Things are Seldom Black and White, But These Felt Kind of Good
David and Goliath
There is something in us all that likes it when an improbable match comes out with the Little Guy winning. As noted in the title, always some complications and areas of gray in evidence, but here are a few examples of recent weeks that please us to hear. A couple of them are true David vs Goliath, a couple are not quite so, but at least have that mic drop flavor to them.
If you have even the slightest interest in market dynamics, you heard about the GameStop market fiasco. In a short (and over simplified) synopsis, a bunch of day traders, amateurs, and semi-rebels, mostly on Reddit, started a movement to invest in GameStop, a weak company on the way down the tubes. But a company a lot of these people liked.
Imagine a guy in his 20s, living in his parent’s basement, playing a lot of video games. He likes GameStop. A lot of serious money had been invested by hedge funds and others in shorting this stock. The Save GameStop (or Screw the Money Guys – pick your slogan) crowd turned around the financial dynamics.
Big money lost a lot – I mean a lot -of cash. More than a few of the newbies made serious money – including some teens and even children. Of course, a lot of these “regular” folks lost their shirts, too. Timing is everything.
But the story that lasted was that a bunch of small time, regular folks seized a market, bruised the big money crowd (and scared them a bit), and some of them made good money. Most importantly, they made some big money people feel insecure for the first time. Felt good, didn’t it?
Facebook vs Australia
Australia recently decided that Facebook was using a lot of materials from the traditional press, for free. Bad news for an industry already on the ropes, so they decided Facebook should pay a bit now and then. Facebook decided they could bully a country into submission. They were also worried about the risk of others adapting this model (It is a good idea – I hope they do).
In the end, an 11th hour deal was struck that avoided all-out war. It appears that everyone got something they wanted. But in the end, I think Facebook lost the most. First, they will be paying for some of this news. Second, binding arbitration is in the offing if they don’t play nice. Third, several other countries appear heading toward the Australian model.
Fourth, Facebook’s reputation went even lower.Who thought it could get worse? But here we are. They looked like classic bullies who treated a country like a potential victim. And they chose to cut off news flow in the middle of a global pandemic already cloaked in bad information. Worst timing ever.
Lastly, Google faced the same issues and came out looking great by quietly striking deals everyone could live with. The sooner Facebook gets real competition and/or adult leadership, the better.
Two Very Different Examples but They Bring Satisfaction Like the Others
I was unable to catch all of Merrick Garland’s hearings for Attorney General, but I read of one exchange I hoped was accurate – turns out the exchange was real, but the dialogue a lot less fiery.
A couple of pro Trump senators asked him to confirm resources would continue for a special prosecutor Barr appointed. Garland replied he could not do so without full information. The senator said he asked the same question of the now departed AG Barr at his confirmation hearing about a similar matter and he was able to provide the assurance asked for without trouble.
Why, he asked, can you not do the same? The reported reply: Because I am not a liar. Boom! Unfortunately, or perhaps more discretely, Garland did not say that. He did not refer to Barr directly or indirectly. He simply said anti he knew the facts, he would not commit. Still a nice jab at the knee jerk crowd, even if more polite than reported.
The first congressional hearings on the insurrection of January 6 were held this week. Using his time with zero judgment, Senator Johnson decided to play back some right-wing trivia that things were actually peaceful and democratic on JAN 6. Imagine being the Capitol Hill police at that hearing listening to that prattle.
At the close of the day’s hearings, Chair Amy Klobuchar took a moment to make it clear that no one else on that committee or in that room accepted anything Johnson said. It was misinformation and a disservice to the nation to keep spreading the lies. Buy that woman a drink.
Let’s Hear It for Truth, Justice, and the Little Guy
Big hunks of this country are buried in lies and distortion. It only gets better when decent people stand up and call it out when they hear it. Similarly, every so often, Power needs a gut punch to remind it there are limits and people will draw the line. Feels good, doesn’t it?
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