Friday, July 29, 2016

Party Conventions: Now that that is out of the way.

Our 2-week National nightmare is over. All that's left is a spot of media/politician hanky panky followed by odd outbursts by the Bronzed Ego.

One thing conventions do signify however is that the entire slog of this Presidential campaign has finally reached the beginning of the end. We've moved from "presumptive nominee" to "nominee" and soon it will be "President elect". In between these points I have to advise that it's still going to be wise to ignore the media, at least until after November and probably wait until after January (the inauguration) just to be on the safe side.

Again, some notes:

 - No, this was not "the best convention ever" put on by the Democrats.  It was a good convention, marked by all of the things the uneducated proletariat wants to see (Hollywood, politicians, Katy Perry, etc.) but it was always going to be drug down by the utter lack of quality that the Anointed One possesses as a Presidential candidate. It was a low ceiling, although they certainly bumped up against it.

 - Politics is show-business for ugly people. And while that's (admittedly) a canard it's one that has the added benefit of being 100% true. Politics in the electronic age isn't about making and keeping so-called "promises", and it's certainly not a battle of ideals. Today politics is bread and circuses. Morgan Freeman hits the Stage and everyone gets rapturous about "God" all of the sudden. Katy Perry (HS Dropout) comes on stage, sings something and then extols the audience about the virtues of the Anointed One. People are ecstatic that Ms. Perry likes their candidate, it makes them feel cool somehow, as if they have something in common with the Katie.

 - The truth is, we vote how we have been conditioned to vote. For the most part anyway. Yes there ae examples of people who break away from the family voting pattern, switch parties etc. etc.  Most of those however are because a different conditioning took place outside the home. Right now, Democrat/Statist ideas are cool. "President Obama is your Daddy" would have, in a sane Republic, been laughed out of the public square and been made into a symbol of vapidness. Today however it's made Chris Rock (Chris freaking Rock) into a deep political thinker.

 - The bigger scandal, if it can be called that, is that your vote doesn't matter. I know, voting is the "cornerstone of democracy" and you have an obligation to run to the polls and cast a vote for a horrendous person who is going to get away with it, I promise. Even if you think you are taking the time to study the issues you're not. Because there are people out there who are taking more time, it's their jobs, and have a much better understanding of the complexities of modern-government in the authoritarian age than do you.

Also, there are more people out there casting what are basically auto-votes, or votes that they cast almost without thinking, than you. There is no more useless form of personal expression in American Democracy than vote-casting, yet no form of expression has been held more sacrosanct despite having very little meaning in today's environment of creative electoral map-drawing and incumbent protection schemes.  This is doubly true if your voting district is either deep red, or deep blue (and, it probably is).

Voting in America is nothing more than an exercise in crowd control. It's not about whether or not the Democrats or Republicans have the best ideas. It's whether or not their conditioning sticks. Once in power they then control the message to pass things they want to pass anyway.

 - They can do this because the media is stupid. (With a few exceptions, mostly at the local, investigative level) Really stupid. While the linked article tries to make the case that Texas could do all sorts of cool stuff (instead of try and protect it's powers) with the money they used to sue, is anyone asking what could be bought with all of the money donated to politicians instead?

That's because the media have been conditioned just as we have. They've been raised (probably) in Democrat homes, taught in Democrat schools and graduated from Democrat-ran J-schools. They now work under Democrat bosses. They don't view taxation as bad or, honestly, even understand how it works, and they still operate under the assumption that politics is operating just as it has during the Watergate era. As political scandal grows increasingly sophisticated, reporters yearn for the days of large press pools and "press" tags jammed inside the bands of reporter fedoras.

Instead of reporting the news they 'analyze" the news or, worse, try to 'explain' to us the events of the day. The worst journalism possible is so-called "fact-check" journalism which is neither factual, or actually checks out all that much. In most cases it's just a reflection of how a particular reporter feels about an issue.

All of what we are seeing here is a ham-fisted attempt to dumb down the complicated into simple, bite-sized portions in order to stir up the easily irritated.  Give Trump and Hillary this, they understand what makes the simpletons in their party tick and they are currently tugging on the right levers. For better or for worse.

At the end of this process one fact remains: Out of 300 Million(ish) people in the United States we have chosen, through a quasi-Democratic process, two of the worst among us to lead us. We have done so willingly, and we were just force-fed two shit-show spectacles congratulating us for hitting a new low.

If you watched however. I'm proud to say I didn't, not a second.  And my life is better for it.

You should try it some time.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Political season: The Democrats are not "becoming" the party of the wealthy, they HAVE been the party of the wealthy.

They're just a LOT better at convincing the poor that they're on their side by promising them a ton of shit that, ostensibly, others will pay for and they'll get for "free".

Some Slate writer is in a tizzy. Because Michael "the Demagogue's Demagogue" Bloomberg has cast his faux-independent brand behind Hillary Clinton. "Soda-bans for all the Country!" to shortly become the Democrat's battle cry.

Or will it be a tax on carbon? A tax that most corporations support, as opposed to Al Gore's self-enriching cap and trade scheme, because taxes of this type are the easiest to pass along to both the customer and private royalty owners.

How about "free" college education for those making under $125,000 per year? The Democrats are basically proposing we do for higher education what we've done for primary education. In short, making it all but worthless, prohibitively expensive and the quality version of such being priced out of the market except for the wealthy?

Think I'm wrong?  Currently our primary education system is, by almost every measurable metric, failing spectacularly. Schools are underfunded, taxes are being raised prohibitively on the poor to make ends meet while teacher's unions continue to strike and hold-out for more and better freebies from the governments that run the thing.

Getting a diploma from a public high school is meaningless in the job market. It doesn't signify a base level of learning, or that one understands the concepts of basic math, reading or writing. (or, say, personal finance).  What it means is that you were stubborn enough, or popular enough, to stick to it for 12 years before finally walking across a stage without spiking yourself on the staircase.

