Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dinosaurs Never See The Meteor

The Democratic Party needs to fire Donna Brazile, and replace Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Pandering to rich people who are less odious than their more conservative counterparts is not going to win elections; listening to the needs and concerns of the working class will.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Obligatory Post-2016 Election Post

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I just want to highlight a few things (that I may or may not elaborate on in this post):

  1. Anyone who claims that Hillary Clinton lost due to factors outside of her and/or her campaign's control is suffering from denial. 
  2. Anyone who claims that Donald Trump's only supporters are/were racists and sexist deplorable people were not paying attention.
  3. Anyone who claims that Barack Obama was either (A) the worst president ever; or (B) completely without fault in this election is wrong.
  4. However you may feel about the electoral process (the primaries, the debates, the electoral college, campaign finance reform), you need to know one thing: nothing will change until the people push...hard...for change.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's start!

Trump won. Clinton lost. That's the bottom line. But what happened? One theory is this: Clinton used the Democratic Primary rules to screw Bernie Sanders out, Trump rode a wave of frustration and quasi-populism to reach the top spot for the Republicans, and when the two finalists met, the GOP's tried and true "Suppress the Vote" effort from the 2000 elections was revitalized. Granted, the STV only works when the opponent has very little enthusiasm on their side (Obama's popularity overshadowed any potential vote tampering, as noted by the lack of such claims after both of his wins) but nearly everything requires a catalyst of some sorts. 

While I'm sure that the truth is a lot more detailed and complicated then what's mentioned above, let's (for argument's sake) say that this is generally how things went down. 

Were there election shenanigans going on? Probably (remember Florida and hanging chads?). The real question people should ask is: when did it start? Because if you believe that only the general election was rigged and not either primaries, then, well...bless your little heart because if you're gaming the system, you plant the seeds early.

A good chunk of the Democratic Party was behind Clinton; more than what Sanders had by any measure. Looking back at the Democratic Primaries, the argument that Camp Clinton was making against Sanders boiled down to three general things:

  • He's an old, idealistic Socialist and this will hurt him in the general election;
  • Clinton has years of political experience and can deal with the attacks that would come;
  • Too much was on the line with Trump as the GOP nominee.
Well, for starters: Sanders left-leaning tone wasn't that much different than Barack Obama's (who ran to the left of Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Primary). He wanted to eliminate college debt and improve the Affordable Care Act, too things voters all over the spectrum wanted to see. Second, here's a (partial) list of big moments in Clinton's political life where she's been under fire:
  1. When her husband put her in charge of health care reform back in the 90's and the GOP pushed back;
  2. When her husband was facing impeachment;
  3. During the 2008 Primaries when her husband decided to "help" by marginalizing Obama's victories, when she lied about visiting another country during a firefight, and her trying to justify her vote to go to Iraq;
  4. Benghazi;
  5. Her emails.
The health care reform went no where and she was forced to play the quiet stepford wife until "Monica Lewinsky" became a household name. When that popped up, it was more about her husband being forthright then her standing by him, so she gets a pass there. If the 2008 Primaries proved anything, it's that her greatest weakness is explaining her mistakes (she can't). This was put on display during the last two moments on this list. After throwing Susan Rice under the bus, Clinton leaves Obama's administration (keep in mind, his administration had been relatively scandal-free up until that moment). As for the emails, she chose to ignore there impact on the race and only complained about them after the FBI made their announcement to investigate, retracted it, and the elections took place. 

As for the Trump-fearing, this played into the weakness of Clinton's campaign: it was neither inspiring nor was it very clear. Other than the satisfaction of voting for a woman in the general election, there was nothing truly motivating about her campaign. Sure, there are the issues her party represents (Supreme Court, civil rights, social security, etc.) but that's an argument involving Generic Democrat vs Generic Republican, not, "This is why you should vote for Hillary Clinton." And speaking of generic, her campaign could not present a positive, sunny alternative to the evils of Donald Trump, aside from the DLC-inspired status quo (which many left-leaning politicos interpreted as Republican-lite). 

So if we were to be honest with ourselves, we would see that Sanders had just as much a chance of winning the general election as Clinton did; the only thing he really lacked was the backing of the Democratic Party's establishment. And ironically, it was Clinton's unabashed flaunting of her establishment credentials that frustrated the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. This was not the year to showcase DLC-Democrats and GOP sacred cows who feared a Trump White House. This was not the year to marginalize race issues and rattle the saber. This was not the Year of the Status Quo; this was the Year of Continued Change.

And Trump seized on that. He said we need a wall to keep undesirables from foreign countries from coming here. He said that businesses who fired blue collar worker should in turn have their CEOs fired. He said that Clinton was a criminal who should be in jail.

