up a few businesses in your downtown core, slapping an arts festival together and marketing it as the weekend destination is not going to work.

At the same time, people like Richard Florida, author of Cities and the Creative Class, have suggested that creative people, those who add vibrancy and theme to your small towns eventually leave for larger cities; simply because their purpose is better supported.

It’s a reasonable argument, in that we all recognize that larger cities tend to have more robust options and resources to not only support, but even more so, cultivate, the talents of many.  Industry, technology, space, and certainly an audience are all key factors to a creative reaching and achieving their potential; and making their own path.

Small towns by and large have not offered this in some time, and there are exceptions, by this is the going theme among many.

Some towns embrace the change, and want to support.  Others do not.  And still some fight it tooth and nail, not wanting anything “ruining….” Well, who knows what!

But right now, in 2019, small towns do have the ability to add some balance to the value they provide compared to their bigger, devouring brothers.

Much has been said about the internet and it’s democratization of information.  But the true power in internet services is the true exploration of fast telecommunications in the far-flung corners of agri-land.

But even more so than that, proliferating them in such a way that budding entrepreneurs, who are young, bright, and are inevitably part of the community’s growth, will be able to land the tools in small towns, that allow them to branch out the larger world.

One example of what I’m talking about is Ernest Greene Jr, also known as the musical artist Washed Out.  Greene was born in small town Georgia, and after leaving home for an education at a major D-1 school, followed by graduate school, he moved back in with his parents after not being able to find work in his profession. 

That could be the end to a very sad story about wasted youth, but instead, while Greene was searching for work, he start to create synth-pop and chillwave music that he eventually posted on the internet to a profile he named Washed Out.  He has said numerous times that the music was born out of a deep desire to remain happy in the state of life he was in; a lack of a job market during the 2009 recession that kept him unemployed, and living at home.

On the other end of the music, was an audience that discovered him and brought him to his first show, a sold-out showcase.  This led to a music career that is now roughly ten years old, with songs of his reaching the charts, as well as being encompassed into television royalties (he wrote the song used by Portlandia as their theme).

Greene didn’t need to be in New York City to capture his audience, and in fact has stayed in small towns in Georgia for their inspiration on the music he makes.

Greene proves Mr. Florida wrong, and he also proves that small towns have appeal that is routinely untapped.

It’s not necessary for people who want to preserve their small towns, or want to turn them into tourist hot spots to curate the entire town.  In fact, it’s quite possible that doing so will hurt the town’s potential.  But those that want to make their small towns achieve some growth, and have something to offer future generations need to consider supportive infrastructure foremost; buildings, utilities, and use of space.

These three elements are the foundation.  Everything else after is window dressing – and it’s advisable to leave that portion to the creatives you’re wanting to keep around.

I’ll write about this topic more at a later date.  Until then, consider your town, what the intention is, and whether or not that truly lines up with what your community wants to convey.  If there is a disagreement, those things need to be settled before any plan of direction is written or carried out.

It is one of the cruelest jokes we play on ourselves in the United States.

The flyover States. The Midwest, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains. We have these large portions of land, water, grain, cattle, manufacturing plants, real home cooking, original buildings,

Opinion: Men Should Dress Themselves!

I am not sure when this became a trend, but I have noticed that men, or at least those that appear to be men, are allowing women to dress them.

It is as if men, in general mind you, no longer know how to do anything, most of all prepare thyself for the day laid ahead.

I am baffled at this display of ‘Ineffectualism’ I’ll name it, that men nowadays believe that a woman knows more about men themselves, then the man could ever.

There are three things that have caused the bulk of this, a lack of fathers and fatherhood, the persistent dampening of journey and adventure, which is the nature of men, and the rise of feminist viewpoints that specifically target the evisceration of men.

I’m sure many “feminists” will take issue with summary, but fear not, because I’m not the only one that sees you are not going through a transformation, so much as a brainwashing.  While some thoughts from your movement are useful, many others are not, and whether you understand it or not, they are designed to ruin relations between the sexes, as much, or even more, than the alleged masculine-centric views you oppose.

Be that as it may, a man is nothing if he is not the master of himself, and that does include how he dresses.

As men, whether we are aware of it or not, how you dress says something about you to those you interact with.  You can yell all day long that it’s a social construct that has little meaning now – but the only people I see getting away with not dressing properly are people who already have their fortune, and now people are forced to respect them, come as they are.

Meanwhile, you’re getting mesmerized by their apparent control of the situations they are in, but you’re focusing on the wrong elements of that control.  Many of you seem to think that dressing casual is the only way in life, and that no one cares.  But people do, even those that say they don’t.

If you can’t respect yourself enough to dress appropriately for your own business, how can you ever expect to for others to respect the business that you do?

This is a topic that men need to take serious, if for nothing else reclaiming their own sense of dignity.  How you can look yourself in the mirror while making your significant other into your “mommy” is beyond me.  And if ever there was a setup to that significant other cheating on you, there it is.

I’m not going to insult you all by saying there is one strict formula to follow.  As men, we cover all walks of life, from welders, to writers (dare I say it), to overall breadwinners.  All men should have at least a blue, a black, and a gray suit.  That’s a basic rule.

But even more than that, every man should have an idea of what patterns, what colors, and what styles of shirts, pants, and everything else, accentuate who they are, and what they have to offer the world.

And that is the paradigm every man should operate from, that we have something to offer the world.  Because if she’s no longer interested in that, and is trying to control everything in the house, to include our appearance, she can pack her things, and leave.  Or you can, that choice lies within you.

