It’s Insulting, Really…

The trend on this thing has gotten out of control and we seem to be losing the overall point.  After much consideration, I realized I was part of the problem and I intend to correct that right now.  I mean, it’s been unfair.  It’s such an…humiliating debasement…I mean, really insulting.  Nobody deserves that.  SO…as of this moment, I hereby swear (or affirm) that I will no longer play along.  No matter what, I refuse to support the notion that my conservative brethren are nearly as stupid as they’re pretending to be.

You’re welcome…

See, I know that YOU know the #takeaknee protest is about rogue cops getting away with killing defenseless people – mostly, people of color.  I ALSO know you’re aware that taking the actual opposite position – no, it’s okay that cops kill defenseless people, so long as they mostly stick to people of color – is what used to be called a “heavy lift”…rather a tough sell.  SO…if you’re going to oppose a position for no reason other than it seems to be a progressive position – and you are – you have no choice, really, but to change the subject.

To that end, I’m forced to offer hesitant congratulations.  This whole “disrespect the flag” bullshit has proven to be a successful pivot.  But when one really thinks about it, it means you have to bring dishonor to your name and your family by pretending your wee tiny brain is just not up to the task of comprehending the complex nuances behind objecting to rogue cops getting away with killing defenseless people – mostly, people of color.

It’s got to be embarrassing, pretending you don’t grasp the details of the protest because of when and where it takes place.  After all, when protestors block a highway during the commute, do you assume they’ve done so because they don’t like the highway?  No, you don’t.  You know better.  And you know better than to accept that this protest has anything to do with the flag or the National Anthem.

Besides, I don’t believe your newfound dedication to country, either.  Conservatives have been heaping scorn, hatred, and disrespect – REAL disrespect – on the government of this once-great nation ever since that traitor Reagan introduced you to the idea that the scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  (I’m guessing the Texicans and Florides are holding their tongues for the moment but I have high confidence they’ll be back as soon as the government has bailed them out.  It’s the conservative way…)

Of course, conservatives LOVE the flag more than just about anything – even as they continue to build their own personal armories for that ‘inevitable’ day when they have to take up arms and violently overthrow the government their beloved flag symbolizes.  See why it doesn’t track for me?  NOBODY disrespects the American government as energetically, as enthusiastically, as conservatives.  Nobody…

So now that the distraction has been eliminated we can get back to the real conversation at hand.  I think allowing rogue cops to get away with killing defenseless people – mostly, people of color – is a bad thing.  And YOU no longer have to pretend your opposition has anything to do with anything other than your support for cops killing defenseless people of color.  Again…

You’re welcome…

Disrespecting the Dotard…

Like most people in the civilized world today, I’m laughing at Donald Trump.  He held one of his “Inflame the Deplorables” rallies a few days ago during which he suggested that the next NFL player to take a knee during the National Anthem should be fired.  He referred to them as sons of bitches and received HUGE applause from his…”basket.”  Cut to the following Sunday, many (most?) players either take a knee or lock arms in solidarity with the players who take a knee.  A few teams simply didn’t come out for the National Anthem.

Trump lives inside the conservative bubble.  Like everyone who dwells inside the conservative bubble, he has twisted understanding of the world around him.  The protest is simple and straightforward.  Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to protest bad cops getting away with shooting unarmed people.  The victims of such shootings tend to be people of color.  But inside the conservative bubble the action has been represented as an insult to the American flag and Trump lives inside the conservative bubble.  So, he’s more “offended” by the peaceful protests than by the shootings.  I think you’ve missed the point, there, Don…

Conservatives have been talking up a “boycott” of the NFL over the whole take-a-knee thing.  Interesting timing.  The NFL has done itself some serious damage.  They’ve supersaturated their markets.  They’ve been arrogant in their dealings with local cities and fan bases.  They’ve taken to charging usury amounts on their tickets and – before you can overpay for your seats – you have to buy a “seat license”.  That is, you have to pay for the opportunity to get screwed by the NFL.  On TV, the games have WAY too much “dead time”, mostly too many commercials.  I suspect, on some level, as people are becoming more and more aware that the players are out their performing spectacular feats of athleticism – oh, and giving themselves serious, permanent brain damage – the game is just getting more…difficult to watch.
“That was a GREAT catch, Dan!”
“It sure was, Bob.  Uh-oh, it looks as though he’s going into the ‘Concussion Protocol’…”
“Shortened his life a bit, did he?”
“Sure did, Bob – by a few years…but it was a spectacular catch…”

