“I don’t see that we have any choice, but to kill that son-of-a-bitch– Jeffery Epstein.
“We could do it in prison, as the security cameras are rolling. It would make a terrific season premiere for The Mao Tse-tung Hour…”
Tagline: An inside look at the propaganda behind the campaign
Actress, model & activist Pamela Anderson went on The View last Friday (Sept. 6) to defend Julian Assange. Russia Today reported on this story, and one of their top comments was, “Meghan McCain looks like a tellytubby.”
This leads to two points: 1) people are very contemptuous of Meghan McCain’s feminist attitude & narrative, and 2) Pamela Anderson gets attention.
A small point on women’s fashion is that Pamela Anderson is the most buttoned-up dressed of all of them when she appears on The View. The queen of the Playboy centerfold takes them ALL down with her composure & thought-out responses. These feminist phonies have NOTHING in response, which is why they normally don’t allow the original “Tool Time Girl” on prime-time television anymore. The point is that nothing beats beauty & brains.
In summary: reactionary #MeToo feminism is being used as a weapon for silencing men, and separating them from beautiful & secure women, in order to perpetuate establishment lies.
Faye Dunaway & Pamela Anderson are amazing, as they, and others like them represent the best of what’s possible for women. The rest here are bitchy, man-hating, teletubby trash. Those are but a few of the many faces of feminism.
Losing one’s self-consciousness is not easy. Self-consciousness is what distracts us from what we are doing. It is peer pressure. It tells us to be aware of other interests & conform to expectations. Self-consciousness is group-think in each of us.
To lose this self-defeating impulse, one must have a strong mind & body. Otherwise doubts arise, which is self-consciousness creeping in. Only if you truly know in your heart & mind that what you are doing is correct, can you act without self-consciousness. When this happens, boundaries no longer apply and mountains can be moved, because there are no external or internal interferences.
True leaders learn to act without self-consciousness, because they correctly recognize the survival of civilization and our planet supersedes any personal issues. People who take things personally act with too much self-consciousness (ie- personal interest) to be effective leaders of men & women.
The entire political & financial spheres of humanity are controlled by self-conscious autocrats, who place themselves above the law, and deem their interests too big to fail. This is self-consciousness run amok. It’s an inherent feature of capitalism, which emphasizes individual gain.
The ability to forget oneself is a useful & powerful skill. We are all born with extreme self-consciousness, demanding everything as infants. The idea is that as we grow, we learn to be independent and take care of ourselves, while developing the skills to eventually take care of others.
When you watch a mother properly take care of her baby, there is no self-consciousness in her actions. All she cares about is her baby. When you see an insecure mother making a show of her baby, to the degree that she’s acting self-consciously, she’s less of a mom.
I mentioned being strong in body. If you are carrying extra fat, then you have pain— most likely in your spine & hips. Pain is a brake on physical action. When you attempt to do something and pain strikes, it stops you. You are now self-conscious that it hurts, and your actions are limited. At root, self-consciousness is personal insecurity which ultimately disables the individual.
How you look physically is important. People make judgments, which can help or hurt your situation. Can you ignore all that? Can you just do what you want, when you want? Personal hygiene should be approached scientifically. This is a norm people can recognize & respect, without acting self-consciously. We have social hygiene problems of self-consciousness in both direction– too little & too much.
The same is true with beauty, which has objective & subjective elements. Objective parts include a lean body, nice smile, pretty eyes, healthy skin & hair. If you have that at any age, then you will be considered attractive by all. Beauty gets a variety striking reactions, so remaining open-minded to what comes is the best approach, as compared to self-consciousness.
Humor is another area where it’s best to lose one’s self-consciousness. When referring to yourself, it should be self-depreciating and/or ironic. For a long time now, I’ve typically added photos to my writings. This helps to deliver points, ideas, etc, while giving the article color & visualization. It helps with searches too. But self-consciousness is a difficult concept, almost impossible to depict in images, so I didn’t use any in this essay. It was a very self-conscious decision.
The men’s final just completed between Novak Djokovic & Roger Federer was the greatest tennis match ever. Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3); in a match that was impossible to determine who was going to win until the very end.
This match was broadcast exclusively on ESPN, meaning many US households that cut-the-cable/satellite-cord a long time ago, didn’t get to see this live. Perhaps this is why America hasn’t produced a homegrown men’s Grand Slam winner since Sampras, Agassi, etc?
The point is that the Wimbledon finals (men’s & women’s) needs to be broadcast on a major network. Wimbledon finals is the Super Bowl of tennis, so you want as many viewers as possible for advertisers. That’s the traditional theory of television advertising which everyone understands.
People in the US are interested in great sporting events, even if they don’t involve Americans. The USWNT in soccer just proved quality women’s competition garners serious interest on all sides in winning World Cup 2019.
With Wimbledon, ESPN and the major networks pandered to crude interests by not broadcasting the Federer-Nadal semifinal match, and both the men’s & women’s finals on a major network– meaning ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. The games of tennis needs that exposure, and Disney, which owns ESPN & ABC made the conscious decision to stunt the growth of the game by keeping both finals on ESPN. In Sanford-Orlando, FL it was infomercials from car dealers on ABC during this instant classic, a ratings-loser move for sure.
On the women’s side, 7-seed Simona Halep defeated 11-seed Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the finals to win her 1st Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam. Bitch factor was kept mostly under control this time around.
Taking a closer look at Serena Williams’ 2019 Wimbledon run reveals (once again) that she played no top-quality opponents until the finals. She defeated 18-seed Julia Goerges in the 3rd Round, and 30-seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the 4th. Everyone else was unseeded, until Halep (pictured above) thrashed her in the finals.
The draws in the WTA majors are obviously constructed to keep Serena Williams in it as long as possible. Since Serena Williams’ “comeback” at the 2018 French Open, she has magically avoided playing Halep, Kerber, Muguruza, Osaka, Stephens, Sharapova, etc in her section of the draw in every major. How & why does that happen? Every time Williams has lost to one of these named above opponents, it has been in straight sets, which means it isn’t a fluke. You don’t see that deliberate favorable seeding of a top player in the ATP.
What I’ve noticed is that the women players have adapted. Simona Halep defeated unseeded Victoria Azarenka (always a tough opponent) in the 3rd round. Halep had to beat 8-seed Elina Svitolina in the semis. All her other opponents before the finals were unseeded. A bunch of big women names went down early again, and Halep’s path to the Wimbledon finals was also cleared. At this point, as long as Simona Halep is rested & healthy, she will beat Serena Williams. Halep is age 27, and Williams is 37. It appears the women are working together, taking turns denying Serena Williams another major. This is under-the-radar bitch factor at work, FYI.
The Serena Williams era in women’s tennis is at its end, as far as winning majors goes. Wimbledon is always her best shot with her dominant serve, and again she couldn’t come close to winning a set in the finals. This happened last year against Angelique Kerber, and then against Naomi Osaka at the US Open.
