Sexual Politics: Witch Hunts & Blacklists

What is currently going on in the US media is nothing less than a witch hunt against male celebrities. Today, a celebrity is broadly defined as anyone on TV: athlete, actor, musician, politician, etc. The first question that must be asked is: Who is directing this? This has clearly been a planned-out & coordinated campaign, with political orders being carried out by media interests & their minions.

It began with Harvey Weinstein, a despicable Hollywood figure, which is significant. Witch hunts are roving moral blacklists, that descend upon their prey in an ordered & calculating manner. Since no one cares for Harvey Weinstein, he’s an easy first target. Everyone who personally hates him, or is with the current political agenda, gets their cut. Once established as legitimate, witch hunts takes on a life of their own. There are very few who defend fundamental democratic principles such as: presumptive innocence before definitive proof, the accuser facing the accused with their claims, or the right to privacy.

Instead we get yellow journalism, muck-raking and lies; 24/7/365 from CNN & the New York Times. The “Russian interference” campaign has worn too thin for too long, so here’s the change-up.  The analogy in baseball is when the smart hitter ignores this garbage as well, and takes ball four– again.

Barry Bonds was the greatest baseball player of his generation, and most-likely– ever. The video below is proof of this, as well as a quick slide into the sports side of blacklisting; namely Barry Bonds’ MLB Hall-of-Fame candidacy. Why are all these pitchers & pundits so afraid to throw a strike, or face the truth? [1]

Little boys, pretending to be men, to all the guys / Hysterical girls, posing as women, for all the gals    — Ric Size “Unsung”

In the mass media, there is no truth, just a non-stop side-show of distractions. When was the last time you (as a viewer) saw any serious labor coverage in the news? Strikes, work stoppages, deaths on the job; do you ever see, read, or hear about this in any depth from a rank-and-file, real-world perspective?

The answer is “No.” It’s exclusively NYSE-analysis of the labor markets in the corporate media. In a class society driven with inequality, how could it be otherwise?  What passes for “official news” today is nothing more than sports, celebrity gossip, talking head opinions, and Trump tweets.

Do you know what’s going on with the US wars being waged in Africa, Asia & Latin America? Tens-of thousands of troops have been deployed to these faraway battlefields, for reasons unknown to most of the American population. Isn’t the government of a democratic nation supposed to declare a good reason, and prove it to the people, before sending their children off to war?  What is democracy?

Soldiers being killed, maimed, and/or psychologically scarred doesn’t make the news. Neither does an analysis of what they are fighting for. The unspeakable truth is– it’s always economic (power) interests, with China & Russia being the opponents. Do you personally feel any animosity towards the people of these nations? Most Americans don’t, but the media always tells us we should, because they are the enemy. Therefore all their allies are our enemies too, and so North Korea, Syria & Iran are “existential threats” to our way of life, and must be annihilated. That is the logic of US imperialism, refracted through a corporate/intelligence media lens.

It’s still the same set-up as the Cold War, and all the old methods of red-baiting leftists & artists are being brought out again. History proved when this blacklist barrier was smashed in the 1960’s by social forces and artists like Bob Dylan & the Beatles, it became a revolutionary situation. Political figures began to be assassinated (JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, RFK), always under murky circumstances. Most remain unsolved in many ways. This was the deep state in action, snuffing out revolutionary impulses by beheading liberalism & black radicalism in the 1960’s.

Today the political enemy of the deep state are the class-conscious workers armed with socialism. The only political tendency that represents genuine socialism are the Trotskyists of the Fourth International. Every other political tendency on Earth falls within imperialism’s grasp.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is the US branch of the Fourth International. In ruling circles, the SEP is equated with “Russian terrorism.” The political program of the SEP is world socialist revolution, which puts it into the most bitter life-or-death struggle against the US deep state. Hence the propaganda & Internet censorship campaigns from Google, Facebook, and the rest of corporate social media. [2]

The deep state is composed of elite political power brokers who dominate finance, Wall Street, Madison Avenue (PR), and Langley (CIA/ intelligence services). The Bush & Clinton (& now Obama!) families are part of this nexus, which pulls-the-strings on Donald Trump & the rest of the political figures you see & hear in the news.

