Hot Stove Slow Burn

Mostly nothing has been happening on the MLB hot stove because everyone’s attention has been on the International Draft, which began yesterday, January 15. Young, cheap talent gets all 30 MLB GM’s (& their owners) excited. How each team does here, has a huge impact on an organization’s future. This draft has been moved up from July 2, due to COVID-19.

At the major-league level, only the SDP, NYM, ATL & CWS have made any significant roster upgrades, in an attempt to catch the LAD this off-season. As of this publication, the NYY just re-signed DJ LeMahieu (6/$90M), and reportedly just inked RHP Cory Kluber (1/$11M) to replace Masahiro Tanaka.

This treading water still makes NYY the AL favorites, because the TBR dumped ace lefty Blake Snell to the SDP, and HOU is losing free-agent OF’s George Springer (qualifying offer tagged), Michael Brantley, along with RHP Justin Verlander to Tommy John surgery.

When you look at the free agents the CLE, OAK, MIN are losing, it’s hard to see any of them making a deep run in 2021, without spending some money now. The CHC dumped legitimate #2 starter, Hu Darvish & their back-up catcher to the SDP, for #3 starter RHP Zach Davies & four prospects– none of them pitchers. That dump turned the NL Central into mush.

PHI, TOR & LAA keep saying they’re going to do something, and they might. Plenty of talent available. Trevor Bauer (CIN), JT Realmuto (PHI) & George Springer (HOU) have a qualifying offer (QO) tag on them, meaning they cost a draft pick to sign with another team.

If you’ve ever talked about how losing top picks affects a fantasy draft with friends, they’ll all tell you it’s a killer. It’s the same (x10) in MLB. Most GM’s are averse to losing draft picks now. This really limits the market for free agents.

Qualifying offer compensation depends on a complex formula in the CBA, based on revenues, but a team loses either a 2nd or 3rd round pick, (and possibly a later-round pick too) when they sign a QO-tagged FA. This helps recipient teams have great drafts, which puts those organizations ahead of their competition. Example: MIL needs a catcher, and JT Realmuto would work for them, except: 1) their payroll budget isn’t there; and 2) MIL needs their draft picks even more.

The lesson is that the player should almost always accept the QO. It’s becoming more true each winter. Example: RHP Marcus Stroman is smart for accepting his QO. Otherwise, he would have been waiting until after the June Draft as a QO-tagged FA. At $18.9M for 2021, it’s an overpay by the NYM. Next winter Stroman is an unrestricted FA.

Same deal with RHP Kevin Gausman and the SFG. Both teams (Mets & Giants) probably hoped these pitchers would refuse their QO’s, so they could collect a draft pick, but that wasn’t going to happen either way. Unless TOR signs George Springer to a big deal (and they could use him), he could become the next Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, who were frozen-out of free agency by their QO-tag.

The Achilles heel of the NYY is their predominantly right-handed lineup, and fragile/thin pitching staff. Re-signing DJ LeMahieu doesn’t fix that, it entrenches it. Lefty bats are hard to find, as WAS isn’t trading LF Juan Soto, and the NYM aren’t looking to deal OF Dominic Smith. The NYY are too right-handed, and that’s why smart teams like the TBR can run a bunch of tough right-handers onto mound and beat them consistently in 2020.

NYY are now about $10M below the threshold, which they’ve exceeded the past two seasons. Like the BOS in 2020, the 2021 NYY need to stay under that threshold to avoid a huge MLB penalty tax. They’ll need that $10M for call-ups during the season, and possibly a trade deadline deal or two.

This rules out a reunion with RHP Masahiro Tanaka. The SDP are looking for another starter in free agency, and will probably sign him. It’s coming down to a team making an offer, to nearly any player, who has no other options. If you’re a GM, it’s a buyer’s market for free agent talent, like never before. The question is, how will MLB owners pay for it?

On the field, the LAD & SDP have what it takes to handle the NYY & HOU, with WAS, ATL, NYM & CWS in the second-tier for 2021. Championships are often won in the off-season, and this winter appears to be no exception. Only a few teams are stacked to win a World Series in 2021. The possibility of a third-tier team winning it all is slim, and for a Cinderella, it’s remote.

MLB still hasn’t made a final ruling on the NL DH for 2021, when it’s already the new rule for 2022 & beyond. The universal DH protects pitchers & staff as a whole. It also allows NL rosters to be more flexible. You need both leagues to play by the same rules for it to be a fair game.

All this needs to be understood under the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic which is raging out of control. Sports stadiums are now being used as mass vaccination centers. Is it ethical to interrupt such a life-saving operation to play baseball?

I have friends as season ticket-holders, and they wonder out loud, “How can owners sell fans tickets to games?” Too many states won’t allow it at this point, with California being the most notable. The Dodgers, Padres, Angels, A’s, Giants, etc, may have to find a new home for 2021. The start of the 2021 MLB season will be delayed for sure, that’s the industry consensus.

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Barbarians at the Gates

What happened yesterday, January 6th, in Washington DC was a terrorist attack on the Capitol & US Constitution incited by Donald Trump. This is what happens when fascism is tolerated. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) & Mitt Romney (R-UT) were all shook up when they spoke on the Senate floor in the evening. As were all the Democrats who had tolerated & dismissed Donald Trump’s vitriolic rants for years.

Obviously the Republican rats are abandoning this shipwreck known as the Trump presidency. The political winds are shifting to the left, so there’s a lot of political theater & hand-wringing going on right now, as careerists are looking for cover– literally & figuratively. The masses are restless. The much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine rollout is now officially a catastrophe.

Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg

Donald Trump incites mob violence as a form of reverence. Notice how these right-wing insurrectionists aren’t arrested. Four dead, with less than 100 people arrested by city police on charges related to the unrest from Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday.

Experience tells us that none of them will be charged with anything serious. That’s because the cops (and significant sections of the military) are with Trump & this violent mob. We must root out these fascists. That’s the political lesson of January 6, 2021.

Sleepy conservatives & woke liberals had a revelation yesterday: fascist mobs could be unleashed on them by a führer. This frightened them, for good reason. These bureaucratic fools are so out-of-touch with reality. They see & anticipate nothing, and are frightened of their own shadows. They’ll (again) demand more funding for law enforcement, as a solution to this crisis.

But there were police & military personnel who escorted the fascist mob to the Capitol, and let them in with little-to-no-resistance. These are the Nazi traitors that must be exposed & punished. The reality is that there’s no political will, or stomach for this, within the two-party system.

From a revolutionary socialist perspective, no one blames good soldiers for doing their duty. But part of their duty is to not abet criminality. It’s a fine line, and shit position to be in, because whistle-blowers are persecuted as traitors. See: Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

Waking up on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 I thought the Julian Assange bail decision would be the big story of the day. Assange’s bail request was denied by the UK judge, so he awaits an appeal process which unfairly imprisons him for at least another 2-3 months in Belmarsh. The struggle to free him continues.

Let’s recall that the current Iraq war is based on lies about “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD). Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld made up those WMD lies. Colin Powell argued for those lies in front of the UN. Democrats & Republicans validated those lies in authorizing the Iraq war.

The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN & ABC, etc, amplified & spread those lies. Those are the people ultimately responsible for what happened yesterday in Washington DC. One last fact that matters. The Bush & Clinton families, etc, are funding ISIS/Al Qaeda, which is a CIA creation. We know much of this as fact today, due to WikiLeaks, the genius publishing organ created by Julian Assange.

Joe Biden going onto television, asking Donald Trump to go on-the-air and settle everything down was laughable, if it wasn’t so serious & sad. You don’t ask your enemy to give up & admit he was wrong during a life-or-death power struggle. Trump will never concede, until he’s made to.

If you have the power (which Joe Biden does), you have Donald Trump arrested for his criminality. There is NO such action coming from these cowardly Democrats. Just empty words which Biden slurs. How long can the President-elect last with his dementia?

