The Charleston pageant

This was quite possibly the worst political debate ever broadcast. It was completely stage-managed, with unabashedly biased “moderators” throwing daggers at those they hate (Bloomberg & Bernie), while lobbing softballs to Elizabeth Warren, who tried her best to identify with Sanders and get some progressive shine. Anything to “Stop Bernie,” it quickly reached bad political theater, and wallowed there for two excruciating hours. Nothing serious was debated.

The Democrats have lost their individual & collective minds. It was sadly comical how every time Bernie Sanders held his hand up to respond to someone else attacking him, Elizabeth Warren raised her hand too. Then when Sanders put his hand down, down went Warren’s. She played this political charade of “follow Bernie” for a good part of the “debate,” to make herself look strong & progressive.

But because she’s a phony, Warren finally got caught near the end– on a question concerning US troops in Syria. She was unprepared when acknowledged by the moderator, after it was Bernie Sanders who really wanted to speak. Warren gasped, stumbled, and then had nothing but stock answers for a recovery. The moderators then moved on. It was a most-telling moment for Elizabeth Warren in Charleston, SC. Warren was handed this debate by CBS & the fake media, but she fumbled it away, because she doesn’t have the chops.

What do I mean by chops? That’s a performing term, meaning skills which hold up under pressure, such as delivering the goods to a live global audience with fierce competition in your face. Elizabeth Warren clearly has none of the stuff to handle serious politics. She’s been propped up by the Hillary faction of the DNC, which is politically powerful in Washington, but despised everywhere else. Why are they so widely hated? Because these elitists have all the money and always abuse it in their interest, because they have no chops.

CIA Democrat, Pete Buttigieg is the definition of a stiff, another industry term I keep using, since this is a pageant. No chops, no charisma & no brains means you’re a stiff. This non-entity should have been given the hook a long time ago, but he too has powerful deep-state backers. The problem for the DNC is that Pete Buttigieg is too queer. Gay doesn’t have a broad enough appeal when it comes to identity politics, and comes with too much backlash in terms of running for President. Trump can rally anti-gay bigotry against Buttigieg, which will be stronger than the Democratic party’s LGBT supporters.

Same thing applies to Amy Klobuchar, as far as blandness goes. On stage, she looked like an over-ripe grape. Obviously representing Minnesota Golden Gophers purple, she needed a complimentary color in Charleston, but doesn’t have one. Her bland fashion sense mirrors her uninspired stumping. Amy Klobuchar was given repeated opportunities to speak freely without being attacked, but no one can remember anything she said. Klobuchar is a stale vintage: old wine in a boring bottle, quickly turning to sour grapes. Undecided voters will pass on that, you can bet.

Mike Bloomberg was repeatedly attacked and set-up for Warren to grandstand. He was bloodied for sure, but fought back admirably against a #MeToo-style gang-up. But it’s too late for Bloomberg to recover, and he will win very little on Super Tuesday. Mike Bloomberg will have spent more dollars-per-delegate than any US Presidential candidate in history. That’s how “Mike will get it done,” which is incidentally one of the lamest Presidential campaign slogans ever.

When Elizabeth Warren attacked Bloomberg, she came off as nagging & petty on non-disclosure agreements, tax returns, et al. This doesn’t help when you’re trying to look tough & Presidential. My analysis is that the Trump team would eat Warren for breakfast if she was the 2020 Democrat nominee, just like they did with Hillary Clinton in 2016. Sanders can’t say that, because she’s a woman, but it’s a political truth nonetheless.

But it’s clear that Elizabeth Warren is who the DNC now favors. She’s got #MeToo backing, and is tacking to the left, in order to woo Bernie Sanders supporters, but it’s too late. Warren is an establishment Democrat with little popular appeal. It’s mostly to older professional women, in what’s left of the upper-middle class. That’s a limited reach, at best, with a lot of backlash behind it.

Joe Biden is toast. Since Nevada, Biden has ludicrously claimed that he was arrested in Soweto, South Africa in the late 1970’s for trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. This fabrication was meant to gain him the black vote in South Carolina. No record of this Biden “arrest” exists, and it has been disputed by insiders.

Biden is also running some really weak TV ads which claim Bernie Sanders didn’t support President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. Comments on this are overwhelmingly negative. “Obama doesn’t shine like he used to, Joe,” are typical.

Support for Mike Bloomberg is even less, as he fools no one except himself. My favorite online response to him is, “I wouldn’t vote for Bloomberg even if he was the only person running in either party.” These centrist conservative clowns are ALL going to get wiped out on Super Tuesday, which is only a week away. That’s the cause for all this media hysteria.

The two billionaires, Bloomberg & Tom Steyer have no significant Democratic voting base from which to appeal. Tom Steyer is perhaps the biggest stiff in this field. This clown has no political skills & no grassroots support. Notice that Steyer gets the least amount of speaking time during these “debates,” because everyone tunes him out when he starts to babble on about whatever. This is an example of how your brain stagnates when you spend your entire life in a billionaire’s bubble.

Is being physically unappealing & arrogantly reactionary a requirement for two-party candidacy?  Everyone of these windbags makes themselves look foolish getting worked up over issues they really don’t care about, but have to pretend like they do in 2020. Watching Biden, Warren, Klobuchar & Buttigieg in particular getting heated to save their failing candidacies from the gallows pole in a week, is entertainment.

As I’ve already repeated, this is a pageant. The 2020 Democratic primary is a political popularity contest, to see who can best lie to the voters who are demanding real change. Without question the most skilled Democratic candidate is Bernie Sanders. All of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democratic opponents are stiffs, with the notable exception of Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who has political chops & a lot of energy.

Gabbard famously took down Kamala Harris in an early CNN debate, which infuriated centrist Democrats. On January 22, 2020, Tulsi Gabbard filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, seeking damages in excess of $50 million for sabotaging her presidential campaign. This was definitely a deep state dirty tricks operation.

Tulsi Gabbard was the only Democratic nominee who challenged Bernie Sanders from the left, and that isn’t allowed. She’s physically attractive, intelligent enough & charismatic, which means she would have been a formidable contender– if she had had the backing.

For the Democrats, everything on the left has to go to Bernie, so he can surrender policy over to the centrists when it’s time. That’s why Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign got smashed by the DNC & fake media. It’s also why she’s been excluded from these “debates,” despite her resume as a CIA Democrat.

The DNC finally finished counting the Nevada caucus. Sanders won 24 of the 36 available delegates, putting him at 45. Buttigieg won 3 and now has 25, while Biden won 9 and now has 15 total. Warren (8) & Klobuchar (7) are being asked to drop out by MSNBC, after not winning anything in Nevada, in order to unite the “stop Bernie” moderates.

I see Sanders picking-up a good share of both their supporters, so that strategy won’t help the DNC centrists. It’s between Buttigieg, Biden, Bloomberg & Steyer. Three of them have to go, in order for the centrists to unite. But NONE of them have the ego to quit for the good of something outside of themselves.

That’s the Democrat’s conundrum. No one is ready to quit, even though the writing is on the wall. This nomination race could be over by March 17, so it’s probably already too late for any of this to make a difference. Sanders is far ahead of the rest in voter support & political momentum.

What most of the “undecideds” are looking for is a Democrat who can beat Trump in November. Bernie Sanders has the best head-to-head polling numbers versus Trump, winning most projections. All the arguments from centrist Democrats who claim they can unite the party are worthless in the face of this.

Don’t be fooled by the false narratives. Donald Trump fears Bernie Sanders more than any other Democratic candidate, and rightly so. Bernie Sanders is the most popular left-leaning front-runner of an open Democratic primary nomination since Bobby Kennedy in 1968. All options will be on the table to neutralize Sanders. Trump will ask the DNC through the media to sabotage the Sanders campaign, and they may very well comply. It’s understood by many deep state centrists to be essential for maintaining the two-party system.

The existing political set-up is no longer able to accommodate a leftist US President. Jimmy Carter was the last one, and he was unceremoniously dumped for Ronald Reagan in 1980. The deep state is the Black Hand that will coerce Bernie Sanders into capitulating to the ruling establishment, whether it’s losing in November, or by betraying those populist promises he made to get himself into the White House. Sooner or later, this is how Bernie Sanders will fold, in favor of the ruling establishment.

Final thoughts:   Thu 27 Feb 2020 12:15 PM EST

Who will be Bernie Sanders’ VP? Elizabeth Warren definitely fits what Bernie needs. He doesn’t need a Joe Biden breathing down his neck, Sanders needs a compliant “respectable” Democrat who checks boxes. That’s Elizabeth Warren. Tulsi Gabbard would be his choice on the left, but Bernie needs to placate the establishment, so he’ll go with moderate woman for a running mate. That’s my analysis.