Even a college degree is diminished these days. Experience on the job is much more valuable than book learning. In fact, unless you're studying to become a teacher or college professor, I'm willing to bet that most, if not all, of the daily work you do has nothing to do with what you learned in school.

But businesses do value degrees from certain, private institutions, and they are going to be the only ones that matter if we make education "free".

And the primary people that gain acceptance to these private schools?  The rich. Or the connected, or the handful of "diversity" students who are given what basically amounts to a pity pass. Sander's populist rhetoric notwithstanding, nothing is more perpetuating to a ruling class than convincing the rubes who are ruled to accept something with no inherent value as valuable. It's really the Democrat's greatest political success and they're building a winning coalition off of it.

"But the people aren't that stupid" you are saying right now.

Oh really?  How else do you explain cities such as Baltimore continuing to elect Democrats into positions of municipal power despite the fact that almost 60 years of Democratic rule has morphed their communities into dysfunctional dystopias?

With the implosion of the Republican party, and an education system that's stopped valuing classical liberal thought, the Democrats are on the verge of making all of America into it's urban cores. A nation, much like Mexico FWIW, where the ruling class and their courtesans dine on peacock, baby seal and champagne while the poor eek out a living on their allowance of cheese and soylent.

Bread lines?  Phaw. Peasant food of the future will be manufactured, from cockroaches. 

Drink up fellow proles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A convention guide from someone who isn't watching the conventions.

Some thoughts.....

Yes WE can! (Pander to a group in an attempt to lock them in a cycle of perpetual poverty as we've done in the past)

...and lie. (We're politicians, it's what we do)

Shame! (ding, ding) Shame! (What America needs are workable solutions, the Republicans gave us a shit-show, the Democrats are giving us Sarah Silverman's Game of Thrones fantasy)

Warren also did the 'nazi' salute when waving. (In the manner of Alt-Right talker Laura Ingraham. Not so amazingly, the media let this one pass)

Positive - no hate (It's easy to sit around and call the other side "stupid". That's a rhetorical crutch for the simple-minded. It's harder to come to the realization that YOUR side doesn't have many of the answers that are needed because it's locked into a vicious cycle of cronyism and patronage that is running the country and many of it's cities into the ground.)

Personal politics aside: It was a good speech. (And the tweet from POTUS was spot-on as well.)

238 years of American "progress" (We've morphed from "Yearning to be free" to "Where in the hell do I pee?")

Free! Stuff! Now! (Paid for by those making just a little more than you. In other words, every Bernie speech ever.)

Comedians for Clinton! (Or, two boobs supporting a lying boob)

Of course, there's the usual rumblings (From Republicans of a Lee Greenwood lean) about the Democrats having no visible American flags on their stage. This should not surprise you since the Democrats stopped being an American party, and morphed into a globalist party, a long time ago.

Oh sure they have the same problems as the Republicans. A large bloc of under-educated, noisy, uncivil, Nationalist, borderline racist and "activist" groups sucking up a lot of the political oxygen right now but for all of their Black Lives Matter pandering the Democrats are still a lily white group at the top, the only difference being that they do a better job of integrating minorities into their lower ranks, primarily through the promise of freebies.

In the end both parties are purveyors of the same snake-oil, only the labels have changed. The ingredients of hatred, smugness, Statism and a stripping away of the rights of those whose ideas differ is still the nasty concoction inside the bottle.

One other not so subtle difference.  The media is actively marketing the Democrat's snake-oil. And that is an advantage the Republicans may never be able to fully overcome. Americans are being convinced that stuff is free and sold the idea that one party is "correct" while the other is "wrong". That's never a sign of long-term viability in a functioning Republic. If you believe that way it's a good damn sign that you're the problem.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Political Echo-Chamber: "Normal" Human Beings.

What the media doesn't get:

DNC Day One: Post Obama "drama" Edition. Unconventional. Yahoo!(Brought to you by Verizon!)

As normal human beings spent their weekends recuperating from the RNC

Actually, "normal" human beings weren't recuperating from the RNC at all.  In fact, most "normal" human beings are either starting, or wrapping up, their last Summer vacations before they start the back-to-school slog and are incredibly busy worrying about other things.

"Normal" human beings are something that political journalists, and politicians, don't fully understand.

Most of this is due to the insular nature of America's current ruling class. They isolate themselves in 'political districts' free from interaction with the non-party faithful. Even when they go back to their districts they still only operate in a hermetically sealed bubble of "town halls" and "voter outreach" where they don't actually have to interact with the public.

The result is that they believe, honestly believe, that so-called normal people are the same people with which they interact every day.

But those people aren't normal. They're party loyalists who honestly believe that they have a skin in the game, or they're part of the patronage system who actually do.  The beautiful thing about being in the ruling class, and operating in their strata, is that you have lower-level members of the courtesan class who interact with the actual ruled for you.

These people, the politically dependent, watched every minute of the Mistake by the Lake and put a lot of stock into Ted Cruz' refusal to endorse the Bronzed Ego. These people are more likely to view Ted Cruz as either a newly crowned champion of liberty or a modern-day Benedict Arnold who cast aside their precious party for the watery tart that is the nomination in 2020.  And these people are actively engaged in social media, which is just about as far as the mainstream media goes to do research these days.

Normal people are at Wal-Mart, buying necessities with an ever-shrinking pot of disposable income. These people are taking the kids to movies, buying clothes, note-books or trying to have one last fun fling on the road.

Normal people are only witnessed by politicians and the media that covers politicians through Internet memes and websites such as People of Wal-Mart who make fun of them.

Normal people, to the ruling class and the sycophants who cover and kowtow to them, are dysfunctional.  Which explains why it's always felt that they need the wise and benevolent ruling class to make things right.

