Thursday, November 24, 2016

 

What I'm Serving for Dessert Today



Pumpkin-Glock 43* Pie. Um Um!


*For the record, the 43 is a single stack concealed carry piece in 9mm with 6 rounds in the box magazine. I wouldn't buy it.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 

Finding a Silver Lining

Because we know the Department of Justice was in the tank for Ms. Clinton from the beginning and there never was going to be an indictment, a lot of us were hoping that Trump would un-grease the palms of the relevant DOJ leadership and get a normal, fair investigation of the matter going which, based on the evidence I've seen and my ability to read a statute properly for the mens rea requirement, would indeed lead to an indictment.


But hulking over that possible scenario was the specter of a Presidential pardon from soon to be just Mr. Obama. Of course, since Hillary said she was innocent, what would she need a pardon for?


So yesterday Trump poured cold water on the idea, and said that he would not appoint a special prosecutor, the Clintons are good people (they're not) and Hillary had suffered enough. Well, she has suffered but mostly from having to live with herself. The poker tell of his statement about not prosecuting Hillary (something Trump often said he would do on the campaign trail) was that he was not going to do anything to investigate her further.


A lot of people are sorely disappointed for two things--Trump reneging on a campaign promise (just the start, boys and girls) and not seeing justice done so that the horrible stench that the laws in America are only for the little people now is not going away.


But I could imagine the following: It's a head fake. Obama sees no need now for a pardon. Trump indeed does nothing further to effect a proper investigation and under the circumstances, a proper prosecution. Jeff Sessions removes the political spanner wrench from the intermeshing wheels of justice and we once again become a nation where no one is above the law and justice is once again for all of us.


I can dream, can't I?


Of course making the head fake work to stop a pardon would depend entirely on not saying anything more about the subject, making the above his last and only words on the subject. So Trump, of course, keeps talking and points out that he won't stop Sessions from doing his job. Does anyone know Trump's IQ, grades, SATs? I'm suddenly curious about his testing results.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

 

Deja Vu All Over Again

I didn't vote for Ronald Reagan either time he ran. I knew he had been Governor of California but he was in my mind primarily an actor and not very good an actor at that. I told my Republican friends I voted third party because I had seen too many of Reagan's movies. He won in landslides despite my non-support. No one cared about my protest vote. Yet, I never voted third party (i.e., wasted my vote) again. You live, you learn, as Alanis sings.

But I did the right thing this time to oppose the political horror another Clinton would have been. (When I explain it thus: I thought we ought to have new candidates, no more Bushes or Clintons, even Democrats nod their heads in agreement).

So what's up now? As reluctant as I was to vote for the braggadocious, faux Republican candidate, most of the Democrat reaction to reality since the election has made me feel ever better about that choice. The Democrats have, on the whole, been complete dicks about the election results. Good guys like Paul Mirengoff are telling us that we may have to disassociate with those on the left for a long time if not forever. That's really sad. I am not going to buy the products or attend the art of the worst lefty dicks out there, as I said here. I might even have to abandon some especially dickish former friends. But I thought when I wrote those comments, that I was nearly alone in my decision. But now I see it is a common Republican reaction to the cry-baby left predicting doom and despair with a lot of Big Lies thrown in. The worst case scenario of enough of us withdrawing from the left as much as possible is a civil war at some level (best case scenario of this worst case scenario is a cold civil war). No sane person wants that.

Anyway, I'm also picking up some strong feelings of deja vu going back to the transition period of Reagan. As he made good choice after good choice after his election, I began to wonder if my reservations about him were overblown. I also noticed that the left was absolutely bonkers about the "danger" Reagan held for the world. They lied a lot about him. I'm getting that same vibe about Trump. Despite the left's serial freakouts, I think: So far, so good. I know that there will have to be disappointments along the way, but I'm not regretting the politically forced choice I had to make, between two evils, as much as I was on and for months before November 7, 2016.

In other words, things could be about to get a lot better. The right track wrong track polling average at Real Clear Politics a week before the elections was plus 33.4 wrong track (63.1 of the nation thought wrong track, 29.7 thought right track). It's better now about two weeks after the election (plus 31.1 wrong track). Let's see where that is by the midterms in 2018.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

 

Insomniac Theater

I watched what might be the worst film of the great director Michelangelo Antonioni, Zabriskie Point, last night on the Turner Classic Movie channel. The last time I saw it was on a date in Richmond, VA in the grand old movie palace Lowes downtown (since torn down) in 1970. It wasn't very good then, particularly compared to the exquisite Blow Up just a few years before, and it's no better now.



