Misadventures in TV Land

I write about the shows I experienced as a child, because those are my deepest memories. This is a healthy exercise, and I recommend you try your own home version of it. These memories are connected to family, since most of us watched TV together back in the 1970’s. Most homes had only one, maybe two TV sets– so you had to agree on what to watch and share the space.

That is a much different viewing experience, compared to how millennials watch on their devices nowadays. Back then there were only three networks: ABC, CBS & NBC, with PBS available when you switched your TV between VHF/UHF. No cable/satellite television, and obviously– no Internet. Remote controls were relatively new, if that helps with perspective.

But despite these differences in the medium through which we interact with pop culture & society, it’s the same in that we are still being manipulated by the puppet-masters. When you reach an age of maturity, it is important to go back to what you watched as a kid, and re-examine how it impacted you. When you are young, it’s impossible to understand the complexities of media manipulation in the name of ratings and advertising dollars, but it’s always there and it drives everything.

If you never come to terms with the fact that what you watched as a kid was used to shape how you think, then you become a zombie. There are more than a few zombies among us. These semi-corpses always believe what their preferred TV channels tells them, put appearances first, and avoid any topics of substance or importance– which make them “uncomfortable.” Critical thinking doesn’t exist for them. The kicker here is that none of this prevents one from becoming President of the United States, or obtaining any other position of power & importance. The most important thing for that is being a TV star.

I no longer have a TV, and am not interested in it– generally speaking. Every once in a while I’ll get a twinge during the World Series, or (most recently) the World Cup, but it quickly passes. Once I tune in, I’m instantly reminded why I don’t give this medium my attention anymore. It’s too many commercials & loudmouths during the program– especially in sports. The programming has gotten so watered-down with advertising and so little action, that staying interested becomes too much work. Their brazen ignorance and rigged outcomes are frustrating to the point of exhaustion. Television is supposed to be relaxing, but that’s impossible now– especially in an election year.

Back in the good ‘ol days of the early 1970’s there were less commercials, and all the networks were radically shifting their programming. In what was known in the industry as the “rural purge,” shows with countrified themes such as The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Green Acres, Mister Ed, Lassie, Petticoat Junction, and Hee Haw were canceled and permanently moved into syndication. This cornball fare was replaced with the likes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, The Jefferson’s, Sanford & Son, etc; which provided an urban demographic & higher ratings– which every network covets.

M*A*S*H (1970) directed by Robert Altman was a powerful & groundbreaking film that was spun off into the most successful television series of its era, running for over a decade. M*A*S*H  still runs in syndication today, because the series transcended the half-hour sitcom format, by skillfully & poignantly touching on difficult issues such as war & death.

Point of context: All these changes in television (& film) were stimulated by the revolutions in jazz & rock music during the 1960’s. After Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix (& all the rest), adults could no longer be naive. Too many people had their minds opened up, and became much more intelligent and immersed in popular culture.

Hollywood realized they needed to met this demand, as Barney Fife’s act wasn’t going to cut it anymore for an audience that was growing more sophisticated in its viewing tastes. As television expanded from its 1950’s infancy, syndication became more important, as it identified which canceled shows actually had value. All shows get canceled, eventually, but which ones will become classics that people want to watch again & again?

When the Beatles hit Ed Sullivan in 1964, everything changed forever. It’s music that leads the culture, because a song is compact, hits you quicker, and can strike you anywhere at anytime with just as much depth– if not more.

Getting back to TV, game shows made a huge comeback during this period, and became a staple of daytime & evening fringe programming during the 1970’s. Family Feud, The Price is Right, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, and dozens of other new (or re-invented) game shows filled the airwaves during the day and in syndication. Networks love games shows because they are relatively cheap to produce, as they don’t need actors or much writing. Advertisers love hit games shows, because they create genuine excitement among the winners and encourage consumerism.

Soap operas were the daytime fare for girls & older women in the 1970’s. Most of the longest-running series in TV history are soaps such as As the World Turns, General Hospital and Guiding Light, and they peaked in this era. Cable and court TV began killing soaps in the 1980’s, and most were canceled by the end of the 1990’s. The cable-televised OJ Simpson trial (C-Span & CNN), ran daily for a year in 1994-95, and defined the new form of soap opera as reality TV.

Children’s shows of the 1970’s included Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, The Bill Cosby Show and the Krofft Supershow. I always thought Sesame Street and the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons were the best of the bunch for children’s fare. Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was the earliest TV memory for me. I enjoyed his kind messages and helpful advice for a time, but seldom laughed and that was his turn-off. Good intentions only get you so far with kids. You also need something to keep them interested. Since sex and violence weren’t allowed for kids back then, so humor had to be the hook.

In the 1970’s, TV action fare was crime-drama in an urban setting. The template was Dirty Harry (1971), as Clint Eastwood traded in his famed Colt 45, for a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. His tough talk & raw action excited everyone, and made the networks feel lucky; so The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five-0, etc became genre favorites, as westerns fell out of favor on TV & the silver screen.

The Six Million Dollar Man, including its three pilots, ran for 5 seasons– 1973-78. This was an iconic show in that the title character had superhuman strength and other capabilities. The Six Million Dollar Man was the first TV show of its kind that translated that concept to kids in a way that seemed believable at the time. The Bionic Woman soon followed.

In retrospect the ‘science’ is ridiculous, and the stories are stiff & boring, with plot-lines that unendingly glorify the military & CIA. The Six Million Dollar Man was a major propaganda sweep from the ruling class in the 1970’s. Personally, I liked Lee Majors better in the Fall Guy, which was his follow-up series. Lee Majors was more relaxed as a stuntman/bounty hunter, and he needed a sidekick. A few babes (Heather Thomas & Markie Post) every week didn’t hurt either.

As anyone who comes from the South will tell you, you can’t keep Dixie down forever. The “CB Radio/trucking craze” of the late 1970’s brought country back. BJ & the Bear was possibly the worst TV show to ever run three full seasons (1979-81), and I watched it for awhile, so you know I’m facing demons here.

Created by Glen A. Larson (of course), the theme song was sung by BJ (Greg Evigan) who also often sang during the episodes, with his 3-note vocal range. A chimpanzee co-star is beyond a stupid idea. This show was all over the map, with McKay’s rig stamped Milwaukee, Wisconsin, yet his series was presumably set somewhere in the South, while being filmed entirely in California.

NBC’s BJ & the Bear soon spawned Claude Akins’ character into The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (NBC: 1979-81), and possibly encouraged Enos (CBS: 1980-81), an ill-conceived Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85) spin-off set in LA. That’s a lot to answer for.

These shows were purportedly one-hour “action” series, meant to compete with the likes of CHiPs (1977-83), Hart to Hart (1979-84), and Tenspeed and Brownshoe (1980). When MTV and cable finally came along, most of this shit was flushed forever, first by the kids, then the networks.