After her third straight Grand Slam final defeat, Serena Williams was inanely asked in her postmatch news conference whether she should focus on tennis over being a celebrity or fighting for equality. “The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me [black] will be the day I’m in my grave,” Williams responded.
This was a shot across the bow of lesbian WTA legend Billie Jean King, who stated to the BBC mid-Wimbledon, “Quite frankly, if I were Serena, I would give up being a celebrity for a year and a half if she wants to win titles, if she wants to beat records, that’s the question. I don’t know what she wants.” King later tweeted to clarify her views after Serena Williams’ retort, saying she supported the work Serena Williams did to push for equality.
I find it interesting that Serena Williams who is worth over $180 million feels that she is fighting for equality, and so does Billie Jean King. Serena Williams is in the top 0.1% in terms of wealth, in the most unequal society in the world. Billie Jean King is obviously blinded by the politics here, but correct in that Serena Williams is living in a fantasy world, and that won’t win any more majors.
Sensationally [!] Serena Williams made a public apology to Naomi Osaka as the tournament began. Notably, her apology didn’t to extend to chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who was most abused by Serena Williams’ vile outburst at the 2018 US Open. Serena Williams only felt the need to apologize to a black woman, which says everything about her politics. Reactionary feminism & racialism to the core. That’s what pays today.
Does anyone else notice how well-coordinated all of Serena Williams’ media campaigns are? She got the cover of Harper’s Bazaar (above) as a platform for her apology to Naomi Osaka. That’s when the “time was right” for this super-connected & spoiled female athlete to burnish her image. What about the refused drug test at her home last June? What about TUE’s? What about the $10,000 fine for practice court abuse at Wimbledon a few days ago? How come no one in the corporate media asks these questions?
The Celebrity-Fan Zone:
Here is celebrity equality in action at Wimbledon. Actor Woody Harrelson was in attendance watching Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah win a four-and-three-quarter-hour epic in the Wimbledon men’s doubles final. But Woody Harrelson stole the show by being treated like an average fan by the Wimbledon security attendant, who wouldn’t let him back to his seat until the game was over.
Players don’t like fans moving about during a game, and therefore patrons must wait to move in or out of the stadium. Woody Harrelson acknowledged that, and sipped his drink in the tunnel while he waited. Lots of celebrities would flip out, instead of respecting the etiquette. Harrelson would tell you, it’s HARD WORK looking that goofy. HARD WORK!!
Theoretical tennis question for men: How good is Serena Williams?
Most men would lose 6-0, 6-0 to her, unless they are a really good player. If she double faults or hits one wide, you didn’t “win” that point, she gave it to you– so respect that difference. A “good player” is defined at minimum as: 1) an upper-tier D1 NCAA player, or 2) a top recreational player who bagels everybody he plays.
A quality male competitor with his serve should be able to win a few games against the greatest women’s player ever. But respect the fact that Serena Williams is an experienced professional, so consistency with her overall game bagels 99+% of males who ever picked up a tennis racket.
The ATP is in its most glorious era ever, with the three greatest players ever winning every major in site. Federer still has 20 majors, Nadal 18, and Djokovic 16. I predict that when it’s all over, they’ll all be tied. How’s that for objectivity? Nadal (age 33) is still unbeatable on clay, and Djokovic (age 32) is barely the best on grass, while clearly the best on the hardcourts. Roger Federer turns age 38 on August 8, and for him to be a part of the latest “greatest match in tennis history,” says so much about his greatness.
The women’s game is in turnover, and there remain serious questions about the integrity of the seedings & draws in the WTA majors. With Serena Williams leaving the game, PED’s need to become an open discussion, as I believe the vast majority of women players favor strict bans on all usage.
The ubiquitous desire to be alpha-dominant on the men’s side, doesn’t exist so much with women in sports. Women generally favor comfort & safety over athletic glory. That’s why a hardened & overwhelming competitor like Serena Williams can come along and wipe everybody out for an era. It was amazing to watch, but the excesses & ethics of doping need to be considered in total. Is it worth it?
Her situation will eventually be viewed the same as Barry Bonds & Lance Armstrong. This means Serena Williams was clearly better than her competition, but still felt disrespected, slighted, provoked, or whatever into pushing the PED envelope. The truth is none of them needed it. Even if their numbers suffered a bit, they would still eventually be recognized as the best ever. But when you cheat, and deny it; the public has no tolerance for that. When this gives the best player an unfair edge, Serena Williams’ claims of fighting for equality come off as hypocritical nonsense.
The USWNT won their 4th women’s World Cup beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the finals in Lyon, France today. Megan Rapinoe (PK) and Rose Lavelle scored in the mid second half, eight minutes apart to settle the match.
Rapinoe who plays professionally for the Seattle Reign FC won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer & the Golden Ball as its top player. Alex Morgan (below) of the Orlando Pride won the Silver Boot.
There have now been 8 women’s World Cup events since its inception in 1991. The US has won four times (1991, 1999, 2015 & 2019), Germany twice (2003 & 2007), Norway (1995) & Japan (2011) once.
There were many new trends in this tournament worth discussing from a sporting & social perspective. First, was former women’s players being allowed to dominate the broadcasts, lead discussion of rules disputes, and provide needed commentary where required. Most of it was spot-on, and much better than the hysterics & apologetics we get regularly in men’s FIFA. A pleasant eye-opener.
The women’s WC 2019 was also another advance for sports science, in that Video Assisted Replay (VAR) was given a chance, competently managed, and used effectively. There were issues early-on, for sure, but the women stuck with it and learned from their mistakes. They needed to, because there were a lot of blown calls by officials & lines-women in WC 2019.
The stat at the beginning of the Fox broadcast was 32 VAR’s as a tournament total before the finals, with 28 resulting overturned calls, and only 4 confirmed. As we can see, VAR certainly helped make up for really bad officiating, which is endemic in the women’s game, because it’s so much newer than men’s competition. To their credit, it takes courage to stand in the middle of the pitch, with headphones tuned-in to a replay booth and being overturned repeatedly, but that’s what it took for this tournament to be legitimate.
In the end, the best team won on their merits, and there is no controversy about a blown call costing a team a critical match. When the officials get overturned over & over, they review those mistakes, and learn from them. That’s what I saw in the end. As the final match began, there were a few seconds when a second ball was in the field-of-play, and the official & lines-woman didn’t blow their whistles– until it got embarrassing.
It was in the midfield, and it didn’t affect the match, but it’s worth noting the competence level of even the best women’s officials. There’s definitely room for improvement, and VAR can be helpful as a training & accountability tool. It always helps to get the call right, and that’s what VAR can do, so there are no more “Hand of God” goals ever again. That is the main takeaway in the women’s World Cup 2019 for men’s fútbol.