Yes, it's arrogance at the highest level, and it's institutional now. The only thing 'normal' about 'normal' people to the ruling class is their need to be corralled and protected from their supposed bad decisions.

The media is so far removed from reality as to be irrelevant to it.

HALV: This is GOOD News for Houston.

It seems that the NCAA is deciding that cities providing a special accommodation to transgenders in regards to bathroom access is going to be a key component in their decision making for location evaluation.

NCAA to survey potential host cities on discrimination laws. Morganton News-Herald.

The board in April adopted a requirement for host sites to demonstrate "how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination and also safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event." The questionnaire is intended to bolster that requirement.

The good news for Houston, and Texas (for now), is that they haven't passed any laws or ordinances that are "discriminatory" in nature.  Yes, the State leaders are vowing to pass a silly "gender bathroom" law which strips the rights of individual businesses to make the determination themselves regarding who can use bathrooms within their (private) establishments but, as of now, no other laws exist.

While it's true that Houstonians, wisely, refused to provide transgender people with a special accommodation regarding bathroom access that other's don't enjoy (and, in the process, refused to establish the urinal tribunals that former-Mayor Annise Parker envisioned) there's nothing in the law that prevents private businesses from implementing so-called "gender neutral" restrooms should they so desire.

Of course, we'll now be on the receiving end of numerous articles in the increasingly irrelevant middling-regional daily and fainting couch, think pieces from it's editorial blog (Gray Matters) telling us that Houston is doomed, DOOMED mind you, because they didn't pass and heartily endorse Parker's Folly but it's just not true.

In fact, I would argue that Houston's relatively open regulatory structure regarding the same is a feature, not a bug in the way we handle the delicate matter of who potties where.

A city, and State, possessed of real leadership would be able to make this case to the NCAA strongly, loudly and confidently.

Unfortunately Houston and Texas are ran by an incompetent group whose main goal is to pander to the increasingly under-informed masses and protect their patronage.

And the NCAA is allowing Baylor to continue operations.

Which tells you pretty much all you need to know about their commitment to providing a "safe environment" versus their pandering to the media as a bastion of modern-progressive thinking.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

PostGOP: Your Party 'Tis of Thee.

Ted Cruz "Reagan '76 Moment" did not go as planned.

Thunderous boos for Cruz, who refuses to endorse Trump. Julie Pace and Jill Colvin, AP via

Undercutting calls for Republican unity, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stubbornly refused to endorse Donald Trump Wednesday night as he addressed the GOP convention, igniting thunderous boos from furious delegates as he encouraged Americans to simply "vote your conscience" in November.
In a surreal moment, Trump unexpectedly walked into the arena just as Cruz was wrapping up his remarks. Delegates chanted Trump's name and implored Cruz to voice his support for the businessman, to no avail.
It's an open secret that Cruz viewed this speech as his "Reagan moment" harboring visions of the Gipper's 1976 Republican National Convention speech that catapulted him to the front of the conservative pecking order and into deity status among the party faithful (this, historical revisionism aside, despite not actually accomplishing the conservative goals that he set forth that evening).

After starting the campaign as a staunch Trump defender, and allowing others to try and take the lead attacking him, and consequentially, getting attacked, ruthlessly, by the Trumpets. Cruz eventually had to pivot late and became the victim of Trump's smears of his wife and father.

Outside of Texas, this is not a good look.  In Texas, where Texas Republicans are desperate for a conservative water-carrier, Cruz is being hailed as not only wearing Ronald Reagan's underwear, but being present when they were woven from the bands of liberty.

Just. Stop.

The first thing is this. If you're of a GOP-lean to 'turn back the clock' to Reagan-era Republicanism then you're part of the problem. It's not the 80's and most of the electorate (myself included) wasn't old enough to have even cast a ballot for his Ronaldness.  Yes, Reagan did some good things and he made the GOP (and America) believe again after the morass that was the Carter administration, but he also did some things wrong (refusing to go after entitlement reform along with cutting taxes) that was chief among them and, indirectly, added to some of the structural problems we have today.  Reagan is great, as a historical figure, but he shouldn't be used as the basis for a party platform. We're never going back to the 80's (thank the Lord) and we shouldn't be trying to. Hopefully wherever disaffected conservatives (including myself) end up in these PostGOP days hopefully we won't bring the anchor of Reagan with us.

But Cruz is no Reagan.

He never was, and he never will be. In fact, despite his so-called principled (more on that in a minute) stand in his speech last night the fact remains that Cruz is a candidate with appeal in a very narrowly defined region: Texas and Oklahoma. He couldn't sweep the South as his campaign predicted and, Nationally at least, his favorable/unfavorable ratings fell off a cliff (even, to a lesser extent, in Texas) when he pivoted from Trumpet to Trump basher.  Cruz' biggest problem is that, outside of the faithful followers, his sudden anti-Trumpness is seen to be just more opportunism from the opportunist's opportunist. Ted Cruz is widely viewed as having one guiding principle, his designs on the Presidency.

So Cruz makes his speech and the Trumpets blared. As they do.  Some even went so far as to physically threaten both Cruz and his wife. If this is emblematic of the "new" GOP then count me, and many others, out. In fact, the new-ish alt-right GOP is an increasingly authoritarian, nationalist and white supremacist party. It's not a pretty place to be.  Not all Trumpets are that way, of course, just as not all Democrats are stark-raving socialists, but enough are that they are currently controlling the narrative.  At least they come about their beliefs honestly however, which is more than can be said for the remaining GOP faction.

I'm speaking about the party loyalists, the people who are glancing askew at the #NeverTrump movement and giving them the stink-eye over not falling in line. The people who still have #MarcoRubio2016 in their social media profiles and who, for some reason, think that they have "built the party" and feel that people "owe" the GOP a vote. What they don't realize is that when you lie down with dogs, you wind up with fleas. Pardon me for dissenting but to me principle is more important than assuaging the egos of people desperately trying to remain relevant.

