Monday, December 3, 2018

The Fandom Strikes Back

Ghostbusters 2016 (Columbia Pictures), Star Wars The Last Jedi (Disney/ Lucasfilms), Doctor Who Season 11 (BBC), Star Trek Discovery (CBS Television), all have one thing in common… they have all gone to war with their customers.

In the last few years, through the use of social media, fans have become a unified force that will waste no time in making their displeasure known to the television and movie studios that produce their favorite content. In some cases the criticism has been a real attempt to help the producers and directors to stay true to the established canon, and in other cases it is has been brutal public floggings for perceived transgressions.

Producers, directors, and actors have been praised and vilified. Some have taken the criticism with a grain of salt and others have gotten into social media shouting matches with overzealous fans. To be completely honest, television and movie studios have always insulated themselves from the general public, and the vocal fandom. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros. have firewalls in the form of PR departments that handle the day-to-day vagaries of unhappy fans and harsh critics.

However, the fandom is now equipped with the power of the internet and social media, and the firewalls that were in place have been breached. The unruly fans can literally make or break a movie by word of mouth, and a keyboard stroke. And for better or worse, the fans are flexing their collective muscles, making their voices heard, and telling the creators of their favorite content that they work for them.

Instead of trying to embrace this new paradigm shift, the television and movie studios have decided to stamp out any honest debate and criticism. The strategy that they have decided to use is equal parts shameful and dangerous… any vocal group of fans are quickly labeled as a bunch of xenophobic, sexist, misogynist, misfits. And therefore, their concerns have no merit, and should be ignored as racist ramblings.

Columbia Pictures and Paul Feig, used this strategy to silence the fandom over the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. End result … the movie bombed at the box office.

Disney used a similar strategy when the fan base voiced dissatisfaction over Star Wars The Last Jedi. End result … Disney and Lucasflims were publically humiliated when the fandom boycotted the Ron Howard-directed Solo: A Star Wars Story.  

Lastly, the BBC employed a similar strategy when Doctor Who fans expressed their concerns over the direction the series was going with the new show runner and actress picked to play the titular role. End result.  The UK consoldiated ratings have remained steady, but the US viewership has dropped by 2 million. 

Ironically, the slogan that has become the battle-cry for the Star Wars fandom is "Get Woke or Go Broke."

Yes  … fans can be rough and unruly. They can hurt your feelings, and make you see red. They also can be loyal and forgiving, and appreciative of quality art and entertainment. They don’t like to be ignored or labeled as racist knuckle draggers. Last but not least, they pay the bills … and the customer is supposedly always right. 

Any media company or executive that forgets that is going to get a harsh reminder.

**Disclaimer: there have been a few instances were some people have behaved in a manner that is equal parts sexist, cruel, and morally reprehensible. This article does not condone such behavior nor does it attempt to gloss over vulgar and mean spirited bullying. ** 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Open Letter to George Lucas

Dear George Lucas: I sincerely apologize for every stupid and mean-spirited thing I ever said about you. 

The original Star Wars film came out in 1977 and I saw it the second week that it was in theaters.  At the time, it was just a little b-grade movie that was fun and entertaining. It was a movie that kids like me could relate to because it was an unapologetic kids movie. I fell in love with it because at the time, there was nothing else like it. 

In retrospect, Star Wars was a clunky space western that should have come and gone without much fanfare. George Lucas has admitted that the original cut of the film was horrible, and 20thCentury Fox expected it to be a box office failure. Fortunately, Lucas had the film re-edited by Paul Hirsh, Richard Chew and Marcia Lucas. Also James Earl Jones was hired to redub the voice of Darth Vader. Despite all its technical difficulties and artistic compromises, George Lucas got his little movie into theaters and it slowly became a huge worldwide phenomena.

The Star Wars trilogy, which includes, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (preserved by the US Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry) and Star Wars Return of the Jedi are pretty much the heart and soul of the franchise. The prequels that came out a decade later were finically successful, but ultimately panned by the fandom as a huge missed opportunity. 

In 2012 George Lucas sold his beloved IP to Disney, a new trilogy was put into production and many fans rejoiced because Star Wars was going to get a fresh coat of paint and become cool again. Star Wars The Force Awakens (directed by J.J Abrams) came out in 2015, made a lot of money, but divided the fandom because it was literally a rehash of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. 