In this heavily-promoted episode above (poorly transferred, but it’s all we got), guest star deputy Slim Pickens steals the show with his hilarious banter. The highlights are when: 1) he slaps the cuffs on “the famous BJ McKay,” and 2) when McKay and the self-dubbed ‘Piston Packin’ Mamas’ are foiled by Slim Pickens’ three-car roadblock, and instantly give up. McKay & the PPM’s weren’t even smart enough to take an alternate route through a different county, but then again, if they did there would be no plot.

Final spoiler: Slim Pickens detours the convoy onto an unpaved back road, ultimately wrecking their loads. But luckily in the next scene, McKay hustles a woman buyer into giving them 67-cents-on-the-dollar for their smashed eggs, rotting away in unrefrigerated trucks. Painful, I know…

For those who don’t want to watch (and I don’t blame you), the chimpanzee was named Bear, after Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. The final episode of this trailer wreck of a series, should have been BJ driving his rig to the jungles of Africa, then removing the insipid human clothing on Bear, and releasing him back where he belongs. Imagine a reverse-Jungle Book (1967) motif. Woulda been a helluva two-parter to close things out.

Cable TV came into everyone’s home by the early 1980’s, and changed everything for television, the same way the Internet and social media has changed information exchange today. As kids, we are defined by what we watch, as advertisers have been targeting kids since television’s advent. With cable, there were suddenly a lot more options for viewers, so networks had to improve their programming, otherwise there were dozens of other channels to surf.

In the end, the only thing that motivates change is necessity and survival. This revolution in global society that is happening before our eyes has been a product of decades of technological breakthroughs, which has allowed mass culture to absorb it’s best & worst aspects, and make critical value judgments on its content.

For example, TV news used to be the trusted family friend at supper time. That changed with CNN, and was killed by the Internet, just like print news. Now we recognize it as fake news. When decades of experience. knowledge & wisdom can be instantly shared to a global audience, then we have the means to educate & motivate the masses towards something better.

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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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The Politics of Motherhood in Sports

Sports is business, and business is politics, where true fans & athletes mostly lose.           — Ric Size

Cable TV and ESPN changed sports in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, sports would be revolutionized again, this time by women’s participation. The US Women’s National Soccer team won two of the first three women’s World Cup events. Their first was the inaugural 1991 World Cup for women, and almost no one cared or noticed. Norway won in 1995, defeating the US in the finals.

After being blacked out of their 1996 gold medal triumph in Atlanta at the summer Olympics, all the pressure was on in 1999, when America hosted the World Cup. In possibly the most dramatic sporting event ever, the entire world watched as the US defeated China 0-0, 5-4 in penalty kicks. Mia Hamm Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain and all the rest defined this new era for everyone. Soccer moms are now mainstream.

Since these revolutionary advances in sports, we now view men & women equally in the media. We can adore & criticize men & women equally now, because both groups have star appeal. One unique difference with women is that the issue of pregnancy comes to the fore. Women have to deal with it directly, verses men. This social difference has made its way into right-wing politics (#MeToo campaign), and big money sports where Serena Williams is now extolled as the poster-child for athletes as mothers.

Background: Kim Clijsters (above) was born June 8, 1983 and won 41 singles and eleven doubles titles. She won four Grand Slam singles titles: three at the US Open, in 2005, 2009, and 2010 and one at the Australian Open in 2011. Interestingly, Kim Clijsters announced her retirement from professional tennis when she was pregnant on May 6, 2007. Clijsters gave birth to daughter, Jada Elle, on February 27, 2008 meaning she was just shy of age 25 at the time.

In March 2009, Clijsters publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour, and won 3 more majors in her career before retiring for good after the 2012 season. On September 18, 2013, Clijsters gave birth to a son, Jack Leon Lynch. In October 2016, she gave birth to her third child, Blake Richard Lynch. That’s a remarkable career, which doesn’t often get remembered by the #MeToo liberal-Democrat crowd, for some unexplained reason.

Victoria Azarenka was born July 31, 1989, and has won two Australian Open singles titles– 2012 & 2013. Belarus is her home, which is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. This forested country of about 10 million became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and remains in their sphere of influence. Thus ESPN doesn’t cover Victoria Azarenka much.

Azarenka and her former boyfriend Billy McKeague have one son, Leo, born December 19, 2016– when she was age 27. Following their split immediately after 2017 Wimbledon, they became involved in a legal child custody case for their son which resulted in Azarenka’s withdrawal from the 2017 US Open and all other 2017 tournaments. Here’s excerpts from an interview she gave to the New York Times, published April 25, 2017.

With Baby in Tow, Victoria Azarenka Returns to Tennis — and Her Roots [1]

After an extended break from competition, Azarenka is training in her native Belarus with a new coach and a new traveling companion: her infant son.

MINSK, Belarus — The child care was done, if only for a moment, and Victoria Azarenka was back where it all began, leaning against the wall that had been her first tennis companion. “It was the best hitting partner, because it never misses, never complains,” Azarenka explained. The wall is in a small gymnasium in the Republic Olympic Training Center, a labyrinthine tennis facility in Minsk that was a short walk from the small, two-bedroom apartment Azarenka shared with her parents, her older brother, Max, and her grandparents.

“Yes, I’ll do it for me, because I want to achieve my full potential, but it’s not anymore just for me,” Azarenka said. “I want to have my son be proud of me. I want to give him a good example that if you have a goal and you have a dream, you can achieve it if you work hard.” She resists calling it a comeback. After all, she was not sidelined by injury, illness, burnout or misfortune…

Victoria Azarenka admits that she was depressed (when she was injured in 2014-15), but has grown from it:

“I don’t want to sound like a mental person, but, yeah, I was,” she said. “It’s just when you are in those moments it’s difficult to realize that, because you think you’re fine and you’re trying to kind of command your mind that you’re OK, but it’s really just going through that and experiencing that and really admitting it to yourself. I think the first time I admitted that I wasn’t OK it made me feel a little bit better, and being an athlete I think it’s not a weakness to admit that, because we’re all human, and we all go through difficult situations and it’s OK to be that way. The important thing, and what’s exciting is how you come out of it. That’s what shows a strong personality, a strong character, because it’s a challenge of life; it’s more.”

Victoria Azarenka: Facebook August 17, 2017 ·

My incredible fans and friends, who have supported me throughout my career deserve to know why I may not be able to compete at the U.S Open this year.

The day my son Leo was born, back in December of last year, was by far the happiest day of my life. I now have a brand new appreciation for how new mothers – and fathers – juggle the many different responsibilities for their families. However, like most working mothers, despite my unconditional love for my son, I am faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away.