Why no definitive action against Trump’s coup attempts? It’s because Joe Biden & the Democrats fear organized working people more than a fascist mob. The DC police & military aided & abetted this insurrection.

These images are extraordinary, and have been seen globally. Donald Trump has had his social media pages blocked for the next two weeks, until a new President can be inaugurated. So where is the real power? Twitter has been Trump’s primary platform to reach his fascist base. Without official prestige, and access to his social media voice, Trump withers & dies.

But his fascist supporters remain, and they are in dangerous positions of power at all levels. This was a final political provocation from President Trump, and a warning to the working class & youth of America. These are the fanatical enemies which must be defeated, otherwise we have no future.

The answer is to join the Trotskyists at the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), and read the World Socialist Web Site, their daily political organ. Masses politically armed with Marxism need to form worker & neighborhood committees, with rank-and-file leadership to protect their interests, under the leadership umbrella of the SEP. This must be done everywhere. This is how to unite the masses globally and achieve a socialist revolution in permanence.

Fri 08 Jan 2021 12:21 PM EST

Thought & comments since publication:

Right now, all these fascists are in their dark web forums, plotting how to spin a false narrative of what happened so they can evade detection again. Everyone knows violent & out-of-control Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday at the behest of their fuhrer. Fascists always try to blame left-wing protesters & socialists for their own violence. Fascists swarming all over & into the US Capitol, like ants at a picnic, is a frightening revelation for the masses.

One DC police official described this security failure by saying, “We were prepared for First Amendment protesters.” Thus what is unsaid, “There is no defense plan to curtail Second Amendment protesters.” To the police & ruling establishment, some protesters are more equal than others. Anti-police violence protests get much different treatment, all around.

If David Sirota insists “The Insurrection was Predictable,” then why didn’t the DSA predict it & prepare for it?

All this is intimately connected with the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. This is complete & bipartisan, at all levels of government. The police & military are ridden with Nazis, who condone & abet terrorist insurrections. Meanwhile the stock markets & crypto-currency (which are Ponzi schemes) reach all-time highs.

Those of us in health care need to take back our profession from the corporate bureaucrats who have hijacked it for their own personal gain. This economic model has collapsed, and January 6, 2021 was political proof. Workers & youth must organize under their own banner, otherwise it gets run into the ground by the Democratic Party. That’s how the two-party system enslaves workers & youth. To fight & win against this, join the SEP!!

Sat 09 Jan 2021 10:26 AM EST

To be clear politically, Trump represents capitalist fascism. Stalinist communism (1924-91) is fascism in control of a state-planned economy. Trotskyist socialism is the polar opposite of these reactionary political tendencies.

The European Union was formed in 1993, as a response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc satellites. Continental economic power West Germany wanted to acquire East Germany as a cheap labor platform, etc. There was a mad scramble for these markets & their resources by Western imperialism, as Stalinism was being liquidated from within.

The Caucuses & beyond, with their rich untapped petroleum & gas reserves, were the grand prize on this revised global chessboard. This is what led to the increase of CIA-sponsored mujideen activity in Afghanistan, with cooperation from Saudi Arabia & Israeli intelligence. These are the origins of Al-Qaeda/ISIS.

Capitalism was restored in Russia in a violent & ruthless manner, as ex-Stalinist bureaucrats & political gangsters maneuvered & eliminated each other throughout the 1990’s, and the standard-of-living for the ever-oppressed masses plummeted. Boris Yeltsin was installed as President of Russia in 1991, and stayed in power through 1999, with a little help from the CIA.

On December 31, 1999, under enormous political pressure, Yeltsin announced his resignation, leaving the presidency in the hands of his chosen successor, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former officer of the KGB. The KGB’s predecessor was the GPU, which is the institution that murdered Trotsky in August, 1940.

Sun 10 Jan 2021 11:21 AM EST

Reading between the lines of what’s being said around Washington, it appears Donald Trump has been stripped of all his power by the deep state. Mike Pence flipped, and I’m sure Mike Pompeo finally turned after the events of January 6th. Pompeo & the rest are staying on, only out of loyalty to country. Is it religion, or patriotism, that is the last refuge of a scoundrel?

Donald Trump is banned for life on Twitter, and at least the next 2 weeks on Fakebook & Instagram. He’s being blocked by the deep state from establishing an audience on other far-right platforms. The deep state is a hidden nexus of intelligence, military, banking, Wall Street & Silicon Valley political players. It’s the real power behind any US Presidency.

Q-Anon is deep state sponsored fascism. Their supporters keep trying to drag Antifa into their violent coup attempts. No one sees any Antifa protesters in the videos or pictures of the Capitol assault. Military & special forces support was entirely right-wing. Q-Anon pretend they are patriots, but really they are fascist scum afraid of being exposed for their ignorance, hatred & treasonous acts.

Antifa isn’t really an organization, it’s a loose collection of left-wing ideologies, which the deep state hates. Antifa protests: police violence, environmental degradation, global warming, etc. Antifa protesters defend free speech, gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, etc.

We know Antifa supporters don’t carry ‘Trump 2020’ flags. Were Antifa infiltrators the ones carrying the Confederate flags or wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirts? No, these were ALL Proud Boys, Boogaloos, Oathkeepers & Three Percenters– meaning right-wing fascists. AKA, Nazis.

I hate Nazis.

Mon 11 Jan 2021 09:37 AM EST

Concluding thoughts: Instead of carrying out an investigation & prosecuting those responsible, the Democrats have announced they will initiate impeachment proceedings. There has also been talk of removing Trump through the 25th Amendment. But that’s all it is, just talk. It’s smoke & mirrors to abet a Democratic Party cover-up, to protect the two-party system.

As Joe Biden said on January 8, the Democrats need a strong Republican Party. Therefore top Democrats support the insurrectionists in Congress as colleagues in “unity.” The Biden/Harris administration is extending an olive branch to all fascists. Democrats weaken themselves politically, to prop-up Republicans who are on life-support.

Thus there’s a lot of talk from apologists on both sides of the aisle about, “looking forward, not back” and that “we need to move on.” Imagine the aftermath of the Holocaust being met with such complacency in 1946. “Hitler & the Nazis murdered millions of Jews among other horrific war crimes, but that’s in the past. We need to move on, because it’s too divisive to investigate & discuss publicly.” Truman & Churchill would have characterized such statements as treasonous, but today it’s the mainstream political narrative.

When fascists are arrested, prosecuted & jailed for their violent crimes, they can no longer legally own firearms. That’s a cruel blow to the right-wing, who speak entirely from the Bible & a gun barrel, as their political thoughts are reactionary, lunatic & homicidal. Imprisoning fascist gun nuts takes away their Second Amendment arguments, which no longer allows Nazis to hide behind the US Constitution. This is precisely why FASCISTS ARE NOT PROSECUTED by the establishment.

It’s also precisely why all the people who were genuinely disgusted by what they saw on January 6, need to organize a socialist revolution. The fascists in the US deep state are planning their next moves, with bipartisan approval. The right-wing establishment is protecting their shock troops, so they can be unleashed upon us again. We must prepare ourselves and be ready when it comes. We can only depend upon ourselves through international class solidarity.

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Favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 Experiments

I have said many times before that Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989-99) was the greatest TV series ever, certainly the greatest comedy, and it ran concurrently with Seinfeld (1989-98). This was two hours of weekly programming which launched the Comedy Channel (CC), and in the early years, MST3K was certainly their signature show.

MST3K was a Best Brains, Inc (BBI) creation of comedian Joel Hodgson with producer Jim Mallon as Gypsy, and it first aired on KTMA in Minneapolis. It was picked by Comedy Central for $35K per episode in 1989, and their deal allowed BBI to retain the show’s rights.

