Immoral “Morality…”

Apparently, the UK has a new media player, GB News. They’re far right. From what I hear, the programs are poorly produced and extreme in their views so some on the left aren’t taking it seriously. They should. When the Clinton administration issued a waiver to allow Fox “News” people may not have taken them seriously, either. Fox lost millions of dollars in it’s first few years. It takes a while to radicalize a large enough group to become profitable but Fox managed and this GB News might well manage as well. From that point forward the radicalized crowd become a contrarian force dedicated to the proposition that selfishness is and should be the ultimate human pursuit and if everybody’s selfish enough everything will work out well for everyone. Sure, it’s stupid but it’s a fundamental core of conservative “thought.”

To be sure, the UK has already had it’s share of conservative influence. Hell, conservatives lied their entire country into leaving the EU. The US is ahead of the UK in the hateful, selfish, and stupid media market but, apparently, the UK is bound and determined to catch up. It’s too bad, really…

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So…apparently, conservative “Christians” decided to heckle Mike Pence when he went to speak at the so-called ‘Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in (where else?) Florida. They called him a traitor for not overturning the outcome of the 2020 “election” even though he was QUITE clear about the fact that he had no power or authority to overturn the outcome of the 2020 “election.”

Pence IS a pro politician, though, and just plowed through his prepared speech while security removed the disruptors. Of course, he ALSO hit the highlights of conservative falsehoods and claimed to be fully on board with their positions (with the likely exception of their position that he should be hung for treason). HE thinks he has a chance to run for President in 2024. I don’t think the BASE thinks he has a chance. They still want the dumbass loser. The dumbass loser will continue to threaten to run again in 2024 – so long as it keeps his rubes sending the lazy son-of-a-bitch their hard-earned money…

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OMG, the freaking Catholics… Did you hear that a high ranking official is suggesting that Joe Biden shouldn’t be allowed to take Communion as long as he supports a woman’s right to choose? Still waiting on word of Priests being denied Communion for raping and molesting young boys. It’s the whole “forgiveness” issue and, they will tell you, has absolutely nothing, NOTHING, I tell you, to do with the profitability of the church…

Meanwhile, a woman named Mary Margaret Kreuper, a retired nun in California, got caught using Catholic church funds to support her lifestyle, specifically, her gambling addiction. She was the principal of a Catholic school and had a scheme to siphon money. It worked – to the tune of some $835,000 dollars. Of course, the Catholic church wanted to display some more of that “forgiveness” it’s always on about so they made her promise not to do it again and found her another school she could administer. They moved her quietly so nobody would know about the accusations in her past and gave her access to more of the church’s money. It was quite the compassionate gesture and I’m sure she… Wait, what? Arrested? But, but…the forgiveness…what about the forgiveness?

So, if I have this right, according to the Catholics, you can fuck the kids but DO NOT fuck with the money. Just like Jesus would have wanted…

Circles…

Quick question; can we just make Joe Manchin go away? He’s a moron from West Virginia. He pretends to be a Democrat but only works with Republicans. His (current) job is to make sure the Democrats fail – all while trying to appear “bi-partisan.” “Oh,” whine the Dems, “but we would lose the majority.” Listen, I don’t mean to be a buzzkill here but you don’t HAVE a majority as long as you’re saddled with Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, for that matter. If nothing else, the Dems should withhold electoral support for them but they should ALSO start to claw back any money for those states that comes from the Federal government. I don’t really CARE that Manchin and Sinema claim to be Democrats. They’re Republicans. Let the effin’ Republicans pay for their campaigns…

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So…2 “good guys with guns” get into a dispute in Austin, Texas. They “decide” to settle their dispute using their “good guy guns” because…of course they do. Gun Rights Advocates (GRA’s) ALWAYS think they could take, say, Wild Bill Hickok in a gunfight, given the chance. They couldn’t. In this case, they couldn’t even take each other. They DID manage to shoot fourteen innocent bystanders. The interim police chief there, Joseph Chacon is quoted as saying, “One thing is clear – greater access to firearms does not equal greater public safety.” Well, duh…

Wild Bill was a famous lawman (among other things). He GOT famous cleaning up wild western towns, that is, making them safe for decent people to live out their normal lives. Wyatt Earp had the same reputation. Do you know how they did it? They took everybody’s guns. They didn’t KEEP them, of course. They just had town laws that said you had to surrender your weapons when entering the town. You could pick them back up as you left. That was the pretext of the famous Gunfight at the Okay Corral. The Clanton’s refused to relinquish their guns in town.

I’ve long felt that if anybody could understand the “guns as tools” argument, it would be law enforcement people in the old west but two of our most famous lawmen took the position that, important as they are as tools, they had no place in a civilized society. These were not “anti-gun” men. They just knew stupid when they saw it and allowing drunken men to carry weapons was – and is – stupid.

These days, because of the wrongly decided Heller decision (decided by conservatives so of course it’s wrong), GRA’s will respond with “Those guys were violating people’s Second Amendment rights.” I disagree. They were simply regulating where it may or may not be appropriate to carry guns, an idea perfectly in keeping with the Second Amendment – the “well-regulated” part. And regulating where it may or may not be appropriate to carry guns, an idea perfectly in keeping with the Second Amendment, they cleaned up several famously wild towns.

