Pay to Play vaccinating

As far as getting serviced in Florida goes, it’s pay to play, it’s always been that way. That’s why Publix, Sam’s/Walmart, CVS, Winn Dixie, etc, have made deals for exclusive vaccine distribution in many areas. The hospitals have little-to-no public vaccinations available, which makes no sense.

This is all insurance & Medicare driven, for profit, in bed with the pharmaceuticals. Of course, there is a lucrative black market too. That’s often called a “pop-up site,” and they always seem to happen in wealthy zip codes. It’s a mystery where those millions of missing doses went.

The CDC website to find vaccines in your area is by zip code. My zip code says there are 29 sites available within 10 miles, but only 4 have vaccine in stock, and none ever have appointments available. This is mostly an exercise in data collection it appears.

The pharmacy & grocery chains don’t have full-time medical staff, so this choice of distribution model is curious from a logistics standpoint. Why aren’t mass vaccinations happening at every hospital? The answer in Florida appears to be that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to draw people into stores. That’s why these ill-suited businesses, which all contribute mightily to governor Ron DeSantis, are at the center of Florida’s disastrous vaccine rollout.

In Sanford, FL a few weeks back, there was an evening event at the downtown Civic Center, where teachers who were willing to teach in-person were vaccinated. This is how the vaccine is being distributed in the Coronavirus War, which disproportionally affects the working poor.

Whenever you see FREE*, check you wallet. Lots of FREE* vaccinations available, if you have insurance. All this make you wonder how the global pandemic will ever get solved? One thing that’s certain is this mess will not be resolved under capitalism. It will only get worse, until working people organize & rise up.

A global pandemic requires a globally coordinated response, but the opposite has happened. Mutating strains threaten to put humanity back at square one, precisely due to the class variegated nature of the response & rollout. The leaders of all nations are responsible and must be held accountable by the international working masses. Only a proletariat with an international socialist program of permanent revolution will conquer the coronavirus pandemic.

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Easter Sunday explained

Of all the American holidays celebrated, Easter is the most vague. What date does Easter fall on? Virtually no one can tell you that Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere. In other words, the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after March 20. That wraps moon gazing & cyclical calendar events into the ancient myth of Jesus Christ.

For those of us who aren’t Christians, we seldom pay attention to Easter Sunday and all its rituals, such as everything with eggs– which is a traditional Church symbol of rebirth. That got extended into the Easter Bunny, chocolate rabbits, etc, which are modern marketing creations to sell us more junk.

Easter roughly coincides with Passover, as Christianity imitates Judaism. Passover is where: if you have the Jewish sign at your doorstep, then the avenging Angel of Death ‘passes over’ your home and spares your first born child. For this reason, it’s important to be Jewish during the week of Passover.

What are Christians celebrating when they assemble for Easter Sunday mass? Zombie Jesus Day. It’s been hyped as “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for nearly two millennia. Yet no Roman (pagan) scholars or recorders-of-events ever mentioned ANY of the alleged miracles claimed to be performed by Jesus Christ in the holy Gospels. There are no Christian writings before those of the gospel of Paul.

Saint Paul founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor & Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD. It is indisputable through scholarly research that one-quarter of the New Testament books are authentic writings of Paul, with possibly as many as half of its 27 books being written by him.

Easter Sunday, and in fact all of Christianity, is a worship of Paul the Apostle, who is worshiping a mythical Jesus Christ. For the record, Paul’s writing style is beautiful, and stuff like Corinthians 1 & 2 helped give early Christianity a big boost.

Are you that different sort of person who constantly gazes into the night sky, noticing the gibbous moon waxing towards fullness in early spring while saying to yourself, “What a silly & confusing way to mark an event.”

Easter was invented back when ancient societies were still using lunar calendars, and mankind had little-to-no science. Religion provided an origin explanation/myth, which we know today to be false. The real question is, “How & why does this ancient ritualistic nonsense still survive?”

Easter is an example of soft power. It doesn’t coerce you, it just is. It’s there every year, like daylight savings time, an event we must adapt to for no rationally explainable reason. The Church is the origin soft power. With its historical decline in influence, this soft power is usurped by the bourgeois state under capitalism.

For example, why the hell is a Polynesian island in the South Pacific with a thousand ancient monumental stone statues (called moai), named Easter Island? It’s because it was “discovered” by a Dutch adventurer, Jacob Roggeveen, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722. The Rapa Nui are the indigenous Polynesian people of Easter Island, and they weren’t Christians, but they were wiped out in part by Christian slave traders. The remote Easter Island has belonged to Chile since 1966, and the US has owned Chile for much longer.

The Fabergé egg was an Easter symbol of Russian tsarism. An expensive indulgence in delicate art, meant only for the rich. As many as 69 Fabergé eggs were created, with 57 known to survive today. High maintenance & self indulgent to the extreme, the bejeweled eggs were produced by Peter Carl Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. The most famous are his “Imperial” eggs, 46 of which are known to survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III & Nicholas II as Easter gifts for family.

This Fabergé egg tradition ended with the Russian Revolution, as Nicholas II & his ignorant & cruel family were shot dead as murderous criminals on March 15, 1918, just before Easter, by the newly formed Red Army under the command of Leon Trotsky.

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NCAA basketball tournament notes

The NCAA basketball tournaments, men’s & women’s, were cancelled in 2020, due to the COVID lockdowns. The back-to-school campaign has many interested aspects, and college sports is certainly one of them. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has existed since 1939, and predates organized professional basketball & the NBA, which was established post-WW2.

This is arguably the most prestigious NCAA event for many reasons. Virtually every Division I university has a basketball program, as compared to football, which is much more expensive. According to Google, there are 350 schools that are full members of 32 Division I basketball conferences, as compared to 130 varsity football teams.