Trace Beaulieu was established as Crow T. Robot & Dr. Clayton Forrester, and a young Josh Weinstein was Tom Servo & Dr. Laurence Erhardt– the other mad scientist. This show really got its act together in Season 2, when Kevin Murphy replaced Josh Weinstein as Tom Servo, and Frank Conniff became Dr. Forrester’s new assistant. This is also when Mike Nelson was brought on as a writer, and the show went to a new level.

This lasted until Joel Hodgson was forced off the show by Jim Mallon at Mitchell (1975), which was Experiment 512. Mike Nelson takes over admirably, but the show lost its soul, and lot of wit. Frank Conniff exited after Season 6, and wasn’t part of the cast for MST3K: The Movie (1996). Season 7 had only six episodes (experiments), due to filming the movie. Crow’s ‘Earth vs Soup’ sketches during the host segments of this era capture what working with Hollywood was like for BBI. Basically they got screwed.

Soon after this it was announced that MST3K was moving to the Sci-Fi Channel for Season 8. Then weeks later it was announced that Trace Beaulieu was leaving the show to work as a writer for America’s Funniest Home Videos, which has been running on ABC since 1989. Bill Corbett was brought in to replace him as Crow, and Mary Jo Pehl was promoted to head evil/mad scientist. I watched one or two episodes of S8 and gave up. With Joel, Trace & Frank gone, the writing gets much thinner, and the laughs a lot fewer.

Therefore, I don’t rate any of the Sci-Fi Channel episodes (S8-S10) among their best. All the best MST3K episodes are within Seasons 2-7. I don’t count the re-booted series, hosted by Jonah Ray. It sucks, and makes the Sci-Fi era stuff look first-rate by comparison. The fact is, you couldn’t get a show like the original MST3K on-the-air today, with all the virtue signalers, social justice warriors & snowflakes screaming into the network’s ear the first time somebody cracks a funny joke.

Here’s a truth about comedy. Jokes are supposed to offend people. It’s called being the butt of a joke. If you can’t handle the truth, then the problem is you. If you don’t understand this, then you are enabling & supporting censorship. The Office (2005-13) is another comedy series that couldn’t be made today for the same reasons. Married with Children & early seasons of The Simpsons too. It would really suck if we didn’t have these timeless comedy classics to enjoy and make us laugh. The reason they hold up so well is because they are so true to life.

Basically MST3K is a puppet show which wisecracks bad movies. It’s called riffing, and what this show teaches you is that there is a point where the ‘riff button’ needs to get pressed. We shouldn’t tolerate bad stories, lame acting, and blatant propaganda. Get to know MST3K, which helps you distinguish good movies from bad ones. After awhile, you’ll learn to riff as needed.

I’ve seen all the episodes from KTMA through Season 7, and The Movie. For me, these are their best experiments and why. They are listed in chronological order. They are all available on YouTube, so I won’t link them.

202 Sidehackers: This one was available through Rhino on VHS, and I bought it. This is their best effort of Season 2 which was 13 episodes. Classic MST3K numbering is read here as Season 2, Episode 02. I love Ross Hagan movies because of Sidehackers, also known as Five the Hard Way (1969). Little known movie fact: screen writer & director Gus Trikonis later married (and was divorced by) Goldie Hawn. Great songs here, including “Sidehacking is a thing to do” & “Love pads the film.” Essential MST3K.

322 & 324 Master Ninja I & II: I put these two together, because you have to see them both. This is riffing The Master (1984), a failed action series starring Lee Van Cleef (below), and his pupil Timothy Van Patten– the famous Dutch ninja. Killer riffing, with a great song to finish the first episode, “Master Ninja Theme Song.” I read somewhere that there is a Master Ninja III, which they produced but never aired. If that’s true, I’d love to see it. Master Ninja I has one of my favorite stingers, which is a quick movie clip BBI inserts after the final credits run. They started this in Season 2, and it keeps you watching until the end, like you are supposed to. There are so many ways MST3K was brilliant and ahead of its time.

401 Space Travelers: This has Gene Hackman, Richard Crenna, & Gregory Peck, in a stale sci-fi action drama, with enough plot holes to launch a rescue rocket through. Trace does a killer Gregory Peck voice. Great host segments, and this is what ties all the best episodes together, the time between the movies where they’re talking about what they’ve just seen. If you’ve ever tried to watch a bad movie and make it funny by writing your own riffs, you know it’s a lot of work. That’s why they’ll sometimes say “This one hurts,” or something to that effect.

405 Being from Another Planet: This is one of my all-time MST3K favorites that I never see listed anywhere else. Also known as Time Walker (1982), it stars a crummy dummy mummy in search of magic crystals, so it can phone home using a diamond encrusted, V-shaped, mummy communicator thing. Frank wants one, and so do I. Watch this experiment, and you will too.

407 The Killer Shrews: The Killer Shrews stars James Best, who was Roscoe in The Dukes of Hazzard, so I (like TV’s Frank) get excited about this one. I had this one recorded on a VHS cassette for a long time, as it wasn’t available through Rhino. Once CC took episodes off-the air, they were gone– until DVD pirating & YouTube came along. Licensing issues were the story of MST3K when it came to making it to VHS, and then to DVD.

BBI doesn’t hold the rights to re-distribute many of their classic episodes, because some movie makers won’t sell to them anymore. Sandy Frank is notoriously one of the biggest haters of MST3K, and won’t re-license his bad movies to BBI. So everyone watches them for free on YouTube. Joe Don Baker (Mitchell-512) was another infamous MST3K hater. Kevin Murphy had a reply for him in their Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, and that’s what Misties always loved about the show, they believed in what they were doing & always stood by it.

424 Manos: The Hands of Fate: You have to include this classic in any top-MST3K episode list. This is the worst movie ever made, by someone who tried to make a movie and got it distributed– Hal P. Warren, fertilizer salesman from El Paso, TX. It’s awful, offensive, bizarre and hilarious. The first time you experience Manos, it stuns you. Mike Nelson has stated that BBI didn’t think they could do Manos when they were test screening it, and they’ve seen the worst movies ever.

As far as MST3K episodes go, I say the Sandy Frank productions are the worst. These include all the Godzilla & Gamera movies, along with Mighty Jack, Time of the Apes, and Star Force: Fugitive Alien I & II. The most unwatchable thing BBI ever tried to riff was experiment 612, The Starfighters. Coleman Francis is the worst filmmaker who was allowed to make multiple movies. That’s what you learn (painfully), when you watch enough classic MST3K.

501 Warrior of the Lost World: The guy who played TJ in Baa Baa Black Sheep (Paper Chase guy) is our lone wolf hero, in this 1983 Italian post-apocalyptic schlock. Mega-weapon is the best character. This experiment is comparable in genre to City Limits (403), Alien from LA (516), and Escape 2000 (705).

502 Hercules: Steve Reeves toasted a few brain cells making this mythical B-movie classic in 1958. Arnold Schwarzenegger always cited Steve Reeves as the Hercster being an influence on him wanting to become a body builder. Steve Reeves is also in Hercules Unchained (408), but it’s a different Herc in Hercules Against the Moon Men (410).

507 I Accuse my Parents: This was also a Rhino release I enjoyed over & over. Truck Farming is one of their best shorts, and the riffing is non-stop funny through the host segments to the end. I love teenage delinquent B-movies, bad biker films, and 1970/80’s cheese. To me those are the easiest ones to riff. There were a lot of totally clueless filmmakers in the 1940’s & 1950’s, largely due to the anti-communist blacklist. Many true artists were run out of the movie industry, and that’s why this type of garbage got made– again & again.

509 Operation Double 007: This one stars Neil Connery, brother of Sean, and was originally released in 1967. So many great James Bond riffs, in this really bad Italian spy movie that has Montepenny, and Largo from Thunderball (1965). Great host segment where the acting careers of Neil & Sean Connery are compared. I love the brutality.