These days, cons are working as hard as possible to get guns BACK into the hands of any moron who can carry one and the whole freaking country needs “cleaning up” again. I’m sure many will never see the connection…

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According to the ‘USA Today’ (so…take THAT for what it’s worth) a Federal judge in Texas has tossed a case brought by hospital workers at Houston Methodist, the first hospital system in the country to require all of it’s employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Some, deceived by conservative media, didn’t want to. Houston Methodist said they were going to fire anyone who didn’t. They DID fire a couple of managers who had “missed” an earlier deadline for managers and then they put nearly 200 workers on suspension until they get the jab. If the DON’T get it by June21, they’re out. The con workers whined, of course. (They’d done their “research.” No, Karen, reading a meme on the internet is NOT “research.”) Then they filed suit. Now the suit has been tossed. They’re collecting money on a Go Fund Me campaign to appeal.

Those people (the anti-mask whiners) are never going to just do the right thing. And, oh, by the way, there IS a right thing in this case. The world is NOT all about precious little you. You have an obligation to the society in which you live. The group CANNOT reach herd immunity until the effing herd complies, right? You’re making choices for other people you would never allow other people to make for you. Selfish. But I don’t blame them directly. I KNOW most of the rank and file cons are deceived by the infotainment they prefer, the “opinion” machine.

It all brings us back, full circle, to Joe Manchin’s ridiculous pretense that such a thing as bi-partisanship is possible. The cons are SO dedicated to their contrarian positions they’re literally willing to kill themselves and the people around them just to “own a lib.” To me, that’s stupid to a staggering degree…

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As a public service announcement, I’d like to share something I heard on the radio. A woman called into a talk show and said her father had been fully vaccinated, waited through the two-week buildup period, went back to living his life, then contracted Covid-19 and ended up in the hospital with a full-blown case that very nearly killed him. Why? He was taking immunosuppressants for arthritis. They “suppressed” the vaccine. He didn’t have the anti-bodies but he didn’t know it. The medical community is catching on to this but if YOU take immunosuppressants and had the shots, get checked. You MAY not be as safe as you think you are…

Living Their Principles…

Okay, so…a gun rights activist (GRA) judge named Roger T. Benitez has overturned California’s assault weapons ban. He seems to be one of those guys who reads the sentence and comes away with half of it. The Second Amendment says, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” Always-wrong conservatives are SO focused on the last 14 words of that sentence, they completely disregard the first 13. All of this is based on the wrongly decided District of Columbia vs Heller. The cons MADE their faulty decision based on the last 14 words without regarding the impact of the first 13.

GRA’s try to have it both ways. They’ll insist they ARE part of the citizen militia but at the SAME time, they’ll insist the “well-regulated” part doesn’t apply to average citizens. They’re wrong. The Second Amendment was written because the young idealists who founded this once-great nation thought they could get by without a standing army. The idea was, the citizens would fall out to defend the country until a formal army could be raised, trained, and fielded. Really, it was a dumb idea. It was the kind of idea I call a philosophical position. On paper, it SEEMS correct but there IS no practical application. The error of the thinking was first exposed during George Washington’s administration. John Adams, only the second President, realized we needed a navy and built one. Thomas Jefferson, ever the moron conservative, first dismantled Adams’ navy, THEN realized we needed a standing navy after all and began rebuilding it. We’ve had a standing military ever since and the Second Amendment became moot. It should have been removed at that point.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t. Now we have Americans gunning people down at, well, military rates. As we’ve seen over and over and over, one can murder an AWFUL lot of people in just a few seconds, thanks to wrongheaded decisions by the Sour Cream Court and those of the horrifying Roger T. Benitez and his ilk. I find myself hoping that Judge Benitez or one of his loved ones become among the first killed in California by an AR-15 as a result of his ruling… (Quick note to the authorities: this statement is not intended as a threat. I just think people should have to live their “principles…”)

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There’s a golfer, Jon Rahm. He was golfing in a tournament and was playing brilliantly. He was kicking butt and taking no names, just rolling over everyone. Then, on the 18th green, officials came out and told him he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had to drop out of the tournament. Apparently, he doubled over, saying, “Oh, no, not again!” (“Not again?!?”) The media coverage is playing up the emotional angle. How sad he was, what a bummer such a great run was interrupted, that kind of thing. I felt badly for the guy, too. Then I read this in the Guardian: “Players who are fully vaccinated – 14 days past the full vaccination cycle – are not subject to testing as a result of close contact.”

To me, this indicates that his awesome, record-chasing performance was interrupted because Mr. Rahm is an anti-vaccer. Whatever compassion I may have been feeling went right out the window. At this point, anti-vaccers get what they deserve. (That’s why I don’t support all of these bribes being offered by the states to entice people to get on board. No, I know. I understand about herd immunity…) Conservative media convinced Rahm Bill Gates was out to get him so he passed on the vaccine? Really, if conservative’s wrong-headed thinking wasn’t so effing dangerous to children and other living things, it would be fun to watch them walk into wall after wall wondering why their foreheads hurt. Oh yeah, did I mention this guy was closing in on winning a $1.67 million dollar prize? Living his “principles,” I guess, but that’s some expensive stupid…

Could-a Been…

I saw this tweet this morning. Rep. Omar is correct that we need to address the filibuster but I would go with “fix” rather than “abolish.” She doesn’t seem to understand the country she lives in. She’s still buying the facade. But there’s a pattern in this once-great nation. Republicans (really pseudo-republicans) take power and, put simply, destroy everything they can. People start to get angry. As the anger grows, the power base (read: hyper-rich people) gets…concerned. At some point, the Dems are allowed to take power and fix something – but only one thing. They get to do one thing to quell the masses. After that, you can guarantee Republican “wins”, one after another and each “win” destroys something else. My conservative friends would challenge this characterization but I put my faith into journalism, not opinions, so I have a better understanding of how things are playing out than they do. Not because they’re dumb but because they’re completely misinformed and have no clue about actual events.

