Days of Change

Flash Thordon

April 14, 2017
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The Marvel Studios movies coming out since 2008’s Iron Man changed the way studios and comic publishers approach their material. Stan Lee has been pitching Marvel characters for decades and many ill-considered TV and movie one-offs have been the result. DC owned the 70’s and 80’s with Superman and Batman. Other studios had good success with X-Men and Spider-Man and less with the Fantastic Four.

Eventually, Marvel decided to produce their own material. However, only lesser characters like Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers were left. Marvel managed to gain fans not due to the fame of their characters, but their understanding of what comic fans, and other movie goers, want.

Of course, I saw both Thor and Thor 2 in theaters. The first was good, the second, not so much. I’m not sure about the third one. I know one thing. The trailer is cool. Led Zepplin is in the background, the graphics and adventure remind me of Flash Gordon from 1980 and the visuals are pretty awesome.


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Fox Blues

April 12, 2017
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A year ago, Fox News had a full boat.

Bill O’Reilly started off prime time, followed by newly promoted Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity bumped to 10pm. Greta was pushed back to 7pm and Shep only had 1 hour of himself. Over the next months, Kelly became a sore point with the Trump campaign. She eventually left for a bigger contract. Roger Ailes, who made FNC what it is, was fired for increasing claims of sexual harassment. Greta used an option in her contract that allowed her to leave if Ailes left Fox. She ended up on MSNBC. O’Reilly went on vacation yesterday amid his own sexual harassment scandal and may never be back. Now the top-rated Fox show is Tucker Carlson Tonight, a show that grabs headlines with tough interviews of soft liberals.

Also, Red Eye was canceled last week. One has to wonder if the Murdochs are cleaning house.

As bad as last year was, this may be the biggest shake up in Fox News history. O’Reilly is responsible for 20 hours a week of programming and he’s consistently gotten high ratings for 20 years. Tucker is doing well now, but Glenn Beck was a brief ratings powerhouse. In fact, Tucker led a show on CNN and one on MSNBC. Both eventually failed. Cramming pro-Trump programming into the schedule will work for now, but some of his supporters are already tiring of this White House and Fox’s First 100 Days program is almost past its time limit.

Originally, Rupert Murdoch wanted a Fox New channel and hired Roger Ailes because he knew how to program it. Ailes knew that there was an underserved market of conservatives who wanted news to at least be even-handed. Now that Ailes’ leadership has fallen apart, Murdoch’s sons are in charge. By all accounts, they are not conservative and the vision of Fox News may only last as long as liberal alternatives fail on the channel. Someday, there may be nothing else.


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Disrupters

April 7, 2017
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It took about 12 hours after the Syria bombing by the Trump White House to separate Trump supporters into two groups. The ones who turned on him had an idea of Trump in their minds that did not match his actions last night. Many of those still supporting Trump, even praising his actions, are disrupters.

One of the Trump Train slogans is that they take Donald Trump seriously, but not literally. If you take this statement literally, it is quite worrisome. It means that Trump says things as a manipulation technique to elicit a response. Essentially, truth and lies don’t exist. By the time a lie is fully exposed, it doesn’t matter because you’ve wasted time exposing something trivial, which is what Trump supposedly wanted.

Trump has said that he doesn’t want to get into a war in Syria, but he also loves to talk about “bombing the shit” out of hostile regimes. Some major Trumpers (like Ann Coulter) have soured on Trump over this bombing because no illegals were killed. Of course, Coulter was also a fan of Chris Christie back in 2012 until he hugged Obama.

More interesting are creepers like Mike Cernovich who have found Trump lacking. Back in 2015, I wrote about how Trump combined fringe conservative slogans with the alpha-male personality of a pick up artist. Cernovich has talked about how to control women in relationships but was ironically the one manipulated by an alpha male into voting against his beliefs.