511 The Gunslinger: Beverly Garland is a big favorite of all Misties, and this is one of her two movies Joel & the bots riffed. The other is Swamp Diamonds (503). Roger Corman knew how to make bad movies, and John Ireland is in top form as the drunken hired gun, who exchanges loving thoughts with Beverley Garland as they shoot at each other until he is fatally wounded. Call it a love me tender western, with a bang-up climax. Everyone but Beverly Garland dies, as the new sheriff trots into town on his horse. Roll ’em.

604 Zombie Nightmare: MST3K Season 6 is underrated. This lame 1986 horror flick stars Adam West as a bad cop. This experiment originally aired on Thanksgiving 1994, with Adam West hosting, and we get dry humor as he introduces experiment after experiment leading up to the debut of MST3K’s Zombie Nightmare, about which he has a few words of his own. Find the ‘Turkey Day’ host clips to this one.

608 Codename Diamondhead: One of my favorites. I don’t watch the short, A Day at the Fair, because it reminds me a little too much of the crap they used to show us on film day at school. But I do love 1977 cheese, and nothing personifies that more than Roy Thinnes (or Clu Gulager). As Crow quips, “This is Quinn Martin’s most personal film.” This experiment has so much polyester, with long sequences of non-action from Roy Thinnes, and Mike & the bots kill it. Note that Roy Thinnes (below, with France Nuyen) also appears in the serial shorts, General Hospital, which were featured during Season 4– experiments 413, 415 & 417.

614 San Francisco International: This is another made-for-TV movie, starring Clu Gulager & Pernell Roberts in 1970. David Hartman has a career defining role as a pilot with a mushy nose wheel. This turkey was actually picked-up by NBC, and defined TV movies for the better part of a decade, whether it meant to or not.

622 Angels Revenge: This was a 1979 Charlie’s Angels rip-off film that flopped. It starred Peter Lawford, Jack Palance & Jim Backus among others, in a shameful attempt to titillate. Like I said, Season 6 is overlooked. No Joel Hodgson hurts for sure, but it was maybe their most consistent season, with 24 episodes, most of them MST3K classics.

703 Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell: This is my favorite experiment from Season 7, which is when the series was falling apart behind-the-scenes. Also known as Deathstalker III: The Warriors from Hell, this is a 1988 sword & sorcery fantasy film, the third in the Deathstalker tetralogy. Even as you’re reading this, it’s not too early to hate the lead character. There’s also Thom Christopher as Troxartas (below), who played Hawk in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81) on NBC.  While I’m in the neighborhood, Cave Dwellers (301) was another popular MST3K Rhino release in this genre, with spoofing of mythical badness, and miles of Miles O’Keeffe as Ator.

I like what I like, based on when & where I grew up. So do you. It’s natural to get nostalgic for stuff that takes you back to childhood, which is why this list weights the way it does. That’s why I think it’s impossible to come up with a ‘Best of MST3K’ list, because peoples’ tastes & backgrounds are so different. A great strength of the original series is that it covered so many genres, styles, and tastes. Horror, action, teenage delinquency, giant bugs & monsters, made-for-TV fare, etc. If you ask 20 different Misties, you will get 20 different lists of favorite experiments. That’s a sign of depth & greatness. Classic MST3K can’t be pigeon-holed or put in a box.

In closing, the KTMA episodes are largely unwatchable, and many were re-done during the early Comedy Channel seasons, especially the Sandy Frank productions. All the CC remakes are better, as the KTMA episodes are only interesting as a study of a great idea in its infancy. The lesson is that great art doesn’t just happen, it takes genius, and years of hard work & refinement. It’s lack of money to go around, which tears apart many great collaborations.

Today Joel Hodgson makes more money at MST3K than he ever did in its 1990’s heyday. But the reboot isn’t nearly as biting or funny. That’s the price an artist pays for fame & money. I don’t blame Joel Hodgson for doing what he’s done. He and his colleagues at BBI were ripped-off, when they were the best at what they did. Artists should get paid for making us laugh, cry & think when they are relevant, and at the height of their power. It’s an industry practice to dismiss & marginalize such artists until they can be brought under the corporate thumb.

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2020 Abridged Diary

I worked three days in a dental office this year, and it barely paid. Corporate dental is now trying to normalize 40-60% pay cuts for contractor dentists, under increasingly hazardous & exploitative work conditions. COVID-19 has killed dentistry, and my heart goes out to all those who still work in it. If you own a practice, or are staff, you don’t have much of a choice, as there are always bills to pay.

I’m strongly considering not renewing my DEA # & malpractice insurance. I’d like to get paid for being a musical artist or dental health educator, but it’s the corporate blacklist that’s in the way. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I spent much of my free time in 2020, stretching out my back, hips & core at home, while walking & hooping downtown. It’s almost all blacks at the courts, young & old, and they’re playing better-than-ever. At this point, I get a lot of love & respect down there, which I appreciate. Basketball players are like a tribe, so it’s like the people in this video.

Including this write-up, I managed to publish 69 blog posts this year (winning number), including new classics such as “DIY Haircuts” and of course “Donald Trump, ‘You’re fired!'” I also recorded some new music with a little help from my friend in December. Tom & I released two new songs this year– “Road Rage” and “Patch Me Up Doc,” which are already among my most popular songs on the streaming services. I have great help.

We have three more new songs coming in 2021. It’s nice to know I’m still not a dinosaur. I have new musical ideas, but no access to venues, or star artists, so options are limited for me until I can find a manager I trust. I think it’s a woman.

Blacklisting is the power of the ruling establishment to censor ideas & artists. This is conflicting with the masses, who are being depressed & under-represented during this pandemic– by the fake media. This coming year portends revolution, as the masses won’t tolerate being told they can’t survive, due to a virus which is spreading out of control because of the bureaucratic policy of “herd immunity,” which is malign neglect by any medical standard.

It’s time for doctors, nurses, and all health care staff to re-take the initiative on the handling of this global pandemic. When the U.S. first went into a lockdown back in March/April 2020, it was because doctors were calling for it. No one else knew what to do, and people were panicking everywhere. Compliance was high because many people understood the seriousness of the situation.

But political leaders of every nation have forced their economies to re-open, schools to re-open, through a campaign of lies & misinformation, under conditions where a killer virus is spreading with no vaccine. This was all to meet the demands of Wall Street & the banks.

Now at the end of 2020, the vaccine roll-out has been sluggish & disjointed, obviously by design. This will maximize corporate profits, and create black markets with protected stockpiles in place. It will make sure the wealthy get vaccinated first. It’s not about saving lives, it’s about maximizing profits for corporate, and protecting the rich.

These are the conditions myself & humanity face rolling into 2021.

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I’m not looking for that

I’m from Wisconsin and went to college at Marquette, so I’ve been to a lot of parties & bars. As a musician you spend time at bars. Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, I had just invented a great two-person drinking game. The problem was I never found the right partner to play it with. Since who knows when all this is going to be over, I’m publishing my newly-invented drinking game, with all the rules. Here’s the official song.

      1. You-Drinkin-a-Beer-1.mp3

 

You do this with someone you really like on sight. Go up to her and be nice, offer to buy her a drink, etc, and if you can get her semi-alone, then start this game. “Would you like to play a personal drinking game I just made up?” The yes/no reply is the first test. If she’s not game, then she probably lacks courage & imagination. That’s what I say, and it makes the rejection easier. This game will weed-out the wrong ones, one way or another.

Okay she’s beautiful, and says yes. Now you’re cookin’. Tell her, “The name of the game is ‘I’m not looking for that,’ and I’ll start to demonstrate.” Gaze around the bar/party, and start surveying people individually. Begin with something like, “You see that 200-pound girl over there, showing us WAY too much gut? I’m not looking for that.”

Rule: If the listener laughs, or is amused, then they take a drink. Now it’s her turn to tell you what she’s not looking for…

I’ll list a few rounds to illustrate a typical society-party situation for me.

ROUND 2: “Do you see that guy who’s been looking at me since I walked in here? I’m not looking for that.”

ROUND 3: “Do you see that 55-year old lady who’s pretending she’s 28? I’m not looking for that.”

