Goofy: putting agenda ahead of revenue

About a week ago, I noted how Disney was using its new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” to add a “gay moment,” in the words of the director.  At the time, I pointed out that Disney has become so committed to this agenda that they will accept a ratings plunge just to add it to children’s shows.

And now it appears Disney would rather lose part of the lucrative overseas box office than remove the objectionable scene:

Walt Disney has shelved the release of its new movie “Beauty and the Beast” in mainly Muslim Malaysia, even though film censors said Tuesday it had been approved with a minor cut involving a “gay moment.”

The country’s two main cinema chains said the movie, due to begin screening Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given…

“We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie,” Abdul Halim told The Associated Press.

He said there was no appeal from Disney about the decision to cut the gay scene.

There can be no doubt that the gay agenda has become more important to Disney than its own revenue.  All I can ask is, “where are the stockholders?”  It would seem time to shake up the leadership of the company, if one is going to invest there to try to make a profit.

One other note: many Hollywood productions travel the globe, where they essentially represent America to foreign audiences.  Shortly after 9/11, one pundit pointed out how Americans might be able to discern reality vs. fantasy in films like “Natural Born Killers,” but foreign audiences could conclude this represents actual American society. Given decisions like Disney’s latest, is there any question as to whether that is helping or harming our image around the world, in a war of ideas where image is critical?

Meanwhile, I hope anyone reading this will make the commitment my family has to avoid Disney or any of its properties.  No trips to Disneyworld (which is vastly overpriced anyway).   No movies in the theater, including Star Wars and Pixar, both of which are sure to be subverted to this agenda at some point.  If we think they’ve produced something worth watching, we’ll catch it on Netflix so they don’t get ticket receipts.  Our days of buying any Disney merchandise are over, too.

Companies like Disney and the tech industry can afford to be “social justice warriors” because they have good cash reserves to make up for temporary hits to the bottom line.

That can’t last forever.   (H/T: Vox Day)

 

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Stay on Target…

You won’t see this on any mainstream news, but Target has lost 19% of its stock value in the 30 days since announcing its “choose your own bathroom” policy.  I’m sure any inadvertent official notice of this development will attempt to explain this away as a function of a weak economy.  That’s hard to do, though, when the official position is that the economy is doing just fine.

TGT quote - 18 May 2016 copy

Keep up the pressure!  “Stay on target” by staying out of Target!  Over a million people have committed to ensuring our self-appointed Federal and corporate social engineers hear that we’re fed up with their anti-scientific gender denial and efforts to force the rest of us to live in their fantasy world.  Have you?

Speak out while you can, or you may find your options increasingly limited.  These groups are playing for keeps.  So must we.

The hypocrisy inherent in the system

In which an excellent point in made:

Here’s my conundrum: if it is immoral, even criminal or civilly liable for these mom-and-pop Christian businesses to deny services based on their fundamental beliefs, why is it not also immoral or legally actionable for large corporations to refuse their services to the citizens of those states where those who govern choose to pass legislation to protect the religious freedoms of their citizenry?

If I’m a huge professional football fan living in Atlanta and the NFL people remove my city from contention for a near-future Super Bowl because they feel my state is discriminating against the transgendered, am I not the victim of discriminatory business practices on the part of the NFL? What about those organizations and corporations that cancel annual conferences and business meetings because of the actions of my state legislature? Aren’t these big corporations refusing to do business with my state simply because they consider our practices immoral, just as those bakeries, florists, and photographers see gays as immoral? Other than scale, I see little difference.  (emphasis added)

The difference is that corporations that have succumbed to the ‘social justice’ imperative see nothing wrong with using their economic clout (or the heavy hand of the legal system) to bludgeon entire communities into abandoning their deeply held beliefs (not to mention the now not-so-common sense), while those same social justice warriors recoil in horror at the thought of a traditionalist saying or doing something that might simply be offensive to someone else.  Remember, for these people it’s all about “my widdle feewings,” not good business practice, economic sense or even a firm grasp on reality.  If the shareholders of PayPal and other companies jumping on the anti-North Carolina bandwagon had any sense, they’d demand the resignation of the corporate board for putting showmanship and social engineering above legitimate business interest.

