Monday, January 26, 2015

Week of 01/26/2015

2015’s State of Delusion
Welcome to 2015! 
After all that went on last year, isn’t it great to start the year fresh?
Okay, enough of that…
Let’s talk about 2016.
You think I’m kidding?  Believe me, I wish I was.
Never mind that the Congress is now under GOP control… again.  Never mind that there are a whole batch of new career politicians to replace the former career politicians, with promises galore to supposedly “fix” what’s broken.  Never mind their campaign promises to shake up the status quo.  Never mind that the economy is still struggling for the 99% of the populace while the 1% are milking even more profits than ever before.  Never mind that there are a new batch of corporate layoffs that have been announced while Wall Street is hitting record levels.
Never mind all of that!
Let’s talk about 2016!
Let’s talk about who will be running for the White House next year!
Let’s talk about Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee!  Let’s talk about Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and even Ted Cruz, even if he is not eligible since he was born in Canada.  (And even he will admit it!)  Let’s talk about drafting Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.  Hell, let’s even talk about Mitt Romney!  He wants another go at the White House.  Third time’s the charm, right?
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about all of the local races that could possibly open up for the next round of elections!  How many senators will call it quits next?  How many members of Congress will decide to drop out to seek higher office?  How many of them will feel a little vulnerable now that the balance of power has already shifted?  We have to think about those things, don’t we?  Yes we supposedly do!
That’s the message that the goddamned almighty script is shoving down our collective gullets.  It’s telling us to forget about this year and everything that goes on from now until December 31st.  We supposedly need to worry about next year, with the next batch of elections, and the next batch of people who want to rule America and run it into the ground.
It’s a nice little racket that the people in power have mastered over the years.  They keep us focused from one election to the next, even if that next election is two years away.  We worry about who will win the Presidential elections, and then once that’s over with the script tells us to worry about the mid-terms even before the winners can finish getting their transition teams in place, never mind moved in and starting work.  Then, when the mid-term elections are finished, it’s time to worry about the Presidential elections all over again.  And on and on it goes, never ending.  Forget about this year, we supposedly need to worry about the next year and the next elections.  It’s all about the “race”, isn’t it?
And we all know why that’s going on, don’t we? 
Because let’s get brutally honest here… as long as the script has us continually focusing on the next elections, and continually going from one election to the next, then we’re not paying attention to what’s going on right now.
Think back to 2007.  The GOP were kicked out of Congressional power in the previous November mid-term elections.  The Democrats took charge for the first time in over a decade.
You would think that they would start un-doing everything that the GOP-ruled government had imposed.  That’s all that they ever talked about, especially after 2004’s election when the GOP ruled everything.  They talked about all of the things that they needed to do once they re-took majority control. 
But the Dems didn’t do any of that, did they?  No.  Because the millisecond that the elections were over with, the script started in about 2008 and who would be running for president.  Never mind what Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would do in 2007; the script was busy telling us to focus on Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani and anyone else who would dare challenge their presumed nominations.  And who was that upstart Barack Obama? What was that old fogey John McCain doing running as well?
And then after Obama got elected, what happened?  Well, the script started telling us to focus less on what Obama was doing and concentrate more on the 2010 mid-term elections.  Oh, panic over healthcare reform, but don’t worry, we’ll fix it in the mid-terms.  And then after that election it was straight on to the 2012 Fiasco.  Never mind what the GOP was doing in control of the House in 2011!  Let’s see about un-seating Obama!  And after that, well it’s the 2014 mid-terms, which leads us back to the here and now… and that same goddamned script telling us to forget what’s going to happen this year and focus instead on next year’s elections.
All the while, the economy has been running on automatic.  The rich keep getting richer by making the poor get poorer.  We’re told that we have to make do with less and less while the 1% get more and more.  Big Banks get away with crimes against the American people by paying pocket change for fines in moves that are more scripted than professional wrestling.
And the GOP certainly doesn’t want us to think about 2015, especially on the state and local level!  You know all of those “bastions of conservativism” across the country that think “taxation is theft” and chant the mantra of “less taxes, less government”?  Many of those “bastions” are either raising taxes or are seriously considering it. 