Take back your dignity, dress yourself.  Do some research on the topic, learn classic attire, and branch out from there.  Stay away from: GQ, Esquire, and jeans with glitter and patterns on them.  Also, despite what The Rolling Stones will have us all believe, holes in clothes are stupid, seriously.

Enjoy your manhood, and quit letting people without a clue tell you how to be.  It’s not their job, and it’s not your role to grant them audience.  They are indeed your enemy.

How ‘Real’ is Story: What Treme Taught Writers

Writers are the greatest of story tellers, if only for the fact that the tools they have at their disposal give them the ability to tell the greatest version of any story.

Especially when writing for a book, writers get use interplay between plot and story, the two main elements that advance a novel, and make it relevant to an audience.

David Simon, the man behind the books Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner, along with television series’ The Wire, Generation Kill, and adaptation of The Corner, Simon has taken a long time to develop a craft revolving around the story, and is a master of explaining how elements of story affect, and influence the future plot.

It’s now several years later after his last television series, Treme.  And while the series did not hold the attention of a viewing audience very well, there is a lot of hope, and a lot of lessons learned from the series for writers.  This is why I write about it today; it offers a glimmer of hope to writers who want to be at their best.

Treme is a different kind of television series.  Writers of all kinds who have seen it generally come away with a strong appreciation for the show.  The reason for this can be summed up as follows:  it’s not about characters going from one premise to an ultimate truth.  It’s about characters existing in their world, after it’s been flipped upside down.  It’s about the human condition, almost exclusively.

The show takes place in New Orleans, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  It follows over a dozen characters who come from varying walks of life, and represent different parts of the cultural backbone of New Orleans; music, cuisine, venues, and dance.  From traditional jazz musicians, to New Orleans Indians, to gourmet chefs, and everyone in between, the focus is on the people from the large art scene in New Orleans, as they rebuild their lives in a city set for major changes that ultimately interrupt their usual routines.

In a typical series, one would expect to see growing animosity between the protagonists and antagonists.  One would expect to find a clear bad guy, and a clear good guy.

But what this series showed was that in real life, we have profound effects on one another, without being an antagonist at all.  It should be noted that Simon did go out of his way to make banks, real estate investors, and law enforcement appear as incapable saboteurs, who’s only existence is designed to ruin the world.  Removing this portion from the show, and we would have witnessed the purest form of real-life story ever told in any medium.

With that said, the characters go through challenges, as could be expected.  They all have arcs in fact.  But, whereas most shows would have a grand ending for the varying characters, Treme leaves the characters more or less where they were before, perhaps with more refined direction, some even with what would be considered large life changes, but all in all, they are not “forever changed” as is common practice in works of fiction.  This is where Simon’s version of storytelling really went for something bold.  Taking art and placing it ever so close to life, and then making us watch those lives unfold.

My educated guess is that ten or twenty years from now, we’ll discover that Treme was far enough ahead of it’s time that there will be a renaissance in its honor, leading to a half a dozen shows trying to capture this uber-real feel.

For writers, it’s a vision of hope to tell stories about “real” people going through “real” dilemmas, which may be out of reach for their audience (making them interesting!), but because traditional media leaves us expanding into fantasy, even in “real” settings, we as writers get pushed further and further from being able to tell story in reality.  That is the unfortunate condition we live in, a constant pursuit of fantasy, at every turn.

While general viewing audiences may not be ready to experience this type of storytelling, what likely turned them off completely is an unfortunate sub-narrative that Simon likes to place within his work, and if you’ve heard him speak, you know where it comes from: his latent socialism.

This is why Simon is not a pure storyteller.  He instead will try hard to push a political agenda into his stories, even at risk of killing his project.  This is why The Wire died after five seasons, and why The Corner only got picked up for a brief six episode miniseries, rather than a larger multi-season telling.  Try as Simon might, people generally don’t enjoy his political views as told through character’s story and experiences.  Maybe he should option his work in Russia.

This is also why people involved in storytelling should avoid taking political views to one extreme or another.  You ultimately alienate one half of your potential audience, and then don’t challenge the other half of the audience, leaving both tuning out your screams for whatever.

Simon would have you believe that New Orleans was a political story in post-Katrina life, but as we place distance between that event and the present, we find more and more that politics had less to do with the fall out of New Orleans, and more so to do with individuals and their views of New Orleans being a ‘post-apocalyptic world.’

For writers, the idea of telling a story that focuses on typical people trying to keep their lives together is romantic, if for nothing else, it allows writers to stop trying to re-invent the ‘kill or be killed’ concept of most storytelling.

It’s also a lesson about establishing and maintaining an audience – stay out of politics.  Especially as writers of fiction, it’s not our place to tell people what to think about a given issue.  If they are consuming fiction, they most likely are not looking for that.  And even if they are, they probably need some story elements of fantasy involved, because a story about real people with real problems, over a backdrop of political ideology will undoubtedly wear out the audience.

Treme made that all too clear, despite its major triumphs.

Friday Night Opinion Returns: Vince McMahon and the XFL, also Returns!

Yesterday we were entertained by a 25 minute, 39 second long remote-conference where Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE Studios, and host of other multimedia endeavors, announced that he’s bringing back the XFL, a league that lasted one season in 2001, and was forced out of operation by a media-led backlash by then 50-50 partner, NBC.