One final point. VP choice matters, particularly for the TV debates, ever since Dan Quayle proved what a liability a weak VP could be, when Bush/Quayle lost to Clinton/Gore in 1992. On the other (dark) side, a powerful VP like Dick Cheney can control a Presidency. Most serious historians believe that LBJ conspired to assassinate a beloved President. It’s choice they live & die with, and it’s VERY murky behind-the-scenes.

The good news for Bernie Sanders is that his to-be-determined running mate is up against a non-entity in Mike Pence. Trump wanted a nobody loyalist for the job, and that’s why he’s still there in 2020. Elizabeth Warren will be more ambitious than Pence, because she DID run for the Presidency. I speak of her presidential campaign in the past tense, because its death is only impending, like all the other Democrats opposing Sanders.

Sun 01 Mar 2020 1:01 PM EST

The big win for Joe Biden doesn’t matter so much, because South Carolina is a red state in November. The Obama & Clinton machinery won it for him, but all of this only magnifies Biden’s reactionary politics. Super Tuesday is now a huge test of establishment machinery vs. the grassroots campaign of Bernie Sanders. One final note, billionaire Tom Steyer dropped out of the race, just after the SC results were announced.


How Bernie Sanders folds

First of all, he doesn’t do it all at once. Like any skilled craftsman, he takes his time, and picks his spots [to lose]. This is a very flexible political tool, which can be contorted into various shapes, stripes & colors. Like an accordion, he can be folded inwards to bellow a necessary note, then pulled apart violently to repel his audience. He can be held in prolonged stress positions, without cracking, which isn’t easy.

Bernie can talk populism to the starving & restless masses, and then reassure the New York Times in an interview that he would bomb any country, and be as belligerent as needed to satisfy the deep state hawks. Bernie Sanders always means it, but the hawks still don’t trust him, and that’s the problem. He understands, and is always willing to do what’s necessary.

Bernie Sanders had recently implied that “Russian bots” may be responsible for violent statements by his own supporters. Calling his hardcore and most-energetic left-wing supporters “Russian bots” is an exercise in self-sabotage by Sanders. This is Sanders expertly trying to cool off the most revolutionary elements of his supporters, who incorrectly identify him with socialism.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t want anything to do with socialism, yet he carries this badge-of-dishonor for the Democrats, because someone has to. These foolish supporters are trying to push Bernie to the left, while Sanders takes their votes and then throws them under a bus. That’s how it works.

Now on the eve on the Nevada Caucus, the fake media has gone into overdrive. According to anonymous intelligence sources, Bernie Sanders has been receiving Russian support, although no specific evidence is provided. Evidentially, a briefing was held with Sanders (and other candidates), at least a week ago. But now the fake news hypes this as a “bombshell.” Of course, Trump feeds off this filth.

Yesterday, I wrote, “The establishment needs a different narrative, so more lies are what they double-down on.” That was concerning Trump’s pardons & Julian Assange. And now, today they recycle the “Russian interference” narrative– to derail the Bernie Sanders campaign and attack Trump. Right on cue!

The subtle nuance which too many people miss is that Bernie Sanders himself is the central figure in this conspiracy to throw the Democratic nomination to a centrist, whom the voters have already rejected. This threatens to fracture the Democratic party forever, much like Donald Trump did to the Republicans in 2016, when the RNC tried & failed at this type of maneuvering.

In 2020, DNC hawks aren’t budging, while on the other side of the barricades the workers & young kids are tired of lies from Washington insiders & Wall Street billionaires. They want someone who represents & energizes them, the way Trump does to his fascist base. If this happens in earnest, the left will wipe out the right, because they far outnumber them in the population. But in the halls of power, it’s always right-wing values that rule. That’s the current political situation.

Sanders kept quiet and threw his support to Hillary Clinton after the 2016 Democratic nomination was stolen from him. How can anyone believe he won’t do it again in 2020? Bernie claims Julian Assange is a cyber-terrorist because he knows the DNC email leaks were really from a staffer (most likely Seth Rich), and not the Russians. He accepts the “Russian interference” narrative to prove his loyalty to the ruling establishment, at the expense of his integrity to his supporters.

This is Bernie Sanders taking another step to sabotage his own campaign, in order to prop up the Democratic party. There will be many more disappointments to come for his supporters. Bernie is the Democrats’ most valiant & self-sacrificing soldier. He misleads his supporters for the greater cause– US imperialism.


Bernie is a slow motioning folding machine– experienced & well-versed.  He has powerful support deep within the ruling establishment, because there are enough far-sighted technocrats to understand that he plays an invaluable role for the Democratic party, and the two-party system in whole.

For a rigged game to seem legitimate, you need a false prophet to divert & contain the masses. No one else in the Democratic party has Bernie Sanders’ chops, experience & clout. He’s their most valuable politician because he folds so beautifully, and at just the perfect moment, so that only a few people notice that he did it to himself.

We don’t need another election like 2016, we need a revolution. Featured above is Joseph Kishore, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for US President in 2020. Revolutionary socialism is their party platform. That is real socialism. Their daily news organ is the World Socialist Web Site.

When Bernie Sanders executes his final betrayal of his vast constituency of progressive voters in the coming months, in the manner already explained above, those supporters need to turn to the WSWS to find what they are looking for. Socialism doesn’t happen through liberalism or bureaucracy, it happens through a workers’ revolution.


Trump’s pardons: real & alleged

Donald Trump has been handing out pardons: billionaire junk bond king Michael Milken, mob-connected real estate tycoon & former-49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., among the most notable. Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who attempted to sell the vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama in 2008, and Bernard Kerik, of whom Patrick Martin of the WSWS writes:

“Kerik is a longtime crony of Rudy Giuliani, now Trump’s personal lawyer and political fixer. He was the driver and bodyguard for Giuliani during his campaign for mayor of New York City, and Giuliani eventually elevated him to police commissioner, where he was widely rumored to be receiving bribes from organized crime families.”

Kerik & Giuliani are also key 9/11 conspirators, if you don’t buy the fake news’ official version.

Next up on Trump’s pardon list is Roger Stone, one of his top fixers. Here’s the WSWS’s Barry Grey on him a week ago:

“Stone, who falsely claimed to have been in contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was central to the efforts of the Democratic Party and then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to frame up Assange as a Russian agent. The Democrats, in particular, concocted the narrative of a conspiracy between Assange and Putin to publish damaging Clinton emails stolen by the Russians in order to swing the election to Trump.”

Roger Stone lied to Congress about Julian Assange for two very good reasons. His first agenda was to smear WikiLeaks and bolster right wing attacks against Assange & all other leftist organizations. WikiLeaks & the World Socialist Website particularity have been targets of censorship algorithms from Google, Facebook & YouTube– which were exponentially escalated in 2016-17. Now in the hands of outright fascists who occupy the White House, these tools of censorship & repression only get worse.

The other reason Roger Stone made up the Assange-Putin story to Congress, was to give them what they wanted. It was a dirty tricks operation from an experienced political fixer, and it worked perfectly. The Democrats had been looking for a “smoking gun,” an actual connection linking WikiLeaks and “Russian interference.” Stone gave them that story, knowing it was false, and then watched the Democrats make idiots out of themselves in the forms of the Mueller Report, which found nothing; and then the Trump impeachment drive over US-Ukrainian dirty politics, which ended in an acquittal for Trump by the Republican-led Senate.

A lot of people still don’t know what happened in 2016, with the DNC email leaks, thanks in part to Roger Stone. That’s the way powerful people want it. That’s why Roger Stone gives the press a Richard Nixon “V-for-Victory” gesture outside of the courtroom after being found guilty & then after sentencing. Stone started with Nixon, and knows he’s protected by the most-powerful mafia in the world. Donald Trump is going to need Roger Stone to win in 2020. That’s why he gets pardoned, after Stone’s appeal for a new trial is denied. That’s how this will “play out.”

That’s fake news debunked. Russia never had anything to do with the 2016 DNC Wikileaks email dumps. The leaks came from a DNC insider, most likely Seth Rich, who was soon after murdered under murky circumstances. The claim by Trump supporters that he offered Julian Assange a pardon for this admission is not credible. That’s because Donald Trump & his fascist cabal are now leading the persecution of Julian Assange.

Assange always stated that Russia was not the source of the 2016 DNC email leaks. What was never credible was Trump’s offer for a pardon to Assange. Trump only pardons criminals & other vermin of his own kind, as discussed above.

Another issue with the Assange “pardon” offer is the fact the US government always denied there was a secret extradition case against Julian Assange, even after its existence was inadvertently released. It was only confirmed it after Julian Assange had been grabbed & dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy by UK police on April 11, 2019.