Furthermore, basketball is now more competitive than ever, especially in the mid-level conferences. The 64 (68) team format allows all the best teams in, with a fair chance to win it all. It’s the toughest tournament to win, and almost impossible to repeat anymore. It’s been like that since John Wooden left UCLA.

Teams want to at least make the NCAA tournament, and if they don’t, coaching vacancies appear. For example, on the eve of the 2021 NCAA tournament, Marquette announced they had fired their head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

A week later they have announced Shaka Smart as their new head coach. There was a $7M buyout from Texas that had to be handled, and it was, since they got bounced by a #14 seed. The top open jobs are now considered to be Indiana, Texas & Oklahoma. In total, there were 37 D1 basketball head coach vacancies when 2020-21 seasons ended. A few more will appear after the tournament ends.

New Marquette basketball head coach Shaka Smart faces some alumni concern. This video above shows Texas up 14 points at home in the second half, when civil war broke out, and West Virginia ended up winning by 2. I know Marquette just hired its first black head coach, and it’s all good feelings after firing Wojo (which was necessary), but this is concerning. A lot of other head coaches are about to become available, particularly Loyola Ramblers’ Porter Moser, but Marquette already took themselves out of that running with this quick hire.

There are a lot of factors that go into such a decision, especially for a school like Marquette which has a long history of losing its head coaches to other schools who are willing to pay higher salaries & invest more into their basketball programs. Marquette has lost Rick Majerus, Kevin O’Neill, Tom Crean & Buzz Williams because of this. All this goes into a hiring process, as it’s as much about hiring someone you think will stay, as it is about getting a good coach.

FYI, Tex Winter, the innovator of the Chicago Bulls triangle offense with Micheal Jordan, Scottie Pippen, etc, was the Marquette Hilltoppers head coach for two seasons, from 1951-53. Marquette basketball has a rich coaching history, so we’ll see. As an alumnus with a rooting interest, I’ll give Shaka Smart a fair chance, but I have my doubts, and I’m not the only one. As the leader, you can’t ever lose control of your ranks.

Then there are the women, who are now televised on ABC & ESPN. They are playing in San Antonio, while the men compete in Indianapolis on CBS & TBS. That’s equal coverage for the women, so it comes down to ratings & ticket demand when comparing their economic value to men.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected tournament logistics greatly. Holding the entire tournament in one city with enough gyms makes sense. Once again, I don’t miss the fans in the stands. I think the officiating is MUCH better without fans to yell, boo & harass the refs into giving their team the call.

All this mask wearing, and then pulling it down to yell, etc, is optics. I watch because I’m starved for entertainment, like everyone else, but I’m not fooled. These events are fundamentally irresponsible during this pandemic. More & more they resemble the last days of bread & circuses during the Roman Empire.

The women’s play has much improved since the NCAA established Title IX in 1972, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any activity receiving federal funds, such as athletic scholarships to universities. The women’s Sweet 16 teams are all solid in fundamentals & team play, where in the past it was only a few programs, namely Tennessee & Connecticut.

Note that I don’t think the women are anywhere near as exciting as the men in hoops, but I recognize that they know how to play. I spend much of my time evaluating the girls for their hotness. For instance, when it’s Baylor vs. Michigan, I rate the Wolverines as clean-cut, but homelier, with only one or two pretty girls.

The Baylor women are nappy & cuter, but I’m not a fan of their fake eyelashes. Spend more time on your game, girlfriend. Call me old school on that. All this makes me wonder what the girls have been looking at all these years, as we boys take these games so seriously?

I’m on record that I don’t like mascot names, and there’s a double hypocrisy with the Baylor women referring to themselves as the “Lady Bears.” I’m going to let YOU figure that one out.

As far as the Baylor Bears go, this guy’s nickname is “Off Night” because when he guards you, you have an off night. That’s an impressive nickname if you can live up to it, and Davion Mitchell does. He’ll be in the NBA someday, if he stays healthy.

Look at the improvement in his college stats from year-to-year. What the stats don’t show are his elite defensive skills & leadership. Davion Mitchell is a serious baller, with upside, MUCH better than his 1st-team All-American teammate Jared Butler.

In the era of the 3-point shot in the NCAA tournament (1987-present), I’ve never seen a college defender handle the high screen & roll better. Off Night slips below (or above) the screener and closes back to the dribbler in the blink of an eye, before the ball handler can set to shoot. There is no lane to drive on Off Night, who plays defense like a hybrid of Darrell Armstrong & Scottie Pippen.

Furthermore, if the opposition tries some high-low action on the other side, Off Night rotates over and plays the high zone on that side. Baylor attacks with their defense, switching from man-to-man to zone defense on the fly, so effectively, because of Off Night. He always boxes out the closest big when in position. Off Night checked one guy to disrupt their rebounding momentum, then boxed the big, more than once in their win against Villanova. That kind of player is a coach’s dream.

These highlights from that Sweet 16 game against Villanova, mostly show his offensive game, which still needs some polish, particularly shooting 3’s. But with his work ethic & basketball IQ, I expect Off Night to be a top NBA guard in the near future. He’s only a Junior, so he may stay another year, but he’s definitely top-10 talent now, and possibly the best player in this tournament.

Tue 30 Mar 2021 11:19 AM EDT

Averaging close to 17 PPG while shooting 43% from the field, Moses Moody had only 11 points on 2-10 shooting, including 0-4 in 3’s. Moody had 3 TO’s, double his season average. Arkansas lost to Baylor, 81-72, in the Elite 8. You can say he had an Off Night.

After getting called for 3 cheezy fouls in the 1st half, Off Night played the entire 2nd half without picking up another foul. Baylor was only allowed to press at about one-third to one-half their normal intensity, in order to keep Off Night on the floor. Poor officiating kept Arkansas in this game, and CBS approved. Unbelievable maturity, understanding & leadership by Davion Mitchell. Suddenly, it’s unanimous that Off Night is the best college player.