Now were these things true and/or plausible? More often than not, no. But the fact that he was willing to cut through the political speak and promise "goodies"to the voters resonated with a lot of people. I can't for the life of me think of on declaration Clinton said that made me jump up and cheer. But Trump said plenty of things to keep his crows rallied, and once you can do that, the attacks almost start to bounce off.

Mix in their respective reputations and we have another reason why the infamous "grab them by the pussy" audio from Trump did not seem to have the same impact as Clinton's emails. Trump's supporter were willing to forgive him or ignore the scandal altogether; after all he's a celebrity and they're known for speaking their mind. Clinton's a politician with decades of experience; she should know better. Trump's a political outside who's being setup because he "won't play the game;" Clinton is a player who has always tried to rig the game in her favor.

Now that people have had time to peruse through the result, it's surprising to see that while Trump received less vote than Mitt Romney, he received more votes from certain minorities than expected. Clinton excelled in both the youth vote and the woman vote, but older white men seem to despise her with a passion. Again, I don't see any of these groups being influenced by an audio of Trump or an email from Clinton's server. I do see them being concerned that Obama's change either never came or only did so in pieces, and waiting another eight years for someone (who was frankly less passionate about the same issues and initiatives) to take it to the next level was gamble. And that goes back to what I mentioned before: there was too much vagueness in the Clinton campaign for those who wanted progressive change. 

So for those who didn't want either but certainly don't know how to deal with a Trump White House, what to do? I say the same thing they did in the 60's: become true activists. Over the last couple of decade, people have convinced themselves that voting quasi-activists in to office is the best way to progress. The problem is that those elected officials are obligated to groups other to the voters. If you're an activist, the lobbying groups can't buy you (easily). The media will only ignore you until you prove to be a ratings-grabber. 

I think that it's more than a coincidence that between the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement, there's been a debate swirling about the effectiveness of protests...almost like someone wants those who dissent (at least from the Left; this never came up when the Tea Party rose up) to just stay home and respond to what they see and hear on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. But in a time when the media is more about ratings and the corporate agenda, and politicians are more worried about campaign funding, people who want continued change will need to make themselves know to the public at large.   

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Around the Internets

Been longer than a minute, huh?

  1. I dare you to watch the clip and not get pissed off
  2. When you can wreck a hotel room and catch less hell than someone who didn't put their heart over their hand during the national anthem, then you have privilege
  3. An example of why it's hard for Democrats to fully support Hillary Clinton.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blame Reagan

  1. Scandals? His put Clinton's and Bush's to shame.
  2. Screwed-Up Economy? Started under him, but if your were rich back then you're even wealthier now.
  3. Declining Middle Class? If you believe that having strong unions meant having a strong Middle Class, then yes
  4. The AIDS epidemic? He didn't create it, but he ignored it until it was no longer a "gay person disease."
  5. The War On Terror? In a strange twisted way, Bush was stuck trying to clean up a mess Reagan started. (Bonus points for using the then-revered Osama bin Laden for help). 
  6. The Rise in Gun Violence/Gun-Related Crime? His policies kicked the crazy and mentally unstable people out of the hospitals an onto the street, and made it harder for them (or any potentially new patients) to get back in. Remember how the NRA is on this "it's not the guns we should blame for all of these mass shootings, it's that crazy people who get the guns" shtick? Ever wonder where the crazy people came from

So basically, the Reagan Era turned America into the live-action Gotham City we live in today. Trump 2016, y'all!

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Friday, June 10, 2016

"He's he’s not an athlete who made a mistake: he’s a criminal who can swim."

Brock Turner, student athlete of Stanford U and aspiring Olympic swimmer, has been serving his six- month sentence for being convicted of sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

He tried to blame his raping nature on alcohol, his school and women in general. Unfortunately for him, the prosecution has information contradicting his claims at being an alcohol novice. In other words: he fucking lied.

USA Swimming has pretty much made him a pariah.

His father claims that this is much ado over "20 minutes of action."

Six months is lenient. Considering the discovery of his hard-core partying, his proclivity to blame everyone but himself and his dad's disgusting attempt to equate rape to the proverbial hook-up, Turner deserves everything a delusional criminal would have coming.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Oh, The Irony!

Kenneth Starr, the former special prosecutor who wanted America to believe that Bill Clinton's lies about his sex life was important enough to call for impeachment, was demoted by Baylor University for "his handling of sex assault cases."

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton Could Still Lose the Presidential Election

I'm not going to try and write a long, detailed diatribe regarding Secretary/Senator/Former First Lady's chances. I'm not going to even talk about the primary really, even though now the shoe's on the other foot (i.e., in 2008 she was behind Obama and didn't want to give up while in 2016 she's all but kicking Bernie Sanders out of the race).

