Recounting Florida

It’s as easy as A-B-C, factored by 1-2-3…. This piece will be a serial… It ended up as 9,800+ words, and concluded ~ noon on Saturday, November 17, 2018, when it was all over– except for the crying.

Florida was the site of a stolen US Presidential election in 2000: Bush v Gore. Florida had massive chicanery & cheating on Election Day 2000, and was ultimately decided by a right-wing US Supreme Court decision to stop the counting of its ballots. The majority decision written by Antonin Scalia postulated that since the Electoral College determines the US President, voters don’t have the right to vote, so there is no need to count all the ballots. Look it up.

Here in 2018, the situation is different but the same. There is no Electoral College argument to be made this time around, but still expect some bizarre right-wing “logic” to win out in the end. Since 2000, Florida has come up with rules & procedures to handle these situations, which seem to arise every election. This bring a veneer of order & sensible rule to this mass insanity.

The state of Florida conducts an electronic recount when the margin of victory falls below 0.5%. A margin under 0.25%, calls for a manual recount. A manual recount does not mean every ballot is counted by hand, as only the votes that come up as an “undervote” or “overvote” get pulled for manual review. This is where we get into the nebulous universe of determining “voter intent,” which is impossible. At this point the votes are what they are, but things may still change– if that makes sense, which it shouldn’t.

The non-partisan approach is to look at the numbers, the voting machines, and any reported irregularities on Election day. Since we’re talking about Florida, we know there were “irregularities,” meaning massive vote rigging and disenfranchisement tactics to suppress opposing party support. This warps the actual numbers, and makes voter intent impossible to determine, at an individual level and on a mass scale. Both parties manipulate electronic voting machines (EVM’s), but in Florida it’s most pronounced by the Republicans against poor black & Hispanic voters, who typically lean Democrat in big cities.

The types of voting equipment used in US elections falls into 4 categories: Optical Scan Paper Ballot Systems, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Systems. Ballot Marking Devices and Systems, Punch Card Voting Systems– which you can research here, although not everything is accurate (or up-to-date) on ballotpedia.

Florida uses paper ballots with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems. DRE systems are computers that record votes directly into the memory. With no paper trail receipt, individual vote auditing is impossible, as a partisan hacker in control of the election machine in their district can program an algorithm into the memory, or change vote totals manually– with no way of being detected, unless a recount is triggered. How each Floridian voted is impossible to verify. This entire election process couldn’t be more manipulated & anti-democratic.

Of course there were plenty of voter suppression, dirty tricks operations on Election Day (and since), as politics is war. A key point was reached by noon on Saturday November 10, as Florida governor Rick Scott was able to halt the official vote totals before they flipped to the Democrats– in both the Senate & governor races. This means they’ll probably win both races, eventually. They were definitely stolen, the manner of which I’ve already discussed at length, as we’ve seen this before. Even President Donald Trump has admitted he’s trying to steal Florida. Every once in awhile Trump tweets a truth, to the dismay of his handlers.

Rick Scott is suing the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, Brenda Snipes, and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, Susan Bucher(D)– for allegedly mishandling vote counting. Broward’s vote counting since Tuesday greatly narrowed Republican leads in the Senate & governor’s race, and has flipped the Secretary of Agriculture to the Democrats. Rick Scott even went so far so to ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election,” Scott told reporters.

Evidentially, Broward County’s elections supervisor mixed 20 “invalid ballots” with a pile of 205 “valid ballots,” fueling a Republican conspiracy theory that this is how the Democrats are stealing the U.S. Senate election in Florida. According to the Miami Herald, the “mistake” was discovered after Brenda Snipes agreed to turn over 205 provisional ballots to the county’s canvassing board for inspection. A majority of provisional ballots were deemed invalid for reasons such as registering to vote too late or voting at the wrong precinct. Multiply these issues by tens-of-thousands of others, and you start to get an idea of the scope of the problem with elections in Florida.

“The ballots cannot be identified,” Brenda Snipes explained to a lawyer for the Republican Party. Governor Rick Scott has controlled all aspects of Florida elections over the past eight years, so who’s to blame? Democratic lawyer Marc Elias said he expected some of the voters affected to “fight for their votes.” Question: How can they fight for their vote, when they can’t audit their vote?

Rick Scott spokesman, Chris Hartline said in a statement, “The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount.”

Senator Bill Nelson countered, “This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy. We believe when every legal ballot is counted, we’ll win this election.” Bill Nelson’s re-election campaign is suing the Florida Secretary of State, Ken Detzner over the signature matching process that is used to validate provisional ballots. You get the idea here?

As of noon Saturday, November 10, 2018, when all the ballots had to be submitted for a final count, these are the official Florida vote totals in the three contested races.

US Senate: 100% of precincts reporting

Rick Scott (R) 4,098,107 50.1%
Bill Nelson* (D) 4,085,545 49.9%
Total Votes 8,183,652

Florida Governor: 100% of precincts reporting

Ron DeSantis (R) 4,075,879 49.6%
Andrew Gillum (D) 4,042,195 49.2%
Total Votes 8,218,616

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services: 100% of precincts reporting

Nikki Fried (D) 4,030,337 50.03%
Matt Caldwell (R) 4,025,011 49.97%
Total Votes 8,055,348

Note: On election night this open race was called for Matt Caldwell, but has since flipped to the Democrat Nikki Fried.

Cowardly Democrat and mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, who (above) conceded to Ron DeSantis before midnight on November 6, boldly walked back his concession on Saturday, November 10. Gillum roared, “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromising and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change.”

Reading between the lines, one gets the sense that Andrew Gillum doesn’t mind losing again, if he has to. Standing up for the voting rights of his constituency was the furthest thing from Gillum’s mind when he conceded to a racist billionaire opponent on Election night. Ron DeSantis, pronounced the results “clear and unambiguous,” and stated that “with the election behind us,” he was planning for his transition as governor.

And thus the imbecile who began his campaign by stating that Florida shouldn’t “monkey up” this election, prepares to take office. DeSantis is in the best position of the four candidates for the two offices. If there needs to be a bipartisan compromise, it’s Rick Scott who will take the bullet for the Republicans.

Democrats & Republicans are responsible for this mess. Something as simple as counting votes is the easiest thing in the world to do, if it’s done fairly. Nothing about this election was fair. When the process becomes this opaque & complex, it becomes impossible to hide the corruption. The methods used to manipulate & win elections are kept veiled, because what they reveal is ugly, heartless & evil.

What this stand-off in Florida represents is the breakdown of US electoral politics. As mentioned in previous pieces, Florida is the key battleground state in American politics. The Republicans especially, WILL NOT yield it; particularly the governor’s mansion, which is vital to Trump’s 2020 bid. The Democrats are only half-hearted in their fight for voters’ rights, which is why I expect them to lose the Florida recounts. History can recall.

For all those who yelled, “Vote!” on election day, my reply is: “For what, Democrats who give up the fight on election night?” I abstained on November 6, and I was correct to do so, it turns out. Those who voted in Florida, only legitimized a corrupt process, and this is the proof. It’s a ridiculous charade, where winners are announced, even in the tightest of races, before all the ballots are even counted. It’s already another legal & political circus here in Florida, with no signs of justice in sight. It will take a revolution to bring fairness to the people Florida, and everywhere else.

Update: Tue 13 Nov 2018 10:01:48 AM EST

The biggest issue in covering this Florida recount is getting accurate facts on anything that matters. This whole process is being blanketed by a smokescreen of lawsuits & media misinformation. Google and all the other search engines have been wiped clean again, making online research difficult, if not impossible. Politicians & their compliant media lapdogs are assiduously working together to confuse the public, which is business as usual.

In the Panhandle, where Hurricane Michael depopulated the region on October 10, 2018, it’s now being alleged that voters were allowed to fax or email their votes. Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen in heavily Republican Bay County told the Miami Herald on Monday that he allowed about 150 people to cast ballots by email, which is illegal under state law. [1]

On Monday morning, a Miami judge ruled against a request by Rick Scott’s legal team to impound Broward County ballots & machines not being used in the recount. Democrats fired back with another lawsuit of their own, asking that Scott be barred from using “the power of his office in any manner related to Florida’s 2018 Senate race as long as he remains a candidate.”

This followed a public statement from Senator Bill Nelson over the weekend, asking Rick Scott to recuse himself from the office of governor during the recount. It’s political gamesmanship on all sides here in Florida, and the will of the people is used for leverage of candidates, not voters’ rights.

On Wednesday, a judge will hear a request from Bill Nelson that all absentee & provisional ballots that were tossed out over mismatched signatures be reexamined. It remains unclear (to the public), how many absentee & provisional ballots are disputed & uncounted in Florida’s 67 counties.

Since provisional ballots are an area of contention, let’s define the term. A ballot is marked provisional by a county election official if there are questions concerning voter eligibility. If 1) a voter doesn’t have a photo ID at the polling place, 2) a voter casts a ballot at the “wrong” precinct, or 3) an absentee ballot is mailed without a signature; these ballots can be identified as “provisional.” Provisional ballots must be reviewed & certified by local election officials before being added to the official count. Right now the vote totals are considered unofficial.

The recount of 700,000 votes in Broward county, began on Sunday after a three-hour delay was caused by a machine that wasn’t registering all ballots when tested. “The Democrats are challenging the calibration of the machines, they are saying it was a machine glitch,” Bill Scherer, Scott’s attorney told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Sunday, to explain the under votes. The Sun Sentinel provided no further explanation as to why the EVM’s weren’t working properly, or what the specific problems were? [2]

Palm Beach & Miami-Dade counties started their recounts Saturday evening, while most other counties began on Monday. About 8.2 million total votes were cast in the statewide election.

On Thursday, November 15 at 3 PM, unofficial returns are due in Tallahassee, and Secretary of State, Pam Bondi (R) determines which races meet the less than a 0.25% victory-margin threshold to order a hand recount. Election officials in Broward county have already stated that they won’t be able to complete the machine recount in time, due to the massive workload. This will probably mean more lawsuits on Friday. All parties have until November 30 to file any claims concerning the election.

Elections staff in Broward county had more than 3.5 million pages to sort before they could even start the actual recount — a task estimated to take up to 35 hours, said Joseph D’Alessandro, director of election planning and development. According to him, out of Broward’s 714,000 votes; 299,000 ballots were cast in early voting, 226,000 were cast on Election Day, and 189,000 were mail-in ballots.

On Friday, November 16, the count begins for military & overseas ballots post-marked Nov. 6 or earlier. Why these ballots weren’t counted on election night is unexplained.

On Sunday, November 18 at noon, county canvassing boards hand count results are due in Tallahassee. Each board examines provisional ballots and outstanding absentee ballots to determine whether they should be counted. Each of Florida’s 67 counties has a canvassing board made up of the supervisor of elections, a county court judge and county commission chair. [3]

According to this scheduled timeline, on Tuesday, November 20 at 9 AM, the Elections Canvassing Commission, consisting of governor Rick Scott & two cabinet members, will meet to certify the November 6 election. I confidently predict that the US Senate race results in Florida won’t be official by then.

Afternoon Update: Tuesday ~ 1:30 PM EST

This Florida recount mirrors the candidates campaigns, with the media distortion now amped up to 20. Instead of campaign ads, both sides are lawyering up, as accusations of cheating, manipulation & fraud are flying. This creates lots of media coverage: print, television & internet. Many of the accusations are true, on both sides; so what does that mean?

At this point, the public debate in the media is over a corrupt process & their candidates. The level of passion over this in the streets of Florida is virtually nil. That’s what I’m seeing anyways, as campaign signs were removed the day after the election, and no one is protesting in numbers. This Florida recount isn’t evoking the passion of 2000: 1) because it isn’t for US President (although it really is– as discussed above), and 2) because both parties are widely seen as bankrupt. The second point is the bigger factor here.

As one who didn’t vote in 2018, you may be wondering why I’m defending Floridians’ voting rights so steadfastly? It’s to illustrate the hypocrisy of this fixed process called elections, which too many people still believe in. At this point, it may be helpful to take a few steps back and answer this fundamental question, “What would a fair election and recount process look like?”

This presumes the candidates are representatives of the people, which they’re not; and that money isn’t a deciding factor, which is most certainly is. Setting all that capitalist corruption aside, an election can be fairly managed with ease in this digital age, but people have to understand & care. When votes get “lost,” or changed without knowledge, then what’s to believe in?

Here’s some common sense. Every voter should receive some form of receipt when they finish voting, the same way you get a slip of paper when you buy anything at a store. This “voting receipt” should have the information for the holder to audit their vote online, or wherever. If there’s an issue, the voter can contact the Supervisor of Elections to address the grievance. The receipt could even be electronically sent to cellphones or verified email addresses.

Also all ballots, including absentee overseas, et cetera, need to be counted on election night. Any “provisional” ballots need to be cleared up as quickly as possible: in a fair, transparent & democratic manner. This can be easily accomplished if each voter has a receipt. Counting the ballots of US soldiers, risking their livers oversees, a week after the election, is insulting. Insisting their ballots be thrown out is fascist. That’s Florida politics on both sides of the aisle.

Notice that the “common sense” I’ve just expressed in a few sentences, is nothing close to the current Florida election & recount process, and that’s by design. Once a vote is cast, a voter has no control over what happens next. This amorphic mass of ~8.2 million votes that are now being recounted in Florida, are claimed by both parties as their own. But no voter claims their individual vote anymore, or knows how it was registered, as it’s become a congealed lump of winner-takes-all politics. Everyone seems to miss this anti-democratic aspect, by not discussing it.

The Republican machinery specializes in rigged elections, and as Trump’s popular support continues to wane, this tactic becomes an evermore important strategy used to win elections. If the votes were counted honestly everywhere in the US, then the Republicans would be swept out of office in a few terms. That’s been a dirty GOP campaign secret since the late 1990’s.

The Democrats feel the same way when they face opposition from genuine socialist candidates on the left. The only real socialist of the US midterm ballot in 2018 was Niles Niemuth, for the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). In the Michigan 12th Congressional district, Debra Dingell easily won re-election, in what is considered a “safe seat” for Democrats by political insiders.

Niles Niemuth ran an amazing campaign, using the World Socialist Web Site to cover & promote his Congressional campaign for international socialism. Support for Niemuth was global, in political sympathy & monetary contributions. There was no other campaign like it in 2018. Here were the official results in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District election, per ballotpedia:

Candidate Pct.          Vote            total

Debbie Dingell (D)      68.2       199,690
Jeff Jones (R)            28.8          84,220
Gary Walkowicz          2.3            6,691
Niles Niemuth  (I)        0.8            2,200

Total votes: 292,801

Here’s an interesting bit of data from ballotpedia, concerning campaign spending in the Michigan 12th for US Congress, as of September 30, 2018:

Debra Dingell (D)               $1,085,073
Jeff Jones (R)                    $19,118
Gary Walkowicz (WCP)    $0    [!?]
Niles Niemuth (SEP)         $2,832

The Working Class Party candidate Gary Walkowicz (above) was credited with 6.691 votes, having officially spent NO money on the campaign. That’s unprecedented, so I wonder, “How does that happen?” Niles Niemuth was credited with 2,200 votes, which was surely under-counted– probably by at least one digit. Niemuth’s total “war chest” available (as of 9/30) was $3,874. Debra Dingell had another ~$440,000 on hand as of those dates. As you can see, the Republicans punted on this district.

Here are a few excerpts from an article published November 2, 2018 on the WSWS, titled, “Who are Gary Walkowicz and the Working Class Party?”

Walkowicz is a member of the bargaining committee of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, which covers Ford’s Rouge complex. This is the third consecutive election in which he has run for Congress from the 12th District against incumbent Democrat Debbie Dingell… The WCP is an electoral front… for the trade union officialdom.

The most striking thing about the Working Class Party’s election platform itself is its formlessness. It takes no position on any concrete political question. On the most critical issues of the day, including the drive to war against Russia and China, the crisis of the Trump administration, the bipartisan assault on immigrants, the Democrats’ anti-Russian campaign and the growth of internet censorship, the Working Class Party has literally nothing to say. [4]

If there was a fair recount in the Michigan 12th district, I don’t believe Gary Walkowicz would win even 100 votes; as whomever his supporters are, they all vote Democrat. The Working Class Party was apparently formed before the 2012 election, but according to their Wikipedia page, “the Working Class Party has no website of its own, but many of its leaflets and statements can be found on the independent website www.workingclassfight.com.”

Their newly-formed headquarters is in Detroit, Michigan, indicates the Working Class Party are a CIA/deep state campaign to keep the Socialist Equality Party in check. The SEP has long been headquartered in this area, which is why Niles Niemuth ran for US Congress in the 12th. His was the only SEP campaign of the entire US midterm, obviously due to lack of funds. The WSWS, SEP & Niles Niemuth still made quite an impact, which is all-the-more reason to suspect their vote totals were rigged.

Update: Wed 14 Nov 2018 03:15 AM EST

All 67 counties in Florida are in some stage of recounting their ballots, running them through electronic vote tabulators. The three largest voting system manufacturers in the U.S. are Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), Dominion, and Hart Intercivic. This PDF provides important specifics concerning the electronic voting machines & software used in Florida’s 2018 elections.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S) is an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that manufactures and sells its direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, vote tabulators, election software (EVS & DS200), absentee voting-by-mail services, as well as professional support to 48 of Florida’s 67 counties. ES&S counts Florida’s votes, where they count the most.

This highly-lucrative EVM market is murky murky, as it involves giving high-paying clients what they demand, which is machines they can secretly control & manipulate. When looking at Republican suppression of Democrat voters in urban Florida, ES&S appears to be the GOP’s secret weapon.

According to Wikipedia, “ES&S is the largest manufacturer of EVM’s in the US, claiming customers in 4,500 localities in 42 states and two U.S. territories. As of 2014, the company had more than 450 employees, more than 200 of whom are located in Omaha,” a regional center for global hedge-fund investment.

“ES&S has installed statewide voting systems in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. ES&S claims a U.S. market share of more than 60 percent in customer voting system installations.” [5]

Dominion Voting Systems Corporation was founded in 2002 in Toronto, by John Poulos & James Hoover, and acquired Diebold Election Systems in 2010. Dominion vendors EVM services to the remaining 19 counties in Florida, 18 of which are rural & hard Republican.

The notable exception is Palm Beach, which is adjacent to Dade county, and currently the source of the most-heated bipartisan contention. It appears Dominion is used by the Republican machinery in Florida, mainly to inflate their vote in stronghold rural counties. We’ll soon see how the Dominion machines recount the votes in Palm Beach county, and I predict the results will be statistically fascinating.

To complete this EVM overview, Hart InterCivic Inc. is the smallest of the three voting machine companies, headquartered in Austin, Texas. Hart InterCivic Inc. EVM’s are used in parts of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington & Colorado, and certain counties in Ohio, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. [6]

Florida’s population has continued to grow, as the number of registered voters by the 2018 primaries was 13,013,657. In the 2016 primaries, that was 12.37 million, and in the 2014 primaries it was 11.8 million. Florida’s estimated total population in 2018 is 21.31 million.