The next installment, Star Wars The Last Jedi (directed by Rian Johnson) came out in 2017 and despite the fact that it was finically successful, the movie incurred the wrath of the fandom for the narrative liberties that were taken with the character of Luke Skywalker (reprised by actor Mark Hamill), and its refusal to stick to established cannon. Disney and Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilms) dismissed the criticisms as nothing more than the grumblings of a bunch of racist, woman-hating malcontents. Obviously, the fandom was enraged by said comments and ultimately responded by boycotting the Ron Howard-directed prequel Solo A Star Wars Story. The final installment in the new trilogy is currently being directed by J.J Abrams and it could very well be another box office disaster if the fandom continues its Star Wars boycott. 

Many people, myself included, lambasted George Lucas when he made the Star Wars prequels. I said a lot of mean-spirited and hurtful things and for my part, I admit I was wrong and I apologize. As so often is the case, we hurt the ones that we claim to love. I grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Doctor Who. Science fiction was and still is one of my favorite genre’s …

In my case, I loved Star Wars because it was my Star Wars. I grew up with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader … they were, alongside Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr McCoy, my extended family. So I didn’t appreciate George Lucas putting his prequel vision up on the screen because it wasn’t my childhood Star Wars.

In retrospect, the prequels weren’t terrible movies, but they were a huge missed opportunity. George Lucas made his movies his way … but at least they were legitimate Star Wars stories crafted out of his artistic vision. For all intents and purposes, George Lucas is a modern day Wizard of OZ or Walt Disney. And if you pull back the curtain, Star Wars is a children’s fable made out of smoke and mirrors, ply wood, and lots of CGI effects.

I was mad at George Lucas because he committed, in my mind, the greatest crime a wizard can commit … he couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle a second time. He couldn’t transport me back to yesterday, back to my childhood. Star Wars was a one-ticket ride … and you can never really go home again.

So yet again … to Mr. Lucas, I apologize for my past behavior. And for whatever it’s worth … thanks for all the memories.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Doctor Who … Needs a Time Out

The casting of Jodi Whittaker has led to an all out war in the whovian universe. Some love the casting of the first female actor to play the iconic role, while others are upset and vowing that the BBC will rue day that they ruined their beloved series.

This blog is not about the casting of Jodi Whittaker. She is an accomplished and talented actor hired to play a role … and a few years down the road will leave and a new actor will be hired to replace her. And the cycle of regeneration will continue.

The point of my short blog is about the fact that sooner or later, the BBC will need to put the series on a 10 to 15 year hiatus.

Yes, you heard right. The series will have to go bye-bye for a short while.

Just like Star Trek, the Doctor Who series is over 50 years old, and it’s run out of fresh ideas and storylines. And just like Star Trek went off the air for over a decade (2005 to 2017), Doctor Who needs to go away for a while and recharge its creative batteries.

Let’s be honest, Doctor Who is a hard sell. In a nutshell, the series is about a time traveler, aka, Space Jesus, who runs around in a blue box, fighting monsters and stopping alien invasions. And whenever the lead actor that plays the role exits the series, a new actor takes their place via a “regeneration” scene.

The BBC has made this gimmick work for over 50 years. And as a fan of the series, I have been there supporting every new Doctor.

But gimmicks can only take you so far. The casting of Matt Smith as the “young Doctor,” the casting of John Hurt as the “war Doctor,” the casting of Peter Capaldi as the “old Doctor,” the casting of Jodi Whittaker as the “woman Doctor,” all have one thing in common … they are creative gimmicks designed to get people to tune in and watch the series. 

The BBC has no fresh ideas. The ratings for series 10, starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas have been lackluster to say the least. And there is no reason to assume that the casting of Jodi Whittaker, no matter how great of an actress she may be, will fix the inherent problems the series has… old age.

Much to their credit, the BBC usually picks very talented and accomplished actors for the iconic role of Doctor Who, and Jodi Whittaker is no exception. Given time, she will make the part her own and she will win over the fans like every other actor that has played the role since 1963. However, fighting monsters, and stopping alien invasions will only take you so far.