We’re seeing this play out right now, with the so-called January 6th Commission. Biden got the “stimulus” package. He gets nothing else. As you likely recall (unless you’re one of those pseudo-Republicans) on January 6, 2021 the losing, out-going, so-called “president”, CheetoJesus, the Dumbass, called on his apparatchiks to attack Congress and stop democracy. Being the blindly loyal sheeple they are, they did. And? They failed. The contrarian media went into overdrive, working to convince the lackeys that they hadn’t done what they did. THEY hadn’t attacked Congress. It was someone else. But they were so proud of their “accomplishment” they couldn’t stop bragging so the story failed. WHEN it failed – even the dumbest among us couldn’t accept the idea that it was Antifa disguised as trumpsters – contrarian media went with “It was no ‘attack’ at all. These were just tourists on a peaceful, though unauthorized, visit to the Capitol.” All they had to do was forget the deaths and destruction. Easy.

Dems decided to settle the matter by “investigating” the circumstances of January 6th by creating a bi-partisan commission to look into events of the day. The GOP will have none of it and of course they won’t. The party leaders already KNOW what such a commission would determine. You’d have to be dumb as a trump to come to any other conclusion. So? The GOP stops it. How? Why, by declaring a filibuster.

There was a time when the filibuster was a physical event. One had to physically hold the floor of the Senate long enough to defeat a given bill. It worked sometimes but it was tough and it should be tough. Somewhere along the way on our current path from Republic to Shithole, a filibuster became a declared event. One needed only declare their intent to filibuster and it is treated as successful – whether it would have been or not. When Democrats came to power in 2020 (because the Dumbass was literally killing Americans by the HUNDRED THOUSANDS) they pretended they were going to address the problem of the filibuster. Of course, they took an untenable choice in the matter; leave the filibuster as is, or eliminate it completely. This was always a false option. The correct choice – not even mentioned by most Congress critters, was to return to the talking filibuster. Leave the filibuster in place but make them do the work, take away the lack-of-governance-by-fiat option. That would have worked to create a semi-functional government again. So, of course, the Democrats deferred.

It all looked very political, of course. Will they or won’t they? Can they get that DINO – Munchkin, I think his name is, to do the right thing? (What? Manchin? Joe Manchin is his name? Wait, didn’t he issue a scathing rebuttal about Republican obstruction of the January 6th commission? Okay, but they only got away with it because Manchin refused to correct the filibuster, right? That all looks pretty dog-and-pony to me…)

(As a sidebar, history shows Julius Caesar as some kind of genius mastermind, able to rise to the pinnacle of power and seize the Roman Republic for himself. It’s an image I’ve always accepted. It seemed to make sense. But none of us knew Caesar. Using our current downfall as a guide, Caesar might well have been a complete dumbass simply too stupid, too uncaring, FAR too selfish to understand the kind of damage he was doing. I mean, look at who’s leading the charge in the destruction of America. Donald “the Dumbass” Trump. The “man” has NO redeeming qualities. None. He’s the very definition of the Seven Deadly Sins. He’s pure, unadulterated stupid, and he’s bringing down the United States of America. Not single-handedly, to be sure. He’s got help in the form of other egomaniacal, pompous, self-serving blowhards and Caesar likely did, too. I wonder if Caesar was orange, too…)

Anyway, because Moscow Mitch is capable of uttering the magic word “filibuster” Dems need 60 votes to create the commission, not 51. McConnell has enough control over his simpering, whining, spineless members to prevent ANYTHING from reaching the 60 vote limit. Honestly? I think that’s the intent. It seems obvious to everybody but the willfully blinded that the goal of the Klepto-class is to create a formal aristocracy – a feudal system – with themselves at the top. I’ll tell you this: I suspect – I HOPE – they get a revolution, instead.

Deep Cuts…

The Recall Scam
I recently wrote a piece questioning why the cons are so interested in wasting money on a recall campaign against Gavin Newsom. $400 Million dollars just to be able to say they had brought down another duly elected Democratic governor on false pretenses seems…excessive. I guess I should have thought about it longer because I’ve thought of at least one other thing – and it’s big. Dianne Feinstein. No, I don’t mean Dianne is big. She seems normal sized to me. But you know what else she is? Old. Like, WAY old.

Age, in and of itself, of course, is no indicator of incompetence. I know many people in their 80’s and 90’s who are doing quite well, thank you very much. But the reality is, age doesn’t impact all of us in the same ways and it seems to be taking a harsh toll on the senior Senator from California. There are many reports that she’s not tracking well. To be clear, she’s not Reagan-deep in Alzheimer’s but, according to reports, she’s showing signs of dementia.

So…ONE possible reason to have a Republican governor sitting in the Governor’s chair is that if Feinstein has to step down in the next year or so, a Republican Governor would replace her with a Republican Senator, thereby flipping the balance of power in the Senate and subjecting everyone to more Republican obstruction governance (best described as comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted). That might be worth $400 million dollars to Republicans. (Especially since they don’t have to pay it…)

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Accessory to Murder?
I’ve seen in the news that the people who were supposed to be guarding and monitoring Jeffery Epstein while he was in jail have now admitted that, well, they didn’t. They didn’t guard him. They didn’t protect him. They didn’t even monitor him. For a given period of time, they looked the other way. Then, they falsified the records. Now, the guards have reached a plea deal and they won’t be going to jail for their “failures.” That bothers me. It feels like just one more ‘that doesn’t track’ in a story that, well, just doesn’t track. These guys confess to taking a powder when their primary charge just coincidentally ends up dead and all they face is a slap on the wrist? The official claim is that Epstein hanged himself but there’s a lot of ‘doesn’t track’ around that story. Now, the fact that the jailers were intentionally looking away supports the suspicion that Epstein, perhaps, did not kill himself. That Epstein guy clearly threatened a LOT of very rich and very powerful people. That’s all we know for sure…

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B-sides and Deep Cuts
I write songs. No, nothing you’ve ever heard but I write ’em anyway. Sometimes, I write a song and think, “Well, maybe it’s a B-side.” The phrase is archaic. (Sadly, in many ways, so am I…) I recently purchased a new CD player. (Yes, really.) I popped in a disc (Why yes, I DO still have discs) and went about my business. I did NOT push the magic “shuffle” button. I was just listening to the collection of music put out by a given musician – the albums.