Donald Trump’s post-midterm ratings among US voters are 46% approval, with 52% disapproval. What we see now in US politics are “leaders” at all levels who are unable to maintain a mandate of approval from the majority of voters. If one counts non-voters, these approval numbers drop even more dramatically.

In Florida, among its roughly 13 million registered voters, only 8.2 actually voted in 2018. Over 37% consciously abstained, or didn’t care. Those 4.8 million registered Florida voters who skipped this election are more votes than any candidate received, making this group the largest constituency. This fact is true everywhere, and yet it is concealed in all bourgeois media analysis of “red & blue waves.”

Whoever wins the Senate & governorship will receive ~ 4.2 million votes in their favor. In a state with a census of 21.3 million, that means the winner (whenever it’s decided), actually represents only 20% of the people.  Factor in all these candidate’s low job approval ratings & lack of popularity, and their political legitimacy dwindles even more.

For example, many Florida voters who checked Bill Nelson in the Senate, did so because they HATE Rick Scott, not because they love the Democratic incumbent. Here are both Florida senators approval ratings, published on October 10, 2018 to illustrate my point. N/O means no opinion, and M/E is margin of error.

Senator           Approve Disapprove N/O M/E

Marco Rubio (R)     41%     42%      17%   1%
Bill Nelson (D)         39%     41%      21%   1%

The same “lesser evilism” attitude is true for those Republican voters who checked off Ron DeSantis, a billionaire clown (below) who excited no one. DeSantis’ luck was that Republican racists HATED the idea of a black Democrat as governor of Florida, more than anything else. That, and all the resources the Trump team & Rick Scott provided DeSantis.

When you look at approval/disapproval ratings like these across-the-board, you realize that 20% approval is still giving the political victor far too much popular credit. Since half the voters who supported any candidate do so, only because they hate they other candidate/party more, it’s more like 10-12% of the population that is actually represented, whomever wins- Democrat or Republican. That’s why all these campaigns were centered around attack ads, as no one offers serious solutions that anyone can believe in.

On Tuesday (yesterday), there were two counties where recount efforts made the news. Mark Andersen, Bay County Supervisor of Elections, stood by his decision to accept 147 faxed & emailed ballots. This partisan Republican, thinly disguised as a neutral public official, cited the hardship of Hurricane Michael as the reason for changing (defying) Florida law.

I agree with his actions, but listen to Andersen’s rhetoric, and then compare it to his sympathies for any election hardships in Dade, Broward & Palm Beach counties, which are dealt with much differently by cynical Republicans, that’s for sure. The Bay county recount was finished on Tuesday, and according to Mark Andersen (below), “the numbers came back where they should have been.”

A few days earlier, the headlines in the Daytona Beach News Journal read, “Volusia elections chief says recount process going smoothly.” Yesterday must seem so far away for Volusia County Supervisor of Elections, Lisa Lewis who was on the verge of tears Tuesday, as Volusia county ended their recount with a 240-vote discrepancy.

Lisa Lewis stated to the media, “When we were comparing the totals from last night, when we finished that, to the first unofficial results, we noticed in the vote-by-mail and ballots and the early voting ballot counts that they were off. When the jam goes through and we think that it [the ballot] has counted, it truly hasn’t in some of those batches that were jammed.”

Once staff learned the totals were off, they brought in the three machines to process another recount of the Volusia county ballots. This 240-vote discrepancy in such a small-sample size (vote-by-mail & early voting ballot) is alarming, and it obviously shook the belief & confidence of the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections, who was a true believer.

In this video above, published August 21, 2018, Lisa Lewis describes the seriousness with which she takes her job. Lewis informs us that she has a background in banking, and performs her duties as election supervisor with the same professional care. Each vote is like money, she explains, which is sacred. But sacred for whom?

In her banking analogy, Lewis reveals more than she intends. Most people consider banks as institutions that hold their money for them, until it’s needed. A customer makes a deposit, and gets a receipt for it. This receipt of accounts gives the bank customer the power to withdraw their money at any time.

In Florida elections, voters have none of these rights, as they go to the polls and deposit their ballots, which are never to be seen or accessed again by that individual. Lewis declares the secrecy of “protecting the privacy of the voter,” to be a key component in maintaining secure & fair elections. Her analogy more resembles the methods banks use to steal money from their depositors when the market crashes.

Finally, listening to 55+ year-olds reassuring us (the public) of election cybersecurity, is laughable; as if thumbdrives & EVM’s can’t be infected with hidden malware.

Update: Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018 05:38 PM EST

It looks like Florida 2018 will come down to Palm Beach County (again), as it’s vote-counting machinery overheated while tabulating late last night, forcing Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher to recount 175,000 ballots. There are over 600,000 ballots to recount in Palm Beach County, Florida’s 3rd-most populous.

Bucher said today that she had noticed the machines were starting to fail “a couple days ago,” and didn’t all fail at the same time, but rather have intermittent problems. Ghosts in the machines, it seems. Service technicians have been flown in to help. “The machines started to overheat, then malfunctioned,” she said. “We’d let them cool off. Then eventually we just needed parts.”

Bucher already had assured the public she could NOT recount the U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner races, as well as a local state House race, by Thursday’s state-mandated 3 PM deadline. Palm Beach county voting machines can’t tabulate the recounts of all the undecided races at once, like machines in other Florida counties can.

The Palm Beach county deadline to finish the recount was extended to November 20, in a lawsuit the Democrats won a few days back, but it is about to be challenged by Republican attorneys in a higher court. If the votes aren’t completely recounted by 3 PM tomorrow, the original unofficial totals become official, according to Florida law. That would surely tip both the senate & governor’s races to the Republicans.

Did I mention earlier that there would be “statistically fascinating” results in Palm Beach county, due to the voting machines? Bang, right on cue. Looking at the distribution of ES&S vs. Dominion EVM’s in Florida, the pattern of distribution is clearly along partisan lines, with Palm Beach county as the key exception. Evidentially, this county is using antiquated Diebold machines. As reported earlier, Diebold was bought out by Dominion in 2010.

Recall the 2000 election, when butterfly ballots were used to confuse & suppress Democratic voters in Palm Beach county, which allowed Bush/Cheney to steal Florida by 537 votes. That decided the White House for 8 years. The same process is now occurring in Palm Beach county, electronically. The Republicans have supplied the Supervisor of Elections with malfunctioning equipment, which can’t possible do its job correctly in time.

In the end, the responsibility for this comes down to Florida governor Rick Scott, who was in Washington, DC today, for a photo-op with the freshman GOP senatorial class, of which he isn’t yet part of, but it sends a message, right?

Rick Scott has pointed fingers all around the state in the past week, but as governor in this time, he has done nothing to help these local officials do their jobs. The media scrutiny of many of these Supervisors of Elections is unfair, as most are just trying to get their results turned in, as quickly & correctly as possible. When asked today by a Washington reporter if he still believed voter fraud was going on with the Florida recount, Rick Scott remained silent.

Evening Thoughts: Wednesday 14 Nov 2018 09:48 PM EST

Rick Scott is in Washington, and the earlier photo-op was just a sideshow. He’s surely meeting with the Trump team, including Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, & their ilk– as this is about 2020. If this Florida recount goes through, the results are going to match the polling, meaning Democrats Bill Nelson & Andrew Gillum will win. The Democrats seem confident in this, and the Republicans are acting very nervous. Bill Nelson is a hardline CIA Democrat, who won’t give up his seat easily. He has played this recount well (politically speaking), in comparision to Scott, DeSantis & Gillum.

A Leon county judge ruled in favor of the 5-day extension for Palm Beach county to finish its recount. Governor Rick Scott is a lawyer, looking for a federal judge who can intercede of his behalf to stop the extended recount. It’s ironic that as governor Rick Scott has every ability to enforce Florida law, he just hates doing it on himself.

In 2000, it was the US Supreme Court that intervened, by overruling the Florida Supreme Court, stopping the counting of ballots. Those who follow politics may remember that there is now a hard-right 5-4 majority on the US Supreme Court, with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Anything is possible, and evil minds in DC surely are planning a nefarious conspiracy against the people of Florida and their right to have their votes counted.

The overwhelming mood among Floridians, who have been through this before, is disgust. Floridians are sick & tired of being used as pawns on some grand Machiavellian chessboard, every election. For those who don’t live in Florida, you would do well to pay attention, as this affects you too. The only reason this kind of manipulation doesn’t happen in your state, is because it doesn’t matter like Florida in terms of electoral votes in a battleground state. If you live in Ohio or Pennsylvania, then you may have an idea of what this is like, but you are still a distant second & third– in terms of experience in electoral manipulation.

Florida is a complex, ever-changing region & demographic. The environment of this beautiful state is being destroyed at an accelerated rate due to unchecked global warming & corporate pollution. The business environment in central Florida was destroyed by the Economic Crash of 2008, as millions lost their homes, businesses & families. What’s left is infrastructural decay & economic blight, with powerful hurricanes and other natural disasters impacting the state every year, and no solutions in sight.

To illustrate the accelerated rate of decay in central Florida, let’s examine two maps of MLB Spring Training locations over the decades. The first is from the 1980’s, as the Boston Red Sox were still in Winter Haven. This map has an excellent view of I-4, which runs from I-75 in Tampa to I-95 in Daytona, (so it really isn’t an interstate). I-4 runs through Orlando, which means Disney & tourism. I-4 is a congested nightmare, and is hated by commuters in central Florida, who blame regional & state planners for their lack of vision & problem-solving initiative.

The “I-4 corridor” is analyzed to death by political pundits as being the key to elections in Florida. They are correct in that, as this gauntlet of urbanization across central Florida contains every racial demographic, but is largely working class & poor. The average yearly income for a Floridian is $31,740. A bachelors degree in the Sunshine State earns $43,969 on average, and a graduate degree $59,058. If that seems low, that’s because it is. Both parties are trying to connect with, and win votes from, a demographic that it neither recognizes, nor understands.

The next Grapefruit League map is dated between 2004-07. The Nationals (not Expos) are in Viera, and the Devil Rays changed their mascot name to the Rays in 2008. By this map, the Reds had already left for Sarasota, replacing the White Sox who migrated to Arizona. The Reds abandoned field in Plant City is now sometimes used as a softball complex. Since the Crash of 2008, the Royals have gone to Arizona, and the Indians too. The Astros have moved southeast to share a facility with the Nationals, who also drifted south.

In our MLB Grapefruit images above, the franchises located in the I-4 corridor were: the Reds in Plant City, the Tigers in Lakeland, the Red Sox/Indians in Winter Haven, the Royals in Baseball (Haines) City, the Braves in Buena Vista (Disney), the Astros in Kissimmee, and the Twins in Orlando. After 2019 Spring Training next March, another franchise will be abandoning central Florida, as the Braves are leaving their beautiful facility at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, to join the rest on the coast.

There’s more money to be made elsewhere, and that’s where the MLB franchises have gone, as every spring training team in the I-4 corridor (save the Tigers) has either: 1) moved to the east or west coast of Florida, or 2) relocated to Arizona. That roughly mimics the condition of those who live here, who have been left behind to fend for themselves, as no one in leadership is investing in jobs programs, infrastructure improvements, or environmental clean-up. Therefore, things continue to get worse.

Update: Thursday 15 Nov 2018 11:27 AM EST

More lawsuits & court rulings over disputed ballots & signature mismatches in the news, but nothing worth reporting here, as it’s a waiting game until 3 PM this afternoon. That’s when 66 of Florida’s 67 counties must deliver their recount, otherwise that county’s original numbers stand as official. Hats off to all those election workers who do their jobs honesty & well.

Every county’s recount will be a story in itself, whether it’s a significant shift in totals, or no change at all. Obviously it’s the largest counties that people will focus on the most, as that’s where the largest shifts in raw numbers can & will occur. The questions in each contested race are: How much, and for whom?

Here are Florida’s five largest counties by population:

Rank                 Population
1 Miami-Dade   2,751,796
2 Broward         1,935,878
3 Palm Beach   1,471,150
4 Hillsborough   1,408,566
5 Orange           1,348,975

The top-3 make up South Florida, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale corridor. BTW, shitty traffic there too. Hillsborough is Tampa, and Orange county is Orlando. Half of the rest of the top-15 most-populous Florida counties, are those that surround the top-5, including: Pinellas, Duval, Seminole, Brevard & Volusia county. Expect most-to-all of those counties to post significant recount gains for Democrat candidates. These counties are where the recount will be decided in the three statewide races.

There are 13 Florida counties with a population under 20,000, and another 18 with under 100,000, which sums 31, nearly half of Florida’s county total of 67. Note that this is population, not registered voters, but the point is the recounts here won’t matter significantly, because there are so few voters in these regions. At least three-quarters vote Republican, but they are very spread out, and much fewer in numbers. Their weight always gets over-emphasized on insipid red-blue electoral maps of Florida.

* Remember, Palm Beach county has until November 20 to finish its recount. If the vote totals still favor Scott & DeSantis after today’s recounts are re-tabulated statewide, then the Palm Beach election headquarters becomes the epicenter of US politics. Fascists always try to lie their way past a problem first. When that fails, they escalate to threats & intimidation. After that, they either: 1) give up & go back to lying, or 2) resort to provocative violence & goon squads. I don’t expect Trump or Scott to exercise restraint or civility, if it comes to that. The people of Florida need to be watchful & prepared!

When it comes to reporting this Florida election and recount, no one has been more on-the-ground than me. On August 24, 2018 I published “Florida’s 2018 Primaries,” which was the first analysis of the importance of the Florida governor’s race on Donald Trump’s chances in 2020, among many other factors.

Other analysis & front-line reporting has followed as events have progressed, including “Florida Gubernatorial Race & Trump 2020” and “Election Signals,” in which this entire mess was predicted, and it’s mechanism & primary participants revealed.

If you have been reading me up through this serial, then you are more up-to-date on what’s actually going on here, than anyone. Do you really believe the New York Times, Washington Post, or USA Today actually know anything about Florida? RealClearPolitics has been trying to demote the Florida recount on it’s hot-spot newsfeed, but it’s back up to #2– with a bullet. They’ve been reading me, just to catch up.

I’ve been reading the Miami Herald, Tampa Times, Daytona Beach News Journal & Palm Beach Post to get the facts, then I publish my thoughts. What I’ve noticed, is that it gets noticed. The local news is much more honest in it’s reporting, when they see & feel the presence of watchdogs, who are ready to call out the fakers. I recommend trying it.

Palm Beach County’s Election is Stolen by the Republican Machinery in Florida
Thu 15 Nov 2018 09:36 PM EST

Palm Beach Election Supervisor Susan Bucher, told the media this afternoon, “As a supervisor I take full responsibility. That’s my job. It was not for lack of human effort … it was so incredible, and I thank everybody who participated… it was the machines that failed. We gave a heroic effort and given probably three or four more hours we might have made it,”  she told a press conference.

Over 600,000 ballots remain uncounted, and it’s questionable whether they ever will be. In Palm Beach county, it’s now down to about 6,000 provisional ballots (1% of the total) for a hand recount, and military balloting. All votes must be in by Sunday, noon. Rules are rules, you understand?

The Palm Beach county recount has been halted (deja vu), before any of the races could be decided– and there were a total of four, including the three statewide contests. Police officers are seated in folding chairs, behind fold-up tables at Palm Beach election headquarters, where all the machines & bins of ballots are located. Four undecided races in the 3rd-most populous Florida county, over 600,000 ballots whose count is questionable (to say the least), and nothing is going on. It’s surreal.

The original (rigged) totals will be the official Palm Beach count, and there you have it. Faulty machinery, rigged vote tabulators and strictly enforced artificial deadlines are what wins “elections” in Florida. It’s the Republican way, and the Democrats don’t seem to mind. The local media has stopped digging, and has returned to mouthing the official narrative to the public. I smell a rat, meaning a bipartisan backroom deal.

Question: who owns the votes?  What happened to the 5-day extension for Palm Beach county, granted by the Leon county judge, you ask?  The Tampa Times reported this afternoon that a federal judge denied a request from Nelson’s campaign to have the Palm Beach county recount deadline extended.

There’s been virtually no media on this critical decision in the Florida recount process, as a federal judge has interceded on behalf of the Republicans, to halt the counting of Palm Beach county ballots. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee, cited a bunch of nonsense in his statement to the press. He’s a sample, there’s more in the link above:

“There is a complete dearth of evidence before this Court concerning the status, progress, or expected completion of the ordered recounts in Palm Beach County,” he wrote. “In considering whether to grant the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction, the Court is required to balance the equities. … This balancing is effectively impossible without an understanding of the state and limitations of the current ongoing process…”

Judge Mark Walker’s argument of “dearth of “evidence,” is false. Myself and plenty of others have provided plenty of evidence & context. In other words, cluelessness on judge Walker’s part, gives him the authority to overrule the judge who carefully listened to both sides & all the evidence, when he ruled for the 5-day extension. It’s public record, what’s been going on with the faulty machines in Palm Beach county.

The Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections stated (above), that she only needed a few more hours to complete the recount, and yet federal judge Mark Walker today ruled he saw no evidence the recount could be completed! Walker is clearly the fixed federal judge I mentioned the Republicans were searching for yesterday. It makes you wonder, how Bill Nelson and his lawyers could lose this one?

Palm Beach has set aside $11 million to buy new equipment, but Bucher said the county hasn’t yet purchased the machines because the state still needs to resolve a question about voting system compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current Palm Beach county budget is a little over $13 million, to be ADA compliant by 2020. The $11 million upgrades Palm Beach county was offered by Rick Scott’s governor’s office for 2018, were not ADA compliant.

Bill Nelson has vowed to fight for an extension in the hand recount. Notice how he’s willing to fight for the <1%, while abandoning the 99+% of the Palm Beach county voters, who were disenfranchised by a technicality. Whatever deal Nelson & the Trump team worked out in secret, and executed with federal judge Mark Walker, is now being manipulated in the Florida recount numbers, which the public has been kept from seeing. That is the only rational reason for both parties & the media being mum on the recount returns.

Online, “Florida Recounts” is back to the top of the RealClearPolitics newsfeed, as of this update. Gosh, I’ve been right with so many predictions, I’ve lost count. That happens in Florida.

Update: Friday 16 Nov 2018 07:20 AM EST

These midterm campaigns went down as the most expensive elections in U.S. history, with over $5.25 billion spent on advertising, up 78% from the last midterm elections in 2014, according to a Kantar Media analysis released on Thursday. Spending was 20% higher than the 2016 presidential election, which is unprecedented.

And what did it yield? As we can see from Florida, it’s been all about manipulation & power politics. There is very little to add to the discussion at this juncture. It’s been over 17 hours since the recount totals were delivered, and the people of Florida still know next-to-nothing as to their results, or what’s going on. On election night, when the polls close, returns are immediately reported by the media as they come in. As for this recount, it’s a veil of secrecy. It contents are held & shaped by the masters-of-puppets, and then deliberately dripped into the media for effect.

