Consequences

So trump says that he wouldn’t be president if not for Obama’s tenure as president. This was one of his responses to Michelle Obama’s epic speech at the DNC the other night and I hesitantly admit he is right, in a sick sort of way.

Obama’s election to president seemed to inspire an entire generation and proved that there was no barrier that couldn’t be demolished. It delivered on the promise of this American dream we all have believed in for so long. America’s first African-American President and it was a shining moment for our history. Obama went on to oversee one of the most successful and productive administrations in history. He insured millions of people who never had insurance. He bolstered our image on the global stage, earning the respect of our allies and maintaining America’s leadership role. He saved the nations economy and pulled us out of the Great Recession and planted the seeds of a strong, sustainable economy.

On the flipside of this, his election lit other fires and unfortunately they weren’t good ones. His rise to president inflamed the racial hatred that laid quietly in the cracks of our society. People who still view people of other races as inferior to them were clearly feeling attacked and shifted into panic mode and the GOP was quick to capitalize on this fervor. One of the top-most voices in this racist choir was none other than donald trump. Leading the charge on the birtherism conspiracy and constantly trolling Obama for demands to produce his birth certifcate to prove his citizenship. Even after Obama released this, trump continued his crusade to paint Obama as an illegitamate president. This hate burned in him, and many others, and he took the opportunity. He fostered that hate and his base was forged. He gave a home to the racists and bigots of this country. He welcomed them to his campaign as if it were a welcoming cottage in a desolate wasteland and they followed. They saw him as the answer and in a way they were right. If Obama was the American Dream fulfilled, trump was the American Nightmare given form. Having inherited his fortune from his father, building a real estate empire famously through intimidation and other shady methods, and a long string of failed business endeavors with few successes, he proved that anyone could be president, no matter how inexperienced or uneducated. His administration has been fraught with scandal, incompetence, and illegal activity. He’s turned our government into a criminal enterprise and the current GOP leadership has allowed it. The list of cabinet members who have come to regret their involvement with trump grows with every passing day.

trump could never have reached the Oval Office if not for that hatred and rage that slept in the hearts of so many racist bigots that he nurtured and Obama gave them someone to focus that rage at. So, in a way, trump was right. He’s now saying he’s going to win and even suggested a third term, but in this he will not be right. We cannot allow that to happen. This country will not survive another term of trump. If you think that’s over-the-top, look around at the situation right now. See where we are. Do you really think another 4 years of this is going to end well? Vote for Biden, please. Even if he’s not your first choice he will at least offer some relief from the current chaos we live in now. He has experience and unlike trump has strategies and plans. He’ll give this country time to breathe and four years from now, we can re-evaluate if need be. trump is a death sentence. Plain and simple. VOTE!

Worst Case is Best Case

Being stuck at home for work has some benefits but it also has its drawbacks. One big drawback is my near constant exposure to Fox News and other Right Wing media due to those that I live with. It has been eductational in some respects. I see now more clearly that Fox News is carefully curated and arranged to illicit fear and anger in its audience. They use the same footage when they talk about the Portland riots. Every time. They have also been talking about these riots for over a month now, or so it seems, yet I understand they have been mostly peaceful. Fox News portrays it as a 24-hour a day free for all, but that’s not what other news outlest report and whenever they aren’t talking about that, they’re either defending trump or trashing Biden.

This is where my fascination is peaked. They talk about the dangers of a Biden presidency. They tell scary story about Liberal storm troopers who will come in the night and snatch you off the street; although it seems trump is getting us ready for that with his stormtroopers coming in the night and snatching us off the street. They also touch on what a great response trump has had with the coronavirus, rarely mentioning the months he spent ignoring it and even after it hit refusing responsibility; and in the same breath they trash Biden over his response which was nothing but that’s mostly because he’s not the President, yet.