The series is old and tired. The Doctor along with the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master have logged a lot of space miles. And no amount of “ wibbly wobbly, timey whimey” gimmicks is going to make the creaking sound go away.  

Yes, the whovian universe is awesome. However, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

And a 10 to 15 year hiatus will make the fandom miss it, and rejoice once it resurfaces again.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

An Inconvenient Truth for Trump and the GOP

In the movie “A Few Good Men,” Tom Cruise demands, “I want the Truth!”

And Jack Nicolson replies,” You can’t handle the Truth!”

That fictional scene is playing out in real life as we speak. But the American people are playing the role of Tom Cruise and the part of Jack Nicolson is being played by the GOP.

In a rare show of political cowardice, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the Republican controlled Senate are drafting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and they don’t want the American people to know the details. I suppose they are of the opinion that the voters can’t handle the truth.

In the world of politics, “truth” is a subjective matter, and politicians are very leery of speaking in plain terms, with actual facts to back up their claims. However, even skilled politicians like Mitch McConnell can’t get away from the dreaded science of math. Unlike political talking points, numbers mean something and they don’t lie.

The so-called GOP “healthcare bill” by the numbers is a work of deviant art. Unfortunately, it’s also (to quote Donald Trump) “mean.”

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the two biggest numbers to consider:

The GOP bill would slash federal healthcare assistance to low and moderate income Americans by nearly $1 trillion.

The repeal of the ACA will increase the number of uninsured by 23 million over the next decade.

You want the Truth! Here it is.

The GOP bill takes federal assistance away from low and moderate income Americans and funnels that money into tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

Want more Truth? Here you go.

More people with pre-existing conditions will lose their healthcare coverage.

Strangely enough, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP are correct. The American people can’t handle “the Truth” of being robbed of healthcare in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

Robin Hood in reverse … robbing from the poor to give to the rich is a hard sell.

Unfortunately for the GOP, they can run but they can’t hide from their constituents. Like it or not, they will have to explain to the American people why “less is more” and why healthcare is being stolen from them to offset tax cuts.

Here is an inconvenient truth for Donald Trump and the GOP to consider.

The Democrats got thrown out of power because they had the moral backbone to give the American people more access to affordable healthcare.

That being the case, what is going to happen to the Republican Party when they manage to take away that healthcare?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Art of the Implosion

In the span of 50 plus days we have seen Donald Trump “Making America Great Again” up close and personal.

To be completely fair, the NY dealmaker has tried to make good on  some of his campaign promises.

A few highlights: the “Muslim” travel ban, the stepped up deportation of undocumented immigrants, the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the repeal and replace plan for the ACA, and last but not least, proposing a budget that cut taxes, increases military spending, and guts domestic programs like Planned Parenthood and Meals on Wheels.

To be sure, Trump is pretty good at making promises to his supporters at campaign rallies, but his list of legislative victories is dismal.

Case in point: Michael Flinn fired after 25 days as National Security Advisor, false claims that “millions” of unregistered and illegal voters affected the election of 2016, the 9th District court striking down the travel ban as unconstitutional, the revised ban has also been halted by a Federal Judge in Hawaii, debunked claim’s that President Obama committed a felony and ordered a wire-tap of Trump Tower, and the implosion of the Paul Ryan plan to repeal and replace the ACA.

Donald Trumps big selling point when he was campaigning was that he was a successful businessman that was great at making “big deals.” He could do anything because he was the smartest guy in the room, and if elected he would “drain the swamp” and whip Washington into shape.

Well, 50 odds days into the new regime and the NY dealmaker has been bitch-slapped by reality and the stench of failure clings to him like cheap cologne.

Can he turn it around? The easy answer is no.

The Gropenfuhrer in Chief has the lowest approval rating of any new POTUS in history; he has no mandate, and therefore has no political capital to spend. His relationship with the GOP is on life support, and the mid-term elections of 2018 are right around the corner. The Russiagate scandal and the Ryan-care debacle looms like a huge unyielding shadow, sucking up valuable time that Trump could be spending talking about how great he is. And worst of all, Donald Trump has disgraced himself and the office of the Presidency by his repeated tweets, lies and insults.

The 45th POTUS has been exposed as an “emperor with no clothes,” and that is a pretty horrifying image.