On the women’s side, Baylor’s Lady Bears were edged 69-67 by the Lady Huskies of Connecticut last night, aided by a bad no-call at the end, featured above. DiJonai Carrington was clearly fouled by two defenders, but no whistle. LeBron James tweeted a viral comment, “Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!!” For background, Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey has faced backlash, after calling for COVID-19 testing to be scrapped ahead of the Final Four. So you tell me why there was no foul call?

Officiating is still the biggest problem in hoops. Bad referees can take a superior team out of its game faster than anything else. They can also decide it at game time. I wonder if those Baylor/UConn refs had East Coast bias, or just bias against fake eyelashes? I also wonder how the Oregon State women’s team refers to their mascot name?

Tue 30 Mar 2021 03:20 PM EDT

Davion Mitchell Scouting Report: Off Night leads the Baylor defense by manning-up on the opposition’s best perimeter player to start. If the whistles are fair, he will smother that player within a few minutes. It’s called owning your man on defense, and Off Night is the NCAA standard. Then his quickness, strength & skills go to work on the other end. His conditioning is professional grade, and punishing at both ends. Davion Mitchell has an NBA body already.

On defense, Off Night will switch the Bears to zone as needed, depending on what the opposition is trying to run. For instance, if it’s a three-man weave up top, Off Night will take the head of a 1-2-2 zone. That will stop that. If there’s some action being set-up on either wing, he’ll dive into that (2-3) zone & wreak havoc. He’s always communicating with his teammates, putting them in the right spots, so everything is covered. Then he can turn up the heat with ball pressure.

Most coaches tell their point guards, “Bring the ball up, and then get us into our offense, do this & this…” Off Night negates all that from even starting. He picks up full court, three-quarter court, half court, or minimally before the ball handler gets into shooting range. You must be in a power dribble by then, otherwise he will steal the ball. Players try their best quick moves, but Off Night is quicker. Sometimes too quick for the refs. If you’re a scorer who gives up the ball, he’ll make it difficult for you to get it back.

It gets very demoralizing to know that somebody is this good, and you’re not even close. I’ve only seen 3 games in Off Night’s career, starting with the Wisconsin game in the Round of 32, but it’s easy to see how his nickname has come about. Davion Mitchell has been owning guys for years, and it’s such a traumatic experience, that opposition players typically don’t want to talk about it. As a footnote on semantics, if you match up against Off Night during the day, his name changes to Off Game. Same result.

Here’s a hypothetical opposing high school head coach after a big loss. “Well our star guards who score 30 PPG & 25 PPG were held to single digits each. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that, and one guy can’t cover both of them. That’s impossible. Credit the opposing coach for coming up with a great game plan. Our guys never looked comfortable out there, and our best players each had an off night.” Yada, yada, yada…

Assuming you’ve never seen a player play, or have access to any scouting reports, stats, etc: How can you tell if you are watching a great player, or just someone who is having a great game? You can tell by knowing what goes into making a great player. Great players are aware of things that other players don’t even consider. They share the credit, and are the most selfless leaders, through example. A great player will make his teammates better, and does everything to help his team stay connected. This is how to win, because you can’t do it alone.

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YouTube channel reorganized & updated

The entire Ric Size song catalog is now on YouTube. Magnified (2012), Electrified! (2015), Hwy 19 & Main St (2015), Fully Covered (2016), Over & Out (2017), Coronavirus Concerts (2020), and Extended Play 2019-21 [still unfinished] now have at least thumbnail image videos for every song.

For those who don’t subscribe to a steaming service, this is where online fans can listen for free.

There’s also an “Official Videos & Interviews” playlist, along with a “Films” section for Electrified!, the movie attempt released in September 2015.

Most musical artists have turned off YouTube comments at this point, as it’s a lot of spam & other unwanted distractions. That’s what’s been done here, so speak with your like (or dislike) button, and by sharing.

Electrified! is far & away the best rock album in the last 25 years or so. It’s at least as good as Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation (1988) is tough to beat, and there are about twenty records that can match that in rock history. Bob Dylan, the Beatles & Rolling Stones made a few of them, so did the Velvet Underground & Captain Beefheart. Wire’s Pink Flag (1977), Cheap Trick Live at Budokan (1978), The Pretenders (1980), Husker Du & the Minutemen classic double LP’s in 1984, Sinéad O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990), PJ Harvey’s 4-Track demos: Rid of Me (1993, )and Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville (1993) are tough to beat.

That’s the list Electrified! is on. And just to show my appreciation, if that list had to be shortened to the 20 best songwriters of the rock era, then Iggy Stooge/Pop, Neil Young, CCR, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Pete Townsend, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Van Halen, David Byrne, Devo, Blondie, U2, REM, Pixies, Fugazi, etc, join that list. Tough to beat.

The second & third best rock albums of the past decade are Magnified (2012) and Over & Out (2017), in whatever order you prefer. And our EP’s are even better. This is the level Tom Pearce & I work on. It’s the reason this site & music are so blacklisted.

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‘Cancel culture’ explained

Google definition: Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”.

Cancelled by whom? For what purpose? These fundamental questions are never answered by the MSM.

Nazis are the most extreme historical example of cancel culture. They burned books, murdered artists, and terrorized the population.

So did Joseph Stalin in the USSR.

Today, attacks on art take the modern forms of identity politics, in the #MeToo & racialist BLM campaigns of the Democrats, along with the fascist filth promoted by Donald Trump and his supporters.

Fascism produces no culture worth saving. I printed that in bold so people don’t forget it. Culture exposes fascism and its crimes, which is why the “cancel culture” campaigns have taken such virulent forms. On the far right, it finds its expression in Nazi haters, many of who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, claiming they have a right to such “free speech,” and if they are prosecuted for their violence, then their Constitutional rights are being “cancelled.”