What?  You mean you can’t just keep slashing taxes and somehow result in more tax revenue?  But that’s what your script says!  That’s the logic you conservatives chant every time you talk about taxes every other time!  You mean you actually have to raise taxes to pay for your added police presence and for the roads that you failed to maintain all this time?  You mean you have to actually spend more money to pay for better teachers and for more government workers to actually enforce all of those “quality of life enhancements” you put in to “renew America”?  Why that’s just crazy talk!
Oh, and you know those record profits?  Well somehow they’re not saving workers at Coca-Cola, or store employees at JC Penny and Nordstrom.  The mall’s going to get even emptier without Wet Seal and Body Central as well.  How about Target in Canada?  They’re all going out of business soon!  Oh, and you can add McDonald’s to the list as well.  Guess that messed-up Monopoly game didn’t help them after all.
Remember the last time that gas prices took a swift drop and stayed really low for a while?  Yeah, it was a panic move done at the start of the Great Recession.  Warning bells, anyone?
But… wait a minute!  That’s not supposed to happen under the Church of the GOP and the Cult of Capitalism.  Tax cuts and tax breaks are supposed to help businesses, and if Wall Street is in record territory and profits are at the highest they’ve ever been since forever, doesn’t that mean that everybody is supposed to benefit from that?  That’s the whole “Trickle-Down Economics” straight from the Holy Book of Saint Ronald Reagan being recited even today by Fox News and conservative talk radio and the business channels like Fox Business and CNBC.
Oh, but I suppose we can blame all of that on Obama, right?  That’s what the script says to fall back on.  Obama did it all.  He also made your grandmother fall so she couldn’t get up, just for kicks.  Fox News says it and the myrmidons repeat it and the rest of you believe it.
But even if we discounted all of that, how about the promises made by those so-called “Tea Party” members that got elected?  Surly the nut-case brigade would live up to their campaign promises, right?  After all, that’s why they ran for office in the first place!
Yeah… one of those promises was to not vote to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House, and they broke that promise in a matter of minutes after getting sworn in!
Let’s not forget the Democrats… even if they really want us to.  Do you think they will give the GOP majority the same kind of crap that they were dishing out?  History says that Minority Leaders Pelosi and Reid will be nothing more than impotent wallflowers in their respective houses of Congress.  This is what they did in 2007, and this is what they will likely do for 2015.  They have a history of being incompetent.  They’re just waiting for Hillary Clinton to step up so the attention will be on her and not on them to do their jobs.  It’s a party full of nothing but career politicians and seat-warmers for the GOP.
This is why the almighty goddamned script is telling us to forget about 2015 and instead focus on 2016.  Because as long as we are told to focus on the empty promises of tomorrow, then we aren’t paying attention to the broken promises of the past.
Of course it also helps when you have a voting populace that are willfully retarded and vote according to bumper sticker jargon and Fox News sound-bites.  And it doesn’t take much to distract us, does it?  A little football game and some TMZ will do the trick.
I’ve noticed that there are always songs on the radio about people kissing off their boyfriends or girlfriends because they do nothing but lie all the time.  Meghan Trainor just did one called “You Lips Are Moving”.  So, I’m just wondering when we, the great unwashed both retarded and non-retarded, are going to do the same thing to the almighty goddamned script?  The script lies all the time, just like the politicians.  So when are we going to cut them loose?
Take a look at the calendar.  Take a look at the date this article is posted.  It says “2015”, doesn’t it?  If so, then let’s focus on 2015 and to hell with 2016 and to hell with the script that it supports, at least until the end of this year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week of 12/15/2014

The 2014 Brutally Honest Awards
Well folks, here we are coming up to the end of one more year.
As has been tradition for almost every year since the column began in 1996, we like to wrap up the year with a look at the best of the best and the worst of the worst, and sometimes a jab or two at a few things in between.
Bear in mind that this isn’t all-inclusive, and some subjects are last-minute additions, because let’s get brutally honest here… the real world doesn’t go on holiday breaks, and unlike TV programs, we can’t just wrap everything up for a mid-season finale.
So let’s rock…
The Biggest Winners of 2014: The GOP and the Goddamned Status Quo – Oh, you thought you were “changing” things up this year?  Keep dreaming, people!
In fact, I’ll just give you a prediction of what you’re going to hear after the GOP take over the Senate in 2015 and the mindless masses don’t get the change they think will happen.  This is what you’re going to hear…
“We want to bring about the kind of changes you demand, but unfortunately we don’t have a veto-proof majority, and as long as we have Barack Obama in the White House, we live under the tyranny of his veto pen.”
