Jeantet’s Blog

JT’s little piece of the internet.


The Swastika vs. The Confederate Flag

1000px-Flag_of_German_Reich_(1935–1945).svg 950px-Confederate_Rebel_Flag.svg

What they don’t have in common:

  • The Nazi Swastika was a religious symbol for 5000 years before it was usurped by the Nazis; and it really can’t be used any more due it’s present-day association with the 3rd Reich.
  • The Confederate Flag, which evolved into Stars and Bars, was commissioned by the Provisional Confederate Congress, as one of its first actions.

What they have in common:

  • Supporters felt the symbol represented values, pride, history, and culture.
  • People who opposed the symbol felt it represented oppression, subjugation, and a time when the values of its supporters where racist, elitist, and unsustainable.
  • War ultimately ended the reign of those who stood behind the symbols.


After pondering this for a moment:

The extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime is the most reprehensible event associated with the (modern) swastika. In addition to genocide, followers of that regime invaded surrounding land, subjugated its inhabitants, and generally felt their way was better than everyone else’s.

The main difference between the Nazis and the Confederate States is that Nazis just killed all the Jews as quickly and efficiently as they could, while the confederacy subjugated Blacks.  What is worse: to kill someone and seize all their assets, or to treat someone as property and impose a lifetime of forced labor?  Do this over a five to seven year period or over two and a half centuries?

First of all, slavery was not exclusive to the South of the United States.  It was all over the United States, and the Caribbean, and Central and South America.  Also, I think the diluted time-frame of slavery and the subjugation of black people in the United States (and particularly but not exclusively in confederate states) somehow makes the forced labor and killing of black people less “bad” than the almost factory-like extermination of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime over a very short timeframe. But I honestly don’t know that it is (with all due respect.)  I did some searching, and nobody knows for sure – nearly 12 million slaves were brought from Africa to the United States, with a 10-20% mortality rate in transit. Other resources say 5 million Africans died during “slavery”, (presumably in the United States), and still others say 30 to 60 million of the African people who were sold into slavery died on this continent – from the beginning of the triangle trade in the 1600s through its abolition.  Then, how many black people have died and suffered in the Jim Crow South?  Lynchings, cross-burnings?  How many have died from the legacy of that centuries-long period of American history?  And what about the daily struggle faced by descendants of this legacy, as they try to break the cycle imposed upon them by their oppressed and subjugated past?

I’m not trying to compare the loss of life during the Nazi Holocaust with the loss of life during two and a half centuries of slave trade in the “new world”; I do however see a commonality.

My point here is this: to African Americans, and many others too, the confederate flag represents something painful and similar to what the swastika represents to Jews.  That is why it is objectionable.  The removal of this symbol is not political correctness, it’s something that should have happened a long time ago. Any argument in support of the confederate flag holds no weight, just like you can’t argue it’s ok to start using swastikas because it’s a Buddhist or Hindu symbol.

It is a shame that it took the overtly racist murder of 9 innocent black people in a church – by a nutjob wielding a confederate flag – to smack some sense into our society.

Posted under Social Commentary, Things I don't like

Not loving it. Definitely not.

An open letter to McDonald’sNot Lovin It

I just saw a McDonald’s commercial, in which you show Quarter Pounder with cheese, wrapped with your whole “loving it” campaign.  Then I thought about all those reports how your earnings are down 20% in recent time.  Forgetting for a moment how the stock price is up about 50% in the past 5 years, let me give you my explanation for your one-fifth decline in business.

Everyone knows your commercials are a lie.

Your new marketing plan is intended to lure back the people who have abandoned the brand – people just like me.  Your commercial shows a beautiful sandwich being assembled with tasty-looking ingredients.  McDonald’s has also been struggling to “enhance” its menu with healthier foods, but the attrition is not slowing.  Why?

Allow me to explain.

In the real world, your food looks nothing like it does in commercials.  It’s smashed, smushed, smaller, rushed and definitely not as tasty-looking, or as tasty as I had hoped it would be.

I’ve got guilt issues here.

Your commercial is all warm and fuzzy.  Yay!  No guilt!  But I don’t feel it because I want a cheeseburger, and cheeseburgers aren’t a healthy choice, so I feel guilty.  And if I’m going to eat one, it’s had better be a damn good cheeseburger, made with real food.  I’m not going to go eat bread that doesn’t mold, meat that doesn’t rot, with a side of fries that come from potatoes that will never sprout, and an HFCS-laden beverage that will do more to hurt my insides than just about anything else the FDA claims humans can be fed.  Then there are the sub-par wages and working conditions for your employees.  I’m just not lovin’ it.