In the US_Netherlands finals, the woman official was excellent. There was a hard foul early-to-mid first half, which was immediately whistled and correctly yellow-carded. Making that correct call, at the correct, time gave the referee control of the match from there on. The players respect that call, and from there on she’s essentially coaching both sides equally to play the game fairly & competitively.
Lots of flops weren’t whistled, leaving wanna-be’s & fakers on the turf looking foolish, as they should. It was under control on both sides, which is the point of officiating. VAR got them there, with a steep learning curve. You have to respect that.
Here’s another one. The 23 players on the USWNT consider themselves to be a family, and stick up for each other. Their motivation was to win back-to-back World Cups– the right way. This isn’t a brutal hacking or flopping USWNT team. They probably take more than the give but they have to, being the overwhelming favorites going in, that’s what you have to deal with.
By the end, the USWNT was clearly the best, but with the caveat that the world has very much caught up. The US-England semi-final was a 2-1 squeaker without their captain & playmaker Megan Rapinoe. Only a blown penalty kick prevented that from being 2-2, and likely OT. With that said, championship teams need to be able to handle injuries & adversity, and they did it without coming off arrogant in the end. They respected their opponents & the game.
The USWNT did a fantastic job of pulling themselves back, especially after their perceived over-exuberance in their 13-0 thrashing of Thailand in their opening match. They apparently learned that winning is important, only if you do it in a way that lets people like you when it’s over. No one likes loudmouth showboats, no matter how good they are.
No one like cowards either, so when Donald Trump tried to inject himself into the narrative and grab himself some glory he doesn’t deserve, Megan Rapinoe spoke for the USWNT and took the media heat without backing down. She didn’t sing a word of the US national anthem as it was played before the finals, and she wasn’t alone on the US team. I respect that. The USWNT will not be visiting the White House for a ceremony, photo-ops & congratulations from the US President.
Rapinoe who is lesbian, has already said she will visit House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. My thoughts on that? When people back up their confident talk, then you have to give them their stage & let them speak, even if you don’t like what they’re going to say. The US has a president who doesn’t acknowledge that it is his sworn duty to defend the Constitution, whose First Amendment is free speech. The USWNT winning the 2019 World Cup the way they did, is a blow to Trump’s brand of fascism.
INTRO: Basketball is not an easy game to play well. It takes a long time to develop ambidextrous dribbling, passing & shooting skills that can hold up with & against real ballers. Beyond that, skills without-the-ball are elite, and enable the baller to help his team win, even when his “teammates” aren’t sharing the ball. It is very rare to find five players with ability, playing together and sharing the work needed to win. The ones who understand and do the work consistently are the ballers. The rest are basketball wanna-be’s & bums.
Here’s some basic basketball theory. If everyone is sharing the ball equally on offense, you will have the ball 20% of the time you are on the floor. This is ideal, but rarely occurs anywhere– even in the NBA. But the other half of the game is defense, which means you have the ball only 10% of your minutes played– in the best of circumstances.
Even the worst pick-up game ballhogs are without the ball for two-thirds of the game. As a player, what are they doing during this majority of the game to help their team win? Most guys who strut onto the court don’t even think about this stuff, yet it is the essence of winning basketball. Those are the basketball bums.
The truth is most guys walk onto the court in a full-blown ego trip. They think they’re a superstar, and nothing can refute that narrative in their head. So when reality bites, and their bad play inevitably starts to show up as a losing score, these basketball bums turn into bitches.
For example: the basketball bum make a bad pass, so he blames a teammate they don’t like for not being there to catch it. On defense, bums let their man blow-by for a clear path to the basket & easy lay-up. The next time this happens, the baller anticipates & slides over to cut that off, but the penetrator kicks to your man left open for an easy 3– which he nails.
The bum tries to blame you for leaving the shooter open, so the baller replies, “Play some ‘D’ and quit letting your man blow-by for easy lay-ups, and I’ll stick with my man.” That handles the bum for the moment, but he’ll be back soon enough with more trash, unless the baller gets some help. If it’s all bums, then it’s hopeless after a game or two, and best to walk away, even mid-game.
Ballers don’t let the bums drag them down. If you’re done with their nonsense before the game is over, just look for someone waiting to play and call them in to take your spot. Since these bums never gave any effort, no need to explain anything nor apologize to them– just leave quietly. This is where patience meets experience, saving you harsh words that bruise tender egos. Ballers don’t pander to that, nor do they leave the court with any personal negativity.
You really have to know the game to handle trash-talking in hoops, because there is a whole lot of stupidity on most courts. This article is about pick-up basketball, either in a gym or outdoors, because that’s the level most people play. I don’t need to tell the pros this stuff, because they already know, it’s just that I’m a better writer.
The first thing to notice is that the game of basketball moves quickly, and it’s the players who responds first & most appropriately that always win the trash-talking battle. That’s the baller in a game filled with bums.
In pick-up/playground basketball, the shooting percentages tend to equalize on both sides, and are low– due to too many bad shoots taken by bad shooters. As in real basketball, it’s the team that rebounds, limits turnovers, and gets the most easy baskets which wins. In most pick-up games which I’ve witnessed and/or participated, there are at least 7-8 bums on the court. This makes the game a lot more work for the ballers, and it’s the main reason why I don’t run much anymore.
Bums won’t pass the ball to a baller, because he will score easily– where the bums can’t. Dicks immediately shrink, and then there’s issues… Every bum bitches about not getting the ball enough. The worst ones are the “big guys,” who won’t defend in the paint– nor rebound. They want to play point guard & shoot 3’s all day. When they don’t get enough of that, these bums become completely toxic, and that “team” basically can’t beat anybody.
You must control your defensive boards, or you have no chance to win, and that’s up to the big guys. Too many tall kids want to play like Steph Curry or James Harden. A lot of bum teams seemingly have 3-4 point guards– at least. Much of the hardcourt pick-up action can’t even rightfully be called basketball, as it’s mostly guys playing with themselves & their buddies.
Bums break down on defense, then blame others to deflect their lack of effort, basketball intelligence & skills. On a real court, with real ballers, these bums are given a swift kick in the ass about stupid turnovers, bad shots, and not defending/rebounding. If they don’t turn it around, they get sent off the court by the big guy, and replaced with someone waiting to play who is willing to do the job. I’ve been one of those guys picked to replace a bum by a real baller on a real court, and it feels great to be chosen.
In the game of basketball, one guy can break down an entire defense on every possession, if the opposition is smart & can play. If this isn’t accounted for, it really sucks for the other four guys, and it isn’t fair to those who are giving an honest effort. Running up & down the court is a lot of work, and no one likes their efforts to be wasted.
Baller rule: Kick the bums off the court, mid-game if needed. In real basketball, no bums & bitches are allowed. That goes for the girls & women too. You know what I mean.