A lot of Conservative pundits are quick to describe the horror of Biden’s administration with little to no evidence but I wonder, could Joe Biden possibly do anything that would make what’s going on now any worse? Could anyone? Historically high unemployment, a pandemic and a crumbling economy. It wasn’t like trump was doing that good a job before all this either. He broke the law. He was impeached. His administration has been a hot bed of scandal and criminal behavior. It’s less a cabinet and more of a mob family. He has proven he doesn’t understand his responsibilities, he doesn’t understand the law and he doesn’t understand the difference between right and wrong. He has no experience and these past 3+ years have not taught him anything. He has no plans for his second term. Just some vague concepts that only make sense in the mists of his adeled brain. Biden has proven experience. He understands the job and his role in it. Some say he’s too progressive while others say he is not and I really don’t care because he’s not trump.

The worst that Biden could do will still be a vast improvement over the best of what trump can do. Whatever the worst case scenario you may see with Biden, think about what another term with trum could do. Look at where we are now and ask yourself if you honestly believe trump could actually see us through it. If it were possible for him to accomplish that, why hasn’t he done it yet? A president who refuses to do his job unless he’s rewarded is no president at all. trump is the one who got us into this mess to begin with. He removed Obama’s pandemic task force, which was quite comprehenisve and probably would have spared us thousands of lives. He ignored the warnings of the virus writing it off as a hoax. He’s brought militiary black ops into our cities. He’s undermining the rule of law in this country. He’s even essentially taken control of the Senate because McConnell has been vocal that he will do whatever the president wants and that puts trump in the Executive Branch and the Legistlative Branch, which I would call a gross overreach of authority. There’s no where to go but down from here with trump and fighting over how progressive Biden is or isn’t is irrelevant. We need experieince and intelligence in the White House. We need a president who respects the law and this country. Another term of trump is death for this country.

Oh Goy-A

So a lot of stink has been made by calls for a boycott against Goya due to the President and CEO’s prais of trump at the White House recently. Rober Unanue said we (America, presumably) are lucky to have a ‘president’ like trump calling him a ‘builder’. He has also said the attempted boycott of his products is a suppression of speech. Actually, it is the most American thing that could be done. The concept that this nation’s citizens can openly criticize and disagree with the president and government is a cornerstone to this democracy. We are not forced to blindly pledge allegiance to whomever sits in the Oval Office. We have the ability, nay duty, to question leadership and when that leadership falls short, we have the right to make our displeasure known. If the president of a privately held company says something his customers don’t agree with, they have the right to boycott his products. It’s the only voice they have. He certainly won’t listen to their words. They are speaking with their wallets.

I would like to know, however, what leadership from this adminstration we are so lucky to have. Are we lucky to have a president who openly engages in corruption and deceitful behavior? Are we lucky to have a president who routinely lies? A president who puts pressure on allies for personal favors and one who alienates allies while cozying up to dictators and despots? The kind of president who locks children up in cages and pardons convicted felons? The kind of president who hides away in a bunker when things get tough? A president who works with foreign agents to gain politically? A president who downplays or out and out ignores warnings about a deadly virus and spreads blame around for his own failings and not once takes any responsibilty for his failed policies? A president who puts his own re-election odds above the lives of thousands of innocent Americans, many of whom are children? I could go on. The list of this president’s sins seems to never end. Impeached, rebuked by so many in his party. He was never a builder; never a leader. Not in the private sector and certainly not now. He spreads division, exploits the darkest parts of his base and fans the flames of hatred. All this can be seen in how he acts and what he does and the only way you don’t see it is if you choose not to see it, which so many choose to do it seems.

I get that perhaps Robert Unanue feels that you must respect the office if not the man, but how can you respect this president when he shows no respect for the very office he occupies. He doesn’t understand his powers. He doesn’t do his job. He listens to pundits and crazy conspiracy theorists over experts and educated professionals. He has the expertise of the world’s greatest minds at his fingertips yet he chooses to take his cues from the likes of Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity and they know this; which I think is kind of a violation of a journalist’s ethics to knowingly influence a sitting president. He has had so many chances to prove his leadership but has failed time and time again. He has defended white supremacists and pedophiles. He has taken great pains to keep a ‘hands off’ approach to his presidency. He pushes his duties off onto others and leaves others holding the bag. The buck never seems to stop here with this president. Instead he whines and complains about how unfair he is treated by those critical of him.The first time in our history a president has ever had such complaints. Most presidents just rise above such barbs and get to the job at hand. This one goes golfing. His golfing budget in his first term out-paces his predecessor’s budget over his 2 terms. He still profits personally from his businesses and uses his office to this end. He has turned the presidency into a criminal and corporate enterprise and it should be neither of those things. Government isn’t a business.