Just wait.  You’ll see I’m right about this… as always.  We’ve been down this road time and time again.  It doesn’t matter which of the two undeserving parties are in charge, they both read from the same goddamned script!
The Biggest Losers of 2014: The American People – And, yes, that includes all of you retards that voted for the so-called “lesser of two evils” instead of the real alternatives that were on the ballots.  You’ve sold your souls and this nation down the march towards plutocratic fascism.  I hope you are proud of yourselves, because I will be here to remind you of your bad choices over and over again until you chose to stop being retards.  Every time you slap your foreheads in frustration next year, I will remind you that this is what you voted for!
The Biggest Unrepentant Embarrassments to America in 2014 (tie): The Fascistic GOP, Conservative Talk Radio, and Fox News – They seem to get this award time and time again.  I don’t know how many weeks I’ve dedicated my column to their fetid hypocrisy.  They come up with bills that they know the President won’t sign, then they whine that the President doesn’t want to work with them.  They tie his hands up in committee and then whine that the President doesn’t “do anything”.  Then when he does use the same executive authority that his predecessor used without question, they scream and wail and accuse the President of being a “dictator”.  They justify torture, then throw little girl temper-tantrums when a report comes out that exposes the details of that torture.  And, even worse, they get on their high horses and say that America is so “great” that it can’t “engage” in torture.  They scream and they whine and they wail and they stomp their feet and what is even more sickening is that somehow the retarded voters keep on supporting them and putting them back in positions of power.
The Utterly Useless Award in 2014: The Democrats – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… we do not have a “two-party system” in America.  We have only one dominant political party – the GOP – and a weaker co-dependent “party” called the Democrats that only serve as the seat-warmers for the GOP when they overdose on their sociopathic fascism.
The Undeserving Award for 2014: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal – He comes to office on a cloud of Washington scandal and questionable ethics.  He makes questionable appointments.  His own Ethics Chairperson is called the most untrustworthy person in history.  His defeat at the ballot box should have been a no-brainer.  And yet even up against the grandson of a former governor and US President, he somehow managed to get the Georgia retards to re-elect him with a clear majority and a pompous condescending attitude.
The Saddam Hussein Award for Abuse of Power in 2014: Police Departments and Cowardly Prosecutors – You can shoot an unarmed big man in the middle of the street, you can strangle a man using a hold your own people say is wrong and do it in front of cameras, you can even lob an explosive device into a baby crib in the middle of the night, and as long as you have a badge, it’s perfectly okay.  That’s the message that prosecutors are saying through the cowardly use and abuse of the grand jury system.  And on top of that, they get military gear from the Pentagon! 
The con and neo-con lunatics got it wrong.  It’s not Obama they should be in fear of!  It’s their own cronies!
The “Good Riddance” Award for 2014 (tie): Attorney General Eric Holder, Donald Sterling, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – Both Holder and Ballmer announced their retirements this year, but only one of them have actually left.  Holder is guilty of aiding and abetting the banking criminals, allowing them to post pocket-change fines while continuing to screw over millions of struggling Americans, and his departure is long overdue.  Ballmer oversaw the end of Windows XP and tried to kill the desktop from Windows altogether, thinking that computers should behave more like cellphones instead of the other way around.  Now Ballmer has a new job… running the LA Clippers after the fiasco left by Donald Sterling.  And what a big pile of dung that whole thing was!  I mean, if your troubles become a subject of porn parody, then you’re really messed up!
The Stockings Full of Dung Award for 2014: Car Advertisers – Really, ad people?  You really expect us to believe that little kids would Skype Santa and ask for a new car that they can’t even drive?  Or that grown people would drop everything and go running to car carriers like they were ice cream trucks?
The Scrooge Award for 2014: Sony’s Playstation 4 – So… pre-Thanksgiving they have a standalone game system for $399.  And then during the dreaded “Black Friday” and “Black Thursday” and “Cyber Monday”, they have it for the “low, low, low” price of… $399.  And this is the standalone system.  No games bundled with it.  No package deal.  And you expect people to buy it?  Microsoft at least slashed their game system price by $50 and threw in two games.  Come on, Sony!  You’re better than this!