Big guys have to play big, and everyone should try to play above their size. This means “little guys” have low-post skills & can finish around the basket, and everybody rebounds on both ends as needed. Big guys have to control the paint & rebound, otherwise they are basketball bums.
Little guys have to pressure the ball to prevent penetration and easy low-post feeds, while keeping their man in front of them and not giving up easy 3’s. If you can force steals, and limit the turnovers, then congratulations [!] you are a winning basketball player, even though you are out-sized.
It’s a big man’s game, and size rules in basketball. The cliché goes: you can’t teach 7’0″. The fact is the closer you are to the goal, the better you can attack & defend it. Little guys can influence the action without-the-ball even when they are being frozen out, by running (when necessary) to create movement within the offense.
Another elite without-the-ball skill is spacing. Move to the side of the floor opposite the ball, and stay there. This will at least draw your man away from the basket, and create needed space for others to drive. How long you want to do this without receiving a pass is up to you. Keep making yourself available on that side and when you’ve had enough, quit the game as instructed above.
I see all kinds of games where all 10 players are on the same side of the court, or everyone is standing behind the 3-point line. Bums take their turns jacking up bad shots from downtown, and it’s one low-percentage give-away possession after another. Proper spacing, intelligent movement & effective screening are non-existent in a game filled with bums. Good players rarely get the ball here, and have nowhere to go when they do, as “teammates” are literally obstacles.
Baller notes on ’21’ Twenty-one is often a scam pick-up game, and this is how it works. A group of guys who know each other, call you over to play 21. The game’s objective is to get exactly 21 points before anyone else, in a half-court setting. This can be a fun version of basketball when everyone is playing equally. But in the common scenario I’ve presumed, it turns into an unwinnable game of one-against-the-rest. The outsider has to fight for every rebound & score, against a gang of buddies taking turns letting each other get easy shots. Since you can’t defend everybody, you just wear yourself out when you try.
It’s Mission Impossible to win, so focus on improving your skills instead. If you’re going to play this bastardized version of ’21’, my best advice is to get straight on the rules with everybody before you start. Everything from scoring, to takes-backs for steals & airballs, etc. The ones who want to cheat are those who are confused about the rules, and hamper discussing them.
I’ve played against chumps who declare they can win ’21’ on 22. The rule of ’21’ has always been if you land on 20 points, you go back to 15 or whatever lower score you agree on. That’s because the next bucket get you to 22. It’s like blackjack when you bust. The basketball version of ’21’ was developed & widely-played long before the advent of the 3-point shot. Today, that means if you have 19 points and then make a 3-pointer, you drop back to 15. As a rules side note, the dumb shooter still gets his free throws (today @ 3-point line), because he did make the shot. Only chumps think they win on weak stuff like that, because ballers aren’t defending a 3-point attempt in that situation.
Basketball is a beautiful game when played right. In my life I can recall only a handful of times where everything was right with my game & teammates. But when it happens it is magical in its effortlessness & efficacy. When the work load is shared by 5 ballers, no one gets tired & worn out. Everyone is working in synergy to shut down the opponent, no easy looks & no second shots.
Transition to offense begins with boxing-out and securing the rebound, which is immediately outletted to a good ball-handler & pushed up-court for a fast break opportunity. Everyone gets their looks, and the rule is to finish– no excuses.
Very few see the work that goes into making it appear so easy when done right, and even fewer are willing to do that work to become a baller. What I’ve described here is what it takes. Players as true teammates energize each other at this level, allowing elite maintenance with little fatigue & maximum fun.
In pick-up ball, an organized team of ballers can steamroll every opponent for hours on end because of this. The few times I’ve been a part of such an experience are what makes the game an addicting elation. This is where creativity & skill blend, and the game of basketball become as much an art form as a sport.
Every great player needs a theme song. This kid (age 20) is going to be a great player.
So here’s my “Weird Al” Yankovic version of “Fernando,” the ABBA melodramatic classic…
Note: There’s only the opening two verses in my version, because he’s still a rookie.
“Fernando (Tatis, Jr)”
Can you hear the drums Fernando? I remember long ago another starry night like this In the firelight Fernando You were traded from the White Sox, by an owner who had no clue We saw the Padres future at shortstop And waited patiently through the minors just for you
Now you’re in MLB, Fernando Every hour, every minute seems to last eternally I was so afraid Fernando When you tore your hamstring on a painful stretching try And I’m not ashamed to say That gruesome injury almost made me cry…
There was something in the air that night The stars were bright, Fernando They were shining there for you & me, Padres victory, Fernando Though we never thought we’d dump James Shields– there’s no regret If we had to make that trade again We would, my friend, Fernando If we had to make that trade again We would, my friend, Fernando
[Listen to ABBA original 3rd verse in solemn silence for his father; then repeat chorus & fade out..]
Preface: Of all the impressions I have from going back and re-watching these cartoon classics on the internet, it’s my memories of the time that affect me most. Cartoons & teen programming stays with us, because it’s what we chose to like when we had a choice. As kids of Generation X, we were honest in our selections in all media. We had choices, and either liked it or didn’t. Our reaction was swift & merciless. We were smart, so if you sucked, you got yanked off-the-air quickly, because there was little room for that with the networks & sponsors. These corporate stiffs had no clue, and always used Generation X kids as a barometer for what was cool– in all mass media.
Back in the 1970’s, this was the best time of the week for kids. Television had saturated America, but there was no programming for kids until this time slot was developed. This was pre-cable TV, where viewing options were CBS, NBC, ABC or PBS– roughly in that order. Every other time slot was for adults.
Weekday mornings were always 2-hour news show such as Today & Good Morning America. Then it went into game shows until around noon. Then three-to-four hours of soap operas. Evenings were for adults too, and then many stations went off-the-air from midnight to 6 AM. There was maybe an hour (or two) of kids after-school programming per day during the week, which was mostly syndicated 1960’s & 1970’s sit-coms & Star Trek (1966-69).
Syndicated cartoons were often ancient, with too much lameness such as Woody Woodpecker and Tom & Jerry. Mel Blanc’s Merrie Melodies were in rotation, but you couldn’t get enough of them. Beyond Hanna-Barbera & Bugs Bunny, the best 1960’s cartoons were Underdog (1964-67) and Rocky & Bullwinkle (1959-64), but they were also hard for kids to find.
Hence the need to create a Saturday morning cartoon time slot. As a kid, it felt great to wake up and know there was no school, just fun TV watching ahead. Sunday mornings were exclusively religious programming, and the rest of the daytime weekend was sports, so this was it for cartoons.
Non-animated fare for children was PBS’s Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and The Electric Company. More adventurously for kids, ABC ran a variety of Sid & Marty Krofft series, most prominently: Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, the Bugaloos & H.R. Pufnstuf.