ROUND 4: “Do you see that pretty thing who has destroyed herself with drugs & alcohol? I’m not looking for that.”

ROUND 5: “Do you hear that girl who has no sense-of-humor at all? I’m not looking for that.”

Once you’ve taken-out all the easy targets, it’s time to deliver a few sobering thoughts. If she’s hanging in there, and making YOU drink, it means she’s a good woman. Now is the time to get specific on lying & other big turn-offs.

ROUND 6: “You know those people who think lying, to the one you love, is okay? I’m not looking for that.”

ROUND 7: “You know those women who are just in it for themselves? I’m not looking for that.”

These are the brutal advanced rounds, where you need to keep your head, while inebriated with alcohol & enchanted by beauty. This is graduate-level drinking & partying. If you earn a PhD here, you’ll probably find your life partner, because everyone is looking for this. To those who can’t handle this, I’m not looking for that.

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Bob Dylan sells his songs

When an artist dies, the inheritors are often not equipped to deal with the responsibility of owning such valuable work. The estate inheritors almost always end up selling this intellectual property to a conglomerate, and for less than the artist would have received, because they don’t know the business, or have the clout. This is why Bob Dylan just sold his entire song catalog of over 600 songs to Universal Music Group, for reportedly over $300 million.

Bob Dylan is 79 years old, and he lived a hard life, which means he knows his death is near. Selling his song catalog makes inheritance easier, as an artist can’t control their music when they’re dead. I’m guessing that’s Bob Dylan’s primary motive for selling out at this time. A lot of other prolific musicians have been doing the same lately, and it’s because they need the money.

As for Dylan’s legacy, he did his part as an artist, and more. A major reason Bob Dylan turned towards the mainstream was because there was no politically organized “left” back in the 1960’s. The Trotskyist movement itself was splintered, and needed to be ridden of Pabloists, Stalinists, and worthless middle-class radicals.

Bob Dylan was so far ahead of his time in 1965, that in many ways, the world has yet to catch up. That’s why “It’s Alright, Ma”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Visions of Johanna” lead his list of timeless classics. Find those albums and you will discover the meaning of art in songwriting.

This brings up the issue of artists becoming dinosaurs. “Dinosaur” is an industry term for a performer who can no longer adapt to the current culture, and gets left behind. It’s partially a misnomer, as the real dinosaurs didn’t go extinct because they failed to adapt, they were wiped-out by an asteroid impact which changed the conditions of life on our planet. In truth, they survived in miniature form, as birds.

With that anthropological understanding in mind, it can be said that all artists eventually become dinosaurs, because no one can stay current & relevant forever. Once you become a dinosaur, your priorities change from being an artist, to making a living & survival. Bob Dylan is the most extreme example of this phenomenon. Fans can debate when he became ossified, but by the 1980’s (for sure) Bob Dylan was a dinosaur.

This is what capitalism does to all artists. You have a choice of “playing ball,” or being left out in the cold. By orienting towards a genuinely revolutionary organization such as the Socialist Equality Party, an artist can remain relevant much longer than most contemporaries, because that artist is staying in-tune with the times for inspiration. It’s reactionary politics which overwhelmed & ossified Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna & the rest. The price of remaining a true artist is the lack of money, sponsorship & venues to perform. That’s the lesson to be learned here.

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NFL hot-dogging it & blowing it

This crazy, unbelievable & inexplicable play happened during Sunday Night Football last night, Denver vs Kansas City. I don’t watch a lot of NFL anymore, but when I do, and I see something this crazy, I feel compelled to publish my thoughts here.

Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill is a speed demon, and has his man easily beat with the throw there, but he jumps too early as a showboat maneuver, allowing the defender a swipe to dislodge the slightly underthrown ball, which is better than an overthrown ball. The point is that it’s a professional throw from QB Patrick Mahomes, and should have been an easy six points.

Tyreek Hill actually makes the juggling catch but is unaware of it, because he knew he blew the easy catch, while hitting the ground hard which jars the senses. That’s why Tyreek Hill didn’t call for a challenge, he’s on a knee trying to recover all his senses. If you want to say this is another ego-centric brain-dead jock, who got popped for hot-dogging it, I won’t argue.

In total, the wide receiver, the referee, and head coach all blew this play. Andy Reid inexplicably rushed his punt team out, and the ball was snapped just as the replay came up. I thought Tyreek Hill caught it while watching live on TV, because I never saw the ball pop out. At least burn a time out (especially in the first half) to give your coaching staff upstairs time to review the play.

You need at least two looks at replay to confirm it’s a catch. If Reid thought the Broncos might challenge it as an interception, instead of an incompletion, it’s still a touch-back the same as punting into the endzone on 4th down. I know Andy Reid is a great football coach, but sometimes even the best make mistakes under speed & pressure, and it happened here.

It’s the referee who makes the biggest mistake, by making the wrong call. He’s in good position, but the bodies collide, twist, and fall away from him, so the official doesn’t really see what happens. He instantly has to make a call by ‘best guess’ so he signals incomplete pass. His real mistake is in what he DIDN’T do next.

What he should have done next was signal to a colleague that he needed replay confirmation on that call. If that had been done, it would have been overturned as a touchdown. That’s where the entire officiating crew blew it, with most of the blame going to the guy on the call & the head official. Wide receiver hot-dogging, then bad officiating, followed by poor decision-making by a Hall-of-Fame head coach, are all part of one of the craziest football sequences you will ever see.

NBC aired the game with Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth on the call. Al is old & Cris never says anything that stays with you. They just sound good, while not telling you anything you need to know. They were behind on this entire sequence as it unfolded. Mike Tirico & Tony Dungy are NBC’s best NFL broadcast team, and IMO are even better than Jim Nance & Tony Romo on CBS. Fox’s broadcasts are a distant third in the NFL watchablility race.

And finally, as a musical artist, I don’t care much for the NBC Sunday Night Football theme song, sung by Carrie Underwood. It’s too vicarious, clichéd & processed for my taste. The biggest thing to ever come from American Idol has a great voice, so she doesn’t need all that sound processing, but Carrie Underwood isn’t a songwriter, so she does need a good song.

This theme song is too much of a rip-off of Hank Williams, Jr’s “All my rowdy friends are here on Monday night” from ABC’s Monday Night Football of yesteryear. It also mimics Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “I hate myself for loving you.” Pure formula.

Here’s my anti-Grammy winning NFL theme song for 2020

      1. Patch Me Up Doc - Ric Size

 

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Donald Trump, “You’re fired!”

On Friday, November 6, by ~1:00 PM ET, Georgia & Pennsylvania had  grown to an insurmountable lead for Biden, as the votes continue to be counted. Both states can be  called for Joe Biden with 100% certainty, putting him over 270 in the Electoral College. Arizona & Nevada will also go to Biden; with Alaska (for sure) & North Carolina (probably) going to Trump. That’s all that was left in play. It appears the final Electoral College totals will be Biden 306, Trump 232, or somewhere in that vicinity.

In 2016, I titled my election night write-up “Fascism Wins Election 2016.” I prefer this title much better, I must admit. The majority of Americans have wanted to say this to Trump for a long, long time. That’s what’s being celebrated, much more than a Joe Biden victory. Ironically, it was Trump being hospitalized at Walter Reed with Kung Flu that contributed in making him a lame duck. This made Trump appear weak & stupid when he most-needed to project strength & authority.

A huge round of appreciation & recognition is deserved for all the polls workers, ballot counters, etc, who had to do their jobs under the most extraordinary circumstances, including an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic with intentional political intimidation & shenanigans from the right. The vote counting in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Philadelphia & Atlanta, which took days to complete, swung those states for Biden and determined the election.

ABC, CBS & NBC all cut-away from Trump’s press conference during the evening news Thursday night, another unprecedented episode in these unprecedented times. After tweeting “STOP THE COUNT,” and other cynical messages from his White House bunker, Trump still has lawsuits pending in a few states, and possibly a campaign to pressure electors in the Electoral College to flip to him, a violation of the US Constitution.