Originally, McMahon pitched the XFL to NBC, with a grittier, rougher style of play, more aligned with what fans of the 70’s and 80’s eras were familiar with, along with cheerleaders that were even less clothed than their NFL counterparts, and McMahon provided WWE (WWF at the time) personalities a chance to inter-mingle in roles as commentators, play-by-play, and other personality-oriented roles.

To hear it from NBC, the reason they pulled out of the deal, which was originally structured for two years, was that the league was too closely related to wrestling, which supplies an audience to football, but is not the core audience of football.  They are correct about that analysis, and there was certainly negative discussion around the gimmicky nature of promos, sideline segments, color commentary, and the overall ‘show’ elements of the league.

The first series of games netted a huge margin over and above original ratings projections, but as the league wore on, supposedly the emerging fan base grew tired of the gimmicks, and stopped watching.

While certainly this was an element of the problems the XFL had, one has to wonder why NBC, a 50-50 partner after all, didn’t exercise more control over that part of the product.  After all, this is NBC, a true leader in broadcasting and entertainment.  They know this business, and certainly employ people that know how to fix a failing product.

There could be some behind-the-scenes reasons we’ll never know, but what we do know is that at the time, NBC had taken a beating in negotiations for NFL contracts.  Both the AFC, and NFC schedules of the NFL were up for renegotiation, and the NFL was really looking for new homes.  With the addition of Fox as a candidate, who had just opened up a true Sports Division a few years prior, they were now part of a bigger group of media companies looking to land NFL viewership – think very elevated ad revenue, compared any other weekend programming.

Fox landed the NFC games, ABC landed the AFC games, and in the end, anything that was left, didn’t go to NBC, who prior to this had been home to the NFL for a very long time.  They were, shall I say it, PISSED!

The NBC at that point had crammed dollar after dollar into new technology, meant to derive data that their on-air personalities could then use in-game, to explain nuanced detail, after nuanced detail, to an ever-knowledge-saturated audience, who was becoming enamored with this thing called ‘fantasy football’ (more on that later).

Now, all of that was for nothing, and NBC felt cheated.  So, they wanted to make a point to the NFL, and any other major sports league that they may cross paths with, and thus, McMahon’s league, which he had been pitching since the late 90’s, finally had a partner – and a very big one at that.

The NBC thought that by placing games on their network, in front of nationally-syndicated audiences, that the coverage would bring out every NFL outsider who had something to prove, and players who were possibly forced to retire earlier than they wanted, another crack to prove they are who we knew they were (RIP Dennis Green!).

McMahon knew nothing about football talent, and I would imagine he knows more now, but not enough to gauge players at every position, let alone sifting through players where differences are slight, and finding edges that can be expounded upon are infrequent, and fleeting.  So he accepted NBC’s attempt at luring these ‘cast-offs’ from the NFL.

To a degree, it worked.  For example, Tommy Maddox, who is likely the reason college football players generally must stay for three years in their respective program, got to rejuvenate his NFL career by pleading the Los Angeles Xtreme to the league’s only championship, winning league MVP honors as well.  Maddox, prior to this had staged a comeback in the Arena League, which looked promising, but his dominance of the XFL propelled the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign him as a back-up to Kordell Stewart.  Maddox would ultimately become the starting QB, in 2002 for the Steelers….this was ten years after his last start in the NFL, and seven years after his last time in an NFL uniform.

Suffice to say that for Maddox, the plan worked.  And there were a few never heard of players that re-introduced themselves to NFL scouts, that eventually caught on.  Rod Smart, famous for his “He Hate Me” jersey, went on to become a kick return specialist similar to Clarence Verdin, Brian Mitchell, and others who were swift through special teams formations.  Smart, who couldn’t be taken seriously in the NFL prior to the XFL, put on a complete show under McMahon, that the NFL scouting acumen couldn’t deny.

But, for the most part, the XFL was only able to recruit players that likely didn’t match up to what makes the NFL great – players that have timing, counter-intuition, and the drive to finish a play better than how it started.

And truly, that product was the demise of the XFL, not gimmicks, not cheerleaders, not over-the-top personalities.  It was that the product could not live up to the hype.  The play-by-play was forced, over-indulgent when compared to “what just happened,” and left people wondering if McMahon hadn’t just invented scripted football.

He didn’t.  He just trusted the wrong people.  Because while NBC laid out their game plan to him, their intentions were never to ensure XFL success.  Their goal was to reunite with their long-lost girlfriend, the NFL.  For NBC, the certainty of what the NFL brought to their ratings, and their ad revenue was clear – and NBC, while they could hold the XFL up for years, invest in, and take serious losses on for awhile, to wait for it to grow legs and run on it’s own, knew that it would just be easier to sign with the ‘big boys.’  NBC’s intent was to spook the NFL, and it worked.

After NBC wrote, developed, and pushed the Arena Football League as a major viewing contract from 2003 to 2006, the NFL had enough, and realized that NBC had proven they could truly market the NFL all along, and all was forgiven, forgotten, and NBC got their girlfriend back.

That left McMahon, who we all know doesn’t have the same resources as NBC, or the NFL, fuming mad.  He publicly admitted that the league was a failure, and people seemed to coalesce that the views expressed by NBC over the league, were the same views McMahon held.  And so, McMahon went back to work even harder on his bread and butter, WWF, which he changed the name to WWE the year after the XFL went under, and everyone went back to the NFL, thinking that this story was spoken for.

Well, they’re wrong.  Everything I just told you about the league, is not what many of the so-called sports writing ‘experts’ say.  They drag out the old, tired narrative about the gimmicky XFL.