The truth is that no one has the right to incite and participate in a violent insurrection that kills people, Yet Nazis insist they do have this right. This illustrates how impossible it is to reason with Nazis. They blame Antifa, etc, for January 6, because they are lying, gutless, ignorant scum. No one likes them, and they have few friends outside of their elitist sponsors in the Republican Party. So they seek to cancel everything cultural, though any means.

The Democrats approach cancel culture with witch hunts, media slander & censorship. This apparatus was set-up by Bush-Cheney after 9/11, and greatly expanded under Barack Obama-Joe Biden. When Trump won Election 2016, bitter Democrats led by Hillary Clinton launched all their identity politicking versions of cancel culture. They get plenty of cooperation from big tech..

The question now needs to be asked: What have the #MeToo, BLM & LGBT campaigns produced that is of lasting cultural value? Recall that these are the historical falsifiers who penned & promoted the racialist & discredited ‘1619 Project’ by Nikole Hannah-Jones, while #MeToo sunk itself at the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation trial, with vague, shifting & unverifiable claims of sexual assault by women who (according to official news) must always be believed. These #MeToo (#MeFirst) bitches should watch some classic film noir, for a lesson on lying women, if the think we’re that stupid.

The anti-Russia campaign, which has been going on since the damaging WikiLeaks DNC release in June 2016, is primarily aimed at dividing workers on nationalist lines. USA good, Russia bad, is forever the mantra. The message from the ruling elites is that no useful culture can be found in that part of the world. Same deal with China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, etc.

For example, Damascus is the capital of Syria, the oldest remaining city in human civilization. Yet according to MSM, there’s nothing for you & me to learn from that. These are the same hysterical fake intellectuals who claim there needs to be more black/women/gay voices in leadership, for diversity! In actuality, it’s all meant to enrich a thin layer of petty bourgeois “liberals.”

Cancel culture is a fascist fraud. It’s a deep state hate campaign, directed at silencing artists, dissidents & socialists. At this point, anyone who says one thing that is considered ‘wrong’ is cancelled, unless they’re protected like Joe Biden, who can get away with sexual harassment because he’s powerful.

Cancel culture is the same hypocrisy the predominates everything else, two sets of rules: one for the rich, and another for the rest of us. We become the victims of cancel culture, until we resolutely & consciously resist it.

These fascists have no right to the moral high ground on this, or anything else. FemiNazis who accuse without proof, attack through the media, and hide from rebuttal are lying scum. These bitches need a serious beatdown, and I’d love to do it all myself, but it’s much better when everyone else pitches in too. Fascism can’t be defeated without serious organization, because they are well-funded & protected at the highest levels.

Fascists have no ideology except for domination through violence, so exposing & splitting them is the best political strategy. The Republican Party has already been shattered by the events of January 6, 2021. These disparate elements of Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, III Percenters, and other fascist scum are being reorganized by US Intelligence (FBI, etc), to be utilized the way Raz Simone/CHAZ were used in Seattle last summer by the Democrats.

To be clear, these are agent provocateurs for the government, and shock troops to be used as strikebreaking goons when the time comes. Their sole purpose is to create violence and sow confusion among the working people & youth. Nothing good comes from these fascists, so exposing & cancelling them is the revolutionary order of the day.

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Shaq is Shattered

Good God, almighty!! The tables are everywhere! People are shattered!! — AEW Dynamite

I’m not a pro wresting fan, but this was Nacho Libre-esque! Shaq invited this mess when he took a swipe at Cody Rhodes’ eyes. Obviously Rhodes has fighting experience, because he immediately retaliated with a finger jab to Shaq’s left eye. It was a “playful” poke, which only temporarily blinded Shaq, but I got the sense Cody Rhodes could have taken his eye out if he had wanted to. You have to train military style for such a lethal/crippling response to be that reflexive & accurate. Then Rhodes showed off his wrestling moves with a horizontal flying body tackle that slammed the mighty Shaq to the ground. OUCH!!

When you throw bad ju-ju out there, over & over, it will eventually find its way back. Then Instant Karma gets you, and payback is a bitch. The screenshot above is Jade Cargill, Shaq’s partner, seconds after he got slammed out cold. She later “won” the match. That’s entertainment, you gotta admit!

Shaq is hurt bad, maybe worse than Tiger Woods, but jacked-up for sure. I’ve been checking, and as of this publication there is still no word. He won’t be wrestling again, as Shaq has been shattered, his spine & hips are in tatters. He did this to himself, by talking trash & disrespecting his opponent and pro wresting in general. Yes, it’s (supposed to be) scripted– part wrestling stunts, part acting, etc.

But if some dumbfuck who wants all the headlines for himself gets off script, then anything [!!] goes. Shaq’s fingernails are claws, as you can clearly see at the end of the video, when he’s out cold on the concrete, after being declared part of the winning team. If you swipe at a man’s eyes with all that, one too many times, this is what happens. When they’re setting-up fall barricades behind you (2 folding tables), a Darwinian light bulb should go on.

She said “I’m fine, I’m okay” cover up your trembling hands
There’s indecision when you know you ain’t got nothing left
Well the good times never stay
And the cheap thrills always seem to fade away (when will we fall)
When will we fall (when will we fall down)

Jump back, got to get out of here
Been too, too long this time babe
Jump back, got to get out of here
When will, when will we fall down?

Toad the Wet Sprocket  “Fall Down”

Finally, when you get eye-gouged, go to your corner. Don’t take the charge. Not enough ring experience for such a tough wrestling circuit. Shaquille O’Neal will be remembered in two sports. In hoops he was the ultimate force of his era out of LSU, but too often a disappointment to his professional teams, coaches & fans. He picked fights with Kobe Bryant, because he was jealous of his pure talent & charisma. He threw Penny Hardaway under the bus in Orlando, even as they were 1996 Olympic “teammates.” That’s why most Orlando Magic fans prefer Dwight Howard.