Disturbing imagery notwithstanding, the GOP have a much more terrifying reality staring them down. For all intents and purposes, the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, has become the Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer white nationalist party.

Exhibit A:  Presidential adviser Steve Bannon’s political ideology is to “dismantle the administrative state.”

Translation: he wants to destroy the Federal government. However far fetched his white nationalist dreams may seem, it is worth noting that he is a sincere zealot, and as such, he represents a clear and present danger to our nations democratic institutions.

Exhibit B:  Robert Mercer, a billionaire right wing extremist, has funded the Trump/Bannon white nationalist train with millions of dollars in donations.

Mercer is the moneyman behind Breibart News and CNSnews, which is owned by the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting “liberal bias.” Moreover, Mercer is connected to Cambridge Analytica. 

According to a article published in The Guardian:

It specializes in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations,” refined over 25 years in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In military circles this known as “psyops” – Psychology operations. (Mass propaganda that works by acting on people’s emotions.)

Of particular interest, when Robert Mercer started to support Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, the campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to run its day-to-day propaganda operations.

Needless to say, the party of Lincoln is in deep trouble.

The Trump Train has become a disaster unfolding in real time and the GOP is the defacto power in charge of Washington. And whether they like it or not, they get all the credit and more importantly, all the blame.

And adding insult to injury, the American people like winners that can keep their promises and get results.

And at this point in time, for good or ill, Trump, Ryan and the rest of the shell-shocked GOP, look and sound like a bunch of incompetent, whiny, LOSERS!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Art of The Resistance

Love or hate him, Donald Trump has turned the body politick of the United States upside down.

In the span of three short weeks he has managed to alienate, insult, offend, attack, lie, and disrupt the status quo like no POTUS in history. 

Here are some quick highlights: scrubbing the White House website of any mention of climate change, declaring war against the media, nominating unqualified ideologues for senior cabinets positions, issuing gag orders on the EPA, claiming without any evidence, that there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential election, reportedly hanging up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a recent phone call, issuing executive orders to gut the ACA and banning immigration from predominately Muslim countries.

If nothing else, the Trump administration has managed to piss off a lot of people in a very short time, and there is no reason to believe that they will take their foot of the gas peddle. However, in the process, the new regime has faced fierce pushback, and from all indications, they are starting to realize that signing executive orders and claiming that alternative facts exists, doesn’t cut it with the American people, the federal courts and our allies in the global community. 

The ebb and flow of political discourse in our country is such, that the govern, or “We The People” will peacefully assemble and demand redress from elected officials, when government oversteps its constitutional authority or attempts to trample the inalienable rights of its citizens. In other words, the American people will lay the smack down on any politician that dares to get out of line. And Trump and his merry band of robber barons are squarely in the cross hairs.

It’s a very sad thing to admit, but Donald Trump has confirmed my worst fears, he is a pathological liar that is ill equipped, emotionally and intellectually to be POTUS. And worst still, despite many warning by conservatives and liberals alike, he has refused to divest himself from his business holdings, which will invariably led to some sort of political scandal that in turn will led to a constitutional crisis. The recent twitter attack on Nordstrom department stores for treating his daughter Ivanka Trump "so unfairly" for discontinuing  her fashion line  is a pretty good indication of where all this is headed. 

On a much brighter note, the resistance against the new regime is growing and becoming more vocal with each passing day. The events of the last three weeks have been dramatic, and the response by men and women across our nation has been equally dramatic. The women’s march, the protest at airports in response to the travel ban, the lawsuits filed by four U.S. states regarding said travel ban, protest rallies against repealing ACA, the boycotts of companies that endorse the Trump brand, directly challenge the “alternative fact” and executive orders of the POTUS. For all intents and purposes, Trump and GOP are witnessing the birth of the Tea Party from the left.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the pendulum is always in motion in politics. The feeling of despair that many felt with the defeat of Hillary Clinton has grown into anger, which in turn has reinvigorated the democratic and independent base.  A populist movement, from the center left is coming to the forefront and the energy is clearly surging. And if the liberals and independents stay engaged, the GOP is looking at a loss in the 2018 mid-term elections. If that turn out to be the case, Trump and his agenda are done.