On 23 May 2019, Assange was officially indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Espionage Act is an early work of J Edgar Hoover, the godfather of the FBI.

This Julian Assange frame-up has been widely exposed as an attack on journalism & freedom of the press. It all started with #MeToo-style phony rape allegations back in 2010. It was aided & abetted by the NATO-allied governments & deep states of Sweden & the UK.

There are at least three serious questions that must be answered for any of Trump’s witnesses or spokespeople to have credibility, as these are known serial liars.

1) How can a pardon be offered by President Trump in 2017, if there was no official case against Julian Assange, according to the US Justice Department & all of establishment politics?

2) Since Julian Assange has never been convicted of any crime, how can he be pardoned?

3) Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, so how does Trump & the US government allocate itself jurisdiction?

These are the methods of a mafia don, demagogue, and slanderer. Trump merely personifies the most backward elements & instincts of the US two-party system. What’s at issue here is that Julian Assange will be in a London courtroom, starting on Monday, February 24.

Public support has been suppressed by a decade of fake media lies, but like Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy, these zombie campaigns always fall apart when exposed to public scrutiny. The world is watching, as most of human civilization believes Julian Assange has been tortured by US/UK deep state haters– for telling the truth.  A kangaroo court is going to be a tough sell to working people who vote.

The establishment needs a different narrative, so more lies are what they double-down on. Meanwhile political rallies in support of Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, et al continue to expand & strengthen. This is the political power of the working class being expressed in the defense of these courageous whistle-blowers. The world is significantly safer today, in that we can confirm these serious conspiracy theories which were (are) always denied by the establishment media & its political puppets.

These paid political liars no longer hold moral or intellectual sway, in fact it’s been flipped in their faces. If you don’t support Julian Assange’s freedom, then you are a fascist. If you waffle, you are a fascist. These lines have been made very clear, and what’s ahead is a political struggle of the highest importance. This is no time to sit quietly on the sidelines.


The Daytona 500: NASCAR’s Super Bowl washes out

The following was posted on my Facebook page at 5:56 PM EDT:

NASCAR is run by idiots. It was a beautiful day earlier in central Florida, until mid-afternoon when the rains came. If any of the race organizers had bothered to look at weather maps last night & this morning, or consult with a meteorologist, then they would have made the decision to move up the start time to this race, so they could get it in, since you can’t run an oval race when conditions are wet.

It’s nearly 6:00 PM local time and there is more rain coming through in an hour, according to the local weather radar, with all the cars still parked on the track. NASCAR will have to postpone the Daytona 500 until Monday, after it ran just 20 laps. When you begin the season with your Super Bowl, a rain-out is a bad omen for what’s to come. The sponsors & fans feel cheated, and this is what NASCAR consistently delivers.

Then a few minutes later: Pre-set NASCAR timetables, and corporate mandates for gimmicks such as stage racing, which lengthen these races, are to blame. There’s no leadership in NASCAR to make the tough calls correctly when needed.

Then at 6:54 PM EDT: Just announced on Fox: the Daytona 500 has been postponed until tomorrow.

Here are a few things that were more important to the figureheads who run NASCAR than running the Daytona 500 today.

1) The sponsors, who insist on routine commercial breaks during peak viewing hours. This race couldn’t be moved ahead as needed, because corporate networks won’t allow that. The egos of network executives & sponsors are more important than the race.

2) The US Air Force jet fly-over. That’s obviously tightly programmed, and couldn’t be moved up without threatening “national security.” Thus the jet flyover was more important than the Great American Race.

3) Donald Trump’s visit with his wife Melania. “Drivers, start you engines,” then a pace lap in the Presidential limousine. That certainly could not be rescheduled or moved up, making it much more important than the actual race, which lasted only 20 laps, after a long rain-delay before its start.

Then the rains returned and soaked the tracked repeatedly, and still are as of this writing after 7:00 PM local time. The sun is down, so there is no drying the track, even if the rain had halted, which they won’t until much later.

This was a futile charade put on by NASCAR, FOX, and all its sponsors here at Daytona, Florida. This race had no chance of being completed as scheduled, yet like ostriches with their heads in the sand, they refused to face reality and take responsible action when needed. If this race had been started at noon, with no stages, it would have been completed before the afternoon rains. With stages, an 11:00 AM start time was necessary. Rain was predicted for this afternoon & evening. It’s important to use science correctly.

Now NASCAR has sponsors that are already demanding their money back, because when fans tuned in, they saw the 2019 race being broadcast on FOX. The call to postpone the race on that network was made by NASCAR ~6:45 EDT. It’s like they were the last ones to accept it.

I don’t watch NASCAR much anymore because it’s great stars are mostly gone. Only Jimmie Johnson remains, be he isn’t enough to help this mess. NASCAR put itself up for sale a few years back, and didn’t like the offers it received. But everything they do seems to devalue their product, so what can they expect?

You can blame it on the rain, but really in 2020 we know when bad weather is coming, and should be ready with an alternate plan as needed. NASCAR should be accountable to its fans & drivers first, if it wants to regain its lost popularity, but it consistently does just the opposite. This is what happens when leadership fails to plan.

Only a fraction of their expected viewing audience will watch the Daytona 500 tomorrow, and that costs sponsors tens of millions of dollars in lost marketing revenue– at least. NASCAR burns up the money, wastes resources, and in many ways defines the most reactionary features of our fake economy.

UPDATE:  Monday 17 Feb 2020 10:10 AM EST

The Daytona 500 will pick-up again today on FOX at 4:00 PM EDT, and hopefully will finish itself up by his evening, as more rain is possible. The grandstands will be half-full at best, and the infield a muddy mess, as just about everyone wants to get this race over with now, so they can move on.

These teams, crews & drivers have to be in Las Vegas next weekend, and have already lost a day’s travel time. It used to be Atlanta after the Daytona 500, but now it’s Las Vegas, because the sponsors want it that way. These are the contingencies that NASCAR has to deal with, in a sport that is weather dependent. For the record, Donald Trump did not attend this race. He left before the start yesterday, and will not return today. His appearance was all about optics.

On October 15, 2012, NASCAR and the FOX announced a new $2.4 billion eight-year deal, a 30% increase from their previous deal. On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and the NBC announced a new $4.4 billion ten-year deal. Both these broadcast deals run through 2024. NASCAR signed it’s mega-deals with NBC & FOX when it’s biggest stars were still active: including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Their biggest star (from 2013 through the Daytona 500 in 2018) was Danica Patrick, who gave NASCAR a platform to expand their demographics & bring in a whole generation of new fans. But instead of building the sport and adapting it to a new era, NASCAR consistently wrecked Danica Patrick and took the money for themselves. What’s left today is a dying sport, with an alienated hard-core base, and too few new fans. You may have noticed that Danica Patrick doesn’t do any NASCAR promotional events anymore. What kind of dim-bulb sport runs her out?

When NASCAR CEO Brian France was arrested (pic above) in August 2018 on a DUI & possession of Oxycontin, the institutional decay of this once-proud family organization could no longer be hidden. For the 2020 season, NASCAR no longer has a title sponsor, as Monster Energy bailed after just two years. Nextel, Sprint & Winston are long gone too, and all that is left are: Busch, Coca-Cola, Geico, and Xfinity as NASCAR’s “premier partners” in 2020. This makes NASCAR beholden to the networks & sponsors for everything, including yesterday’s fiasco.

In the end, everything comes down to leadership. If it isn’t there, then there can be no long-term success, even in the best of conditions. No leadership also means certain failure when things go bad, as they have in NASCAR. That is the sobering, Monday race-day reality of the 2020 Daytona 500.


Mopping up the Mookie Betts salary dump

Remember when I said I wouldn’t write another Mookie Betts piece? [Appropriate pause] I lied.

This baseball news just broke an hour ago.

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, cash (all from BOS); RHP Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley, 67th pick in 2020 Draft (both from MIN)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, C Connor Wong (all from LA)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda, a low-level minor league prospect, cash (all from LA)

Apparently, Mookie Betts & David Price are finally going to the Dodgers. According to anonymous sources (as always), the Red Sox have agreed to pay half of the $96 million left on Price’s deal. In a separate deal, Kenta Maeda, a low-level Minor League prospect & cash will go to Minnesota, with Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley & the 67th pick in the June amateur draft headed to Los Angeles.

The anticipated concurrent Angels-Dodgers deal will NOT be consummated, according to late night MLB reports. For now, Joc Pederson & Ross Stripling remain LA Dodgers. No word if Brusdar Graterol is eventually headed to Boston, but it’s presumed. Then again, a lot has been presumed, and nothing has gone according to script.

The piece I published yesterday, titled “Flushing the Mookie Betts salary dump” is now very much incorrect, but I leave it unedited because I have ethics. Plus, it’s time to move on, so here are my final thoughts on this seemingly never-ending drama.