Let's start with what I learned just from the opening (and only) credits, much of which I had forgotten. Sam Shepherd is credited with helping write the story on which the director's screenplay is based. I'd forgotten he wrote stuff before he became an actor who has the range all the way from A to B. There were, scattered through the movie, parts of songs from John Fahey, the Grateful Dead, the Stones, Jesse Colin Young and some country classics, acting as a crude form of Greek Chorus, but the background music was by Pink Floyd. Unfortunately, it was pretty forgettable Pink Floyd music, tucked between their foundational work on the basically unlistenable Ummagumma and the complete rubbish Atom Heart Mother. (PF finally got going with my favorite album Meddle in 1971 and the rest is music history but I see I'm digressing.) OK, one more--one piece for the movie written by the late Rick Wright was rejected by Antonioni but was later recycled to underlie Us and Them on Dark Side of the Moon. So that's some good that came out of this film.


Apart from Rod Taylor, who was a good actor given little to do here, the acting goes from bland to really awful, particularly by the two leads, Daria Halprin and Mark Frechette. More on them below. One should always be suspicious when the first names of the characters are the same as the first names of the actors playing them, as it his here. I always think it's because the actors this happens to are so limited that they can only play themselves and must have their own name to function. Perhaps I'm being too harsh (generally, but not in this particular case). Apparently, a very young Harrison Ford had most of his scenes cut, but is still visible in the lock-up scene (leaning against a wall).


Daria and Mark are the director's idea of "modern youth in America" during the turbulent 60s. At least I think they are supposed to be that. There isn't enough of a story in the film to give them anything approaching real characters to inhabit and flesh out, assuming they could do that. Daria did one more movie and then moved on to dance. I hope she was better at that. She was married to Dennis Hopper for a while. Mark had a much different, darker and shorter path ahead of him. I have to say first, however, that he plays a "revolutionary" in the film. In fact, after the first 10 minutes of really stupid dialogue among the revolutionaries/students plotting the picketing of their school's (USC?) administration, Mark delivers one of the few memorable line in the film. He announces that he is willing to die for the cause (whatever it was) but not from boredom. Burn! The students in the movie sounded a lot like modern Democrat students, only with slightly less whining.


Frechette had just two more Italian film roles after this but then he went full revolutionary for real (never go full revolutionary) and robbed a bank (with an empty gun) and he died in prison in 1975. Some people have suspected murder but I think the guy was such a fuck-up on everything he did, that the official story is correct. He had no spotter while doing bench presses and he couldn't finish the last rep due to fatigue and the bar rolled down his chest to his neck and strangled him. What a dipshit.


Neither of the two leads had ever acted before this film and it shows. Zabriskie point is near the place in Death Valley with the lowest elevation of North America (282 feet below sea level) and I believe that Antonioni was using the physical location as a metaphor for the nadir he thought America had reached culturally. (He'd probably think today was much, much lower, like at the Mohorovicic discontinuity).


Except for discussing trivia, as I have here, there is little to say about this movie. It's pretty at times (that's about all the praise I have). It cost about $7 million to make (an extraordinary amount back then) and didn't earn back even one million. After that fiasco, Antonioni's last English language film, a better one, The Passenger, lost a lot of money too and pretty much ended his career as a director (not with a bang but a whimper). The massive stroke he had in the mid 80s (a decade after The Passenger) took its toll too.


Oh, almost forgot, it has some great explosions in it. Really superb. About 5 minutes worth, many in slow motion. What they have to do with the story of the movie, such as it is, would be known only to God.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

 

Thoughts on Political Boycots

A lot of people think the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech means that you can't be fired by your non-governmental employer or even criticized by fellow citizens for voicing unpopular opinions. But all the 1st A does is protect you from government repercussions for saying unpopular things. If you say something really vile, even if it's your true opinion, I can say something back to you. That's my 1st A right of free speech. Or I can choose not to associate with you again; that's another 1st A guarantee of the freedom we have to associate (or not to associate).

So what to do about these people I have liked who have been real smeg heads about the recent election? The guys who have been hateful, I will hate (I know that's a sin). The businesses and entrepreneurs and artists who have chosen to insult me gratuitously, I will avoid in the future.

