Better and Worse…

I’m kind of over the whole Kevin Hart kerfuffle.  Yeah, I know.  He posted some stupid jokes years ago that were anti-LGBTQ.  So, how many times does he have to apologize before the apology is accepted?  Maya Angelou said that when you know better, you do better.  His comments back then represented a certain ignorance but he seems to have learned.  Now he knows better and he’s doing better.  Human growth.  We don’t all start out in the perfect position on every issue every time…

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According to the Guardian, Tucker Carlson of all people may be turning on Trump.  Carlson has been quoted as saying he doesn’t think Trump is capable of getting legislation through Congress because he doesn’t know how and cites what he calls failures of the current “President.”

If Trump is losing Fox “News”, he’s in a world of hurt…

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I see that the driver of the car in Charlottesville has been convicted of murder.  It’s the right call.  This case has become my “go-to” when I describe the difference in the news media between what people see inside the conservative bubble and what people see outside of the conservative bubble.  We all saw the same video but inside the conservative bubble, they saw an edited version.  It left out the part about the guy sitting still; alone in his car with no one around him.  All the cons saw was a guy running from the “crazy” libs who were shouting and throwing things at him and hitting his car so, obviously, he was scared and running for safety.  They had seen it with their own eyes!  We argued about it for quite some time…

But what they had seen was a falsehood packaged just for them.  Now that the courts have considered the entire video his guilt was clear.  I will continue to use the case to highlight the fact that left and right are NOT receiving the same information.  The enemy of the people is not left or right.  The enemy is the corporate media going to so much trouble to sow discontent.  Reagan started the process of the destruction of our independent media but Clinton finished it so it’s not a partisan problem.  It’s an American problem…

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It’s starting to look a bit like the swamp is going to be drained despite Trump’s best efforts to fill it with swamp monsters.  The tide of evidence is rising against him and I think HE’S going to be…well…swamped.  No, he won’t be going to jail.  America doesn’t jail her ex-presidents regardless of their crimes.  (Just ask international war criminal Bush 43.)  But it’s looking more and more like the House is going to have to draw up Articles of Impeachment.  So how long can the corrupt Republican Senate refuse to act on them and hope to retain their own phony-baloney jobs? I’m anticipating an announcement that he needs to spend more time running his businesses and step down.

With Nancy Pelosi set to take over as Speaker of the House, if the investigation snares Pence and HE has to step down, we could end up with a Democratic President before 2020.  Yeah, it’s a pipe-dream but, for some reason, I find it comforting…

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These days, when a President leaves office, he gets to become FABULOUSLY wealthy.  Trump might break THAT precedent as well.  He might be the first President of the modern era who actually loses money for having been the President.  There are several legal battles he’s going to need to fight.  Tax agencies are coming after back taxes he owes (according to the NY Times).  Worse, the false image he’s worked so hard to cultivate through the years has been shattered.  Everybody outside of the conservative bubble understands the guy is nothing more than a flimflam man and I think his patrons will leave him behind once he becomes useless to them…

Passing and Impeachment…

I guess one can’t write about politics without mentioning the passing of George H. W. Bush, aka Bush 41 so…

One down, one to go…

The truth is, I suspect Bush 41 was the last President of the United States from the old order.  Reagan began the coup but 41 failed to follow through.  Reagan initiated the government-strangling tax cuts for the wealthy.  41 used the policy to get elected but when he saw the damage that was already starting, he raised taxes again.  BAM!  One term President.

But Clinton returned to the plan, finalizing the destruction of independent media, and each “President” since has moved forward with the Oligarch-supporting arrangement.  (Republicans do it nakedly, aggressively.  Democrats have to pretend to “lose the fight” but the result is always the same: comfort the comfortable, afflict the afflicted…)

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SO…Paul Manafort is playing both sides of the fence, is he?  It will be interesting to see if the so-called “President” (or, in this case, Trump) will try to give him a pardon.  If he does, it will certainly set up a Constitutional crisis.  See, Article II, Section 2, subsection 1 of the Constitution of the United States grants the President the power of pardons “…except in Cases of Impeachment.”