And now we are in the midst of the pandemic. Where is this leadership we are so lucky to have now? The president is attacking his own experts because they won’t agree with him and tell everyone how everything is peachy keen and we can re-open now. The fact is this nation has the highest case rates and deaths in the world right now. So many other countries have gotten a handle on COVID-19 and that’s because they took the hard road and did what had to be done and now they have flattened the curve, or gotten closer to it than we ever will. To this day the president still insists on spreading bad information about the disease; whether it’s claiming phony cures or just saying the virus is ‘harmless’. He latches onto anyone who will echo this but rarely does it come from any expert or medical professional. Most recently we have Chuck Woolery, a game show has-been, claiming the pandemic is a huge conspiracy, coordinated by the media and Democratic party, to thwart trump’s re-election. That is insane, just so you know. It’s crazy and you know it is because COVID-19 is a GLOBAL crisis not just here. If it was a conspiracy it is one hell of one that encompasses all the world’s governments, the CDC and countless others all for the sake of one small, petty man. It seems, if you believe him, everyone is after trump. Quite an ego on that one.

The fact is that there is no conspiracy against trump. Logistically it would be impossible for that to be true. When there are so many saying he is wrong and unfit for office, it may be time to consider they may be right. It seems though that trump’s allies are loyal, even when he turns on them. He has turned on and attacked everyone who has ever come to his defense. He attacks Fox News, his propaganda machine, he attacks his cabinet, he attacks his friends, he attacks his followers! How much further can he go? Is there anything he could do that would finally make even his most loyal supporters see him for who he really is?

This is why they want to boycott Goya. This president is not a builder. He is a divider and the Latino community has suffered its share of his incompetence and if a company that claims to support that community praises trump, they have the right to make their outrage known and the best way to do that is with their dollars. Even when the boycott and buy-cott frenzy dies down, this moment will hang over Goya brands for years to come. I wonder if the Right Wing loudmouths who object to the boycott will still be there by Goya’s side 5 or 6 years from now or maybe they’re just going to stick up for them now while the story is hot. The long-term customers may be lost forever however. Just a thought.

The Disease of Fox News

Everyone knows Fox News is anything but ‘fair and balanced’. They haven’t used that slogan for ages because even they knew it wasn’t true. Now they wrap themselves up in their plastic patriotism and go deeper in on their concept of ‘traditional’ values. They angrily shout that America is great and everything else is bad. Anyone who dares to question them or their president shall be labeled ‘enemy’ and will be dispatched as such. They filter out the inconvenient truths and leave only the sweet distilled lies. They offer only half the story and call it journalism. For that there should be an asterisk mark by the News in Fox News.

I am in the unfortunate position where I am exposed to the channel on a daily basis and I can’t simply turn it off, as much as I wish I could. I have noticed things about Fox News and much of this isn’t new to anyone I know. I just feel the need to join in with the others to share these observations.

First, there is no news on Fox News. It appears they have an endless schedule of opinion shows where the host lays out the bones of the story and then shares their opinion and then brings on a live guest who shares that same opinion. No differing viewpoints. No unique angles. Just what they think and that’s it. Any opposing statements are offered in pre-recorded snips from other sources. They don’t dare have two live guests who would conflict with one another.

The majority of their coverage these days is trump. It seems every show is all about trump and the hurdles he faces each day. They get pro-trump guests to further spin the lies and fabrications of the administration and then trash any dissenting voice they can. They bend over backwards and back again to rationalize the president’s foolish remarks and baffling behavior. Today, as a point, a re-election official was on claiming there really were 12,000 in attendance at the trump rally in Tulsa. I have seen pictures from the rally and based on that and the fact that the venue only has 19000 capacity, there is no way there were 12000 people there. The fire dept. in Tulsa stated that there were less that 6200 people there, and since I see no reason why the fire department would need to lie, I’ll go with their number because that is also what looks factual. I’d say the trump campaign thug needs to learn math. 12000 people in a 19000 capacity venue would mean that more than half the auditorium would have been full. That place was barely half full with huge block of seats empty and not many people walking around. Of course, Fox News goes silent. They also failed to report that 6 trump staffers tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the rally. No face masks. No social distancing. They also said protesters scared trumpists away, but I fail to see how 120 peaceful protests could scare away so many of the kind of people who would go to a trump rally.