This is the origin of this ongoing witch hunt against “sexual predators” in Hollywood, NYC & Washington. The hypocrisy of all this is astounding, as everyone knows these places are infamous for being fleshpots for the rich, glamorous & powerful. This can’t even be described as an open secret, it’s just a fact every adult knows today.

Their level of depravity is seemingly infinite, and for many common people (sadly), that’s the allure. Too many ordinary hedonists wish they could join in this depraved orgy. This is how people have been trained to be, as education & civility has been degraded. There aren’t many good jobs anymore either, even if you are a college graduate– deep in debt. So what’s there to hope for, still living with your parents at age 25?  Opioids & other prescription painkillers are readily available to soothe all types of pain…

Most Americans still aren’t ready to face the need for conscious & continuous work in political education, to prepare themselves for the necessary socialist revolution– to come. Most are too busy with day-to-day living (survival), and have been taught to take care of themselves first & always. This isn’t compatible with species survival, but don’t ever try to explain that to a liberal, as their knowledge in arts & science ends where class interests begin. In fact. these attacks are coming specifically from deep state liberal identity-politics ruling circles.

Therefore the impulse to defend celebrities, artists & left-wing politicians will not come from Democratic party supporters; it will come from the working people & youth who have dumped both parties. The truth of the two-party system is that it works together to exploit youth & workers. They appear to act in the interests of the common man/woman, from both sides of the aisle, but in earnest always defend capital– in all its forms. The Democrats use the unions & pseudo-intellectual liberalism, to blind workers and educated youth. The Republicans use religion, racism & nationalism to rally its rural working-class base. The former party is for philistines, the latter is for fascists.

The battle against blacklisting & media sex-scandal pogroms is but one front in the greater war for socialist equality, which can only be achieved by revolution. Those who are enlightened & educated are the ones who care the most about art & human culture. What is happening now is a desecration of human society, as fascists have taken the White House, and the supposed opposition (Democrat) party has done nothing to warn the people, because they are it’s most hostile enemy.

Until this fact is absorbed into the marrow of enough politically conscious workers & students, this witch hunting & Internet censorship will continue, and things will generally continue to get worse for most everybody. Once this reaction is beaten back, a revolutionary window will open, as this witch hunt campaign signals a final ideological arrow. Once you get past sex scandals & censorship, there’s nothing else to titillate & distract. Politics is then exposed for what it is, corrupt & bankrupt.

That’s when all the nonsense lies end, and revolutionary action starts. The battle lines in this upcoming civil war are already being drawn, so it’s important figure out which side is which. and what it means.  It can save a life, and the life you save may be you own, as well as those you love.

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MST3K & Getting a Clu

William Martin “Clu” Gulager was born November 16, 1928 in Holdenville, Oklahoma. He’s the son of a cowboy entertainer who gave him his nickname, for the clu-clu birds (martins) that were nesting at their home when Clu was born [1]. Today he is 89, so happy birthday, Clu!

Clu Gulager is the consummate made-for-TV character actor; from the 1970’s, through the 80’s, & beyond. He began in Hollywood in earnest, as Billy the Kid in The Tall Man, a TV series which ran from 1960–1962. This successful series was suddenly canceled because of his role specifically.

The code Hollywood had acquiesced to under the McCarthyist blacklist, was to not let “bad guy” characters win. This went part & parcel with FBI Director Edgar J. Hoover’s attempts to censor morality, blacklist “communists,” and spy on domestic political dissidents– COINTELPRO.

This directly relates to movies and the deteriorating quality of Hollywood film-making in the !950’s & 1960’s. Many of the enduring classic films from this era, are foreign films from Japan, India & Europe; as McCarthyism had much to say on what Hollywood could produce.

In America, a significant amount of top-talent was blackballed, while mediocre-hack writers, directors & actors were given starring roles in Hollywood productions. No-talent directors such as Ed Wood, Francis Coleman, Roger Corman, Sandy Frank, and any other bizarro with a conformist ideology & a camera, were allowed (encouraged) to make an endless parade of B-movies, which filled the screens of drive-ins across post-war America. This is the “vast wasteland” our parents were raised in, and it filtered through to the MTV generation in no clearer form than Clu Gulager.