The GOP is your party, not mine, and it clearly has no room in it for ideological diversity. In a way, it's become the Democrat party without minority groups. It's a monolithic turd in the punch-bowl of politics whose time has passed us by.

Both parties are relics, but they're being kept on life-support because they also write the rules. And those who write the rules have an advantage in the game.

No, I will not vote for Trump.  And I will not vote for Hillary either. Nor do I have any obligation to ensure that down-ballot races are won by a GOP whose chosen to adopt into their platform, ideas that I find objectionable.

The GOP is your party Trumpets. Which is what all of you now are. Guilt by association and such.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

PostGOP: The problem with our politics

Politics makes us angry. And stupid. REALLY stupid (Caution, NSFW).

We know this but we continue to think that politics is a unifying force, a chance to walk into the ballot box and "do some good" by voting the "right way". It's activism without effort or consequence. You don't even have to do research any more because there are pay-to-play voter guides that arrive in your mailbox which tell you who the approved candidates are, depending on your party of choice that is.

Trudging out to a voting location on election day is the lowest form of political participation. It's a cop-out designed by a system whose sole purpose is the preservation of the system.  Because it's so easy and, due mainly to voter fraud and gerrymandering, so meaningless today, it's cheapened what it means to be an activist as well.

Consider this: Yesterday 100 "sheroes" (Really Huffington Post?) stripped down into their pre-apple Eve outfits and held mirrors over their heads in "protest" of....what?  The so-called "war on women?"  In the Middle East there are the Yazidi women who are taking up arms and fighting against ISIS insurgents who would round them up, gang rape them, and sell them into sex slavery. In Pakistan their "Kim Kardashian" was just strangled by her brother in a so-called "honor killing" which drew cheers and praise from many Pakistanis. In America, 100 women in the buff holding up mirrors because they might have been, possibly, body shamed at some point. (ignoring the fact that the most egregious forms of body shaming often come from other women)

This does not give men a pass. In fact, the so-called "bro" culture needs to be placed on the ash-heap of history to be burned beside Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" dirge. Here's an idea men: Don't sexually assault women. Full stop. Just because a woman is dancing with you, or speaking with you, or dresses and acts suggestively, doesn't mean that she wants a night of hot, sweaty sexual relations with you, or to even be groped by you. She probably just wants to be noticed which, in a way, is kind of sad.

The problem is that we've allowed the boundaries of personal relationships to be argued within the political realm.  We've given it over to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to tell us how we should interact with one another. In many cases, we're now looking to President Barry to tell us when it's OK to make love.

This is a problem for a couple of reasons. One, take a look at most politicians. Many of them marry for their careers, have children for their careers and then carry out a charade that lasts for years in the name of their careers.  What the hell do they know about what normal, work-a-day people need from love and affection? Given what we know about the Clintons, do you think their marriage is based on love of one another? Or profit? I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count.

Yet we continue to trudge into the voting booth and pull the lever to put people in power whom we would never invite over to a backyard cookout, or invite to our kids weddings. We do this, and then we ignore them until the next election season.

And that is the problem with our politics.

We have bought into the lie that voting is our responsibility to our Democratic Republic and it goes no further. We vote, they rule, period end of story.  The people that you put into office then take a look at razor-thin voter margins with low participation rates and claim a "mandate" that allows them to take policy proposals drafted by aides, influenced by their particular set of patronage and claim they are doing the "will of the people".  And we allow it, because taking the time to write a letter or make a phone call or, horrors, run for office ourselves in today's hyper-charged environment detracts from our Saturdays watching college football.

And no, I'm not just pointing a finger at you, I'm guilty of this myself.

The result of our apathy and inaction however is a political system that is not only broken, it's hopelessly corrupt and totally unresponsive to the will of the people. It doesn't matter what the issue is, both sides will immediately seek to triangulate it in a manner that most benefits their political patrons. They then roll this out to their sycophant "activists" and "party regulars" who have been looped into the system through outright bribery, or an appeal to their sense of belonging to a special club. All of this is then packaged up neatly in a tidy bow by a compliant media who regurgitate material uncritically to those outside the circle.

The citizenry, if they're paying attention at all, take a peek at a sound byte, shake their heads at the idiocy of the "other side" and wonder who's going to be the next winner of The Voice. But they voted, they tell themselves, so they can bitch.  Anyone who didn't just needs to shut the hell up.  This is a ridiculous argument because there is no voting requirement tacked on to the First Amendment. I heard someone, although I cannot remember who (sorry!) suggest that voting is the easiest and least participatory thing in politics that you can do, and I agree.

It also makes you the angriest.  Because you're moving along in your day to day life not winning or losing, you're just hanging on.  And politics, like sports, gives you a chance to feel that you ARE winning at something, that your hum-drum life, being hollered at by the boss for your TPS report lacking a cover sheet, actually has some meaning when a team with which you have no actual affiliation wins. When someone is against your team, or (even worse) "for" the other team, you get viscerally angry because they are chipping away at your absolute sense of superiority. Your political party is no longer reflective of your political leanings, it's a core component of your identity and any threat to it is dealt with aggressively and (unfortunately in some cases) violently.

And round and round it goes.

The rest of that saying is "where it stops, nobody knows".

But I think we're now witnessing a self-perpetuating cycle. No calls for civility, or a cease in hostilities, is going to slow the political outrage train. We've gone so far off the rails that I think any and all hope of political reconciliation is gone. The progressive left's need to feel morally superior is only out-weighed by the alt-right's need to be outraged.

In retrospect, it's not surprising that the two sides have nominated two reprehensible human beings to be their standard bearers. The only surprise is that it's taken this long to get this low.