And consequently, when McMahon held his professional, candid press conference, the peanut galleries of ESPN, FSN, CBS, and yes, NBC, went to work “analyzing” the return of the XFL, as if they aren’t biased.

Frankly, you can choose not to read what I write, but if you use the logic that I don’t know what I’m talking about, then you are in denial if you think that listening to the talking heads on this story is the right move also.  Each one of the above mentioned networks has a horse in the race that is the success of the NFL.  They all hold broadcasting rights to games, elements of games, not to mention numerous programs that lead up to, and review, NFL games.  If the NFL faces competition, their programming has to change with it.  And none of them are comfortable with this, because their most valuable possession is their time.  They have a 24 hour day to broadcast what they feel is the most important news, sports, and entertainment on the day, and right now all of them are doubling down on the NFL, not because of the XFL, but because the NFL ratings are dropping.  They are actively dropping, not just twindling here and there.  People are tired of the politics being expressed, the outright unfairness of referring in the game, the clear indifference the NFL exercises in it’s own concussion protocol, and the general malaise of a sports league that seems hell-bent on doing and speaking to everything that is not football, while still trying to play the game.

McMahon see’s the opportunity.  And I’ll tell you something else…..Wall Street see’s the opportunity.  Every person who flips houses see’s the opportunity.  And not a single one of the networks I mentioned wants to actually address the issue.  Because if they do, they fall out of favor with the NFL, who is grappling with a public relations disaster from one week to the next.  The league, which has been a bastion of military veteran viewership for years, so much so, the NFL routinely broadcasts the playoffs and Super Bowl directly to soldiers in combat zones, and then broadcasts those soldiers’ reactions to those games for their audiences back in North America, and beyond.

Now, personnel from every branch is being alienated.  Perhaps not by NFL players who are kneeling, but by everyone who speaks about the disrespect in the action.  And to be clear, NFL players should protest peacefully, if that’s what they feel gets their message out.  But universally, all should know that the message you send, is not necessarily the message received.  So if the message you are sending is not getting the message you want out there, maybe you should find a different way to get the message you want out there.

But I digress.  If alienation of military personnel was not enough, law enforcement personnel have been taken to task by several out-spoken, and well-respected NFL players.  And still, some NFL players are having run-ins with law enforcement, where they are in fact, the cause of problems experience by anyone in those situations, not the officers they seem intent on vilifying.

If this was a cancer-research non-profit, and the public information officer was a chain-smoker, would that person still have a job?  Would they have a job to begin with?

We know the answer. We KNOW the answer, and yet, the NFL gives a pass to these few players who give a bad name to the rest.

While not all NFL fans feel this way, it is clear that there are enough that are fed up.  Maybe not with the ideas being expressed, and maybe not with individual players themselves.  But people are tired of watching illogical behavior abound.  And the NFL is forgetting a key to all of this:  their product is meant to entertain.

It’s literally been an escape for the entire country for nearly 70 years (based on when the NFL become highly followed, not when it originated).  The reason so many people watched was that it was literally a whole day where the problems of society, perceived or otherwise, went away.  But the NFL is so full of itself now, that it believes that by ingesting what they think fans ‘feel’ into their programming, that it will net an even tighter relationship with said fan, which leads to advertising revenue – there’s that two word phrase again, which is ruling this issue.

That’s not how entertainment works, and if the NFL front office of the 80’s could see what the NFL front office of the ought-10’s is doing now, with huge technology, medical, and scientific advantages that no previous front office had at their disposal, it’s very likely that the ‘old school’ front office would open up all the top-floor windows and doors to patios at 345 Park Avenue, and begin throwing every staff member off the ledges.  They’d have to, to save the league.

Meanwhile, McMahon, who was vilified when it wasn’t necessary, made into a joke over doing something that no single person would ever be willing to do, and had put his money where his mouth is, has done it again.

And this time, he has a 17-year history lesson to go along with his business acumen.

The network personalities, who I know are reading from cue cards, are saying things like “the XFL won’t succeed because he’s taking out the cheerleaders,” the XFL won’t succeed because it’s being political,” and on their narrative goes.  I find it funny really.  These networks, much like the NFL, are too big to get out of their own way.  Only in such a backward-thinking organization could things like standing for the national anthem be considered “political.”

But I’ll tell you this, they all truly have it wrong.  They somehow think that by carrying on the way Americans have seen football for the years 1949 to 2015, that will come out as false for fans, and thus, it’s a bad business model.

I’m glad none of these talking heads own businesses that employ people, because they’d be the first business to fail, handing you a pink slip, and putting you in an unemployment line.

The best businesses, are the ones that are above the fray.  That stay out of the discussions that do not involve their business in any way, shape, or form.

Google had to fire James Damore for what was perceived as a ‘sexist’ memo he wrote about the troubles with gender-focus equality training.  Side note, I read the memo, and with as many scholarly and scientific resources as he cited, he was not only correct in his theory, but not sexist at all.  However, so goes the beating drum of nonsense, and Google, as a business made a decision to get out of the fray, and fire him.  Now he’s suing, and while much of the media reports on it as he was in the wrong, he’s not, as Google openly encourages such essays on their employee servers, and, he used the proper formatting and resources to develop his findings.  He’ll win his lawsuit hands down.

Google made an ill-advised employment decision, but not a bad business decision.  The NFL is making bad employment and business decisions.  But to try and normalize their decisions, they use these networks to get you to buy in that the McMahon’s of the world are ‘crazy,’ and ‘political,’ and try to drum into your head that it will be wrong to honor any football outside of the NFL, with your presence.

