Take Me For a Ride in Your Car, Car

Here’s a brief collection of new chum articles, all having to do (in some way) with automobiles:

  • The Emblem. Here’s an encyclopedia of automotive emblems and their meanings. If you find logo history interesting, this is for you. I still remember the old Mazda emblem and the emblem on my 1977 Toyota Corona. For example, did you know that, with respect to the Toyota logo: “The ovals overlap one another, symbolizing trust between the automaker and its loyal customers. The white space that occupies the emblem signifies Toyota’s future potential. And the three ovals together represent the collective hearts of the customer, the cars and the technological opportunities ahead.”
  • The Computer. Car security is a big risk. Here’s a good article looking at all the risks in your car from the internal computer systems. Hmmm, that old-school Corona is looking better and better. The key point is near the bottom of the article: “For end users, the first thing they can do to protect themselves is demand that manufacturers put in place the security requirements that’s been mentioned. If their customers stand up and demand something, you can be certain that manufacturers will listen or they could face losing revenue as people walk away from them.”
  • Parking. If you drive, nothing infuriates you more than how others park. Why can’t they park within the lines? Why do they insist on parking their SUV in a compact space? It turns out that Americans are very ugly parkers. The article notes: “Parking lots inspire a unique rage in Americans. They’re one of the few public spaces citizens feel emboldened to police themselves, and reprimand those who don’t follow an assumed set of etiquette. Americans spend an average of 17 hours a year parking, but rather than get used to it, drivers allow themselves to become entitled and aggressive — emotions that don’t bode well in communal spaces, but which Americans are very good at showing. A 2014 study found that 20 percent of men and 12 percent of women have had a verbal confrontation with another driver in a parking lot, and 8 percent of men and 2 percent of women have actually gotten physical over a parking incident.”
  • The Smell. Here’s one of those list articles on smells that are slowly disappearing. #3 and #8 are car related: the smell of diesel exhaust (those who grew up in the 1960s will remember the smell as the bus pulled out), and #8 is that new car smell. Of the latter, they write: “That aroma we smell today upon delivery of a brand new set of wheels is very different from the new car smell of 30 or so years ago. A lot of that smell comes from off-gassing synthetic materials, plastics and chemical additives that are used in modern vehicles. In 1960, the average American-made car contained 22 pounds of plastics; in 2012, that quantity had increased to 250 pounds. And there’s also matter of the flame retardants and antimicrobials that are now added to the carpeting and upholstery for additional “safety” (even though some of the fumes have been proven toxic).” Me, I still really miss #1: Spirit Duplicators.

Legal Immigration and Racism

userpic=trumpIn the aftermath of Trump’s “shithole” comment, aboth Neo-Nazi’s groups and those who want to reduce legal immigration are celebrating. Why? Because the dog-whistle of “merit-based” legal immigration that Trump is championing is implicitly racist, and allows them achieve racist goals while deluding the public.

Don’t think Trump’s comments were racist? Do you believe they were just talking about bad countries? You’re wrong. Trump’s comments are clearly racist, talking in a blanket sense about all people coming from a particularly country. Further, it just so happens that the people coming from countries that Trump likes are white and economically advantaged, and those coming from countries that Trump places in the “shithole” category are brown and black, and economically disadvantaged. It may not be explicit to you, but it still is racism and it still is classism and it still is elitism.

Why do I care about this? Why do I — a well educated, white man (three things going for me in this administration) care? Because I’m Jewish, and the exact same view of “shithole” companies were used to justify not admitting Jews to the US — and essentially sentencing them to death. Because Jewish immigration to the US used the exact same approach of bringing over family members to save other Jews. It was these family members that enabled the immigrants to start new businesses and use their family as workers to grow the business, giving us many of the largest businesses today.

Those arguing for a move away from “chain” immigration and immigration lotteries to a “merit-based” approach ARE being implicitly racist, in the same way that many companies hiring policies are implicitly unequal and work against diversity. The “merit” based approach is one that selects for economic advantage, and economic advantage is often clustered in first world “white” countries, and for male leaders. Economically disadvantaged people — primarily minorities and women — don’t have the means or opportunities to acquire the “merit” based skills. Those escaping as refugees from the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, and East Asia are dealing with war and poverty, and don’t have the same opportunities for higher education. It is the exact same implicit education that kept blacks and minorities down, when they were in school districts that didn’t have the funds to educate and prepare them for college, and so they were considered less skilled — when they just economically had fewer opportunities.

This is why the neo-Nazis celebrate these views: because they advance white people, and work against people of color.

But having fewer skills does not mean the people are any less intelligent, or have any lower of a work ethic. It just means they had less advantage. Given the opportunity to work and to learn, people from any country succeed spectacularly. Often, in fact, it is the least disadvantaged that do more, because they have the most to gain.

Diversity is vital to the US. This episode of Reply All does a great job of explaining why. Diversity gives us different ways  of thinking. Different ways of problem solving. It gives us new ideas. It gives us new energy. Diversity is what makes America strong.

Lastly, think about the other implicit problem: Why does the “Party of Trump” want to reduce people coming in from what they call “shithole” countries — which is essentially reducing legal hispanic and black immigration? Because those immigrants, if admitted legally, will work towards citizenship. As more and more blacks and minorities get the power of the voting box, what does that do to the power of the base that is electing people like Trump? What does that do to the country? Answer: It is the same thing that Israel is fighting against as the number of Arabs and non-Jews in the country grows. Loss of Power. The “Party of Trump” (and I use that term because I don’t believe all Republicans agree with Trump) saw the election of Barack Obama as a sign that the minorities they hate are winning, and if mobilized, have the power. They expertly, and with outside help, manipulated the environment in 2016 to get the minority coalition to see the Democratic candidate as “not one of them” and against their interests, and got them to stay home. The combination of minorities staying home in 2016, combined with a whistles to constituencies that had stayed away from the ballot box, gave Trump the election. Now that they are in power, they don’t want to dilute that power, and will do anything to preserve it. False news, propaganda, distractions, and fighting immigration — legal or not — are just tools in that battle.

This country was started by people fleeing economic and religious persecution. It was founded on principles of freedom and equality (never mind the slave trade behind the curtain). It grew on the backs and the hard work of immigrants — Jews, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese laborers, slaves, and others — who were not asked about their merit (only that they were healthy). It grew even stronger as they brought in their families, cementing their ties to this country, keeping money in this country, and building businesses in this country. Immigration and diversity is American’s strength and America’s bedrock, not something to be feared.

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