While I was listening, I had a realization. We have lost (or very nearly lost) something we didn’t even realize we were losing: B-sides and Deep Cuts. See, in the old days (dinosaurs pulling our Conestoga wagons while we listened to our 45’s) people bought music in, basically, one of two formats. Either you bought a full album (10 – 15 songs) or you bought the 45, a “single” track, the hit song. An artist (or group) would go out and record a collection of music. A team of professionals from the record company would pick and choose the “best” songs and put them in the collection AND pick which of the songs had the greatest “hit” potential. The song chosen by the “experts” would then be the radio song the record company put out to promote the album. It usually became the most well-known song on the album.

Commonly, though, it was NOT the BEST song. It was just the most commercial song, the song the company thought would make the most money. I can’t tell you how many times I discovered songs on an album that I liked FAR more than the “headline” song. (In fairness, some albums were pure crap but for the “hit”…) Vinyl discs back then were two-sided beasts. One would listen to one side, then physically turn the disc over and listen to the other side. The two were usually labeled ‘Side A’ and ‘Side B,’ see? Even if you bought only the 45, the song you wanted was the A-side but the format required a song on the other side, too. So, they’d slap on a song nobody expected to be a commercial success and sent the thing out.

The experts weren’t always right about the commercial successes. Elvis Presley’s version of ‘Hound Dog’ was originally a B-side of ‘Don’t Be Cruel.’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was a B-side to ‘Honky Tonk Woman.’ Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ was a B-side to ‘Reason To Believe.’ The Beatles, it seems, never even tried for the knock-off B-side. They have several B-side songs that became famous. (‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Revolution’) I play rhythm guitar and sing in a band and we recently decided to learn a Led Zeppelin song called “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?” I mentioned it to one of my known Led Zeppelin fan friends who didn’t even recognize the name. When I looked into why, it turned out the song was a B-side of a song Zep released in 1970 but only in the UK and it was never included on any album during the Led Zeppelin heyday. It was finally released in the US in the 1990’s in a boxed set.

And those are just the singles, the 45s. When one put on an entire album it was common to find songs buried in the collection that appealed more or were just plain better songs – if not more commercial songs. THOSE were called “Deep Cuts.” Some of my all-time favorite songs are Deep Cuts – songs few, if any, people would ever had heard in an environment of selling only the hits – the environment we live in today. By and large, people don’t listen to collections anymore. Heard a song you like? Log onto iTunes and download the hit. That’s it, that’s what you get. Not even a B-side.

There’s one more album phenomenon that has been lost – concept albums. From time to time, an artist would write a collection of songs that, together, told an entire story. Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ is one. The Who had one called ‘Tommy’ that actually became a movie and a play. One of my personal favorites is from Alice Cooper and is called ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell.’ It’s just a “then I woke up” story but it’s all done in a collection of songs, any one of which stands alone as an individual song. (That particular album produced ‘I’ll Never Cry,’ one of Cooper’s bigger hits.)

It leaves a guy like me wondering how much great music we’re missing out on because some record executive out there doesn’t see commercial potential…

Governing…

I keep seeing stories saying Matthew McConaughey is going to run for governor of Texas. I have nothing against Mr. McConaughey. He seems like a smart, well-informed guy. But…he IS an actor. One would think, after the debacle that was the CheetoJesus, most Americans would be over the, “Hey, let’s elect someone who hasn’t got a clue!” trend. What other job do you hire for based on the notion that the prospective candidate has never done it – or anything LIKE it? On the job training as Governor of Texas seems like a risky ploy at best. In fairness, the last few governors of Texas have SEEMED like they had no clue about how to govern, either, so maybe Matthew’s lack of experience won’t matter.

Here in California, we have our own gubernatorial problems. No, despite what the cons say, the problem is not Newsom. In fact, I would say the problem IS the cons. They managed, in the conservative corners of the state, to get a recall on the ballot because the bar to initiate a recall is so low. As we already know, the conservatives KNOW they can’t win with ideas so they’ve turned to cheating in every way possible. Technically, initiating a recall isn’t cheating. It’s more of an attempted “work-around.” It’s also a waste of time and money.

Even if a con wins, he or she won’t have time to actually DO anything – particularly with a Democratic controlled legislature. It will be a less-than-one year posting. Then? A whole new election takes place. So I’m not sure I see the point beyond being able to claim they did it. They MAY be able to stop something here and there but even that’s not likely. Hell, they won’t even have time to engage in their favorite pastime, harming defenseless people.

Everyone assumes Gavin has his eye on the Oval Office. He has been a steady political climber going way back. (OMG, he has…experience? The horror!) THAT is probably the biggest reason to move forward with this waste of resources, the potential harm it might do to Gavin Newsom’s political future. (It won’t.) My prediction is that Gavin is going to survive the recall attempt. Rational people know that the Covid-19 response was a top-down fiasco. When CheetoJesus so completely mismanaged…well, the country, really, but the initial pandemic, most governors had to scramble and create programs as they went. There was some confusion. Things didn’t go as well as they should have, could have, or even did in the past. Most people recognize that as a breakdown of leadership from the Dumbass, not from Newsom.