The only rational explanation for this behavior, is more behind-the-scenes vote rigging, this time with both parties involved. If I’m correct in my analysis, then Bill Nelson could possibly defeat Rick Scott for Senate, but Andrew Gillum will certainly come up short in the “recount” for governor. Cowardly Democrat Andrew Gillum has already polished his latest concession speech.

The Trump team is going to get what they want, as Republicans always do when it counts, in the corrupt two-party straitjacket. In the end, this is another victory for fascism, and another hard lesson for those who believe in democracy & the Democrats. When will people learn?

On election night November 6th, when the rigged returns began pouring in for Florida, it sent a signal across the nation. Whatever expectations for a “blue wave” were quickly dashed. That was the point, from a ruling class perspective. As stated before, Democrats would rather lose critical races (such as Florida’s governorship), than energize it’s left-leaning constituency to secure victory. It’s called “bipartisan compromise,” which it has nothing to do with defending the rights of Americans to vote, and have it count.

Friday 16 Nov 2018 11:16 AM EST

This Florida election & recount is a tough story to break, because there’s so much secrecy at the highest levels. To summarize, this is all about Trump 2020, and notice the Democrats are caving in, with possibly a secret deal to keep Bill Nelson in the Senate, at the expense of Andrew Gillum. The votes of Floridians are likely being “fixed” to reflect that political compromise, as this has been published.

I’ve made more than a few (mostly minor) mistakes, shooting around in the dark, but I’ve also scored numerous direct & indirect hits. This is why I’m being crushed by Google, Fakebook, and all the rest during this recount process. Or is it a coincidence, that new censorship tactics began a few days after the election, as the Florida recount became a serious story? That’s part of the deal being a Trotskyist dialectician, with all the blacklisting & misinformation online.

The Florida felon voter amendment that passed on Election Night, has been hailed as a progressive victory. That would be true, if Andrew Gillum became governor, which he didn’t, as Ron DeSantis has been declared the winner by machine recount.  Amendments are implemented by the governor, and since new governor Ron DeSantis will have no interest in allowing released felons to vote, this amendment will get bottled up in legislation somewhere, and die when no one is looking.

Conversely, the Florida amendment that now prohibits new casinos without voter approval, will be implemented no matter who is governor, since Disney funded the “Yes” campaign. Disney views casinos as an existential threat to their family-oriented theme parks, so there was major political ad spending, with murky casino moguls funding the “No” campaign.

And since the state of Florida has consistently proven that it doesn’t count all the votes on election day anyways, what does it matter?  It has just been reported in the Miami Herald, that Broward County finished it’s recount, but didn’t submit it’s total in time, so it doesn’t count. Hillsborough county (Tampa) didn’t make the deadline either, as the supervisor didn’t know why staffers came up with an 846-vote deficit. This is a lesson in how elections & laws are bought & enforced in Florida.

Noon Update: 16 Nov 2018 12:01 PM EST

The governor’s race recount numbers are finally up at on the Florida Division of Elections website:

DeSantis / Nuñez REP   4,075,445     49.59%
Gillum / King DEM          4,041,762     49.18%

And for US senate:

Rick Scott REP         4,097,689       50.07%
Bill Nelson DEM        4,085,086       49.92%

For the record, it took far too long (with no explanation), for these results to be made public. For many Floridians, they have no validity. Broward missed the recount deadline by two minutes, allegedly due to the Supervisor of Elections’ unfamiliarity with the upload website. As we can see, US election politics kills democracy.

The machine “recount” for US Senate yielded a few more votes for Rick Scott, who will hang on and steal it. Whatever capitulations Bill Nelson and the Democrats made, it appears it wasn’t enough to secure his Senate seat.

Wouldn’t you love to be the recipient of such generosity, as the Republicans get every election from the Democrats? Nelson has been a top Dixie Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, so I’m sure he’ll find a soft landing in the public sector. They can always use a man like him. As for you & me, not so much.

Afternoon update: Friday 16 Nov 2018 02:20 PM EST

Everyone has their statements ready, and here we go. Rick Scott to the press, “Florida voters elected me as their next U.S. Senator and now the ballots have been counted twice. We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes – which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.”

Provisional & military ballots have yet to be totaled, and again Rick Scott demands a concession before all the votes are counted. It’s also highly-questionable whether Broward, Palm Beach & Hillsborough county were counted correctly. Those three urban counties who lean heavily Democrat weren’t recounted, despite all the heroic efforts of election workers. According to high officials, those three densely-populated counties had to submit their original election night numbers as official on Thursday at 3:00 PM, for various red-tape reasons.

Whatever the number of provisional & military ballots, it’s not going to be enough to shift the ~12,600 vote lead that Rick Scott has maintained (actually widened) over Bill Nelson. The machine recount was Nelson’s only realistic hope, but the Republicans sabotaged it & covered their tracks. When the Democratic counties didn’t finish in time, that cut the number of outstanding ballots to <200,000, with a likely near-50/50 split in voting.

I’m recalling these following numbers from local news broadcast, a few days back. Last election there were ~116,000 military ballots requested for soldiers with a Florida residence. About 80,000 were mailed back. About 2,500 were rejected, mostly because they were postmarked too late. Approximately those same numbers were expected this time. There’s the ~5,000 signature match ballots that are being disputed. That’s not a large enough sample size to overcome Scott’s lead, and there can be no presumption that Florida voters vastly prefer such an unpopular senator as Bill Nelson.

Floridians who have been here before will tell you that “overvote” & “undervote” totals don’t go very far in either direction, as it’s highly subjective & contentious, and therefore tends to be conservative. There are ~93,000 votes that are being hand reviewed county courthouses statewide, and the deadline is noon Sunday. Everyone wants this over by now, and the skids have been greased. Election officials will work very hard at making the most accurate determination in this tiny sample of Florida’s stolen election. And then Rick Scott will be declared the winner.

Andrew Gillum backers & racialists would do well to notice who has been filing all the lawsuits for the Democrats during this recount period. It’s been Bill Nelson’s team. That allowed the Democrats to take control in Washington, instead of losing control in Florida. Andrew Gillum has mostly kept silent on voter manipulation, and obeyed on command when asked to by higher interests. For all his sacrifices to the party, Gillum still gets to be mayor of Tallahassee. It’s not the governor’s mansion, but it’s close enough for him.

Evening Update: Friday 16 Nov 2018  07:17 PM EST

The 93,000 Florida provisional ballots are almost all in the most-populated counties, which lean heavily Democrat. We’ve seen how the machine recount went in these counties. Expect more of that with the hand recount. If there was a way each ballot could be individually identified, then voters could be contacted, and the “overvote-undervote” issue could easily be resolved.

There’s surely enough uncounted votes to swing the Senate race, and probably enough to flip the governor race too. But it’s hard to prove “voter intent” on an anonymous ballot, and the Republicans have lawyers who are experts at raising doubt & running out the clock. Noon Sunday (not one second later), and all the votes are totaled & official.

Election results are certified on Tuesday, November 20, and the 2018 election will go into the books. The wrap-up: Republicans stole this, because they HAD to have it. The Democrats complied, because 1) they are cowards, and 2) they are traitors to the working class. The media did it’s job, so everyone can move on. Most Floridians look at this whole process with deep mistrust, and hardly care.

It time for me to call the Senate race for Rick Scott, and end this serial. I’ve tried to provide a Floridian’s perspective on who, how, where, when & why this election was stolen. I have no elite access, so I can only take it so far with online research & theory. The real ballot totals, and what’s up with the EVM’s are beyond my reach. This is where insiders need to look to discover elusive answers as to why Florida can’t count its votes. The travel logs of the principle players (and their associates) may also provide some clues as to who knew what, and when.

Here’s irony. Just the other day, another communications satellite was launched into space by NASA at Cape Canaveral. We have some of the most brilliant minds in the world, working here in the Sunshine State, yet counting votes accurately & openly remains elusive to our election process. Actually it’s not ironic at all. It’s all part of the capitalist political process, which is nothing but corruption. Politics & elections in Florida are a joke, because Washington & Wall Street are a joke. So are Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue, and all the networks. The Pentagon, CIA, FBI and all the rest are beyond a sick joke.

Living in Florida reflects & magnifies all this, and it is ironic. It’s like rain on a hurricane landfall day. It’s like going crazy, when you’re already nuts. It’s like having to summon the will to care, but don’t. It’s like getting back into Windows with AOL. It’s like losing at Lotto. It’s like a homeless Trump supporter, who Nazi salutes because he fights “commies.” It’s like when the music is over, but no one turns out the lights. It’s like that obnoxiously opinionated cabbie, who never shuts up & irritates everyone to no end, but makes us all sane again through reason & laughter.

Wrap-up Thoughts: Sat 17 Nov 2018 11:28 AM EST

I stopped by the Sanford Courthouse this morning after 9:00 AM, to satisfy my curiosity. The front door was locked, with a sign saying “Security guard on patrol.” I looked into the glass, spotted the security guard at his desk, and waved to him. He’s an old man, so I took a seat on nearby a bench. After 30 seconds or so, he cracks the door open, and I walk up and ask, “Are election officials still going over any ballots?”

He’s confused, and tries to direct me to the public library, which is where early voting took place, but no ballot counting. I explain to him, this courthouse is the Seminole county seat, where ballots can be contested and local elections are certified, so I ask him again, “Is there anything going on inside?” He says the building is empty, and looking around at the parking lots, anyone can see he’s telling the truth. I then asked him if there was ballot-counting activity in the building yesterday, which was Friday. He said, “No.”

The lots were packed full on Thursday afternoon, when I walked by. There were three-piece suits on cell phones all over the place, buttoning-up & screwing on their game faces. I called it out as a “shitshow” to several of them as I passed by. There was no use in trying to get into the Courthouse then, or ask too many questions, as the next door police station parking lots were full too.

So the Democrats rolled over, in the clover. Today, central Floridians care more about UCF (22-game unbeaten streak on the line, baby!) on ESPN Gameday this morning, than rigged elections for phony representatives. After the rolling weekend party ends with Monday Night Football, high officials will convene in Tallahassee on Tuesday at noon, to certify this election as legitimate.

Sanford, the place I live, has a long history as one of Florida’s oldest towns. After the Seminole, Creek & Cherokee Indians were wiped out, and moved onto a reservation in Oklahoma, in what is known in history as “The Trail of Tears,” Sanford was eventually founded on the southern shore of Lake Monroe, at the head of navigation on the St. Johns River. Sanford was incorporated in 1877, one year after the Reconstruction was ended, in another political compromise that has had lasting ramifications, as Jim Crow segregation was established in the South.

The St. John’s River is called “The Nile of the West,” because it flows north, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. The powerful underground aquifers and artesian springs provide plenty of water for citrus & produce, which were the primary industries of early Sanford. By 1886, Sanford was the hub of Florida’s only railroad line, which connected Jacksonville to Sanford/Orlando, all the way to Tampa & Miami.

Notice how this 19th-century transportation route, mimics today’s population & voting corridors in Florida. After World War II when muck farming came into advent, and growers moved to south Florida, Sanford declining economically, while sprawling, like much of Florida.

In Sanford’s early history, steamboats were used to bring goods up & down the St, John’s River. Poor African Americans, Jamaicans, Swedish immigrants and other ethnicities were brought in to outfit & captain the transport boats which moved goods to port. These workers were called “boat keys,” because the ran the boats which were the key to the supply chain. Boat keys is awkward to say, so it was slanged to bo’key or bokey, and it eventually applied to anyone who was working hard in Sanford. That local pride which runs up to today, also means living & playing hard in Sanford. That means this bokey is signing off on this story.

Over & Out

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Election Signals

This piece finishes with a loud & clear US midterm election wrap-up on Wednesday November 7, 2018.

Local beat: Donald Trump isn’t as popular in Florida as most would lead you to believe.

This is the result of a shooting at Volusia Republican Party headquarters in Daytona, FL in the wee hours of Monday October 29.

Four bullets were fired into the empty building. Police are looking for this vehicle, but I don’t think they’re going to find it.

International news: The murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2, 2018 was a black operation whose aim was to silence a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), ruler of Saudi Arabia.

All evidence points to the torture & murder of the journalist (also an intelligence asset) by a 15-member hit-team of Saudi agents who arrived on diplomatic passports and entered the consulate shortly before Khashoggi’s disappearance. Khashoggi was tortured, murdered, and then dismembered, apparently with a bone saw. After which, his remains were removed in pieces, with a doppelgänger (below) used as cover.

The Turkish government has all the audio & video, since it happened in an embassy on their soil. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has an axe to grind with the US, since a failed CIA-backed coup attempt in 2016. Turkish officials & media have slowly leaked this story into the media. By doing it piecemeal, the US government & House of Saud have been exposed at every step as shameless liars, apologizing repeatedly for this premeditated butchery of a political opponent. Jamal Khashoggi was employed by the Washington Post, which is another reason this story runs so deep.

US President Donald Trump first denied knowledge, then tried to deflect for the House of Saud, suggesting “rogue killers” murdered Khashoggi. But that gained little traction anywhere, and the fallout was increasing. Something needed to be done to remove this ugly incident from the headlines, as it was making both major parties in the US look bad. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was being referred to as “Mohammed Bone Saw” on the internet & social media. That’s a problem for the pseudo-left and the hard-liners of US imperialism.

National News: Luckily for both major political parties, the “pipe bomber attacks” came at the perfect time, and Jamal Khashoggi’s savage murder quickly became back-page news. It took an entire business week/media cycle (Monday October 22 to Friday October 26) for the pipe bomber drama to play out before our eyes. Cesar Sayoc (above), a homeless man living in a van plastered with right-wing stickers, was finally taken into custody in south Florida on Friday, presumably so we all could have a nice weekend.

The media reassured us that our leaders & country are safe, while the barbaric House of Saud is still a firm ally & valued business partner. It’s like they had this pipe-bomber patsy in their pocket the whole time, and waited until the moment they needed him most to bust him. The Democrats appear to be under terrorist attack, two weeks before the midterms. Who benefits?

The next day Saturday October 27, another hateful right-wing gun nut went into a synagogue in a Pittsburgh suburb, and screamed “All these Jews need to die,” before he started blasting. When it was over, eleven were dead, as the shooter surrender to police.

This atrocity was all-too real, and is to be condemned by anyone who thinks & feels. It is bipartisan capitalist rhetoric & nationalism that fuels this. People need to start organizing labor & neighborhood committees to protect themselves and their interests. The police & bourgeois politicians will only respond with more lies & violence directed at the working masses & discontented youth.

National-International News: Meanwhile, there’s a migrant caravan (above) that began in Central America, and is winding its way through Mexico, heading for the US border in Texas. Trump has made political hay of this by deploying 15,000 troops to “defend” the border. Refugees are fleeing violence sponsored by US puppet dictatorships & the drug cartels, which serve imperialism. Razor wire (below) is being placed at the US/Mexico border. Every bureaucrat is doing everything they can to inflame their “base.”

Political Op/Ed: My vote & political perspective in Florida is to abstain on November 6, 2018. Two rotten choices is no choice at all.

* The amendments (all 12 above) are meaningless, as whoever controls the machinery express their will over any that pass.

My political endorsement goes to Niles Niemuth & the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). Niles Niemuth is running for US Congress in Michigan’s 12th district, and represents the only socialist on the ballot in 2018. All information on his campaign and the SEP can be found at the World Socialist Web Site– wsws.org.

Niles Niemuth has also been endorsed by Christine Assange, the mother of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Marijuana legalization is now a political issue, so here are my thoughts. Marijuana is a weed, so anyone can grow it. Capitalists are trying to monopolize the burgeoning market where it’s legal, and soon-to-be legal. But this will never happen, because marijuana is a weed and anyone can grow it.

Marijuana is a highly useful medicinal, and needs to be legal everywhere. The pharmaceuticals, tobacco, distilleries & breweries all oppose legal weed, along with the moralists and those in power. Marijuana legalization will only occur though revolutionary socialism.

A courageous San Francisco 49ers cheerleader (above) took a knee during the National Anthem, this past Thursday vs. the Oakland Raiders. Cheerleaders are usually considered as Barbie-doll types, so when they start doing stuff like this, it’s a major red flag for widespread political dissent.

Midterm Aftermath:  Wed 07 Nov 2018 09:33:50 AM EST

The Florida governor’s & senate races were stolen by the Republicans, again. Democrats Andrew Gillium for governor and incumbent Bill Nelson for Senate were leading their races by 4-5 percentage points in the latest pre-election polls (screenshots below), well outside the margin of error. Yet on November 6, they both lost by less than a percentage point, despite heavy voter turnout, where Florida voters said health care & immigration were the most important issues.

Almost 40% of registered voters in Florida voted early, which also leans strongly Democrat. But to no avail, as the Republicans control the voting machines. The mood, especially around the Ron DeSantis campaign was gloomy all day Tuesday, until just after the polls closed, when his fortunes then began to turn. Polling numbers which showed a significant lead for Gillum were soon reversed as DeSantis pressed on to victory. Florida Democrats have now lost three consecutive elections for governor by one percentage point, or so. So close, yet so far…

Watching the Florida numbers come in on Tuesday evening, was to witness complete manipulation. How else does one explain MSNBC (pro-Democrat) publishing a graphic (below) of an Andrew Gillum victory– on Monday night?!  Polling and any other sophisticated political science isn’t a reliable indicator for elections in Florida (and elsewhere), because the manipulation of votes is so endemic, that nothing else matters.

Final Note on Florida: Amendments were the most progressive items of the 2018 Florida ballot, and 11 out of 12 passed by the necessary 60%, including: banning off-shore oil drilling, no new casinos without voter approval, and non-violent felon voter restoration. Unfortunately it means nothing, as progressive amendments have been approved in the past, including funding for a statewide light rail system and medical marijuana. None were implemented.

As the “% in” crept up* in the key races to 90+% on our TV screens, reporters staged all over the state of Florida began the narrative that the late vote in the “Panhandle region” would be strong. These are mostly rural Red districts, but they have also been in the news lately. Hurricane Michael struck the region on October 10, 2018. Trump visited, and consulted with Rick Scott, while keeping DeSantis at a distance (pic below). Trump & Rick Scott have the area under FEMA lockdown, so I therefore suspect these districts were highly manipulated in favor of Republican candidates in a way that is very hard to prove. Maybe some day historians will get a look at the black boxes which contain all the votes, and see what happened.

* With electronic voting. how is it that Amendment results kept coming in at a slower pace than the Senate & Governor’s races? For instance, with vote totals displayed as “98% in” on Gillum/DeSantis and Scott/Nelson, most Florida amendments were reporting “63% in,” or such. The %-in numbers for every Florida amendment varied all night. Why did the election computers add the totals of certain amendments quicker than others?  One network nerd analyst actually explained how the “% in” could go over 100%.

Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the gubernatorial race early, as he fell just short of a recount. Tough luck. Gillum has already been tabbed by liberal pundits as a “rising star” for 2020. Only the Democrats can turn a loser into a rising star. The Scott/Nelson Senate race is heading for a recount, which governor Rick Scott presides over. I expect more tough luck for the Dems there. This flaky vote counting has been going on out-in-the-open in Florida since Bush v Gore 2000.

None of these “elections” can be considered valid in any rational sense. Rick Scott & Ron DeSantis spent tens of millions of dollars, because they have it and they will do anything to win, which validates fixing the votes. That’s the political “logic.” New Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a billionaire schmuck, who was carried to office by Rick Scott & Trump’s political fixers. CIA Democrat for US Congress Nancy Soderberg in district 6, was running ads in my area, which is WAY out of her district. Her right-wing campaign was repudiated by voters, and smashed by the Republican machinery. The only Democrat “victory” in Florida was Donna Shalala in winning a Florida Congressional seat in the Miami area.

Nationally, the Democrats took the House of Representatives as expected, but the Republicans seemingly won every key toss-up race for the Senate & state governor, including Missouri, North Dakota, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee & Texas. Massive manipulation of voting on both sides, everywhere– especially online.

Disaster results for the Democrats, with what happened in Florida alone. Their #MeToo approach to the Kavanaugh Hearings was a calculated turn to the right, suppressing progressive momentum & energy for their party. Controlling the masses is more important than winning key races for the Democratic leadership. That’s the only rational explanation as to why they blunted their own victory. That’s the key political lesson.

See also:

Florida Gubernatorial Race & Trump 2020

Florida’s 2018 Primaries

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Sports Talk with Jimmy McBride

Do you like sports? A lot people like sports, and they like to talk about them even more. Big people, little people; boys & girls. This is a large demographic, if you know know what I mean? Sports means money. That’s why it’s on talk radio, so it’s only natural in the age of the internet that it extends to social media. The biggest phenomenon in social media is Facebook, which many online forums link through, including (until recently) ESPN.com.

MLB.com had it’s own forum, meaning you had to sign up with them to be a member, as boards were controlled by individual teams & MLB moderators. The few years I spent in these sports forums were very educational in terms of understanding the impact of correct thinking & revolutionary action on social media. The conclusion is that a rational intellect with emotional restraint will dominate any online forum, to the point where it’s owners have to censor leading individuals to remain in control of the message. If dissent gets beyond a few individuals, then it may become necessary to shut down the comments entirely in this age of internet media propaganda.

So what exactly happened here? To answer this adequately, I must reference myself extensively in this timeline of sports censorship, as it was my commentary that led to (expedited) MLB.com & ESPN.com eliminating comments on their articles. The blackout happened on Friday July 6, 2018 at ESPN. It occurred over the course of the 2018 season for MLB.com, depending on the team and individual posting history. I’ve brought in Boston/MTV cabbie Jimmy McBride for comic relief.

What happened in 2018 to the MLB forums was that individuals were blacklisted, while all others were censored to varying degrees. Tactics included an inability to post (blacklisting), and ghosting of posts (selective censoring). Ghosting means your post disappears into cyberspace, never again to be seen by you or your friends.

It’s a cardinal rule that you must compose on a word processor document, then copy & paste to post online, as you can be locked out in the middle of long posts if you try to compose from scratch on their site. By the MLB 2018 post-season, the comments sections had completely disappeared everywhere, for every team. No fans on MLB.com are allowed to share their feelings on what they witness anymore. No explanation from MLB.

MLB.com had been an online stomping ground for RicSize since late 2015, when I decided to become an active Padres fan. That was my handle on Baseball Prospectus (which kicked ass) a decade-or-so before, so I knew I could deal with the best baseball fans at MLB.com. As a new Padres fan, acquiring RF Matt Kemp, LF Justin Upton & RHP James Shields had proven a disaster, and I was going to speak the truth as I saw it. The team needed it.

I did so, and it woke up a lot of people in that sleepy forum. Since then, the MLB.com/Padres forum was a much more critical & galvanized fanbase. Some regulars agreed with what I posted, other didn’t– but everyone learned. Comments became much more thought out & well expressed, and the forum came to life. We weren’t chumps anymore, and it was like that until the end. The Padres forum died weeks before the season ended. By that point, many members weren’t able to post anymore, or were having repeated issues.

I went through a few MLB Trade deadlines, where I discovered the actual value of influencing opinion online. It can be done for any purpose, but the best reason is to share the truth. When you can prove to a team’s fans in their forum, that the player(s) they are hoping their GM will trade are junk, it quickly kills any momentum as deep & sobering realization ensues. I delighted in dispensing my homespun baseball wisdom on deluded fans, and did it actively during the 2016 & 2017 seasons, particularly at the trade deadlines. A lot of murky stuff went down then, concerning the Padres & MLB if you recall.

It was always a great story, so I wrote them up.  It was easy because the content flowed from human interactions online. This got me to the point where I was known & feared in media circles, while being blacklisted from official discourse & publication. Fan commenting was my path around that, as I discovered I could become more influential than the author of (yet another) shoddy article, simply by making astute comments to the forum.

Deadspin reported ESPN’s comments shutdown here, with no explanation on July 6, 2018. Background on this starts with tennis star Serena Williams retiring before her French Open 4th-Round match with arch-opponent Maria Sharapova in early June, claiming a torn pectoral muscle. In less than a month, Serena Williams came back to compete in Wimbledon, without any noticeable injury. In the interim, Williams refused a drug test when a WADA agent showed up at her residence on the morning of June 14, 2018. Serena revealed this news at a pre-Wimbledon presser to stunned silence, and then declared the matter closed. ESPN dropped it.

I kept reporting these transgressions & inconsistencies, and kept commenting on the fake puff piece articles that were being churned out night & day by the ESPN machine. Serena Williams must of had at least 50 articles published about her during the French Open, through Wimbledon in the mainstream US sports media. Her comeback, her motherhood, all in glowing & favorable terms. ESPN buried the fake pectoral injury, with the missed drug test. ESPN never mentions TUE’s with the Williams sisters.

Previously I had only taken on NASCAR at ESPN.com. It was when Danica Patrick was still running, as she was a hot story. I rode it until the end, and it was worth it– for sure. I’m best known as a sportswriter for “Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR?”

The ESPN head writer for NASCAR is Bob Pockrass, who actually knows what he’s talking about & cares. He just isn’t allowed to say all of it, and that’s where I filled in as needed, as I didn’t like to see my favorite driver getting wrecked week after week– intentionally or otherwise.

But when the fixing of Wimbledon’s draw finally became apparent to everyone following the WTA, my comments drifted from the racetrack and became the rage of the ESPN tennis forum. A lot of tennis fans were instantly educated on the dirty underbelly of sports, meaning money & politics. On ESPN,com I posted through Facebook, using my primary account (and real) name Eric Meeker.

On this site on May 30, 2018, I published “Beauty, Athletics & Revolution” which became a serial that covered the women’s French Open. On July 8, I published “The World Cup & Sports Propaganda,”  which added an ending on July 14, so it covered women’s Wimbledon through the final. Much of the content of these articles came from the online comments I made on ESPN.com/tennis. This is when ESPN banned comments.

On August 16, 2018 I published “The Politics of Motherhood,” as the US Open approached, and it was apparent that Serena Williams was about to be handed another fixed draw. It is eerily prescient, as the result of the 2018 Women’s US Open is covered in “Despicable Manipulation & Thievery,” published September 10-11, discussing Serena Williams’ meltdown verses Naomi Osaka in the finals, as well as post-match accusations of sexism against an esteemed chair umpire.

Near the end at ESPN.com, in terms of readers being able to post, I was covering Serena Williams at Wimbledon, asking many, many questions concerning her conduct, and the women’s draw which appeared to have been rigged so she could easily reach the finals. She did so, before being crushed by Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2. Up to the day posting was removed on ESPN (July 6, 2018), I was seeing posts in the tennis forum such as, “I skipped directly to the comments!!”

Question: How you find out what’s the real score is? Answer: You read my comments on sports. ESPN didn’t like being shown up by someone whom they can’t even recognize, so they scrapped the comments section altogether. The cat was out of the bag already, and by the time Serena melted down in the US Open final (after another rigged draw), tennis fans didn’t need me to tell them what they were seeing anymore. This is why ESPN went dark on their comments. And people said that Ric Size vs. ESPN & Serena Williams was an unfair fight. To them I say, it was.

Rattling corporate media & management/ownership in front of the fans is anti-mainstream, even (especially?) when it’s true. If I post that RF Jay Bruce is worthless to both the Reds, and then the Mets (when it mattered), and then am proven right by events; well what does that do for the MLB & ESPN writing staff’s credibility? I’m affecting fake jobs with this level of dissent. Therefore I must be blacklisted, as these fake jobs protect real interests which must remain hidden. Sports is seen as a last line of ideological defense for capitalism in America. It anesthetizes the jock-heads.

You can do anything with a blog, even become an entire online newspaper– over time. As everyone knows, the sports section is crucial to any newspaper’s readership, which is why I discuss them so much. There is a lack of critical examination of sports, on-the-field & off-the-field. ESPN & Fox own most of the major US sports telecasts nowadays, and they don’t appreciate any dissent that makes them or their products look bad. That’s when the sponsors get nervous and start to make noise, which is where we are now.

Of all the articles I’ve published, “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” is the one I have the most mixed-feelings over. After any necessary editing, which is too often needed I confess, I leave everything on this site up as is. Sometimes I’m proven wrong, and I don’t mind, as I still feel there is something worthwhile in everything I’ve posted.

There are times I wish I had an editor to check my mistakes, but to self-edit means holding yourself up to professional standards in proofreading & fact-checking. The plus side is that it allows for creativity & self-expression that any other editor wouldn’t tolerate. “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” was an example of being wrong on one level (Ohtani signed with the Angels, not the Padres as I discuss for a few thousand words), but being right on a deeper level, as I revealed the MLB’s Black Hand in action– in real time.

That’s what it took to make me wrong on free agent Shohei Ohtani’s destination, and in the process I exposed ESPN’s Buster Olney acting as hatchet man for the Boston Red Sox. Olney angrily & repeatedly smeared the San Diego Padres front office as dirty players in this process through ESPN & MLB media while offering no proof, when it was in fact the Red Sox who tampered in this affair through these actions.

Tampering allegations against the Red Sox were only brought up by me, and it’s why I was banned from MLB.com. That, and exposing the collapse of the MLB free agent market last winter as it happened. By pitchers & catchers 2018, I knew I was permanently banned from MLB.com.

In “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” I speculated on RHP Shohei Ohtani going to the San Diego Padres, as their GM AJ Preller had a personal relationship with him and those in his circle. Plus, Preller speaks Japanese. The Padres were the real favorites, until the Black Hand of MLB stepped in.

It was what I reported on my site and in the MLB comments section that caused this immediate mass censorship of all the MLB team forums. All 30 teams had a forum of fans, and the relationships were real & long-standing. This was destroyed overnight, to cover-up an ugly incident of manipulation by MLB, where they insisted a top talent be placed into a major market, to the exclusion of the team Shohei Ohtani probably wanted to sign with, which was the San Diego Padres.

On Friday morning, December 8, 2017  I posted:

Here’s another little coincidence for you. When I went to check the MLB site(s) on Friday morning– December 8, their page format which they have used for the last 5+ years has been completely changed. This is for the main site and ALL the teams; COMPLETELY reformatted, with everything repositioned and jumbled around. People are obviously confused, as the number of comments is way down. Maybe this is due to the fact that many comments’ sections that don’t even load. I try to post something on the latest Stanton piece— forget-about-it! This gets me thinking…

I click on a few of my links above, and they all load, but only the article [!]– no comments that others & I posted are to be seen. It’s a good thing I saved & published everything I posted, otherwise MLB, it’s writers, and fans wouldn’t have access to what happened during the Ohtani affair. Hey, I’m always thinking.

Friday, December 8 6:11 PM [a few hours after it is announced that Shohei Ohtani signs with the Angels]

I had waited to see if this was a zig-zag by AJP [Padres GM AJ Preller], to short-circuit a potential MLB investigation, but it isn’t. He may still be investigated, even though he lost. I leave what I’ve published above untouched, as this article is a character study more than anything else, and I have no issue admitting I was wrong about where RHP Shohei Ohtani would land in the end. It appears the Black Hand has stepped in, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that at this time.

The official Padres narrative is now that they lost Ohtani because they didn’t have enough money, and he wanted to DH. That’s just the opposite of what everybody claimed & indicated for weeks & weeks, but now it’s suddenly peddled as the truth. In a nutshell, the Red Sox were never players here, so their strategy was to foil the apparent victors– the Padres (whom they HATE), forcing Preller to kick Ohtani to his buddy Billy Eppler, or else MLB (Red Sox) would have eventually stripped and sanctioned the Padres. When ESPN media ran out Buster Olney, that was the signal. AJP complied.

The Black Hand message: move along everybody– move along; nothing to see here. This blog has done major damage to MLB, ESPN, many others’ credibility– even the Padres. No apologies to any of them.

Every fan member of MLB.com had their avatar & screen name removed, and had to re-register to get back in to post. Some never came back, and others gave up trying. The owners meetings occurred in Orlando, FL the following Monday December 11-14. I had to work in dentistry, and couldn’t attend. but I could imagine what was being said about Ric Size. I’m sure it was vehement, hateful, and went on for awhile.

MLB.com became a severely restricted site after the “Ohtani Affair,” which only I reported with any accuracy in the US sports media. It’s almost a year later, and there is still no one who has explained how the Anaheim Angels landed Shohei Ohtani, when they were never seen as in contention, and were never mentioned as a preference of his– until the very end.

Then came the Hot Stove season, where unfortunately nothing much warmed up for most of the MLB free agents. Comments on that (along with the Ohtani Affair), are what got me permanently banned from the MLB.com forums, sometime last winter. I noticed I was still allowed to ‘Like’ a comment, so I did where appropriate. Then that starting getting ghosted and was soon banned also. By Spring Training, all commenting had been banned in a few team forums, and by the end of the 2018 regular season there was no more fan commentary allowed or displayed for MLB teams on their own site.

Evidently, fans & players uniting and exchanging meaningful dialogue is not what MLB likes in their forums. The problem is that fans expect to be able to participate and share their thoughts with other fans, otherwise they feel alienated from the game. Banning comments in MLB team forums is like saying, “Come to our beautiful ballparks: spend and enjoy, just don’t tell anybody what you think.”

It feels more & more like owners and those in control in MLB only want our money, and have no interest in listening to fans who see major issues with the product. This just completed World Series was the 4th-lowest rated in television history. The Boston Red Sox over the LA Dodgers had two behemoth media markets going for it, and yet still couldn’t generate much fan interest.

Maybe that’s because this series was another AL beatdown, which was entirely predictable. This leads to fans not caring or watching as much, especially when they can’t talk to their longtime online baseball friends anymore. This is a conscious ownership policy that is seriously damaging the game. There will be less fans & money if this censorship is allowed to continue.

I made it a rule to not become personal friends with any of the people behind the handles & avatars in these forums, as I consider myself a student of the game & a reporter. But with the Padres forum, I felt an attachment and a sense of family. The others who posted regularly all have identities to me, whether they chose to reveal themselves openly, or simply in what they think, and when they said it. What you find in an online group such as what I’m describing is a cross-section of society, coming together to share a mutual interest.

I recall a time when one long-time Padres fan in the forum died. When someone posted what had happened, everyone became sad & sympathetic. Baseball became secondary for a brief time in that forum. That’s got very little to do with baseball, and everything to do with human friendship & solidarity. Fans of baseball (and all sports) need to recognize that they are the critical element, that is being abused. Fans bring the money & interest to the game, which drives media & pays salaries. If fans can’t participate in the fun, or if it’s all fixed, why should they support the game?

MLB thinks it owns the game, but the truth is the players and fans own it. The problem is capitalism, which has allowed extreme exploitation of the players since its19th-century beginnings. Fast-forward to 2018, and most players entering free agency this winter aren’t going to get the rich paydays they were promised by their agents, union officials & even MLB itself. Sure RF Bryce Harper (QO), SS Manny Machado & RHP Patrick Corbin (QO) will get big-time offers; but the rest will be low-balled.

Those two players parenthesized in the last sentence are the only ones who will get a qualifying offer this November, which is $17.9M for one year. It used to be that 10+ players would get a QO. GM’s finally got smart, and realize the draft picks are invaluable, and now don’t like to lose them as compensation. They’ll only give up a draft pick anymore, if it’s a top-tier free agent like Harper, etc. Younger players are cheaper, and often better, and all GM’s know this by now. The MLBPA agreed to this CBA which runs 2017-21, so the players are shafted until then– unless they organize a wildcat strike.

Update Sunday November 4, 2018: A total of seven QO’s were made on Friday, November 2 in MLB. Beyond the expected offers to Bryce Harper & Patrick Corbin, were Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal. These players have 10 days to accept a $17.9 million salary for 2019, or become free agents with draft pick compensation. The five players I listed after Harper & Corbin should all accept their qualifying offers, as they won’t get better deals on the free agent market. Especially Grandal & Ryu.

Fox Sports still allows online commenting of their articles, as of this publication. This may sound strange, but it actually isn’t. Fox is openly right-wing, and thus the forum censors itself with its reactionary membership. I don’t bother posting in there, and neither does anyone else who has a brain that actively functions. Notice it’s the “liberal” ESPN & MLB crowd who are the biggest advocates & implementers of online censorship.

Thus, for baseball fans, there is no longer a league-moderated forum for fans to interact & talk baseball, due to the political ideology of the owners & sponsors. Those who make ESPN out to be the 800-pound gorilla, are lying as the entire network is a mirage. Most who work there know next-to-nothing about the sports they claim to cover, and even less about business. Most are simply parasites, latched onto a good thing, which they won’t give up until it’s dead. These parasites are what’s wrong with sports. At the most fundamental level, the owners, commissioners & network power players are the social class that must be expelled from sports for them to be sustained with any integrity & human interest.

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Quiz Show Hosts & Evil Ghosts

Thank you and a most cordial welcome…   — Jack Barry

There’s nothing on top, but a bucket and a mop…  –The Meat Puppets, “Plateau”

If you’re like me, you are intrigued by game shows. When it gets to the big money, it gets exciting, and few can resist watching. It’s human interest, and that’s the rapture & the problem, all in one package. You have to be a capitalist to love game shows and never outgrow them, because they’re all about winning, whether it’s money, prizes, dates, or whatever.

It’s about performing in front of a live studio audience, and being on TV, as that’s where game shows exist. Since television & game shows are synonymous, let’s examine its history as a medium. The television was invented in 1927, but wasn’t practical for households until ~1938, when cathode ray tube life was extended by 50 times, making televisions more affordable & reliable.