Krofft Productions is difficult is explain (or even justify) to those who weren’t there, but here it goes. The lack of competition during this era really stifled innovation, as the boardrooms of the three major networks made every decision regarding what television audiences would see. Hanna-Barbera had taken the lead in kids programming, and they were making money for their affiliates on all three networks. Hanna-Barbera owned 80% of the Saturday morning market. The problem was, by the middle of the decade Hanna-Barbera cartoons were either old, or looked old. We’ll return to this point later.
Sid & Marty Krofft had worked for Hanna-Barbera in the late 1960’s. They left to move in their own direction, creating live action series for kids. During the 1970’s, Sid & Marty Krofft created dozens of new series, many lasting just a few episodes, that constantly ran on Saturday morning & after school.
Each Sid & Marty Krofft creation seemed to have the same strengths & weaknesses, which made them delightful & maddening at the same time. Land of the Lost (1974-76) was their flagship series, running three seasons. It was a stretch making it that far, as the acting is really bad, and there is too-little inspired writing. Every plotline seemingly stagnates into inaction, as characters endlessly talk about what to do, or whatever else.
Land of the Lost is a great concept, with a great theme song (and rockin’ closing song), with some semi-cool dinosaur animation. The sleestack is a great monster idea. Fun fact: a young Bill Laimbeer (C/PF Detroit Pistons, NBA) was a sleestack. No one knew who he was at the time, but watching this show in retrospect, one can always tell which sleestack is Bill Laimbeer. It’s the biggest and most-aggressive one.
Sleestack were a far-out idea, but kinda lame too. Typical example: multiple sleestack closing in on Will & Holly, who are trapped in a stryofoam cavern, just about to be caught. Then it’s— cut to a commercial for messages from McDonald’s, Trix, Captain Crunch, Eggo, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, Light Brite & Coco Puffs. After that it’s back to the “action,” where the sleestack have been moved back ten feet. Holly will then cry out in fright, “They’re getting closer!,” as the entire sequence plays out again– until Will & Holly escape.
Land of the Lost also had a usable vehicle with its time machine and the solitary friendly sleestack named Enik, who aids the castaways. They shuffle different-colored boulder marbles around a stone board– and things happen. Cool concept, but only a few stories actually hold up, which really hurts the overall plotline.
I’m neutral on Chaka. As I mentioned, this is the BEST show from the Krofft brothers, and it has serious flaws. It’s considered to be a low-budget version of Gilligan’s Island by those who watched.
The original desert island castaways had Tina Louise & Dawn Wells going for them, which is nice. The rest were too inept to find a way off, for all the reasons we know. That’s how Hollywood goes two hit seasons with that concept & budget.
Both shows hooked viewers with a terrific opening title sequence & catchy song (& outro version). Land of the Lost had a fascinating concept beyond that, which made it a cult hit with GenX.
Second place for cool in the Krofft series probably goes to Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, a live action series from 1976. It ran 16 episodes in a single season as part of the Krofft Supershow (1976-79). Electra Woman & Dyna Girl was dropped during it’s second season, along with Dr. Shrinker. Electra Woman & Dyna Girl ran in syndication on Saturday mornings & after school, and was well-received by the kids. So, what happened?
Once again, Electra Woman & Dyna Girl is a great idea, two super-hero babes with a hooky title song– which ALWAYS helps. All the mainstream had in that genre at the time was Wonder Woman (1975-79), and a limited amount of Batgirl. Competition was needed, and Krofft Productions recognized this. But once again, there was no money put into this series, as the episodes were stretched thin, with too many lulls. You need writers to sustain a series.
Sid & Marty Krofft were good at knowing what the kids wanted, and deserve credit for that. But too often they axed ideas which had more potential in them, because they didn’t have the resources to develop them properly. It was cheaper & easier to move onto something else, and that’s what they mostly did.
Everyone knows that Land of the Lost was brought back for a bad movie in 2009. Few know that Electra Woman & Dyna Girl was brought back as a pilot for television in 2001, with Electra Woman played by Markie Post. This is hilarious stuff, as it nails the original concept perfectly while updating it. It should have gone to series– but Warner Brothers killed it. Idiots.
Back to Sid & Marty Krofft, as Dr. Shrinker is the last original series I’ll mention specifically. It’s the same deal here as the rest, as this show barely made it through its only season, yet lives on in so many memories of GenX-ers, because of its theme song.
Dr. Shrinker is a case of the title song being the best part of the show. For the record, this also happened with Barney Miller (1975-82). Dr. Shrinker held up for a few episodes, until one realized this was a constant loop of capture & escape, with no resolution in sight. One or two episodes of Dr. Shrinker could be maddeningly hilarious in its time, and still is in retrospect. Anything more is suicidal lunacy. The title song sticks in your head forever.
The collective works of Sid & Marty Krofft are a mixed bag of interesting & crazy ideas, marred by lack of execution. In so many ways their concepts influenced GenX, while most viewers were smart enough to recognize their limitations. This is why just about all of their series only ran one season, but the impression they made remains deep in the memory banks of those who watched.
When kids tuned in to whatever version of Krofft productions was on at the time, we were looking for ideas & creativity. Sid & Marty Krofft thought outside-the-box, and took chances. This was low budget and it showed, but they found ways to make it work for years, and when you’re discussing the kids TV demographic, that’s saying something. In terms of the popular influence of Krofft productions, and the advertising money they created for their network– it was huge on all sides.
In the 1970’s, Hanna-Barbera had become a behemoth, nearly monopolizing Saturday morning cartoons. At first this was for the better with Scooby Doo, and everything they built around that iconic great dane. The great Hanna-Barbera cartoons of this era included: Harlem Globetrotters, The Scooby-Doo Show, The Yogi Bear Show, Hong Kong Phooey, Laff-A-Lympics & Challenge of the Super Friends.
Eventually, as with any monopoly, lack of innovation became their downfall, as their legendary stable of iconic cartoon characters, going all the way back to Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear & the Flintstones had become dated. Hanna-Barbera cut corners in animation, using the same scrolling backgrounds over & over, which eventually caught up with them.
By the time cable TV & Nickelodeon came along in the 1980’s, Hanna-Barbera quickly became an industry relic, which Ted Turner bought up and used to launch the Cartoon Network in 1992. For straight boys who cut their teeth on sugar-coated cereals during 1970’s, The Smurfs were the jumping-off point for Hanna-Barbera.
As a side note, The runaway success of The Smurfs cartoon spawned a video game which was platformed exclusively on ColecoVision. The dominant home console platform of the day was the Atari 2600, and newly introduced Atari 5200– in late 1982. With such exclusive licensing, Atari console owners couldn’t play the Smurfs video game because it wasn’t allowed to be available on any other platform.