In Belarus back in March, with my family in tow, I started working toward the goal of returning to the tennis tour and competing at a high level by July 31st. I was able to return early, playing in Mallorca mid-June followed by Wimbledon.

Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do.

Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is ok to be a working mother – or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.

I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing. No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.

I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete but, more importantly to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.
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To finish this tale to the present, Victoria Azarenka received a wild card for the year’s US Open champion. Azarenka is currently ranked #87. The July 16 WTA rankings were used to determine direct entries into the US Open, which begins Aug. 27. She has quietly worked her way back (no Facebook posts on her page since the one cited above), and has demanded no preferential treatment. She has made it clear that her priority is her son, and no one doubts it. People can respect & understand that.

Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 and is also a mother preparing for the US Open, but much differently. On April 19, 2017, Williams posted a picture of her midsection on Snapchat. It had the caption, “20 weeks,” sparking speculation that she was pregnant. Later that evening, her spokesperson confirmed that she was expecting.

On September 1, 2017, Williams gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian. Williams had a cesarean-section delivery due to complications, which has short-circuited her long-planned “comeback.” The biggest factor working against her professional success from the start is her age. She gave birth to her daughter when she turned age 35, and is now approaching age 37. Athletes (men & women alike) don’t get better at this age, they decline & retire. Williams and her longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou spin it differently.

Serena Williams Confirms She’s Pregnant After Day of Speculation:   NYT April 19, 2017 [2]

[Patrick] Mouratoglou expressed delight for Williams and Ohanian. From a tennis perspective, he said he was not upset about missing the chance to chase more titles in the coming months. “Honestly, not,” he said. “I am not disappointed because I know how important what is happening right now is for her, and I also know there’s a really good chance that she’ll come back afterward. “What is fabulous is all these challenges, and now there’s a new challenge that’s incredible. She’ll be over 35 and a new mother trying to win Grand Slams.”

Mouratoglou, a confident and enterprising Frenchman, recently opened a large tennis academy near Nice after having operated an academy in the Paris suburbs for years. He is also a prominent television analyst and has been one of the biggest factors in Williams’ late-career renaissance. When they began working together in 2012, Williams was 30, and Mouratoglou said she told him that she wanted to win one last major singles title. She has far exceeded that. She won her first tournament with Mouratoglou — Wimbledon in 2012 — and has gone on to win 10 major singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles with him as her coach.

Once involved romantically, Mouratoglou and Williams have remained a team professionally… “It’s difficult to say, because it’s a situation that’s completely new and that she has never been through,” Mouratoglou said. “It’s very difficult to imagine in advance how someone will react when they are a mother. It’s so special and such a life change. I do think she’ll come back, and she will come back all the more if everyone thinks she’s done. So I encourage you to write that she’s finished. Please.”

Political footnote: Serena Williams last title was the 2016 Australian Open, after which she revealed she was pregnant. Coincidentally, a few weeks later it was announced to the world that Maria Sharapova (a longtime professional & personal rival) had failed a drug test at that same event. Sharapova wouldn’t return to a major until the 2017 US Open, facing #2-seeded Angelique Kerber in the 1st round, with Sharapova prevailing– stunning everyone.

Serena Williams’ “comeback” (as she has marketed this campaign) has been hyped by ESPN and the rest of the liberal media since after the 2018 Australian Open. These are screenshots of her appearances since then, with everything you need to know from the WTA Rankings homepage.

It started with Indian Wells & Miami (above) which are hard-court tournaments. Indian Wells is a rockstar event, so every player wants to show up and be part of it. Serena beat the warm bodies in the first two rounds, then lost to her older sister Venus Williams 6-2. 6-4. If you know sports & injury recovery, then that was a HUGE red flag.

Nevertheless, Serena Williams was determined to play in Miami, which is her hometown. She now actually owns the event; as she’s a major investor & on the board. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this event needs to switch to clay to have any appeal to serious professionals trying to win the next major which is the French Open in this case. Indian Wells, LA outclasses Miami, Florida– so re-invent this tournament; please.

We’ll see what Serena Williams can do as an owner, but as a pro player she’s finished. In Miami 2018, 20-year old up & comer Naomi Osaka crushed Serena Williams in the first round: 6-3, 6-2. This is exactly the kind of confident young player Serena Williams can’t beat anymore.

Serena Williams’ next tournament was the 2018 French Open. She beat #17 ranked Ashley Barty in the 2nd round, then #11 Julia Georges in the 3rd round, and was set-up to face Maria Sharapova in the 4th Round, when she suddenly announced a “torn pectoral muscle” which left her unable to serve, and thus compete. She retired just an hour before the match was scheduled to start, leaving her opponent and fans in a state of shock.

Miraculously, less than a month later, Serena Williams began her Wimbledon run to the finals, before she was soundly defeated by Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3. Serena Williams never even played a top-50 opponent until the semis, and again it was Julia Georges, whom she handled easily– as always. Serena Williams was ranked #181 in the world, yet was given a #25 seeding, which was unprecedented. Wimbledon 2018 was most likely a fixed draw to help Serena win a 24th major. The mathematical possibility of this draw happening randomly in her favor was so remote as to not exist, and it was a disgrace to the sport of tennis.

After Wimbledon, it’s back to the hard-courts again. Below is how Serena Williams looked in San Jose less than a month ago, in a 1st Round 6-1, 6-0 loss to #48-ranked Johanna Konta. As you can see in this image from that match, there is no athletic balance or control here. Serena Williams’ core is devastated, and she needs rest & recovery before trying to compete again. Any other conclusion is delusional.

Of course she isn’t listening to her body or science, so the media hype machine is pressed into action…

Serena Williams to play in Montreal after accepting Rogers Cup wild card
Updated: July 24, 2018  [3]

MONTREAL (AP) — Serena Williams will play in the Rogers Cup in Montreal next month, her first tournament since her runner-up finish at Wimbledon. Tournament officials announced Tuesday that Williams received a wild card into the event, which begins Aug. 3. Her ranking jumped from No. 181 to No. 28 after her run at Wimbledon. The 36-year-old has played in four tournaments this year after giving birth last year.

The Rogers Cup is a tuneup for the U.S. Open. Williams last played it in 2014, when she reached the semifinals. She won the event three times when it was played in Toronto. After her loss in the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, Williams said she had proved to herself that she could still compete to win Grand Slams. Her next Grand Slam title would tie her with Margaret Court for the most with 24. She already has the most major trophies in the professional era.

But after seeing her draw of tough hard-court opponent Alize Cornet in the 1st Round…

Serena Williams out of Montreal tourney for personal reasons Aug 4, 2018  [4]

MONTREAL — Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament, citing personal reasons. The tournament announced Williams’ withdrawal on Saturday. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is coming off the most lopsided defeat of her career, a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Johanna Konta in San Jose, California, on Tuesday.

