Aug
2
2016

Trump Is NOT Hitler. Pt 2

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post that compared aspects of the Trump populist candidacy and possible election to the Presidency to one of Americas most prominent populist Presidents, Andrew Jackson. This afternoon I realized there is a better, if equally imperfect, comparison to be made. It came to me as I was squawking with a Trump supporter on facebook. The supporter was comparing Hillary’s horrible record as Secretary of Defense and her lies involving Benghazi and the email scandal vs Trumps lies involving national security. Now, there is no comparison because Trump, of course, doesn’t even have a record in that field at all.

And then it hit me…

There is a much more recent political novice that we can look to that is a much better example of how bad things can get for “outsiders” officeholders. The one I’m thinking of met many of the same criteria as Trump. Here’s the list of promises made when this other guy was a candidate:

  • He was a celebrity, which helped him campaign against opponents.
  • He could say things that other politicians running for office couldn’t.
  • He was hailed as an “outsider” because he’d never held office before.
  • He was going to be able to fix the budget because he was a successful businessman.
  • He has plenty of money and pledged not to take money from special interests.
  • He proposed tax cuts for the rich.
  • Fix education (everyone promises that)
  • Proposed tightening immigration due to terror risks.

The person I’m referring to is, of course, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He ran as a Conservative, noting he had voted for then Gov Pete Wilson’s famous anti-immigrant prop 187. Problem was, with everything else he was more liberal. In the campaign the people that brought that up were brushed aside. In his first year in office, he did try to govern as a Conservative. The “Governator” tried to use brute force based on his star power and popularity to get the Conservative agenda passed, but that didn’t provide him the kind of political leverage in the hallowed halls of of the legislature everyone assumed it would. After failing to get his agenda passed via the the legislator, he bypassed them and brought several laws up for popular vote through the initiative process.  The voters smacked his initiatives down.

Then what did The Governator do???? He reverted to his true nature and governed the rest of his first term as a liberal. And he got re-elected as a Republican liberal / centrist.

For all my friends who are Trump supporters, I can’t ask you not to support him, as I know you either like him, or view him as the lesser of the two evils between the two major candidates. What I do ask is that you consider that Donald Trump may very well be a modern day Trojan Horse, a man who is likely to betray you and the country at the first difficult challenge.

Aug
1
2016

Celebrating The Old Forgotten Song!!! The Teenage Years.

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Back… WAY back in the day, there used to be this radio station that covered the San Joaquin Valley called KKDJ. It played AOR rock, and had great JD’s and personalities that always entertained.

Ahh… The “good ol’ days”.

Back in this time, so long ago – just slightly after the dinosaurs went extinct –  we didn’t have the internets and steaming music services and mp3 players and smartphones with “gigs” of music on them. We, well I, didn’t have a lot of disposable cash to go out and buy tons of records. The solution was to place a cassette tape recorder in front of the home stereo speaker and press record.

And often a stereo wasn’t even something that played music in stereo. For much of my childhood, my musical life was in mono. The family had one of these, and it only had one speaker… It was a “Mono”, not a stereo!

This is what the inside typically looked like.

They were big and heavy, and ours was mono. But it got the job done.

Then we got one of these! A REAL Stereo!!!! With a cassette deck!!!

I could now ditch the little cassette recorder and record things in STEREO!!!

BEAUTIFUL SACRED STEREO!!!!!

I happened across a picture of the exact same model we had. I completely forgot it had a DIGITAL display too…. IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!!!!

This post was not even supposed to be about the stereos of my past, but there you are. The topic of the post is lost music, found. The big and popular songs are readily available on YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc (I won’t use Spotify btw, and rarely use Pandora). But what about the songs that did make it to the airwaves, but never became hits. In my late 20’s, I could scrape up some money to buy the CD’s if I really liked the song. Before that, Miami Vice, with its fashion and flair, had cemented songs into pop culture that may have otherwise also been forgotten… Hello Lunatic Fringe! MTV had come, done it’s thing, and was starting to die, taking the music video along with it. What about song that didn’t make the cut for either, but weren’t bad songs? They were played on the radio for a bit, but never hit it big. Those songs faded quickly from the playlists, as well as the record stores. But for my cassette taping sessions, so many of these songs seem lost for ever. To make matters worse, most my tapes got lost to time; hungry car tape players, car break-ins, and many a move over the years. Funny thing is, I can still remember so many of those songs. They’re “Ear Ghosts”, and have remained with me, even 40 years later.

Here is one example. I always remembered this song. I had no idea who did the song, but I remember the verse and the chorus. It’s been rattling around inside my head for all these years. I looked for it over the years, but the title “Keep On Fighting” is not exactly unique and tons of hits for different songs come up when you google it. This morning, for what ever reason, I decided to search yet again…

BINGO!!!!

And here it is. Who remembers it?