This was a major salvo in the infamous “video game wars” that eventually crashed the video game industry in 1983-84. Atari and all the rest went bankrupt, with Japan’s Nintendo capturing the market with its NES & Super Mario in 1985. Nintendo had been huge in video games since Donkey Kong in 1981, which was also exclusively licensed by ColecoVision as their original pack-in game.
The best of the rest on Saturday morning included the following:
Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975) was an action animated series based upon the novel Planet of the Apes (1963) by Pierre Boulle. It ran 13 half-hour episodes, and is better than any of the movies or other adaptations. Return to the Planet of the Apes is animation that approaches art, with it’s minimalist storyboarding & intelligent themes.
The plot moves along quickly with purpose, and the scoring is outstanding. Ethical issues such as imprisonment, intolerance, sympathy, science, and love are explored in creative & subliminal ways. This remains a first-rate cartoon, easily one of the best ever.
The Pink Panther Show aired on NBC in all kinds of versions during the decade. Great cartoon characters included the Ant & the Aardvark– one of my all-time favorites. This cartoon has serious durability, used in the Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers back in the day, it remains funny & engaging up to today. Classics never die.
Filmation became a big cartoon production competitor to Hanna-Barbera in the 1970’s. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids ran for most of the decade, and was their biggest hit. No matter what became of Bill Cosby and his sexual predations, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids still has an undeniable charm & reach towards kids. It ranks with The Cosby Show as his greatest artistic achievement, and in many ways outstrips that blockbuster 1980’s sit-com which came after.
Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle was a half-hour action cartoon that ran four seasons, from 1976–1980 on CBS. It’s probably the best version of Tarzan on any screen, as it portrays the title character as not only strong, but also intelligent & caring towards all. A great way to strengthen your voice (and irritate your parents) is to imitate his call of the jungle.
The New Adventures of Batman was successfully brought back as an animated series that aired on CBS. The was another Filmation production, featuring the DC Comics superheroes Batman & Robin with Batgirl, and it was terrific. All the kids watched it, along with Hanna-Barbera’s SuperFriends series.
It’s natural for kids to identify with superheroes. It’s also natural for teens & adults to outgrow this phenomenon. With that said, the best version of Flash Gordon was the 1979 animated series, shown as a Saturday morning cartoon. It had excellent animation for its time, and took major influence from Star Wars— in its Empire Strikes Back (1980) era.
Now re-titled as The New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979), Season 1 is sixteen chapters, and is all you need to see. Season 2 (1982) is domesticated & silly in comparison. This series had a major influence on Japanimation as an art form with commercial possibilities. Peter Chung’s Æon Flux (1991-95) is a good example of this.
Conclusion: Cartoons aren’t mindless entertainment, as so many “responsible” parents insisted back in these days. It’s what kids are interested in, therefore it becomes a competitive market. Generation X was the “Saturday morning cartoons” generation. Along with video games, MTV, and early home computers, their embracing of these innovations would change popular culture forever.
The most divisive line between modern and old popular culture is Generation X. Like it or not, most kids today consider the Beatles to be old, and they’re right. That’s hurtful to an older generation of baby boomers & classic rockers who have been left behind culturally & intellectually.
Generation X doesn’t think that way. They understand the Beatles were geniuses in their time, but rock music & art has long since modernized past their influence. Hip-hop & rap, along with the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and electronica have more influence today.
The first adult animation feature film for Generation X was Heavy Metal (1981), a sex-up space conquest fantasy trip, with a R-rating. It features a killer double album soundtrack– an essential record for any rock fan. Play it loud!!
Æon Flux was an animated action series of shorts, and eventually half-hour episodes featured on MTV, the same network that broadcast Beavis & Butthead. This, along with The Simpsons is late teen & young adult cartoon content for Generation X.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the adult version of cartoons, with their puppeteering & incisive hilarity. Content on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon & the Cartoon Network of this era slanted younger, meaning Generation Y. The same became true with video games, music & computers.
As we can see, cartoons can be stimulant for a young imagination. They will never go away, because people don’t want to get old. Cartoons can be a fantasy that takes you away on an adventure, and that has value– if it’s creative & well done. Cartoons make people laugh, and remind them of when they were young. Nothing is more valuable than that.
US President Richard Nixon (1969-74) once famously claimed to speak for the “silent majority,” that supposedly wanted the US military to stay in Vietnam. He & Henry Kissinger were lying (as always), as the masses hated the war by then– but facts never matter to people like these. This is for the silenced majority.
Deep state Democrats sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 by rigging the nomination process, as revealed by WikiLeaks. This leak probably came from DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered under murky circumstances. Bernie Sanders is silent on all this, proving he’s a loyal Democrat (centrist) above all else.
Bernie Sanders supports Trump’s anti-immigration policies, militarism abroad, the persecution of Julian Assange, the anti-Russian campaign, etc… His entire support in 2016 came from youth & liberals that believed he represented socialism. The kids recognize this fakery now, as support for Sanders 2020 is way down, as seen by the attendance at a recent California rally.
Anyone with an ounce of political aptitude knows that the Mueller Report was an expensive & elaborate exercise in fakery. “Impeachment” of Trump is the new sham, under the charge of “Russian collusion,” which is fake. “Impeachment” of this kind would end the same for the Democrats as the Kavanaugh Hearings last summer.
Donald Trump could rightly be impeached for illegal & inhuman detention of immigrants, violating the constitution & democratic rights, militarism against other countries, etc. There is broad popular consensus for this type of impeachment, but there is no appetite for it anywhere in Washington or the mass media. Who speaks for the silenced majority?
The European political center is collapsing, as revealed by the broad popular support for Julian Assange (above), as well as recent EU election results. “Will the center hold?,” is the question all the media pundits ask. The answer is no, but no one can say that out loud, so they drone on about whatever…
As proof, Theresa May recently announced her resignation as UK’s Prime Minister, after her inability to negotiate a deal for Brexit. In 2016, the voters of the UK approved a ballot initiative (Brexit) to leave the European Union (EU). This mass repudiation of the EU and its technocrats in Brussels is a symptom of mass dissatisfaction globally.
Nationalism is still the poison which leaders try to inject into their people. The problem is that politicians are not viewed favorably anywhere anymore. Currently, US President Donald Trump is on a 3-day tour of the UK, where he is being given a royal reception, while being kept far away from the masses, because they mostly hate Trump– and rightly so.
The truth is there is only movement to either political extreme– right or left. The broad masses have moved sharply to the left, while the ruling classes have moved towards fascism. Politically speaking, “conservative centrists” used to consider fascism as the lunatic fringe, but that is now the center of the Republican & Democratic parties. That’s how far things have shifted to the right among the political elite.
“Is there something new coming?,” talking heads half-heartedly inquire, because they are afraid of the answer– which is, “Yes!” The masses are embracing revolutionary socialism, the Trotskyism of the ICFI. Socialist Equality Parties are becoming politically active around the world in a qualitatively new way. You never hear about this in the mainstream media (MSM). Trotsky is the “great unmentionable” in bourgeois politics.