Truthfully, I think the cons blew this one. EVERYONE was angry at Gavin’s French Laundry error. His own party might have voted him out, given the chance. But with the cons running around this once-great nation undermining elections and the process and doing everything they can to distort reality, people were forced to re-think their positions on Newsom. In truth, I think the cons did Newsom a great favor. The recall-without-basis effort put the French Laundry misstep into perspective. Yeah, sure, it was stupid – arrogant, even. Rich people being rich people. But when forced to confront the alternatives, maybe not so bad, after all. I wrote at the time that it was going to be an expensive mistake and now we’re looking at a possible 400 million dollar expenditure for a recall election to remove him one year early. (He CAN run again in the next, normal Gubernatorial race.) But I’m laying the wasted money at the feet of the cons. There was no need for this.

If YOU want to be governor and you’re an American citizen who has NOT completed two full terms as California Governor and who has never been convicted of offering or accepting bribes or embezzlement, all you have to do is pay the $3,916.12 filing fee and – voila! – you’re on the ballot. The tricky part will be getting the most votes. That part is up to you.

The field is still fleshing out but so far, the cons who want to get in the easy way consist of the former Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer – buddies with pseudo-GOP trumpster Kevin McCarthy. I’m sure the trump connection will serve him well in California.

Also on offer? Businessman John Cox, the guy Newsom beat (destroyed, really) in the last race. Conservatives still think a businessman (emphasis on “man”) is the best person for the job because both business and governing use the words “fiscal” and “budget” so, as far as conservatives are concerned, both jobs are exactly the same! Smart people know they are not the same. He has run for – and LOST – a LOT of offices both nationally and in California. THIS time around he’s using a caged or tethered live bear as a political prop. I MIGHT give him a sympathy vote if the bear attacks him. (No. Really, I’d applaud the bear…)

There’s also a businessman named Doug Ose running. He served in the House of Representatives during the Bush 43 maladministration so at least he has some political experience which, by definition, disqualifies him among the conservative base AND exposes him as a far-right con to everyone else.

Also able to pony up $4,000 – Caitlyn Jenner is running. No. Nobody asked her to. Caitlyn Jenner is a transsexual woman who has come out publicly AGAINST transsexual issues. She’s not likely to garner support from the transsexual crowd if she stands against them. She’s not likely to garner support from mainstream conservatives BECAUSE of her transsexual status, convinced as they are that she only did it so she could go into women’s restrooms, and she’s not likely to garner support from thinking Californians because we already know her to be a bat-shit crazy trumpster. On the up side, California has $4,000 dollars it didn’t have before…

I’ll be voting ‘no’ on the recall. But the second half of the ballot requires the voter to choose who should succeed Newsom should he be recalled. I hope you’ll join me in casting YOUR ballot for retired porn actress Mary Carey.

A photo of Mary Carey

No, I’ve never seen her work. She last ran for Governor in 2003, when Gray Davis was being recalled. She apparently has a plan to address ALL of California’s “hot-button” issues. She wants to tax breast implants (which, presumably, would cost her a LOT of money) but make lap dances tax deductible. (I confess, I’m not clear on exactly WHO gets the deduction.) She wants to create a “porn-for-pistols” program in an effort to fight gun violence. She wants to let bars stay open until 4 am. She wants to make people receiving unemployment checks do jury duty for their “pay.” She also wants to stand up to John Ashcroft’s attacks on the porn industry AND she wants to address the AIDS epidemic. Yeah, it’s a little difficult getting up-to-the-minute details on some of her…um…positions.

I’ll tell you this: I don’t think she’s qualified and even SHE acknowledges the recall is a waste of time and resources but if Californians are going to get screwed in this thing at least it will be by someone who knows what she’s doing…

Party’s Over…

Like many people in this once-great nation, I’ve been watching the Liz Cheney debacle play out and wondering if the Republican party was going to be able to save itself. Then I remembered. Donald Trump destroys everything he touches. Everything. Donald Trump has very definitely touched the Republican Party. The Republican Party is doomed. But not to oblivion. There will still be a Republican Party. It will just have no more credibility than the Libertarian Party. Most people don’t even realize there IS a Libertarian Party. It will take awhile for the Republican Party to fall to that kind of obscurity but they’ll manage.

In the meantime, rational conservatives, once-Republicans, are saying they’ll start a new party. It won’t do any good. The Libertarians who infiltrated and brought down the Republican Party will just follow the “Rationals” to where ever they go and do the same damage there…

The Tyranny of the Minority…

I have recently seen many stories about how Liz Cheney is in the crosshairs of the Republican party for supporting the impeachment of the orange moron, Cheetojesus. The left has come out with a “maybe we don’t like Liz because she’s a Cheney and, as such, has done bad things.” It’s a fair point. I don’t like or trust the Cheneys. But in this case, she did the right thing. Now she’s being pilloried by her own team – for doing the right thing – and the left is wondering if they should try to come to her defense – after she did the right thing. I think we should ALWAYS stand for the right thing, even if it comes from someone we don’t like. Correct information is correct information regardless of the source.