The hypocrisy is even more pronounced when you consider how many of these virtue-signaling companies have no qualms at all doing business with places like Saudi Arabia, where being gay isn’t just occasionally inconvenient because of differences in belief — it’s often fatal.

Here’s hoping the various boycotts produce an environment in which alternatives to these would-be corporate bullies can flourish.  Such alternatives are long overdue.  Boycotts can work both ways, after all, and let’s hand it to Esquire for compiling a list of companies (and largely past-their-prime entertainers) conservatives should be breaking their ties with.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Cashing out

The powers that be are doing all they can to constrain the options of the average citizen who refuses to play their game.  The latest angle is to renew the push for a cashless society:

On Monday the European Central Bank President emphatically disclosed that he is strongly considering phasing out the 500 euro note.

Yesterday, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an op-ed in the Washington Post about getting rid of the $100 bill.

Prominent economists and banks have joined the refrain and called for an end to cash in recent months.

The reasoning is almost always the same: cash is something that only criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats use.

In his op-ed, Summers refers to a new Harvard research paper entitled: “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”.

That title pretty much sums up the conventional thinking. And the paper goes on to propose abolishing, among others, 500 euro and $100 bills.

The authors claim that “without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the ‘bad guys’ of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their ‘business models’.”

The $100 is a “high denomination note?”  That might have been true 50 years ago, minus several decades of inflation eating away at purchasing power, but it’s hardly the case today.  One can easily spend that much now by taking a family of four to a restaurant.

And while any such proposals are always couched as trying to somehow make life difficult for “the bad guys,” there are some very real effects on law-abiding citizens here.  Governments around the world have exhausted their ability to “goose” the economy through artificially low interest rates (a policy, by the way, that penalizes the thrifty savers in society in favor of profligate borrowers).  Having taken that game all the way to zero — literally — now central banks have the bright idea of negative interest rates… which would potentially charge savers who hold their money in savings accounts rather than spending it.

So what is a thrifty family to do?  The best answer is to hold as much of your assets as possible outside of the increasingly corrupted financial system.  Cash is the most obvious way to do that.  But bankers know full well that if Americans returned to the days of stuffing mattresses with greenbacks, it would quickly become apparent there aren’t enough pieces of paper to go around — not by a long shot.  (For an example of this, watch the “bank run” scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”)

In addition to discouraging all the hoi polloi from asking for banknotes they don’t have, this move toward smaller denomination bills is meant to inconvenience cash transactions.  It’s not only criminals who like to use cash, although many in authority like to pretend that’s the main association.  There is still the rare family who literally saves their pennies for anything from a vacation to buying a used car.

Here’s the thing: if you paid $10,000 in cash for a vehicle you bought used from another owner, it would take carrying one hundred $100 bills.  Imagine that bill is eliminated.  The $50 is already a much rarer note in circulation, so the common alternative is the $20.  Now you’d need a stack of FIVE HUNDRED notes–more than a pound of paper –to pay cash.  And few people are willing to do that these days.  Yes, this is part of what the authorities want to do to “inconvenience” large criminal transactions.  But it will also push average consumers further into using what is already a largely digital world of commerce.

And that’s exactly what the powers that be want.  With digital transactions (credit and debit cards), privacy is greatly reduced and control greatly expanded.  I know there are still those full-blooded law and order types who’ll protest “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

Baloney.  Plenty of innocent people have already had their bank account (vulnerable digital assets) wrongfully seized, after which they face a daunting process of proving their innocence in order to see any of it again.  But the real problem with the “you have nothing to worry about” premise is that the definition of “doing wrong” is often in the eye of those wielding any kind of power.  Think I’m kidding?  Ask the former head of Mozilla, who was forced to resign after those oh-so-tolerant liberals discovered his heinous crime of donating to a campaign against legalizing same-sex marriage.  Think about how the IRS went after political groups sympathetic to “Tea Party” small-government advocacy.  Now extrapolate that to a future where every book you buy, every movie/documentary you watch, every church contribution you make and even families you choose to support financially in some small way leaves a digital trail for those who disagree with you to follow and exploit.