The yellow vests in France & teachers’ strikes in the US are a harbinger, with disfranchised workers taking politics into their own hands. Once these angry masses develop their political consciousness and organize with solidarity under a revolutionary socialist banner, the most powerful social force in human history will wipe away capitalist rule.
The collapse of the EU, the US dollar (in the form of quantitative easing), and the post-war order in general is tied into deep-going economic stagnation globally, which immiserates billions of people and has led to conflict after conflict– with no end in sight. There isn’t a nationalist leader or government in the world that has a progressive answer to this historical international crisis.
WWI was an attempt by a great power (Germany) to re-globalize the world through violence. It was interrupted by the Russian Revolution, which globalized the idea of socialism. This socialist threat was “contained” by Stalinism & western capitalism through WWII and into the “Cold War.” This was accomplished by mass murder under Stalin’s USSR, and aided by western imperialism, which realized that Trotskyism was the greatest threat to the US/UK-led capitalist order.
The trend in human civilization is always towards more integrated globalism, either violently through capitalist wars, or (relatively) peacefully through permanent socialist revolution.
The US government is “at war” with China & Russia, which has been intensified since Trump’s Electoral College win in November 2016. This belligerence is to offset US economic & political decline. Eventually trade wars (China, Venezuela) and proxy wars (Syria, Yemen) turn into world wars. Fake diplomacy & military intervention are the no-win methods of gangsterism, as demonstrated by Trump administration threats against Iran. There are no “adults in the room” when referring to Democrats, Republicans & the MSM– only bourgeois interests & propaganda.
On Women: The global ruling class seeks to divide working men from beautiful women, by buying them up & corrupting them. Beautiful women represent power. So do united workers. If beautiful women united with workers & disenfranchised youth, it would be an unbeatable combination.
It’s conscious ruling class policy to keep these groups isolated. But now there is more & more a breakout tendency among beautiful women, in response to this oppression of capitalism which keeps people alone & unhappy.
Pamela Anderson support of Julian Assange is one example of a woman making a stand for what she believes. Here are a few other examples of women expressing themselves in the media recently…
In US football, the playing field is called the gridiron by hardcore enthusiasts. In European football, it’s called the pitch. In either case, it’s usually a drunken male fan who runs onto the field looking for attention, and when he’s caught, he’s escorted away to spend some time in jail and pay a fine.
So respect what US model Kinsey Wolanski (above) recently pulled off, which is now globally regarded as the “best pitch invasion ever.” All of a sudden, what everyone thought was so important (a football match) got ignored– just to look at Kinsey Wolanski & cheer! She didn’t get arrested (surprised?), and is now a big internet star. That’s the power of a beautiful woman.
But what did she use her power for? Her stunt at the Champions League final in Madrid promoted the adult website of her boyfriend. Kinsey Wolanski on Instagram afterwards, “STREAKING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Life is for living, do crazy things that you will remember forever.”
Agreed, but the cause matters too. In the end, the pornography advertisement on her swimsuit will detract from what she’s done, but it’s the spectacle she created that is my primary point.
If her one-piece had said “Free Julian Assange,” then Wolanski would stand much taller right now– but have less money for sure, so who can blame her? I suppose that’s the challenge (and roadmap) for some beautiful young girl to top what Kinsey Wolanski just did. Real men say, “Go for it!”
I also saw this one recently on Russia Today. Yulia Efimova (above) loves pineapples, as you can see. Honestly, it doesn’t make me feel any differently about that fruit, it just makes me fall in love with her!
Since everyone else is doing it, here’s my pitch…
Personal Ad:Straight man seeking beautiful woman in her 30’s with a clear head & no baggage– to be a soulmate. Fitness, self-sufficiency & strong character are essentials. Turn-offs include: #MeToo feminists, complex girls, high-maintenance bitches, and nasty old ladies. No gays, please. I enjoy laughing, having fun, and spending time with loved ones– just like everybody else. What are you waiting for? Come for me!!
Calls for Facebook to be “broken up,” as in a recent New York TimesOp/Ed, are impotent. The most relevant historical example of a government mandated monopoly break-up was AT&T/Ma Bell in 1982, where the Bell System was split into separate companies to provide local telephone service, while AT&T continued to be a provider of long distance service.
The breakup of AT&T’s Bell System resulted in the creation of seven independent companies (bold-typed below), and here’s what happened to them:
1) NYNEX was acquired by Bell Atlantic in 1996, and is now part of Verizon Communications 2) Pacific Telesis was acquired by Southwestern Bell Corporation in 1997, and is now part of AT&T 3) Ameritech was acquired by Southwestern Bell Corporation in 1999, and now part of AT&T 4) Bell Atlantic merged with GTE in 2000 to form Verizon Communications 5) Southwestern Bell Corporation was re-branded as SBC Communications in 1995, and then re-acquired AT&T in 2005 6) BellSouth was re-acquired by AT&T in 2006 7) US West acquired by Qwest in 2000, which in turn was acquired by CenturyLink in 2011
As we can see, AT&T eventually re-acquired most of its lost pieces, and their monopoly has been re-established on a higher level. The innovation of cell phone technology has allowed a few competitors into the market such as Verizon, T-Mobile, Centurylink, etc.
AT&T wrangled concessions in their 1982 agreement with the US government, that allowed them to enter the computer market. By the mid-to-late 1990’s this became the internet service provider & cell phone industry. The result today is that a few major technology companies control the internet & mobile communications– through shared monopoly agreements.
What millennials need to understand is that back in 1982, the touchtone telephone was the primary way people communicated news & gossip over long distances. The telephone system, which AT&T monopolized until then, was the era’s equivalent of the cell phone Facebook & internet. Of course, the only way anyone knew who to call was by having a phonebook. That’s the equivalent of Google & every other search engine today.
Eventually under capitalism, it will become one telecommunication giant in control. To the liberal reformists/apologists who always get a prominent voice in the New York Times (and all other fake media outlets) the question must be put forward, “Then what?”
Facebook is a technology platform that revolutionized media and how people interact online. It’s the users who deliver the content that drives everything. Stop censoring it, and let the users be the moderators. That’s much more democratic that Mark Zuckerberg using algorithms and an army of censors to de-platform those of us he doesn’t like.
Here’s a quote from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes cited in the NYT Op/Ed to illustrate this point. “Mark [Zuckerberg] alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered.”
Fakebook is now a corporate dictatorship, which takes its instructions from the US deep state. This is a conscious ruling-class policy, meant to counteract the revolutionary potential of social media.
This story published by Russia Today was shared widely on social media, so I feel compelled to express myself here. Evidentially, Brazilian MMA fighter Joyce Vieira was doing a bikini photo-shoot on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, when a man later identified as Josenei Viana Ferreira, was openly pleasuring himself while watching Vieira. Thankfully, there are no photographs nor video of the alleged incident.