When Fox isn’t reporting on trump or bashing the civil unrest currently going on, they have shows where the host will just talk about things with the intent to anger viewers. One pundit went on about not being able to get liquor on an airline flight. He went on and on about it, yelling and getting upset. Clearly in a bid to rile up the viewers. The ‘news’ shows spread the lies and the opinion shows cement them and anger up the viewers. These two kinds of programs on Fox culminate in an angry person filled with a lot of bad information. Fox also makes sure they are the only source because they go after their rivals at CNN and MS-NBC calling them ‘fake news’ and constantly claimng they lie when the reality is that a fact checking poll proved that CNN and MS-NBC are more truthful than Fox. Fox was proven ot be untruthful nearly half the time with either misleading half-truths or flat out lies, or simply the omission of some information. And when they aren’t doing any of this, they’re showing funny animal videos. What journalism school did these people graduate from?

Fox News clearly carefully crafts and structures their information for their viewers in a very specific way and because of that Fox News isn’t news. Journalists are intended to be impartial and hold no sway over the news they report. CNN and MS-NBC, so far as I’ve seen, simply report the news as it happens with no spin or agenda. They have their opinion shows but usually they will have live guests from both sides of the argument in order to have a thoughtful debate on their topic. Fox has an agenda. It is widely known trump watches Fox. He speaks on the phone with Sean Hannity. Fox knows that their reporting has sometimes influenced public policy and I am sure that power is hard for them to resist, but that is not the function of a journalist. You don’t express your opinions with the intent to affect change in a world leader’s decisions in order to suit your own ends. You can if you want, but don’t call it news and don’t call yourself a journalist.

Fox News has now become more a propaganda machine for the GOP and it seems each day they become emboldened by trrump. Even when he denounces them in his tweets they still vie for his favor, almost begging him for him to love them again. I think it proves that not only has trump failed to make America “great again” but he can’t even improve Fox News.

Cutting Through The Crazy

I haven’t posted in a long time, not that anyone noticed, but I’m posting again because sometimes the meter in my head that measures the insanity of the world hits its maximum and a bell goes off.

This happened today when I heard two radio talk show hosts (not saying who but let’s say their names rhyme with Don and Ben) and what I heard tipped me over the edge. I’d like to clear somethings up about this Kavanaugh report that was completed by the FBI. First, it’s not been made public so anyone claiming to even know what’s in the report is lying. From what I’ve read from other sources, the GOP is not making the report findings public. It is available to senators, but not the public. Now, I know someone could say that some senator told them that the report said this or that, but as far as I am concerned those lying sacks can’t be trusted with a care package much less sensitive information like this. They could tell anyone anything and get away with it and I think it’s been very clear from the outset of this that the GOP will do and say anything to make all this go away.

Secondly, even if there is nothing incriminating in this report, it wouldn’t mean anything because the scope of this investigation was so limited. They didn’t interview Dr. Blasey-Ford. They didn’t interview Kavanaugh. They couldn’t interview any of all the many witnesses who were coming forward who could add more credibility to Dr. Blaey-Fords claims. Essentially, if there was any dirt to find, the FBI was restricted from finding it or reporting it. The investigation was basically pointless because it had no teeth. It was just an empty gesture so that some of the senators who are voting for Kavanaugh can rationalize that they did their due diligence and can vote with a clear conscience. Right.