Yup … the pendulum is always in motion.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This is what Democracy looks like!

Two seismic events shook the body politick of America within the span of twenty four hours.

The first event was the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as POTUS.

The second, and much more important event, was the women’s march that took place across many cities in our nation and in other countries. According to many published reports, more than a million protesters gathered in Washington D.C. and around the country and the world Saturday, sending a loud and unequivocal rebuke of the incoming administration.

In typical alt-right fashion, the White House Press Secretary Sean Spice had his first official press briefing and never mentioned the marches, but instead berated the media for supposedly misreporting the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration.

The complaint, while bordering on extremely trivial and bizarre, showcases the authoritarian impulses of the new administration, and more alarming, the pathological, unabashed distortions and outright lies that Donald Trump and his lackeys will spew to divide and conquer. Case in point, Chuck Todd on Meet The Press called out senior adviser Kellyanne Conway when she tried to explain away Sean Spice press briefing falsehoods as “alternative-facts.”

The new regime is showing its hand, and its built on lies, propaganda, and good ole fashion Stalinist demagoguery.

Yes to be sure, the next four years will test our democracy and national resolve. However, the marches and protesters have sent the GOP and Gropenfuhrer in Chief a very loud message: business as usual will be challenged and soundly rebuked. Men and women across this nation and around the world are appalled and disgusted by the new regime and its early attempts to roll back eight years of progress.

The fact that the new administration scrubbed the White House website of any mention of climate change, LGBTQ rights, and Trumps first action as POTUS was to sign an executive order to undermine ACA or Obama care, is a clear indication of the priorities and mindset that will not make America Great Again.

Of particular note, the Trump era begins with the POTUS entering office with a deeply divided nation and with historically low approval ratings. According to a FOX news poll, 37 percent of the American people had a favorable view of Trump. In the world of Washington politics those numbers are a huge liability not only for the new regime, but also for the GOP itself. Political capital is very important for any new administration, and the new guy on job has none.

The Donald Trump honeymoon is clearly over before it actually began, and the GOP is looking at the very real prospect of a dismal defeat in the mid term elections of 2018. As I said, in one of my earlier blog’s, the pendulum is always in motion. For the time being, the resistance needs to stay the course, and fight Comrade Trump and the GOP every day until their agenda is thoroughly defeated.

This is what Democracy looks like.

Monday, January 9, 2017

One Term or Bust

Recently, one of my neighbors admitted that he found Hillary Clinton so odious as a candidate that he actually voted for Donald Trump.

He gave me all the standard talking points about her past misdeeds and how she could never be trusted. Then he asked me to give the president-elect “a chance.”

I was incredulously to put it mildly and response was immediate and straight to the point: Not going to happen.

Truth be told, I gave Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt for the last 16 months. And in all that time he confirmed my worst fears: he is a xenophobic narcissist that is equal parts snake-oil sales man, egomaniacal robber baron and petulant sociopath. The president-elect is the gift that keeps on giving, but ultimately the joke is really on the American people.

In the last 16 months, Trump has made a mockery of our electoral process and has prevented any kind of serious political debate about the real issues that our nation must contend with. And worst still, he has successfully divided our country with his fear mongering and late night tweet storms.

However, my greatest grievance against the usurper-elect is the four years he is going to steal from America. Four years that our country cannot afford to lose. Four years of GOP maneuvers that will attempt to undo all the gains of the last eight years. Four years of trying to check the attacks on our constitutionally protected rights, and freedoms. Four years of trying to make Trump a one-term aberration in our nations history. Four years of fighting for the heart and soul of our nation.

Perhaps we’ll get lucky.

Perhaps the GOP will come to see Trump as a severe liability and decide to impeach him. Or perhaps, in an uncharacteristic moment of clarity, Trump comes to the realization that he really is unfit to do the job and resigns. I seriously doubt that would ever happen, but who knows, stranger things have happened.

Or perhaps a huge asteroid suddenly appears out of nowhere, smashes into our planet and wipes out human civilization and the universe takes no notice. Admittedly this last point is purely wishful thinking on my part. 