Here’s another. Anyone remember the group 707? They did have a semi-hit with the title track to the silly MEGAFORCE movie, but this was before that.

Shooting Star???

Try googling Toronto. You’ll get everything, even but the band named after the city doesn’t show up. They were a fun band though, and had at least two songs that are on my “lost” list. I keep thinking there is one from them I forgot. The lead singer has a pretty strong and memorable voice. Through the magic of the internets, I just found out this group are the original writers of the song, “What About Love”, made famous by Heart.

Anyone remember the group Prism?

What some of your favorite “lost” songs?

PS. It’s interesting that many of the band linked above are from Canada.

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary, Pt 3 – The Wal-Mart Years.

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This was a request from my Laurel canyon bandmate Jim, who is very liberal – a socialist really, he’ll tell you so – and is not happy about Hillary having been on the board of directors of the “evil” retail store Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the poster-child for horrible corporate governance for liberals. The aren’t unionized and fight it tooth and nail. Their employees are paid low wages. They instruct their employees on how to get food stamp and other forms of welfare so they can keep paying lower wages. Etc. So, of course, any involvement with that company is a ding against her.

Jim wanted to know if it was true. And i told him I’d look into it.

Yep. She was, at one time, on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, from 1986 to 1992, the year she became first lady. She came into the fold at a time when Wal-Mart was expanding, but was not yet national. Wal-Mart of 1986 was not yet the mega-giant we know today. In 85, before Hillary came on board, they had about 882 stores in operation in about 22 mid-western and southeastern states, recorded sales of 8.4 billion, and had about 104,000 employees. When Hillary left the board of Wal-Mart to eventually become First Lady, the chain had grown into a much larger retail chain, and had stores in 45 of the 50 states. Today’s Wal-Mart US division has about 4,600 stores, 1.4 million US employees, and it’s revenue is something around $482 billion.

Needless to say, the Wal-Mart Hillary Clinton was associated with is not the behemoth that is Wal-Mart today.

That doesn’t mean that the same problems didn’t exist. Sam Walton, the founder of the company was already notorious for keeping costs down, which included employee pay. But they did offer stock options, and I’m betting many of the longterm employees have done pretty well in that regard. But their benefits are nowhere nearly as good as unionized competitor Costco. There are other issues as well.

The New York Times does a good job describing her time on the board. Note that she was the first female appointed to the board, and the Times notes that, although she didn’t seem to lobby hard for employee pay increases, she did press for, and get some improvements in other areas.

So, Jim, there you go.

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary. Pt 2 – Subtitled: The More I Research Her, The Less I Hate Her.

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Just about every time I look into an accusation or scandal about Hillary Clinton, something that is supposed to make me hate her or confirm my hate for her, I come out the other side with information that exonerates her, at least to some degree.

An old chestnut hanging around for a long time, one that i first heard on the Rush Limbaugh show years and years ago, was that Hillary Rodham was fired from the Watergate Committee because her boss, Jerry Zeifman, found her to be a “liar” and “unethical”.

I never questioned this to be true. And back then, pre-internet, it would have been hard to fact check even if I tried.

Hillary Rodham vs Jerry Zeifman… Meet the internets!

Snopes says NOPE.

“A pair of articles published during Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2008, one by Northstar Writers Group founder Dan Calabrese and one by Jerry Zeifman himself, asserted that Zeifman was Hillary’s supervisor during the Watergate investigation and that he eventually fired her from the investigation for “unethical, dishonest” conduct. However, whatever Zeifman may have thought of Hillary and her work during the investigation, he was not her supervisor, neither he nor anyone else fired her from her position on the Impeachment Inquiry staff (Zeifman in fact didn’t have the power to fire her, even had he wanted to do so), his description of her conduct as “unethical” and “dishonest” is his personal, highly subjective characterization, and the “facts” on which he based that characterization were ones that he contradicted himself about on multiple occasions.”

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Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary?

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As a guy who holds a degree in radio / video / film production, the election season is always a fun time for me. There is so much propaganda out there to dissect, it’s hard to decide where to begin. But sometimes, things fall into your lap. Here’s one about “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, and her authoritarian views on the US Mexican border that a friend posted on his facebook page.

It starts out by showing an edited 31 second video of Hillary speaking at the Counsel Of Foreign Relations. Note that the original video is over an hour long.

Here is the text that accompanies this propaganda piece:

I never ask you guys (or gals) to share anything, but dammit! share the hell out of this video! Hillary Clinton says Mexico is a problem, Mexican Government policy is pushing immigration, US needs to secure border, and illegals should be deported!?#?artoftheflipflop? ?#?trumpstalkingparrot? ?#?neverhillary?
Transcript: “Mexico is such an important problem. Mexico’s policies are pushing migration North. There isn’t any sensible approach. What need to do is simultaneously, you know, secure our borders, new technology, personnel, physical barriers, if necessary, in some places, and we need to get tougher employer sanctions, and we need to incentivize Mexico to do more. If they’ve committed transgressions of whatever kind, they should be obviously deported. “

From a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2006. Only edited for time. The video and sound are slightly out of synch.