The conservative bubble has it all down to “politicizing the game.”  Newsflash: playing the National Anthem before each game – complete with a flyover of fighter jets in formation spewing red, white, and blue smoke – has pretty much been “politicizing the game” since…well, since the practice started…

Apparently, some people – conservatives, presumably – started yelling slurs and taunts at the kneeling players.  I’m not sure why shouting epithets at the top of one’s lungs during the National Anthem is NOT disrespecting the flag.  I guess you’d have to live inside the conservative bubble to understand…

It’s funny, in calling for the boycott, Trump has done something the NFL, itself, couldn’t do: bring back viewers, at least for the pregame.  I tuned in specifically to see how the players would react.  I confess, I was NOT disappointed.  I’ll tune in again next Sunday, as well.  I’m interested to see how long the complete repudiation of the Dotard in Chief lasts…

Correcting the Omission…

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but when one writes a blog, there’s nobody to tell them what to write or when.  Nor are there editors to tighten the narrative or catch spelling and usage errors.  Good and bad.  The truth is, I don’t limit myself in subject.  I might write about anything at any time.  But, if you’ve read much of my work, you would have to agree I focus on politics.  A LOT.  So it seems strange that, after all this time, I’ve failed to address the single most important political question in the western world.  It’s the question on every person’s lips – and I’ve written zilch on the topic.

It hasn’t been an oversight, so much.  I’ve even known that sooner or later, I was going to weigh in.  We all have opinions.  According to Francis Bacon (no relation) the sheer number of opinions stands as testament to the number that must be wrong.  Still, I’ve been hesitant to say, partly, because it involves a prediction.  I’m MUCH better at matching history with current events and extrapolating from there and we’re simply not in far enough to know for sure.  But after much consideration, and I mean a ridiculous amount, I’m ready to take a position, bold and outlandish as it may seem.  So, as they say, here goes nothin’…

I think Tyrion Lannister is going to end up on the Iron Throne.  I expect that statement received one of two responses: one, “Who, on the what?” and two, “TYRION?!?” (It’s even said with the two question marks and the exclamation point.)  If you’re in the ‘who on the what’ crowd, this essay probably isn’t for you.  You’ve got seven seasons of catching up to do and I may introduce spoilers.  But if you DO know what I’m talking about – and which civilized person in the western world doesn’t – allow me to explain WHY I expect Tyrion to “win” the Game of Thrones…

I’ve heard people opine that Peter Dinklage is the best actor on the show.  I don’t know if that’s true.  Sure, he’s VERY good but he really benefits from a great role.  His is the most fun and probably the most fun to write.  But if your character is supposed to be a pent up, play-it-close-to-the-vest type, NOT being so broad as an actor or likeable as a character actually IS great acting.  Tough call.  Too subjective.

As it happens, my hypothesis began with a simple observation: Peter Dinklage, the actor who portrays Tyrion, always receives top billing.  Okay, so…not ALWAYS.  Season One stands as an outlier but even then he received what might be called “highlighted billing.”  So, let’s talk about actors for a moment.

I’m not one.  Nor do I play one on TV.  I’ve known some – but the local kind, not the kind whose agents argue with producers about credits – or even the kind with agents.  So, consider yourself fully engulfed in the wonderful world of theoretical speculation.  One of the things I think actors seriously think about is billing – where their name appears in relation to where everyone else’s name is going to appear as the movie or TV show begins.  For the actors, it’s a matter of importance – meaning, if you get top billing (your name appears first) you’re the most important.  But there’s a nuance to that – the “highlighted billing” I mentioned before.  (I imagine there’s an actual name for the practice in the industry but as I’ve indicated, I’m not in the industry…)

In Season One, several actor’s names appear…then, “and Peter Dinklage”.  He’s the only one of the top names to receive anything that sets him apart, as it were.  …”AND Peter Dinklage.”  Beginning with Season Two and from then on, Peter Dinklage is the first name to appear on the screen as the credits begin.