Williams, 36, was the runner-up at Wimbledon last month. That was just her fourth tournament since returning to the tour after having a baby in September and dealing with a health scare related to blood clots. The year’s last major tournament, the US Open, starts on Aug. 27. Williams will be replaced in the draw at Montreal by Tatjana Maria, who faces Alize Cornet in the first round.

Unless anyone has a better explanation, that’s what it is. The rest can be dismissed as convenient excuses at this point. Serena Williams needs to play matches to be ready for the US Open, so Cincinnati is the next stop on the tour…

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round 8:15 AM ET 8-15-18  [5]

Serena Williams was eliminated from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, falling to eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Williams was making her first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2015. She opened with a victory 6-1 6-2 against Daria Gavrilova, a match that took just 65 minutes.

Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. “You know, this is a long comeback,” she said. “I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I’m getting there, and I’m going to just continue to work hard and, hopefully, I’ll start winning more matches.”

What’s happening here is a glorious career ending in a slow-motion train wreck. Many of the achievements Serena Williams has made for herself (and women) are being undermined by her lack of character and ethics at the end. She’s being pushed and is reaching for something she has no right to anymore, which is to be considered the best women’s player in the world. These are the current WTA rankings;

Right now there are at least 12-15 WTA professionals that Serena Williams can’t beat.

All this became apparent at Roland Garros, when Serena Williams ducked Maria Sharapova. Her career mark again Sharapova is 19-2*. The asterisk is for that duck, because she couldn’t handle going 19-3, which smacks of ungraciousness & poor sportsmanship. Where’s the role model in that?

Footnote on PED testing: If doping is widely suspected by professional peers, then that athlete is tested more frequently. Roger Federer agrees that this is good policy for the sport, so who’s to argue? Only Serena Williams it appears.

Every time a WADA agent shows up for a sample, she’s in front of a camera and/or posting her indignant reaction [!?#) on social media. No other professional player does this. Many comments in the forums & chatboards remind people that they’ve heard this routine before from Lance Armstrong. Serena Williams is a real student of the game, if you know what I mean.

Update:  Thursday   August 23, 2018 ~ 5:00 PM  ET

The men’s & women’s draws for the upcoming US Open have been released, and here are my conclusions. The men’s brackets look balanced & fair. I don’t expect any objections/complaints from the players, or too many surprises over the next two weeks. The women’s draw is a different matter entirely, as the brackets have clearly been fixed again– to accommodate Serena Williams who was seeded No. 17 for the US Open, nine spots higher than her current ranking of No. 26.

Once again, it’s not the inflated seeding that matters, as much as the fact that nearly all the best women’s players who can handle Serena (pointed out above) are bracketed far away from her. The only two players who can beat her, in her section of the draw are; sister Venus Williams, whom she could face in the 3rd-Round, and #1-seeded Simona Halep, a potential 4th-Round match.

I basically predicted this, and that’s why I published this piece before the US Open draws were announced– to anticipate (prove) the next fix in a women’s tennis major. I’ve identified which players Serena Williams avoids, through her heavyweight connections with the most prestigious tournament officials; and now you see how skillfully this is done. ESPN has already gone into overdrive with their Serena puff pieces & flak machine.

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So you wanna be a punk rocker?

More than any other artist on this planet, I am well-known in elite circles, yet relatively unknown to the general public. Blacklisting is a political act, taken by the ruling class, when they can’t refute the message. Instead they censor it. The US Executive branch and the Intelligence Committee’s of both houses of Congress, have known who I am for awhile. Of course, nothing can be stated on the record. National (in)security.

Many big celebrities also know who I am, particularly in sports, music & TV/film. but it’s the same there too. When you’re tied into the corporate machinery, you give up your right to free speech. Obey the #MeToo campaign, and everything else you’re told: That’s the Faustian deal.

The NFL players are only the latest (and most-highlighted) example of this censorship, as players can’t even protest police killings before a game, without becoming the target of media attacks and league blacklisting. Colin Kaepernick never got a job offer, even though he was a top-10 NFL QB. That sends a clear message from ownership to the players. More players need to step up for this to change.

That’s mainstream, which I’m not allowed to be part of. I’m pushed underground by the government-corporate elite machinery– Google, Fakebook, YouTube and the rest; in order that I never be allowed to influence any of this. If you are making any kind of art these days, then you know what I mean. Revolutionary politics is the same. I’m both. These are the sacrifices you make to be in the right. Selling your soul is never good business, because once you start down that road, forever will it dominate your destiny.

The true path often means doing what’s unpopular. It hurts personally & economically. But it is the only way to artistic freedom & true happiness. If you are an atheist like me, then you have only one life to live, so don’t waste it in cowardice. It’s your words & actions that people remember.

To be punk means to get into sick people’s faces for a good reason. The methods vary in music, film & whatever, but that spirit is what endures & defines it. Punk means working class ethics, DIY, and move everything forward starting with the kids. Punk doesn’t make appeals to anyone over age 30, because they don’t know what’s cool anymore, if they ever did in the first place. Politically educated workers can join too, but they aren’t the target audience, as there are too few of them.

Kids define the times in music, television, film and everything else in popular (human) culture– with their approval. It’s what turns the kids on that counts, and everything else is corporate hype. When artists like myself are blacklisted, it signals the ruling class is trembling in fear. They fear the music because they know its power & influence. Kids embrace the music for the same reason.

It’s close-minded fools vs. open-minded kids when it comes to cultural criticism.  That’s the war, and punk rock leads this fight in the name of the kids. Please share this message!!

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Where Have All the Nicknames Gone?

Chris Berman gave the best baseball nicknames ever. Berman was better at doing the ESPN highlights than actually calling a MLB game, which is why he eventually chose to exclusively cover the NFL. Here’s the funniest of his baseball best:

Mike Enough Aldretti, Kent Buy a Vowel Hrbek, Pat Mahomes Where the Heart is, Roberto Remember the Alomar, Carlos One if by Land, Two if Baerga, Francisco Umbilical Cordova, Stan Javier Self A Merry Little Christmas, Steve Ebony and Avery, Delino Decoconut Deshields, Oddibe Young Again McDowell, Kent Magic Mercker, Bert Be Home Blyleven, Rich Dotson 280z, Wally Absorbine Joyner, Eric Win Place or Show, Heathcliff Slocumb if ya got ’em, Jesse Belly Up to the Barfield, Matt No Nokes, Rod Beck Beck Beck Beck Beck, Lance You Sank my Blankenship, Greg Gagne with a Spoon, Mike Leggo Gallego, Ken Get Off My Cloude, A J Touchy Feeley, Pat Pick Up the Tabler, Jeff See Through Blauser, Eddie Eat Drink and be Murray, Craig Def Lefferts, Kirk Weekly Rueter, Damon Blue Berryhill, Rick See Ya Later Aguilera, Dave Mary Magadan, Kevin Smallmouth Bass, and Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiala Brosius.