No one is arguing Shaq doesn’t deserve to be a NBA HoF-er, he is. But he is not the best ever (or second best) at center, as he always claims in his bullying manner. Wilt Chamberlain would have owned him, much like Akeem did, only more. Jabbar was better overall. So was Tim Duncan. Russell knew how to win. They all rate better, and that’s the basketball respect Shaq has earned. Top-10 all-time is really good.

Shaq always wants more than he deserves, and more than he’s earned, constantly grumbling about being disrespected, etc. So here’s some professional respect for Shaq. The other sport Shaquille O’Neal will be remembered for is professional wrestling. It was a short career, and Shaq was the ultimate shooting star. WOW!! It was the most glorious ‘unscripted’ moment ever in pro wrestling, although in retrospect, if you look closely after reading all this, you could see it all coming. It wasn’t Earth shattering, but it was Shaq shattering.

Mon 08 Mar 2021 12:25 PM EST

Epilogue: I noticed Shaq was bent forward at he sat & spoke during TNT’s NBA All-Star game broadcast last evening. Definitely not as bad as Tiger Woods’ injuries, but I imagine it still hurts, as he took damage. Apparently he’s not disabled, but he did receive a serious concussion, beyond the brutal back injury, so who knows? Shaq got all-time posterized in pro wrestling, and that’s the best of what happened.

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“Bitter to Better”

      1. Bitter To Better - Ric Size

 

Photo, production & art design by Tom Pearce.

Recorded March 1, 2021 in Sanford, FL. Tom Pearce is now using Behringer software to record & monitor on a Mac flatscreen, to match with his Behringer wireless pre-amp, which is the heart of everything. Two microphones, one on vocals & one on acoustic guitar, and a line-in guitar through a DI-box to the pre-amp. Three-track recording, clean as a pin.

I woke up late this morning and did my usual cucumber juicing in the kitchen. Two raw cukes, and if I have an apple core or fresh ginger, I’ll add that for some sweetness & zing. But I didn’t have any (as usual), so I slugged my veggies down & commented to myself, “It’s bitter, but it makes you better… ‘Bitter to Better’…. That’s a song title!” So I grabbed a paper & pen and wrote the song. You need a title.

What helps with riffs is knowing many, many covers, across the genres. Keep cycling through them, so when you have a title, you can invent the riff you need– by distilling from favorite covers. That’s how this song was done.

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Intelligent movie viewing

Movies and how they are consumed has changed at lightning speed. The coronavirus pandemic has shut down theaters, which were dying anyways, and online streaming is now the predominant direct-to-consumer delivery method. It’s now YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. The Hollywood & NYC studio systems are foundering on the rocks, with expensive overhead & production costs that can no longer be justified, because they don’t pay the bills anymore. Independent films, particularly documentaries, now have the market edge in many ways, as indies can make their movies quicker & cheaper, and are often more compelling in content.

For the longest time, Hollywood stars & the production studios that backed them, ruled the American film industry. That’s certainly been true since talkies came into existence around 1928, and the biggest indie movie stars, Buster Keaton & Charlie Chaplin, were destroyed by the industry. This paved the way for Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, etc, to become huge movie stars, and make lots of money for MGM, Paramount, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, Warner & Universal. Disney came along a few years later, and that’s been it for the American major studios. Until the internet changed everything.

Movies are primarily the creations of scriptwriters & directors. It’s a fact, you need both to have a chance at making a good movie. Most movies, in any era, aren’t good. That’s because it’s hard to make good movies, and even bad movies are something of an achievement, as it’s hard to make any kind of movie. Just sit through the credits of any modern movie, which usually run at least 5 minutes now, and you’ll get an idea of all the work involved in a production.

Knowing what a good movie is (in any era) is important because, 1) it makes watching good movies more enjoyable, and 2) it saves you time from watching too many bad movies. Therefore it is important to be able to distinguish between the good, the mediocre & the bad. We’ve all seen bad movies, so it’s really a question of how we react to them.

Those who tolerate bad movies are difficult to relate to, from the perspective of someone who knows movies. There are still a lot a good movies that I haven’t seen, and the best way for me to find them is to avoid getting derailed by watching too many bad movies. My attitude at this point is that I don’t have time for bad movies (or anything else bad), and I think that’s a healthy mantra at any age.

Since the directors are primarily responsible for a film’s quality, find the best directors from every era & genre. The best pre-WWII talkie directors included Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Huston, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, etc. Post-war, look to Japan, Europe, India & Latin America, which more-than-competes with Hollywood’s output. Never fear subtitles, as some of the best movies ever made are subtitled in English.

For actresses, look for the women who have dynamic range & command attention, those are the best. The best leading women must be able to seduce any man, at any time, for any reason. Or, they smoke them out as gay. Joan Crawford, Faye Dunaway & Robin Wright are my all-time top silver-screen divas across the eras. They can play the good girls, or the villains, with equal ease. And they own men. That sizzles every time, and that’s why we watch. Others I always enjoy include Hedy Lamarr, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Raquel Welch, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Sigourney Weaver, etc.

Best actors is a different standard for me, because I’m not sexually attracted to men, so looks don’t matter so much. Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis (also directed), Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, Charles Grodin, Damon Wayans, Kevin Spacey, Johnny Depp, etc. As you can see, I’m looking more for talented dramatic actors, humor, with a dab of action hero.

I believe at this point there are so many talented actors & actresses, that works of art in film could be routinely achieved. The problem today is with screen writing & director vision, along with studio interests. Art is being cancelled by the MeToo, BLM & neo-Nazi campaigns, which are being directed on both sides of the aisle. That’s why independent film making is now exploding, as people are tired of fake movies (Hollywood & NYC), just like they are sick of fake news on Fox, NBC & the New York Times.

New Hollywood was roughly 1965-75 and defined by filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdonavich, Francis Ford Coppola, etc. They were deeply influenced by film artists Orson Welles, Jean Luc Goddard, Luis Bunuel, etc.