Show runners know the actors are going to bitch about billing.  Through the years, they’ve come up with several tricks to reduce the tensions such concerns can create.  Maybe they list the actors in order of appearance.  Sometimes the actors are listed alphabetically.  Sometimes, it all comes down to who’s the most famous and let the bickering begin.  I think the show runners from ‘Game of Thrones’ have been using the “importance to the story” technique – telling us all along who wins…

As an example, in the early seasons, Sophie Turner – who portrays Sansa Stark, had to share billing with two other people.  Sansa wasn’t critical to the story at the time.  NOW, in Season 7, she’s the Lady of Winterfell…and ‘Sophie Turner’ appears alone during the credits.  Maisie Williams, playing Arya Stark, still shares billing with others.  Arya’s definitely moving into more of an…enforcer role…not bound for the Iron Throne…

So that’s it.  THAT’S what started me down this thought path.  Peter Dinklage receives top billing.  BUT…if you go back and watch the series again (and you should), you’ll notice that Tyrion keeps gaining experience running cities and states.  People keep mentioning how good he is at it.  He’s smart.  He’s diplomatic.  He knows when to work with enemies and when to fight.  He’s brave but concerned with the plight of the lower classes.

I know…there are some obvious problems with my hypothesis.  Daenerys Targaryen and her nephew, Jon Snow, for one, er two – and the aforementioned Sansa Stark.  I suspect Daenerys and Aegon (Jon’s real name) are going to end up back in the east screwing their hot little Targaryen brains out and Sansa will continue as Wardeness of the North.  Everyone else of consequence is – or soon will be – dead.  Jaime, I think, is going to end up Hand of the King to Tyrion.

I’ll tell you, I don’t really know HOW those last few contenders are going to play out.  Tyrion Lannister on the Iron Throne is the only REAL prediction, here.  But I think he’s going to make a great king of Westeros…

Wha Happened?!?

Look, I have no problem with the idea that Hillary cashed in with a book.  Who among us wouldn’t, given the opportunity?  And, having determined to take the money, she had to write SOMETHING.  I DO wish she had written about something more innocuous.  Maybe a children’s story, ‘The Bad Little Candidate’.  I don’t know, maybe throwing gas on the fire between Progressives and Democrats seemed like the right idea in the moment.  She has a lot of those – things that seemed like a good idea in the moment for which she has to offer mea culpa later.

Then again, maybe now IS the time to get it out there.  If it’s a fight we’re going to have – and, apparently, it is, perhaps it better to have it now and get it out of the way.  Each side has staked out their position.  Progressives are stating quite clearly that they need a party that represents Progressive values.  Democrats are stating quite clearly that the Democratic party is not that place.  I have to admit, I don’t understand the Democratic thinking on this.

We already have a party that kowtows to corporations and rich people, the Republitarians.  Why would the Democrats think a second party with the same message will do well?  Do they really think the lack of racism is the key?  I guess, if I had to choose, I would agree that inclusive oppression is marginally better than racist oppression but the operative word, here, seems to be “oppression.”

The Democrats are STILL trying to convince someone other than themselves that “more of the same” and “incremental baby steps” is the right message in an environment where people can’t earn enough money to take proper care of their families.  But the masses are getting angrier.  Hell, even the party loyalists are angry, they just refuse to indict the Democrats along with the Republicans (because…loyalists) so they point their fingers in any and every other direction hoping something will stick – then they get furious when someone points out the flaws in their collective thinking.

I’m sure Hillary’s book will do well.  Democrats will go out and buy three copies each to ensure the book does well.  They’ll all nod in agreement.  Darn Bernie.  Darn Putin.  Except for the parts that weren’t, it was the perfect campaign.  Hillary did make one point I found illustrative.  Bernie isn’t a Democrat.  She’s quick to add that she didn’t mean that as a smear…like not being a Democrat could be a smear.

But I realized she had accidentally revealed the underlying reason for the DNC to get busy tinkering with the outcome of the primary: Bernie isn’t a Democrat.  See, if you’re in the party, the party can dictate terms.  You’ll do as you’re told or you’ll lose funding and other kinds of support.  But Bernie isn’t in the party.  He doesn’t need them and he doesn’t need their funding.  If the party can’t control the candidate, he might just do something that benefits Americans – even though it may not be in the party’s best interest.  Can’t have that.  Party first!

Apparently, we now live in an era where benefiting Americans is not an option.

I’ll tell you this: I wonder how many more “elections” the Democrats are going to have to lose before they realize that parroting the Republicans does them no good.  I also wonder where the hell Progressives are going to go in the meantime…

Options…

I’m a musician and I write songs.  I used to play around town at various gigs, trying to promote my music and have a little fun.  Certainly, there was not ever much hope of making any money.  You CAN.  Some do.  There was a meme that went around awhile ago that defined a musician as a person who put five thousand dollars worth of equipment into a five hundred dollar car and drove fifty miles to make five bucks.  That seems about right.