With Gulager, there is more to the picture than meets the eye. His fans have a Clu, but it’s not easy to get to. This is a Hollywood character actor, with depth– a rare combination. Clu Gulager is a name that most film fans don’t know, yet probably most have seen him in the movies or TV shows they’ve watched over the decades.

From ~1970 onwards, whenever a made-for-TV series or movie needed a hard-boiled, cowboy bureaucrat– enter Clu Gulager. Plus he’s got great hair. Hollywood needed that a lot in the 1970’s & 80’s, so Clu always found work. Here’s his resume from Wikipedia [2]:

TV and filmography

Playhouse 90 (TV series) (1959)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV series) (1959)
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (TV series) (1959)
Laramie (TV series) (1959)
The Untouchables (TV series) (1959)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV series) episode “Crossroads” (1959)
The Rebel (TV series) as Virgil Taber in “Paint a House with Scarlet” (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV series) (1959–1960)
The Tall Man (TV series) (1960–1962)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962)
Kraft Suspense Theatre (TV series) (1964)
Dr. Kildare (TV series) (1964)
Wagon Train (TV series) (1959–1964)
The Killers (1964) (director Don Siegel)
The Virginian (1968) 3×20 Lost Yesterday as Emmett Ryker
San Francisco International Airport (1970) as Bob Hatten
The Last Picture Show (1971, director Peter Bogdanovich) as Abilene
The F.B.I. (1971) as Lyle Chernik
Bonanza (1972) as Billy Brenner
Mod Squad (TV series) (1972) as Dustin Ellis
Molly and Lawless John (1972) as Deputy Tom Clements
The Glass House (ABC TV film) (1972)
Kung Fu (1973) as Sheriff Rutledge
Call To Danger (CBS TV film) (1973) as Emmet Jergens
Ironside (1968–1973) as Frank Clinton / D.W. Donnelly / Jack Brody
McQ (1974) as Toms
Shaft (1974) as Richard Quayle
Hit Lady (1974) as Roarke
Gangsterfilmen (1974) as Glenn Mortenson
McCloud (1975) as Johnny Monahan
Cannon (1971–1975) 1×06 Country Blues as B.J. Long, 2×09 Child Of Fear as Burdick, 4×22 Vengeance as Jonathan Quill
The Streets of San Francisco (TV series) (1975) as Inspector George Turner
Police Story (TV series) (1974–1975) as Officer Williams / Tim Keegan
Ellery Queen (TV series) (1976) as Father Terrence Devlin / Captain Thomas G. Horton
Barnaby Jones (TV series) (1973–1976) as Sheriff Mack Hollister / Mark Landy
Hawaii Five-O (TV series) (1972–1976) as Arthur Lambert / Jack Gulley
The Other Side of Midnight (1977) as Bill Fraser
The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove (TV series) (1979) as Cuda Weber
A Force of One (1979) as Dunne
Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (TV film) (1980) as Rufe Bennett
Falcon Crest (TV series) (1981)
Skyward (1980)
Quincy M.E. (TV series) (1982)
CHiPs (TV series) (1982)
Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story (1983)
The Master (TV series) (1984)
The Initiation (Film) (1984)
Knight Rider (TV series) (1985)
Into the Night (1985)
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) as Mr. Walsh
Bridge Across Time (1985)
Airwolf (TV series) (1986)
Magnum P.I. (TV series) (1986)
The Fall Guy (TV series) (1982–1986)
Simon & Simon (TV series) (1986)
Hunter’s Blood (1986)
From a Whisper to a Scream (originally titled The Offspring, 1987)
Murder She Wrote (TV series) (1985–1987)
The Hidden (1987)
Hunter’s Blood (1987)
Tapeheads (1988)
MacGyver (TV series) (1988)
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)
Eddie Presley (1992)
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (TV Series) (1995)
Beavis and Butt-Head (TV Series) (1995)
Walker Texas Ranger (1995)
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (1996)
Feast (2005) as Bartender
Vic (2006) (short film) as Vic Reeves
Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds (2008) as Bartender
Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009) as Bartender
Piranha 3DD (2012) as Mo
Tangerine (2015) as The Cherokee
Blue Jay (2016) as Waynie

Clu has a dark side, which he plays with well, in this recent video he directed & produced with his son.