His complete list is here.

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Titles Matter

Hot in Cleveland was an American sitcom on TV Land (it’s first originally-scripted series), and one of the greatest titles for a television series– ever. These women were no longer hot in LA or New York, but they’re Hot in Cleveland.

Of course the audience knew the stars’ past histories before the first episode, so it was a joke everyone instantly got. Ironically, this highly-rated series was recorded in front of an enthusiastic live studio audience in Studio City, California.

It premiered in 2010, and ran for 6 seasons– 128 episodes total. It starred Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Betty White; and was one of the best sitcoms of it’s era– which is saying something. The two hardest things to do in show business are: 1) be an artist, and 2) make ’em laugh.

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Padres & the MLB Trade Deadline Breakdown

If you’ve been through a few MLB Trade deadlines (and I have), then you know this is a feeding frenzy. You have two sub-sets of teams; those trading away MLB assets for prospects & young talent, and those competitive teams acquiring winning MLB talent. Everyone is trying to improve themselves, whether the focus is on this October, or the future. The most-coveted MLB asset for championship contenders is top-tier relief pitching, as that’s what October baseball comes down to. Who can get those crucial final outs from their bullpen?

The most coveted return for sellers are top prospects: top-100 MLB prospects, top organizational prospects, top pitching prospects, top left-handed pitching prospects, etc. Position players are added for depth, and to plug holes, but they don’t move the needle towards winning like relief pitching or front-line starters.

The fascinating (and mostly unmentioned) thing about this trade deadline is that Padres GM AJ Preller held aces on both ends of this spectrum, and once again exerted influence & control over the trade market. He dealt coveted lefty closer Brad Hand (and righty set-up guy Adam Cimber) on July 19, 2018 to Cleveland, in return for C Francisco Mejia, their top prospect– ~15th overall in MLB. The Padres needed a catcher, as Austin Hedges is elite defensively, but isn’t the everyday answer. Hedges is an elite caddy in a catching tandem. Padres won’t be dealing Mejia, you can be sure.

As the above screenshot indicates, Francisco Mejia currently ranks 3rd in the Padres stacked farm system– behind SS Fernando Tatis, Jr. and LHP Mackenzie Gore. The list of talent in this top-12 is the envy of MLB. There are more-than-a-few teams in MLB who don’t have a single player in their farm system that is better than any of the Padres top-12 prospects. This represents championship level talent at bargain basement salary, which means you can keep it together. Every savvy GM & organized front office understands that.

This is what put the San Diego Padres in the RHP Chris Archer trade conversation. Any GM of a last-place team needs to look at ways to improve their starting pitching. AJ Preller did this, but what the Rays wanted in return was too high a price. Besides, Chris Archer isn’t an ace. He’s a valuable #2 starter on championship NL roster, and a #3 in the AL.

AJ Preller knows you don’t give up the farm for that, especially at this point in their competitive cycle. Padres don’t need to pay Archer’s (affordable) salary either. So what was Preller doing? He was doing what any good GM in his advantageous position should do, test the market and get an idea of how other organizations value your prospects. It turns out that rival GM’s value Padres prospects very highly. More reason to hold onto them.

There was non-stop speculation from the MLB/ESPN driven media, that the Mets were going to deal their “aces.” Let’s back up for a moment here. First, the only ace the Mets currently have is RHP Jacob deGrom, and the Mets have said repeatedly they don’t want to trade him, unless it’s an offer that’s over-the-top and they can’t refuse. Nothing of the sort was ever presented.

Somehow by mentioning a deGrom trade possibility through the media, the Mets front office reasoned that would make RHP’s Noah Syndergaard (above pic) & Zack Wheeler appear more valuable. It doesn’t work that way with astute GM’s. Let’s examine the true trade value here.

The best pitcher the Mets actually had available was Syndergaard. The problem is he never stays healthy, and he just went on the DL again, this time with hand, foot & mouth (HF&M) disease. HF&M disease is a viral infection, that wipes you out– similar to mononucleosis or hepatitis. No team wants to bring a carrier of a contagious disease into their clubhouse. Yet the MLB/ESPN sports media kept trying to push a trade possibility, and it (curiously) was often linked to the Padres, as they have the prospects to make it happen.

The media also underplayed the causes of HF&M disease, which is poor hygiene, not washing your hands, etc. A responsible MLB GM can’t blow that off as incidental. It says something about who that person is, and their intellect. Unlike a bone fracture or muscle/ligament tear; this could wipe out an entire clubhouse– for a month or more!

The kid may have talent, but his head is a huge question mark, along with the Mets medical staff. Therefore Noah Syndergaard is definitely not worth the gamble of trading away the farm system to obtain. The Padres would rather keep top LHP prospect Mackenzie Gore, and that’s what AJ Preller did.

Zack Wheeler was endlessly floated over the past few weeks as a starter that could help a contender. He’s viewed by GM’s as a #4/5 guy- so that was a non-starter. Wheeler was the beneficiary of possibly the worst umpiring decision in the history of MLB, in a recent start against the Padres at Citi Field.

This trade deadline was most cruel to the New York Mets, who are currently 44-59, sitting 4th in the NL East with a bad farm system, and unable to trade any of their best starters for the prospects they so desperately needed. The Mets team owner is bankrupt, so winter free-agent splashes are probably not an option. That’s an Amazing Mess.

As mentioned, all the serious focus up to the deadline (outside of Chris Archer) was on top-tier relievers. AJ Preller still held the best cards in this market, even after dealing Brad Hand. Reliever Kirby Yates (1.60 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP) is controllable through 2020, and Craig Stammen has a 2.63 ERA, with a 1.11 WHIP. They both have been used frequently, and in high-leverage situations.

Those were (by far) the best available reliever options, as the trade deadline passed. An actual problem at this point for AJ Preller is that no GM wants to trade him any more prospects. They see the Padres future, and they don’t want one of their own to be part of it. This slightly suppressed the value for everyone else, since Yates & Stammen were the top of the bar. After the deadline both are still Padres, despite all the media talk that they would be dealt to contenders.