They’re wrong.  They don’t understand business, and they don’t understand analysis work.  Political?  And here I thought ESPN stood for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

No, every single one of these talking heads has it thoroughly wrong, even the social media spin-off guys like Cam Rogers, who did a terrible piece on the XFL being the perfect place for Brett Favre to revive his career.  Sure, he did it in jest, but his point was that the XFL was a joke, much like his coverage.  In truth, Rogers knows about as much about business as your kindergarten-aged cousin.  One has a valid excuse for not knowing, the other is a clown with a teleprompter.

By not having cheerleaders, McMahon ensures a steady female audience, that is engaged in the game, and not worried about their surroundings, game-wise that is.  By having everyone stand for the anthem, McMahon brings back public safety and military members to a game they truly love.  And yes, there are active boycotts of the NFL by people in these groups, so laugh if you want, but discontent has grown.

By ensuring player safety, and this will be his truest test, he snags families who have kids that are enamored with the game, but their parents are worried about their futures.

Will McMahon take over ratings lead from the NFL?  No, at least not for the first few seasons.

But he will give them a significant scare.  One that is much worse than what happened before.  Because he fully controls the league.

And since 2001, there are a number of markets that have opened up, thanks to the NFL, and there are more available.  Over 20 to be exact, and I won’t write them all here, but I’m sure you know them, if you review a map.

But even more important than that, currently the NFL, when you remove all current roster players, has enough registered free agents to fill 21 teams, according to their roster requirements.  This again is outside of 30 NFL team rosters, and their respective practice squad players.

If you thought the resurgence of Tommy Maddox, and the coming of age of Rod Smart were the biggest stories McMahon was capable of in football, just you wait and see.

And all of these genius “analysts” at the networks, or at their viral video huts, are going to have egg on their face.  I’m going to laugh.  But you’ll be watching the games.

Football games, that are about a novelty: football.

Mass Transit in Seattle: The Greatest Example in Modern Times of Government Corruption

Many transit systems in the US are born out of the same weird “conglomerate” government approach.

Without getting into the same legal drivel they would like to hide behind, the basic idea is as follows:  municipal governments in a concentrated area reach a conclusion that mass transit is something they need to pursue together.  In order do that, they need plans, operations, and administration that is centralized.  But, local governments, when merely sharing a land border, have many different laws and governance between each other, how do they streamline efforts so they are not affected by a litany of differences?  In comes the idea of quasi-government:  Local governments sign agreements to financially support a centralized body that is not governed by them directly, and is not elected by citizens.  Instead, they appoint people to the board of this organization, and their job is to formulate the organization.

Now, the idea of centralizing such an effort makes sense.  It’s most efficient, makes the mission specific, and of course, unburdens their government  bodies from more layers of bureaucracy.

There is a couple of serious problems with this:  the main point is that this is an organization that acts like a government, by proposing and lobbying for taxes, and because they are the chosen experts in their field, it’s hard for the governments they lobby for tax funding to argue with their logic.  But even beyond this simple conundrum, there’s the issue of taxpayers not being able to scrutinize those that are controlling their tax dollars, their infrastructure, and their potentially their lifestyle.

This is wrong.  Our Constitution says it’s wrong (Taxation without Representation), all State’s have laws, or their own constitutions that outlaw the practice, and yet this idea of public mass transit becoming a sort-of/kind-of government agency, with no real oversight is being born around the country, because it fixes jurisdictional issues, centralizes services, and makes the project actually ‘work,’ when evaluating results.

Washington, DC, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland have done this with Metro.  The entire Dallas Metroplex has done it with DART.  San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, San Jose, and every other city in the Bay Area did it with BART.

These highly regional models work in areas where they answer highly regional problems.  Congestion, a lack of land to re-work to efficiency, and layers of planning, that complicate land use.

But where sea and air ports are controlled by State agencies, somehow no one thought that public transit on a mass scale should also be a State issue.

Some would say that the highly concentrated areas of population represent a certain set of problems the rest of the State doesn’t have, and that they shouldn’t be laying the same burden down.  Logically it makes sense.  If the ranch land doesn’t need a train, why should pay for one?

However, what is happening with Sound Transit hits on a whole new level.  They are arguing for State taxes, and city taxes, and county taxes, and on it goes.  They can’t get what they want in this jurisdiction, so they find it somewhere else.  Cost overruns, meh the tax payers will bank roll it.  If that’s not enough, they absolutely do not take no for an answer.

Recently, it came to light that Sound Transit willingly misled the Washington State Senate, on a tax bill that authorized $15 billion to be earmarked for Sound Transit.  What they didn’t discuss in the bill, and what was not clear, was that Sound Transit had not put an expiration date on the tax bill.  So, when time came to close down the funding, they argued there was no expiration, and ended up collecting $54 billion.

This would literally be criminal, for any other entity to deceive government in this manner, and yet, no charges have been filed.  Why is the State government being taken to task by a regional government?  This would literally not happen in any other relationship, and yet, when we look at history, public transportation organizations, like Sound Transit, use language as a weapon when going after tax funding.  They are their own maker, and thus, have a duty to protect themselves.  If they appropriately positioned in State government, we know this wouldn’t happen, because they would have a chain of command to explain themselves, or their funding could be halted immediately.

The fact is that quasi-government doesn’t work, and that’s why our forefathers outlawed it.  They faced similar groups in their day, but they were known as something else, “tax collectors.”

That’s not to say that tax collection is wrong, because it’s not.  However, the tax collectors they dealt with were people empowered to extort money out of common people, keeping a percentage for themselves, and passing the rest on to the King.