The best Clu Gulager entry point for the uninitiated is Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). This highly influential cable series ran from 1989-99, the first seven seasons were on the Comedy Channel.

Best Brains, Inc (BBI) was the corporate-named ownership of MST3K, which included: show creator Joel Hodgson (Joel Robinson), Trace Beaulieu (Crow / Dr. F), Kevin Murphy (Servo), Mike Nelson (first a writer, then Joel’s replacement) & Jim Mallon (producer & Gypsy) & Paul Chaplin (writer).

BBI has had a Clu for as long as anyone. Gulager appears in (seemingly) every incarnation of the original 10-season MST3K series, save for season one featuring Josh Weinstein (now J. Elvis Weinstein) as Tom Servo.

Gulager first appears with Joel & the bots in Master Ninja (Episode 322). This “movie” was actually a failed 1984 TV-series, with Lee Van Cleef in the staring role as The Master. Timothy Van Patten is incomprehensible in his dialogue, as the apprentice sidekick, and mercifully this show was canceled after 13 episodes. It was repackaged in 1985 for the home-video market as Master Ninja, and this is what Joel & the bots are riffing in this classic episode.

MST3K writer Paul Chaplin remarks in their authoritative Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, “For the whole show we referred to Clu Gulager as ‘Clu Gallagher.’ We never noticed how wrong we were until show 614…” Chaplin also adds, “I think he [Gulager] is a fine actor, and he provided one of the few bright spots in this show.”

On to MST3K: Episode 614. A note to fans, episodes are numbered by season first, then show in season next; so episode 614 is– season 6, show 14. The number of shows in a season varied– from as many as 24, to as few as 6. Season six had Mike Nelson in Joel Hodgson/Robinson’s jumpsuit, with everyone else from their “classic era” still there. San Francisco International (1970) is the made-for-TV movie they are riffing, and this one is too considered a “Mistie” classic.

Season six was the last with Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), and after that (S7) Trace Beaulieu left. Beaulieu in particular played an essential role in MST3K, as Dr. Forrester & Crow. He was always on-screen, an it’s his genius that drives the show. He foils perfectly with Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, and works with Joel/Mike just as brilliantly. In a word: irreplaceable.

The MST3K legend is that producer, Jim Mallon (Gypsy) was the one who got greedy over money and ruined it for everybody. Today it’s Rifftraxx (Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy); Cinematic Titanic (Trace Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl); while Joel Hodgson has revived the original MST3K concept with new characters, as season 11 was just produced and released on Netflix. The common denominator is that none of the original BBI, work with Jim Mallon anymore.

Of importance to Misties, it’s rumored that Clu Gulager appeared in Touch of Satan (1971)— which was MST3K 908. Mike Nelson puts Crow (now played by Bill Corbett) on “Clu Gulager alert,” after not seeing his name in the opening credits. Crow looks for him quickly, but can’t find him. Gulager never appears in the MST3K episode, and I refuse to watch the original. Without Mike & the bots wisecracking– it’s unwatchable.

MST3K season’s 8-10 are Sci-Fi channel-era, and not favorites for hardcore Misties. As stated already, it’s impossible to replace Trace Beaulieu. Season 7 was only 6 episodes, as BBI ran into internal conflicts, as well as the Hollywood industry machine, when they made MST3K: the Movie (1996). This movie riffed This Island Earth (1955), and was only made after an endless series of creative compromises were forced upon BBI.

Produced by Gramercy Pictures, an art-house division in action, horror and sci-fi for Universal ; MST3K: the Movie got very little distribution, and had a limited run in select theaters. During that same period, Grammercy was heavily promoting Barb Wire (1996), the Pamela Anderson siliconed jigglefest. According to Wikipedia, Barb Wire cost $9M to make, and grossed $3.8M at the box, making it a stiff [!] which quickly went to video.

MST3K: The Movie is cited to have grossed $1M, with no estimate on it’s cost to make. It surely didn’t lose money for the studio, as BBI didn’t get paid. They make this clear in their season 7 sketch of Crow’s “Earth vs. Soup”– Ep. 704: The Incredible Melting Man. The host segments in Ep. 704 acidly paints a picture of the “negotiations & creative discussions” with Hollywood sleazeballs.

In conclusion, Clu Gulager like MST3K— are talents who have faced immense challenges, and deserve a wider appreciation for their artistry. Take the time to appreciate them on their birthday, and any other day.