If someone is going to “get” Liz Cheney, let it be for some wrongdoing, not for standing up for the right thing…

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I suppose we owe Donnie Dumbass a thank-you. No, really. Putting it nicely, I’d say the Dumbass represents the far-right extreme of political philosophy, the Libertarians. Now, to be sure, he presented as a Republican. This is because the Libertarians infiltrated and usurped the Republican party. But the Dumbass represents the closest thing the Libertarians will ever have in the way of Presidents – and he was easily the worst President ever to pollute the Oval Office. He failed at everything he touched and destroyed everything he could. He showed the world there is no place for Libertarian politics in the real world. He proved that while Libertarianism can be made to look good on paper, there is no practical application. Old school Republicans – the rational conservatives – fled the party. People who continue to cling to the failed Libertarian philosophy are operating outside of rational reality. It’s a sort of fever-dream…

Having been exposed as a party of preferential thinking by their ongoing and dedicated support for Donnie Dumbass, the Libertarian RINOS who usurped the Republican Party have had increasing difficulty getting votes. (‘RINO’ is an acronym meaning ‘Republican In Name Only.’ There are DINOS, too – Democrats in Name Only. It’s meant to be derogatory but it effectively identifies people who operate as members of one party while doing the bidding of another party…) As pointed out, rational Republicans fled the party, leaving only the RINOS. So, the remainders (Hillary’s actual “deplorables”) have done what ethics-challenged, self-serving, intellectually incurious people ALWAYS do. They’ve decided to cheat. It’s kind of an expected step on their road back to obscurity. With all the new voter suppression laws the “Republicans” are passing across this once-great nation, it seems they’ve decided to drop all pretense at honesty and just cheat outright – all while pointing the finger of cheating at Dems, of course.

In one sense, it’s comforting. At least we don’t have to try to plow through the landscape of bullshit meant to present the fraudulent picture of “competing ideas.” This is just naked, partisan power grabbing, exposed by Trump and now available for all to see. That is to say, they’ve become more honest about their dishonesty. Somehow, I find that refreshing…

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Speaking of cons working to manipulate the system, the recall of Gavin Newsom has advanced to the ballot. This whole thing is being driven by cons. They think they see an opportunity. As we’ve already seen, they KNOW they can’t win on the strength of their ideas so they’re going to go with whatever is left. In this case, California has ridiculously low standards for recalling a governor. The rule is, the backers of a recall have to collect valid signatures from 12 percent of the voters in the last gubernatorial election. In this case, that number is about 1.5 million signatures. Now, the total population of California as of 2019 was 39.5 million people. If I’ve done my math correctly (and you really should check) 1.5 million signatures represents about 3.7 percent of California’s population. In my mind, the threshold number for a recall should represent at least 10 percent of the state – or about 3.95 million signatures. Even at THAT, the message is, “Oh, 90% of you are happy? Well, we’re not! Long live the tyranny of the minority!”

I think, particularly in this current environment where so many have succumbed to the misrepresentations of the conservative media, it would be EASY to find 1.5 million Californians disgruntled about, well, everything, really. And, as it happens, the signatures came from the most conservative regions of the state, with Amador county leading the way. Most of the signatures came from the pseudo-State of Jefferson – a region of Northern California SO conservative they think they’d do better on their own (they wouldn’t) so they created this “state” and yearn to live free in it, lucky they don’t have to.

A recent Public Policy Institute poll showed that 56% of Californians oppose the recall. But now ALL Californians are going to spend up to 400 million dollars for a recall only 4% of the people want! If they succeed, they remove the current governor for one year. One. Then we get to do it again next year. Worse, this is the sixth recall attempt against Newsom. Newsom opponents started almost the day he was inaugurated. Supporters of getting rid of Newsom have never come close to reaching the number they need to recall the governor until this attempt but even THIS attempt would have failed if an activist judge hadn’t stepped in and given the backers an extra four months to gather signatures. (I DID tell you Newsom’s French Laundry visit was going to be the most expensive meal in history, yes?)

It’s a waste of time and a waste of money. I’m not happy with everything Newsom has done – because he’s not perfect – but I don’t support a recall. Still, the Libertarian RINOS know this may be the only chance they have…

Raise Rates…

I have to tell you, I’m a little surprised at the Biden administration so far. He keeps doing things – or trying to do things – I like. None of them are radical, though you would never know that talking to a con. To me, he’s kind of doing things the left SHOULD do and should have been doing all along. By now, anybody with an historical bent and intellectual honesty knows that Bill Clinton took the Democratic party to the right of center – I’ve said many times that Clinton was the best president the Republicans have had in decades – and it has kind of stayed there ever since. (I really do enjoy listening to cons complaining about “far left” policies. There IS no viable “far left” in the US.) So, when I cast my ballot for Biden it wasn’t because I expected him to do anything I would admire. It was because he wasn’t Donald Trump. I mean, it really WAS that simple. I’m sure that’s the case for most of us who voted with the Democrats.

I should add, I wasn’t anti-Biden. I planned to vote for Biden the first time he ran for office. That would be 1988. He got sidelined in that campaign by a plagiarism scandal. (Plagiarism? How quaint…) Afterwards, though, he pretty much went along with the Democratic tide. He supported things I didn’t like and things I expected to be problems. (They were.) So, when he moved to the front of the pack in 2020, I was not excited. But, again, he wasn’t Trump. All I was hoping for was normalcy; peace and quiet for a few years. But Biden has stepped up with some rather progressive programs. It’s important to note that Clinton got away with his “faux Republican Presidency” because people had become exasperated by the actual Republicans. So when the charismatic Clinton smiled and promised to focus on our pain like a laser beam, we all relaxed, breathed a sigh of relief, and went about our business. While nobody was paying attention, Clinton was enacting and supporting conservative policies like a spawn of Goldwater. That little aside is to acknowledge the possibility that Biden might be up to the same tricks but I haven’t seen it, yet.