This is the problem with quasi-government.  No matter how it’s structured, no matter how it’s “monitored,” it will always find a way around, for it’s own version of survival.

Mass transit is a needed function in our society – it should be housed directly in State government.

Friday Night Opinion: Gun Control is Not as Easy as You’re Being Told

The absolute terrible events that occurred in Las Vegas have perpetuated a very touchy, and stale, argument that carries on in the halls of Congress.  They also carry on in the halls of State and local governments, particularly government regulatory agencies .

Last year, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, of King County Public Health made an impassioned argument that local government should add their own gun controls since Congress has been less enforcement-oriented then the numbers he deals with in the Greater Seattle area suggest; he claimed that the numbers of gun deaths surpass those deaths attributed to traffic collisions in King County, and then argued that nationally and locally lots was done to curb traffic deaths, which is still the in the top five of causes of death nationally, still surpassing gun-related deaths on that scale.

From a local perspective, it would make sense that this argument would come forth; in that we look at the biggest causes of death locally, and act to limit, or hopefully eliminate those causes.

Here is the major problem to this ‘local’ argument: Dr. Duchin highlight, but failed to go into detail, that those gun deaths he was talking about, included suicide, which attributed two-thirds of that total.  If you remove suicide from this gun death total, the number of gun deaths in King County are far below those caused by traffic collisions.  Here is why that matters:  No one in King County, as of today, has killed themselves in a traffic collision as a means to commit suicide.

Yes, suicide is terrible.  We know that suicide is in someway related to crisis, acute, or even long-term mental illness suffered by the person committing it.  Mental illness remains to be a serious problem in our society, from local to national levels, that needs to be addressed.

However, enacting public health ordinances, regulation, or similar structures ‘to combat gun deaths’ is a rather sophomoric response to the all too serious state of mental illness in our country, and speaks to agenda, rather than real solution building.

Believe it or not, the NRA has requested democrats to get serious about mental health checks being tied to background checks for firearms purchases.  The problem is that democrats routinely won’t agree, because the proposed legislation would also loosen restrictions on what sane people can buy.  The NRA is not asking for citizens to have the right to buy automatic firearms, or more serious military-grade weaponry.  Instead, the NRA has been since this issue of mental illness and firearms first came up nationally in the mid-90’s, that those that pass the instant background checks provided by the FBI needs to be given greater latitude to access rights through ATF regulated firearms rights, and to remove antiquated bans from legislative efforts permanently, especially those involving media-induced fabrications about certain firearms and accessories.

Gun control measures are not as easy as you’re told they will be, because those that are proposed are rarely based on logic and thought of the problem.  Democrats would rather placate the mentally ill, and allow them to interact in life unchecked by professionals, than actually tackle neurosis that threaten neighbors, families, and innocent bystanders.  Mental illness treatment however, even in it’s smallest form, can have a much greater impact than any gun control effort ever could.  And yet, efforts to address mental illness are continually thumbed down, not just by Congress, but local leaders who continue to claim they don’t have enough resources to enact them.

Democrats, including Dr. Duchin, don’t want to give up the “tool” of gun control tactics for their efforts.  They would rather work citizens into a hot lather about how this one accessory, or this one gun is the problem, and that banning it can save the day.  One need look no further than Chicago to see that bans don’t work.

And whether we like it or not, people like Dontray Mills, who admitted to perpetrating gang violence through illegal gun purchases, who get a reduced plea agreement that leads to no jail time, make it clear that those who actually perpetrate gun violence visited upon others are not getting the justice they so rightly deserve.  Instead, we have democrats who make a mockery of mental illness, cloaked in their government and medical credentials as some sort of expert, but then use the pain of those who don’t receive resources they actually need as a reason to stop everyone else from owning a firearm.  We don’t call it political grandstanding because in our eyes, they’re an appointed “expert,” but they are simply a politician who isn’t subject to election.  A local-level cabinet members expanding an agenda through a filtering of statistics and data.  It’s not a service to the citizens, it’s a weak attempt at shaping discussion and outcomes.  You should be outraged at the level of patronizing that goes on from offices such as those occupied by Dr. Duchin.

To sum it up: it’s a disgusting, dystopian take on life and pursuit of liberty.  It’s unfortunate that this particular issue does split along party lines, because I’ve yet to run into anyone who denies the need for mental health treatment to be expanded when needs are identified, but no one with temporary power will accept that, and in turn accept that law abiding citizens can own firearms without incident.

And if we look a smaller community, like Grays Harbor County, also in Washington State, we see that causes of death attributed to gun violence in Table C1 and C2 are well below the top ten threshold.  It stands to reason how a county with a more isolated  population with less resources is able to report these numbers, and King County sees an increase.  Guns aren’t the problem.  The high-stress that comes with trying to sustain a life in Seattle and King County are to blame.  More people in King County find the need to escape their reality through drug and alcohol abuse, sex addictions, and number of other behaviors that increase mortality risk.  To be fair, these are behaviors we see everywhere in the country, it’s not exclusive to King County.  However, they are increasing in King County, and the reason is that the government in place is making it tougher and tougher for ‘regular joe’ citizens to succeed personally.  Surely, they are not intending this, but it is a consequence of overreach and draconian thinking that was originally banned from the US-lexicon.

Whether Dr. Duchin and people like him realize it, regulations aren’t going to stop people from committing suicide: help is.  Actual help for those people in those situations.  The type of help that defrays stress and pressure on individuals, so they can dream, and work, and fail, and succeed.

