Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Tried and True Method

The first thing that happens is a charismatic political novice determines which political party to take over.  You need a party whose voting base is easily manipulatable, immediately vilifies anyone they're told to hate, and are scared easily.

After ascending into control of their chosen political party, the individual invokes a win at all costs strategy.  Any law they need to break, any alliance they need to cement, any deal with the devil they need to broker, they'll do it.  They'll tell any lie, no matter how boldfaced.  They'll equate their opponents to the worst filth and slime the planet has ever seen.  They'll do whatever it takes for their voter's votes to count twice, while demanding every vote for their opponent is fraudulent and invalid.  Against all odds, they convince just enough people they're a populist, and claim victory.

As they being to assume control, they declare war on the press.  To get their nefarious agenda passed without raising too many eyebrows, they need the public to believe only the media favorable to their cause, while labeling the other news outlets untrustworthy.

Every law or rule they enact is declared to be one of the greatest achievements in Democracy.  Every law or rule they replace needed to go because it hurt you, was a burden, was failing, or would've killed everyone.  They begin to push a 'I saved you' narrative.

They embrace the most popular religion, or at least the religion's most diehard fanatics, promising to enact certain rules and laws designed to placate the zealots, many of whom use their religion to try to validate their personal bigotries, bigotries which have no place in their religion.

They start converting a governmental regulatory agency into their personal hired thugs, handing them almost unlimited power and funds, grossly expanding their realm of enforcement, and giving them the authority to shoot first and come up with the justification later, if ever.

The leader then puts on an earnest face as they tell the country we might just need to start limiting the ability to vote for 'certain groups,' to ensure the election process stays fair.  Thus begins the purging of a large percentage of the voting populace from the voting rolls.

He then starts removing the party loyalists he had to take into his administration after the election, appointed to appease the party he rode in on.  The purge is shockingly fast, within a few months of being sworn in, buoyed with excuses like "our personalities clashed," or "they were leaking information to the media."

They then announce, the way their legal team interprets the law, they're above all legal recourse, deeming all of their actions legal.  They not only insist they pardon themselves for all crimes they've committed, and their staff for all the crimes they've commit, but they now bequeath they can pardon themselves prior to a crime being discovered, prosecuted or committed.

When he doesn't get his way, because the opposition party manages to stop him, he and his mouthpieces start suggesting the idea of a military crackdown on his opponents.  This is usually implied in a "wouldn't it be great to teach those no good meddlers how much they should be grateful for our political leader! We should show them how much worse it could actually be for them..."

And all of this is surrounded by a never ending accolade of self congratulation and narcissistic decrees.

Welcome to the United State of America, 2017.  Trump has done a version of all of these things, at various levels of accomplishment.

Throughout the history of this country, America's political leaders have made rules which would prevent a dictator from taking over the Democracy.  A lot of the rules came from trial and error (I'm looking squarely at you John Adams) and have been honed to deal with such issues as death, health problems, and even behavior unbecoming of the ideals of the USA.

A scenario which was never accounted for was the Legislative Branch going along with the treasonous, traitorous behavior, as long as the House and Senate leaders were allowed to pursue their own nefarious agendas. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand worshipper, a man whose goal is to take the USA government back to the 1880's when the people really had no say in how things went.  He wants no workers rights, no salary guarantees and no chances for everyman opportunity.  There was only a handful of wealthy people making all the rules, and if you didn't like them, you could choose to die quickly or slowly.  That's the perfect world of Paul Ryan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a racist, with a long history of hating African Americans.  He wants to wipe the earth of any mention of the man he hates more than anyone else, former President Barack Obama.

Both of them have all the makings of an American von Ribbentrop.

Trump has a long way to go if he wants to take over with a true dictatorship, but I've no doubt he already has plans in place for his version of a 'Night of the Long Knives.'  Here are the big hurdles he'll need to address to pull us into the death spiral of the American experiment:  all 50 states won't  go along with his plans, and if 20 or more plus push back, especially New York, Illinois, and California, things become more complicated.  I don't think most military members would freely go along with attacking their own citizens.  As a veteran, let me say some of them would, but most would walk away.  Injustice becomes harder in a world where there are cameras everywhere.  And there seems to be enough Republicans who have officially hit their limit with the buffoonish antics of our President.

We seem to be getting into a very new and terrifying place in the USA.  Here's hoping we wake up before it is too late.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/28/17

I often talk about the political late night hosts, but how about a little love this week for the Late Late Show with James Corden.