RNC Convention Day One: Not Ready for Prime Time.

After all of the build-up, Day One was well, anti-climactic.  In fact, the thing that's being discussed the most, ironically, is whether or not Melania Trump somehow plagiarized Michelle Obama from 2008 and the Bronzed Ego's entrance.

As is usual, I have some thoughts:

 - First, Melania Trump didn't plagiarize anyone. The speechwriters for the Bronzed Ego's campaign might have (and probably did) but to think that Ms. Trump wrote that speech is silliness at the highest level. Like ALL politicians and political people, she read from the TelePrompTer and said what she was instructed to say, reading from a speech written by a twenty-something writer who couldn't get a gig in Hollywood.

 - The MSM freaking out over this is rich. There is probably no bigger repository of plagiarized work than in the media. And they ONLY punish reporters and columnists for it when they get caught. Spare me your crocodile tears and do something besides report 'hot tips' from your ruling class sources. There's a thought.

 - #NeverTrump never had a chance. Reince Preibus, a man who seems to have received the RNC chairmanship as a prize at the bottom of the box of his weekly allocation of Cracker Jacks, was never going to allow that to happen.  When things got thick, they just vacated the Stage. In short, they ran away. All that's left now from the #NeverTrump group is noise and grousing on social media. You now have a choice: either give up on it and leave the GOP or continue to try and change it from within. Obviously, I'm in the leave camp as I've never really been all that enamored with them in the first place. Compared to the bat-shittiness of the Democrats they're OK, but as a stand-alone conservative option?  Nah.

 - People don't like it, but fear sells.  To a point. It's clear that the GOP (Bronzed Ego version) is going to try and run as the party of fear. From those evil immigrants (and, unspoken, people with brown (not Bronzed) skin, and the Jews) to scary trade, to a declining moral code the image of America under siege is going to be hammered into viewers over and over again.

 - In THEORY, the fear angle is not a bad one. Instead of asking "are you better off after 8 years of Obama" the "are you even safe after 8 years of Obama" is a fair question to ask. Police being shot, Black Lives Matters protesters blocking highways and openly calling for the murder of, and forced takings from, "white people" the case that a "3rd Obama term" as Hillary is making, could be disastrous could have legs, if the Republicans had a competent option at the top of the ticket making it. Instead they have a man who seems, in comparison, to be an even riskier option to all but his alt-right and party over principle followers.

 - YES, the voice vote was a sham. As it was always intended to be.  Reince and Co. have made a deal with the Devil.  And they understand that breaking that deal has consequences. What they are not understanding is that the problem became intractable when they made the deal in the first place.  Because deals with Beelzebub only work out well for the Devil himself. Trump is getting free publicity and will be elevated to cult status with a large enough swath of people that he can profit from it for the rest of his life.  The GOP is getting an eviction notice from the adult political table.

 - Going back to the strategy. Benghazi and the e-mail kerfuffle don't matter.  Because, again, this election is less about policy and more about safety.  And while they are horrific instances of the Anointed One proving herself to be incompetent, addled, or worse intentionally incompetent the rank-and-file American looks at those issues and says "so what?" They don't feel that an Embassy attack in Libya, no matter how botched, effects them much at home and they honestly don't have the best grasp on the latest encryption standards for e-mail communication or why it matters much.  Hell, THEY don't understand e-mail so why should it worry them if the next President doesn't?

 - People WANT a bigger government because it hasn't started taking away things they like. Yet. Until it does the Democrat Party can continue to run on a platform of largesse with no consequence, and promising all and sundry special interest groups that they will supply them with hand outs. The Democrats understand what the Republicans do not: Americans, on the average, are a greedy, stupid lot who, most often, don't understand who it is they are pulling the lever for in the ballot booth. (This is also why, recently admittedly I've decided to stop voting at all.  Voting is nothing more than a show, especially when you live in a gerrymandered strong "R" district as do I.)

 - I still think there's a case to be made to people regarding rule of law, restoration of freedoms and fiscal sanity. But it can't be approached by putting on Reagan's underwear and wrapping one's self in the flag. It's also not going to be accomplished by the Bronzed Ego waxing poetic about deporting 'illegals' and building a wall that the Messicans are going to pay for. In short, we're going to have to live through 4 years of a Clinton Banana Republic before people start to get the idea.

 - That said, I think it might be a while before these ideas become politically tenable. I think that America is about to go through a Texas or California experience with single party rule, single party corruption and single-party inspired legislation.  The last time we had this the ACA was the primary result, and look what a fetid-pile of pig-shit that's turned out to be.

 - Finally, the media coverage of this event is too "gotcha", too "fact-check" driven to really be of any use. What you are seeing now is less about covering the news, and more of a classic case of over-correction from their fawning Trump coverage in the primaries.  Then again, when you consider that the courtesans in the media have been paying fealty to the Anointed One for decades now, that really shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tales of a sub-par media outlet: Create a sham "Top 10" power index, gin up controversy.

First things first:  Lists like this are insipid wastes of resources and are, especially in this case, the (biased) take of a single writer.  Second, the Houston Chronicle Top 10 "Houston Sports Power Rankings" are the dumbest thing to be written in the newspaper for a while.  And that's saying a lot when talking about a newspaper whose specialty is writing insipid things.

And that's not even the meat of the problem.  Neither is the faked outrage by Chron.columnists over the matter, or the fawning over a pocket dynamo who might go down as being the greatest female gymnast of all time. (If you haven't seen Biles perform, you should. She is truly great.)

The problem comes in the word "power". Because the Houston Chronicle doesn't seem to understand what it is or who really wields it.

'Power', in the sports sense, is not held by any individual athlete. In most sports, excepting the NBA, it resides primarily with the owners. But increasingly in big, metropolitan (progressive-governed) cities power lies, partially, in the hands of the politicians.