Recounts and/or litigation will be going on in Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada & Pennsylvania, so voters will need to keep an eye on all that for themselves, and not trust the Democrats to do it for them.

It was the Trotskyists led by the World Socialist Web Site, who did more than anyone in defending the US Constitution and democratic principles such as free speech during Election 2020. These fundamental democratic rights are still under attack, but now workers & youth are much more aware of them, which is half the battle. This was an ideological struggle where Trotskyists were the most adamant defenders of the right to vote, in an election where their candidates were blacklisted.

Donald Trump took an oath as US President to defend the Constitution, and only the Trotskyists held him to that oath. The Democrats insist only when it’s convenient, such as now. This is how right-wing Democrats flip to appear progressive, as needed. Bernie Sanders is the master of this type of chicanery.

It wasn’t anything close to the Democratic landslide which had been predicted in the fake media, as enthusiasm for the two-party system is flagging, and the slack is being picked-up by the Trotskyists, which MSM can’t acknowledge– out of fear. That’s the issue with all bourgeois political polling, the unacknowledged shift to the left by 90% of the population. This was a dump Trump vote. Nothing in the Biden-Harris campaign has anything progressive for the workers & youth of America which have been devastated by COVID-19 & inequality.

The Trump administration had help in unleashing its back-to-work, and then back-to-school campaigns, under the policy of herd immunity– all during the election. The Democrats rallied with Republicans to bail out ‘too big to fail’ zombies for the last time on March 27, 2020 with the CARES Act. The problem is that they’re bankrupt again already. The free money is gone and they need more, but there is no more. The Fed is tapped out, so it’ll be more money printing with hyper-inflation ahead. That’s when a general strike & educational sickouts will stop everything, and then politics enters the revolutionary domain, where Trotskyists will take the historical stage.

This repudiation of Trump is a devastating blow to the far right, which includes Nazis, white supremacists, Confederates, religious gun nuts & fascists. Their figurehead has been toppled, and more importantly, he’s about to lose his trappings of power. Without Democratic props to hold him up, and all means of violence at his command, Trump is nothing. Fascism has been democratically rejected by the American people, and that has serious implications for the incoming Biden-Harris administration as well. The people have moved far, far to the left.

It was the Trotskyists who warned the working class & youth of the dangers of fascism during this election, from Trump’s coup attempt in calling out the National Guard to suppress protests against police violence, to his plotting with armed militias to kidnapped & kill the governor of Michigan. The World Socialist Web Site led this effort in political educational for the working class & youth. Chaos & violence was the Trump election strategy because they knew he couldn’t win re-election honestly. Never in US history has an incumbent President run such a campaign. As the WSWS pointed out, Trump was running for führer, which is remarkable.

Trump is a sociopath with delusions of grandeur, and this is his Waterloo. Comparisons to Adolph Hitler’s last days in his Berlin bunker may be apt as well. History will tell, but this is what to expect, in one form or another. In 2016, Trump blew up the Republican Party in winning the nomination, then the US Presidency. In the four years since, he has divided Washington, the nation, and the world like no politician since Hitler. The Republican Party became the party of Trump, an elitist fascist gangster. Trump attempted to establish his own personal dictatorship, and failed. He will never get another chance. This is why fascists are so morose right now.

It’s also why the Democrats are trying to fix their relationship with the Republicans. Fox News flipped on Trump, and it was obvious early on election night, which is a huge story. It means Rupert Murdoch is abandoning the alt-right, Breitbart & Q-Anon. These outright fascists had been Republican Party allies, until very recently. The Republican Party has been irrevocably fractured by four years of Trump, and there is no putting Humpty-Dumpty back together.

The most politically far-sighted Democrats, such as Barack Obama, understand this is supposed to be an intramural scrimmage, and they are surely reaching out to Trump (behind closed doors) to be part of an orderly transition-of-power. Trump will acquiesce soon enough, because he’s weak-minded, defeated & hopeless. By February 2021, no one will care about Trump tweets anymore, and that is what kills him politically. Take away his big stage and Trump is nothing more than a blowhard conman. He has no intelligence or resourcefulness to fall back on, and apparently he’s over $400M in debt. All this has political implications.

One final media note, Russia Today (RT) took an openly pro-Trump line early in this election, and it hurt their journalistic credibility irreversibly. RT used to have some reporting, but pro-Trump bias has turned them into an open mouthpiece for reaction, a legacy of their Stalinist roots. Their articles are often lazy, their Op/Eds are all awful, and their commenters are now 90+% fascist trolls. It also needs to be said that since Biden won, there was no ‘Russian interference’ from bots in election 2020, according to the MSM.

Political ‘ground game’ is defined as how you do for your Party, on-the-ground, during election day & the crucial days leading up to it. As a rule, I walk all over people who deserve it, so the following is a sketch of my 2020 ground game.

I’m surviving in a Sanford apartment complex, with lots of people moving in & out during the past six months. I used to be a newbie, but now I’m the grizzled veteran here. That’s COVID-19. The county hospital next door is filling up with ICU cases.

Military jets are doing drills overhead, out of Sanford International Airport, the weekend before election day. They sound like they’re mobilizing for Iwo Jima, with cops all over the place, and rarely with a friendly face. Fire engines & ambulances are drilling & blaring their sirens to whip up support for Trump. It’s a total shitshow at the taxpayers’ expense.

It was the “Lockheed Martin Space and Air Show” at Sanford International Airport, which actually ran three days from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1– a thoroughly Trumpian event. I watched & heard it all, for three days. I had no choice, they flew overhead so many times. Tight triplets strafing is their favorite Thunderbird maneuver. “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed…,” I say out loud in my James Earl Jones voice.

Photographed above are the remains of the vapor trails from the military jets who made a heart symbol, way up in the atmosphere. I call it “Bullet the Blue Sky,” and sang that U2 song on my porch as I observed my tax dollars at work, “Peelin’ off those dollar bills, slappin’ them down, one hundred, two hundred…”  I’m a big Brian Eno fan.

Later, in my best redneck voice, “Any one of them F-15 or Blue Angels boys could shoot down any Russian mig, and drop a big enough nuclear payload to light up them Ruskies until Kingdom Come.”

And my final Sanford Military Airshow riff, “Maverick just lost Goose, where are you Iceman?!!”

This was Friday mornin’. They’re either rentin’ or repossessin’. Aaron’s is their big competitor. To be fair to the police, they have a tough job right now. Beyond Trump’s fascist militia supporters in their ranks, there are a few boy scouts (& girl scouts) in law enforcement. I see them here often now, with their ‘community enforcement’ vehicles for domestic incidents. All races & ages are affected. Before coronavirus that almost never happened here. That’s how quickly it’s all collapsed.

Early voting at the public library (pic above) had lines everyday from start to finish. Political signs & lobbying on every street corner of 1st & Palmetto. Strong support for “Dump Trump.” The Democrats had the better music, I told a Trump supporter in his camping chair one afternoon, and he just laughed as I passed by. That’s what is was like downtown.

Sanford city landscaping took out the Coleus and planted these, I don’t know their name, but I think they’re nice– so I snapped a shot. Sanford ‘Parks & Rec’ keeps up with this, so the workers are doing a good job, meaning they aren’t they problem. It’s another class that is the problem. Another point here is to find the beauty where you can and acknowledge it. All this needs to be in your head while doing this, and if you do, you’ll have an unstoppable ground game.

Downtown Sanford, all around.

This is my favorite graffiti art around town. I have no idea who it actually is.

The Sanford Herald published all the local news that’s fit to print.

Wells Fargo are among the institutions which We the People need to directly talk to and demand accountability from. If they can’t deliver, then they must be declared bankrupt and arrested on the spot as criminals. These banks must be seized as public utilities by the workers & youth. Since big banks are transnational, this revolution will be international in character.