I stand by everything I wrote about the Red Sox, MLB, and their media machinations, as well as all of the other medical/ethical issues I discussed. I don’t have a problem admitting I projected something wrong. I had excellent reasons to believe I was right.

The realities I laid out are chilling to any serious baseball fan that wasn’t aware of what was going on. This Betts deal was much bigger than just a swap of baseball players. This was political. Boston is most endeared to its Red Sox, as that franchise has the longest history, as compared to the Patriots, Celtics & Bruins.

Their beloved city franchise had to trade away their top stars to get under the luxury tax threshold, and this was very traumatic for them. Red Sox nation insisted that everyone else feel their pain. We did.

But a pearl of wisdom can be gleaned from all this. There are clearly deep divisions within the Red Sox organization, just as there is a factional war between liberal & centrist Democrats. In Boston, there are old-school diehards in the front office who wanted to keep Betts & Price, and they fought with the eggheads who were put in charge of dumping them, every inch of the way.

Sports is business, and business is politics. They all mirror each other, and what we saw this past week in the media, was complete dysfunction from an out-of-control Frankenstein known as the Boston Red Sox. They couldn’t make up their minds on what they wanted, because too many conflicting interests were in play.

The Red Sox leaked confidential medical records to the media, and mucked everything up. The Minnesota Twins, Brusdar Graterol, his agent Scott Boras, and the head of the MLBPA Tony Clark, all protested these despicable tactics by the Red Sox to manipulate trade negotiations. More than a few ESPN & MLB “reporters” deserve to have their press credentials pulled, for unethical statements to the media.

Twins GM Thad Levine played on this to get more on his end of the deal. It was all he could do, as he was under heavy pressure to capitulate. After all, these are the Red Sox, and they needed this deal to go through. Therefore, someone made Thad Levine an offer he couldn’t refuse. Expect no admission of wrong-doing or guilt from the Red Sox, it’s not their style. Either they: 1) win & gloat, 2) hate & whine, or 3) run & hide.

I intervened in this affair as a journalist by publishing an essay from the future– one possible future. I prophesied this deal would completely collapse, but it didn’t. But it was very, VERY close– and a lot of people came to know it.

Dodger’s GM Andrew Friedman deserves respect for dragging this son-of a-bitch through the mud and coming home with something worth smiling about. He had to dig deep, that’s for sure. But it should be noted that he played along as a silent partner when the Red Sox attempted to shakedown the Twins into kicking-in another prospect, after their being “spooked” by Brusdar’s Graterol’s medical records. Friedman knew (or should have known) that he was responsible for kicking-in something to satisfy the Red Sox, but instead hung a colleague (Thad Levine) out to dry, hoping it would be the Twins who would be forced to pay up. He knew.

We never heard much from the Los Angeles Angels during this saga. They were the least-invested team involved, always on the outside looking in, hoping the two behemoths could get everything worked out, without blowing it all up. Their owner Arte Moreno expressed frustration at being held in trade limbo, but there was nothing the Halos could do. It was the Twins who were they key to the deal, so the Angels got left out when the Dodgers had to go “all in” on Sunday.

Fans want trades to happen, as they shake things up & make the game more interesting. But when an organization with all the clout in the world, can hold up a mega-blockbuster deal like this, over unfounded & unethical statements to the media meant to gain leverage, then that organization needs to be sanctioned. That’s the take-home message, but I’m betting it gets lost in the fake news headlines.

Not since the 1986 World Series, when Bill Buckner let a Mookie Betts [!] grounder go through his legs, has there been so much shame & ignominy with the Red Sox. They’ve gotten what they wanted, but how they did it will not be forgotten. To mark this event in history, all this sports drama happened in synchronicity with the Iowa caucus/DNC debacle. Both were very ugly, for many of the same reasons.

Eventually, Boston Red Sox fans forgave Bill Buckner, after they finally won a World Series in 2004. I’m hoping my fans can do the same for me, a bit quicker, about being wrong here. It’s all about the process. Acting with a pure heart is an important part of that. Getting the facts straight is another.

Notice that I’m not apologizing for publishing that essay. I don’t regret it. The circumstances were that for three days, from late-Wednesday to mid-Saturday, MLB had nothing to say about this trade hold-up. NOTHING.

Baseball fans at the climax of the Hot Stove season were starving for information, perspective, analysis (anything!) to help them get an idea on what was happening. The Red Sox had clearly ordered a media gag on the Betts trade situation, so it could strong-arm a backroom deal. The Red Sox just need time and opacity.

I saw all this going on, and when the Brusdar Graterol pull-back by the Twins was reported by MLB on Saturday during the mid-afternoon, I knew I was right. The deal was falling apart, and the Dodgers & Red Sox were desperate to get the Twins re-engaged. This deal doesn’t get done without the Twins, otherwise it would have.

My perspective was that the Red Sox were guilty of many serious transgressions, and that it was more important to publish my essay concentrating on that angle, even if my trade collapse prediction turned out to be wrong– which it did. It was more important to be influential to a targeted audience at a critical juncture, even if it meant the embarrassment of being proven wrong on something less important (but more hyped) a day later.

The impact of that essay was huge, as it answered a great many questions for Dodgers fans. I posted a link to that piece in a Dodgers blog, which was conversely linked in my essay, and it got traction. My intent there was to educate some die-hard baseball fans who were hurting. I’m a Padres fan, so I took a few shots at their GM, but it was all in good sporting spirit– because it’s just a game between us. But the Red Sox are another matter.

What I wrote helped many Dodgers fans come to the sober realization that the Boston Red Sox & MLB are a mafia, and that their team was being extorted. If the Dodgers really want Betts & Price, then sweeten the deal– otherwise it’s no deal. Friedman kicked in more. He almost had to, with all he had invested. That’s how the Red Sox, and any mafia, get you. This deal has great potential to be cursed, with all the bad juju surrounding it. I’m an atheist, but karma is real.

I honestly don’t care if I’m totally wrong about a trade prediction. Who cares? This is baseball, and no one who has any kind of career bats 1.000– or has an ERA of 0.00. I care much more about all the malfeasance & unethical actions of the Red Sox, MLB & ESPN. When is there going to be a hearing on that?





Flushing the Mookie Betts salary dump

Preface: This is my fourth & final piece with “Mookie Betts salary dump” in the title. My initial installment was published on February 1, a few days before the proposed deal hit the media. “Postscript on the Mookie Betts salary dump” was published on February 5, shortly after the deal was announced, and it looked like everything was over. “‘Adjusting’ the Mookie Betts salary dump” was published on February 7, as the fake media went silent on this mega-deal falling apart. These four essays will endure in sports literature as the best analysis of what happened here– in real time.

It looked so clean & elegant when it was first reported in the sports media on Tuesday evening, February 4, 2020:

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price & ~$48M [!] cash (all from BOS)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo (from LAD), RHP Brusdar Graterol (MLB Pipeline’s No. 83 prospect, from MIN)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda (from LAD)

…and then the clincher for Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman…

ANGELS GET: OF Joc Pederson, RHP Ross Stripling, OF prospect Andy Pages
DODGERS GET: IF Luis Rengifo

Joc Pederson was to be Andrew Friedman’s salary dump, to keep the Dodgers under the CBT. Pederson is a free agent in November. With Mookie Betts apparently in RF, the Dodgers were ready for a championship run in 2020. For Angels GM Billy Eppler, this was an opportunity to upgrade his outfield, and possibly extend Joc Pederson if it worked out well.

Instead, Joc Pederson had the distinction of going through an arbitration hearing with the Dodgers (which he lost), while believing he was being traded to the Angels. If MLB had any ethics, it would have: 1) suspended the Pederson arbitration hearing until after the proposed trade deal was resolved– one way or another; and 2) set a hard deadline for the deal’s resolution.

MLB did neither.Why? Because it was acting as an agent of the Red Sox to get the deal done on Boston’s terms. The Red Sox kept pushing for more time, but time eventually ran out.

A lot of really diligent & talented front offices worked very hard this winter to make their teams better, only to have it destroyed by Red Sox pettiness, arrogance & greed. What a colossal waste of time! This is now officially, “The greatest baseball trade that never happened.”

The Dodgers were always motivated to get this deal done. In the end it was on them to deal more prospects to Boston. They didn’t, as they felt they had given up enough already, and were probably correct. Here’s a good analysis from their perspective.

In short, the Joc Pederson arbitration hearing was a disaster for the Dodgers, even though the team won the case. They will pay Pederson $7.75M in 2020, but the Dodgers & MLB look really bad. It resembled a Julian Assange hearing in many respects. Kenta Maeda wants to be a starter so he can earn contract bonuses, but is being used as a reliever, especially down the stretch. The Twins would have put Maeda in their rotation. It would have been a great deal for the Twins.