The best starter available, Chris Archer was eventually dealt by the Rays to the Pirates at the deadline for two young MLB players: outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow. That’s probably less that what Archer is worth, but the Rays were determined to sell. That’s how you control a trade market, and this isn’t the first time AJ Preller has done it. More importantly, Preller held onto all of his prospects. Below is a screenshot of all the last-minute deals made at the 4:00 PM ET MLB trade deadline, posted at mlb.com. As you can see, beyond Chris Archer it was all low-level stuff:

Wrap-up: The fact is that in another year or two, all of the names on the Padres top-30 prospects list are going to be either: 1) producing in the majors, 2) knocking on the door, or 3) washed out. Not every top prospect makes it, but the level of talent and unbelievable depth in the Padres system makes them the odds-on favorite to become the next Houston Astros. The Padres will be doing it in the easier league, with an AL-type roster and organizational depth built around power pitching & hitting. They are in this position because of their general manager, who is a baseball & organizational genius.

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Always Hustle Until the 4th Out!!

For 150+ years, baseball has had three outs in an inning, and once the third out is called by the umpire, all action is stopped. Everyone from little league on up knows this. But now, that long-standing rule has been changed in practice. Of course, it involved the San Diego Padres, and (of course) the call went against them in New York. Here’s the situation & what happened.

Top of the 3rd inning, Mets lead 3-0, but the Padres have the bases loaded with RHP Zack Wheeler struggling… Two-out single to left by Wil Myers, Manny Margot trying to score from second base is incorrectly called out at the plate by umpire Manny Gonzalez, for (apparently) the third out. This screenshot below is the bad punch-out call.

After Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco shows the ball to the umpire, the incorrect ‘out’ call is signaled by Gonzalez. The inning is (hypothetically) over, but Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco then throws to third base, to nail Carlos Asuaje for the 4th out [!] of the inning. Carlos Asuaje is puzzled, as he thinks he’s heading to the visitor’s [3rd base] dugout to get his glove, because there’s three outs.  Padres manager Andy Green is also puzzled, and challenges the call at home.

After a LONG delay, the call is overturned (Margot obviously safe) and the run scores (3-2), but Asuaje is now deemed the third out– inning over. This is the Mets/Padres at Citi Field on July 24, 2018, with NY replay booth umps. Who are these replay umpires? That should be determined here, for posterity.

Obviously, Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco knew the call at home was incorrect (because it was in front of him), and that’s why he threw to third base. Heads-up play by him, you could say. But how was the runner on second base (Asuaje) supposed to know?

Here’s the MLB write-up, with video of the play & review. Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell is one of the best in the business, and he clearly defines the replay rules in question and their interpretation.

“Section IV of MLB’s replay regulations covers the placement of runners after incorrect calls. Here are the segments in question: The Replay Official shall place the base runners on the bases he believes they would have reached had the reviewed call been made correctly. … Any doubt regarding the placement of runners should be resolved in favor of the last base legally touched at the time of the challenged call.

Subsequent Calls and Outs: If the Replay Official determines that an incorrect call on the field had no effect on the subsequent behavior or conduct of the offensive or defensive players, the Replay Official shall change the incorrect call, but let stand any on-field calls or plays unaffected by the incorrect call. The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to Replay Review.

[Andy] Green had asked to protest the interpretation of those rules. According to section II.L.4. of the replay regulations, no protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the replay official. He was denied.”

Carlos Asuaje had these lucid comments, post-game. “I guess the safest thing would be to just stay at second and, if there’s a close play or something, just wait on the base, I really don’t know how else to do that. Nobody’s going to play that ball through — especially with the third baseman standing there. My only move would be to go full-speed and slide into the guy. What if that was the third out at home? What are we going to do? Are we going to fight these guys? I mean, I’m not going to start a brawl.”

Here were Andy Green’s post-game comments. “I don’t know how you think he’s [Asuaje’s] making a full-bore effort to advance to third base. I think it’s a lethargic jog toward the third-base coach, which is pretty customary when the third out of an inning is made. You go hand the guy your helmet. That’s effectively what was happening.”

That’s how you get rooked by the Black Hand. The correct call would have been to send Carlos Asuaje back to second base: two outs, runners at 1st & 2nd base, with Eric Hosmer up. Any replay call that overturns a call on the field must freeze the base runner situation, as everything that occurs after that depends on the call. That’s rational.

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler was on the ropes, and the umps (on the field & replay) let him off the hook. That unfair & biased call for the home team completely changed the game, as the Mets won easily 6-3. Why aren’t the replay umpires held accountable?

Note that if this situation occurs with only one out, you still have to hustle until the 4th out. For the record, Wil Myers was standing on first base when Asuaje was tagged for the 4th out, so nice base-running Wil. You never want to run into the 4th out of an inning. That’s a new rule. Wil Myers couldn’t possibly run into the fifth out, but he was one of two people who could have run into the fourth out, if that makes any sense.

As we can see, the rules in MLB are now hypothetical, and as far as getting a call goes, it helps to be an east coast team. Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 ER, so his trade stock goes up, which is also a factor here. This is what has happened to all sports these days. The traditional rules don’t apply anymore, and it mirrors everyday reality. Only the interests of the privileged count for anything. These “contests” are largely manipulated & fixed. The people & fans have noticed, and it won’t hold up much longer, as there’s too much unfairness & hypocrisy.

Final next-day thoughts:

Baseball is an amazing game because anything can happen, and that’s why we watch. Sometimes you witness something at the ballpark that you’ve never seen before. You can’t say that about most sports.

After thinking about this affair in it’s totality, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the WORST UMPIRING DECISION IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. It’s so, not just because of the blatant bias involved, but also because it violates & distorts the game’s most basic rule to it’s essence, which is, “three outs ends the inning.”

Over & Out

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Revolutionary Flashpoint: Julian Assange to be Expelled from Embassy

This piece is now a serial, until there is resolution. Check for updates at the bottom.

On Friday July 20, 2018 Russia Today published a story titled: “Ecuador to hand over Assange to UK ‘in coming weeks or days,’ own sources tell RT’s editor-in chief.”

On Saturday (yesterday), the Intercept published “Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?” by Glenn Greenwald.

WikiLeaks’ “crime” is releasing DNC emails which revealed how top Democrats fixed the 2016 primary for Hillary Clinton. Seth Rich and other DNC staffers were the source of the leaks, not the Russians. This persecution of Julian Assange has been a US-led frame-up from the start. It goes hand-in-glove with the “fake news” media blitz, Internet censorship, right-wing feminism & identity politics.

U.K. foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt (above) has threatened WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, daring him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy, “At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street, and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.” Those are the words of a fascist, who employs others to do his dirty work.

Newly-elected Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno (above, in wheelchair) has been under heavy US pressure to expel Assange, as this fascist persecution campaign against WikiLeaks crosses both aisles in official American politics. Moreno has called Julian Assange “a stone in his shoe,” evoking mafia methods for his removal. The Democrats want Assange silenced because he exposed their electoral manipulations of 2016. The Republicans want Assange imprisoned because they are fascists. That’s called an elite consensus in bourgeois politics.