Her camp claims that Bernie and/or his camp is being mean to her. Her camp wants his to stop, and preferably apologize via dropping out.

OK; fine.

Well here's my simple observation: if she thinks Bernie is "being mean," then she will lose in the general election. Donald Trump has cut through the Republican Primaries like a buzzsaw. That guy does not care who he offends, and his base and supporters will feel no sympathy for him attacking Clinton. There's a chunk of the Democratic Party (made up of liberals/progressives, die-hard Bernie supporters, Black Lives Matter supporters, etc.) who won't support or endorse her, and may not even vote for her.

Clinton has courted Jeb Bush donors, so it's not like she's publicly lamenting losing the base of her own party. But that move, and the implied attitude, is just the type of thing that will turn people off when she starts crying about how Trump dared to disqualify her because she has lady parts.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Bernie Sanders Interviewed by the Young Turks

Because he can't seem to get more than a sound bite elsewhere...

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Four Good Actors & Their Disturbing Recurring Character Traits

Chris Evans is a lovable cocky bastard: He'll say or do something smart-assed, but he really has the best of intentions. He really does. He just thinks that it's his duty to point out your many character flaws. Case in point: Not Another Teen Movie, Fantastic Four and the Sequel, and The Losers. Partially subverted in Captain America: The First Avenger, but resurrected in The Avengers , where he seems to slip back into the familiar role (check his confrontation with Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark/Awesome McFanchisesaver).

Guys Cheat on Maura Tierney: Case in point: Liar, Liar and Semi-Pro. Tierney's an attractive actress who tends to play smart, savvy women. Naturally, this means her Significant Other will sleep around behind her back. Interesting thing is in both movies it was something that happened prior to the events of the film, implying that even the director's don't think people would buy that someone would cheat on Tierney in-movie, but she character needs to have something interesting going on.

Thomas Jane is suicidal: I think Jane is a very good actor, but if I were in a movie I'd keep an eye on the character he plays. Otherwise, you may end up cleaning his brain matter from the ceiling or something. In no less then three movies, Jane has put a gun to his head with the intent of blowing it the fuck off: The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, and The Mist.

In the Punisher, it's kinda understandable: a money-laundering gang brutally slaughters the guy's entire family, culminating with driving over his wife and kid in a truck. That's enough to make anyone a tad suicidal. As for the Mist...well, I suppose finding out everyone you know and/or love has been either poisoned or eaten by extraterrestrial zoo creatures might leave you a bit bummed. But Dreamcatcher? The movie had barely started and the guy was ready to call it quits. Oh yeah, and his character in this one was a teacher who had just finished a class.

Idris Elba can't save you: Elba may play supposedly capable characters in his movies, but odds are if your life depends on any of them coming to the rescue you'll be dead before the end credits roll. For evidence, I present the movies The Reaping, 28 Weeks Later, Prom Night and Obsessed.

Elba's character in 28 Weeks Later ran the American occupation in England after the not-zombies-but-just-as-bad-as-zombies outbreak, and that fared as well as the real-life US occupation of Iraq. In The Reaping, he was the spiritual anchor and pseudo-bodyguard to the protagonist, except when she actually needed saving from the Satanic cult she stumble onto; at the time he was busy being stabbed to death. In Prom Night he was a detective looking for the lamest psycho-villain ever, and barely, barely made in time to save Generic Blonde Horror Victim #492 from having an unwanted neck tattoo. And then there's Obsessed, where he's a businessman who's married to Beyonce and being stalked by Ali Larter. After some back and forth between the two ladies, Elba's character decides maybe he should get the police involved, but since this is a Fatal Attraction-type movie the cops prove less than useful. Doesn't matter, as B takes matters in her own hands and has the Catfight To End All Catfights with Larter (at her own house no less). So while they're a'swinging and a'scratching, giving the male audience validation for being dragged by their girlfriends to see this whole mess, where the hell was Elba? He sure wasn't at the house, but he did arrive just in time to see the ambulance cart of the loser of that fight.

[Editor's Note: This was an old post from around 2010 that I've been constantly tinkering with; finally decided to let it fly and although Evans and Elba have added to their repertoire Elba has still been playing roles where he's less than a savior] 

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quote of the Day

One thing the article mentioned that tends to get glossed over with ISIS is that they are basically an apocalypse cult. The Taliban wants to control the Afghanistan region, Iran wants influence in the Middle East and world events, even Al Qaida wants to rule a greater Islamic Caliphate. ISIS, though, just wants to bring about a massive end time battle. It really is like if Westboro Baptist ruled a country.

"msrobinette," commenting on this Cracked.com story about ISIS.

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