Third, and maybe this point strays, but hear me out. Let’s forget the report. Let’s forget the fact that three women with similar accounts of the same man should be enough to warrant deeper investigation, let’s just think about Kavanaugh’s behavior at the hearing. He was belligerent, angry and I cannot see that man being impartial, especially after all of this. He’s going to have a lot of axes to grind and if he gets confirmed, he’s going to be able to inflict his petty revenge on his ‘enemies’. He is not impartial and he’s not fit to serve on the highest court in the land. The only reason the GOP is trying to cram him in is because a case is coming up and they know Kavanaugh’s ruling will let everyone who has gotten busted in the Mueller investigation go free, and this will also set the stage for Trump to get off scott free when he gets busted himself, and he will. All his pawns are falling around him so it’s only a matter of time before the king falls too.  They want him in because he’s going to vote for everything they want. He’ll overturn abortion rights, gay rights and I wouldn’t be surprised if they reinstate slavery just for the Hell of it. Some say many of these issues are settled law, but no law is ever really settled. Cases can always be reopened and redecided and Kavanaugh is a clear and present danger to all the progress that’s been made over the last fifty years.

The current GOP leadership is only interested in protecting their own interests and those of their donors. Every generation their self-serving tactics become less and less subtle. This has to stop. They have forgotten that they serve us. They are not our lords and masters.

Kavanaugh will more than likely be confirmed and it will be another bruise on our National face, but I suppose it’s appropriate. This is Trump’s America now. A land of hate and intolerance and ignorance. A nation that disdains science and embraces the illusion of a past that never really existed in the first place. While the world marches forward into the future, we will be burying our heads in the sand and hoping time swings around back to 1955. Good luck to us all.

The Weinstein Effect

Well, my outrage has been triggered once more but Fox ‘News’. I walked by and heard one of their talking heads blathering on about the Weinstein situation in Hollywood. It’s amazing, but somehow they managed to bring back around to Hillary. I think that by the fact that they take every chance they can to tear Hillary down means they still fear her. Maybe she has no actual future as an elected official, but she is definitely an influencer.

My ire is raised because of the sheer duplicity and hypocrisy of this. A scandal in the sphere of the Democratic party by a known benefactor and they devote every minute of airtime on the scandal. However, they remain strangely silent when a scandal of equal or greater proportion strikes the GOP establishment. There are plenty of perves in the Republican party who are indulging in their dark desires and I’m sure a great many insiders know who they are and what they are doing yet remain silent, much like many in Hollywood knew about Weinstein and chose silence. I’m not defending them or the behavior but I say to Fox ‘News’, don’t go throwing stones while you’re still making payments on that glass house of yours. They even threw a dig at Hillary and Bill’s marriage, questioning if Hillary knew about Weinstein’s behavior. They seem to be convinced she did know, so she must have, right? Because they are psychics over there and they know everything. The knocked Hillary since she decided to stay with Bill and as far as I can see, that issue was between Bill and Hillary. If she chose to forgive him, for whatever reason, that’s her business; but if you want to talk about infidelity, let’s take a look at Trump’s failed marriages, shall we?

Those who knew about Weinstein’s behavior and said nothing, shame on them, but I haven’t heard anyone defending their silence on this issue just yet, and even if they were, they had their career to think about as well. You weren’t in their head at the time and you had no idea what the circumstances were. It’s easy to say you’d do it differently or you’d be more moral about it now, but there’s no way to know for sure that is true because you can’t go back in time and become Harvey Weinstein or anyone who may have known about his abuses. The Right is just loving this whole thing and the GOP are many terrible things and one of the worst things about them is they are bad winners. Of course, let’s see how long they keep grinning before a new sex scandal erupts in their camp.

Lies Of the Right….Again!

I admit this post is a little reactionary, but I just got a load of Fox News and their special brand of ‘journalism’. Five minutes and in that time, at least 3 lies counted. This network is unbelievable. It’s like all the high school bullies grew up and became Fox News hosts because that’s what they sound like. They take pot shots, they lie and they make fun of anyone who has a differing opinion.  Any other news channel I see differing opinions are greeted with at least some attempt at intelligent conversation. Fox News just wants to echo their base’s gut reaction to stir them up to anger and push them closer to the edge. Tonight, one of their idiots was praising President Dump for the current 3% GDP, insinuating his orangeness had anything to do with it. In case you weren’t looking Fox, the country’s GDP was ALREADY at 3% before Dump took office. Obama is the one who took us from a negative GDP up to 2% and then concluded his administration at 3%. Since Dump took office, I admit it has gone up. to 3.4% That’s not a big jump. It’s a mild swelling. Once more, Obama’s numbers far outshine Dump’s  (I will not say his name.)