Most people (non-musicians, anyway) have no idea what goes into a three- or four-hour gig.  The audience gets three or four hours of music.  The musician puts in something like six to eight hours work on THAT day (and that doesn’t even cover what goes into preparing for gigs in general.)  The day of the show, the musician loads his equipment and hauls it to…where ever, unloads it, sets it up, makes sure everything is working, plays the show, breaks down the equipment and loads it up for the trip home, UNLOADS it again and puts it all away.  Yeah, fun.  One night, my cut was seventeen bucks…but that was before expenses…

I don’t do it much anymore.  These days, if you want to hear me play live, you pretty much have to be at my house while I’m playing or join the wine club at Amphora Wines and come to one of their private events.  I’m in what might be called the house band at Amphora Winery but that’s basically because the guy who owns the winery, Rick Hutchinson, is also the bass player in the band.  (That means he gets us for free…)

But I still write songs.  As it happens, the part that bothers me most about not performing is that I LIKE the songs I write and nobody – save the guests in the wine club – ever gets to hear them.  Until now.

Sometimes, politics just gets a little…tiresome.  So, I decided to share one of my songs, instead.  This song is called ‘Options’.  I wrote and recorded it a LONG time ago.  I only recently added it to YouTube.  I do the singing and I play the acoustic guitar.  Rick plays bass.  The lead guitar is played by a friend named Tony Cohen and the drums are played by a guy named Jesse Wickman.

So…with no further ado…‘Options’

 

 

Defeating Antifa…

Look, I know I could be wrong but I’ve been having a VERY hard time accepting the idea that these black-clad thugs who show up to start violence at various conservative events are progressives.  The reason is simple: I can’t think of a single way – not one – in which the masked little cowards benefit or advance progressive positions.  In like fashion, I can’t think of a single way – not one – in which the masked little cowards do NOT benefit or advance conservative positions.  It’s the age-old question: who benefits?

For clarity, it’s important to point out that I’m referring to the fringe group known as the “black bloc” and not necessarily to every person out there who claims to be Antifa.  Truthfully, I have no issue with people who stand against Fascism.  MY issue is with those who turn to violence as a first choice…and they just don’t pass the “smell test” for me.  Since the first time I heard of them (through conservatives, by the way) they just haven’t…fit.

So, I admit, I start out a little biased on this one.  Maybe it only LOOKS like they accidentally tipped their hands in a San Francisco rally in August.  Events moved so quickly at the time, it took me awhile to realize but with a little reflection, I noticed something…

After the violence in Charlottesville, the bay area was to be treated to a new rally event called ‘Patriot Prayer’ in which conservatives could get together – ostensibly to talk about conservative things in a non-violent way.  They applied for, and received, a permit from the National Parks Service to hold their rally at Crissy Field.  Fearing a repeat of the Charlottesville scene, San Francisco prepared.  They limited traffic access.  They built a tall, chain-link fence around the area.  They created a single entrance through the fencing and declared that people wouldn’t be allowed to bring in anything that might be used as a weapon, anything that could be used as “armor”, and NO MASKS!  They deployed every cop in the city.

In short, San Francisco created as much of a “safe space” as it might be possible to create, making it difficult to impossible for the “Black Blech” to attack.  In response, the conservatives who organized the event…cancelled it – citing “safety concerns.”  Wait, what?  The City created a very safe space for conservatives to have their little rally, chant their slogans, and all go home safe and sound and the conservatives cancelled their event due to safety concerns?  What, too much safety?

It was a mistake.  I would guess it won’t happen that way again because it provided an accidental glimpse into the workings of these “events.”  See, it looks very much like conservatives realized there was no way for “Antifa” to attack…so they cancelled their own event!  No way for the riot to start, so no need for the rally, right?  That suggests the ROLE of the “Black Blech” is to create sympathy for conservative groups by making them look like victims.

In the meantime, San Francisco has now provided a model to defeat the “Antifa” activists: control access to the event leaving NO open area from which to attack.  Don’t use low, little barricades, use full fencing with only one access point.  Station cops at the gate.  No weapons, no armor, NO MASKS!  You’ll get no “Antifa” and no violence!

I’ll tell you this: I feel more strongly than ever that time is going to show that one or two of the leaders of these obnoxious, black-clad thugs are on some conservative payroll somewhere…

Printing Money…

Here comes the GOP, planning to tackle “tax reform”…again.  By now, most of us should be aware that “tax reform” is political-speak for “cut taxes on the wealthy.”  Okay, sure, the not-wealthy usually enjoy a small break as well.  That can’t be helped.  But, long term, the cuts benefit the wealthy and everyone else ends up paying more in one way or another.