So basically Julian Assange (an Australian citizen) is a man without a country, being persecuted by the governments of the world and their corporate paymasters. The mass media acts as attack dog & purveyor of state propaganda. If these forces are allowed to have their way, then Assange will be forever silenced. The question then becomes: Who’s next?

Julian Assange & Wikileaks reported the truth about what’s going on. Since when has telling the truth been outlawed? The prosecution of Julian Assange represents the most reactionary & violent ideological contortions of the global ruling class. Every pretense of democracy is being threatened in a tyrannical campaign of lies & distortions against this whistle-blower journalist.

Assange’s courage, intelligence & willpower to sustain this fight against global capitalism has won him millions of supporters world-wide. It is now time for these supporters to stand up & speak out in his behalf. It can only be through direct challenge to this elitist apparatus, that Julian Assange’s freedom will be won. It is the working people & youth of the world, who value freedom of information & expression. They must unite and collectively fight for these rights, which are under siege.

Do it now!!

Update July 23, 2018 ~ 4:30 PM ET

Vladimir Putin is the shadowy figure in this conspiracy to evict Julian Assange. Russia could offer him asylum, as they did for Edward Snowden, the man who supplied the leaks on ubiquitous NSA spying. Reporting from Russia Today since their announcement on Friday has been muted.

My sixth sense tells me that Trump & Putin have an arrangement here. Putin fears Assange as much as the rest of the global ruling establishment. His interests are complex. If the US wins this campaign, then Assange is silenced, which he approves. If Assange is freed, then Donald Trump, his fascist cabal, and the US government-intelligence complex all suffer a humiliating set-back– which would be a diplomatic victory for Russia.

The only way to get above this international intrigue is for the youth & working masses of the world to free Assange themselves through collective solidarity & revolutionary action.

Here’s an interesting political theory question. Whom does Julian Assange most resemble in history, right now?  Leon Trotsky’s life ended in August 1940, at the outbreak of the second world war; with him in permanent exile, endlessly persecuted by the capitalist & Stalinist bureaucracies– meaning all the governments of the world. The working masses didn’t organize & arm themselves in time to save Trotsky from his horrible death, which he foresaw. Julian Assange doesn’t claim to be a socialist, but his actions and circumstances make him an internationalist of the same quality.

What will be needed, when Assange is inevitably hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London are: 1) large numbers of militant masses, 2) a small army of courageous lawyers, and 3) anyone with media credentials (& clout) broadcasting the events honestly in real time.

It’s going to be a heated, potentially violent situation when it happens. The UK police state will be out in full force, as will be their masked cronies as fascist hooligans.  This is an international US/UK provocation on the human rights of an Australian citizen. The masses need to be organized & disciplined, yet ready to defend themselves– and Julian Assange. Anything can happen, and it probably will, soon enough.

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 ~ 1:10 PM ET

We’re currently at the point where fascism is gathering its forces, as quietly as possible– it appears. The news that Julian Assange is about to be expelled has been widely reported, even in America, as USA Today ran a story on it on Saturday, July 21. But the newspaper of record, the New York Times has been remarkably silent. The last story the NYT published on Julian Assange was on March 28, when his Internet was cut off.

The Washington Post doesn’t see these events as newsworthy either, with nothing on Assange’s imminent eviction in a search of their online archives.

The Wall Street Journal won’t let you search their site without a subscription, but I would expect the same results there too. This proves these institutions are not journalists reporting facts in the interest of the public, but instead a corporate propaganda arm of the government-military-intelligence complex. Their job is to hide the truth and confuse the issues as much as possible.

July 27, 2018  ~10:30 AM ET

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London, ostensibly to attend a disability summit, but really to secretly negotiate the hand-over of Julian Assange to British and (eventually) US authorities. The more this situation is exposed and the facts are reported, the more problematic this covert hand-over will be. Julian Assange needs a massive show of support from youth & working people everywhere, in order to protect the democratic rights of all.

July 28, 2018 ~ 10:00 AM ET

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who granted Julian Assange asylum back in 2012, has weighed in with Russia Today on this matter.

“You can be sure that he [Lenin Moreno] is a hypocrite. He already has an agreement with the US about what will happen to Assange. And now he’s just trying to sweeten the pill by saying he’s going to have a dialogue” about conditions of the transfer, Correa told RT Spanish. “I’m afraid … that Assange’s days in our embassy are numbered. [Moreno] talks about a dialogue, but everything has already been agreed with the UK government, especially after Vice President Pence’s visit to Ecuador a few weeks ago.”

Friday August 3, 2018 ~ 3:30 PM ET*

* I keep wondering to myself if I should mark the time as Daylight or Standard. I hate Daylight savings, and believe it is yet another capitalist soft power set piece. The further hypocrisy now is that Daylight savings lasts longer than Standard time in the US. We all have biological clocks that tune into daylight, and this messes with that for no good reason. It hurts working people the most.

Mostly quiet on the Julian Assange front. The latest media rumblings were Ecuadorian President Moreno’s “concern for Julian Assange’s health,” as he has no access to daylight. That makes me wonder what Julian Assange thinks about Daylight savings in America, if he knows/cares?

Right now you can feel both sides working behind- the-scenes, for what promises to be a pitched battle. Moreno has made it clear that he want s  Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship to be revoked, insisting he can’t stay in the embassy “indefinitely.” US Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking cabinet members have put heavy pressure on Moreno to deliver Assange to the UK police.

What’s at stake here is a question personified: Are people allowed to tell and know the truth? Neither side is flinching, as the waters are being gently tested through the bourgeois media. When it’s time for the police state to move in and forceably remove Julian Assange, the working masses of the world will immediately spring into action through social media & the Internet. There will be massive political protests, followed by wildcat strikes. This is political economy and revolutionary theory vortexing around the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Sunday August 5, 2018  ~10:00 AM ET

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was apparently the target of a drone attack using explosives during his Saturday public address. Describing the incident, Maduro said a flying object exploded in front of him. “I thought it was a pyrotechnic fire, in a matter of micro seconds there was a second explosion to my right. You could see people running because they felt the shockwave,” he said.

The Venezuelan president accused the far-right opposition and external forces. “I have no doubt that everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right, and the name of [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack,” he said. Maduro also claimed that initial results of the investigation show that several of those who paid for the attack reside in Florida. Colombia is annually the third largest recipient of US military aid, behind Israel & Egypt.

This incident (once again) has many red flags that suggest a CIA covert operation. Venezuela’s economy is in ruins, with hyperinflation heading towards 1,000,000% by end of year. The US has crippled the country with sanctions, claiming Maduro (like his elected predecessor Hugo Chavez) is a dictator who came to power illegitimately and is starving his people. US President Donald Trump has openly considered a military option against Venezuela, and calls for a coup have made it to the headlines of US mainstream media.