The third Dodgers piece was Alex Verdugo, a high-end young talent in RF. I’ve been wondering why Andrew Friedman had been so willing to part with him. I had speculated in an earlier piece that it could be a core injury which was lowering his value.

But due diligence & sticking with a story eventually brought me here. It’s been alleged that Alex Verdugo was witness to his minor-league teammate, James Baldwin, sexually assaulting an underage girl at a team party in Rancho Cucamunga. There was a police report filed. This is an ugly organizational story. Dealing Alex Verdugo moves a big part of it to Boston. Apparently MLB is aware of all this, but hasn’t taken action. Very murky.

At ~3:15 PM EST, on Saturday, February 8, it was reported by MLB that Brusdar Graterol had been pulled back by the Minnesota Twins from the proposed Mookie Betts blockbuster. This announcement all but killed the deal, along with the concurrent proposed Dodgers-Angels swap.

An hour later, and the news is reverberating through the baseball world. It will soon be announced by MLB that the whole deal(s) is off. So I’m now finally able to publish this piece (which I had already written) at ~4:20 PM EST. This story actually wrote itself is how I look at it. So what the bleep happened?!

Once the Twins pulled back Brusdar Graterol, the Dodgers took back Kenta Maeda. This probably happened on late Wednesday or early Thursday, looking at the fake media reporting, but was kept quiet to try to get the Twins management to change their minds. They rightfully didn’t. This means the Red Sox take back David Price and all of his 3/$96 remaining. That leaves only Alex Verdugo for Mookie Betts at $27M.

All that puts the Dodgers-Angels proposal in jeopardy. You can see how quickly this unraveled. The money the Red Sox were going to eat on Price was never nailed down. It was reported to be “around half” of his remaining deal, but this was still being hotly negotiated after the deal was announced.

This means money, between the Red Sox & Dodgers, was an issue in killing this deal. Once it’s down to Betts-for-Verdugo, the $27M for one season becomes a problem, because this one season is all there is for the Dodgers. Especially when they are giving up a promising, cost-controlled young player to the Red Sox.

That’s why David Price had to be in the deal, for GM Andrew Friedman to part with Alex Verdugo. That’s why Verdugo-for-Betts straight-up doesn’t work. From the Dodgers GM perspective, the Red Sox needed to eat salary on Mookie Betts. The Red Sox wouldn’t (and couldn’t) do this, because this was supposed to be a salary dump in order to get under the CBT. The problem is Red Sox dysfunction, all down the line.

The final story is about the Minnesota Twins [!] taking a stand on medical/player ethics. This is a case of an “unethical medical records leak” in professional sports by the Boston Red Sox, used to gain leverage in trade negotiations. This is now a union grievance with the MLBPA. For the players involved it’s a privacy issue, just like for patients in any doctor’s office or hospital setting.

By today (Saturday), noon EST, Brusdar Graterol’s agent, Scott Boras finally responded to these unethical Red Sox assertions. “To suggest that this player is not healthy going forward, or has any form of substantive medical defect that would in any way damage his career, all of that is false,” Boras told The Boston Globe.

“This is a scant supposition created by medical review, by someone who has never seen him physically. I don’t know Boston’s position on this. I know that people are suggesting that Graterol has some malady about him medically, which is inaccurate. That supposition is false. He is in spring training. He’s ready to throw without limitations going forward through the season. And there’s no suggestion that there’s anything at issue with this player in the current or immediate aspects of his career.”

The medical rule is: don’t discuss patient/player data with outside parties, without their recorded consent. It’s a serious breach of doctor-patient ethics to do so. The same ethics exist for team-player relationships in professional sports.

As a practicing dentist for over 25 years, I know the professional lines in discussing patient information. Basically, you don’t do it. Patients don’t want it leaked, because once it’s out there, it’s public domain. The Red Sox blatantly breached a player’s right-to-privacy in their leaking the confidential medical records of RHP Brusdar Graterol. The Twins fairly deserve some form of compensation from the Red Sox.

Hypothetical question: How would you like another company interested in your services, leaking private medical & personal information to the media, in order to de-value you? This was done by the Red Sox in order to gain advantage in grabbing more assets in the already-agreed-upon Mookie Betts deal.

How do you think Brusdar Graderol felt about being traded to the Red Sox after hearing all this uproar? Terrified, possibly? I think that’s a reasonable assumption. A responsible GM can’t trade a top young prospect under the toxic circumstances created by the Red Sox. It would be unprofessional. What kind of message would it send to all the players in the Twins organization?

Patients (players) don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. That’s the golden rule in dealing with human beings. GM’s running their organizations are like doctors running a practice, in that they are responsible for a lot of people. If you throw someone under the bus like that, everyone sees it, and it kills morale.

The Red Sox have no such ethics on this, they only care about winning & whining– in debatable order. They are again about to be sanctioned by MLB, this time over using iPhone watches to stream live center-field camera video of the opposing catcher’s signs to the pitcher. A bench coach under manager Alex Cora would relay it to Red Sox runners-on-base. That’s quite a Fenway advantage, and it puts an asterisk on their 2018 World Series season. Just like the Houston Astros in 2017.

I believe the best deterrence for illegal video usage is fan disgust with this type of cheating. That, and serious MLB investigations & sanctions for proven offenders. Live video used to steal signs totally sucks, because it’s completely unfair to the opposing team. When fans start losing respect for the players & the game, changes must be made. That’s perhaps the biggest storyline in baseball this past winter.

Since the Yankees were also involved in this, and likely originated it, expect the sanctions for the Red Sox to be less severe than they were for the Houston Astros. It’s Carlos Beltran signing with the Astros as a free agent on December 5, 2016, after nearly three years with the Yankees, that helped Houston perfect its system of video cheating. Beltran brought it from the Bronx to Houston.

That’s why Beltran was fired by the New York Mets this winter, after being hired weeks earlier. Carlos Beltran’s career MLB managing record will forever be 0-0. The Yankees don’t want an investigation into their original 2014-16 sign-stealing schemes, so they’ll make a deal with Red Sox wheels in the MLB commissioner’s office to go lightly on Boston, as a quid pro quo for no New York Yankees investigation. That’s east coast bias in action. Watch for it.

Coincidentally, ESPN just published an article implicating an Astros intern as the source of MLB video sign stealing. That’s been the top headlines on MLB & ESPN for the past two days, while the silence on the Betts deal in limbo is deafening. All this immediately confirms my conspiracy theory that the impending Red Sox punishment will be less severe than it was for the Astros. The AJ Hinch apology videos (& Astros players defiance) can all be seen as pro-Red Sox propaganda, to deflect attention from their sins. We’ll see who is correct here, soon enough.

After all this, the Red Sox deserve yet another investigation, this time in breaching player medical privacy ethics for gain in trade talks. There’s lots of corporate media complicity here, so I don’t see this going anywhere. The Red Sox & MLB are a mafia, and they’ve both had difficult winters. More & more fans outside of these inner MLB circles are now understanding the depth of this corruption. I’ve used The Office (2005-13) as a pictorial metaphor for all this corporate dysfunction.

The Los Angeles Dodgers can still get Mookie Betts in free agency, next winter, if that’s what they want. You can be sure that Andrew Friedman & the rest of his GM colleagues don’t want to deal with the Red Sox again anytime soon.

For me as a sportswriter with an outsider’s perspective, it’s been a fascinating story which I’ve been enthusiastic to cover. I understand that I’m strictly censored, but I’ve learned that the truth (when well phrased) quickly gets out to enough of the right people in time to make a difference.

This Mookie Betts deal was so tense, emotional, & tightly wound, that the excess strain from Red Sox meddling caused it to burst apart. Once the Twins pulled back Brusdar Graterol, out of respect for their valued young player & themselves, this mega-deal fell apart. When that happened, all the king’s mouthpieces, and all the Red Sox yes-men, couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. The dominoes all tumbled, and the Dodgers, Twins & Angels are left with nothing for all their weeks of time & energy spent.

They, all probably deserve some compensation from MLB over this despicable dealing in bad faith by the Boston Red Sox. All the Red Sox had to do was sign on the bottom line, and it was over. They had a great deal. Their real fans knew it. Just sign it, you bleeping bleep-holes!!

But no, it was unacceptable in its tiniest detail, so management had to insist on more. And now the Red Sox have Mookie Betts & David Price back, and they’re still well above the CBT, which ownership mandated they get below back in November.

Question: Who wants to deal with the Boston Red Sox now? Answer: Nobody. Would you? It’s pitchers & catchers starting next week, so now nothing is possible until July at the earliest, if at all, after especially so much bad blood. By then Mookie Betts will have already earned approximately two-thirds of his 2020 salary. That makes it too late for Boston to dump him, and get below the CBT.