I suppose those trying to defend this train-wreck of a human being will argue that since Trump hasn’t been impeached he still has full authority to grant pardons to anyone.  Sure, that would be stupid but that doesn’t mean his apologists won’t argue the point, like, forever.  The reason it’s a stupid argument is that it takes time to build a case for impeachment.  If the President (or in this case, Trump) can just pardon people for participating in impeachable crimes as they occur, it would become literally impossible to impeach any President (or even Trump).  Cons would only acknowledge this, though, if the President in question had a ‘D’ after his name…

BUT…if Manafort is being prosecuted for crimes like money laundering and other white collar crimes that have nothing to do with the President (or in this case, Trump), then Trump should, by rights, have the authority to pardon Manafort.

Also, what if it’s an impeachable offense but nobody it planning an impeachment?  I suppose the newly Democratic House can draft Articles of Impeachment even knowing the Senate won’t ever follow through.  That could stop Trump from pardoning his cronies willy-nilly.

Does the United States have a President or a dictator?  The whole world waits with bated breath…

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I’ve noticed a fairly new trend: Democratic party members are starting to inhabit faith-based politics in a way previously seen only in conservative circles.  The Dems have been selling a story about what happened in the 2016 “election” and insisting that everybody agree with the tale.  Progressives, who prefer facts and therefore reject the party line, are written off as “purists.”  If you want to be a mainstream Democrat today, you’ve GOT to subscribe to the ‘Russia-did-it’ story.

I’ve even seen loyalist Democrats in social media gleefully declaring “Fuck the WWC!”  (‘WWC’ is ‘White Working Class.’  In context, they actually mean non-college educated white working class because of their beliefs about who voted for Hillary and who didn’t.  It’s part of the faith message and helps them protect themselves from the reality that many (most?) of those with degrees qualify as ‘white working class’ as well.)  The message they seem to be trying to convince themselves of is that college-educated, party-loyal Dems no longer need the support of independent Progressives.

I’ll tell you this: I suspect they’re trying to press the message because they’re planning on running Hillary again.  I guess time will tell how well that works out for them…

Bizzarro-America Today…

This is kind of funky.  The Guardian has a story, ‘Top Democrats Accuse Trump of Lying About CIA’s Jamal Khashoggi Report.’  That’s the way it starts out, too.  “Senior Democrats in Congress have accused Donald Trump of lying about the CIA’s findings on the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”  They cite Adam Schiff and Jack Reed, both Democrats.  But then, they cite Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah.  They also cite Ben Sasse and Joni Ernst, both Republicans.  So why “Top Democrats…” in the headline?

Is it possible that even Republicans are starting to question the behavior of our National Shame?  They should get the credit they deserve…

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It’s been about a week since we all found out that Ivanka used private email for government business.  That seem like plenty of time for bubble-dwelling conservatives to have come up with all of the various and sundry reasons why Ivanka’s use of private email is totally different from Hillary’s use of private email – and why Ivanka’s case is a-okay with them.

They trotted out the idea that Ivanka didn’t own the server the emails were routed through but it had to go away quickly because anybody who understands these things knows that LESS control over who has access to the server being used is not “better.”  So, I guess we’re left with the unsupported assertions that she has turned them all over and never sent classified information.  Of course, how can we know without an investigation?

Whatever happens, I’m glad I don’t have to listen to “lock her up” anymore.  You know, since the “her” in question could easily be Ivanka…

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The whole freaking country seems to be getting lost in faith-based bubbles these days.  It’s been some time since I realized far-right conservatives had enclosed themselves in a faith bubble of protection against information they dislike.  Recently, I’ve been noticing the same behavior from loyalist Democrats.  It’s important to note, it seems to be specific to Democratic rank-and-file members and not progressives or lefties in general but the seeds are there and starting to sprout.