Steven Spielberg ‘s Jaws (1975) ushered in the blockbuster era, and George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977) consolidated it as the industry model. The mega-smash hit movie is now what every major studio is trying to produce– every summer & Christmas season. James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) pushed the film industry into the realm of CGI, and that’s what all of Disney’s Star Wars movies are today. Pixar evolved from all this.

Hollywood productions are increasingly unwatchable, with superhero & sci-fi propaganda films dominating the blockbuster realm. Virtue signaling SJW messaging is now endemic, and apparently required, in all Hollywood productions. Identity politics has much to answer for, historically, including degrading the film industry.

I Googled “Best Hollywood Directors Today” and these are the names that came up: Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Richard Linklater, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Scorsese, Denis Villeneuve, David Fincher. To be honest, most of these names don’t excite me anymore, if they ever did. There are some good films made by these directors, but too much garbage & outright propaganda. And these are the so-called best.

As an artist & film fan, I know we deserve better. But this will only happen when the audience realizes en masse that a better reality is possible. Viewers must be more critical of what they are watching, and this is only possible by taking a film study approach. The history of movies is a massive field. It’s global, and always has been. For example, much of the best silent-era film making was Germany’s Wiemar cinema (1918-1932). All this has influenced what you see today, and to know this history makes subjective critical judgments of movies much more meaningful & correct.

You need to cover all the genres (short of pornography), to be a legitimate movie buff. Andy Warhol’s films & Midnight Cowboy (1969) are fair starting lines to debate modern pornography. For me, horror is one of my least favorite genres, yet I know & acknowledge the classics such as The Shining (1980), Psycho (1960), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), etc. I would categorize Silence of the Lambs (1991) as a horror movie, because it tries to scare you, and does. This just proves genres are mutable & fluid, as film history evolves. Notice there is no black film history, white film history, women’s film history, or gay film history for intelligent movie viewers, just film history.

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American socialist history & government spies

Introduction: This essay is an attempt to make sense of important early worker/labor organizations in the United States, and place their significance into a modern context. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was the global event that changed socialist party & labor organizing politics forever. I’ve sifted through a lot of content on Wikipedia to made this understandable.

Eugene V. Debs was instrumental in the founding of the American Railway Union (ARU) in 1893. Debs led the bitter Pullman Strike in 1894, and was jailed by US president Grover Cleveland Alexander over that. The Social Democracy of America (1897), the Social Democratic Party of America (1898), and the Socialist Party of America (1901) were political organizations founded by Eugene Debs, America’s most prominent early socialist leader. Debs twice (1912 & 1920) won nearly a million votes in a presidential election.

Socialist Party of America (SPA) opposition to US involvement in World War I (1914-18), was welcomed by many workers, who were about to be recruited to fight & die in the mud overseas. But the SPA was shattered by US government agents, who provoked constant factional warfare over how to respond to the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the establishment of the Communist International in 1919.

Many SPA members left in favor of the Communist Party (CP), which in 1928 fell completely under the influence of Joseph Stalin. By then, the Communist International was infiltrated with GPU spies, in every national section around the world.

One theme that comes up over & over in researching the history of American labor & socialist parties in the 20th-century is the constant factionalization, name changes, shifting alliances, break-ups & reformations. Why was this?

Modern US intelligence begins with J. Edgar Hoover, a key state bureaucrat in the Palmer Raids of 1919-20, which was the first major salvo of the “Red Scare” in America, which continues to the present. An eager & young Hoover quickly became the chief operating officer of the Bureau of Intelligence (BOI, formed 1909), renamed the FBI in 1936. J Edgar Hoover was a virulent anti-communist autocrat, and ran the BOI/FBI as a personal dictator until his death in 1972.

Before the Russian Revolution, and its threat of international socialism to the capitalist order, state intelligence was limited to foiling assassination plots of high officials, rooting out spies trying to steal military secrets, stopping counterfeiters, etc. Intelligence was seen as a necessary wartime activity, with limited application during times of peace.

Allan Pinkerton fought for the Union in the US Civil War, and helped protect Abraham Lincoln, by using agents to sniff out assassination plots. Allan Pinkerton helped found the US Secret Service in 1865, which then was part of the Department of the Treasury for the use of combating then-widespread counterfeiting of US currency.

As a footnote, the Department of Justice was formed in 1870 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration to prosecute crimes against the US government. The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is America’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, created in 1789 during the presidency of George Washington. That was it for federal policing back then, outside of the US military.

It’s important to note here, that after the US Civil War, Allan Pinkerton founded the strike-breaking Pinkerton Agency which hired, trained, and outsourced private goons to robber barons for the purpose of attacking picketing workers. Allan Pinkerton made extensive use of women as spies, and has been praised by some in modern identity politics as a pioneer for doing this. Pinkerton said that women often were his most valuable agents because they could gain the trust of others, easier than most men.

Most of Europe was in a depression during the 1920’s, and it finally came crashing to America in October 1929. The ideology of FDR’s New Deal was to provide enough crumbs to the working masses so they wouldn’t revolt. Wildcat strikes with socialist leadership among workers were rampant in this era. Pinkertons & police were often used for violence against organizing workers.

World War II breaking out in Europe in September 1939 saved American capitalism, and ushered in profiteering, a successful war effort, and a post-war boom that lasted into the 1960’s. These historical forces saved capitalism in the 1930’s and led the way to reformist labor movements (AFL-CIO, Teamsters, etc.) dominating the post-war period, entrenching nationalism & anti-communism into worker consciousness, through fear & propaganda campaigns.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), commonly called “Wobblies”, were an international labor union (1905-24) that was founded in Chicago, an American city rich in labor struggle history. The philosophy & tactics of the IWW were described as “revolutionary industrial unionism”, with ties to socialist, syndicalist, and anarchist labor movements. Wobblies opposed the splitting of workers into separate trade unions, as their slogan was “One big union.”