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Almirola Introduced as Patrick’s Replacement

This is how it ends for Danica Patrick. Her iconic first name doesn’t even get to make the headline, as the biggest superstar in sports is being pushed out by NASCAR [1].  Fans can’t wait to read about Junior’s “final ride” @ Phoenix this week, which has been a weekly ESPN piece, sanctioned (insisted upon) by NASCAR. It has generated very few (often no) comments– week after week, in celebration of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s last season. For the record, I like Dale Jr. and think he deserves a respectful send-off, but things clearly aren’t being treated equally here.

Danica Patrick is a pioneer in sports, but this goes largely unmentioned in NASCAR reporting, even as she’s being retired. This is as far as she’s allowed to go. Women drivers are now accepted in Indycar, NHRA, and other top-competitive racing series– just not in NASCAR. This had to be reinforced in every way, including her garbage team year-after-year, with no speed in her car– week-after-week. Richard Petty couldn’t do anything with that, so spare her fans the numbers & “statistical analysis,” as everyone who follows understands NASCAR is fixed anyways.

On top of that, Danica was intentionally wrecked, spun-out, and generally treated with unsportsmanlike conduct from her “peers” her entire career in NASCAR [2]. The racing standards in NASCAR can best be described as reckless & unprofessional. That’s how millions & millions of young Danica-fans feel. The fact she won even one race (2008 Indy Japan 300) in her career, is a testament to her driving skill & fierce determination, in the face of obstacles (and media scrutiny) which no other driver has ever had to endure.

Plus– the fact she’s gorgeous, so everyone has an opinion, right?  When Danica talks about having babies, that gets people excited I’ve noticed.  No one else in racing lights up social media faster than Danica. That’s why people use only her first name in reference, because everyone knows. That’s marketing gold, and NASCAR wasted it because they hate her.

Tough to get sponsorship with that kind of industry & team “support,” much less run competitively. NASCAR blew the best chance it ever had to save itself from declining ratings, by modernizing. But seeing how Danica Patrick was treated (almost killed– repeatedly) by such ignorance & hatred, makes it hard to imagine any woman wanting to follow her in her NASCAR tire tracks.

For more see: http://ricsize.com/is-danica-patrick-retiring/

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North Korea Nukes Itself

According to a RAND Corporation senior researcher, Kim Jong-un believed that nuclear weapons were his guarantee of regime survival. In 2016, Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea would “not use nuclear weapons first unless aggressive hostile forces use nuclear weapons to invade on our sovereignty”. The United Nations has since enacted five cumulative rounds of sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear program and missile tests [Wiki].

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, all of them in tunnels burrowed deep under Mount Mantap at a site known as the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility.

Satellite imagery registered an artificial 6.3-magnitude earthquake, so big that it shook houses in northeastern China, on September 3, 2017. Eight minutes later, there was a 4.1-magnitude earthquake that appeared to be a tunnel collapsing at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility.

It is now certain there is a Chernobyl-type disaster ongoing, at Kim Jong-un’s only nuclear facility. All six of North Korea’s underground nuclear tests have taken place in the same region. Apparentlytired mountain syndrome’ has caused North Korea’s only underground nuclear test site to collapse, leading to a nuclear meltdown. As many as 200 people have been said to have died already due to this catastrophe [1].

North Korea is notorious for it’s strict censorship, so on-site reporting is scant, but what’s even more remarkable is the lack of discussion in the Western press & media outlets. This is a BIG story, with political & environment repercussions globally, yet nary a word from the “free press” in over two months!

All this has surely been known in US intelligence & military circles since it happened, detected by the most-sophisticated “Five Eyes” satellite imagery, but yet kept secret from its populations in the US, UK & Australia. In the meantime, the Trump administration and the deep state have been raging their tactical differences (privately & publicly) on how to best attack North Korea. This conspiracy against the working people of the world, threatens to start a third world war. The people of the US and everywhere else have been told virtually nothing of this nuclear catastrophe in the mountains of North Korea.

This ongoing nuclear meltdown shreds every US pretext for war on North Korea. Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions have obliterated into a radioactive waste site. That is why this is being kept secret in the US media. All-the-while aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, bombers & jet fighters of every sort deploy en mass in the China Sea.

Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program has just melted itself down to its radioactive core. It poses a massive environmental threat to the entire region, and will spread radioactive dust & debris throughout the hemisphere if another test is conducted, but otherwise there is no offensive threat to the US or any other nation. And yet we are told by Trump & the rest, that North Korea is an existential threat which must be eliminated. We keep hearing this over & over, yet none of it is ever true. This pageant has a strict script, and no revisions are allowed. This is where the working masses need to intervene, with a demand of cessation of hostilities with North Korea and all other nations that haven’t attacked the US.

Kim Jong-un is the crude & stupid dictator of North Korea, who rightly fears becoming the next on a long list of dead US bogeyman, including: Panama’s Manuel Noriega, Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Afghanistan’s Osama bin Laden. Kim Jong-un & Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are now in the cross-hairs. The US-imperialist campaigns directed at removing both of them from power, in the US media & political circles, rage back & forth over priority of target (Russia or China) & tactics. None of this is ever discussed in depth, or with any intelligence in the mainstream media.

A pretext has been carefully scripted in Washington to justify a devastating preemptive war on North Korea. Trump’s ‘Asian tour’ will be followed by a reactionary campaign to demonize the Chinese government for being incapable of reining in the ‘rogue state’ in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un being on the verge of acquiring the capacity to launch nuclear attacks at the continental United States, was a central tenet to this pretext for aggression on North Korea. This has now fizzled in fact, with this nuclear meltdown. Any further US saber rattling & aggressive-posturing is blatant militarism– a war crime by definition. That should be noted & discussed before that fact.

The crisis of the Trump administration in it’s struggle-to-the-death with the US deep state is bringing all this to a head. The working masses must intervene in their own interests, against more wars-of-aggression from the criminal ruling elite in Washington, Wall Street & Langley, which attempts to assert itself militarily when it no longer has popular political support.

Trump’s conciliatory attitude towards Chinese President Xi Jinping, praising its sanctions on Pyongyang, can turn on a whim, as we have all seen. It is clear that Trump is being led by the nose, as his diplomatic calendar consists mostly of golf outings & other such diversions. With the current set-up & trajectory, any mood swing from the unstable commander-in-chief [!] could start a Dr. Strangelove-doomsday scenario.

The arrival of two additional aircraft carriers follows major US-South Korean naval war games, involving the USS Ronald Reagan, three nuclear submarines, Aegis destroyers and more than 40 other warships, proves who’s really pulling the strings. It’s the generals & top pentagon brass in charge of the US armed forces, with no civilian oversight. Civilians are the enemy, in this war. Yet the army is made of civilians, hence the dialectical rub.

The contradictions of American and global capitalism, is proceeding with an unprecedented degree of recklessness (known as Trumpism), which is used to deliberately inflame flash points everywhere. Donald Trump is under political & media attack night & day from deep state elements that want him deposed. He is facing mounting public hostility to his agenda of racism, austerity and war. Trump is being propelled towards launching this war as a means of diverting acute social tensions outwards against a foreign enemy.

US Congress is complicit is this, as they have surely been aware of this nuclear accident which happen two months ago, yet it just voted to impose sweeping new sanctions on North Korea, targeting any people or companies associated with the North Korean regime and cutting off all financial assistance [2].

This posture of reserving the use of the “nuclear option,” on a regime it knows has just melted its nuclear program into oblivion, is the height of political cynicism & recklessness. These facts need to be known by the people of the world as they happen, because they affect everyone. This information is being kept secret, in order to run a PR campaign for war on North Korea, a country that couldn’t possibly defend itself at this point. That’s why the US hawks want to go to war, easy prey. The problem is China, which the warheads conveniently ignore [3].

Last week CIA director Mike Pompeo said North Korea was only months away from having nuclear-strike capacity. “They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a US policy perspective we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving” that objective, he said.

Trump’s Asian tour is a propaganda campaign meant to round up support for US aggression, in spite of the facts on (and under) the ground. For those studying & comparing the centenary of the Russian Revolution, which culminated on November 7, 1917; this is your “Kornilov Affair.” This militarist conspiracy against the people of North Korea must be ruthlessly exposed, while organized resistance needs to form quickly & concretely.