This ongoing violence must be seen in the light of the pressure being put on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to hand Julian Assange over the the UK police, so he can be extradited to the US to face a sealed indictment. The more this South American region is destabilized, the easier it is for US imperialism to hold sway. The message is clear, if Moreno doesn’t do Washington’s bidding, then he can expect to be put in the cross-hairs too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018  ~ 10:30 AM ET

Breaking news (at least on Russia Today), that Julian Assange has been summoned by the US Senate Intelligence Committee to testify behind closed doors. This Committee is headed by leading CIA Democrat Mark Warner (Va), and also includes prominent US senators: Marco Rubio (R-Fl), Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), Ron Wyden (D-Or), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), John McCain (R-Az), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

As we can see there is bi-partisan consensus among the elites to silence Julian Assange behind closed doors, and censor the Internet. WikiLeaks is preparing it’s response as of this writing.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is so-named because supposedly it provides Congressional oversite on the Intelligence apparatus. This is a misnomer for two reasons: 1) because there is no real oversite, as the deep state does as it pleases, and 2) there are very little brains on this committee of fascists pretending to be legitimate representatives of the American people.

Thursday August 9, 2018 ~ 10:40 AM ET

I live in Florida, so I caught this headline from yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times in my newsfeed this morning:

Bill Nelson: The Russians have penetrated some Florida voter registration systems

But no evidence of this is presented– classified national (in)security. Marco Rubio and the rest of the fascists on Senate Intelligence Committee are also in on this.

Senator Bill Nelson is locked in a tight race with outgoing Governor Rick Scott for his seat. This puts a criminal corporate raider (Columbia/HCA)) to the left [!] of his Democrat incumbent opponent– until he acquiesces. This is another ruse to create the pretext for mass repression of political dissent & Internet censorship. The “Russians” are dissidents like you & me, and we are not the enemy. This is the Big Lie technique being used for mind control– as another propaganda offensive,

Speaking of newsfeeds, have you noticed how much harder it is to find relevant stories now? It’s like the Internet has been scrubbed, and your searches don’t yield the fertile results it used to. That’s Google, Amazon, Fakebook and the rest of the tech giants working with the deep state to control the free flow of information. Do you agree with that policy?  Who decided on this? How can we hold these people accountable? How can we change things? These are the questions that run through my mind daily.

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Problems & Answers

What am I doing, really? That’s a question I ask myself, from time-to-time. I’ve noticed the answer is always changing. Situations change and scenarios become played out, and that’s when changes become part of the equation. Seeing & knowing the changes is called dialectics, which I’ve stressed the importance of– over & over.

It’s when everything is moving at once (falling apart & coming together), that a dialectician can lead by action & example. This mastery seems mystical, but really it’s scientific. Marxism is the science of political economy under capitalism. It’s philosophy is dialectical materialism. The aim of Marxism is to find the truth in all things. All the classical Marxist masters from Engels, Plekhanov, Luxemburg, Lenin & Trotsky were dialecticians. This allowed them to see further (and more clearly) into the future than their contemporaries, even up to the present.

Marxists as dialecticians are problem solvers. Today the world is in crisis, as fascists have captured the US government, while the military-intelligence apparatus is hurtling all of us towards another World War. World War III ends in mutually assured destruction for the planet. Plus, we’ve got global warming on top of all this. These problems are going to take serious brains and real courage to solve.

It’s a political problem, not a technological issue, as mankind could easily socialize today if it had the political awareness. It’s still an issue of educating & organizing the masses for an overwhelming takeover of power. The coming global socialist revolution is going to be a numerically overpowering hostile takeover of the Wall Street banks, Washington’s ruling apparatus, social & mass media, and the stolen wealth of global billionaires who have trashed our planet, while enslaving most of its population in the selfish interest of enriching themselves. That aggression will not stand. The people of the world will not allow themselves to be enslaved & consumed in perpetuity.

The mass media, Internet and social media are key tools in fighting fascism. It must be clearly understood by all in the US, that the most dangerous enemy of the working class is the Democratic party and all that orbits it. Pseudo-intelligent leftists and those preaching identity politics are hypocrites with deep personal & financial interests at stake. They can never be swayed, as they sold their souls to capitalism long ago. They are only to be considered an enemy to be defeated.

The allies of revolutionary socialists are the exploited youth & working masses of the world. The way forward requires “pressing in” in all fronts. Authority needs to be freely questioned, discussed and challenged– everywhere. Abuse-of-power is become standardized by fascism. Fight this by taking the power back.

Fascists don’t listen to reason, they only understand hate & violence. This needs to be met (EVERYWHERE) with fierce resistance, and any necessary back-up. The Second Amendment means regular people have guns too, and the explicit reason is to protect their freedoms from any unconstitutional government intrusion.

We no longer are a nation of laws. This has been evidentially true since Bush v Gore in 2000, and really true since 9/11. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed to the world (through WikiLeaks) the massive NSA global spying operation. Everything we do on an Internet-connected device is recorded into their database. Video & audio recording is also always happening in real time (24/7/365) from your camera app. Americans live in a modern-day police state.

Who monitors the NSA? This institution (like all the rest–really), has no public accountability, and merely serves as a spy & military police tool for the ruling elite. Top Democrats including Mark Warner & Nancy Pelosi are intimately tied into this deep state apparatus. These are today’s leading voices for more domestic spying & foreign drone wars, both policies which were expanded under Obama/Biden. The Democrats live on half-truths, making them the most despicable form of liars.

The secret to conquest of power by the working masses is realizing its own power. The lowliest janitors and first-class privates have keys & access to the most sophisticated military/intelligence centers. The elites don’t keep these places clean & operational, it’s working people who do this. They are already inside, but lack of political awareness incapacitates them.

The most deluded elitists have now turned to artificial intelligence technology as they savior, because 1) paranoia; and 2) they have run out of brains themselves. Elite “leaders” with every resource in the world available to them, can’t even find answers to simple problems anymore, because their “thinking” is so warped.

Thus these elitist scum have someone program a computer to think for them. No more need to think & problem-solve! Convenient, huh? This degenerated ruling bureaucracy is completely enabled by workers, who still don’t quite realize what’s going on; and how bad thing actually are. They need to speed up their learning curve, because things have already gone dangerously too far. What’s required is an attitude that is 100% defiant to the irrationality that surrounds us.

It’s my job to teach & explain this, so that’s what I’m doing. We can win, if we realize our combined strength– and always act in everyone’s best interest. When we forget to help others, eventually they disappear, and then there are less people to help when Big Brother turns on us. That’s why protecting the rights of others (who are less fortunate) is paramount. Only by realizing the true value of solidarity can the evils of capitalism be overthrown in permanence.

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