To THIS day, if you ask a loyalist Democrat about the 2016 “election” and Russian collusion you’ll hear about how the Russians said mean things in social media, revealed “hacked” emails, and how the “purists” (newspeak for progressives who were pissed off at DNC shenanigans) threw a temper-tantrum.  Not one word about the DNC shenanigans themselves, their candidate bragging in coal country about all the coal workers they were going to put out of business, nor quitting the campaign three days before the campaign ended – among other…problems…

Facts?  They don’t need no stinkin’ facts.  Their story of why Hillary lost has become a canon of faith and WILL NOT be questioned…

 

The PG&E Homicides…

Here’s all the proof you need that corporations are NOT, in fact, people: the “person” known as Pacific Gas & Electric, or PG&E, can legitimately be considered a serial arsonist with a steadily increasing body count.  How do we throw him/her/it/them/they/whatever in prison?

PG&E has blown up San Bruno (“only” 8 dead but they were just getting started), burned much of Santa Rosa (at least 41 dead), now destroyed Paradise.  Think about that; PG&E destroyed Paradise.  Um…allegedly…

All of it can be traced to PG&E trying to maximize profit.  They refuse to bury their wires.  Too expensive, they say.  (Please don’t notice, they hope, that they manage to bury their gas lines…)  In one sense, it’s true.  See, PG&E might have to incur the cost of burying the lines and that could impact dividends.  But it’s already definite the rate payers will be forced to cover the costs of the deaths and damages resulting from PG&E corporate choices.

As of this writing, the death toll in Paradise is up to 76 with nearly 1,300 still missing.  Still, some politician (on the take) will stand up to defend and then protect the corporation.  I know the rule in “free market” America: privatized profit and socialized risk.  But how many people have to die in support of PG&E corporate profits before someone intervenes…you know…on PG&E’s victims behalf?

I’ll tell you this: I think it’s past time to hold the officers of PG&E criminally responsible for their destructive, now homicidal choices…

Crapitalism – Video Games

Crapitalism is the tendency of the so-called free market to provide ever-decreasing substance at ever-increasing cost…

I’ve enjoyed video games going all the back to Pong.  I’ve owned several game consoles and dropped many quarters in the arcades.  In the early days, you couldn’t really “beat” a game.  The games were far too simple, very repetitive.  All they did was speed up or add more attackers (or both) until the player finally failed.  All the player could really hope for was high score.  Over time, consoles got more powerful and the games got better.  The graphics were better and the content became more sophisticated.  The idea of a video game became a complete home entertainment experience.

Sadly, as with all things corporate, the games began to be monetized at every opportunity.  Games came with less and less content and FAR more junk.  Many games include things called “cut-scenes.”  Basically, a cut-scene is an animated segment of the game the player(s) just sit and watch.  The player doesn’t get to DO anything during those scenes – just sit and watch.  It should go without saying that I don’t sit down to play a video game just to sit and watch.  If I just want to sit and watch, I’ve got, like, a billion viewing options.  (The cut-scenes are used to sell the games.  In the commercials, when the games look so cool or so realistic – those are cut-scenes.)

As one example, I’ve played a game called ‘John Madden Football’ for nearly as long as I’ve played video games, certainly as long as ‘Madden’ has been made.  I first played it on an IBM 386 on a 5.25″ floppy disk.  Originally, it was just football and playbooks.  I could create my own plays and playbooks and use mine instead of the computer’s.  But as ‘Madden’ ported out to consoles, control over the playbook was reduced, then, effectively rendered useless.  It took awhile to understand why.