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World Series, Free Agents & Padres Off-Season

No doubt that 2017 was the Dodgers’ year, the same way 2016 was the Cubs’ year. Both were the best teams in baseball, yet one team didn’t win it all. What makes the difference? In 2016 Theo Epstein & GM Jed Hoyer got the relief ace they needed in Aroldis Chapman, from the Yankees for top prospect SS Gleyber Torres. Recall, the Cubs couldn’t have beaten Cleveland in 7 games without Chapman. It was the same way for Cleveland, in obtaining lefty relief ace Andrew Miller. Both teams couldn’t have gotten as far as they did, without those bullpen stoppers.

This year when it was time to get what you REALLY needed for the post-season (7/31 deadline), the best team (Dodgers) balked at the asking price for the most valuable post-season commodity, a lefty relief ace still under arbitration control– which is really nice in February, and invaluable in October. Much of the resistance from teams-in-need was because it was Padres GM AJ Preller selling. So, why didn’t any team make him a serious offer for Brad Hand at the deadline?

Yes, there is the trend towards organizations hanging onto their prospects, but also I suspect an element of collusion (which I can’t prove), in retaliation for what AJP did in 2016. He simply got the best of too many teams & their GM’s last year, which I’ve discussed extensively here & elsewhere. But that’s still no excuse if you are serious about winning.

Instead, the team-to-beat spent about half of what they needed to get Brad Hand, in order to acquire something they didn’t need– in Hu Darvish. By late July, the Dodgers had already won their division, and had plenty of capable post-season starters. What they desperately needed was a guy who was good enough to get outs in the 7th & 8th innings in October. It’s foolish to waste money on what you don’t need, just because it’s more affordable than what you actually need. This is what Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman did & didn’t do in 2017. This was probably the best team the Dodgers will have in this competitive window, and they blew it. Games 2 & 5 of the World Series were both there for LA to win, but manager Dave Roberts couldn’t find a guy in his bullpen to get the outs he needed, because that guy wasn’t there.

American League line-ups are qualitatively tougher than the National League, so whether it was the Astros or Yankees, Dave Roberts needed another reliable bullpen option to close those World Series games out. Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman knew this in July, when he said they were looking to acquire a “wipe-out lefty reliever.” By that he meant (of course), Brad Hand. There was no one else close to his value that was available, and yet no team would make AJ Preller a substantial offer. In other words, no team was willing to pay the price to win in October. Tell me what a GM’s job is again?

The media chimed in, “Hand’s value will never be greater… if the Padres are smart they’ll sell now…” AJ Preller said, “No!” to all that nonsense (again); and now the Gnats, Yankees and Dodgers REALLY regret not acquiring Brad Hand. He could have helped all of those teams get the outs they so desperately needed (when it counted most), instead of coming up short. This is not to say the Astros didn’t have trouble getting the tough outs too, they were just a little better balanced overall. You need luck too, but really it’s money & brains that wins. Astros were a little better at that game, and that was the difference in the fall classic.

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These are the most-mentioned MLB free agents this winter, with my brief comments:

Yu Darvish: This RHP in his prime was a great #2 starter, but never quite an ace. He’s now a #3 starter on a championship team.

J.D. Martinez: The corner OF to get, as he supplies OBP & SLG. He’s likely looking for his payday (longterm 6-8 yrs), which will be too long for most.

Eric Hosmer: He’s 28 and this is his payday– represented by Scott Boras. Look for ~8 years $200M. He’s very good, but not worth that kind of investment.

Lorenzo Cain: Age-31 speedy CF, will need to move to a corner in a year or two– never a good longterm sign. It will be interesting where he lands, and for how much & long.

Wade Davis: The FA closer this winter. That’s big $$.

Mike Moustakas: 3B career: .251/.305/.425. Had one great season in 2015, when they won it, otherwise he’s overrated.

Jay Bruce: OF/DH career (mostly in a bandbox): .249/.319/.472, which means he’s now useless. Cheap bench depth only, otherwise he’s an overpay. I’m sure someone will…

Todd Frazier: 3B career: .245/.321/.459. A little better than his former teammate Jay Bruce, but not much.

Carlos Santana: 1B/DH/C career: .249/.365/.445. Good OBP, but limited SLG, as well as catching anymore. If he stays healthy, he can be an bargain somewhere, probably AL.