After World War II (& then Korea), television set sales boomed, and broadcast television soon came into being, instantly becoming a cultural phenomenon that resonates up to today. In 1948, four television networks, (NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont), began broadcasting over 128 stations, a full prime-time schedule (8 to 11pm), seven days a week. The first TV season that was rated by Nielsen Media is 1950-51, which is where measurable television analysis starts.

Footnote; The DuMont Television Network was the black sheep network that died, hampered by the prohibitive cost of broadcasting, and by regulations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which restricted their growth. The company’s partner, Paramount Pictures also sabotaged DuMont, ensuring its eventual demise & carve-up by the big three networks. The DuMont Television Network did not have a radio network from which to draw big-name talent, affiliate loyalty or radio profits to underwrite television operations until the television medium itself became profitable.

DuMont broadcast National Football League games from 1951-55, which was a first. DuMont produced more than 20,000 television episodes during the decade from 1946 to 1956. Because the shows were created prior to the launch of Ampex’s electronic videotape recorder in late 1956, all of them were initially broadcast live in black and white, then recorded on film kinescope for reruns and for West Coast rebroadcasts. The DuMont Television Network kinescopes were dumped into New York’s East River over 50 years ago, as they were seen by the bosses as worthless, with too-high storage costs.

The DuMont Television Network ignored the standard business model of 1950s TV, in which one advertiser sponsored an entire show, allowing it to have complete control over its content. Instead, DuMont sold commercials to many different advertisers, freeing producers of its shows from the power of single sponsors. This eventually became the standard model for US television. It’s important to understand this advertising model in relation to network quiz shows, and how they were fixed from 1956-59.

The quiz show scandals ultimately resulted in the networks eliminating sponsor-controlled programming in prime-time broadcasting, which would then allow them to take control of production. By the end of 1959, all first generation big-money quizzes were gone, along with single-sponsorship television. Soon-to-come, were federal laws against fixing television quiz shows. The networks stayed away from awarding five-figure cash jackpots until the 1970’s, when they were brought back, re-branded as “game shows” such as the $10,000 Pyramid.

The $64,000 Question hosted by Hal March became an overnight #1 show in 1955. US President Dwight Eisenhower was a loyal (& eventually heartbroken) fan of this rigged weekly event. Notice in the video above, how Hal March can translate Italian perfectly, when the correct answer is given by a lady (in the category of American history) who speaks fluent Italian, but broken English.

The impropriety of a contestant having a translator [!] to help her is surreal. The audience is befuddled by all this, but applauds on cue nonetheless. Then watch what happens around 26:00, when the British male contestant is stumped… How humiliating!  For Hal March.

The $64,000 Challenge was the day-time spin-off hosted first by Sonny Fox, then Ralph Story. Star contestants on The $64,000 Question/Challenge later appeared on television & in movies throughout the 1950s & 1960s. Quiz shows were often used as vehicles to promote & place new talent, and industry favorites including: Patty Duke, Connie Hines (Mr. Ed), Dr. Joyce Brothers (below), Xavier Cugat, and many others. Every one of these quiz show productions was rigged by their sponsors, as they played their audiences for suckers.

The $64,000 Question earned the #1 rating spot for the 1955–56 season, finished at #4 in the 1956–57 season ,and #20 in 1957–58. Among its progeny were Tic-Tac-Dough, and Twenty-One.

The $64,000 Challenge was controlled by cosmetics giant Revlon & Lorillard Tobacco Company’s Kent cigarettes. It was revealed during Congressional investigations that Revlon was as determined to keep their shows appealing, by manipulating the results.

Unlike Twenty-One and Dotto, where contestants got the answers in advance, Revlon was far more subtle with The $64,000 Question/Challenge, asking questions suited towards a contestant’s field of expertise, in order to coax correct answers out of them. The same method could be applied in reverse for “undesirable” contestants.

The Archive of American Television feature on the quiz show scandal, aired in 2000, has an interview of Albert Freedman who explains how he was producing Tic-Tac-Dough when Jack Barry & Dan Enright approached him about working on Twenty-One, which had very poor ratings.

Albert Freedman joined the show and was told to come up with some ideas for saving it. The problem, explained Freedman, was that the contestants were losing too quickly. “The excitement is to build up the winner, week after week.” He said that the idea of fixing the game’s outcomes was seen as necessary to reviving an otherwise boring program. “When I took over Twenty-One, I was aware that control was necessary.”

The sponsor of Twenty-One was Geritol, a dietary supplement pharmaceutical. Geritol advertised that just two tablespoons of their “medicine” had “twice the iron as a pound of calf’s liver,” helping people with “tired blood.” These were slimy snake oil salesmen, selling sickness way back in the 1950’s. The lesson is: know your TV history, or be doomed to bad re-runs. The fact is Albert Freedman coached the performances of Herbert Stempel, Charles Van Doren and other contestants on Twenty-One, with Van Doren “beating” Stempel on Dec. 5, 1956. This was the subject of Robert Redford’s 1994 film, Quiz Show.

Vivienne Nearing made headlines in 1957 when she dethroned Charles Van Doren as champion on Twenty-One, after his four-month run. In 1960, Vivienne Nearing & 14 other Twenty-One contestants were charged with perjury, after falsely testifying to a grand jury, that they had not been fed answers.

Albert Freedman was indicted for perjury in 1958, for lying to a grand jury in saying that he had not given questions to contestants. Before another grand jury, he recanted his testimony and admitted giving questions in advance. Twenty-One was canceled in 1958. The perjury charges against Freedman and all others were eventually dropped. Those found guilty had their sentences suspended, and no one involved in the quiz show scandal ever went to prison in this vast conspiracy to manipulate & defraud the American television viewing public.

Dotto was billed as a combination of a general knowledge quiz, and the children’s game of connect-the-dots. Jack Narz was the host, with Colgate-Palmolive as its presenting sponsor. Dotto rose to become the highest rated daytime program in 1958, after replacing Strike it Rich in CBS’s daytime time slot in January, 1958. In a rare instance of two networks programming the same show, a weekly nighttime edition of Dotto was launched on July 1, 1958, on NBC on Tuesday nights.

Both shows were hits, until Dotto was canceled without public explanation, over the weekend of August 16, 1958. As far as I can see, no one has ever accurately explained what happened. After reviewing the only available episodes, and the facts that have come out in the aftermath, it’s pretty clear what happened. Just watch this one episode all the way through. I’ll explain its contents below.

Episode Summary: Returning Dotto champion, Marie Winn had been provided with the answers ahead of time. A stand-by contestant, Edward Hilgemeier, Jr. found her notebook backstage with the questions & answers written in it. He tore out the pages, and turned them over to authorities without going on the show. Hilgemeier and the defeated contestant Yaffe Kimball, confronted the Dotto producers, and both were paid money to keep quiet. When Hilgemeier found out he was paid less than Yaffe Kimball, he contacted CBS (daytime version), NBC (prime-time version), and sponsor Colgate-Palmolive– all to no avail.

Hilgemeier then contacted federal authorities in early August, 1958 with his story, which was then relayed to CBS. Executive vice president of CBS Thomas Fisher tested kinescopes of the show against Winn’s notebook and concluded that the show appeared fixed. Executives at CBS series met with its creator, Frank Cooper, concerning the potential rigging of the show on the evening of Friday, August 15. Frank Cooper admitted that the show was indeed fixed, and CBS then reported these findings to NBC as the hosts of the prime-time version.

Over the weekend of August 16, 1958, both CBS & NBC canceled Dotto. CBS immediately moved its game show Top Dollar, hosted by Warren Hull, to Dotto’s time slot. On Monday, August 18, a live studio audience expecting to be seated for Monday’s episode of Dotto was instead set up as an audience for Top Dollar. Viewers were greeted by the opening, “Dotto, the program which normally airs at this time, will no longer be seen. Instead…welcome to Top Dollar!”

Jack Narz eventually replaced Warren Hull (more on him below) as host of Top Dollar by November 1958, which completed this dirty cycle of quiz show hosts, as Strike it Rich, which preceded Dotto, had been hosted by Hull. Top Dollar ran in the daytime until October, 1959, as Narz (below) continued to work as a game show host for most of the next twenty years, until his death.

Note: In the Dotto episode above, host Jack Narz says goodbye to the Native American woman contestant, Yaffe Kimball who “lost,” by raising his hand and saying HOW [!] to her as she leaves the stage at 11:28. Look & listen for it.

Dotto promo, sponsored by Ford: Here’s a look at what you could win if you can identify this Dotto image,,, the Edsel Bermuda [Ooooh’s from the audience], the newest ideas in station wagons, with almost 9 feet of load space with the tailgate down. It has Edsel’s famous “teletouch-drive,” that puts the shift buttons in the middle of the steering wheel– where they belong!” There’s also “self-adjusting brakes… A car for him, a car for her, a car for a lifetime.” There’s even a kiddie model that drives up to 5 MPH.

Notice how the audience loves it, as their enthusiasm for these luxuries was/is real. Edsel was a gas-guzzling, unsafe-at-any-speed model that was hyped by the Ford Motor Company from 1958-60. Dotto was an early establishment answer to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Little Richard & rock & roll’s massive teen influence. This was a cultural war for the control of kids’ minds. It somehow feels like J. Edgar Hoover is behind this show.

21:45 Jack Narz [to the new contestant]: Hmmm. Very confusing, huh?

At this point the viewer should realize that the only thing that matters in Dotto is identifying the image correctly. Answering the questions correctly is irrelevant. Also note that the images drawn in Dotto are indecipherable, as are the “clues.” This is all by design.

26:15 After a few minutes of learning all about new velvety Vel, dish soap, it’s back to the game. The new challenger doesn’t present himself as very bright, yet he suddenly rings in and identifies Dotto’s vague lines & shapes as “Huey & Dewey Duck,” which is correct!

But not completely, because everyone in 1958 knows that there are three nephews of Donald Duck, and they always hang together. Louie is the third, but the contestant forgot to write him down on the “Dottograph.”  Below is a screenshot of the image in question. Do you see Donald Duck’s nephews in it? I see Elvis.

So Jack Narz, who was “as much in the dark as anybody,” changes the narrative, and says this answer may not be correct, and will need a further ruling– later, backstage. Over to Marie Winn, who has 60 seconds to make the correct identification of these squiggly lines & nebulous forms to force a tie, otherwise she’s off the show.

Amazingly, Maria Winn pulls it out, by shyly mumbling “Donald Duck’s nephews,” with some encouragement from Jack Narz. There’s a big smile from Marie Winn, when she’s told she’s correct! Jack Narz: “I know we have a tie game now, and that solves our problem.”

Not quite, as it’s clear to any television viewer (past or present) with any cognitive function, that this greenhorn who incredibly identified the crude image as Donald Duck’s nephews, yet inexplicably forgot to include the name of the third one (Louie), blew the fix with his incomplete answer. And with that, Dotto had to be dropped immediately & forever. The running time on this essential video of television history is 29:31, and at least 25 minutes of it is advertising, in every form imaginable. This rigged quiz show called Dotto may have been the most evil show ever hyped on television.

Footnote: Marie Winn perjured herself to the grand jury investigation on quiz show fixing. She then declared herself a feminist sometime later, publishing The Plug-In Drug (1977), a confused diatribe on the dangers of educating children, claiming it to be dangerous to their psychological health.

Tic-Tac-Dough’s initial 1956–59 run on NBC was another Jack Barry & Dan Enright creation & production– a common thread with all these rigged quiz shows. Tic-Tac-Dough was based on tic-tac-toe, where contestants answer questions to score an X or O. If you’ve ever played tic-tac-toe, you know that most games end in ties, unless you’re playing against a total moron. Games that frequently ended in ties, was another leitmotif of the fixed quiz show era. The original host of Tic-Tac-Dough was Jack Barry, followed by Gene Rayburn & Bill Wendell. Jay Jackson & Win Elliot hosted prime time adaptations, and all were involved or had knowledge of quiz show fixing.

Tic-Tac-Dough’s April 3, 1958 episode (below) featuring U.S. military serviceman Michael O’Rourke winning over $140,000, hosted by Jay Jackson, became a key subject of the federal grand jury investigating the quiz fixing. Notice how neither player ever goes for the win. Howard Felsher produced Tic-Tac-Dough; Password; Password Plus; Super Password; He Said, She Said; Concentration; and most notably, Family Feud.

Felsher was known as the “Game Show Doctor” in certain circles for his ability to come in and fix a show– in every sense of the term. As producer of Tic-Tac-Dough, Felsher was in charge of all aspects of the shows production including choosing the contestants, coaching them, and feeding them the answers. Howard Felsher also estimated that about 75% of all Tic-Tac-Dough nighttime shows had been rigged.

In a span over just over 4 months at the end of 1958, these following quiz shows were implicated in the scandal and were abruptly canceled: Dotto on August 16, The $64,000 Challenge on September 14, Twenty-One on October 16, The $64,000 Question on November 9, and Tic-Tac-Dough on December 29.

In September 1958, a New York grand jury called the producers & hosts who had coached contestants, to appear in testimony. It was later estimated by a prosecutor on the case that of the 150 sworn witnesses before the panel, only 50 told the truth. Among the most egregious perjurers were Jack Barry, Dan Enright & Frank Cooper. None of the corporate sponsors were implicated, or compelled to testify under oath.

There are those who make the claim that Jack Barry was effectively blacklisted from national television until 1969. That’s an insult & misrepresentation of blacklisting. This was the era of McCarthyism, HUAC & anti-communism. The ones who defied the red-baiting & witch-hunts were blacklisted. Jack Barry was exiled from game show television for a decade for cheating, before being allowed to return and make more millions– with The Jokers Wild, etc.

Dan Enright went to Canada to continue working in television, and was unable to get a job in American television until 1975.  Once again, that’s not a blacklist, which occurs to people who have courage & principles. These are criminals, who escaped punishment because the scandal was so vast, it would have taken down all the networks and their crooked sponsors. If that happened, there would be no television run by capitalists, and that couldn’t happen, so the quiz show scandal was swept under the rug, to be forgotten in posterity.

Another Barry/Enright fixed quiz show of the era was High Low, a contestant-panel game. Wikipedia (a source heavily cited in this piece) delivers this refrain over & over concerning the availability of quiz show episodes with this disclaimer, which applies to High Low: “Only one episode is known to exist, as all others are believed to have been destroyed due to network policies of the era.”  Criminality & cover-ups are the network policies to which Wikipedia is referring.

Capitalizing on the success of the 1950s big-money quiz The $64,000 Question on CBS, Jack Barry and Dan Enright developed their flagship show, Twenty-One, a quiz which had a scoring system based loosely on Blackjack. Contestants were placed in twin “isolation booths” and were asked questions ranging in value from 1 to 11 points — the higher the point value, the more difficult the question. Beginning on September 12, 1956, Jack Barry began hosting Twenty-One in prime time.

Enright described the initial broadcast of Twenty-One as “a dismal failure. It was just plain dull.” Contestants repeatedly missed questions and, in Enright’s own words, “It lacked all drama; it lacked all suspense. The next morning the sponsor Geritol, called my partner, Jack Barry and me, and told us in no uncertain terms that he never wanted to see a repeat of what happened the previous night. And from that moment on, we decided to rig Twenty-One.” Even with rigging, initial ratings were unimpressive.

Enright believed they needed to find heroes & villains — contestants the audience would either root for or against. Though not illegal at the time, Enright and his assistant producer Albert Freedman went beyond merely finding appealing players by actually manipulating them: providing certain contestants with answers in advance, and scripting games and the players’ mannerisms in the isolation booth. It was a process the producers duplicated for Tic-Tac-Dough.

Dan Enright’s most famous contestant protégé was Twenty-One’s Charles Van Doren, who went on to win for 14 weeks and became a cover subject for Time magazine (above), thus causing the show’s popularity to soar. Van Doren replaced Herbert Stempel, who himself had been given answers over his extended run on the show, but was eventually forced to lose (so that the prettier Van Doren could replace him). After waiting for Enright to fulfill his promise of a job in exchange for throwing the match, Stempel realized it would never come and he went to the authorities. It was only when other contestants came forward about game show rigging did the New York DA’s office take Herbert Stempel seriously.

As the press was publishing allegations by former contestants of quiz rigging, NBC purchased from Barry & Enright the shows: Twenty-One and Tic-Tac-Dough; along with two new daytime entries, Concentration, and a musical quiz Dough Re Mi, for $1 million.

Eventually a fraction of the truth came out, and Dan Enright admitted to rigging the show and giving contestants the questions and answers in advance. Twenty-One’s emcee and co-producer, Jack Barry, must have been in on it, despite decades of denials by him and his fans.

Strike it Rich is down there with Dotto, and the others mentioned above, as perhaps the sleaziest show in TV history. Just watch, and you’ll see what I mean, as I’ll conclude this piece with the only episode of Strike it Rich that is available (above). I then add some poignant comments & screenshots for illustration… And now Fab’s fabulous Ambassador of Goodwill, Mr. Strike-it-Rich himself, Warren Hull!

New Fab contains miracle Duratex!

Look for Fab at your supermarket. It’s the blue box with white letters etched in red, just remember F-A-B. I’m talking to all of you out there who have never tried Fab. When you go there and see this, you’ll have an impulse to buy it, after listening to me. This is no Hull-lying, this is honest-to-goodness gospel . Okay Ralph [Story], who’s next?

Let’s take a look at a girl who has some really exciting wash-day news she wants to share with you!

Final Answer– No Takebacks: I love game shows too much to end this piece on such a cynical vibe. I consider myself a game-show host hybrid of Bob Barker & Chuck Barris, if you can get to that. My favorite game show moments over the years include watching Wink Martindale’s Tic-Tac-Dough champion Thom McKee’s run in 1980, and his defeat. I was a kid and it was exciting to watch. Was it fixed?  Whoever knows, ain’t tellin’, that much I do know.

Ken Jennings’ run on Jeopardy in 2004 was surely legitimate, including a brilliant innovation in focusing on being quick on the buzzer. Brad Rutter has repeatedly beat Jennings in Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions, so that’s amazing! In 2011, these two “Masters of Jeopardy,” faced off against Watson, an AI computer. Consider this result:

The greatest all-time, one-day game show performance belongs to Michael Larson on Press Your Luck in 1984. Larson memorized the five different randomizer sequences used on the “Big Board” (image below) and beat the game, taking home over $110,000 in one game that stretched over two episodes.

Notice that he didn’t have any extraordinary knowledge of trivia, and it totally didn’t matter. Something else mattered much more, and he figured it out first. This is hilarious viewing, as host Peter Tomarken goes bananas in disbelief.  That’s how you KNOW he beat the show.

If you want to cheat ahead; the action starts at 13;45 in this video below, when Larson answers “Polka,”  knowing with delight that he now has 7 Spins in Round 2, and will be first up. From there on it’s game-show Nirvana. A beautiful streak is a winning thing.

CBS tried to cheat Michael Larson (RIP), out of his winnings in the weeks after. And what was with that bitch dental hygienist, passing her 3 spins to Larson at the end?  The other opponent Ed, intentionally didn’t do that, as a point of honor & respect. It almost cost Michael Larson on his last spin, where he got lucky. The lesson, go for it & enjoy it while it lasts!