It was Crapitalism…

Game company Electronic Arts locked up the rights to exclusive use of the NFL properties.  That pretty much locked out any competition.  Some clever sod in the corporation realized they could monetize more of the game.  They started selling ad space in the game.  In exchange for using the likenesses of the players, EA had to include cut-scenes intended to placate the egos of the players.  Now there are so many of those, the game play is bogged down and just not fun anymore.  The problem has become so pronounced, if you watch televised football, you’ve probably noticed an increase in the number of cute, animated graphics showing up during the game on TV.  They’re product tie-ins to John Madden Football and you can expect to suffer through them in the game soon…

That’s just one example but these days, it’s very difficult to buy any decent video game one can sit at home and play at all, let alone with another friend in the same room.  You can play across the internet with your friends but the option to play while sitting in the same room has been largely eliminated.  The big game companies are moving to online games known Massive Multiplayer Online games or MMO’s.  Why?  The slang colloquialism for MMO’s is “pay-to-win” games.

See in many games, the player has to complete missions in order to increase skills and equipment until they’re ready to confront some big “boss.”  In pay-to-win games, one has to shell out extra money to get the tool or weapon they need.  Technically, it’s possible for a player to acquire the needed object in some other way.  Apparently, that took a lawsuit.  But the free versions of these games are pretty much basic, stripped-down versions and all the cool features are behind pay walls.  Maximum monetizing, right?  Pay to buy the game, pay to subscribe, pay to obtain needed objects.  Pay and pay and pay…

Right now, I own a PlayStation 3 and a PlayStation 4.  PS3 offers better, more complete games but my controllers aren’t quite as dependable as they once were and the good ones are hard to come by – and expensive.  The PS4 controllers work fine but I’m having trouble finding games to play because of all of the above.  So after several decades of playing video games, I can see the end in sight and, to me, it’s a shame.

Crapitalism is destroying the home gaming industry.  Okay, in my opinion, Crapitalism is destroying the home gaming industry.  The corporations are focusing on online play where they can squeeze every last cent out of the players.  Sooner or later, the players will catch on and stop playing (and paying).  As the “popularity” wanes, the industry will blame anything, everything other than the fact that they killed their own golden geese because of their pure, naked greed.

I’ll tell you this:  The Crapitalist tendency to monetize every aspect of every experience is, in reality, a race to the bottom…

 

Paradise Burned…

Not JUST the town, mind you, although that appears to have burned entirely.  California has now suffered through THREE of the worst fires in it’s history.  Tubbs (2017), Mendocino Complex (2018), and Camp (2018).  It’s good that the deniers have assured me Global Warming is all a conspiracy or I might be getting worried.  I DO feel, however, like the Chinese are going to an awful lot of extra trouble to convince people their hoax is real.  Couldn’t they just doctor a video or something?

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Speaking of fires, I see in the news that “President” Dumpster has fired Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a delusional loyalist dedicated to doing the so-called “President’s” bidding.  Nixon tried it but found that men of integrity stood up for the nation.  Sadly, “men of integrity” is an oxymoron in today’s GOP.

The upshot is, partisan AG Matthew Whitaker will likely try to squelch the Mueller investigation into the National Shame’s interactions with Russia in service to his master.  I suspect he’ll succeed, too.  He’ll take the report and refuse to release it.  Simple.  This is going to come down to the Democrats and their control of the House of Representatives.  I wonder if they’ll follow up…

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I’m glad Stacey Abrams is holding strong against Cheatin’ Brian Kemp.  I hope she’s able to force a run-off.  To me, there is currently no greater exemplar of the depths to which Republicans will stoop to cheat than the Georgia Governor’s race.  Kemp did every underhanded, dishonorable, dishonest dirty trick he could think of – and he STILL might not win.  The people of Georgia seem to know what a scumbag Kemp is.  The people of Georgia seem to have preferred Abrams.  They might get stuck with Kemp, anyway.  It’s a flaw in our country’s set-up that a person can cheat so nakedly, so completely, and “win” anyway.