It was claimed that NFL ratings were down since the current anthem controversy, yet that isn’t true either. Their ratings have actually spiked. I see the fans come out to the games. They’re still watching them on TV and the people who are complaining about their stance clearly don’t understand the concept of free speech and peaceful protesting. I also love seeing so many white people becoming outraged when black people take a stand to make a statement about the violence set against their people. I’ve been keeping up with a lot of what’s been going on and anyone with a brain can see what’s going on.  The fact of it is unless you have been part of a group who has been the victim of discrimination you need to shut your damn mouth. Of course you, as a white person, don’t see any problem and you think they’re just whining. Think for a moment first how you would feel about all this if people of your race had been made slaves. How would you feel if your people had been the subject of discrimination for decades? Treated as less than human and only upgraded to being second-class citizens? How would you feel if you were instantly judged every time you walked into a room? How would you feel if people automatically pegged you as a thug or criminal just by looking at you? Racism isn’t some myth. It’s real and it happens. I have seen it from my own family and it disgusts me. I support those who refuse to stand for the anthem because it is their right to do so. It is the spirit of calling out our system when it fails us that makes this such a great country. Instead of attacking the players, maybe look at what got us to the point. The Zimmerman case was the first shot in this nightmare. A young black man shot down like a dog by that racist piece of $h!t and he gets off scott free. A black woman fires a warning shot at her abusive husband, claims the same ‘stand your ground’ law defense and gets 20 years in prison. White officers all over shooting black men and getting nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The victims, however, are dragged through the mud and portrayed as criminals and thugs. In some cases, yes they were breaking the law, but why couldn’t they have been taken alive so they could be dealt with by our judicial system? In case, I recall, he was breaking the law but he was not armed. This is wrong any way you cut it because the fact is if those victims hadn’t been black the stories would have turned out differently. You can say that’s just a theory, and it is, but it’s more than likely the truth. Rich kid kills someone with his car and gets off because he was rich and wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing. Affluenza. White guy rapes women and gets a pass because convicting him would adversely affect his future. If those guys were black or Latino, they wouldn’t have even seen a jail cell because they would have been murdered by officers.  When it’s really happening, they aren’t playing the victim card. They are victims. I’m not saying give them a free pass too but rather I’m saying the treatment under the law should be equal and color-blind. Just because someone doesn’t like someone of another race does not give them the right to kill them. It’s sad that such a sentence has to be said in this day and age, but here we are.  I understand the protests and support them in this. It’s about standing against needless deaths and racist behavior. It’s about demanding the country finally fulfill the promise of a better union and equality among all citizens, regardless of race, creed and color. Those aren’t just words on paper. They’re something we need to put into action, more now than ever. Are there bad apples out there? Yes. Sadly, there are, but we can’t punish everyone for the actions of a few. There are bad white people too. Let’s just forget race and finally see each other as people. Hasn’t this all gone on long enough already? So many wars fought and so many lives lost because of race. I mean, think about that. Because his skin is different from mine, he must die. Is that sane? Is that reasonable? You can believe whatever you want of course, but it’s when your beliefs translate into actual actions against others it must stop. You don’t have the right to infringe on someone else’s life and they have as much right to be heard as you do. No one says you have to agree with them, but they still have the right to speak. In that spirit, I also support those who speak out against the protestors as well. They have the right to make their voices heard too and not supporting them would be hypocritical. I just don’t fully agree with them. See how that works? You can complain and argue, but everyone still gets their say in all this mess. This can be done, but apparently not on Fox News.

Has It Come To This?

It was a scene of horror on Saturday in Charlottesville, VA as factions from pretty much every active hate group in America came to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. You could say they had the right to protest peacefully, but they came armed and ready for a fight. They wanted a fight and they got one. I’m also willing to bet someone from their side threw the first punch.