LIAR!!!! It’s not “only edited for time”. It’s edited to try and paint her as having the same views on the border wall as Trump. It’s total cherry-picking. The entire speech is about using both idealistic and realistic solutions to solve problems. The topic of the border comes up at about 48:00 minutes in. After laying out the case as to why many immigrants come here, the very first thing she says in regard to American policy is that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform…. And she points out that the legislation to support that reform is stalled because of   Funny that the person that edited this conveniently left that out. That, folks, is manipulation. Propaganda.

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Jul
26
2016

Politics NOT As Usual.

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I’ve been a political junkie for a long time. As I’m fond of saying “I love the game, but hate the stench”. Over the years, I’ve watched campaign after campaign, on both side of the major party political fence, and have been more often than not somewhat bored by a lot of things that are a staple of US politics. One of those things on that list of “boring” has always been political conventions.

They’re boring.

Everyone knows what to expect. Two to three days of speakers regurgitating the same old script consisting of the following:

  • How great the party is.
  • How horrible the other party and candidate is.
  • Nonsensical solutions to nonexistent problems.
  • The same old tried and failed solutions to real problems.
  • Blah, blah, blah….

But this year… This year is DIFFERENT! And man is it ever!!!!

The Republican National Convention started off with a bang, when anti-Trump delegates were shut down by a bizarre floor vote that left a lot of people either scratching their heads, or furious, depending on which side of the Trump you’re on. And things continues to spin outside the normal orbit of the boring. Speech plagiarism, Christie holding a mock trial (which was good theater BTW), Cruz not endorsing Trump, apparently with the approval of Trump,the continues presence of the anti-Trump fueled anger that was simmering just below the surface, causing a lack of true party unity (usually considered a failure on conventional terms – get it?) and then Trump giving a long dark speech that made ME terrified, plus all the other stuff that made this one heck of a fun convention to watch. Granted, by Cruz not getting the nomination, thanks to the unexpected presence / win of Trump, I lost a bet and now owe a friend a steak dinner. But it was worth it I think.

And now the Dems have their turn. It’s not even a day in and there is TONS more to this convention than anyone could have predicted. First there are the hacked e-mails, showing that the DNC did indeed unethically stack the deck against Bernie Sanders in favor of the Queen, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Though it’s not really surprising, as Bernie supporters have been for good reason accusing the DNC of being in cahoots with the Clinton campaign, the stolen e-mails, revealed by Hillary nemesis Julian Assange and Wikileaks, confirms those suspicions. To make matters worse, former Clinton campaign manager Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was forced to resign over this embarrassment, has, for some reason that makes no sense at all, except to Hillary I guess, been appointed to an honorary campaign with the Clinton campaign, before the ink on her resignation was even dry.

Are you KIDDING ME????

Isn’t there anyone in Clinton’s inner circle who can stand up and say “DON’T DO THIS! IT WILL LOOK HORRIBLE!!! BAD OPTICS!!!!”.

Apparently, there isn’t.

How did all this happen???

There was a time when the party machine had more say in who would be able to run under their ticket. Oh, sure, a rogue candidate could jump into the fray under the company banner, but without real support from the party organization, that candidate wouldn’t stand a chance. He, or she would get squashed. The party wold change the rules behind closed doors or throw out various roadblocks to make it impossible for the interloper to ever succeed. Just look at how the Republican party machine treated Ron Paul, even though he had more popular support than several of the candidates who continued to enjoy favorable treatment.

Here is a message for both of the major parties. The Past Is Gone.

The past is a time when everyone would, in the end, agree to go along to get along for the sake of the party. The past is a time when you could bribe opposing politicians with platform changes or even appointments of you and favored lackeys to cabinet positions.The past is a time, before the internet, when the parties could pull of subtle things to influence election, and talk about it within the hallowed halls of party headquarters, and no one would be the wiser. They could do these things and so much more without any repercussions.

Those days are gone.

Why is this happening? Easy. It’s the internet. We are privy to information that in elections past would have never seen the light of day. We are now hyper-aware. We are an electorate that has watched politicians pretend they are “one of us” and want to “help us” but barely lift a finger to do what they promise, or worse do the opposite. We are an electorate that are finally willing to hols politician’s feet to the fire for flip-flopping. We the electorate, even if we can’t identify it specifically, can detect and smell the corruption rotting just below the surface, and we simply are not willing to stand for it anymore. We the electorate are, frankly, sick of being lied to.