At any rate, I have no reason to give Donald Trump “a chance.” In the last 16 months he has made himself perfectly clear … people like me are not a part of his vision of America. Inclusion and tolerance are foreign concepts to the tweeter-elect, and all his supporters would do well to remember that point. Instead of draining the swamp, as he pledged during his campaign, Trump as been filling his cabinet appointments with a rogues gallery of deplorable’s that would give the villains of Batman a run for their money.

 One doesn’t need a crystal ball to guess what a Trump presidency will bring to the poor and working class in this country. However, a perfect example of what is to come can be seen in North Carolina, where the Republican controlled legislature staged a political coup, undermining the incoming Governors power, and refusing to repeal House Bill 2, or the “bathroom bill,” a discriminatory law that has led to an economic boycott of the state by many business organizations and artist such as Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. 

I and all the other people that Trump has spent the last 16 months attacking and vilifying can take comfort in the following thought: for the next four years, barring any impeachments, WE THE PEOPLE get to tell the Usurper in Chef that he is not a part of our vision of America.

Democracy in action … gotta love it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Art of the Denial...

17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that they believe, with a high degree of certainty, that Russia, under the direct orders of Vladimir Putin, hacked our election systems in order to affect the outcome of the presidential race. In layman terms, when intelligence agencies use the words, “high degree of certainty” that translates into, “we know beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Donald Trump and his lackies have denied, and ridiculed the intelligence reports, taken to twitter to cast blame on President Obama, claiming that its some sort of liberal plot designed to overturn the election results and subvert the will of the people. Obviously the modus operandi of the President-elect and his team is when in doubt, and you have no facts to back up your wild claims, bludgeon the messenger, and deny, deny, deny.

Putting aside partisan politics,  17 intelligence agencies are sounding the alarm loudly and clearly, the sovereignty of our nation and our democratic institutions have been attacked by a foreign government. By launching a cyber attack on our election systems, Russia at the behest of Vladimir Putin, has declared war on our nation!  

Why you may ask?

Submitted for your consideration:

The Russian president is a very rich man; his fortune is estimated at $85 Billion! And he amassed that fortune by robbing, killing and destroying anyone that has dared to get in his way. Hillary Clinton spoke out against Putin in 2011 and from that moment she became his target. The hack of our election systems was meant to deny her the presidency and more importantly, show the world that America was weak and couldn’t be depended on.

Needless to say, hacking our election systems with the intent of undermining our democracy is a deliberate act of war!

And no amount of political double-talk by Kellyanne Conway, or incoherent, conspiracy-laden tweets from Donald Trump are going to change that fact. The strategy of deflect and deny is not going to cut it. The 3 a.m. tweets about the biased media and liberal democrats is not going to change the situation. The “Make America Great Again” slogan is not going to stop our enemies from attacking our nation.

This might come as a complete shock to Trump and his stunningly overblown ego, but the President of the United States works for 300 million citizens. He swears an oath to uphold our constitution and protect our nation from foreign and domestic threats. The job of the POTUS is to put the interest of the nation before that of himself and his family.

Real leaders take the world as it is and implement policy according to verifiable information rather than hiding their heads in the sand. Real leaders don’t disparage our intelligence community when they are sounding the warning bell. Real leaders see Vladimir Putin as a threat and call him out when he actively tries to destroy the sovereignty of your nation.

The United States of America is indeed a great country and we need a great man or woman to lead us starting January 20th

Sadly, we got saddled with Donald Trump and his twitter account.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Enemies At The Gate

For many years going forward, academics, political scientist, historians, media consultants and average working men and women are going to debate the dismal Presidential election of 2016. However, for the time being, we must focus our attention on two very real threats to our democracy.

 The first threat is the fact that a foreign government influenced the Presidential election of 2016. The Soviet Union successfully launched a series of cyber attacks that undermined our political process. Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is a stone cold killer and he views America as a sunset power that must be neutralized and Donald Trump as simple-minded, political opportunist that can be easily manipulated.

 The second threat is internal and ideologically driven. The rise of the alt-right media machine is dangerous and seriously undermines the tenets of our democracy because at its core it predicated on racism, xenophobic fear mongering, sexism, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Propaganda websites like Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and conservative radio hosts like Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh have systemically engaged in conspiracy theories, trafficking in fake news reports and attacking and demonizing Democrats, Independents and principled Republicans that are not radical or conservative enough.