That has a cost to me, of former friends, of formerly enjoyed entertainment and products. But if they don't get a push back, there's no chance of their amending their horrible ways. I'll take the hit of non-association in the hope of making the avoided better. I don't think that is a sin.

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The Lack of Self Awareness is Astounding

My definition of racism is: A malignant heart's pre-judgement of a person's essence and worth based not upon knowledge of the content of the person's character but merely on the color of that person's skin. Racism applies only to race, not religion or country of origin. We have other words for those forms of bigotry. Racism is not merely noting facts about the differences in the actual conduct of various races.

Which brings me to the hate-filled rantings of Jamelle Bouie today, here, in Slate. Its headline is: "There is no such thing as a good Trump voter." Plenty of invidious, bigoted, pre-judgment right there but it just gets worse and worse. I'll hit the low points.

Donald Trump ran a campaign of racist demagoguery against Muslim Americans, Hispanic immigrants, and black protesters. He indulged the worst instincts of the American psyche and winked to the stream of white nationalists and anti-Semites who backed his bid for the White House. Millions of Americans voted for this campaign, thus elevating white nationalism and white reaction to the Oval Office.


OK. Muslims are members of a religion, not a race. Hispanics are termed that based on their country of origin and culture so again, not a race. So the only actual possibility for a valid claim of racism is Trump's alleged "racist demagoguery" against black protesters. But wouldn't the limitation to protesters and not all blacks be some sort of sign that the criticism Mr. Bouie calls racist, was actually a criticism of the actions of the protesters, not their color? Just asking the questions Mr. Bouie apparently never thinks of. And what white nationalists? Who are they? Name one. What "winking"?
This piece is long on name calling, short on supporting facts.
On Twitter, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post gave his version of this argument. “The assumption that ‘Trump voter = racist’ is deeply corrosive to democracy. Also wrong,” he said, adding that there “is nothing more maddening—and counterproductive—to me than saying that Trump’s 59 million votes were all racist. Ridiculous.”


I think Cilliza is making perfect sense. We don't yet have the numbers for the votes Trump got from white voters who picked Obama in 2008 and 2012, but I am pretty sure it is in the millions. Were they racists when they voted for Obama, Mr. Bouie? If they were, your definition of racism seems to be "white = racist" which is a racist thing to say.

In the wake of Trump’s win, the United States was hit with a wave of racist threats, agitation, harassment, and violence, following a year in which hate crimes against Muslim Americans and others reached historic highs.
What? The main thing that happened in the wake of Trump's win was the wave of protests usually devolving into violence and destruction by the sore loser branch of the Democrat party. I would say from the the little bit of TV coverage I've seen that each single protest contained more than the 300 incidents of harassment or intimidation he complains of in a different paragraph. How many protest/riots have there been? Those might be a better thing to call a wave than the 300 SPLC reports, some of which have already been shown to be hoaxes. However, MR. Bouie is absolutely silent about the protest/riots. Hate crimes in America against Muslims (again, some of the reports are fraudulent) reached the trivial number of 257 in 2015 well less than 1/2 the number of hate crimes against Jews that year. In a country of 310 million, 257 is not much of a wave. Then Mr. Bouie goes to the distant past.

Between 1882 and 1964, nearly 3,500 black Americans were lynched. At the peak of this era, from 1890 to 1910, hundreds were killed in huge public spectacles of violence. The men who organized lynchings—who gathered conspirators, who made arrangements with law enforcement, who purchased rope, who found the right spot—weren’t ghouls or monsters. They were ordinary. The Forsyth County, Georgia, sheriff who looked the other way while mobs lynched Rob Edwards, a young man scapegoated for a crime he did not commit, was a well-liked and popular figure of authority...And the people who watched these events, who brought their families to gawk and smile, were the very model of decent, law-abiding Americana. Hate and racism have always been the province of “good people.”

But the lynchings were all by Democrats. What have the long ago crimes of Democrats to do with the Republican party or the people who voted for Trump? Hate and racism have always been the province of bad people, Mr. Bouie. And the bad people you were just talking about were Democrats.

OK. All in all, Mr. Bouie is judging the white people who voted for Trump only by the color of their skin and I am morally certain that he doesn't know that he is reproducing in this piece the same sort of malignant heart, skin color pre-judgment he is accusing others of. The lack of self awareness is astounding.