You want to know who has the most power and influence in Houston sports?

1. Bob McNair. - As the owner of the Houston Texans he controls not only the highest valued sports franchise in the area but the future of the Astrodome complex as well, primarily due to his right of first refusal for any hare-brained scheme Ed Emmett tries to pursue to keep his name from going down in history followed by "the man who tore down the Dome".   How powerful is McNair? Try this on for size.  He's raking in record profits despite being in control of a team with a lifetime winning percentage of .427 and he's managed to develop a rabid fan base despite possibly owning the 3rd worst overall franchise in the league.  I don't care how you slice it, that's power.

Numbers two and three are Jim Crane and Les Alexander respectively. Then would come Ed Emmett (due to his de facto control of the Harris County Sports Authority) and J. Kent Friedman (Chairman of the Board for the Authority). After that I would have to include Cal McNair (Bob's son and the Vice chairman of the Texans) and then Daryl Morey (GM of the Rockets). At number eight I would slot in Astros GM Jeff Lunhow and then Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at nine. Finally, at Number 10, I'd  slot in Texans head coach Bill O'Brien. I put O'Brien at 10 because he clearly has the keys to the Texans' car right now which puts GM Mike Smith and Texans President Jamey Roots in support modes.

But that's power.  What Chronicle tennis-beat writer Dale Robertson was trying to do here is was part generate controversy, part generate page-clicks (which, to be fair, since I'm writing about this he has succeeded, at least with me) and three poke some sticks in eyes of people he doesn't like.

What he was also attempting (poorly) to do is craft a "Top-10" most 'newsworthy' list and he even failed at that.  What his list should have looked like, removing his bias, is something along the lines of this....

1. JJ Watt. - You cannot deny the stranglehold that Mr. Watt has on local media.
2. Brock Osweiler. - Yes, he hasn't done much yet, but he is the starting QB of the most prominent team in town.
3. James Harden. - He has the money, but many (including me) don't believe that James "Sixth man of the year" Harden has the skills and drive necessary to be a viable team leader.
4. Tom Herman. - You cannot deny that Mr. Herman has changed the game for Houston football. He has a (slim) chance of guiding the Cougars to the College Football Playoff this year which would be amazing. Next year he'll be on to bigger pastures of course but for now.....
5. Jose Altuve. - He was never 'supposed' to be the Astros' best player but he is. Now we all get to enjoy him.
6. Simone Biles. - If she stays healthy, and competes like she can, then she could go down as the greatest female gymnast of all time. And I'm including all of the big names you are thinking of.
7.Tilman Fertitta. - IF he succeeds in elevating Houston to Power 5 Conference status it would be huge for the Cougars. Dale Robertson is rooting against this of course (he still holds a grudge against Houston fans for turning on him when he was the Chronicle's beat writer for the Cougars several years prior.)
8. Carlos Correa. - Is starting to show signs of being the "next great thing" that he was hyped to be when drafted.
9. DeAndre Hopkins. - No, he won't be the 2nd coming of Andre Johnson, but he is the best Texan on the roster not named JJ Watt.
10. Bill O'Brien - He has a tough gig, trying to make a chicken salad out of the chicken-shit roster that's been crafted by GM Mike Smith. If he can succeed he might move up this list.

Honorable mentions go to: A.J Hinch (Astros manager), Mark D'Antoni (Rockets Coach), George Springer (the 3rd Astro in the new "trio") and UH President Dr. Renu Khator. (Her omission from even the honorable mentions of Robertson's list should be a fireable offense)

Of course, that list doesn't gin up any controversy so it's not something you'd see in a listicle, accompanied by a slide-show, on these days so I go back to an old Houston Cougar saying from the Run n' Shoot days.......

"Don't be a Dale".

Friday, July 15, 2016

USLV: When our institutions are not up to the task.

What is a country to do when it's leadership proves incapable of addressing the moment?  Or when its for-profit media decides that pimping for page hits goes above their stated mission of factually reporting the "news"? Or when the elites just decide that the hoi polloi are too stupid to be entrusted to make their own decisions?

These are questions that Americans will face over the coming months as the bag of hammers that used to be a functioning political party embraces the Bronzed Ego and the loose collection of special interest groups that used to make up the left embraces the Anointed One.

Historically when the official institutions start to fail the collapse of an empire was not far behind. The machinery of the bureaucracy working efficiently being vital to the salvation of the state. In America, it's possible that this is different.

Because the machinery of the State has been malfunctioning for quite a while, and life has continued to move forward.

Executive Offices?  Broken since at least the Clinton regime. And odds are, despite most people thinking their state is the bee's knees, your State apparatus is a clunker as well.  In Texas, where I live and work, much is made of the so-called "Texas miracle" which provided jobs to some in an overall jobless National climate.  Politicians bragged and wanna-be politicians waxed poetic, none of them admitting that they had very little to do with things going well.

In fact, Texas succeeds in spite of itself.  Administratively, the State is broken. Inefficient and improperly administrated getting something done in Texas is a shit-show of passing the buck and frustrating meetings and phone calls. I'm willing to bet your state is just the same.

At the municipal level our cities are being ran into the ground by elitist, progressive mayors who view the job as nothing more than an opportunity to establish a patronage system and buy votes. Newly elected Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has spent more time in office ensuring that his patrons receive lucrative board positions in quasi-governmental agencies than he has doing anything else.  Trust me, your Mayor is just the same.

Currently, America is ruled by a rather witless, mean-spirited man who has clearly spent most of the last eight years trying to hide the fact that he's wholly unqualified for the job. It's so bad that even his supporters can only blather along about "respecting the office of the President" rather than respecting HIM as the President.  That all of that is just so much bullshit (there is nothing about ANY elected political office that is due respect) is besides the point. When the truth is inconvenient, repeat the lie. In this case the lie is that President Narcissus has things under control.