Wells Fargo & their cronies got Dems & Reps to unite & bail them out, with trillions of dollars in the CARES Act this past March, the largest swift transfer of wealth, to the extremely wealthy, in human history. Wells Fargo also financed this shitshow called Election 2020.

Other thoughts:  How do voters make sure any recounts aren’t stolen? Transparency in the process, along with keeping armed militias & right-wing mobs from interfering, is essential. There can be no tolerance for criminal behavior against the US Constitution. This is how to defeat fascism. Knowledge is power, but it take principles & courage to act appropriately.

On profanity & bad language. Profanity means cognition is inhibited and replaced with emotional rage. That doesn’t help. Vulgarity just drags us down into the mud with Trump & his far-right filth. Get control of these powerful but dangerous emotions, and channel them into Trotskyism, as I did here. This is how a modern artist creates a meaningful political statement from anger.

      1. The Road Rage Song - Ric Size

 

Fri 06 Nov 2020 11:00 AM EST

I called Georgia for Biden on my Fakebook pages around 10:30 AM ET. Fakebook doesn’t like that. They have been censoring & meddling with everyone’s newsfeed because they hate free speech. When it’s down to a trickle with absentee & military balloting, along with ‘curing’ spoiled ballots, and they’re mostly going for Biden who has an insurmountable lead with well over 99% of the vote counted, you can call it with 100% certainty. That’s 16 Electoral votes for Biden, which put him at 269 or 270 depending on whom you follow.

One thing that needs to be highlighted at that point in time is the archaic nature of the Electoral College, where Nebraska & Maine split their votes for the actual election on December 14, 2020. These electors can be put under extreme political pressure to be ‘unfaithful delegates’ if it ends up 270-268. Or 269-269. There are 14 US states which have laws that allow Electoral College delegates to flip.

Real Clear Politics provides the best online return data for US elections, with 15-second interval updates, which is crazy. This allows anyone with the know-how to be an online expert in real time, from home. I don’t read any of the RCP articles, I just need their data. If you can be good with numbers and understand what they mean, it’s a nice compliment to a strong ground game. This gives you all-around political legitimacy that is hard to beat.

As far as network analysts go, one NBC politico nailed it when he pointed out the number of remaining ballots were all in urban Democratic strongholds, with their current & historical splits– going back to 2008. The splits were holding up, and mostly 70/30, with a few 85/15, for Democrats.

That’s all I needed to know from TV, besides the live reports & video from Maricopa County, Arizona, where Trump supporters descended like locusts on the vote-counting center, after Fox network declared the state (11 electoral votes) for Biden. This was Trump’s reason for wanting to stop the count. What did you expect, for Trump to be a good loser?

Fri 06 Nov 2020 11:30 AM EST

Joe Biden’s lead is increasing with about 350,000 votes to be counted, mostly in overwhelmingly Democrat strongholds.

Pennsylvania 95% Reporting
Biden 49.5% 3,301,186
Trump 49.4% 3,292,153
Biden +9,033

one hour ago:

Pennsylvania 95% Reporting
Biden 49.5% 3,297,614
Trump 49.4% 3,290,788
Biden +6,826

Fri 06 Nov 2020  1:00 PM EST

The Democrats are milking this for all it’s worth, while Trump is in denial– as always. Everyone else wants it to be over. By 1:00 PM ET it’s mathematically over, so I fill in the few remaining blanks in the opening paragraph, and click publish. No more fake media for me. Over & Out

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2020 Election early notes

North Dakota House candidate David Andhal died a month ago from COVID-19, yet WON his election yesterday. Joe Biden can’t easily defeat the most unpopular president in US history for the same reason. “It’s a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and its inability to present any progressive alternative to the fascistic politics of the Trump administration,” writes Patrick Martin of the World Socialist Web Site this morning.

There are 235,000+ dead (and counting) in the US from coronavirus, tens of millions of people out of work, schools in shambles as is the rest of the economy; and yet Biden can’t thump Trump on election day. This is because the Democrats ran a completely right-wing campaign which offered nothing to working people & youth.

Lots of silence on my social media feed this morning from vocal partisans yesterday. Most people are stunned. Dem & Rep voters only had a plan for November 3rd, while the Socialist Equality Party has a plan for November 4th and beyond. That’s the difference between revolution, and more of the same.

Trump won Florida, but Biden won Seminole County which includes Sanford, a traditional Republican stronghold. This concerns Republican strategists immensely. All the local channels noted & commented on it last night. It had virtually no effect down-the-ballot, as Republicans dominated as usual. This can be interpreted that votes for Biden, were at least 80% anti-Trump votes. Biden is a zombie who elicits no support from working people or youth, but people hate Trump.

Bernie Sanders would have done much better, perhaps won Florida for the Democrats, trounced Trump, and this horrible election would be over already. But Bernie was never serious about being president, or anything else he said. Kamala Harris had an effect, but it was negligible, as she is anti-working class through & through.

During this election campaign, I have read of Trump supporters stealing opponents political signs from front lawns, ripping-off stickers from cars, etc. ‘Trump trains’ of heavily-armed pickups & SUV’s are mobilized to intimidate opposition supporters. These are the methods & strategies of fascists, who have nothing but hate, violence & COVID-19 for the rest of us.

The question to all Trump voters is: Will you accept the results of the election, as you did in 2016? If you say, “No,” then you are definitely a fascist. We have a Constitution, and the people of this country will defend it, despite every effort by the Democratic Party to chloroform the masses of the dangers. What Trump does best is go to court, and he plans to take this election to the US Supreme Court, which he has packed with reactionaries.

It’s sick that we have this many so-called patriots, who haven’t read the Constitution, and yet presume to lecture us on freedom. What does separation of church & state mean? What is free speech? Answer that honestly, instead of always skipping the 1st Amendment, and then citing the 2nd. That’s how to handle Trump’s thugs.

Other the other side of the aisle, racialism is the Democratic Party construct. It’s defined as being obsessed with race, the liberal form of racism. Liberals don’t want to discuss class issues, so they accuse anyone who does, as being a racist. That’s the ‘Big Lie Technique’ straight from Langley. Those are the tactics of fascism, yet liberals never see it in themselves. This is why we are where we are right now.

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Dodgers-Rays World Series Recap

Summary: This was one of those seasons where there was an unbeatable team, and it was their year. The last time it was this way in MLB was in 2018, when the Red Sox won it. Most of us didn’t know at the time that the Red Sox were using electronic devices to illegally steal signs, so that removes some legitimacy from their title. If they were so great, why did they cheat?

I don’t see any such issues with the Dodgers in 2020. They were clearly the best team, and did it the right way, since after Game 2 against the Padres in the NLDS. They have young pitching & players, so they’ll probably be back. The Rays went as far as they could go on a payroll of $58.3M. You need MUCH more to win it all in this era. Maybe Cash should have stayed with Snell a bit longer, but it felt inevitable that the final outcome would have been the same.

The Tommy Pham-Jake Cronenworth deal to the Padres for Hunter Renfroe was mandated last winter by ownership to stay under $60M in team payroll for 2020. It was a cheap-ass move, and it finally caught up with the Rays in the World Series. They couldn’t score runs, and were always a bat or two short against the Dodgers. Andrew Friedman won this World Series when he acquired Mookie Betts, David Price & Brustar Graterol in the off-season.

Game 4 of the 2020 World Series had the most unbelievable & exciting finish in baseball history. Francisco Cabrera in 1992, pinch-hitting for the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the NLCS is the only thing close, and it wasn’t as amazing as this. Here’s that heart-stopping baseball moment, with the classic call by Sean McDonough.

To be able to quickly & precisely analyze the action, here are a few of my MLB viewing secrets. First, I mute the Fox broadcast because everyone sucks except John Smoltz, and even he was overwhelmed at the end of Game 4. I had the sound on for that, but 95% of the time I’m watching, it’s muted. This takes Joe Buck out-of-play, which always helps, and I’m especially grateful when I see ‘Ken Rosenthal reporting’ on the silent screen.