The only good thing to come from the Democrats' constantly crying wolf/racism, is that no thinking person believes them any more, at least not without some serious evidence. When everyone is a racist, no one is.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

 

Thought of the Day (with Response)

I have spent the last five days meditating on Trump's election. Upon consideration, I believe this is a call to violence. I felt the call to violence in the 60's and I feel it now again. This attack on liberty and tolerance will not be solved by appeasement. Obama tried that for eight years. We should finance those who support violence resistance. We should be willing to take arms. Like Old John Brown, I am willing to battle with my children. Alt right nut jobs swagger violence. It's time to actualize that violence. Like by (sic) Civil War Michigan predecessors I choose to stand with the black, the brown and the oppressed.

Paul Schrader (here is his IMDB profile)

Three things: "This attack on liberty and tolerance will not be solved by appeasement." I always laugh when intolerant liberals complain about alleged intolerance by others. The only guys attacking right now are members of the sore loser (emphasis on loser) wing of the Democrat party. You can see them nightly on TV. But I feel I'm missing something. What attack on liberty and tolerance? Someone please give me a clue so I can google it for more details.

"Alt right nut jobs swagger violence." I don't believe, whatever the left means by 'alt right', that it actually exists in sufficient numbers to have any effect whatsoever. I have had my finger of the pulse of the right for 16 years now. Like most of us on the right who are hearing this term for the first time lately, we have no idea who the alt right is supposed to be. Again I appeal to those in the know. Who makes up the alt right? Give me the name of any one who supposedly speaks for or leads the alleged group. I am also unaware of anyone other than Schrader advocating violence. Again, please name names if there is anyone on the right acting like Schrader.

Finally, bring it on, power puff boys.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

 

An Extended Vacation in his Own Head

For an appetizer I offer this recent history: Nobel Laureate in Economics Paul Krugman, just after the election results were in, said that the stock market would take a dive and never recover. Hours later the Dow Jones average reached a new high. So he was 100% wrong. Not that surprising, as his award winning work in economics was about labor, not financial markets. But can he keep the streak going? Let's see.


Here is his latest hate-filled, bubble insulated, self-revealing screed against President-elect Trump and all who voted for him. I'm going to focus on a few things below. But let me start, however, by saying that when the subject is building a big building in New York City, there is no one on the planet I'd rather listen to than Donald Trump. About nearly everything else, unfortunately, he's hard to stomach. He's as big a narcissist as Obama and, like Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg, he's a Democrat who pretended to be a conservative in order to get elected. I have no illusions about the man; he just happened to be less bad than the hypermass of lies and corruption the Democrats were foolish enough to nominate. I wish him (and, thus, us) tremendous success, despite my reservations. OK, on to Krugman whose piece is titled "Thoughts for the Horrified".


So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.


The gist here is perhaps partially correct; Trump was the worst man to run for president this year, but there have been much worse people elected president in the decades before the civil war. This year, there just happened to be a woman running for the office who was much worse, and enough voters in just the right locations thought so too.


...God knows it’s clear that almost everyone on the center-left, myself included, was clueless about what actually works in persuading voters. For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock.


Wow, what an admission! Indeed, Krugman and his ilk were indeed clueless and still are, unfortunately, and not just about persuading voters. And why was it a 'terrible shock'? Why a shock at all? Was it because you people who are shocked were clueless about what ordinary Americans were feeling and thinking? Was it because you dismiss those who would vote for Trump as deplorable or bitter clinger racists (as your candidates for the past three presidential elections have) and have no contact whatsoever with them? Was it because you were so insulated from reality that you could not see some powerful signs that your pathetic candidate would lose to our bombastic candidate? To ask these questions is to answer them.

The Trump campaign was unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies didn’t exact a political price, that they even resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false. No, our inner cities aren’t war zones with record crime. No, we aren’t the highest-taxed nation in the world. No, climate change isn’t a hoax promoted by the Chinese.


I love it when the Democrats call the Republican candidate dishonest. Beam, speck, eye, perception. But let's look at the examples of dishonesty Krugman focuses on. The inner cities of all the historically Democrat ruled cities are indeed hot spots for crime. Some, but not all, of the Republican controlled cities are too. Crime has indeed fallen from its height during the Clinton Administration, but it's been on the rise lately under Obama. So not all wrong there. Certainly not the lie "If you like your healthcare insurance, you can keep it" certainly was. The moribund European socialists nations do have higher personal income tax than we do, but we have one of the world's highest corporate income tax and it's been slowing the recovery from the recession for over 8 years now. It used to be that the steeper the dive in a recession the steeper the V-shaped climb back out. Not with Obama at the helm; it's been more an L-shaped recovery. So again, not all wrong. Not the lie "I never had classified information on my e-mail server" was. I'm not ready to call the global warming crisis de jure a hoax just yet, but it's not much of a crisis to have more plants and the weather be nicer generally. If it turns out to be a hoax, and we'll probably know before I die, I doubt the Chinese created it, but what do I know? So all in all, not the best three examples of dishonesty ever. I'll skip listing any of the thousands of other lies Hillary and Obama have told.