Legislatively it's only slightly better but still bad. There's too much "there out to be a law" or 'Something! must be done." thinking and less trying to figure out how to get the law out of the way. If you want to see the symptoms go try and get through the federal register, see all of the laws that you could be breaking right now but had no idea they were laws.

At a State level it's even worse. High-minded legislators identify a solution that needs a problem and doggedly work to find it. Typically this 'problem' is that the rubes over which they rule are too stupid, in their opinion, to think for themselves. This leads to a poorly crafted law designed to 'fix' a problem that doesn't exist which creates unintended consequences elsewhere.

Municipal government, especially in authoritarian, progressive cities are the well-spring of most modern day idiocy.  Before bad ideas reach the State and Federal levels they are typically piloted in poorly ran cities. It's almost as if the State and Federal Legislators are deliberately picking the worst ideas to foist on Americans just so they can laugh at the struggle.

"We're the government and we're here to help." is a threat today, not a promise.

I'm willing to bet you don't have the respect for the judicial branch any more. And why would you? You're less likely to get a serious hearing in a Federal court of law than you are to get ran though the ringer by the bureaucracy. Criminal justice and regulatory reform are not just nice things to have, they're mandatory if the government wants to re-elevate it's standing in civil society.

Even worse than the government however, is the media. I've said about all I can say about the current state of newspapers, they're a hopeless case that, to be honest, have no more place in the public discourse. They could have maintained a very important role had they decided to focus on local issues in an honest and transparent manner. Had they decided to watchdog the governments that local citizens often lack the time to.

Instead they retained the old, wheezing business model that elevated the unsigned editorial and increasingly based news coverage on those ideals. They became separated from their reader based and, over time, began to view them as too stupid to be trusted. Today, media elites at newspapers operate only as courtesans for the ruling class. They serve no meaningful function and should be roundly ignored.

Now, after all of that, the good news.

As you wake up this morning and watch what used to be a political party rally around the Bronzed Ego, as you stare in dumbfounded awe as so-called "revolutionary" FeelTheBern sells out to the Anointed One and a book deal and as you watch the horrific news from Nice and you see President Narcissus on ESPN, of all places, lecturing you on his topic du jour remember this:

It is still possible, just, to operate in America today.  Yes if you want to start a business you have to navigate a Minotaur's maze of red tape and regulation, and yes you certainly don't want to get on the bad side of the local magistrate lest your life become hell.  But business is still moving along. Jobs are still out there to be had and wealth can still be created.

All of this happens because the strength of America is not in her ruling or courtesan classes. It is present in her people and that has not been entirely stripped from us.....yet.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Your Moment of Zen: Don't Panic

It's easy, with all of the news flying around seemingly indicating that the world is falling apart, to consider being freaked out or "panicked" over the current state of things. But we would like to remind you here at YDOP that even as things are at their worst most Americans are relatively unaffected by the current goings on in their day to day lives.

This doesn't mean that we don't have personal obligations to make things better, or try and choose candidates who will not be assholes about matters.  But it does mean that a short time for some introspection and a re-evaluation of our relationship with government is in order.

1. No politician is going to "fix" this.  What they do, what they ALL do, is rile up the base in an effort to either get reelected, raise money so they can get reelected in the future or ensure that someone of which they approve gets elected in their place to ensure that it's their patronage system that remains intact. Obama is particularly ill-equipped to handle this due to his being possibly the most intellectually dishonest President we've had in years.  Do not look to politics for hope.

2. Some of this is just noise. There are legitimate complaints yes, many legitimate complaints. I've stated before that I believe there is such a thing as "being black in the wrong place" in America and that our police too often view certain races more as threats than citizens.  But there is a very vocal minority that's not really trying to solve these problems, but are acting as if they are while trying to accomplish other goals. Some people want to be "famous" in the manner of Deray McKesson. Others have it in their head that this kind of situation is the perfect chance for them to push for bigger handouts from the government. Still others just want to mess shit up. You can't deal with any of these groups but you can put a big dent in their aspirations by ignoring them and focusing on the main issue at hand: Criminal justice reform.

3. Today's media is incapable of properly telling this tale. I don't mean the hard reporters, or those that are doing real, dig-deep, investigative work. I mean the opinion-mongers, the writers like Sally Kohn, talking heads like Sean Hannity et. al. I mean the cottage industry of sycophants who have hitched their wagons to political ideals and will twist any message to reflect poorly on the "other" side, tortured logic be damned. That media is an empty shell, deserving only of mockery and derision. That media is better left on the ash-heap of history.  Use their newspaper writings as kindling.

Unfortunately, America is most likely to turn to politicians to save us, the raging mob to define the issues and the media to tell us about it. I would hope that readers of this blog are a little more intelligent than that.

Still, for your viewing pleasure I present panic-man. I know that I've gotten a kick out of watching him.  (He's going to be my new Twitter avatar soon.)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

PostGOP: America's For Profit Criminal Justice Outrage Industry.

Here we go again.

I'm not sure whether Alton Sterling was a good man, or a bad man. To be honest, it doesn't really matter. I'm also not sure whether the two Baton Rouge police officers involved were good or bad men.  And that doesn't really matter.

Because using anecdotal evidence to try and create a proof of case for broad, societal issues is never a good thing, it's never productive and it never produces good results. Ever.

All that we accomplish by moving from tragedy to tragedy is to create hucksters. The Rev. Jesse Jackson has built an entire career doing this, as has the Rev. Al Sharpton. Deray McKesson  tried, and failed (at least initially) to parlay this into a position with the ruling class. The Black Lives Matter movement itself has been increasingly bold, going as far to stop a Pride parade in Canada in order to

There are a few people in America getting wealthy on the backs of the angry mob. They are doing so by refusing to underestimate the stupidity of the American people, our media, and how we react to emotional pulls. In short: not well.