With Trump in the 30% approval range, most of his core support are disrupters. They wanted to blow up the system because they got tired of spending election after election with winners who didn’t change anything. I already dealt with that during the Bush administration. I voted for him, supported him over the Iraq War, got tired of his economy, got annoyed by John Kerry, voted for him anyway and was ultimately satisfied with the job he did.

At some point, the disrupters have to either decide they are happy with Trump only stirring the pot or they will go full Joker and only be satisfied with watching the world burn. I’m still indifferent. Trump is certainly capable of doing things rights, but his most ardent supporters admit you can’t believe what he says. If he does for the GOP what Obama did for the Democrats, it will confirm my choice of Gary Johnson last year.


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The Show That Persisted

April 4, 2017
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The news came out yesterday that Fox News’ late night panel show Red Eye has been cancelled and the last episode will be this week. Red Eye started unpolished, with guests who were personal acquaintances of Greg Gutfeld from publishing or musicians he liked, along with any Fox News talent he could cajole. Over the last decade, the show has become more professional, with an an actor / comedian (and now author) as host and a more consistent stable of guests.

This effectively ends my daily viewership of Fox News. I don’t have much time for the news shows and I don’t care for the evening shows. My various computer hard drive will be relieved as I have been saving clips since 2007 and recording with my VCR even earlier when I couldn’t stay up at 2am, the original time slot.

Farewell. Please let Greg’s guests out of the activity pit in his basement now.


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Best Interests

April 3, 2017
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In the last 100 years, Over 40 people have been appointed to the Supreme Court. Some who were nominated have withdrawn. Only 4 were rejected outright by the Senate. Every single rejection was by a Democrat Senate to a Republican nominee.

Public relations battles have brought some success to Democrats. They were able to point to Robert Bork as an extremist, making future nominees choose their words carefully. Harriet Miers (nominated by a Republican) was criticized for not being a judge, even though Elena Kagan eventually became a Justice (nominated by a Democrat).

The success of the Democrats with SCOTUS may explain why they never allowed the “nuclear option” of a simple majority for the Court. They always win. Even with a Republican president and Congress, they are trying to stop the next nominee by filibuster.

One of three things could happen. The Democrats decide to let the nomination go through and Gorsuch is confirmed with 52 votes. The Democrats could filibuster and the Republicans could back down. The likely option is that Democrats make a big show out of filibustering to raise some donations, the Republicans change the Senate rules and Gorsuch is confirmed with 52 votes.

For Democrats, this is a lose-lose. Republicans can appoint anyone they want, Democrats will be seen as stupid and Gorsuch will be on the Supreme Court. They can’t even work in their best interests anymore.


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Maybe It Should Be Replace and Repeal

March 26, 2017
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I think the AHCA vote is a good example of this new administration. Donald Trump promised much and has delivered little. His priorities are more toward monetary policy than domestic policy. It also seems that the White House and the Tea Party that created the Freedom Caucus are not in sync.

To avoid sounding like a RINO, some of the Trump supporters on the right have been using conservative talking points that are ineffective to a general audience. When they say voting down taxes and insurance coverage requirements will create choice and competition and lower costs, it’s pretty easy for the media to translate that as cutting taxes for the rich and taking away health care.

Repeal on Day 1 was going to be impossible with 52 Republican Senators. Replacement is less likely. Now, the GOP has decided that “Let Obamacare Die” is the new slogan, which is dangerously close to Alan Grayson’s suggestion of the GOP wanting people to die quickly. What needs to be done is tort reform and that can happen at the state level. When damages are reduced, malpractice insurance goes down, defensive medicine is reduced and health care becomes less expensive.

It looks like Obamacare will have to be replaced from the outside until repealing it will merely be a formality. Maybe we can build a wall around it.


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Mis-Info Wars

March 25, 2017
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Alex Jones, who mostly weaves unlikely anecdotes and news items into conspiracy theories, chose to step back from Pizzagate. This is a story where some e-mails from John Podesta were inflated into a child sex ring being run out of a Pizzaria in Washington, D.C. Apparently, this was so provably false that Jones removed all references and posted this apology.