So if you’re tempted to concede that the alt-right’s vision of the world might have some truth to it, don’t. Lies are lies, no matter how much power backs them up.


I'm still not sure what the "alt-right" is. Is it any worse than the plain old "right"? Is it conservative people who love their country and Western Civilization as we once knew it? Does Krugman really believe that the Republican view of the world has absolutely no truth in it? What if one of our beliefs is that the sun seems to rise in the East and set in the West? What about our belief that maximum freedom for 'We, the people', should be the default position of our government. All lies? Also, if Krugman hates lies, why does his writing contain so many of them?


I particularly worry about climate change. We were at a crucial point, having just reached a global agreement on emissions and having a clear policy path toward moving America to a much greater reliance on renewable energy. Now it will probably fall apart, and the damage may well be irreversible.


Eco-disaster true believers are always saying we are at a tipping point to irreversible damage and they are always wrong. The inevitable next ice age will certainly stop the slight warming we've seen in the last century or so. But to call the recent Paris accords, which are just pretend agreements about CO2 and energy use cuts, something we must maintain if life on Earth will continue is a slight exaggeration. Also, renewable energy is crap. The sooner we can agree on that the better. But then Krugman gets to the standard slanders.


The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression than they did this year. At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.


The odds are that some excellent judges will be appointed to the Supreme Court. That they will (I hope) be originalists/constitutionalists does not make them "terrible" any more than voting for Trump makes one "deplorable." What voter suppression? Less people voted this past Tuesday than voted in the earlier, recent elections because the candidates this time were both horrible. What voter suppression happened in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Paul? Give me a single example. But he really lets his inner hate and ignorance out when he says the Republicans "may", under Trump, become racist, even more racist than the Democrats generally and falsely accuse us of being. He is ignorant enough to talk about Jim Crow, which was 99% the creation of Democrats. Oops, the projection seeps through.


And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too.


What civil liberties do you have concern for? Being able to live your religious beliefs without being fined or jailed? Being able to contribute to a political interest without being fired from your job? Being able to make truthful statements, or voice genuine opinions, without fear of being sued?  Being able to assemble with others in a political sub-group without being harassed by the IRS? Being able to run for office as a Republican without facing completely bogus criminal charges? Are these the ones you're fearing? What a Chicken Little, emphasis on chicken!


What about the short term? My own first instinct was to say that Trumponomics would quickly provoke an immediate economic crisis, but after a few hours’ reflection I decided that this was probably wrong. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks, but a best guess is that there will be no immediate comeuppance


This is rich. He admits being completely wrong about the immediate stock market reaction to Trump's election as I discussed at the start of this, but now he claims to have decided, with in a few hours, that his prediction was "probably" wrong. Yeah, right, and the total lack of your voicing this reflection before the stock market took off on Wednesday shouldn't cause us to doubt you on this.

Trumpist policies won’t help the people who voted for Donald Trump — in fact, his supporters will end up much worse off.


Note that he doesn't use "may" or "might" here; he says this economic damage will certainly happen. I think this prediction is about as sound as his infamous permanent market crash prediction. If Trump cuts business taxes and rolls back some of the worst regulations, I predict that the growth of GDP will at least double and maybe triple under his Administration. I have the history of the intersection of modern American politics and economics to support my prediction (Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan). Krugman's got bupkis besides an extraordinary history of failed predictions and dishonest statements.


I myself spent a large part of the Day After avoiding the news, doing personal things, basically taking a vacation in my own head.
But that is, in the end, no way for citizens of a democracy — which we still are, one hopes — to live. I’m not saying that we should all volunteer to die on the barricades...


Wait, "die on the barricades"? Is he supporting the crybaby vandals and arsonists protesting the loss? Should we think that his saying that not "all" of us [Democrats] should die violently protesting is actually giving support to "some" of the protestors rioting? Hmmm.

The rest is drivel.

And the New York Times wonders why ever fewer people are reading what it produces. Talk about being clueless.

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