The two sides then become locked in an absolutists wet dream.  Black lives matter (and ONLY black lives matter) on one side and the petulant "All Lives Matter" movement on the other. This is not an argument about who matters, but about who matters MORE.

In many ways, the all lives matter cry is synonymous with "check your privilege". It's a guttural demand that one side is irrelevant, that the designs and goals of many are not important. Both arguments are played by the ruling class as battle cries, and flayed by the media as serious political talking points when, in fact, neither really are.

The fact is, it's OK to be a Caucasian and acknowledge that "driving while black" is a very real problem in America without having to acknowledge that everything you have has been given to you due to an illegitimate system. It's OK to believe that some people in police departments across the land view black Americans as something less than human without demonizing the entire rest of the country as somehow morally deficient.

And finally, it's OK to admit that Black Lives Matter make some valid points, but that they also should not be held inside a vacuum. In fact, the greatest path to solving these issues, ALL of the issues, is to embrace criminal justice reform in it's entirety. That does not mean that you are belittling black lives, but elevating them while also elevating all lives.

You would think that this concept would be a fairly simple one for clear-thinking, honest actors to grasp. That large swaths of the activist communities in America (and the politicians that incite them) are not grasping it suggests that many are neither clear-thinking, or being all that honest. And dishonest leaders have shown a historical precedent for taking advantage of a proletariat that loses its ability to reason.

A bigger problem is that the reasonable voices are being drowned out by a for-profit media who is only looking to turn anger into shareholder return at the expense of their so-called "civic duty". (Something the media does possess (now or ever) despite their endless romanticizing of themselves.)

Sadly, any hope of having a meaningful discussion has been lost. The Republican House, headed by Speaker Paul Ryan, failed to include criminal justice reform in their "Better Way" policy paper. (A paper which has been largely ignored by the media).

Because of this the hard work of reform is going to have to be done on the fringes, in Statehouses and at the municipal level, where the politics, and the politicians, are diminutive and increasingly petty.

One thing is for sure, in the battle between the Bronzed Ego and Anointed One, needed reform is going to get an extremely short-shrift. The good news out of all of this is that whatever follows the GOP seems to understand that this is a huge issue that needs reform.  But that is going to come to the front in 2017, or later.

For 2016 then it appears that we are going to have to heed the advice of Dante:

"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate"

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A fitting coda to 2016: The official ascension of the ruling class.

Something! must be done.

In the wake of the BREXIT vote where the great unwashed rose as one and stuck their thumb in the eye of the globalists America needed to be sure that such a thing would not happen here. What's the point of ruling after all if you can't have a ruling class?

After all, ruling classes are above the law, in fact, they have no law to follow. That said they do their level best to ensure that all of the non-ruling class members suffer equally under the law. Choosing to regulate as if everyone is a dishonest lawbreaker, and not just punishing the dishonest lawbreaker.

In fact, quite often, the goal of the ruling class is to take large sums of money from those who circumvent the rules and let them skate free.  We used to make fun of countries such as this in America by calling them Banana Republics, a derisive term that is now turned inward on the former "greatest country in the world". I wonder if they're all sitting back having a chuckle at our expense?

The Media, always in for a little authoritarianism and strong-man sucking up, has gone whole hog in defending the Anointed One with some of the dimmer lights (such as Sally Kohn) suggesting that it's "unreasonable" to suggest Hillary did "anything wrong at all". It's an amazing bit of mental gymnastics that takes place in for-profit companies who present themselves as the guardians of the public trust and who are desperately trying to not get on the bad side of the new American Monarchy.

In his, reliably solid, piece today, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review makes the case that there is good news. Namely that Americans will use this election, and the rule of the Anointed One after that, to come to a grand conclusion that they don't really need the government, and that it really doesn't matter to their lives.

While I believe this is true, to a certain extent, I also believe that the best thing to do in order to survive in the current political environment is to stay off the government's radar. In fact, I believe that either staying unnoticed or political patronage are pretty much the only two paths forward for American business owners now.

If you get on the bad side of the tin pots, they will regulate you into oblivion,.

We are now, more than likely, going to see at least 4 years of a Hillary Clinton Presidency. They say that the best person for the job of President is someone who doesn't want the job because they understand the responsibility it contains.

Hillary Clinton wants, and has wanted for a long time now, to be President in a very bad way.

That should tell us all we need to know about her, but it won't.  And even if we did most people would ignore it.

Because handouts or something.

We are on the verge of electing the most incompetent, corrupt, vindictive President in history (no matter who wins) and there's nothing you or I can do about it.

God save the Queen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Post Blow Things Up Because 'Merica Day.

July 4th is my least favorite holiday.

I'm not a fan of fireworks, I find John Philip Sousa marches to be unlistenable (not to mention "Proud to be an American" which I think is the worst song ever) and I tire of people who spend the rest of the year poo-poohing our country acting like it's the greatest place in the world for one day.

All that said, as a military history buff, I love me some Revolutionary War documentaries so it's not all that bad. When those aren't on I can typically be found watching the Tour de France. In fact, I wish our Country had better relations with France (our REAL oldest ally). Because when we paired with them we founded a country and broke free of British rule, and it produced the greatest moments in our Nation's history.

But now, we head into the long, dog, days of Summer and start to turn our attention to my least-favorite American spectacle, the party conventions.

There is nothing ever any good that comes from these. It's an endless parade of the most gormless among us, dressed in their garish worst jumping up and down to speeches given by people who, for the rest of their lives, care less about them.

Our politicians want three things. Money, power and to be re-elected.

And that's pretty much it.

So as the nation turns it's eyes to the political conventions, and as the electorate prepares to nominate the two worst Presidential candidates in a generation, I bid you adieu.

Goodbye, etc.

Enjoy your political season, I'm going to be getting ready for football.