The first threat is unacceptable and must never be allowed to happen again. Homeland security, and all the other security agencies that are suppose to protect our nation, fell down on the job. Hard questions need to be asked and changes need to be made. Foreign governments (and the FBI) should never be allowed to influence our elections. EVER!

The second threat is equally troubling, but it must also be confronted and defeated.  

To be sure, propaganda is not a new phenomenon in American politics. Case in point: President Woodrow Wilson used the Creel Commission to manipulate the American people into marching off to World War I, which resulted in over 37 million military, and civilian casualties!

If allowed to continue on its merry way, the alt-rights media machine could easily derail our democracy and push this country into another great depression or another war to end all wars.

Sadly, the new incoming regime has shown its disdain for real journalism, fact checking, and freedom of speech. As a way of calming fears and showing what “making America Great Again” will consist of, President-elect Trump decided to appoint Steve Bannon, CEO of Breibart News, as his chief strategist and senior counselor.

Yes, that’s right, a white nationalist is the new White House Chef Strategist!

Suffice it to say, the enemies are at the gate and the American people can expect no help from the anti-Christ of NY and his administration made up of gazillionaires and white supremacists. 

The fight for the heart and soul of our nation is going to be long and costly, but in the end, the American people will answer the call, rise up against the forces of intolerance, fear and hate and protect our democracy from threats, both foreign and domestic.

Truth, justice and liberty will not quietly go off into the night.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Buyers Remorse

Most establishment elites and media pundits have called Trump supporters a bunch of angry, mostly white, uneducated racist. To be sure a vast majority of them fall into that category, but a lot are simply working class voters who have been left behind by globalization. In the rust belt states, factories have closed and moved their operations to less developed countries, high levels of unemployment and drugs have decimated thriving communities, and the American dream has become a month-to-month hardship.

Needless to say, many people are really hurting, and the powers that be, Democrats and Republicans have been tone deaf to all the warning signs.

Donald Trump got elected because many people wanted change, and they were desperate. They believed his bold promises and his outrageous lies. After all, a completely incompetent businessman, with no political experience, and no sense of human decency is a far better choice to be our 45th President than an establishment candidate like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton.

So therefore, Trump supporters voted to burn down the house. In the short term it feels good, however, in the long run they will come to realize that they have been bamboozled.

This is what Trump supporters have to look forward to.

One Trillion dollars in infrastructure spending. Sounds good, but his plan, which is nonsensical, depends on private investors footing most of the bill. The GOP is already baulking at the cost while the Democrats are cheering it on.

Tax reform. His tax plan is estimated to reduce government revenues by $9. 5 Trillion over a decade. The rich will get huge benefits, meanwhile the poor and middle class will get stuck with the bill. The national debt will explode out of control.

Getting rid of TPP or NAFTA. Protectionism sounds good, but his plan would lead to a trade war. Going after China for its trade polices could up end costing the United States 7 million jobs! Also, this type of trade policy would most likely lead to an economic recession.

Building the WALL! First, Mexico is not going to pay for it. Second, the 2000 mile long Wall would cost around $25 Billion to build, and at least $750 million annually to maintain.

Deporting 7 million illegal immigrants. Mass deportation would cost the American taxpayer between $400 and $600 Billion. Also, mass deportation would reduce our economy by 6 percent, or $1.6 Trillion dollars, over 20years.

My point is this: Trump supporters are going to get royally screwed!

Their return on investment will result in higher taxes, fewer jobs, higher prices on goods and services. Oh … lets not forget, if Obama Care is repealed and not replaced, the loss of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans and much higher premiums.

Lets not even talk about our moral standing on the world stage and what our partners in NATO are thinking.

Buyer’s remorse is not going to be fun or pretty. A lot of people across America are going to wake up a year from now and realize that they burned down the house in which they live in.

However, there is some good news.

Every two years Americans get to go to the ballot box and throw the bums out. If the last ten years are any indication, the American people will get angry again, and the House of Representatives will flip from red back to blue.

Democracy in action is not boring.

The Fandom Strikes Back

Ghostbusters 2016 (Columbia Pictures), Star Wars The Last Jedi (Disney/ Lucasfilms), Doctor Who Season 11 (BBC), Star Trek Discovery (CBS...