IWW membership declined dramatically during the Great War, due to conflicts with other labor groups, particularly the reformist American Federation of Labor (AFL), which regarded the IWW as too radical. On September 5, 1917, US Department of Justice agents made simultaneous raids on dozens of IWW meeting halls across the country. Physical attacks, mass arrests, and agent provocateur infiltration caused the IWW to splinter irrevocably in 1924.

Historically in 1924, Vladimir Lenin final succumbed to a series of strokes, as a result of wounds he received in an assassination attempt by a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party in August 1918, and died on January 21, 1924. There was already a succession struggle going with with Trotsky’s Left Opposition taking a principled internationalist stance against Joseph Stalin’s reactionary theory of “socialism in one country.” Stalin first declared this gospel in the Soviet Republic in 1924, after Lenin’s death, and it immediately killed the Wobblies fighting spirit by disorienting workers in America– and everywhere else.

IWW leader Big Bill Haywood left the county and fled to the Soviet Union in 1923, while Eugene Debs died an early death in 1926 upon being released from prison. That’s how the first generation of American socialists were handled by the US government. They were led to align with endless variations of opportunists, due to their political naivety & desperation. They really didn’t have a chance of succeeding, without help on the world stage, in the form of a successful revolution in Germany in 1923, or in China in 1927. Both of these potential revolutions were betrayed by social democrat & Stalinist treachery.

Mixed-in also on the “left” at this time were the Socialist International (SI), a worldwide (dis)organization of social democrat political parties which had collapsed when every nation’s organization supported war credits for their own country in August 1914. This party is also known in history as the Second International. To hide their shame, they changed their name to the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) from 1923-1940, as a rival to the Communist International (Comintern), AKA, the Third International. The First International was the Paris Commune of 1871.

Getting back to political opportunists & government agents, the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (CPLA) was a established in May 1929 by anti-communist pastor A.J. Muste (below). The organization’s true purpose was to promote the reform of the American Federation of Labor, while spying & informing on socialists. A.J. Muste’s CPLA dissolved itself in December 1933, to form the American Workers Party, a new pseudo-socialist organization.

One year later, the Workers Party of the United States (WPUS) was established in December 1934, by a merger of Muste’s American Workers Party (AWP), and the Trotskyist Communist League of America (CLA) led by James Cannon. The Workers Party of the United States was dissolved in 1936, when its members entered the Socialist Party of America, the original party of Eugene Debs.

This caused A.J. Muste to resign from “socialist” politics, due to his anti-Trotskyist positions, and return to his roots as a Christian pacifist. According to Wikipedia, “He became director of the Presbyterian Labor Temple in New York City from 1937 to 1940 where he paid special attention to combating Marxism and to proclaiming Christianity as a revolutionary doctrine.”

During a 1969 debate with William F. Buckley Jr., Noam Chomsky cited A.J. Muste as “someone who did take a very strong, and I think very honorable position” on opposing World War II. For ideological & political reference, the American linguist Noam Chomsky aligns with anarcho-syndicalism & libertarian socialism. He rejects Trotskyist internationalism. William Buckley’s best intellectual comparables would be George Plimpton & Lou Dobbs, for reference on that end.

James Cannon (above) was the first American Trotskyist, and a leader of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Cannon was personally groomed by “Big Bill” Haywood, and was an IWW organizer. Cannon was expelled from the Stalinist Communist Party (US) in 1928, and formed the SWP that year.

The SWP news organ is The Militant, a weekly newspaper, and it’s publishing house is Pathfinder Press. In 1937, The Militant headquarters was transferred to New York City. According to Wikipedia, “The Militant [currently] is not officially owned or controlled by the SWP. To protect the party and the paper, The Militant is owned by a private group.”  No citation is provided. I use Wikipedia (not my favorite reference) so often here as a source, simply because this information isn’t available anywhere else.

David North proved in “Security & the Fourth international” (1975-85) that the Socialist Workers Party had been completely infiltrated with spies long before WWII. Eric London has just researched & published how SWP members were actually GPU & US agents responsible for the assassination of Leon Trotsky in August 1940, in Coyoacan, Mexico City. The crucial agent in this murder was Sylvia Ageloff, first within the SP and then within the SWP, who was close to a group of New York Trotskyists around Martin Abern, a former IWW member and leader of the Communist youth movement in the 1920s.

Martin Abern, Max Shachtman & James Burnham were leaders inside the SWP. They allied in an unprincipled factional fight over the position of the SWP’s majority Trotskyist faction, led by James Cannon defending the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state surrounded by imperialism.

This reactionary triumvirate was expelled from the SWP in 1940 for their political treachery, and the Workers Party (WP) was founded in April 1940 by Max Shachtman. Martin Abern was placed on the governing National Committee of the Stalinist WP, and remained there for the rest of his life.

During World War II, James Burnham left the SWP to work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, leading the “Political and Psychological Warfare” division. These were the rogues established into leadership of the US Trotskyist movement back then.

The WP eventually became the party of Michael Harrington & post-modern liberalism. They are known today as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the party of Bernie Sanders & Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The DSA organ is Jacobin, an American pseudo-socialist quarterly magazine based in New York, where (as we keep seeing) it’s most convenient for the US intelligence (and anybody else) to plant & handle its agents.

Louis F. Budenz (above) was a Soviet espionage agent, who was part of the Central Committee of Communist Party (USA) & editor of Daily Worker. Budenz taught labor organizing & strike management at Brookwood Labor College, a creation of A.J. Muste outside New York City. Bundez later taught at Fordham University, before being prosecuted by J Edgar Hoover as a Soviet spy.

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) existed from 1976-2019, recently dissolving itself (again), this time apparently into the Green Party. The Greens popped up like weeds in the 1970’s around the world, in response to environmental & social justice issues. They are completely petty-bourgeoisie in political orientation, as every national section of the liberal reformist Green Party is controlled by capitalism & its agents.