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ADA Fake News, latest edition

State propaganda extends up to the highest levels. Even the profession of dentistry isn’t immune. Below are images from the latest ADA News, September 17, 2018.  ADA stands for American Dental Association, the official union bureaucracy for dentistry in the US. The ADA News is their publishing organ. Here’s the roundup, and it’s a doozy.

The lead headline in this edition (above) concerns an insurance conglomerate United Concordia, which has been nefariously dictating payment rules & treatment options for working dentists and their patients. It begins with an editorial note in italics that informs readers this is the 18th article [!] in a series on insurance benefits & plan options.

Since I’ve suffered through the first 17 installments, let’s skip to the synopsis, which goes like this. The ADA has valiantly & tirelessly fought against this unfair practice, as the wolves have acquiesced for now. Meanwhile they will continue to use all sorts of other dirty tricks to cheat doctors on fees, and patients on treatment options & benefits. That’s the part the ADA doesn’t print. It helps to be able to read in between the lines.

Stericycle is a dirty waste disposal operation that has gouged physicians & dentists for decades. Their model is to buy up all their competitors and monopolize the market. During the time I owned & managed my private dental practice from 1995-2014, Stericycle bought up (at least) 2 or 3 waste disposal companies I was contracted with, until I finally found one that assured me (and kept their promise) that they would never sell out to them.

At this point, class action lawsuits (above) are a pittance to working doctors, and a futile gesture by the ADA, whose bureaucracy eats up most of the settlement benefits. When the ADA says the check is in the mail, you know they mean business. That’s how they settle up, and put things to rest.

Speaking of rest, above is a dental image of the olden years. You know, the extra years dentists now have to work, because they take home less than ever. The ADA provides readers with a graph & the numbers, but don’t answer the question: What is causing dentists to have to work more years before retiring?

Dentistry was the last profession to be destroyed, and the ADA assisted in the process– to keep itself fat & happy. Corporate dental, student loan debt, the economic crash of 2008, the opioid crisis, and insurance conglomerates have devoured dentistry, yet the ADA still trumpets itself as victorious & noble. This is why most working dentists toss the ADA News directly into the recycling/trash bin, never reading it as they are too busy for this nonsense.

It’s a midterm election year, so the ADA is throwing their best face on public health.  Dental benefits for Medicare will be low-fee, minimal services at best– extractions & dentures. That is, if any of this even had a chance, which it doesn’t. The careerists at the ADA have to at least, look like they are doing something, or give an appearance they care. Remember in November!

All I read above is “ADA…dues increase,” just below the big bold headline. This begs the question: for what?  I want to say that I’m glad I don’t pay for this, but that’s not true, as everyone pays for this.


The glare got this above headline, which reads “Spear Education purchases Pride Institute.” The question is: For how much? The article doesn’t say. It must not have been a lot, otherwise they would have reported it. The Pride Institute was/is a joke, charging dentists who need help in practice management exorbitant fees, acting like they have all the answers with their cookie-cutter formulas; and then $50K-or-so later, they leave the dentist to implement their useless business philosophy. When it fails, it’s always the client’s fault. Total scam. Spear Education must have been feeling ambitious, and decided to corner the market.

Here is an example of US military & intelligence agencies funding university research. NYU & Columbia have deep state ties, and here it is in dentistry. Look at that grant money!!  Boy, I’d like a piece of that, but then again, what do I know? I’m just a working dentist. What’s needed here are connections.

The title above reads, “No need to face third-party payers on your own.” This refers to working dentists who are being systematically ripped off & shortchanged by insurance conglomerates who make all the rules. The ADA is reassuring its constituency that it is diligently working behind-the-scenes on this. Possibly a class-action lawsuit down the road. Stay tuned, as this could become another 18-part series.

Until then, no news is good news, and always remember that the ADA has your back. Also, don’t forget to keep paying those dues (which are going up), while you sift through a vast wasteland of low-ball, corporate-crap, “career opportunities” in dentistry. It’s the American dream.

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Reflections on a Music Career

I know the update I posted here was a shock to many fans. He is my explanation for those who truly supported the music, and therefore deserve one. The rest of you may follow along and hopefully you will learn something. The fact is I’ve been going down a dark road for a long time, in being this musical artist of such uncompromising intensity. It’s led to wonderful discoveries & revolutionary content, but it’s also isolated me.

When you burn for the truth in everything, you become intolerant of hypocrisy & lying behavior. The more I try to eliminate it in myself, the more I become disgusted & distanced from others who don’t understand. Artists are bold, restless, uncompromising & revolutionary by nature, and thus don’t do well with patience & temperance.

I’ve leaned on my best friend & collaborator Tom Pearce way too much over the years, because I had to. I won’t let that friendship (& what we’ve accomplished), end up turning into anger directed towards him– out of frustration. Those are the outside stresses that get internalized and refracted into art, and it’s done by real human beings, which means it takes an emotional toll.

People generally don’t think about art & artists too deeply, because they are busy living their lives, just trying to get by. In their free time they mostly seek escapism, instead of studying & learning. That’s how an artist becomes an outcast in a society where culture has been degraded, and it reaches a point where the artist has to make a decision. You either: 1) continue down that road, which leads to self-ruin; or 2) give it up and save yourself.

The truth is, I can’t continue to hold myself (& everyone else) to the artistic standards I’ve set. It gets to where it becomes too destructive. I think this is how jazz-bassist pioneer Jaco Pastorius felt at his end, and I didn’t want that for me. Even with this acceptance & understanding, it’s still an extremely difficult & emotional decision to quit your life’s passion.

As far as what was accomplished, here it is. Ric Size and his collaborators since 2011, through the music and the content on this site, have profoundly influenced music, art, society & politics on many levels, locally & globally. I’m confident Tom Pearce will soon find himself in-demand, as a webmaster, sound engineer & producer. Many others I have worked with over time have also benefited, and I wish them well. The truth is that Ric Size’s music is still too raw & intimidating for most people, and seen as extremely dangerous & provocative by the ruling class.

I’m the kind of person who excels at what I put my mind to, and I never tried harder or wanted anything to succeed more than this music. Now that it’s receding into the past, I see how impossible it all was. I’m definitely an optimist at heart, as I kept thinking I could find a breakthrough, right up to the end.

My final preoccupation as a musical artist was around security. Personal safety for me, my band mates, and the audience was going to be an issue. Ric Size is radioactive politically, and that can’t be separated from the performance. No matter what songs we were going to play, every event was going to have issues with Nazi’s & other right wing hates groups (Republican & Democrat backed), astroturfing our shows.

On top of that, there’s the lone wolf shooter that no one accounts for. This is Orlando where Christie Grimmie was killed after a live performance downtown. Of course, no one in Orlando will forget the Pulse nightclub massacre that happened only a few weeks after Grimmie’s slaying. Preventing these-type scenarios from happening at a Ric Size show was a dilemma that kept me awake at night for weeks. I wasn’t counting on any help from the local police of federal authorities, if you know what I mean. The only solution was to retire, as security was going to be a necessity, cost prohibitive, and in the end an impossibility.

At this stage I’m at peace with my decision, and feel much better. Relief, soothing away the disappointment is my best description. The money was never going to show, and TomP & I took it as far as we could. My initial goal when I came up with the concept of Ric Size over 20 years ago (before I met Tom), was to do it my way and change the world in the process. That mission has been accomplished, and now I happily work towards that objective as a blog writer. I’m still at it, just in an updated form for the times.

I still own a record label called Infinitelink Records, which owns the publishing & copyrights to all Ric Size music. That’s what you need to control and hold onto, boys & girls. Tom & I will work at finally getting everything packaged up & CD-formatted for your purchase online, at whatever pace events allow.

Thank you AGAIN to all our fans for your love & support!!

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MLB Predictions: Reviewed

Preface: This is yet another article I intended as a one-off, but the situation changed and required further explanation– thus turning it into a 7,500-word serial. I’m abusing the new time-stamp feature, as you’ll see. First published on September 22, the main contents here are in italics, and deal with the last day of the MLB regular season, and the following two days through the NL Wild Card game on October 2, 2018.

Hall-of-fame Yankees catcher & dugout philosopher Yogi Berra famously pointed out that, “It ain’t over, until it’s over.” Decades later the times are indeed a-changin’, and that’s when a Marxist philosopher who loves baseball comes along and slaps an asterisk on that proverb by clarifying that, “It ain’t over, until it can’t be overturned.”

I’m going to do something that few other sportswriters do, which is analyze my pre-season predictions. There is one week remaining in the MLB season as of this publication, as these screenshots and analysis cover everything through September 21. This can be done because all the serious races have been decided. This piece will take a close look at Pythagorean record (X-W/L) using runs scored & allowed to determine if a team was “lucky” or “unlucky” in 2018. Any team that veers more than +/- two wins from their actual record can be considered either lucky or unlucky. That can tell you a lot about their expectations in this post-season & 2019.

AL East Prediction:
Contenders: Yankees, Red Sox (WC)
Pretenders: Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles

What happened: The Red Sox had the highest payroll in MLB, and are currently 105-49, but their X-W/L says they should be 98-56. That’s still good enough to win the division, but they’ve also been extremely lucky. The Red Sox are the best team in baseball, but not by as wide a margin as some would have you believe. I predicted the Yankees would win this division, so I was wrong there. But I also said that whoever is the Wild Card in the AL East, will win the play-in game, which is the most significant advantage to winning the division. Once you’re past that, then everything is equalized in the divisional round. What I’m saying is that if the Yankees overpower the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card play-in game, which is what I (and most) expect to happen, then it doesn’t matter who finished 1st & 2nd in the AL East. If the A’s win, then I was really wrong; otherwise I’m correct about everything in the AL that counts, except the second Wild Card. I also predicted the Orioles would be a complete joke, and they are. See: Chris “Crash” Davis, and this offensively bad pitching staff.

AL Central Prediction:
Contenders: Indians, Twins (WC)
Pretenders: Royals, White Sox, Tigers

What happened: No brainer picking the Indians, as they are they only good team in this division. They won despite being extremely unlucky, with a record that is 7 wins below their Pythagorean. That means this team is a bit of a sleeper, and with the acquisition of relievers Brad Hand & Adam Cimber from the Padres at the deadline, they are stacked in the pen. The AL pennant is a heavyweight battle royale, and it’s easy to overlook Cleveland. That would be a mistake, as this is one of the best-run franchises in MLB today. The Twins were the second Wild Card in 2017, and looked like strong contenders to repeat to that plateau with their off-season additions, but it never happened in 2018. This division may be the worst in MLB, and it’s why I picked the Twins for the Wild Card. The Rays are better than any non-Cleveland team in this division, and probably would have won the second AL Wild Card had they played in this division or the AL West.

AL West Predictions:
Contender: Astros
Pretenders: Angels, Mariners, A’s, Rangers

What happened: The Houston Astros are like Cleveland, in that they have been extremely unlucky, yet they both won their divisions easily– as expected. The Angels acquired this past winter’s most coveted prize Shohei Ohtani, and have proceeded to wreck him. Ohtani needs TJ surgery on his pitching elbow, yet he is still in the lineup DH-ing, even though the season has long been lost. I thought the Halos could finish as high as second, but they fell to fourth. The Mariners hung around for awhile because they were the luckiest team in MLB this year. Seattle is currently 84-69, with a negative run differential [!], which means they really are a 72-81 team. This is an old team full of holes and payroll bloat, so look for a major correction in 2019 for the Mariners. A big reason Oakland gets the second AL Wild Card is because this is a mediocre-to-weak division. Texas is awful, and will be for a long time now.

NL East Predictions:
Contender: Nationals
Pretenders: Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins

What happened: Everyone got this one wrong, as no one predicted a collapse from the Nationals. One warning sign I noted early was the hiring of Dave “Vodka” Martinez to replace Dusty Baker a manager. Baker had to go and everyone knew it, but this is a veteran team with a championship roster. The Gnats needed a manger with experience, and instead they went cheap and hired a rookie with no managing experience– anywhere. I haven’t been a fan of this franchise since they moved from Montreal, because they became just the opposite of what they were. In Canada, the Expos were a savvy small-market franchise that developed players from within, and kept payroll low. In Washington they’ve been a payroll behemoth personified by a front office & ownership that has little brains. I do feel for Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and all the rest, because they deserved better and were ultimately let down by this lack of leadership.

With this collapse in DC, someone else had to step in and win this division, and certainly the Marlins & Mets weren’t capable. A few remaining Marlins fans wondered what might have been, if Derek Jeter & co. hadn’t blown everything up upon arrival. That left it to the Phillies & Braves, with Atlanta having the best roster mix of veterans & young talent. I think the Braves are second-rate to the Cubs & Dodgers as far as NL division winners go, but they deserve credit for stepping up when an opportunity presented itself in 2018. I’ll only change my mind on these Braves when they prove it in the post-season. They’re young & talented, so who knows…?

NL Central Predictions:
Contender: Cubs, Cardinals (WC)
Pretenders: Brewers, Reds, Pirates

What happened: The Cubs won the division, but are starting to look more & more beatable. Their Hu Darvish signing was the worst free-agent deal of this past winter, and will financially cripple them down the road. With that said, they’re still capable of winning it all in 2018. As I mentioned in my pre-season notes, the Brewers made the two best acquisitions of the off-season in free-agent CF Lorenzo Cain & LF Christian Yelich. The prospects the Brewers gave up in the Yelich trade were garbage, as this was the biggest steal of the past winter. That, and obtaining just enough pitching is what got the Brewers an NL Wild Card. The Cardinals managed to hang around until the end, as they always do. This is the kind of franchise they are, in that even when they aren’t particularly good, they can still get by, and they are going to get the second NL Wild Card. Overall this division is mediocre by NL standards, even though it has both Wild Cards.

* Since the Padres are out, I’m rooting for the Brewers this fall.

Update: Sunday September 30, 2018  ~ 7:00 PM

The MLB regular season is over as of this writing, with 162 games in the books; and yet nothing is over in 2 of the 3 National League divisions. In the NL Central, the Cubs & Brewers have 95 wins, while the Dodgers & Rockies have 91 wins apiece. This means a one-game play-off for their division titles, with the losers of each slotting in as a Wild Card.

What this means is MORE slow-down of the MLB action, while we clear these division winners up. The owners & networks are primarily responsible for this, however you may feel. I feel this hair-splitting should be decided by the tie-breaker– which is head-to-head record.

It’s just not that important at this level of mediocrity, so let’s get on with it. We’ve already had 162 games to decide this, and if that’s not enough, then this is how we do it. Everyone knows in advance, so it’s fair. You only need these games to eliminate for the 2nd Wild Card slot, otherwise the best head-to-head record decides all tiebreakers. Clean & fair, and most importantly it keeps everything on track. There are enough games already, so I also will advocate for a 154-games MLB schedule, to balance out for the expanded post-season & multiple play-in games.

The Wild Card is a cheap gimmick and big-market insurance policy. The irony is that it takes the focus away from excellence (Red Sox), and mires the narrative in mediocrity, at least for a while. Now, even after 162 games, the regular season doesn’t go away. It’s still there for 4 NL teams. Of all these deciding games, the only one that actually matters is the Wild Card game. IMO, all these contests should be counted as regular season games, as teams aren’t in the post season until they get to the Divisional Round. That’s what it really is.

Part of the beauty of MLB from 1969-93, was its fair, yet unforgivably cruel divisional format, which only rewarded excellence. Winning the division after 162 games, meant being in the LCS. Everyone else went home. In that era, MLB went from a marathon grind, to high-intensity top-quality action for a pennant– instantly!

The “innovation” of the Wild Card was introduced in 1994, the notorious “Strike Season,” and it’s purpose was/is to allow the Red Sox & Yankees to be in the post-season every year. A big-market team wracked with injuries & under-performance inevitably gets a second opportunity to redeem itself after losing the division.

This series of amputations, once done naturally and cleanly by the format, is today’s MLB play-ins & play-offs; broadcast in slow-motion, and painfully framed in stages by Fox. These are your four-and-a-half hour Sox-Yankees broadcasts, that go well past midnight on the east coast. It summons adjectives ranging from mind-numbing & bombastic to boring & unwatchable.

The AL post-season is East coast bias, while the NL (real baseball) is still in hypothetical land. This fan yawns, “Wake me up for the LCS’s. Enough hypotheticals & mediocrity dominating the narrative. It’s supposed to be clarity, and all quality by now, but we have neither.

Again the narrative is where it shouldn’t be. The AL is the much stronger league, and will be heavy favorites in the World Series, regardless of their NL opponent. Astros, Yankees & Red Sox each won at least a 100 games. Cleveland won 91, and the second AL Wild Card Oakland won 97.  Incidentally, the Rays won 90 games and finished a distant third in the stacked AL East. The Royals & White Sox both lost 100 games, while the Tigers lost 98. The AL Central is a BAD division from second to last.

Home field advantage in the WS is determined by overall record now. It’s very likely the AL will have it, which is significant because of the DH. It is this rule that allows the AL to create powerhouses that crush NL teams head-to-head over time. In a short series the DH advantage is reduced, but is still significant, as the rules are set now.

Home-field advantage in Games 6 & 7 (if necessary), create a window for umpiring & review bias to influence events favorably for the home team. The Yankees & Red Sox have notoriously the most foul-mouthed, invasive & rabidly-out-of control fans in MLB. The umpires & media are all influenced by this set-up.

It’s not just having 4 homes games to the NL’s 3. It’s about having the advantage in the two most crucial games of a close & competitive series. If it’s a rout or sweep, it’s probably the AL doing it to the NL anyways.

I had to update this piece, because I was wrong about how the NL season would end, even with only 9 games to play. The difference between the 9 days that elapsed since this piece was published is that the Cardinals proved they weren’t a play-off team. As a baseball fan, I’m happy the NL West gets a Wild Card, because they deserve it.

The NL East Braves won 90 games, eight games better than the second place Gnats. The Phillies slipped to 3rd in the end, and finished 80-82. Free agent splash RHP Jake Arrieta was a disappointment, and the Phils owe him 2/$50M. The Miami Marlins finished with the worst record in the NL at 63-99. Congratulations to Mike Hill, Derek Jeter & Bruce Sherman on avoiding 100 losses. The Padres won 66 games, second worst in the NL.

In the AL, the Orioles went 47-115, worst in baseball. Forty seven wins means their entire roster was replacement level. To be fair, they underplayed their Pythagorean by eight wins, so they were actually a little better than their record– but still horrible. Everyone expects a major housecleaning operation from top-to-bottom at Camden Yards, but the question remains: What bright young GM, that is needed to turn this shipwreck of a franchise around, will work for this owner? Orioles fans need to fire their owner, by pressuring him to sell. Don’t buy MLB-priced tickets for this AAAA team– I say. Otherwise Angelos will just hire another “Yes man” like GM Dan Duquette. Orioles owner Peter Angelos has been an albatross to this franchise for too long, as he’s the one who is most responsible for the Chris Davis contract. There’s no hope of bringing in the brain-power needed to fix things, with Angelos meddling & in charge.