Normally in a situation like this, the headline is about how these hate groups were greeted with opposition by counter-protestors. If this had happened back in the ’60’s or ’70’s that’s how it would be, but it’s today and our Cheeto in chief decided to shift the conversation so that he wouldn’t offend his precious Alt-Right base. He has made it clear he believes that both sides are to blame for the violence and I guess on some level he would be right. If you just looked at it as two groups of people who fought, then yes. Both are to blame, however, when you add in those pesky details, things aren’t so black and white. It was a group made up of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and Alt-Right white nationalists chanting against pretty much everyone of any different race and religion, carrying torches and wielding weapons. One of them even plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors and (allegedly) killed one of them, for which he is now on trial. These protestors did not come to join peacefully. They came with the intent to fight.

These protestors did not come to join peacefully. They came with the intent to fight. The counter-protestors were there to make their voices heard and showed no desire for violence. When the fighting broke out, it was not started equally. One side attacked the other and after that, it was an act of self-defense. One reason it got so out of hand, by what I have researched, the police on the scene didn’t seem interested in stopping what was happening.

Now the dust has settled and instead of picking up the pieces and healing, we’re having this ridiculous conversation about blame and who is at fault, like children. The fact is hate groups attacked people and it doesn’t really matter if the other side fought back. In an abusive marriage, when one spouse beats on the other for so long and then one day the abused wife or husband finally pulls out that gun and blows their spouse away, do we consider the abused party as much to blame? No. They did what they had to in order to survive. In WWII, the Allied forces fought the Axis powers. We were fighting to stop Nazis and Fascists from taking over the world and killing millions of innocent people. Do you blame the Allied countries, including the US, for the war? Do we share equal responsibility for the fight? No. If the Nazi party hadn’t been doing what they were doing, there wouldn’t have been a war in the first place. If those protestors hadn’t attacked the counter protestors, there would have been no fight. It may sound childish, but the one who starts the fight carries more responsibility; and when we’re talking about Nazis and the KKK, I don’t see how any thinking, feeling human being can possibly cast blame on those who fought them. To fight them is to be a  hero. Now here comes Trump and his ‘all sides’ comment. Are we really watching our nation’s leader defend Nazis? Has he actually put his party and its followers in a position where they have to rationalize and defend bigots and klansmen? I heard my parents tonight agree with Trump as he called out both sides for Saturday’s violence. It jarred me, to say the least. If you can’t tell the difference between an all out riot and a skirmish between several hate groups and a crowd of counter protestors, I don’t know what more there is to say. Can even a hardcore Republican see past their party and see the difference here? This ‘all sides’ logic is flawed to say the least. Moral obligation in these conflicts makes all the difference. If you truly believe in Trump’s words, then by that extension, every war we’ve fought has been our fault as well. You believe him, you accept that the United States was as wrong in every conflict we’ve fought as our enemies were. By Trump’s logic there is no innocence or guilt; there is no right or wrong and this line thinking explains a lot about his moral bearings. He must live in a world where there is no up or down morally. He exists in a blameless limbo of his own creation. This is a dangerous way for our president to think. I know about hate groups and have seen many in my day. They are the bad guys without exception. They are evil and it’s sad that we’re still fighting against this disease of hate in this day and age. I don’t even care if the counter protestors struck first. They were fighting the good fight. They were striking against a school of thought that needs to leave us. This is one of those no-brainer moments. Nazis and KKK = Bad. Everytime. All the time. Fighting them in any way, shape or form = good.

If you actually want to defend these people, go right ahead, but think long and hard about who you’re defending and what you’re defending. Look at who is sitting at your table. Once you see it clearly, decide honestly if you want to sit there anymore.

New MST3K First Impressions

It has finally arrived! The new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000! I have been a rabid fan of MST3K for years and I worship at the altar of Best Brains. I wasn’t always such a devout fan. Once upon a time, I thought the premise of the show was stupid. I figured it was just watching bad movies but one day I started watching the show when they cut it into two one-hour shows and that was when I began to warm up. Soon after that, I was taping every episode and soon had them all in my library. Today I own 98% of the dvd collections they have released. I love MST3K.