There’s a term for this: it’s called a targeting system.  And if we’ve learned anything through the recent weaponization of government agencies, it’s that such targeting capabilities WILL be used to harass and silence anyone who dissents from public orthodoxy.  Completely ‘virtual’ banking and finance (a “cashless society”) will result in ‘virtual control’ over our ability to live freely and privately with our own consciences.

I’ve said this before, but am becoming more strident about it: it’s time to “abjure the realm.”  If you disagree with the direction the ‘soft fascists’ in our land are taking us, you need to separate yourself from their system as much as possible, because the net is continuing to tighten.  That means holding stores of wealth beyond their digital control, in forms like cash, precious metals or other tradable commodities that provide a good store of value.  Equally important, it means building networks of like-minded people who are willing to form communities that can exchange privately among themselves without every transaction being officially recorded and perused for potential political heresy.

In short, it means declaring your personal independence and intention NOT to be simply a compliant serf to the ruling order.  Does it take work not to do things the way everyone else does?  Certainly.  But it is the kind of work that makes one free.

Loss of legitimacy

Americans increasingly are dissatisfied with the results of power centralizing both in government and in business:

The poll… indicates that the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low.

Just 13% of Americans say the government can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time, with just over three-quarters saying only some of the time and one in 10 saying they never trust the government, according to the poll.

“The number who trust the government all or most of the time has sunk so low that it is hard to remember that there was ever a time when Americans routinely trusted the government,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said…

The survey indicates that skepticism doesn’t stop at the White House and Capitol Hill: Only 17% of Americans believe that big business can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time.

Distant, consolidated power in any form or function is less connected to, and thus less responsive to the people.  That is why the Constitution expressly gives the Federal Goverment few and defined powers, reserving the remainder to “the States, or to the People.”  We have ignored that arrangement, and the concept of sovereign States as bullworks against Federal encroachment, to our deep and lasting detriment.

Big Business has amassed significant power over the past two decades or so for two reasons: the tendency of the public to look only at the price tag on shelves, ignoring the hidden costs that often are involved with “everyday low prices” (i.e. offshoring of American jobs, corner-cutting on safety and environmental practices, etc), combined with significant regulatory lobbying by industry leaders that make it increasingly difficult for legitimate competition to gain traction.  The combination of Big Business with the force of Big Government is extremely dangerous to individual liberty.

I’d like to believe such poll results show the jig is up: that American are realizing they aren’t ‘free’ just because they can choose between 30 different types of toothpaste at the supermarket (made by a handful of powerful companies, of course).  They’re not ‘free’ just because we can vote, either — especially when the integrity of the process is questionable, and the collection of ‘representatives’ routinely disregard the public’s position on important issues… like whether borders are still important enough to be enforced!

I’ve watched these “trust in government” poll results head steadily downward my entire adult life.  One has to wonder at what point the citizenry just decides “this isn’t working anymore” and chooses to stop playing along.  Several recent lurches between House Elephant and House Donkey seem to prove the point that just changing the party in power isn’t the answer.   Something is systemically wrong with our social order, and people are realizing it.

I don’t think it’s oversimplifying to boil it down to a handful of factors:

1)  Few candidates for office (elected or appointed) are consistently more civic-minded than they are self-interested.  At the same time, we’ve forgotten the principle that human beings are inherently fallible and corruptable, so should always be limited in the power they wield.

2)  A public that has jettisoned what was once a broad consensus on right and wrong, embracing instead a “50 shades of gray” worldview.  A nation that once had bi-partisan certainty what Nixon did 40 years ago was wrong now tends to give “their team” far too much benefit of the doubt.  If you believe it’d be wrong for ‘the other guy’ to do it, why do you tolerate it in your own associates?