Someone I know said to me, “That should be illegal.”
“It is”, I said. “Lawsuits will be filed and Kemp will lose…but he’ll still get to be Governor.  We don’t punish politicians who cheat so we can pretend we’re ‘protecting the integrity of the vote’.  But there’s no ‘integrity’ in a stolen election…”

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I believe the ‘integrity of the vote’ went out the window with the introduction of voting machines that don’t create a paper trail.  I note that EVERYONE in both parties was paying lip-service to the idea that the Russians might hack into the voting machines and affect the outcome.  I ALSO note that neither party suggested not using the suspect machines until they can be secured and PROVE the ‘integrity’ of their vote counts…

On the up side, we the people likely never “elected” the National Shame at all…

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Democrats turned out in FAR higher numbers than Republicans – which make sense.  There are FAR more lefties than righties out there.  Still, they didn’t win what the numbers would have dictated had the GOP not been cheating so effectively for so long.  In California, we did away with gerrymandering and the obstructionist Republicans went away with it.  I hope to see a concerted effort on the part of Democrats to eliminate gerrymandering everywhere they can.  I doubt I will, though.  The Dems will be loathe to eliminate a “tool” they might benefit from in the future, even if it does undermine democracy.

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Fun fact: the term ‘gerrymander’ was first coined by the ‘Boston Gazette’ in 1812 after a guy named Elbridge Gerry formed a district that was completely partisan and looked roughly like a salamander.  Because of the way he spelled his name, we pronounce the term with a soft ‘g’ – like a ‘j’ sound.  But Elbridge pronounced his name with a hard ‘g’ – like Gary.

Gerry was a conservative, of course, which means the conservatives have been cheating – fearful of leaving their unpopular positions in the hands of the people – since at least 1812…

206 year later?  Paradise burns…

The 2018 Mid-terms…

“Vote ‘no’ on their Proposition or everyone you know will DIE!”
“No, vote ‘yes’ on our Proposition or everyone you know will DIE!”
“It doesn’t do ANYTHING to help veterans…”
(Um…isn’t it about recycling?)
“Your grandma will HATE YOU forever if you vote against this Measure!”
“Nothing less than blood in the streets.”
“If you vote against this, the terrorists have already won!”
“Plagues of bloody water, frogs, and then locusts…”

I guess they’ve been using scare tactics during political campaigns going back to the Bible…probably longer.  I’m over it.  “Election” day is stalking us like a knife-wielding maniac in a slasher film and I’m just trying to get away.  The avalanche of propaganda that has consumed my mailbox continues unabated, offering absolutely zero in the way of information but urging my vote one way or the other anyway – always with some scary outcome if I don’t do as directed.  “For the children!”  Uh-huh.  Repeal a tax on vodka…for the children.  Right, I got it…

I take a circuitous route to my mailbox.  The path I follow allows me to pass right by my garbage can.  The political mailers drop right in as I pass.  Sometimes I wonder about the money some special interest group has invested into the colorful little flyers as I drop them into the can without so much as a glance.  I note that we, the people can never raise enough cash to feed the poor but we always seem to have plenty for less-than-useless, lying little flyers…

“My opponent is:
Sure to tax you into the poor house!
Happy to support corporate rule!
Instantly going to repeal the Constitution!
Tragically misinformed on the issues!”

I’ve already voted.  I think the most important technology Silicon Valley could give us – besides a voting machine that can create an audit report, that is – might be an “opt out” that lets the various interests know that my vote has been cast – so leave me out of the flyers, advertisements, and robocalls from this point forward.  You’re wasting MY time and YOUR money.  Hell, even if you change my mind…it’s too late.  I’ve already got my “participant” sticker!

Vote.  Exercise your franchise.  Do your duty (or, in some cases, “dooty”).  Put it on paper if you can but VOTE!

My understanding is, liberals vote Tuesday and conservatives vote on Wednesday so get out there on your designated day and vote like your future, your very life, depends upon it.

It actually might…