The Red Sox & Dodgers desperately tried all the way to the end to find another trade partner to make this deal go through. If I was Padres GM AJ Preller, I would have gotten both these teams together on a three-way call to pitch a final offer. Something like, “So you both need another player to make this deal work, huh? Wil Myers is available.” Click. Click. LOL!! Call it payback for being suspended by MLB over “undisclosed anti-inflammatories” in the Drew Pomeranz deal. No love lost for the Dodgers either.

How can the GM (& a lot of other people in upper management, medical, legal, media, etc) keep their privileged Red Sox jobs, after blowing the biggest deal this organization had to make, since they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees? Roughly 100 years after that infamous baseball disaster deal, the Red Sox again grasped defeat, this time after victory had been painstakingly negotiated, They wouldn’t claim it.

Losing sight of one’s primary objective, as badly as Red Sox management has bungled it here, is astoundingly incompetent. In Taipan they would all grade out as shipwrecked galley hands. But I don’t expect any high-level firings in Boston management for this fiasco, because the Red Sox (above all else) take care of their own. They will use their media clout to blame the Twins for not “playing ball,” or the Dodgers for not giving up enough, or some other hateful nonsense meant to acquit themselves.

There were obviously forces within the Red Sox organization, and their rabid fan base, that didn’t want this trade to happen. They did everything to sabotage it. Those are their haters, and they won– again. Any kind of respectable ownership would ruthlessly purge this self-defeating filth from its organization, but not the Boston Red Sox.

And finally, let’s be clear on the role of the corporate media in this sordid, manipulative affair. Every time Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, et al, speculated on Brusdar Graterol’s “shoulder injury” over the past few days, they were acting not as baseball journalists, but tools of the Boston Red Sox. These willful & repeated violations of privacy prove these “reporters” have no ethics, and thus no credibility. They are all backed by an east coast mafia, so unfortunately they aren’t going to go away, despite their shameful actions in plain sight.

This is a classic case of the Red Sox being their own worst enemy. Anyone following along, could see it, and did. I commend Twins management & ownership for sticking it to the Red Sox. No one deserves it more than Red Sox Nation, and they’ve have had it a-coming for a long time. It’s the only satisfaction the Twins & all other baseball fans will get here. There was no other reasonable option.


“Adjusting” the Mookie Betts salary dump

Here were are at the end of the week, Friday after 5:00 PM EST, and the proposed deal of RF Mookie Betts & LHP David Price to the Dodgers, which was announced Tuesday evening and had everybody buzzing Wednesday morning, has gone into deep freeze mode.

There have been no meaningful updates on this situation by MLB or ESPN on Thursday & Friday. No other stories are being followed by baseball fans, because this was supposed to be the biggest blockbuster of the winter. The eyes of the baseball world have been on this Red Sox salary dump for over three months, and still all we have are possible scenarios & rumors.

Teams are hiding from the media, and no one from these organizations is going on-the-record at this point. The teams involved are the Red Sox, Dodgers, Twins & Angels. Everything you’ve read in the media is from the Red Sox or Dodgers perspective. Let me try to explain the Twins perspective, which is the key here. The Minnesota Twins are a good team who won 101 games last year, but got swept again by the Yankees in the ALDS. They have a smart GM in Thad Levine, and a limited budget.

Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman gave Thad Levine a call a week-or-two ago, and said, “How would you like to trade young righty reliever Brusdar Graterol for starter Kenta Maeda? It’ll be part of the package we send back to the Red Sox for Mookie Betts & David Price.” If you’re Twins GM Thad Levine, you say, “Sure. Sounds great!” Right?

Except it’s the Boston Red Sox, who go into re-negotiation mode every time they look at a young pitcher’s medical records. The Red Sox management line becomes, “We have changed our projections after having had a look at the opposing side’s proprietary medical & player data. We demand another player to make us whole again.” This is how it is presented to the world by Ken Rosenthal and the rest of the baseball media.

What the HELL is Twins general manager Thad Levine supposed to do? He really wants Kenta Maeda in the Twins rotation, with his affordable contract for four seasons. But the problem is the Boston Red Sox have unilaterally decided to de-value Brusdar Graderol– one of their top prospects. Of course the Red Sox still insist they want Graderol (who wouldn’t?), it’s just that he isn’t projecting to be as good as they thought, so therefore the Twins need to cough up another prospect. Say what?!

What do you do if you’re Thad Levine? This is really disrespectful, and respect has currency among GM’s. He was led to believe this was going to be an easy deal on his end, and now his organization being extorted by the east coast sports mafia. If the Red Sox really needed more in this deal (and they don’t), then it’s the Dodgers who should kick in. The trade for Maeda sends Graderol to the Dodgers, who is then sent to Boston for David Price. The Twins have nothing to do with that. But I haven’t read that analysis anywhere in the corporate, pro-Sox sports media. That means the Dodgers are part of this fix to screw the Twins.

Reader comments, on the other hand, overwhelmingly favor the sentiment and reasoning I’ve expressed here. Getting involved with the Red Sox in any major deal comes with bitter poisons, so beware. Teams that break even on deals, get slandered & marginalized by a blatantly biased east coast media, which is all-powerful.

No one else is allowed to win a deal with the Red Sox. Management can get sanctioned by MLB itself, for making too many good deals, because teams like the Yankees & Red Sox control MLB. They staff it’s executive offices with their people. It’s tough for an outsider to get a meaningful job in the MLB commissioners office. Like I said, it’s a mafia.

So right now there is an omerta-like silence among the teams involved, with full cooperation from their media arms. That’s what fear & power does. So much for the fans who follow the game. They would surely like to know what’s going on, but they’re kept in the dark on these conversations, while being blitzed with pro-Red Sox propaganda meant to gain them leverage. Nothing is being reported, which means things are REALLY heated between these clubs.

This is not just about who gets a valuable player in Mookie Betts, it’s now about challenging one team’s ability to renegotiate trades, after they’ve been agreed upon & announced to the media. If the Red Sox had serious questions on Brusdar Graderol’s medical history, they should have asked to see the data before the deal was announced to the media. That’s the issue for the Twins.

Of course, the Red Sox are playing all this as they’ve planned. They didn’t want to make this Mookie Betts trade, so they’ve made as many other people suffer for it as possible. That’s the Red Sox way. Will this deal fall apart? Yesterday when it was first announced there was a hold-up, it was stated that the chances were “slim” that the deal wouldn’t go through. Today it’s “more likely, than not” that it will go through. It’s now officially the weekend on the east coast, and still no word from any of the organizations or MLB…

MLBPA chief Tony Clark just made this announcement at 5:15 PM EST, reported on ESPN. “The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay. The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players’ lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game.”

Here’s a news flash: pitchers & catchers report next week. Remember that Brusdar Graderol is a pitcher, and it’s really important that he knows which plane to get on when it’s time to report to camp. Stay tuned here for a final update on this drawn out & sordid affair, when a resolution is reached.


Anti-Russian interference in Iowa

It’s Wednesday after 7:00 PM EST, and US President Donald Trump has just been acquitted by the US Senate on both articles of impeachment. No one is surprised, as this was a stage-managed affair from the start, a virtual continuance of the phony claims of “Russian interference” in the 2016 election. Once the Mueller report exonerated Trump, the deep state Democrats shifted in unison to Ukraine-gate.

It’s now clear this did more damage to Joe Biden and the Democrats. It implicated the favored Democratic nominee in 2020 & his son Hunter Biden for being a corrupt politician and favoring his entitled kid. Of course Trump does the same, but he admits it (and even brags about it), so it’s okay in bourgeois politics. No story there after the headlines go away in the corporate fake news.

I’ve marked this event in my timeline as now 86% of the Iowa caucuses have been reported, almost two days after they were held. Last night (Tuesday) it was 62%. Monday night it was 0%. Usually complete Iowa caucus results come within two hours after closing. But this time critical Iowa poll results were unpublished days before Monday’s Iowa caucus, and so these shenanigans aren’t entirely unexpected.

It’s different how Iowans do it, and they’ve always been proud of that. Now Iowans who caucused for Bernie Sanders get to feel like Floridians who voted for liberals like Ralph Nader or Al Gore.

Down south, we know how the votes are counted– and not counted. Every time it’s close for the US Presidency, Florida is “in play,” meaning it can be a hung jury for weeks as politicians work the back rooms and manipulate the numbers to get what they want. Republicans want power, and use fear & hate to whip up their political base. The Democrats want to be adored and listened to as the voices of reason with all their empty rhetoric.