If you want to know how a burger should taste, go have a Five Guys.

Yes, I said that.  And if you sold burgers that taste like that, and doubled-down with organic meat and bread and toppings, and fries made from organic potatoes… I’d be in for a number-one-combo today.

You already know this is true, because you dumped your holdings in Chipotle when they refused to lower their food standards and combine their food sourcing and distribution with yours.

You’re just afraid of reinventing the wheel.  I’m sure the brand purists don’t want you to change.  Well, newsflash: the crap you serve today is not what you served 50 years ago.  I’ll concede that this is largely due to the commercialization of the food production industry. But you’ve just made it worse by cheapening your product so you could maximize shelf-life and profit.

And don’t tell me I could get a salad wrap instead.  I’m not interested in eating your salad that never turns brown, topped with dressing that will put more calories and fat in me than a Big Mac.  It’s not about avoiding the unhealthy foods. It’s about you serving chemicals – poisons – in your food.  The pink slime opened my eyes; and although you claim to not use that stuff anymore, I know your food is still devoid of anything nutritional.  The slick food quality section of your web site, to me, looks like a heavily researched and produced spin, intended to reverse the perception of your food being sub-par.  But I don’t buy it.

There’s a difference between a cheeseburger and fries being high in fat and sodium (which isn’t really good for you) versus eating amonium-hydroxide, sodium propionate, and other crap you infuse into your foods, which is really bad for you.  Yes, yes, I know, the FDA says it’s safe.  Well I disagree.  And you’re down 20%. Do the math.

And while people have explained that chemicals aren’t why your foods don’t spoil, you know McDonald’s tastes differently in other countries.  Your food tastes better, in my opinion, in Canada and Mexico and all over Europe, where they don’t allow you to feed the consumer the chemicals and nonsense that the (arguably useless) FDA allows here in the States.

The problem is not what you serve, is what’s in what you serve.  Change that, and I’ll come back (every now and then).

Hey, that’s better than never!

Posted under Food + Drink, Things I don't like


The sight of police lights ahead prompt me to check my speed… 60mph.

I don’t really drive like a knucklehead any more.

Then the light Sunday afternoon traffic grinds to a rubbernecking crawl.

“You rubbernecking Idiots!” I share my disapproval tersely with my wife and kids… my condescending disapproval directed at the slowing mass of cars that snared me.

Unable to escape the moving roadblock, I relent and look to the other side of the highway; 495 Eastbound is completely closed. That never happens unless there’s an investigation… With a fatality.

And there it was. A white sheet draped over the unmistakable shape of a person, in the middle lane.

There was a makeshift barricade attempting to give the deceased some dignity.

Suddenly, I’m not in such a hurry any more. There was nothing surreal about someone who is no more, lying motionless on the cold, hard pavement. Friend, please take an extra minute to get where you’re going, so you *do* get there.

RIP stranger.

Posted under Personal, Social Commentary, Things I don't like, Things I Like

Monkeys on a ladder

A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on top.

Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the other ones beat up the one on the ladder.

After some time, no monkey dared to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then substituted one of the monkeys.  The first thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder.  Immediately, the other monkeys beat it up.

After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though it never knew why.

The second monkey was substituted and the same occurred; the first substituted monkey also participated on the beating of the second monkey.  A third monkey was changed and the pattern was repeated.  The fourth was substituted and the beating was repeated.  Finally the fifth monkey was replaced.

Now, there is a group of 5 monkeys, none of which ever received a cold shower. Yet they continue to beat up any monkey that attempts to climb the ladder.

If it were possible to ask the monkeys why they beat up those who attempt to climb the ladder, no doubt their answer would be: “I don’t know.  That’s how things are done around here.”

Does that sound familiar?

In our lives, is there a way other than the status quo?



Source: some post on FB full of grammatical and spelling errors.

Posted under Politics, Social Commentary, Things I Like

Stop The Chat Window

This is an open letter to corporate web sites.

Who thought an obnoxious offer “to chat” was a good idea?

Please STOP annoying me with your unwieldy, annoying, pop-up blocker circumventing offers to “chat”.  If I wanted to chat with you, I would find a “contact” link on your web site and speak with someone in an off-shored call center.  Why do you think it would somehow be more attractive to instant-message this person?  It’s merely a form of less effective, less efficient and more annoying customer service.  Whoever thought up of this IS AN IDIOT.  And everyone else who thinks it’s a good idea to jump on this bandwagon is suffering from EXTREME STUPIDITY and incompetence in leadership.

OK, I’m done.  You may now continue with your regularly scheduled programming.


Posted under Computer Stuff, Things I don't like, WTF?