One last thing to consider:  Washington State has legalized assisted suicide, making it possible for terminally ill people to seek help in ending their own lives, when they feel they can no longer take the pain of living in their condition.  If this is the ideal that Washington State wants to live by, why attempt to criminalize suicide by other means?  Has no one considered that those who are suffering mental crisis are too in pain?

For such a “progressive” outlook, it certainly seems short-sighted.  If you live in King County, you need to be asking that if such a high tax rate is necessary, why are those funds not being directed towards true mental health resources that provide results.  Because if you visit King County Public Health’s website, you’ll find they are thick on studies and research, and thin on direct efforts.  Maybe if Dr. Duchin spent more time in the field, working to expand mental treatment for the wide array of people in need, and empowering County Designated Mental Health Practitioners with multiple methods of addressing mental crisis, rather than solely three day involuntary hospital stays, instead of writing position papers, we’d have a government that was achieving an end to some problems, rather than tracking increases, with little to show for the effort.

If you know of someone contemplating suicide, please give them the following: 1-800-273-8255.  And continue to check in with them, you make actually be the difference in their world.

OKC Memorial: Did We Learn Anything?

I recently spent a long weekend in Oklahoma City to promote my recent project, an anthology of veteran’s which encompasses many veterans, from many walks of life, and many experiences.  With the exception of career, there is nothing any of us have in common.  Not in interests, culture, upbringing, style, attire, absolutely nothing.

As we all know, Oklahoma City has the displeasure of being the location of one of the saddest parts of US history.  On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a U-Haul truck full of fertilizer and explosives, rigged to explode, targeting the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, found between North Harvey and North Robinson Avenues.

The bomb killed 168 people inside the building, and injured 680, and effectively destroyed half of the building, not to mention causing serious damage for 16 blocks.

McVeigh’s plot, which was assisted by Terry Nichols, came about because of their ideological views, and their disagreement with the actions taken by government at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas.  In both instances, federal agents began investigations into firearms and other weapons acquired by the groups at each location, and whether it was legal to possess them.  In both instances, there has been wide disagreement about the volume of illegal weapons that each group had, but in the end, what was factually reported by our federal agencies was a small amount of truly illegal weapons, that on their own, may not have garnered the aggressive investigative efforts that the groups initially garnered.

However, while the motivation of these two men is still subject of some debate, what I want to talk about is their actions.  McVeigh had said publicly that he was not aware of a daycare being located in the building, making that discovery over the course of his “canvassing” or scouting of the building.

He passed over another federal building he targeted, because it had a florist shop.  But yet, when actually walking inside the Murrah Building, he managed to miss the fully-windowed day care, in the hall lobby.  He was asked about this on the stand, and said had he known there were children present, it might have given him pause.

Regardless, I can’t imagine the disillusionment McVeigh had to visit daily to carry out this plan.  And the fact is that he left the area, and if not for a traffic violation 90 minutes later, he might still be out in the wind today.

During my trip, I spoke to many long-time OKC locals, who spoke about the tremendous healing affect that this incident had on the entire city.  At the time, OKC was an unsafe place to be.  There were strong-arm robberies at will, muggings, break-ins, and wide spread violent crime that seemed to target strangers to the actors at an elevated rate.

But the sheer violence of McVeigh’s act brought the entire city together.  By and large, the citizens realized that life in OKC could not continue down the path it was, and maintain a place that people would want to live in, let alone spend any time in.

Since that ever tragic day, OKC has rebuilt much of it’s downtown, has worked hard to bringing relevant artistic elements to the area, to celebrate the many communities that make up the city, and to embrace the uniqueness and charm that only can be identified as being that of OKC.

Today we see a very similar scenario playing out at the national level.  We have extremists on the left and right scales of political ideology battling one another on city streets, throughout our entire country.  We no longer have room to speak with others, especially others that are determined to talk in rhetoric and circular logic.  There may be true value in ignoring such tactics, but it does not mean it’s wise to ignore the person.

It doesn’t mean you need to treat them differently either.  It does mean we need to decide individually what it is that we hold dear, truly.  I for one want an immigration system that will be followed and respected.  That doesn’t mean I want immigrants to be shunned, or foresaken, or to have previous agreements ripped away.  None of that holds to American values, and we would be foolish to engage in such third world politicking.

At the same time, there are people that want to vilify those like me who stand for a rule of law that is pragmatic, and sound.  They are extremists, just as those who chanted over and over again that building a wall is a solution.  We should not be so ignorant to identify that both these views are extreme, and truly have no business guiding our country.

At the same time, I respect that there are those that view my words as some sort of threat.  Technically they might be.  But there is no intention of threatening anyone, and having sound, pragmatic law is not a threat to anyone, except to those that break the law.  Perhaps that sounds circular.  But consider our past.  If we did not have sound laws that respected a true view of right and wrong, would we have made it as far as we have?  Would the US still be what it is, after nearly 250 years of existence?

I appreciate ideology, it’s a great place to start from.  But ideology can’t be the only thing guiding rules, law, how we think, or what we fight for.  When you do, you produce extremism.

And quite honestly, one need to go no further than 620 North Harvey Avenue in Oklahoma City to see what raw ideology produces.  The aftermath of which is something too hard to stare at.  Admittedly, I cry so much when I visit the Memorial that I can’t even make it to the museum.  This time I got in the door, and 45 seconds later bolted back out.  I don’t want to live in the aftermath of the Memorial every second in this country, everywhere I go, and I don’t believe anyone else here wants to either.