Secondly, I don’t watch a lot of the game anymore. I have alternate channels for commercial breaks, and often I’ll stick with that instead of going back to the game. I don’t want to watch the Dodgers pile on runs early, I’ve seen enough of that as a Padres fan, so for Game 4 I watched Bullitt (1968), and made the game my alternate channel during commercials. Great movie.

I prefer to have two alternate channels, in case of overlapping commercial breaks. A classic Columbo episode I hadn’t seen before helped during Game 4. If I miss something important in the middle, I can review the highlights & boxscore on the internet. With these tools at my fingertips, the game isn’t such an exhausting & emotional roller coaster. I’m relaxed & in-tune at the end when it’s all the drama, and all the chips are on the table. All this helps a sports blogger comment intelligently on the action. I don’t have the advantage of access, like so many of these flunkies I’ve mentioned, so I have to be A LOT better than them to have an impact.

I thought Dave Roberts managed his bullpen poorly at times, making this series longer that it should have gone. If Brustar Graterol starts the 9th in Game 4, he has to face at least two batters. Having Kenley Jansen ready if Graterol faltered, was the winning manager move for Dave Roberts in Game 4. The Padres had rocked Jansen a few times earlier in the season, and Roberts knew he was shaky. That was a high-leverage situation in which the manager MUST go with his best pitcher. Graterol is the Dodgers’ best reliever, and he had 0.1 IP in Game 4, on 7 pitches.

Rays manager Kevin Cash doesn’t make these types of mistakes because he’s not tied to a high-$$ closer, or sentimental about ‘his guys’ to a point where it clouds his judgment. Cash is perhaps too analytical, and not trusting enough of his guys. Both extremes can get your team beat, and it’s a razor’s edge. Instead of the Dodgers taking a 3-1 lead, and the Series basically over, they put themselves in a dogfight after they gave it away in the 9th.

The final losing nuance was that Kenley Jansen didn’t back-up home plate on the GW play, which makes him fortunate he doesn’t close for the Yankees. West Coast media is far more relaxed & understanding. When you do that for Steinbrenner, he goes directly to the NY media, “If that fat toad can’t get off the mound and back-up home plate, then blah, blah, blah… rant, rant, rant…” In contrast, Dave Roberts quietly never went to Jansen again in the Series, and that was that.

The Rays had a chance after winning that wild & amazing Game 4, but when Manny Margot got nailed trying to steal home in the 4th inning of Game 5, that turned the Series back to the Dodgers. It was a bad play, so don’t believe any of the media hype that excused it as a good attempt. Runners at 1st & 3rd, 2 out, Rays down 4-2, with Kevin Kiermaier at the plate against Kershaw. The upside if Margot makes it is the Rays are still down a run.

It’s the runner on 1st, and potential run at the plate that mattered more in terms of winning the game. Kiermaier is the heart & soul of the Rays, so what Margot is saying is that he doesn’t trust their team leader to do the job. If Margot stays put and Kiermaier homers, it’s 5-4 Rays.

The Rays were REALLY upset with Margot over this, and that’s why he had to say to the media it was 100% his decision. It hurt the team’s chances immeasurably. When it happened, I said to myself, “That’s why AJ Preller traded him. He’s got tools, but comes up short against the Dodgers. Stupid & selfish play.” The Rays committed zero fielding errors in 6 WS games, but that base running error was more than they could afford.

I snoozed on Game 5 shortly after Manny Margot got thrown out trying to steal home. The Dodgers were making the plays & getting all the calls, so I didn’t think the Rays had a chance. The home plate umpire was very generous with Clayton Kershaw’s strike zone as compared to Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow.

I thought Corey Seager was out at second base on his 1st-inning stolen base attempt, even though replay upheld the safe call. That gave the Dodgers what they needed to win easily. East coast bias works against the Rays because Yankees & Red Sox staffers in the league office (& replay booth) despise them much more than the Dodgers.

It’s just as important to know when to give up, as it is to know when to pay attention. This video above at 2:04-05 shows Seager is tagged by Willy Adames just before he reaches second base, which means he’s out. Replay is there is correct that, but instead it upholds an incorrect call– because of human bias.

My alternate channels weren’t so great for Game 5, which was another reason I snoozed. Classic Columbo, ruined by that annoying dopey side-kick jerk Dennis Dugan, who got that part on every great 1970’s TV series– from The Rockford Files to any action show. He married Joyce Van Patten, so I think that explains it. Ghost Whisperer is always muted. I don’t know any of the characters names, I just like to look at Jennifer Love Hewitt.

All this made Game 6 feel like impending doom for Rays fans. Randy Arozarena homered in the 1st to put them up 1-0, and from there they tried to hang on. Trying win 1-0 games against $200M+ payroll teams in the World Series is next-to-impossible. Even when the Rays win, it’s often not an enjoyable experience, more a combination of surprise & relief. They’re amazing to admire & learn about, but painful to root for.

The Rays are locked into their 30-year lease on the Tropicana Dome in St. Petersburg. Tampa won’t build them a new stadium, so that means in 2028 they’ll be the Charlotte Rays. It sucks being a Rays fan for so many reasons.

It was an inexcusable & irresponsible act by Dodgers 3B Justin Turner, after being pulled in the 8th inning for testing coronavirus positive, to rejoin his teammates for celebrations after the game– without a mask [!] on top of that.

Dave Roberts lowering his own mask to spit (over & over) in the Dodgers dugout wasn’t good either. The final lesson is that these athletes (for the most part) haven’t taken this pandemic seriously. They are privileged jocks, so they ignore science because know they won’t have to deal with any of the nasty consequences. I hope there is no more baseball until this pandemic is truly under control.

Ratings Review: The Los Angeles Dodgers-Tampa Bay Rays World Series TV ratings average was 32% below the previous low, which had been the Giants sweep of the Tigers in 2012. The NBA, NHL, and the rest of sports are down too. What explains this?

I watched parts of the NBA Playoffs & Finals, so I can say the basketball was as well-played as I had seen in a long, long time. LeBron James & Jimmy Butler both performed for their respective teams, and it was a good series, more competitive than most had predicted. It was the same with MLB in 2020, all the way through the World Series, the quality of the games were the best I have ever seen.

This means the problem is NOT the athletes. The problem is the COVID pandemic which has wrecked so many lives, to the point where people don’t care about sports the way they used to. The corporate messaging & political virtue-signaling are HUGE turn-offs too. Whenever you read a mainstream article on the internet about the ratings being down for sports, they never tell you why, because they can’t admit they are the problem. One final fact, no one has lower ratings than Trump.

Since it’s so close to the election, I’ll shift towards politics for the conclusion. If you’ve voted, or are planning to vote for Biden because you hate Trump, then you’re wasting your vote. Biden & Trump are the same. They are rich, who represent the rich, and despise all those who work for a living. I’ve read more than a few partisan supporters (on both sides) framing this political position as that of a ‘Russian communist,’ who wants to destroy the American way of life.

That’s nonsense. I’m a baseball fan, as I have proven here, and there is nothing more American than baseball. The truth is capitalism is dead, and we need a revolution. This is a war they started, which revolutionary socialists are going to finish. Read the WSWS, and support them. That my political line.

This Conway/Underwood banner above is what Election 2020 is about to become, a real-life nightmare installment of Netflix’s original series House of Cards. We need a massive intervention of international youth & the working class. The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) attacks both Democrats & Republicans as fascists, which is correct. The SEP are the only ones who tell people the truth.

The Socialist Equality Party, which has sections around the world, traces their roots to the founding of the Fourth International in Paris in 1938 by Trotsky, two years before he was murdered by an agent of Stalin in Coyocan, Mexico. Troskyists are historical materialists, and insistent there is objective truth.

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