Mon 01 Oct 2018 05:21:37 PM EDT

Final from Wrigley Field: Brewers win 3-1, and celebrate a divisional championship, punching their ticket to the Divisional Round as the NL’s #1 seed. They will play TBD on Thursday, at a still undetermined time. The Cubs & their fans witnessed all this, but it doesn’t hurt too much. The Cubs can shake it off, and go get ’em tomorrow at Wrigley against TBD @ 8:00 PM on ESPN. It sure is nice to have Wild Card insurance. Keeps the big boys fat & happy.

Meanwhile out west, the Rockies & Dodgers are facing off at Chavez Ravine. There was a time in MLB (pre-1994), when two teams finished in a tie for the divisional title, and it was magic. One game, sudden death, for all the marbles. Back then winning the division meant you eliminated ALL your rivals & arch-rivals, and got to face the other division winner that did the same to theirs. The point is, in real baseball the Cubs would be eliminated right now. They lost Game 163, and that means you go home for the season– by the rules of real baseball. Unfortunately Bud Selig and the rest of the owners conspired with the networks to give fans this version of a MLB “pennant race” & “post-season” back in the 1990’s when no one was looking. As a lifetime fan, I can attest that this version of MLB is much inferior to the old one. It wasn’t broke, yet they had to “fix” it, and that’s arrogance for you.

My solution is to eliminate the Wild Card. The division winner with the best record goes directly to the LCS. The other two division winners face off, best-of-5. Head-to-head record and strength of division would be fair tie-breakers, as needed. Rotate the home field advantage for World Series, NL in even years and AL in odd years; like it used to be, from the time the DH was first introduced in 1973. Then finally, phase out the DH. That’s how you restore competitive balance, by eliminating these “innovations” introduced by greedy & short-sighted owners & their cronies in corporate media.

At Dodger Stadium, it’s 0-0 in the bottom of the 4th. It should be a charged atmosphere in LA right now, but it isn’t. Remember, this is LA and much of the crowd is still arriving. The team & fan mood there is hopeful. Hopeful they don’t have to fly to Chicago tomorrow, but they will if they have to. Can someone please rationally explain to me what the MLB regular season was for, besides making money?

Mon 01 Oct 2018 06:55:09 PM EDT

Right after (or as?) I was signing off, CF Cody Bellinger hit a 2-run HR to get the Dodgers started. Another 2-run homer in the 5th by 1B Max Muncy, and the Dodgers were on their way to a divisional title. Dodgers fans LOVE a blow-out win. It means they can leave early to “beat the traffic,” with little guilt. It turns out I was correct on the NL West after all, and if I even cared, I would loudly proclaim vindication. As someone who follows the NL West, the Dodgers are better than everyone else, even with all those injuries.

So it’s the Rockies who will fly to Chicago for Game 164 to determine who goes to the NL play-offs. When the “tie-breaker” game got to 5-0, Rockies manager Bud Black went with mostly mop-up options in relief, as this game was lost. It’s best to save the premium bullpen arms for the game that actually matters, the Wild Card game. Wade Davis & Adam Ottavino will be ready in the Rockies pen, and that’s how you have to play it if you are Bud Black. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

The Cubs starter will be their ace, lefty Jon Lester who was maneuvered in the rotation by Joe Maddon weeks in advance to pitch this game if needed. Otherwise he’d have started Game 1 of the NLDS. The Wild Card hurts the Cubs in these ways: 1) if they lose to the Rockies, 2) if they win, they lose Lester leading off the NLDS and can only start him once in the best-of-5, and 3) they yield home field advantage to the division winners.

That’s it, as everything else is equalized, and everyone is 0-0 again after the Wild Card play-in winner is determined. The regular season has been over for 24+ hours now, but we still have a ways to go towards determining the playoff picture. Can you feel the excitement?

The Rockies starter will be either 5th starter, righty Antonio Senzatela; or their ace on short rest, lefty Kyle Freeland. I’m guessing the Rockies go with the latter. This sets everything up in the Cubs wheelhouse, and this is your MLB Wild Card in action. Call it the house edge for the establishment favorites, and even though the Brewers just defeated the Cubs and won their division, I’m already picturing a (re)match-up in the Divisional  Round, and I’m not alone. In a week the Cubs could be returning the favor to the Brewers & their fans in Miller Park.

As for the Rockies, they were the bullies of the NL West in 2018. That’s a Padres fan perspective. They threw at Padres repeatedly (who had no starting pitching to defend their hitters), and broke CF Manny Margot’s wrist intentionally, for no good reason. With that said, I still hope the Rockies beat the Cubs tomorrow, but I know better. The pressure will be on the Rockies to get an early lead, and if they don’t the percentages (and short rest) will likely crack them. It’s baseball, and anything can happen, but you need to be aware of the fix and this is as close as it gets in MLB.

Mon 01 Oct 2018 09:03:19 PM EDT

This consistent unfair bias towards big market franchises can be seen in the post-season seeding in the NL. The Brewers finished 96-67, highest win total in the NL. The Cubs were second highest at 95, but will be the 4th-seed, because they are the Wild Card. Just because, on that. That means the #2-seeded Dodgers (92-71) host the #3-seeded Braves who won only 90 games. The Brewers would surely prefer to face the Braves, and maybe even the Dodgers, but they have no choice, as it’s been decided in advance by the powers-that-be. Note how this leaves the possibility of a Dodgers-Cubs NLCS, which is what MLB & ESPN/Fox want. In the AL they want the Red Sox or Yankees in the World Series every year.

Also note that the AL Wild Card game could have been switched with the NL Wild Card game, as far as the Tuesday/Wednesday dates go. The Rockies, who won 9 of 10 games to end the season in a tie with LA. They haven’t had an off-day since September 20. The A’s @ Yankees is scheduled for Wednesday night, meaning they both get two off-days. Do you believe ANYONE but me has brought up the idea that it would be in the best interests of MLB to accommodate the weariness of the Rockies here? Most ESPN & Fox sports reporters couldn’t name three Rockies players in 10 seconds. In contrast, they know everyone on the Cubs as the background is already done. So who do who YOU like in the big game tomorrow? Also know that the Yankees (& Red Sox) never accommodate anyone for the best interest of all. That’s why they’re so despised. It’s the corrupt power structure behind all this that I despise.

Wed 03 Oct 2018 01:25:41 AM EDT

Cubs-Rockies 2018 NL Wild Card wrap-up: Tons of pitching changes, as this game went past midnight in two time zones, ending at ~1:07 AM ET. Rockies win 2-1, in 13 innings. The starters pitched well, as expected, but were long gone by the time things were decided at Wrigley Field. The Colorado Rockies got a run in the top of the 1st on a sacrifice fly, and ace LHP Kyle Freeland (on 3 days rest) made it hold up through 6.2, leaving the game with a 1-0 lead. On normal rest Freeland probably would have gone 8 IP, and the Rockies would have won 1-0. But instead Rockies righty set-up man Adam Ottavino gave up the tying run in the 8th, and this affair became a battle of bullpens & benches.

Rockies manager Bud Black used 5 relief pitchers, and Joe Maddon used 8 relievers, including 2 starters: Cole Hamels & (losing pitcher) Kyle Hendricks. He also used his entire bench, as many Cubs played multiple positions. Home plate umpire Chris Guccione was solid with balls & strikes, and there were no umpire or replay controversies that affected the outcome. The Rockies play the Brewers in the Divisional Round, which is much more fair to the NL Central champions, versus having to beat the Cubs again. This is a major MLB upset, as the Rockies had every disadvantage you could name, and still managed to beat the Cubs. That’s baseball.

I learn a lot about the hidden nuances of baseball, as compared to those who watch games on television, by following along (as needed) on MLB Gameday. Online is where the numbers of every pitch, the results of all balls put into play, and a running box score are kept for in-game reference. Highlights come soon enough, if one remains alert & patient with the MLB video feed. If you really want to know what’s happening, then you have to do some work, and this is the tool to get it done.

IMO, this is WAAAYYY better than listening to ESPN or Fox announcers, who mostly should be muted while switching to a radio broadcast, if entertainment is the desired goal. Those “golden voices” are mostly gone now, or at minimum, taken off-the-air during modern MLB post-season broadcasts. Their best replacement is Gameday, which gives intelligent baseball fans the data they need, particularly in identifying how pitchers are working hitters and any drop in velocity. Also, as soon as I start seeing inconsistent balls & strikes umpiring, I’m looking at the home plate umpire’s name in the box score. Teams all have vast troves of data on this stuff now.

The best-run franchises in MLB have this in common: they are all well-coordinated from ownership to GM to dugout manager to the players. This extends through the minors & globally. There is little-to-no disharmony in their words & actions concerning the product on the field, or the direction the organization is taking. The GM job is the most crucial, as they must handle the manager & the players, as well as upper-management & ownership– quite a juggling act. Responsibility for an organization’s success or failure most squarely rests on a GM’s shoulders.

A manager needs to understand when he must sit veterans, in order to give playing time to young talent, so an accurate determination of baseball abilities can be made. A GM needs this, so he doesn’t trade away a future All-Star or HoF-er, because he didn’t get enough at-bats or starts as a prospect. When a season becomes lost, organizational priorities change, and the dugout manager must yield extra consideration to the GM, who needs a large-enough sample size to evaluate young players, because growth is involved. Everybody is looking at potential, and grading on improvement. It’s not what you are now, as much as what you can become. That’s the job requirement for at least half the managers in MLB.

A manager’s job is to manage his 25-man roster. That means getting to know, and caring about his players as real people, instead of treating them like pieces of meat. Too many old-school managers crash their roster, or don’t get enough out of the available talent, as they let their egos dictate because they lack brains. It’s a manager’s job to not abuse his pitchers. He needs to know how to build & handle his bullpen, and use his bench. Proper leadership prevents injuries, which always need to be managed, and not allowed to linger on, be rushed back, or go unreported, otherwise they can wreck a roster.

All this requires GM involvement, as players on the 40-man roster are shuffled up & down as depth issues come up. Trade deadline acquisitions are also a team decision for an organization. There needs to be complete agreement on what is needed, and what to give up. Today’s manager needs to be quotable & media friendly, to take the heat off his players and stick up for them as needed. Good managers never trash their players or organization through the media, as all dirty laundry is handled professionally, in house, and in person. In short, winning teams have deep pockets, roster depth, and management that knows how to use it. The Astros are the best at this game right now.

The best teams at this in recent years have been the Astros, Giants, Cubs, Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Brewers, Braves, A’s, Rays, and Padres. That’s a diverse group as far as winning goes, spread out at different points on the win curve, but if you look closely at these examples of elite MLB organizational management, you’ll see how all these franchises have succeeded, or in the case of the Padres, will be the next to succeed. They consider & play every angle.

As for the AL Wild Card, I hope the A’s win, and then go on to sweep the Red Sox. Wouldn’t it be nice? At this point a fan can still dream of it, so I’m ending this serial here. An ending in the middle. It’s true that baseball holds the key to many of the cosmological riddles of our time and I see great things in it, but it’s also a job and mine is over here. With that said, I’ll finish my remaining thoughts on the game here in italics, and when tomorrow night’s reality arrives, I’ll happily be doing something else & not caring.

The fact is the Yankees would win two-out-of-three of these type games at The House That Ruthlessness Built, if they played a large enough sample to determine. A 33% chance for the A’s may be generous, but it also proves that baseball can be unpredictable. What’s published here is proof of that.

The two-Wild Card format began in 2012, and it was an upgrade as it finally made the Wild Card a play-in game. Before that there was no difference between winning the division or Wild Card, except for seeding in the post-season & draft order. The results in the NL have been either: 1) big-market powerhouses (Giants, Cubs) smashing middling second-Wild Card entries, or 2) a Reds-Pirates type affair. Until the Rockies beat the Cubs in 2018.

The Astros were moved to the AL in 2013, from the 6-team NL Central to the 4-team AL West, transforming that franchise, while finally providing competitive balance (and sensible interleague scheduling) for 30 MLB teams. In the AL since 2012, the Wild Card has been won by: the Orioles, Rays, Royals, Astros (over Yankees) in 2015, Blue Jays (over Orioles) in 2016, and the Yankees in 2017. That’s a lot of AL East participation & winning, you may have noticed. The only year the AL East didn’t have a Wild Card team under this format was in 2014, when the Royals beat the A’s.

Those were (coincidentally) the last years of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, etc, and the Yankees were actually rebuilding. Meanwhile the Red Sox had their two worst seasons in recent history in 2014 & 2015. That gave the Royals a window to win a World Series, which they did in 2015. It was definitely an anomaly in MLB. The Royals have now collapsed, and the Red Sox have since traded the farm to become a win-now heavyweight, which is considered the new “normal” for fall in New England.

Concerning free agency this winter, there is much that can be predicted with accuracy. Owners have been told by their GM’s that they shouldn’t overpay for veterans, unless they are top-tier non-pitchers. See RHP Hu Darvish, who signed with the Cubs, and had been on the DL since, with all kinds of arm troubles. That’s 6 years, $126 million down the drain. It was Eric Hosmer & JD Martinez who were coveted last winter. This year it will be SS Manny Machado of the Dodgers, and RF Bryce Harper of the Nationals. Neither will get anything close to the kind of money that they had hoped for, or been hyped on. Bryce Harper is the youngest, about to turn 26, so he can expect an 8-year deal at maximum money. A few years ago, many owners would throw that kind of offer any age 30-ish slugger.

The bigger problem is that mid-tier free agents are getting far fewer big-money offers than they’ve seen in the past. A 2/$10 million deal is a common FA player deal these days. Many free agent pitchers had to take one-year deals. A 4-5-year deal only goes to free agent performers who are in demand. Last winter was the MLB free-agent market crash, and I reported it on this site. It got me kicked off the MLB.com forum, if you need an idea of how sensitive this issue is. Players of all experience levels in Spring Training 2018 had pointed questions for their MLBPA representatives on this heated topic. Their perspective is that if they’re exploited in the minors, and underpaid as arbitration eligible big-leaguers; then what’s the point of free agency if they can’t get a contract that fairly compensates them for their value– past, present or future? Veterans are now dumped for cheaper options, and never get the payday they were promised by the MLBPA union & their agents. This issue won’t just “go away,” so look for it during the hot stove season.

Back to this post-season & its format, an undiscussed point on big market favoritism that pervades MLB is the World Series home field advantage decider. As mentioned above, it is best overall record that decides home field advantage in the Fall Classic. In the World Series, being a division winner is declared irrelevant by MLB, and it’s suddenly best overall record that decides home field advantage. In the AL, the Yankees & A’s are the Wild Cards. The winner doesn’t get home field advantage in the Divisional or ALCS rounds– if they get that far, but they’ll have home field advantage in the World Series if they make it, because they both had a better overall record than all the NL division winners.

There is no consistency to any of this “logic,” until your realize the deeper bias involved. Every year the high-payroll Yankees & Red Sox slug it out in the AL East, and are often the teams with the two best records in MLB– like this year. This flip in the rules for a Wild Card, allows both the Yankees & Red Sox to have home field advantage in the World Series, whomever the Wild Card may be. This year is was the Yankees. This is significant, because of the DH advantage for the AL.

The DH is a major distortion in the rules of baseball. MLB is the only professional sports organization that has significantly different rules for their competing leagues. The NFL has the same rules for the NFC/AFC, and the NBA the same rules for their Eastern & Western Conferences. Same thing in the NHL and everywhere else, except maybe NASCAR– where the rules change week-by-week.

The DH allows the Red Sox to start HoF-ers like RHP’s Pedro Martinez & Curt Schilling, and move this slot in the batting order up to 3rd, so HoF-hitter David Ortiz can pinch hit for them every time. Instant “Babe Ruth” through the DH, to end “The Curse.” Plus, AL pitchers can throw at anyone they please, without ever having to face retribution at the plate. Ain’t the DH grand? The problem is that it’s unfair to most AL teams that can’t afford to compete at that level of payroll, and it’s completely unfair to NL teams, who can’t carry a DH on their 25-man roster during the season.

That’s why interleague play is dominated by the AL, who win two-thirds of the contests, so of course [!] all the AL powerhouses will own the best overall records in MLB. The AL almost always wins the All-Star Game too, as more power pitching & hitting is required to compete in the AL, due to the DH. For years the All-Star game winner was tied to World Series home field advantage. This reflected the same bias. Now there’s a new method to achieve the same desired results.

The World Series winners are closer to even, with a slight advantage to the AL. Both teams get a chance to adjust their 25-man rosters before the World Series, which can help a NL team add a bat they may need. Since 1995, the first season with the Wild Card “innovation” that was played to completion, through 2017; the AL has won the World Series 12 times, and the NL 11 times. In the 23 All-star games during that span, the AL is 17-5-1. * There was a tie in 2002, at Miller Park with MLB commissioner/ex-owner Bud Selig (now a HoF-er) in attendance. To summarize, in a short series (small sample size) like the Fall Classic, the best NL teams can overcome the DH, but it’s still a disadvantage to them. Over time with a large number of games, the NL gets get crushed by the DH.

What these findings & conclusions on this biased format indicate, is that MLB prefers the Yankees or Red Sox to win the World Series every year, as the rules are all set up to that effect. Don’t forget that the MLB rules committee & replay umpiring is run out of New York, and is supervised by the likes of ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre. BTW, who are these replay officials–specifically? Fans would like their names & faces– for accountability. Everyone else in baseball is accountable for their actions, so why do these replay umpires in New York keep themselves anonymous, hidden & far away? To ask the question is to answer it.

Meanwhile, lookout for replay bias in the post-season, as it’s happened too often in the past for fans to ignore. When a controversial call is made, it overwhelmingly favors the big-market franchise. Those bad calls are glossed over by network announcers, swept under-the-rug by the corporate media, and ended with the ultimate excuse, “the Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs/Dodgers would have won anyways.” On the other hand, when a controversial call goes against one of these big-name favorites, there is hysterical indignation in the ESPN-led sports media for a week.

What I’ve highlighted & exhaustively analyzed here (concluded after the NL Wild Card game), is a lot of really small stuff that no one else talks about, yet subtly works in the background– always to the advantage of the favored franchises. So why is this? The answer is money & TV ratings. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a US mid-term election on November 6, and political advertising has already been paid-for. The last thing MLB and it’s network sponsors want are the Oakland A’s vs. the Milwaukee Brewers or Colorado Rockies in the World Series. That may be an intriguing match-up from a purist standpoint, the problem is there are WAY more greedy politicians than baseball purists running & influencing MLB from behind-the-scenes.

