The Problem in Politics Today

The biggest problem in politics today is obviously money. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision basically put Congress up for sale to the highest bidder. The result is that the establishments of both parties are controlled by billionaires or near billionaires.

This does not mean that the parties are the same. The billionaires controlling the Democratic establishment are mainly from Wall Street or Silicon Valley and are center, center right, or even center left. The billionaires controlling the Republican party are from the energy sector (which are dominantly Republican) as well as Wall Street and Silicon Valley and are right, far right, or very far right.

The problem for working class people is that neither party is particularly interested in doing any thing on their behalf. Again, this does not mean the two parties are the same. The Democratic attitude towards the working class is akin to Richard Nixon’s stated attitude towards civil rights, name one of benign neglect. The problem with that attitude is that Nixon’s benign neglect of civil rights was counter-balanced by a Democratic party that was still pushing for civil rights while the Democratic attitude of benign neglect towards the working class has in the opposition Republicans a party which is downright hostile towards to the working class.

The result of this has been a slow but sure decline of the economic well-being of the working class. The Democrats will often actively oppose the attempts by the Republicans to tear down the working class, but the Democrats have done virtually nothing to boost their economic well-being. So as long as the attitudes of the party establishments stays as is the working class can expect to suffer a continued slow economic decline.

Movie Review – The Fighting Uruk-Hai Vs The Three Stooges

The latest Republican movie starring the Freedom Caucus as the Fighting Uruk-Hai and Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell as the Three Stooges would be comedy gold except for the fact that what they are fighting over is how many millions of people are going to lose their heath insurance. So the comedic genius of Trump, Ryan and McConnell is being wasted. By the way, there is also an appearance by Lassie who has the best line in the movie, “Now that I caught this damn car what am  I supposed to do with it?”. If you are thinking that Lassie has been dead for a few decades, well so have the ethics and morals of the Republican Party so her appearance in this movie is appropriate.

Zombie Movies

You probably think that a zombie movie is a movie with zombies in it. But I want to create a new definition of a zombie movie. My definition is a movie where everyone listed in the credits you can see walking and talking on the screen, but they’re dead.  This meshes well with the description of zombies as ‘the walking dead’.

For my first zombie movie I chose Casablanca released in 1943.

Casablanca

Name Date of Birth Date of Death Age at death
Claude Rains 11/10/1889 05/30/1967 77
Conrad Veidt 01/22/1893 04/03/1943 50
Curt Bois 04/05/1901 12/25/1991 90
Dooley Wilson 04/03/1886 05/30/1953 67
Humphrey Bogart 12/25/1899 01/14/1957 57
Ingrid Bergman 08/29/1915 08/29/1982 67
John Qualen 12/08/1899 09/12/1987 87
Joy Page 11/09/1924 04/18/2008 83
Leonid Kinskey 04/18/1903 09/08/1998 95
Madeleine Lebeau 06/10/1923 05/01/2016 92
Paul Henreid 01/10/1908 03/29/1982 84
Peter Lorre 06/26/1904 03/23/1964 59
S.Z. Sakall 02/02/1883 02/12/1955 72
Sydney Greenstreet 12/27/1879 01/18/1954 74

Now you might think that that is an old enough movie to be obvious that it is a zombie movie, but note that Madeleine Lebeau didn’t die until May 1, 2016 which means that Casablanca had been a zombie movie for less than a year at the time I wrote this post. Indeed, another very famous movie, Gone With the Wind, released four years earlier, featured a young actress by the name of Olivia de Havillind who is still alive and hopefully well at the age of 100. So Gone With the Wind is not yet a zombie movie. One other thing that can extend the time before a movie attains zombie status is whether the movie has any child actors listed in the credits.

One other thing you could do with this concept is to assign a level of zombieness to a movie. That would be the percentage of the people listed in the credits who have died. This could lead to some interesting situations. For example in the last movie of the Hunger Games series, The Mockingjay Part 2, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who played the character Plutarch Heavensbee, died before the movie was completed. So when the movie was released it already had a zombieness level greater than zero. But at the very end of the movie the character Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is holding her baby, who is actually the nephew of Jennifer Lawrence and is listed in the credits. So the movie is released with a zombieness level greater than zero yet, because of a six-month old baby listed in the credits, may not achieve true zombie status until sometime in the next century.

 

Will Donald Trump’s wealth decrease because he is president?

When he was president elect Donald Trump used that status to promote his hotel business. Since the inauguration he has done the same, albeit at a lower level or more behind the scenes. So it is obvious that he thinks that being president will make him even richer than he already is. I think he may be mistaken about that, seriously mistaken.