Now, that being said, let’s talk about the new season. I was going into this with an open mind. I saw Jonah Ray riffing at the MST3K Reunion show that was put on by Rifftrax and I was impressed. He seemed like a real good fit for the show. I was also prepared for a big adjustment with the changing of Tom and Crow’s voices.  I watched the first episode with a nervous stomach. Imagine my shock to see Wil Wheaton and Erin Gray. The first episode was rough, most first episodes are. There was much to explain and establish. Jonah Heston is another employee of Gizmonic and he is lured to the dark side of the moon by Kinga Forrester, daughter of Dr. Clayton Forrester, the mad scientist responsible for the experiment. She and her henchman, Max, aka son of TV’s Frank.

First off, the show is still funny and I hesitate to be too critical but there are just some issues I need to express. The look and feel of the show is totally different. The doorway sequence isn’t quite as exciting as the previous ones and the main set (the bridge of the SOL) doesn’t quite hit that same level of charm as the original. It just looks as though less work was put into it. Tom and Crow and Jonah are all very energetic in the theater, a little too much for my taste. Then we meet the bots and heard their new voices.  The problem here is that Tom and Crow sound shockingly similar. Their personalities are tremendously new.  I’m not sure I can pinpoint the issue here. Watching the original shows and the news ones together helps to see the change. Tom Servo is more ‘street’ and doesn’t carry himself as the over-educated,  pseudo-intellectual we came to know and love. I also have a problem with how the bots are used. Eight episodes in and I still can’t see their personalities shine. They both seem to be very indistinct characters at this point, but then Trace and Kevin had been doing this for a long time and the new guys are just getting started. Crow and Tom both had very distinctive and memorable personalities in the original series to the point they felt almost human and the chemistry between them and Mike and Joel was so organic and easy. In this version, they seem to be trying to make that chemistry happen. The bots don’t seem to have that rapport with Jonah.

As for the riffing of the movies, it’s a new style but they do hit a lot of high points in the theater. Jonah sings more than I’ve ever heard on the show, as do the bots, but they mercifully quick. They still seem a bit disconnected with the movie, but again, the original guys had been doing this for years.

Ultimately, I must say while I was hoping for more, I’m still happy with what they accomplished. It’s rough and choppy a bit here and there, but it is growing on me. I’d like to hear an explanation about how Tom and Crow wound up back on the Satellite of Love after the events of the last season on the Sci-Fi channel, but that’s for another day. I take it all with a grain of salt and I’m still entertained and it can only get better from here on out. I will be posting another review once I’ve finished with this season. You have a first impressions review and then a final thoughts review. Welcome to the Netflix age.

 

White Washed? Seriously?

Ghost In The Shell has come out and as I understand it, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding it. It seems some folks are mad that Scarlett Johansson is playing a role that many say should have gone to an Asian actress. I see. Maybe the film’s casting director couldn’t find an Asian actress that could handle the role as well as Ms. Johansson. She was the best fit for the role from the pool of actors they had to choose from, she just happens to be white.

I see a great amount of irony in all of this. I love how the cultural groups come out en force for this kind of nonsense. I don’t recall anyone raising a word when a white character was cast with a character of a different race. Johnny Storm is black in the Fantastic 4 movie, but not a word is said. A white actor is cast in  place of an Asian actor and all Hell breaks loose. I’m sorry, but if you weren’t upset when it happened the first time, you can’t be upset now.

Race isn’t a deal with me, despite what the last paragraph may suggest. I just believe if a character is created to look a certain way (gender, race, etc) then when that character is portrayed in a film or television series, the actor should retain that appearance. The fact is most writers in the comic book  industry in the sixties were white so they wrote white characters and I just feel the creator’s vision should be respected. If you want to put in a character of a different race, fine, but make sure it works and serves the story. I’ve always seen these ‘against-type-‘ castings as more racist than the people who object to them. The producers are telling us that race DOES matter. If it didn’t matter at all, why change it?

It’s clear that it does matter, but in the eyes of some, it only matters when it’s in a certain way. I object to that.