MLB manipulates all this because it needs the Yankees or Red Sox to battle the Cubs or Dodgers for all this to pay off. Professional sports is big money & politics, so Cleveland or Houston winning the pennant would be considered a disappointment in the AL, as would be the Braves winning it in the NL. After the Cubs lost the Wild Card game, it was instantly down to the Dodgers for most MLB executives as far as the NL is concerned. Once you absorb all this, then you are ready to watch the MLB post-season with a fair idea of what to expect, and how it’s going to be called.

NL West
Contenders: Dodgers, Diamondbacks (WC)
Pretenders: Padres, Rockies, Giants

What happened: The high-payroll Dodgers weathered a barrage of injuries, and outlasted everyone in the competitive NL West. The Rockies surprised me some, as I thought the Diamondbacks were better positioned to repeat themselves for a Wild Card run. If you look at their Pythagorean records (ARZ & COL) you’ll see their places in the standing should be reversed, an example of luck factor which you can’t prognosticate in baseball. The Giants doubled down on veterans over the winter in a vain attempt to make another miracle. Look for wholesale roster changes in SF this winter, as they finished fourth. This is still the toughest division in the NL from top-to-bottom.

I’m a Padres fan, so I optimistically picked the Friars to rise to third place out West, but quickly realized this was a last-place team. In 2017 the Padres were 71-91 and finished fourth, but their Pythagorean record was 59-103. I overlooked that Pythagorean, and that’s why I’m emphasizing it here. The reason the Padres overplayed their record by 12 games in 2017 was 1) Andy Green is an elite manager, and 2) LHP Brad Hand had a season for the ages. Andy Green used Hand often & precisely, and he delivered time & time again. In 2017, there were so many situations where Brad Hand came in a serious jam, and he got the strikeout and/or double play ground ball to end the threat. Hand saved his bullpen mates a ton of runs, and made them look a lot better (ERA wise) than they actually were.

It would be an impossible to expect him to repeat that performance in 2018, and Hand wasn’t quite as good this season, although he’s still an All-Star. The Padres dealt him before the trade deadline to Cleveland for Francisco Mejia, the top catching prospect in MLB. The Padres have played Mejia extensively already and are impressed. This looks like a win-win trade, which is what you like to see when this kind of talent is involved.

Final analysis & Padres notes: As we can see, I got some stuff right and other stuff wrong. Most of the right stuff was easy to predict, as not much has changed in MLB. I’ve admitted my errors and shown you that I don’t know everything about baseball. Don’t you wish more sports-media types would do this? It will probably be another year or two before we see significant turnover in the top teams, as the best-run franchises are pretty well established now, and the second-division teams have a long way to go. The fate & direction of the Nationals will be a big story this winter.

The best bet for a surprise NL contender in 2019 will be the San Diego Padres who have the top farm system in MLB, with a few pieces in already place. Wil Myers moving to 3B will be a big help to the Padres, if he can stay healthy and hold down the position. They have top prospect SS Fernando Tatis Jr. and hitting machine 2B Luis Urias ready to fill in their infield. Age-23 RF Franmil Reyes has been a huge surprise for the Padres in this developmental campaign. He fits with CF Manny Margot and LF Hunter Renfroe who has also shown progress in 2018. Same for Austin Hedges, who is now a legit MLB catcher. They’re still probably another year or two away, but you can see it coming if you’re paying attention.

A big factor in the improvement of these young core players was the addition of free agent 1B Eric Hosmer, who sacrificed personal numbers to provide necessary leadership for this fragile team. This definitely took its toll, making him look bad in 2018, but his efforts weren’t lost on Andy Green & real Padres fans. For the first half of the season, Eric Hosmer was the only Padres position player to be healthy & above replacement level.

The reason this team hasn’t lost 100+ games in a season at any time during this painful building process is because of ownership support for A.J. Preller & Andy Green, who are geniuses at what they do. The Padres are currently one game below their X-W/L in 2018, and much of that is due to the bias in umpiring (on-the-field & replay) that has consistently gone against them. The Padres have been repeated victims of inexplicably bad calls, including the worst umpiring call in the history of baseball, which was barely mentioned in the media. It’s taken a few wins away for sure.

Of course, it’s all about pitching in terms of who wins in baseball, and the Padres dumped/demoted their remaining veterans a few months back, and have turned their rotation over to rookies & prospects to see what they have. Young LHP’s Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and RHP Jacob Nix are the starters Green & Preller are watching the most closely. When the waves of top pitching talent start making an impact at Petco Park, the Padres will be a force in the NL. The priority for GM A.J. Preller this winter is to protect his prospects from the Rule 5 Draft in December, and then possibly make a deal for an ace pitcher– if one becomes available.

Tue 02 Oct 2018 01:17:08 PM EDT

Padres Notes Wrap-up:

The San Diego Padres went 66-96, and they saved their best for the last play of the season. Bottom of the 10th against the Diamondbacks, 3-3 tie, one out with Manny Margot on third base after tripling. Rookie catcher Francisco Mejia strikes out swing, but the ball scoots past catcher JR Murphy. Mejia sees this, and runs to first base– like he’s supposed to. Murphy scrambles, gathers the ball, but doesn’t have time to check Margot who is holding with a big lead off of third. Murphy fires to first for the put-out on the strikeout, while Margot breaks for home. When 1B Daniel Descalso double clutches, Margot slides in safely with the winning run without a throw, and the Petco crowd goes wild!! The 2018 San Diego Padres were the craziest 66-win team I have ever followed. It was mostly painful, but it had a few moments like these, enough to keep me coming back in 2019.

1B/OF/3B Wil Myers is a big issue for this organization. He’s now age 27, and had another disappointing season. The experiment at 3B in August/September, didn’t go well. Padres GM AJ Preller now faces the need to fill a position (3B), and move a potential 5th-wheel who is about to become overpaid. Look for the Padres to get creative and move Myers this winter, in a big trade to acquire a 3B and/or pitching prospects. All this depends on the organization’s confidence in Myers being able to play 3B, and his overall character– which I really don’t know. I don’t believe they will make any significant free agent splashes, like they did with 1B Eric Hosmer last winter.

The Mets have been rumored to be interested in dealing RHP Noah Syndergaard, but who knows the asking price, or AJ Preller’s level of interest with his injury history. LHP Clayton Kershaw will remain with the Dodgers, so I don’t see any ace-level pitching becoming available. Best to build from within on that front. We saw last winter (and this season) what free-agent pitchers are actually worth. It’s an overpay, for injury risk & drop-off performance. Young pitchers are premium value, at league minimum rates. The same goes for players/hitters. An organization that has that going has the nucleus for a divisional dynasty that will compete for a World Series. Free-agents & acquired veterans can only fill-in needs, they can’t be the core as they are too costly, and prone to breakdown with diminishing results.

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The Ric Size Trio: Coming Soon!!

Early rehearsals have been promising. It’s so nice to work with true professionals.

We’re getting the band together. The Ric Size Trio is: Bill Pelick on bass & Tom Pearce on drums.

Above is the set list we’re working though, to figure out what works– and what doesn’t.

Look for us soon in Orlando & (hopefully) beyond!!

Update: Sunday September 23, 2018

Bass player Bill Pelick has left this project after two rehearsals. It turns out he prefers to play classic rock, and he’s also not up for touring. We are all still friends and wish him the best.

This has been the story of my music career. This trio was intended to be the “reunion tour,” where we played the fun songs and rocked everybody– for the money. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that I”m not allowed to be successful in business. Something always “happens” to prevent it, despite my best efforts & the demand I create. This “something” is establishment fear, which has been spread far, wide & deep by nefarious monied interests & the deep state. These entities do have the power to keep this band from happening, and they’ve done everything possible to see that it doesn’t.

I’ve been at this music career for over 20 years, and it gets to the point where you know you can’t win, or be happy, so the best option is to move on. If there was a bass player who was capable & willing to join us, they would have shown themselves by now. I don’t envision any more Ric Size performances in the future. I’ve had it with playing solo, which I was always forced into– due to lack of support. The truth is, my music & politics are so far “out there,” that most musicians can’t relate. Those who try are soon scared off. This is how it goes when you are a blacklisted artist.

The only true artist I worked with in my music career is Tom Pearce. Tom is a consummate professional, and an inventive drummer with perfect time. He’s also a sound specialist, producer, & webmaster. Tom Pearce is the only one who truly has what it takes to rock with me. For the rest who helped, then hopped off, I have mixed feelings. I’m grateful for any assistance, yet disappointed that fear & prejudice limited their willingness to collaborate. It’s a waste of talent, IMO.

Me, I have no regrets, as I gave it everything I had with no fear. When you’re spent, it’s time to do something else, and that appears to be the case here. We will do our best to finish re-mastering & releasing all the albums. Once again, it’s invisible barriers that have kept us from making these products available on CD, as censorship & blacklisting have cut this music off from a mainstream audience. It’s pointless to put time, money & energy into producing & manufacturing product, only to be choked off by Google, Fakebook, YouTube, PayPal and everyone else who controls the important levers of power. An artist needs promotion, publicity & distribution to succeed, and I’ve got none of that. It’s not from a lack of effort.

The upshot is that everything I’ve ever written on politics has had a direct (negative) impact of my music career– from a financial standpoint. I can no longer do this for free, as I’ve run out of money. I’m also unwilling to remain isolated, which is what the establishment does to artists it deems as dangerous. This is why I’m alone. Don’t believe the girl or woman who says she desires a man who is artistic. If that was the case, I would have been hooked-up & satisfied a long time ago. Women are taught to go for the money & security, which is the exact opposite of being a true artist.

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Sy Hersh: Crimefighter & Media Pariah

It’s funny, I’ve been watch Seymour (Sy) Hersh interviews incessantly, and then today there’s a World Socialist Web Site  review on his latest book, Reporter (2018). The review was good, so I left a comment. Here it is in full:

Excellent review of a thoughtful & courageous reporter with ethics! Sy Hersh clearly explains why he’s now so censored in this book, and in many interviews since. Barack Obama was obsessed with leaks, and wanted them stopped. Hersh was even more vilified after publishing the “Killing of Osama bin Laden” in 2013, which has been reviewed by the WSWS. This story debunked Obama’s narrative, reinforced by “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012), a Hollywood propaganda movie on bin Laden’s execution by Navy Seals.

Most recently, Sy Hersh has been unable to publish his biography of Dick Cheney, because of sourcing, as he would have to give his sources away (something he doesn’t do), and put them in jeopardy– perhaps of being killed. Therefore he wrote this memoir, “Reporter” instead.

Essential political books by Sy Hersh also include: The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House (1983) and The Dark Side of Camelot (1997).

But as so often happens, I can’t leave it alone. As Peter Falk in Colombo would say, “Something’s still bothering me…,” and it was the second-to-last paragraph in the piece, which pointed out political disagreements the SEP/ICFI has with Hersh. This can be easily misunderstood & distorted by unprincipled agitators, therefore there is need to clarify a theoretical issue on polemics. Marxist WSWS writer Andre Damon correctly writes:

“We do not share many of Seymour Hersh’s views, including his appeals to what he calls the reasonable sections of the US military and intelligence apparatus for a change in US foreign policy. But, as the book’s title implies, he is a genuine reporter; he knows the difference between the truth and a lie and works to expose it before the world public.”

A demagogue would try to use those political differences to divide Hersh from Marxists, which would be a mistake. Sy Hersh is a real reporter, which means he isn’t allowed to be politically biased towards any party. That’s a requirement to do his job well. Identifying with Marxism would have ended his career. Also, if Hersh had ever become openly partisan, he would have lost the confidence of his sources, and then access. This is the hardest-hitting establishment reporter in American political history, and this “self-censorship” is the price he’s had to pay. I politically wish he would publish everything he knows, but I understand why he doesn’t.

Most “journalists” today are biased and/or embedded, which makes them flunkies & apologists. Sy Hersh is pretty much on an island at this point, in terms of his profession– which (like all others) has been destroyed by corporate corruption & greed. Since “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” was published in the London Book Review in 2013, Hersh’s articles have no longer been released or discussed much in American media. He’s so popular among readers, and so widely known that it doesn’t matter where he’s published, as the Internet broadcasts him to a global audience hungry for the truth.

Like Julian Assange & WikiLeaks, Sy Hersh is fighting for the truth, and being persecuted by the ruling establishment. This common experience is shared with Marxists, and it’s why Trotskyists consider them to be comrades-in-arms– in our common fight against tyranny & injustice. Marxists are armed with political theory, and dialectical materialism as philosophy. Marxism is a powerful tool for analysis of political economy and planning revolutionary action, but only if there is helpful & accurate data with which to work.

If we as a society don’t have journalists like Hersh & Assange publishing the truth in its rawest forms, then Marxists (and all others) are in the dark. It’s a symbiotic relationship between Trotskyists and the best reporters, whistle-blowers, activists, and other forms of truth tellers. Trotskyists analyze data and can quickly come to correct political conclusions, using Marxist science & dialectics. The correct message & political line can then be relayed to the disenfranchised youth & exploited workers of the world.

If all the real journalists are persecuted & silenced, then there are no more publicly known facts. This makes achieving socialism impossible, because there will be no facts around which to base political arguments. It will be only variants of fake news, which is what we have now– mostly. That’s why Marxists always stand with and defend these journalists, who are actually socialists in deed, which is why they are being punished in the media & politically.

Whenever Sy Hersh is asked a stupid or bad question in an interview, his reflexive reply is to the effect that, “You have to understand these matters are complex, and that I’ve been doing this a long time…” Then, he takes a few minutes to clarify the issues, which usually means giving background & context.

I’ve labeled Sy Hersh as a crimefighter in the title, because he is. The greatest crimefighter in American fiction is Superman. What’s ironic here are Hersh’s resemblances to mild-mannered Clark Kent reporting for the Daily Planet, making him more powerful in real life than the “Man of Steel” ever was in fiction. What if the next Superman franchise featured an emphasis on Clark Kent’s writing & investigative reporting? I think it would be a helluva story. Anyways, in this age of the Internet, the pen is still mightier than the sword, despite what DC Comics, Hollywood, and the rest of the establishment try to tell you.

Hersh has had serious, high-level political contacts on every continent for decades. He grew up in Chicago, and understands the realities with the police & the mafia, etc. Most people don’t have anywhere near his understanding of how the world works, much less who controls it. One his best assets is his ability to be patient, clear-headed & appear friendly in the face of hostility. It is rare to have mastery of all these social skills, and Seymour Hersh is one of those geniuses. He needs to be more widely read, understood & defended.

* New Superman premise: Decades of being surrounded by a beltway of Kryptonite has robbed our Man of Steel of his super-human strength & immortality. In order to continue his fight against evil, Superman has mothballed his spandex & cape, and permanently assumed the role of mild-mannered reporter, who now must combat evil with his wits & keyboard. Instead of sensationally flying from scene-to-scene to valiantly save the day, our aging reporter has become the chummy drinking companion of many top political figures, allowing him untold access into this nefarious world of political criminality…

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The Truth About Fake News

Fake news has existed for a long, long time; for as long as mass media has existed. Newspapers, radio & television have always been propaganda tools of the ruling state, as government is nothing more than a committee of the ruling class. What’s new today is that fake news is discussed openly in the media. Donald Trump has popularized this terminology to call attention to Democrat-biased news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times & Washington Post. This is a primary reason why he’s hated so much in the liberal media.

Trump is correct in his assertions of bias against him, which gives him populist credibility among his fascist supporters. When he states that the mass media is the “enemy of the people,” and his White House Press Secretary reinforces that statement, his popularity among his hardcore supporters goes up, because he’s correct. The flipside is that his base of support is shrinking. That’s the dynamic at work here.

Republicans have always been viewed by the educated working class as the party of the rich, and the worst liars. But Donald Trump has become somewhat of a Democrat in his tactics, in that he mixes in tweets which are half-truths about the media. Trump rarely vilifies Fox News in his rants against fake news, and they are the most brazen & shameless liars of all. Ideologically speaking, Trump & his cohorts have moved the Republican party to the right, past it’s traditional platform, more in line with the Tea party & police state fascism.

An instructive case study in fake news and how it’s manipulated (and in whose interests), is the recent furor over American “pastor” Andrew Brunson, who is being held under house arrest in Turkey for his alleged involvement in the June 2016 coup attempt to overthrow president Recep Erdogan. Brunson has been in Turkish custody for nearly two years now, but suddenly it’s widely declared an issue of vital “national interest” that he be released. Let’s begin with a fundamental question: Who is Andrew Brunson?

A Google search of “pastor Andrew Brunson images,” won’t turn up a single picture [!] of him with a church congregation– in Turkey or North Carolina. Also, no members of his “congregation” in Turkey (said to number ~25) have called for his release, because they don’t exist. Brunson is clearly a CIA agent, as this is dirty politics between Erdogan & US imperialism. The working masses of Turkey are caught in this vice of economic sanctions & covert war. Only international revolutionary socialism can end this diplomatic intrigue & drive towards world war.

Currently the Trump administration’s foreign policy is focusing on starting a war with Iran, which has been a long-held objective of deep state hawks. Iran has the second-largest oil reserves in the world, behind Saudi Arabia– which is the motive. This American intrigue is about bringing the global oil supply chain under US government-corporate control, which is madness. Proxy armies in Syria & Turkey will be used for this operation.

The US-Syrian war is in it’s seventh year, and now reportedly has over 2,000 US troops on the ground in that country– who weren’t invited. Their purpose is to aid terrorist proxy armies (Free Syria Army, White Helmets, ISIS, etc) in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia has intervened military to prop up Assad, and help contain these Islamic terrorists, who are trained & directed by Washington & the CIA. They have been largely successful, provoking the wrath of the deep state, which metastasizes itself into the media through the Trump-as-an-agent-of-Putin & #MeToo campaigns.

Notice that you never hear these facts, or this type of rational analysis in any mainstream media outlet. That’s why fake news exists, to distract the masses from the truth, with a tsunami of lies & distortions. This is too dirty is be explained honestly. But how long can this go on? By all appearances, not much longer, as the Internet has connected the masses to alternative outlets for news & analysis, and social media allows instant sharing of content, globally.

The Internet is being ruthlessly censored by the CEO’s of Google, Fakebook, YouTube and all the rest of the tech giants; but it’s not going to stop this information revolution. People crave answers. They want the truth, and mass media has finally discredited itself, to the point of no return. The youth of America (and the world), no longer watch the evening news or read newspapers, as these corrupt institutions are now understood to be nothing more than a propaganda arm of the capitalist system.

Increasingly, the ruling classes of every nation (particularly the US), will resort to violence to maintain their grip on power. Information is power, and once people know the truth, they become energized. For decades, strikes and other workers struggles have been suppressed by the media, identity politics, and union bureaucracies. What is coming in the near future, will be mass-organized wildcat worker action that can’t be ignored.

When every teacher in the US goes out on strike, that (and the issues underneath) can’t be swept under the rug. When the US post office, UPS & Fed-Ex stop delivering packages & the mail, people will notice. This is what’s on the horizon, and the battle lines are already being drawn up– on both sides. That’s some real news worth knowing & considering, don’t you think?

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