This dynamic is now shattering the Democratic party, which clearly is hostile to Bernie Sanders. The problem is Bernie just won the Iowa caucus, and Biden had to be propped up to finish a distant 4th. This is why billionaires Tom Steyer & Michael Bloomberg have entered the race on TV. Each can spend over a billion dollars on their campaigns and hardly be impacted financially.

Trump introduced the ego play for the US Presidency in 2016, and he won. Trump is an ignorant egomaniac, who thinks he’s god. His supporters worship him in that respect. It’s very reactionary, but also very visceral. Trump doesn’t appeal to intellect, he appeals to emotions. Trump’s message resonates with those who are politically ignorant & prone to hostility & violence. Fascists love him.

The Iowa debacle for the DNC just wiped out almost a year of political grooming on Joe Biden. He is the definition of a zombie candidate. We have zombie banks & corporations, which don’t have enough cash-flow to pay the interest on their mountain of debt. We now have zombie candidates personified by Joe Biden & Elizabeth Warren. This was to be the 2020 Democratic ticket, no question.

It still may be, but it’s a big loser if it goes to that. That’s the crisis for the Democrats. Billionaires like Steyer & Bloomberg aren’t the kind of populists that are going to attract disenfranchised Sanders supporters. That’s why Bernie Sanders matters so much to the DNC.

To the American royalty personified by the Clinton’s, John Kerry & Barack Obama; Bernie Sanders represents socialism and a strong movement of the masses to the left, particularly among younger voters & militant workers. This is dangerous and hard to control, and no one in bourgeois politics wants any part of it.

Only the Socialist Equality Party has a viable political program to empower the working masses & disenfranchised youth. My official endorsement is: Joseph Kishore for US President & Norissa Santa Cruz for Vice President!  All information on their campaign is at the World Socialist Web Site.

I’ve presented the SEP as an option for Sanders voters who are outraged at having their votes for Bernie turned into votes for Biden, Warren & Buttigieg. Bernie Sanders isn’t really too upset, and is ready to move on. As far as his disenfranchised Iowa voters goes, Bernie Sanders is very good a faking outrage, while doing nothing,

At this point Bernie Sanders is the only non-billionaire, non-CIA Democrat left in the field. These conservatives & hawks have nothing good for anyone, except themselves. Nobody is fooled from what I’ve seen online, yet the Democrats keep pretending this is legitimate what they’re doing in Iowa, and then it’s onto New Hampshire.

How much longer will the Democrats front-run sleepwalking Joe Biden through their corporate media? It gets to a point where you can’t keep throwing good money after bad. Except it’s all silly money the elites are playing with now. The Fed just prints more and hands it to them. Chase is a zombie bank. Its Democrat-leaning executives back Biden, the zombie candidate. You eventually go with what matches– in love & politics.

The losers are those Bernie Sanders supporters in Iowa (pic above) who didn’t get their caucuses counted. This will happen to Sanders in all other 49 states, DC & Puerto Rico. That’s because the DNC controls the entire process, and it is a private entity. Sanders supporters sued the DNC in 2016 after being cheated by the Hillary Clinton campaign, in the same manner it’s being rigged now.

The courts ruled back then that the DNC could do whatever it wants, and has no obligation to hold fair primaries. The Democratic party is a private entity, owned by Wall Street & the CIA. Votes from registered Democrats are considered as suggestions to the party elite on who should receive delegates. They can change their rules anytime they want, and registered Democrats have no recourse to object. In short, the DNC has no legal obligation to its rank & file voting constituency.

Bernie Sanders supporters in New Hampshire can expect that same treatment towards their constitutional right to vote next Tuesday. Will we have a result reasonably soon after the polls close? Who knows? Will it be manipulated against the most left-leaning candidate? Absolutely.

So as a first-time voter in college who wants a better world, the question is, “What candidate among the Democrats is fighting against fascism?” The answer is, “none.” Sanders is the illusion of progress, and ever the political opportunist underneath. He whines about being cheated, and even publishes the numbers to prove it, but then he backs off. Just when he should go for the throat and bury those cockroach Democrats, he obediently goes to a neutral corner.

There is no better Democrat than Bernie Sanders for doing that. He represents all the illusions & false hopes of liberalism. His protégées, such as AOC and “the Squad” are few, but all have strong support among younger voters. The Democrats need a safety valve, and those liberals are the tools.

None of these liberal scarecrows can put together any kind of serious program to stop war, inequality & global warming, because they are all capitalists to the core. The only thing they try to unite people on is their hatred for those who don’t agree with their reactionary identity politics. That doesn’t lead to anywhere good, and there are enough examples of its failures in our lifetimes where an international socialist revolution now becomes a serious possibility. The internet & social media has empowered the unsatisfied youth & masses, despite big tech manipulation, censorship & blacklisting.

This is a watershed moment for the Democratic party. It’s about to lose the most energetic chunk of its constituency, by strangling the Bernie Sanders campaign and handing it over to a reliable defender of capitalism & the deep state. Buttigieg-Warren appears to be the DNC pivot. We’ll see what the voters of new Hampshire say on February 11, not that it matters much.

If you’re a liberal Democrat, it’s a really depressing political realization that your party doesn’t want to win the presidential election, but it’s a fact. It happened in 2016. The DNC prefer Trump to Sanders again in 2020. It’s willing to run another zombie for that reason.

Intelligent, young people don’t want to be represented by zombies. The shock wave of Iowa is just a precursor to the zombie apocalypse that is coming soon. When the banks, stock & bond markets all crash, it will be open season on zombies. The working people know too much, and the guilty will be recognized & punished by the coming revolution. Something about the millstones of history grinding slowly, but exceedingly fine.


Postscript on the Mookie Betts salary dump

Well it finally happened. The Red Sox have announced the dumping of RF Mookie Betts & LHP David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It turns out that LA GM Andrew Friedman was willing to give up young RF Alex Verdugo, which is the key piece in the deal. Verdugo missed the last two months of the 2019 season with core & back issues, which is a red flag.

If Alex Verdugo is an injury bust, then the Dodgers may win this trade. Unless Price goes down. That’s the only risk the Red Sox are taking in this deal. If Verdugo comes back healthy & productive, then the Red Sox did well to get what they could in this dump, as he’s under team control through 2024. That’s how the trade rates–meaning it’s wait & see.

The Dodgers also gave up RHP Kenta Maeda, a bargain starter who is locked in at $3.125M per year for the next four seasons, to the Twins for RHP Brusdar Graterol (MLB Pipeline’s No. 83 prospect), who was also sent to the Red Sox.

The Dodgers then sent RF Joc Pederson to the LA Angels, along with OF prospect Andy Pages, for young 2B Luis Rengifo who is still pre-arbitration. This makes room for Mookie Betts in the Dodgers outfield with Cody Bellinger & AJ Pollock.

The problem with these deals from the Dodgers perspective is that it makes them older in the outfield, as compared to Pederson, Bellinger & Verdugo. Plus, the extra productivity they get from Mookie Betts only lasts one season. But the real problem is that AJ Pollock is replacement level, and needed to be dumped. Instead he’s now being made an Opening Day starter for the Dodgers.

When that all washes out, this isn’t as much improvement as one would expect from getting a MVP-type player in Betts. In short, the Dodgers gave up too much to an organization that had no choice but to dump salary. They also took on too much risk in David Price for three years.

The Red Sox accomplished their goal of getting under the Competitive Balance Threshold (CBT) by dumping Mookie Betts & RHP David Price. Reports are the Red Sox will eat around half of the $96M Price is owed over his next three season, and all that money will count towards Boston’s CBT.

So the Dodgers get age-34 David Price, with all his elbow calcifications and other wear & tear. The Dodgers wanted to make a splash, and they did. But does it really help? Once again, time will tell. It’s questionable, for sure.

The other Mookie Betts suitor this winter was the San Diego Padres, who were reportedly engaged with Boston until the end. Padres had no interest in Price. A few proposals the Red Sox were floating through the media were as follows: 1) Padres get Mookie Betts; Red Sox get: C Luis Campusano (MLB’s No. 50 prospect), OF Taylor Trammell (MLB’s No. 57 prospect), OF Josh Naylor, LHP Joey Lucchesi, OF Wil Myers & cash. It was the Padres dumping Wil ‘WAR nil” Myers that made this deal untenable for the Red Sox.

Another rumored trade option was Mookie Betts (& cash) for: C Luis Campusano, OF Manuel Margot & LHP Joey Lucchesi. The problem there was the Padres being asked to give up too much cost-controlled talent for one year of Mookie Betts. Padres GM AJ Preller wisely refused both these scenarios. It’s catching prospect Luis Campusano that everyone wanted from the Padres this winter, after Preller declared top prospects MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño & CJ Abrams untouchable.