3)  A Constitution that was designed to separate powers, but did not build in enough solid provisions to prevent ever-less-enlightened generations from selling out their birthright.  As Benjamin Franklin is said to have told a passerby in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention had produced a “republic… if you can keep it.”  Apocryphal or not, the tale makes a valid point.  We were given the power as individuals to prevent the consolidations that have occured.  But nothing can force us to remain vigilant and wary about principles well before the approach of danger.

4) An aversion to accountability.  From individual relationships to official capacities, our society has lost much of the will to confront and correct behavior.  This is exacerbated by the aforementioned “50 shades of gray” view, as well as today’s preference for spin over substance.  “With great power comes great responsibility,” the saying goes.  Which begs the question why MANY people still hold their positions of power (both in government AND in business), much less why they aren’t in some cases warming a prison cell somewhere.

The key for the immediate future hinges on whether thoughtful Americans accept the need to resume the individual and local responsibilities that attend to liberty, or whether they go all-in on the idea of letting others take care of them (in return for being handed the keys of power).  Closely related to this is the issue of whether those who see what is wrong (i.e. the loss of equal protection under the law, and the unprecedented lattitude the Executive has asserted to ignore enforcement of laws he disagrees with) will speak out, regardless what ad hominem attacks (“Racist!” “Nativist!”) are hurled their way.

Which will it be?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…

55 symptoms of America’s health (or lack thereof)

Excerpts (full list at the link above):

#7 America has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world by a wide margin.

#10 Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.

#11 60 percent of Americans report feeling “angry or irritable”.  Two years ago that number was at 50 percent.   ((10 and 11 likely have a relationship — Jemison))

#17 According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug.  An astounding 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs.

#25 America exports more weapons to other countries than anyone else in the world.

#31 40 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

#32 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6 Americans is on food stamps.

#39 For women under the age of 30 in the United States, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.

#40 At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the United States lives in a home without a father.

#48 America has the most lawyers per capita in the entire world.

#52 Americans spend more money on elections than anyone else does in the world by a very wide margin.

 

 

 

A tale of two Black Fridays

It seems now every year the media is prepositioned to highlight the tales of brawling, snarling consumers trampling one another for ‘doorbreaker’ deals on Black Friday.  And every year it seems the hype leading up the weekend is amped just a little bit more.

Interestingly, a Facebook friend of mine (who is not a Christian), had this to say this morning:

I think (Black Friday) appeals to people as it satisfies four deadly sins in one outing. Lust (nonsexual unless you’re into rubbing up against many people); greed, because people usually already have one of those plastic items they will kill their neighbor for or they buy three of the same item; pride, so they can show off that they scored the latest piece of crap that everyone wants; and envy, because they might not be shooting it out with their neighbor if they did not think someone else on the block had something cooler than what they have in their box dwelling. (Disclaimer: Oxford semi-colons included at no extra cost and Wiki was used for a research tool on the Seven Deadly Sins)

I had to reply that I believe he’s spot on – this manufactured High Holy Day of Commercialism is the antithesis of everything the teachings of Christ and the Word of God convey.   It emphasizes the material over the personal, things over people, and self at the expense of or in competition with others.   It is the worst of mankind’s fallen nature, played like a fiddle by the one who knows how to get man to dance to his tune.  The lack of self-control or concern for others exhibited on this day may be the purest distillation of the lack of discipline and empathy that is the root cause of our civilization’s decay.

One Black FridayThere was another thought I encountered online, however, that complemented my friend’s thoughts, though he doesn’t yet profess faith in its truth (see image):

The insatiable human appetite for anything is driven by a craving that resulted from separation from the One thing that satisfies.  Perhaps our world would be far better off   if the day of Thanks to God were followed by a day (…or 364 or so…) dedicated to Seeking God, rather than the shopping gods.