Numerous people other than me have said that Donald Trump is ISIL’s¹ best recruiting tool. This is even more true after his ban on (some) Muslim immigration. His status as President also makes him a prime target of terrorists and a lot of other people, but the President is probably the best protected person in the world. But what about Trump’s properties? He has hotels in Washington DC, Miami, Waikiki, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York (2), Albermarle Virginia (at a winery) and that is just in the United States. There are also Trump hotels in Panama and Rio de Janiero. This is a list of some of the other hotels and such which are outside of the United States and have Trump’s name on them.

Now, what happens if there is an attack by ISIL/Al Qaeda/whoever on a Trump branded property?  If it’s a minor attack (one or two people killed²), probably not much, especially if it happens in a Muslim country. If it is a situation where Trump made a deal with the hotel owner to put the Trump name on the building then Trump has no money at stake. The hotel owner may talk to his lawyers to see if he can get out of the deal and it would certainly discourage any future deals of that type, but it can’t create an actual loss for Trump like it could for the building owner. But what if there are multiple attacks and one such attack is on a Trump owned and operated hotel in the U.S.? That might get potential guests thinking ‘Do I really want to stay at a Trump hotel if that makes me a potential target for a terrorist?’. This is especially true since most people greatly over estimate the risk of being killed or injured in a terrorist attack. This means that an attack on one Trump hotel in the U.S. would discourage people from staying at any Trump hotel in the U.S. or the world.

A complicating factor for Trump in this situation is that a hotel is a tough building to protect. The security personnel would expect to see a lot of people whom they have never seen before walking into the building throughout the day and evening. In addition, there will be numerous vehicles, again which the security people have never seen before, pulling right up to the front entrance throughout the day and evening. The kind of security necessary to protect the hotel would almost certainly be annoying to the typical person who would stay at a Trump hotel and would also remind those people that the hotel was a potential terrorist target.

So, what are the chances that something like I described above actually happening? I have no idea. The information I would need to make such an assessment is in the hands of either ISIL or the intelligence community, neither of which is going to make that information public unless it is to their benefit in some way. As such I am not sure I would trust the information released to be all that accurate or truthful. The only things I am fairly certain of is that ISIL would love to strike back at Trump and that the Trump properties are an obvious target.

  1. There are three names I have seen used to refer to the would-be caliphate, ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh. I don’t use the term ISIS because that is also the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess and there are numerous businesses around the world that use that name in their title. I don’t use Daesh because the members of that organization consider that name to be an insult. I don’t have a problem at all with insulting those bozos, but that creates a side issue that is irrelevant to the point I am trying to make in this post.
  2. Obviously not minor to the one or two people killed or their loved ones, but I am trying to look at the bigger picture.

Quote of the Week

Taxes are what we pay for civilized society

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Given the Republican attitude towards taxes one can only conclude that they are uncivilized. Combine their attitude towards taxes with their fervent support for the use of torture and they must be considered flat-out barbarians.

So what about Donald Trump, their leader? Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists have said that Donald Trump meets the classic definition of a narcissist. Other psychiatrists and psychologists have said that he meets the classic definition of a psychopath. Combine that with the fact that I don’t think he is terribly well in touch with reality and that would make Donald Trump a narcissistic, psychopathic, marginally sane barbarian who lies a lot. And who just happens to be President of the United States.

This will not end well.

 

Con-Artists

trumpprayer550

I have seen this photograph, or another of the same gathering, on a number off websites. It was always described as a number of prosperity gospel preachers blessing Donald Trump. My question about this photograph is this: has there ever been a photograph with more con-artists in it than this one? Because that is all prosperity gospel preachers are, con-artists.¹

It was only recently that I realized that there was something about this photo that wasn’t right. The posture is wrong. In every other photo/painting/sculpture that I have seen of one person blessing another the person giving the blessing has been in the superior, upright position while the person receiving the blessing has been in an inferior or obeisant position such as bowing or kneeling. So I don’t think that this is a group of prosperity gospel preachers blessing Donald Trump, as it is a group of con-artists paying homage to the greatest con-artist of our time. After all, Donald Trump just conned millions of Americans into believing that he cares about working class people.

  1. I had an aunt and uncle who gave so much money to a prosperity gospel preacher that they lost their house and had to move into a double-wide. If you had told their preacher about it he would probably have stroked his chin and thought ‘Hmm, they could still afford a double-wide and not just a single-wide. Where did I go wrong?’