One of the things Biden is going to have to do is pay for his programs and to this end he’s talking about raising the Capital Gains tax. This is a good thing and I hope he can. DINO’s Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are likely to be a problem, though. Through the course of America’s Neo-liberal nightmare the tax laws have changed to make rich people richer and richer and leave the ever-expanding lower class struggling. High taxes on the wealthy once created the greatest middle class the world had ever seen. Now that middle class is shrinking and, left unchecked, will, at some point, become a very small class dedicated to serving the wealthy – at the pleasure of the wealthy. One of their best tricks was to use the Capital Gains tax cuts.

As painlessly as possible, there are two types of income, earned and unearned. They are just what they sound like. Money you get paid from going to work is earned income. (Duh!) Money you get from someone else’s work is unearned income. That is, you didn’t have to DO anything for that money. You made an investment and held it for awhile. The value of the investment grew (because somebody, somewhere was working) you cashed out the investment and – viola! – you made money. But you didn’t EARN the money. You just kept the money. So, our corrupt Congress critters changed the tax laws and made the Capital Gains tax rate lower – FAR lower in many cases – than the earned income tax rate.

But that was just step one. Step two was to change laws so, say, a CEO could be compensated with company stocks. See, the story was, if the income of the CEO was dependent on the performance of the CEO, the CEO would do everything in his power to protect stock prices. That story did NOT include the reality that depressing wages for the workers – the people producing the revenues in the first place – is a GREAT way to improve a company’s bottom line and increase the stock price which, in turn, makes the CEO that much richer, you see? The more harm he does to his employees, the greater the benefit he brings to himself. Sure, it’s a crap system but of course it is. It was built by the people who stand to benefit from it the most. But wait, there’s more. See, when it’s time for the CEO to pay taxes on the income he kept (from the work YOU did), much of his income came in the form of stock, which means he pays the Capital Gains rate, currently 20% for the richest rich people. Compare that to the 37% those same people would pay for earned income – if they actually earned anything. (By the way, these are book rates – where the rate starts. Effective rates – what people actually pay – are always lower…)

I’ve long held a position I call “Backs or Bucks.” It holds that everyone who can should contribute to the society in which we live. People who work contribute to society with their backs, that is, the work they do. People who only move money around should, by rights, contribute to society with bucks. This means investment tax rates should always be higher than earned income rates, at least to my mind. For the vast majority of Americans, the largest Capital Gain they’ll ever realize in their puny little lifetimes is from the sale of a house. This obvious truth can be addressed with a progressive rate structure. That is, the first, say, $500,000 in gains might not be taxed at all, with the next $500,000 taxed at, say, 5%. So for the first MILLION dollars in Capital Gains, one would pay 2.5% in taxes. After that, it should go up. WAY up.

Always-wrong conservatives rend garments at the suggestion and cry out that higher taxes will be job killers. As usual, there’s no evidence to support their pretended belief. In fact, the only available evidence indicates that high taxes on the wealthy cause them to actually do what they always promise low taxes might someday encourage them to do. The upside to the conservative contrarianism is that when they start predicting disaster, you can take comfort that there will be no disaster and that the tax increase is the right thing to do.

Of course, conservative media will start in about how such a tax increase will harm the average American. It won’t. Biden’s proposed tax increase will only affect you if your primary compensation comes in the form of stock. Most likely, yours doesn’t. Most likely, you get a paycheck. Most likely, you pay more in income taxes (as a percent of income) than, say, Jeff Bezos and that’s just wrong. Biden wants to fix it. I think working Americans should support the effort. Call your Congress critter. He or she is likely rolling in dough they took from unearned income so it’s going to be difficult to get them to do this, but the future of a once-great nation depends upon it…

Purges…

I’m very happy Chauvin got convicted on all counts. I’m also quite distressed that it took SO MUCH evidence. For NINE DAYS the Prosecution presented witness after witness. The legal folks, trainers, fellow officers, his boss, all testifying that Chauvin did NOT use proper procedure. He violated his training. The medical folks all testified that Mr. Floyd’s health conditions and drug history played no part in his death and that he died because people were sitting on him in the prone position for nine minutes. The defense? Well, they had to do something so they brought in a guy to say the use of force displayed looked okay to him (he wasn’t the one being sat on, however) and another who said that maybe it was the drugs and then rested. All of this AFTER the video that made so clear that Chauvin murdered Floyd. STILL, everyone was holding their collective breath. What would the jury do?

I think Chauvin went to trial because he’s used to the notion that Minneapolis cops don’t get convicted of killing black people. He was arrogant at the scene. He was arrogant taking a trial instead of a plea bargain. He was arrogant in the courtroom. He just didn’t seem to believe it was possible for him to be convicted.

I suppose now his fellows will accept plea bargains.

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My favorite definition of a Libertarian is a conservative who likes to smoke pot but that is really just a playful description. The truth is Libertarians believe in a kind of perfect freedom – for themselves, anyway. It’s a kind of perfect freedom that does not – CAN not – exist in a society because of the old ‘Fist-to-Nose’ allegory. Libertarians believe in their absolute, perfect right to swing their fist anytime they want, any place they want. It takes no time at all to see the flaw in the “logic.” What happens when their perfect freedom to swing their fist comes into conflict with my perfect freedom to not be hit?