It’s a nice try from the owner of the Cosmic Pizza to get some satisfaction, but it probably won’t work. For the Info-warriors it merely means that the conspiracy is so deep and powerful that they were able to “get to” Alex Jones himself. And while Jones is done with the legal mess, thousands of people on the internet now firmly believe the Democrats are in a secret cabal of child slavery.

 

 


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Judge Gorsuch and the Case of the Frozen Freight

March 22, 2017
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For whatever reason, I have been fascinated by the Democrats using Judge Neil Gorsuch’s dissent in an appeals case to promote the “Republicans are heartless and cruel” trope in confirmation hearings. It actually says a lot about the law and how politics ruins it.

In short, Alphonse Maddin was a truck driver who missed a fuel stop and pulled over to find it. Upon restating his vehicle, he found that the brakes were locked in place and he called the company for a repair truck. While waiting, he discovered that the heater wasn’t working and felt he was slowly freezing. He contacted the company and told them he was un-hitching his rig, driving somewhere to get warm and that he would go back to the trailer when the repair truck arrived, which was apparently 15 minutes later. He was eventually terminated.

Let’s skip ahead to the politics of this. Democrats are using this case because truck drivers are a conservative audience, but an opinion allowing the firing to stand supports cruel businesses. Plus, we’ve all been let go for unfair reasons.

The problem is that no one but Democrats want to mix their economic populism with the Islam-loving, bathroom sharing liberalism of that part. Gorsuch was not asked to rule on working conditions, but a case cobbled together where Maddin’s lawyer argued that the company fired him for whistle-blowing on telling him to operate an unsafe vehicle. For one thing, he didn’t blow the whistle. For another, he didn’t operate the vehicle, unless sitting in the vehicle while it was really cold is considered an unsafe condition.

What was going on was a minor case of judicial activism. I have no idea if the company or Maddin was responsible for checking the heat and the brakes on a truck before he left, but breakdowns are not covered under OSHA. This case was literally about a lawyer arguing the company was mean to an employee, so use this excuse to make them hire the guy back. Every damn one of the judges went along with this except for Gorsuch. Gorsuch saw it as a matter of law. Sometimes the law doesn’t kiss your boo-boo.

I can see why Trump liked him.


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The Female Donald Trump

March 18, 2017
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The term “political donor” is an oxymoron. Depending on the donation, a politician has to either listen to the donor, take their advice or face the wrath of going against them. Donors themselves can either hand over money because they agree with the candidate or because they are impressed with them after a meeting.

Quick quiz? Who has 4 kids, is the child of a wealthy businessman and has been financing conservatives for a decade? No, Donald Trump was donating to Hillary Clinton since fairly recently. I write of the elusive Rebekah Mercer.

I’ll take the Huffington Post article with a grain of salt, but the elements of it aren’t very controversial. While Donald Trump probably had the money to entirely self-finance his presidential bid, he chose to take money from willing donors like Sheldon Adelson. The Mercers originally donated to Ted Cruz while suggesting his campaign pay for a campaign data firm with little or no results.

The Mercers had already put money into Breitbart News just after Steve Bannon took over. When it was likely that Trump would beat Cruz, Breitbart News fully got on board the Trump Train and Bannon helped connect Rebekah Mercer and her money with Donald Trump. What may have been more important, however, was her suggestion that Bannon be in charge of the campaign alone with pollster Kellyanne Conway.

Speculation is in the article’s conclusions that Mercer wanted Jeff Sessions in the cabinet (a win) and John Bolton (a loss) and is becoming disillusioned with Trump’s less than libertarian populism.

More interesting was that pollster Pat Caddell discovered in 2013 that there was a desire by Americans for an outsider, regardless of their party designation. To an extent, it’s what Obama ran on in 2008, even if he never meant it. Donald Trump is likely the president today because of what he’s not rather than who he is.

 


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2017
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This is my four leaf clover


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