And let’s be clear: we’re no longer talking “economic theory”, here.  We, the people of this once-great nation, have been living in this experiment since Ronald Reagan initiated the wealthy assault on America.  We can SEE actual results – and all we have to do is look around.  If you think the average American is better off, economically, than the average American of, say, the 1960’s, well, you’re probably not old enough to remember the 60’s.

In fact, it’s my own little pet theory that average Americans of the mid-twentieth century became SO strong, economically, that they began refusing to go fight the bullshit little wars rich people find so…rewarding.  Enter Reagan and “voodoo economics” (check), return to the great days of income disparity that existed before the New Deal (check), return HUGE swaths of society to subsistence level incomes (check), kick off a few new wars for profit (check), (check), and (check), and see if the desperately poor still refuse to join the military…

But I digress.  As it happens, much of our society has been coached to understand that printing money is a harmful behavior without being given the context as to WHY the government keeps finding itself in the position of having to do so in the first place.  Also as it happens, the short answer is…”tax reform”!  (I promise, I’ll do this a painlessly as possible…)

Every once in awhile, I hear someone opine that they “couldn’t run their household or business the way the government runs the economy.”  That’s true, but only because national economies don’t work the way your household or business economy works.  See, in a national economy, your spending is my income and MY spending is YOUR income.  National economies stall when – for whatever reason – everyone stops spending at once.  When that happens, the government is forced to step in and spend until there’s enough money in circulation again to keep things humming along.

Ah, circulation.  That’s the key to this whole mess, then, right?  Why, yes.  Yes it is.  But we’re getting just a bit ahead of ourselves because there’s one more piece you need to understand before it all fits together.  As it happens, there’s only so much money.  Certain segments of our society have been taught something else – that the “pie” is infinite and, as such, it just doesn’t matter if rich people keep more and more of it – there will ALWAYS be enough to go around.  Hmm, devoutly to be wished, for sure, but simply not true.

There’s only so much.  EVERY DAY, the government knows it’s own net worth.  (Rich people tell not-rich people not to trust government numbers but rich people use government numbers every day in order to make multi-million or -billion dollar decisions…)  It’s a HUGE number and it changes all the time but every day, the government knows it’s own net worth.  So…let’s tie these bits together using (admittedly) ridiculously small, made up numbers.

Let’s say the total money pool is 10 bucks.  As long as 5 bucks are in circulation, everyone is doing well.  One guy has 5 bucks all to himself.  He’s rich but everyone else is okay because there are still 5 bucks in circulation.  But then, Mr. 5 Bucks decides to keep more.  When he keeps the next dollar, someone else begins to suffer because there’s not quite enough money in circulation.  By the time Mr. 5 Bucks has squirreled away 8 bucks, people are in dire straits.  The government has two choices.  One, it can use it’s leverage (in the form of taxes) to pry some of that beautiful lucre away from Mr. 5 Bucks OR it can print more money.

The thing is, when they print more money, it’s only a short-term solution.  Mr. 5 Bucks is so well positioned in the market that he’s just going to suck up that newly printed money as well, leaving everyone else to try and survive on the remaining 2 bucks.  Now, Mr. 5 Bucks has 11 bucks and everyone else is STILL struggling to get by on the remaining 2 bucks in circulation…so the government prints more money to keep the economy moving.  Now, just keep reading this paragraph over and over and over again until the whole kit and caboodle comes crashing down onto your head…

As long as the government refuses to tax Mr. 5 Bucks – FORCING him to return some of “his” money to circulation – they have no choice but to keep printing money.  And none of this even touches on what it means to have 16 bucks out there covering 10 bucks worth of value…

So I’ll tell you this: when I hear talk of “tax reform” I know my world is about to get rougher (and more expensive) because I know that the more rich people are allowed to hoard, the less there’s going to be for everyone else…

If you like what you read when I write, you don’t have to wait for the hit-and-miss of Facebook to see these musings.  You can come directly to my website at MyBaconPress.com.  Even better, you can come to MyBaconPress.com and click on the little button at the bottom of the page.  A form will pop up asking for your email address.  (It looks like they want you to “join” but there’s nothing to join and it’s free.)  From then on, The Bacon Press will be delivered directly to your inbox.  You can even comment from there…