The Golden Globes Award for 2014: Kim Kardashian – No, she still can never “break the Internet”, but I won’t complain too loudly if she continues to try by showing off that really curvy and oiled body of hers some more.  In fact, I’d be rather happy if she did keep trying.
The Best TV Show in 2014: The Flash – “The Flash” follows CW’s series “Arrow” as the modern-day retelling of Barry Allen’s heroic beginnings.  But unlike “Arrow”, “The Flash” is brighter, perky, and energetic.  They don’t mind giving villains code-names.  They don’t spend their time lying to each other and then whining about others not being honest with them.  They even did a two-part crossover with “Arrow” which gave them the best ratings to date!  The CW seems to have clearly learned from the failures of “Smallville”, and they need to keep it going.
The “Smack My Head In Frustration” Award for 2014: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Okay, the TV series is supposed to take place inside the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside “The Avengers” and “Captain America” and “Thor” and even the “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and yet they seem to operate in the outer periphery of the blockbuster greats.  Their tie-in with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was even more remote than for “Thor: The Dark World”.  They introduce really interesting characters, and then kill them off.  Every step forward for them results in yet another kick in the nuts of the viewers. 
Marvel and parent company Disney have done a great job with the movies, but what they really need to do is re-connect their TV series to the MCU in a big way.  And I don’t just mean with a one-time cameo with Lady Sif or even Nick Fury and some modest references to the movies.
The Biggest Disappointment in TV for 2014: BBC’s Doctor Who – This one is show-runner Steven Moffat’s award to claim.  Moffat oversaw the end of Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor, hyped us for the new tenure of Peter Capaldi – a longtime Who fan – and then… fumbled.  We got Clara Oswald lying to herself and everyone else.  Claiming to “not know” this Doctor, and yet this is the one that supposedly knew all of the incarnations.  A Doctor that doesn’t really become himself until four episodes into the season.  More plot-holes and unresolved storylines than “Twin Peaks”.  Good characters that get either abandoned or else killed off.  And then a season that was slashed in half, and after the Christmas special we have to wait until next fall to see what else Moffat can do to insult our intelligence.
Bunch of bollocks, this season’s been.
The Worst Timing for a Questionable Scheme in 2014: The Oil Investor Pitch – I hear weird things on the supposed “news radio” station here in the Atlanta area.  Questionable sales pitches for “wealth-building” programs that remind me of the old snake-oil sales pitches.  So recently I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard the sales pitch for oil well investments, promising continual growth in a market that would continue to go up and up and up and up.  Mind you this comes at a time when the price of oil is tanking and the price at the pump continues to drop and drop and drop.
Yeah, really bad timing, guys.
The Get Off Our Cloud Award for Digital Douchebaggery in 2014: The Data-Thieves – Whether it’s going after the Big Corporate stores like Target and Home Depot or going after the female celebs who foolishly put nude selfies on their cloud accounts, black hat hackers have made the digital world a nightmare for the non-tech person.  Some of that is the fault of Big Corporate and their obsessive fetish for information.  Some of that is the fault of Big Government and their fetish for getting into every device at any time for any reason.  And some of that fault is the so-called “technically illiterate” who get their hands on so-called “smartphones” and are given gigabytes of cloud server space and are told to take full advantage of it.  And they do, and they find out how foolish it was.  But the rest of the blame are the data-thieves and their fetish for stealing and selling our lives for a cheap buck.  (And, yes, our digital lives are cheap to them.  It’s just not cheap to us when we have to reclaim them.)  May you all get Ebola and suffer miserably.
Speaking of…
The Aids-In-The-Toilet-Seat Award for Stupid Hysteria in 2014: The Ebola Fear-mongers – This is not to minimize the threat of Ebola, but the out-and-out stupid hysteria that was generated by people who live in fear of something they will probably never get has been even more sickening than the disease itself.  Oooh!  The person who showed no signs of the disease actually breathed the same air as other people!  Get the torches!  Get the Benzine!  Get the antiseptics!
As Snoopy used to say when Lucy threw that kind of fit… “Blaaaaaaaaaah!”
And finally…
The We Will Miss You Award for 2014: Elizabeth Pena, Robin Williams, and “Old Vet” Dave Matthews – An actress who was taken before her time, a comedian who took his own life, and a father who was taken by the misery inflicted upon him.  The world will miss the first two.  I will miss the third more than any other who left us this year.
Well, that’s it.  Enjoy the holidays and see you guys in 2015.