Sometimes there comes a point where you have to let go of a deal you’ve worked on for a very long time. This is what happened to AJ Preller. He wanted Betts, but more importantly he wanted to dump OF/1B Wil Myers. But that doesn’t mean giving away the farm, and that’s what the Red Sox were demanding. Remember, it’s the Red Sox who had to make a deal. They needed to dump to get under the CBT.

The Dodgers got their superstar for one season, and the Red Sox are now reset on the CBT, so they can go crazy again with payroll next year. Padres GM AJ Preller wanted Mookie Betts, but never lost sight of what was more important. He needs to dump Wil Myers, and therefore has to hold onto enough tradeable talent to make that happen.

If Preller trades for Betts to dump Myers on Red Sox terms, he empties his pool of young talent. That’s not worth one season of superstar production in RF for the Padres. It’s tough to walk away when one is so close, but it’s better than making a bad deal. It’s easier just to bench Wil Myers, and look for another deal. That’s what the 26th man on a roster can be used for now.

Since the Dodgers are in the same division with the Padres, these trades have major NL West ramifications. The Dodgers are again the clear favorite, but they’ve shortened their window of contention with this deal, and added major injury risk in David Price. If they don’t win a World Series in 2020, or if Price needs major surgery, then this deal busted and that’s a tough position to put your franchise in as a GM.

That’s why I don’t like this deal for the Dodgers, but love it as a Padres fan. The Dodgers were already top dogs in the  NL, and didn’t need to take this gamble. They just needed to make the right deal at the July 31 deadline. Andrew Friedman thinks they need help now. Mookie Betts is nice for this season, but David Price is a huge roll of the dice. We’ll see in 2020, and beyond.

The Padres are still much improved this winter. They are at least 10-12 wins better with the moves AJ Preller has made. But the MLB establishment keeps denying Preller the big prize he needs to take the next step up in competitiveness– whether is Shohei Ohtani, Christian Yelich or Mookie Betts. Preller was in on all of these players when they were available, and was in a great position to obtain them all, but got none of them. It’s clear the Padres are expected to give up more than anybody else to get the same player, and AJ Preller doesn’t subscribe to that. That’s why Mookie Betts & David Price ended up with the Dodgers.

Thu 06 Feb 2020 03:00 PM EST

Like the Iowa caucus, this deal has yet to be finalized. Here’s why?

The Red Sox projected hard-throwing righty Brusdar Graterol to be a starter, but now that they’ve seen the Twins medical, they’ve adjusted their projections to him being a reliever. Therefore the Dodgers or Twins [!] have to kick in another prospect, or send money back to Boston. Otherwise the deal is off, and this includes the Dodgers-Angels swap.

This is what it’s like doing business with the Red Sox. Padres GM AJ Preller must be really happy he let it go. Catching prospect Luis Campusano is now untouchable, and the Dodgers have a mess on their hands– either way. I can only imagine what Twins & Angels management are thinking. They thought this was an easy deal for them. Now they’re stuck, while the Red Sox bitch about their return, after their main goal was accomplished in dumping Betts & Price and getting RF Alex Verdugo.

Once again with the Red Sox can’t stop whining, while insisting on cheating everyone. The sports media is in their pocket, so these errors in scouting & evaluation by the Red Sox become an excuse to rescind, or “adjust” a deal they had to make.  Fans are still waiting on their punishment from MLB for sign stealing in 2018. The Red Sox get away with all this, because they are baseball’s equivalent of Joe Biden in politics. Zombies propped up by unlimited cash & idealist nonsense

Here’s my Ken Rosenthal impression on “adjusting” the Mookie Betts-David Price dump. “In a deal of this magnitude, with a lot of pieces moving, there can be glitches. The Red Sox mis-valued a prospect they agreed on, and therefore expect someone else to pay for that mistake. This happens all the time in trades [with the Red Sox].”

What everyone involved (including MLB) needs to tell the Red Sox is: the deal is “as agreed-up,” no changes, otherwise the Red Sox keep Betts & Price. Then what are the Red Sox going to do about getting under the CBT? The organizations involved need to unite and call out this Red Sox media bluff, in order to put an end to these garbage tactics. We’ll see what happens…


Super Bowl LIV notes

I skipped the entire pregame programming, and watched the Ice Bowl (Packers-Cowboys: December 31, 1967), and then Super Bowl XI (Raiders-Vikings: January 9, 1977) on YouTube instead. I do this because: 1) I’d never seen the Ice Bowl, and viewing it offers historical perspective on the NFL; and 2) SB XI was the first one I watched, and I still remember a lot of the key plays upon review.

This is much different than going to a Super Bowl party, which is what most people do, but being a sportswriter means one has to take an alternate approach to big events. I tune-in to Super Bowl LIV just as SF kicker Robbie Gould is placing the ball on the tee for the opening kick-off. Perfect timing.

I’m not a gambler, but I am acutely aware that I’ve already missed a few important SB wagers. Heads or tails? Who will win the toss? I’ll have to look those up, if I ever need that info. That’s what you miss when you come late to a Super Bowl.

If you’ve been in Miami these past few weeks, enjoying the festivities as they say, then you can be excused for being late to the game, or missing it entirely– with all the parties, drugs & hookers going on. I know it’s difficult for some people to believe that the championship contest of such a violent ground acquisition game, whose point is to smash the opposition into submission, could be a bastion of hedonism & sexual exploitation, but it’s true.

I’ve never been to a Super Bowl, and have little desire to attend one. I generally keep the volume muted during any Joe Buck broadcast. Fox does that to you.

It was one of the better Super Bowl games. Back & forth, close to the end. That one big pass play (Mahomes to Hill) turned everything around in the 4th quarter. That’s what playmakers do, and that was the difference. Chiefs win 31-20.

I thought the 49ers were more physical, and did a good job imposing their will. But they could never pull away, and once they got behind late it was over, because that’s not who they are. Andy Reid is a great football coach. He had answers when his team was getting smashed in the mouth. His QB Patrick Mahomes delivered the big plays when it counted most.

That’s the game narrative, and it wasn’t too much of a surprise. It rarely is anymore, which says something. There were lots of concussions & other injuries that no one cares about. No controversial missed calls, blown plays, or wardrobe malfunctions– which everyone cares about. The Super Bowl is an annual carnival of madness & debauchery.

I watched a few seconds of halftime show headliners Jennifer Lopez & Shakira, and that was enough for me. I then switched back to the classic Columbo episode “Lady in Waiting” on ME TV. Susan Clark isn’t much of a villain, but it’s always great watching Richard Anderson get shot dead, and then seeing Leslie Nielsen play the boyfriend-caught-in-the-middle.

I did this for all the commercials too with the help of classic M*A*SH episodes and whatever else I could find. Way too much propaganda & virtue signaling at $5.8M per 30-second spot for my taste. I don’t see anything that I want. It’s as if so much fake money exists, that the propaganda & branding becomes more important than selling product. The commercials are all inane, overblown & unappealing. I skillfully missed them. One can get really good at that after 40-something Super Bowls.

Super Bowl hangover: Monday February 3, 2020 10:53 AM EST

Don Meredith was the Cowboys QB in the Ice Bowl. He was their original play-caller, and a party hearty 1960’s NFL star until he retired in 1969. Dandy Don then joined the Monday Night Football broadcast team in the 1970’s. As a color analyst he used to ramble on & say stupid stuff, which makes him comparable to Troy Aikman today.

Meredith was notoriously addicted to booze, pills & women– like so many others of his era. In retrospect, Meredith’s downward spiral can be seen as the reason the Cowboys lost the Ice Bowl to Bart Starr & the Green Bay Packers, as RB Dan Reeves threw the ball better than QB Don Meredith on that bitter cold day.

In the video linked at the top, we see decades later, Meredith still had excuses to blame others as to why the Cowboys lost twice to the Packers– before Super Bowls I & II. In many ways this mirrors the current Dallas QB situation with Dak Prescott, who is about to be franchise tagged by owner Jerry Jones. I don’t know his personal habits, but I do know Dak Prescott isn’t a very good NFL QB. But no matter, he will soon be paid as the “real deal” because he plays for the Dallas Cowboys.

I’ll finish up on the Cowboys by stating that their best QB ever was Roger Staubach, and their best QB to ever turn TV analyst is Tony Romo. Their best head coach was Jimmy Johnson, and their worst was Barry Switzer.

The NFL branded this past campaign as their 100th season with a marketing blitz we’ve never seen before. The NFL has so much history, that it’s easy to put together best-of lists, personal interviews & historical clips to legitimize the game. The NFL & ESPN are good at that. What they can’t hide is the horrible ugliness beneath all the glitz & glory. That’s the annual Super bowl hangover.