The upshot is, if Joyce Vieira (above) was any kind of martial artist, she would have kicked him in the balls. Then he would have gotten his comeuppance, and she wouldn’t feel powerless afterwards. When you are a poser & don’t know what to do; you feel regret, anger, and blame others instead. With that said (and since she has no idea how to handle this situation), this jerk-off should be made to publicly apologize to her face, because that is WAY out of line. Am I being fair here?
The #MeToo Democrats have hit a snag with Joe Biden. His creepy behavior towards young women doesn’t play with his 2020 Democratic front-runner status.
Yeah, this is creepy behavior, a US VP abusing his power– no question. But that’s what he is, so what did you expect? Of course, no feminist said anything at the time, but now it’s an issue for them.
The contradictions & hypocrisy of the #MeToo witch-hunt are coming into sharper focus. The #MeToo campaign forever diminished itself during the Kavanaugh Hearings last summer, when much of the already skeptical public saw through the #MeToo lies, which served to promote an arch-reactionary judge to the US Supreme Court– giving it a permanent 5-4 hard right-wing majority.
This reactionary form of feminism is also how Donald Trump became US President, to his surprise on November 8, 2016. Today, the #MeToo campaign’s coordination with “Russiagate,” is best personified in Rachael Maddow. I admit, this video below is painful to watch, but it is instructive.
Maddow has lost over 500,000 viewers since this broadcast on March 22, 2019. That was when the Mueller Report was released, exonerating Donald Trump from any charges of “collusion with Russia.” Yet, this MSNBC air-head still holds her longstanding position on “Trump’s ties to the Kremlin.”
Both these campaigns (#MeToo & Russiagate) are linked to censorship of the internet & blacklisting of socialists, which fascists (Republicans/Trump) approve.
ICE raids that violate the human & constitutional rights of those who have immigrated to America are also systematically ignored, as are US foreign wars-of-aggression. There is no longer any hard news coming from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a brutal murder & dismemberment of a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, on October 2, 2018.
Khashoggi even wrote for the Washington Post, but events that shock & horrify the world get buried in the US media, as Saudi oil must keep flowing, and always remain traded in US dollars. Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading oil exporter, and linking crude to the US dollar makes the US-Saudi relationship “special.”
Like Israel, Saudi Arabia can commit any war crime it pleases, short of nuclear war, and not be sanctioned internationally– due to US support. This assistance from Uncle Sam comes militarily, economically & politically. These are the deep state interests, which make up the centrist faction of the Democratic Party.
The Democrats have split themselves with this #MeToo Frankenstein they created. The “progressive” faction of the Democrats are insisting on a woman presidential candidate for 2020– in Elizabeth Warren. The centrists prefer Biden.
In earnest, both factions are fascist, and offer nothing for working people & disenfranchised youth. This ideological battle among powerful Democrats promises to get ugly, in the media and behind-closed-doors. All of this reactionary filth plays into the hands of the Trump team, which is why Marxist analysis is so important.
Another critical issue that is never honestly discussed in the corporate news, is the ongoing financial crisis for ~85% of Americans. The stock & bond markets are booming for the ultra wealthy, but the real economy has stagnated. There are fewer good-paying jobs than ever, despite the great need for qualified workers everywhere.
Ailments of US capitalism include an obesity epidemic, an opioid crisis, and a lack of access to basic health care. Health care is now run by insurance conglomerates, hospital chains & big pharmaceuticals. Privatization & equity capital have gutted work forces in every industry, taking all the profits for themselves in the forms of stock options, buybacks & exorbitant bonuses. Today, per capita, fewer Americans than ever are defined as healthy.
On the macro-economic level, global debt is now $244 trillion. Global GDP in 2016 (latest figure) was $75.4 trillion. Global debt is now over 3 times global GDP, which signals a bankrupt global economy. There is no way this level of global indebtedness can ever be paid off.
Interest rates have been kept ultra-low for ten years now, so there only one direction they can move significantly. When rates rise, the interest payments of this massive mountain of debt will be unpayable. That is why the Fed, US government & big banks had to intervene in late December 2018, with its plunge-protection team which reportedly pumped over $500 billion into the markets to prevent a collapse that had started when the Fed began raising interest rates. The US dollar overnight bank lending rate is now at 2.25-2.5%, and can’t go any higher without precipitating another crisis.
The derivatives market are the best example of this giant Ponzi scheme. Derivatives are bets on future earnings of a tradeable asset. They are used in every industry, with some going 20 years into the future, or more. Most of this estimated $1.2 quadrillion market has made bets that are going to fail, yet are still being counted as assets. This is so traders (and everyone else involved including: bankers, investors & insurers) get their bonuses.
When this derivative market crashes, the world economy will instantly collapse. Such massive amounts of toxic assets can’t be covered by any of the central banks (US, EU, etc.) because they are already leveraged to the hilt. Credit will dry up, and there will be no liquidity. What’s about to happen came to be through 10 years of quantitative easing (QE), which is money printing for the rich, who then speculate in derivatives and stock buybacks to further enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else.
That’s capitalism in it’s death throes, and its contradictions are everywhere. We now have a global economy which is capable of being more productive than ever, but barely moves because: 1) there is no (very little) innovation, and 2) fewer consumers than ever can afford to buy– because of their indebtedness. Only the super-rich & big banks get bailouts and free money to waste
The most recent orgy of speculation has been in cryptocurrency, as Bitcoin trading recently went from ~$3,600 to now over $5,000– for no explainable reason. Bitcoin/crypto is likely the final frontier of bubbles before the next economic crash. Wealthy investors are looking for alternatives to fiat money, which has become devalued through inflation by money printing under QE capitalism.
Bitcoin (and any cryptocurrency) have no legitimate use value, and are massive energy wasters. They are all Ponzi schemes, marketed as the future of global currency, by Libertarian cyber-capitalists who are rabid anti-socialists.
To summarize, QE was the US Federal Reserve buying up toxic (worthless) derivatives, which have now ballooned into a $1.2 quadrillion market– meaning they’re entirely fake, and big enough to crash the global economy.
Instead of a debt jubilee for the indebted masses, which would have stimulated a real economy back in 2008-09, it’s been more easy money for the rich to speculate in fake assets. Our options now are: 1) more of the same, until world war breaks out; or 2) revolutionary socialism.
Today’s world is still shaped by the key social, political & economic world events that occurred around 1990, which were: 1) the Tienanmen Square massacre of June 1989, 2) the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, and most importantly 3) the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.
These events shook & shocked the world, as new markets were being opened for capitalist exploitation. This is when (& why) Wall Street speculation & US militarism started going really crazy, as they saw an open playing field. In Iraq & Serbia, for instance. The only way we can get out of this mess, is to understand how we got into it.