It’s going to take everyone who’s shouting for their cause to sit down, truly consider what it is they are saying.  If all you are doing is spouting ideology, you are not helping, and it would be best for all of us if you stopped and found a quiet place to park yourself.  You are adding only vitriol, in both what you say, and who you say it to.  It’s not going to produce anything positive.

Be honest with yourself, no matter where you sit on the spectrum, because more than ever we need both sides to accept that there are some very wrong things they are promoting, and there are some very right things they are promoting.

If you are idolizing people within your spectrum, that’s not helping us either.  No matter who’s President, they are only as effective as Congress, and we haven’t had an effective Congress in many years.  You can’t blame that on any President.

Don’t think of this as a call to centrism, because it’s not.  True functioning ideas to fix problems need to prevail, no matter where they come from.  Fabrications, “full-court presses,” and ideology are not going to help us get any of the solutions that we truly need.

In the beginning I mentioned how the group of veterans that I worked with on this project, Walk with Warriors, came from very different backgrounds, and very different places in life.  But somehow, we came together, vividly.  We didn’t know each other before, and it may be difficult for us to stay in touch after, but we came together as one and continued in that vain as we worked to promote our project, and reach an audience we didn’t define.  Time will tell if we were successful, but we tried, and never fought with each other over ideology.  It may seem a small, mild example, but it’s people working together.  I’d like to think if we can do this, then the rest of us can do this too.  We can be big boys and big girls, who sacrifice our ideology, for what it is truly fair and beneficial for all.

For my part, I think after visiting the Memorial, I’m going to search my own ideas and see what really matters, because it’s only fair that if I issue this call to action that I embody it.

Perhaps the future will find me in an even better place.  Until next time!

Charlottesville: When Apathy and Confusion Collide

It’s moments like these that seem to be our toughest.  We can’t see straight, or want to see straight, or care.  We don’t find ourselves attached to carnage on television.  And it’s with that apathy that the media finds a way into our minds, perhaps even our hearts.  And their version of the events becomes facts, ultimately undisputed.

In this case, it appears that Governor Terry McAuliffe is using a media pulpit to try and shout down far right conservative organizations, who he has a personal ax to grind with.

The media has climbed onto to the narrative from the governor, and are accepting it without asking questions.  And it turns out that the media itself had no reporters on the ground, instead relying on some questionable sources for the information they using to prop up their coverage.

But as we reach the 48 hour period after the incident that claimed the life of one and the eventual injuries of 19, as well as two law enforcement officers killed while responding by air, it turns out that McAuliffe’s version is not accurate.  Not even close.

More first hand accounts are coming forward of BLM, Antifa, and KKK members causing property destruction and violence, which was left unchecked by local police, for what reasons we don’t know yet.

However, there was a large group of Constitutionalists who were attempting to facilitate free speech, rather than allow violence.  And it has been verified that they were attempting to intervene with whoever the violent instigators were, no matter what their views were, to try and keep the protest peaceful, and about each group’s message, rather than violence.  Their efforts failed.  And they became the target of McAuliffe, because the only thing he can do is turn this political, because that’s all McAuliffe ever does.

It’s time we as Americans got serious about a problem we have in our country, that we are contributing to:  apathy.  Because we refuse to be truly engaged in events like these, we give people like McAuliffe a platform to lie, and accept his ideas as legitimate because of title, rather than actual work.  There are hundreds of politicians like him, and we legitimize their lack of true work by accepting them verbatim.  We have to stop this.

We have to get engaged on these issues, and we have to use our pursuit of information to demand that news organizations actually do the job of reporting fact, rather than revisions of history as it occurs.

One stance we should all have, is that Antifa has no business being anywhere in our country.  Antifa is an armed wing of the Anarchists in the US.  Antifa is their “dark ops” group, renamed.  And their entire effort is cause violent outbursts to further their efforts, of unraveling our Constitution and our form of government.  All of us should unite in not accepting them or their stance.

The KKK is another group we should roundly rebuke.  We should not have a problem uniting and not accept their ideas at all, and scare them out of existence.  I don’t see how either of these stances can’t be universal, but yet if you listen to the media right now, they’re tell you that you have to accept one or other.  Aren’t you getting tired of these massive organizations telling you to accept one pill or the other?

The BLM is yet another group we should not accept.  As much as they’ve had people come forward who speak and articulate points, the results have been nothing but violent events, businesses being torched, innocent people being hurt, and key witnesses in criminal and civil cases being assassinated.  BLM, for all it’s legitimized grievances, has nothing but violence attached to their activities.  It’s a very short history, but it’s been substantiated enough that none of us should accept the existence of this group either.  Their efforts are no better than the previous two I’ve talked about.

If we truly want to expunge hate, then we have to expunge all of it, you can’t pick sides, and you can’t choose which one has interesting points.  These three groups caused the problems in Charlottesville, no one else.  As I write this, the driver of the vehicle, James Fields, has been identified as member of an unidentified democrat party, and a possible member of the KKK.  It stands to reason that regardless of his affiliations, violence can’t be accepted, and the groups that are inevitably involved violence need to be removed from our way of life.

But more so, we all need to get engaged, and we need to unify in not letting these groups cause these problems.  We all have to rebuke their existence together.  That’s how America comes together, right now.

Update:  Since I wrote about this incident, the reporting of Mr. Fields’ party affiliation has changed again, and the sources reporting on this detail now are not what I would consider reliable.  Good thing that detail has nothing to do with refuting violence.