Jake Arrieta: This age-31 RHP has a lot of mileage on his arm. Health & medical evaluation is critical here. If Arrieta is healthy, he can be a strong #2 starter over the course of his contract, which is extremely valuable. If his arm falls off, then some team has a huge sunk cost. This will be the highest-risk FA deal this winter.

Alex Cobb: This age 30 RHP is underrated because the Rays always have pitching. In 2017: 179.1 IP, 3.66 ERA. Yankees are interested for sure, and you know what that means.

Zack Cozart: Career SS: .254/.305/.411. He’s age-32, and 2017 was a career year. The Reds have stunk for a long time, because they invested so heavily in many of the free agents on this list. All are losing players, with inflated power stats, due to extreme ballpark effect. All are average-to-poor defenders. Teams have wised-up somewhat, but I still expect Cosart to get a richer deal than his actual worth, as there still are overspenders aplenty.

CC Sabathia: This age-37 LHP still has some gas in the tank, 2017 with NYY: 148.2 IP, 3.69 ERA. His usage needs to be limited, but those are still mostly quality innings from a 3/4 AL starter.

Ichiro Suzuki: RF 2017 with Miami: .255/.318/.332, probably should retire. Career in MLB: .312/.355/.403, 3080 hits. Best defensive RF ever? Ichiro or Clemente. First-ballot HoFer.

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Padres Notes:

The top off-season trade chips for Padres GM AJ Preller are closer Brad Hand & 3B Yangervis Solarte. Hand will likely be dealt, as teams & their fans saw the value of a shut-down reliever in October. The teams that came up short especially saw this, and should be more in the mood to offer what Brad Hand is actually worth this time around. His value is similar to what closer Craig Kimbrel was worth when he was dealt to the Red Sox in the winter of 2015. Wade Davis is the only free-agent closer available this winter, so options are limited in this premium market.

Yangervis Solarte has a lot of value. He’s an everyday 3B, with legitimate utility value, and a switch-hitter. That wins games when used properly, as Padres manager Andy Green has. From a business standpoint in terms of prospects, AJ Preller won’t get the value he’s seeking, as Solarte is generally underrated which cuts his market value. His contract is team favorable, and that leads to the reasons Solarte signed it. His wife had just passed away from cancer, and he appreciated the organizational & fan support. He stated he wanted to finish his career with the Padres. That’s a loyal soldier (but only in SD), and a valuable asset. I don’t think Padres GM AJ Preller trades that away, because most of Solarte’s value is in San Diego, which means you can’t get a fair return. You know what I mean?

AJ Preller has a logjam of young infield talent, but not a MLB SS. Whatever AJP deals, he’ll look to add depth (top prospect or MLB ready) to that position & corner OF. The Padres desperately need a mashing LF. And pitching. Most Padres fans are optimistic about Carlos Asuaje at 2B, but nothing is certain. Luis Urias is a hit-first 2B prospect, with little power. You need to see Manny Margot-type improvement from Urias, before getting too excited there. 2B/3B Cory Spangenberg, CF Travis Jankowski, and even some other relievers (if there’s interest) are the guys AJ Preller will try to deal this winter.

Preller is now running into roster crunch issues, which will only become more acute for the Padres. That alone is a sign of organizational improvement, as their fans have never seen this! AJP will now have to lean more towards protecting his prospects from the Rule 5 draft, instead of making 3 or 4 picks. Since he’s proven he can evaluate the best Rule 5 talent (5 out of 7 selections have stuck), he’ll likely be the best GM at protecting his elite young talent from hungry predators.

This organization has improved, and the bar has been raised, so these are the roster moves the Padres have been making for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft & beyond. This is how the Astros built what just came to fruition. AJP actually has the Padres on a faster curve. Note, not even one 100-loss season at the depths of their rebuilding, which was 2016-17. Padres fans thank Andy Green & Brad Hand for that. Now it’s player development and managing the 40-man roster, with the goal of building a championship team. In the meantime, more low-level FA pitchers & positional fill-ins this winter, with the possibility of a blockbuster deal or two– as it’s AJ Preller. That’s a management plan a fan can see, and go with. It’s what I expect AJP will do.

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