Of course, it’s possible Mr. Fistswinger and Mr. Nohit can talk about it and come to some accommodation – an agreement that respects each other’s perfect freedom without infringing on it. But what happens when someone insists on their own perfect freedom to swing their fist and refuses to acknowledge MY perfect freedom to not be hit? Obviously, that’s where courts come in. The courts rule: your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. You may not violate MY rights in the pursuit of your own perfect right. This is simply a balancing of rights that MUST occur in a society in which people interact. But Mr. Fistswinger refuses to accept this balance and storms off – angry, swearing, and whining that his perfect right has been infringed.

Frankly, I think it’s probably been people of the Libertarian mindset that spread humans across the globe. As governing rules are imposed on a society, the Libertarian…leaves. They would not acknowledge the need to balance rights so, in an effort to secure their own perfect right, they just went somewhere people weren’t. Eventually, civilization followed, the Libertarian felt closed in by new rules, and off they went again. It’s actually a pretty workable solution – so long as there exists someplace “new” for the Libertarian to go. Obviously, though, they eventually ran out of “new” places and society overtook them.

Eventually, that mindset got lumped together into a group and given a name: Libertarian. Inevitably, the Libertarians formed a political party of the same name. The party has existed since 1971 but they’ve never done well in elections. The BEST they ever did was in 1980 when they captured about one percent of the national vote but they’ve never been able to repeat that “success.” My own thinking is that they don’t do better because people understand how unrealistic the ideas of the Libertarians are. It’s not that they’re wrong, per se. But there is no practical application for perfect freedom in a society, as we’ve already seen.

After 1980, this vile pseudo-human known as Charles Koch realized that nobody was ever going to take the Libertarian party seriously so he did what any self-serving, one-percenter might do: he lied. He, along with his brother, David, started funding “think tanks” like the Cato Institute. These were not true think tanks, though. These were disinformation machines conceived, intended, and created to inject disinformation into the body politic. THEY knew they were lying. The consumers of their drivel did not. The idea was to “mainstream” Libertarian thinking by making it appear more credible than it ever actually is. But they didn’t stop there.

From time to time, some clever sod will go out and buy an old, surplus Army uniform and some medals and tell everyone they served and earned the medals even though they didn’t. The practice is referred to as “Stolen Honor.” In the same way, Charles realized people were not likely to embrace the Libertarian party since their impractical reputation preceded them. So, slowly, Libertarians started registering as Republicans and running under the more respectable banner of the GOP, a kind of “Stolen Respectability.” People didn’t realize what was happening but they DID notice that the Republicans of this once-great nation had become a bit…unhinged.

As time went on, once-mainstream Republicans – the rational Republicans – began to leave the party. They didn’t move to the now center-right Democratic party where they might have felt quite at home. They just became independents. But this left the faux-Republicans running the GOP. We’ve all seen the results. The GOP is now as bat-shit crazy as the Libertarian Party ever was – and for the same reason: it’s full of Libertarians. I’d say the scheme was, overall, successful. The Libertarians FINALLY got their President, Donald Trump. The world saw Libertarian “thinking” in action as Trump simply ignored science and other realities and tried to impose his preferences on real life. (Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.) Conservative “news” outlets, built to stoke Libertarian contrarianism, continued to lie and present the Trump presidency as successful. These lies all culminated in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol building as domestic terrorists who saw themselves as “Patriots” tried to overturn a “stolen” election that bears absolutely NO evidence of having been stolen.

The after-effect has been…eye opening. The media continues to report on what “Republicans” think about this or that issue but, mostly, nobody cares anymore. People seem to have realized that today’s Republican Party is a sorry shell of it’s former self. It’s like the Trump years and the Capitol assault caused the scales to fall from the nation’s eyes. Sure, the Libertarians managed some temporary success with their stolen respectability but they’re essentially barbarians and it’s not easy for a barbarian to behave as a civilized person for very long. People have long understood the Libertarian Party was full of useless wishful thinkers and it’s now normal to see the Republicans the same way – useless. The Libertarians marginalized themselves in the Libertarian Party and now they’ve very nearly marginalized themselves and the GOP as well.

The truth is, I’ve never had much use for political parties but I understand that people like to organize themselves into like-minded groups so political parties seem inevitable. Right now, there’s a strong push for more progressive thinking. (Progressive thinking is always the way the country recovers after some GOP – or in this case, Libertarian – dimwit has been in the Oval Office.) You might think this idea, progressive thinking, appeals to me. Okay, it does. I prefer a nation that seems to be at least trying to do the right thing. But…I have concerns about a party – any party – being the only realistic game in town. This once-great nation has NEVER truly been a so-called “two party” system. It’s just that we only had two parties that seemed, you know, sane. The Communists did okay when they first showed up – until people understood Communism. The Libertarians followed the same path. Their start was as strong as they were ever going to be. The Green Party? They’ve never even really had a strong start. People don’t seem to know what the Green Party is about – mostly because the Green Party doesn’t seem to know what the Green Party is about.

Like it or not, we’ve had two realistic possibilities for party affiliation for those who feel the need, Democrats and Republicans – and now the Republicans are every bit as useless as the other outliers, leaving the Democrats as the only rational and realistic option. That’s dangerous. Honest debate about honest concerns is better for governing. (This, as opposed to just stringing together words that can sound correct but actually make no sense.) Rational Republicans leaving the fold seems to have been inevitable as the Libertarians usurped (and tarnished) the GOP but I think it’s time for the rational Republicans to come back and push the Libertarians back to where they belong: obscurity.

I’ll tell you this: sooner or later, any unchallenged party will go too far – or even just make a well-meaning but honest mistake. Having someone around to at least mention possible issues is an effective stopgap – but that “someone” has to have credibility and the only way that’s going to happen is if the GOP recovers some honest respectability. They can’t do it with Libertarians in their midst…