The Progressive International (PI) is a mish-mash of pseudo-left activists & international organizations, armed with post-modernism. They are not to be (or meant to be?) confused with the Progressive Alliance (PA), a political soup of social democrats & progressive liberals founded in May 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The Progressive Alliance reaches nobody in the working class, claiming they have 140 participants from around the world, according to Wikipedia.

All this brings us to the Fourth International (FI), which was founded by Leon Trotsky in Paris, in 1938. The ICFI was formed after their split with Pabloism in 1953, though James Cannon’s “Open Letter.” Pabloism was the creation of Michel Pablo & his milieu of supporters, who rejected dialectics & Trotsky’s characterization of Stalinism as counter-revolutionary.

The SEP (US) was formed in 1995 by the Workers League (WL), the US supporters of the ICFI. The Workers League had been founded in 1966 by the American Committee for the Fourth International (ACFI), which emerged out of a split with the spy-infested Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Much more can be read on this history in David North’s classic book, The Heritage We Defend (1988).

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is the only Trotskyist party in the United States, as everything else that claims to be “socialism” is pseudo-left politics. The SEP (US) is affiliated with SEP’s established in other nations around the world, and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). The ICFI publishes daily Marxist news & analysis on the World Socialist Web Site, and maintains Mehring Books as its publishing house.

It took the International Committee for the Fourth International (ICFI) about 50 years to solve the issue of spies & government agents. It is the only socialist party in the world that can honestly claim to have done so. The political significance of this can’t be overstated. Since February 14, 1998, the ICFI has published Trotskyist content on its daily news organ, the World Socialist Web Site, which is by far the most read & influential socialist publication in the world.

How do we know the SEP is secure? Here are a few revealing clues. First, you don’t see, read, or hear of any factional battles over party line & policy. Second, you don’t see, read or hear of any factional battles between SEP sections in all their established nations around the world. Joe Kishore (US) agrees with Nick Beams (Australia), who agrees with Alex Lantier (France), who agrees with Chris Marsden (UK), etc… Third, the WSWS is heavily censored by big tech & the state. If the SEP/WSWS was infiltrated with agents, the deep state would enable it, not attempt to silence it.

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Senate Trial Brief & Government Agents

I published a 6,000-word serial on the second Trump impeachment trial here. This is my wrap-up.

When the Senate voted 55-45 to allow witnesses on Saturday (Feb. 13), they didn’t really know what they were voting for, and how explosive that was. That’s why a backroom deal was quickly made to cancel witnesses, and thus, end the impeachment trial.

Trump claims he wasn’t given “due process,” and that his First Amendment rights to free speech were being attacked by the impeachment process, yet he refused to testify, and his defense argued against witnesses. The council for defense are rude & shameless hypocrites, just like their client.

There should have been witnesses called to testify under oath, but neither side had the stomach for it.  Mike Pence’s sworn testimony would have been helpful. Trump’s acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller needed to testify under oath. As I said earlier, Proud Boys leader & “prolific FBI informant” Enrique Tarrio could have connected a lot of dots for the American people, if he told the whole truth.

Outside of all the congressional Republicans that aided-and-abetted Trump’s cause, a few other witnesses that should have been questioned under oath included: Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Miller, Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr, etc. You know, the usual suspects.

Let’s be clear, Trump’s defense team was in tatters after just five days. Bruce Castor was basically fired, and pretty much only allowed to make his prepared closing arguments, after Day 1. David Schoen quit, and re-joined in name only, after Donald Trump reportedly made a personal call to him.

On Saturday, it was Mike van der Veen screaming at the Senate to NOT allow witnesses. His cry to call “a hundred witnesses” in return was a desperate bluff. We’re talking about a personal injury attorney, in WAY over-his-head, being the lone voice for the defense.

They would have gotten crushed with witness testimony, because this team wasn’t capable of making a single relevant argument, or able to rationally refute a single fact. It would have been a disaster for the Republicans, and could have quickly gotten out-of-hand from a Democrats’ perspective.

Proud Boys leader & “prolific FBI informant” Enrique Tarrio was the hydrogen bomb bullseye potential witness. That’s why a quick backroom deal was struck, and Joe Biden was the force behind that. He’s extracted a lot from Mitch McConnell already, in return for the Republicans being allowed to acquit Trump and end this embarrassing trial. Expect more of that bipartisanship going forward.

This relates very much to “Sylvia Ageloff and the assassination of Leon Trotsky.” Government agents must be exposed, otherwise they will infiltrate, use, and decapitate any left-wing organization. David North during the Sunday livestream answered the question “What does the SEP/ICFI do to protect itself & its supporters?” The initiator of “Security and the Fourth International” replied, “We learn the lessons of history.”

How do spies get into a left-wing political organization? They often come through auxiliary positions such as secretaries, transcribers, chauffeurs & bodyguards. They are the ones who aren’t really Marxists, but offer to help in some other way, and are good at it.

They can weasel their way into a political party through RELATIONSHIPS with loyal auxiliary personal, who aren’t Marxists, meaning these people aren’t as adept at spotting agents. Or they can be complacent functionaries, as David North mentioned when he described the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) attitude in the 1970’s as, “Agents do good work.” [!!] From this, anyone can see how all these warm bodies shifted to liberalism in the 1980’s.

The historical lesson for revolutionary internationalists is that you have to have DIY security, using history & science– paying particular attention to criminology & psychology. Being socially comfortable in any situation, while controlling your personal domain, allows one to relax and let others reveal themselves. Ramon Mercader was a charmer.

Take everything anybody says in political context, very seriously, even if you don’t initially understand the meaning of what was said. You must be able to spot lies, and come to correct conclusions. That’s how agents are weeded out, and prevented from entering the ranks. It’s how loyal members know they are protected. The particular methods, means & discussions are SEP/ICFI secrets, of course.

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