The people running the political show are still playing by the old rules, dubious of the fact that everything has changed since the election of 2000. They are so out of touch with us, with the world we live in, that they never figured we’d catch on. And worse, when it became clear that we did, they were so blind to us that they didn’t even see it.

It’s all about information. That the internet was going to change the way we do political business was predictable and inevitable. I would have thought all this would have become obvious and would have already changed things before now. But… Finally… Here we are.

Jul
23
2016

Geek / Geology Alert – New Blog Link.

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Just want to give a should-out to a geology-minded blogger who, strangely, found me, via my “temblor” post. The blog is Dr. Geophisics’ Weblog.

My friend Preston Ward should get a kick out of this.

 

Jul
20
2016

Rules For Radicals… And Others.

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“Saul Alinsky was a brilliant man. Evil, but brilliant. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, everyone on the Left from the President on down is playing by his rules in the political arena.” (Townhall)

 

Republicans are fond of vilifying both President Obama and Hillary Clinton because of their supposed brainwashed allegiance and fealty to this evil guy by the name of Saul Alinsky. Saul Alinsky was a community organizer (guilty) in Chicago in the 1940’s. Before Barrack Obama started his path toward the Presidency, you never ever heard about this guy Alinsky. But MAN, if you want to bring some Conservatives to high alert, just mention the guy, as Ben Carson did last night. Conservapedia says this explicitly:

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was a liberal community organizer in Chicago who developed a method of local organizing that was widely copied by Democrats, and influenced Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Alinsky wrote a book, Rules For Radicals, which Politifact describes as offering “advice to activists seeking to influence public policy, covering topics such as class differences and tactics such as disrupting meetings and winning media attention”. The book was written in 1971 and draws on his long experiences of seeing what works best to influence people and organization, and make the most impact to achieve the stated goal.

Here is the list as is typically presented:

  • RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)
  • RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)
  • RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
  • RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
  • RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)
  • RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)
  • RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)
  • RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
  • RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)
  • RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)
  • RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)
  • RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

If you’ve read “The Art Of War”, or “The Prince”, some of these strategies will look familiar, so it’s not as if the rules Alinsky came up with are really original or dangerous. They are time honored and used by all sorts of people and organizations… And political parties…

HEY! WE’RE HAVING A PARTY RIGHT NOW!!!!

Why yes, we are!!!

Lets see if the Republicans might be using some of the “evil ideas” presented by Alinsky.

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people.

Money?

SUPERPACS. Check

People?

Plenty of white fearful voters. Check.

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

Judging from the past two nights, and the GOP platform, they are definitely not treading new ground. From hate Hillary to the continuation of the stated desire to keep the LGBT community as second class citizens… And don’t forget GOD!!! According to the benediction delivered, He has chosen Trump to win the Presidency.  Check on 2.

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating.

Donald Trump’s entire campaign strategy has very effectively relied on this.

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

See Rule number 5. And for some reason, Conservatives really really enjoy ruminating over the exploits and picadillos of Hillary’s husband, even though he’s not running.

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

From Whitewater to Benghazi and e-mails. And when the FBI and Department of Justice decided not to prosecute Hillary for the e-mail debacle??? This. It really does never end.

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

“Hillary is a monster that will destroy the country!!!!”. Or something like that.

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Two words – Hillary Clinton.

I’m sure there are more that can be listed. But do understand that the Alinsky rules are used quite often, by all sides. He didn’t invent them, he just wrote them down.

Jul
19
2016

To Follow The Trump Missteps… As Written By A Guy Named Fallows…

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Follow… Fallows… Get it???

Here.

Jul
12
2016

Bernie Sanders… Sell Out!!!!

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Many Bernie Sanders supporters are pissed as hell in the aftermath of his endorsement of Democrat rival Hillary “evil liar” Clinton.(“evil liar” is the description I keep coming across in the emotional facebook / twitter posts)  What I don’t think many of these same people realize is that… Bernie Sanders was ALREADY a Sell-Out. He started his political career registered as a member of the long defunked Liberty Union party. Then he was an “independent”, and remained so during  his long career up to this point. He often sparred with Democrat leadership on various policies and bills as they moved through Congress, as a Representative, then as a Senator. His early relationship with the Democrat party was contentious, but did improve over time. But, he was NEVER a Democrat.

Given that history, there is one glaring observation to be had… Bernie Sanders “sold out” as soon as he joined the Democrat party to run for President.

The reason why he chose to become a Democrat is clear. Being a member of one of the two major political parties gives you access to the people and resources that make that process of running a campaign much easier than if you were running as an independent. Being a Democrat gives you built-in votes, as, like in the Republican party, there are people who will only vote for that party. And then there’s money, etc. And now, by “selling out” and supporting Hillary Clinton, Sanders is giving approval to his supporters to go ahead and lend your vote to Hillary in order to defeat her opposite party rival, Donald Trump.

But reasons don’t matter if you’re “selling out”, do they?