Of all the major late night shows, his is the most politic neutral and the most female friendly (and yes I'm considering Samantha Bee in the sample group).  Here are four of his better bits.  Let's start with one from a few days ago, I Am Your Father with Mark Hamill, Anna Faris, and Jenny Slate:

I love Spill your Guts or Fill your Guts.  My guess is many celebrities have already told him they will not do this bit, hence why it's not on too often.  This one is icky!

My two favorite all time James Corden bits (I know I posted one of these before, but what the heck...).  Tom Hanks Role Call:

Carpool Karaoke with Adele.  Love her reaction when he starts singing in harmony is perfect.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/21/17

For this weeks Friday Link, I want to pull up a beauty: the time David Letterman went on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson AFTER he had found out Jay Leno had wormed his way into the Tonight Show gig, a gig Dave desperately wanted.

What's amazing about this clip is realizing this is only nine months before Carson himself bowed out.  Dave is clearly extremely angry at the whole situation, and Carson was sympathetic, taking his side about as much as he could.  Carson understood Letterman's comedy and style, and he knew Dave would be the template of the late night comedy's future.  Leno was number one, but that's only because so many people didn't change their channels for decades.

Eventually, before his tenure ended, Carson endorsed Leno for the gig and things went happy at NBC, for awhile.

Also tonight, here's the video of the time Dave, on his CBS show, absolutely brutalized Leno for pulling his "I'm un-retiring" stunt.  A refresher: after Letterman left NBC, Conan O'Brien took over the Late Show with the understanding he'd eventually inherit the Tonight Show.  He did indeed, in 2009, until Leno's post Tonight Show plans blew up and he stabbed Conan in the back.

NBC SCREWED over Conan.  He took over in June, and they were looking to dump him by October.  Conan was by far the best non-Daily Show option they had, but they decided to play it safe with Leno.  Leno, being an incredible weasel, tried to take the high road with the blood still visible on his hands.  Letterman, knowing Leno/NBC's treachery, was having nothing of it.  This was about as vocal as Dave ever got in addressing his true feelings about Jay and NBC.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Murder by Badge

Let me start by already answering my critics most likely counterpoint to this post:  I believe most police officers, the vast majority of them, are absolutely outstanding individuals.  They are brave, well trained, and more than likely will NEVER pull their service weapon while in uniform.  They deserve our respect.

But do they deserve our blind allegiance just because they're wearing a uniform?  No.

After the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trail, when he was found not guilty on all counts in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, an outstanding member of the community who was basically killed for being black, and LEGALLY carrying a hand gun, the authorities finally released the dash cam footage to the public.  Not only did the footage directly contradict the testimony and defense of Yanez, it was clear to anyone who watched the tape Yanez murdered Castile.  There should've been outrage expressed at this massive miscarriage of justice from EVERYONE!

Instead, the prosecutor, judge and jury defended their indefensible verdict, basically saying "...but he was a cop!"  The police union, an organization who screamed no one should judge the case until 'all the facts are in,' while at the same time smearing the good name of Castile every chance they could, proudly thumped their chest and screamed "good kill!"  And far right, pro-police politicians, pro-police at all cost opportunists, told people to ignore what they could see with their own eyes, and stood by the CLEARLY lying Yanez, telling anyone who was upset they had no right to be.

It's clear after the Yanez trial, police in Minnesota have the right to murder anyone, under any circumstance.  They could be off duty, drunk, with a history of assaulting people, but as long as they said A) "I'm a cop," and B) "I was afraid the victim might have a gun," Minnesota police can murder anyone they want.  You'd think law enforcement would be trying to address the clear mistakes made in the fatal shooting of Castile, part of a trend of fatal shootings which have become a near monthly occurrence in the Twin Cities.  Instead, metro area police departments starting attacking community organizations for being (justifiably) afraid of their heavy handedness, and they attacked the Governor, Mark Dayton, for daring to try to name a police training initiative after the murdered Philando Castile.

On Saturday night, police in south Minneapolis murdered Justine Damond, a 40 year old, white, female, Australian, spiritual healer who was supposed to be married to a Minneapolis man in August.

Was she wacked out on meth, screaming in the middle of the street while holding a gun in a threatening manner?  No.  She called the police to her residence to report some strange sounds coming from her wealthy south Minneapolis alley.  When police arrived, Justine, who looks like she should be the head of the Wayzata PTA, wearing pajamas, unarmed, approached the driver side door of the squad car, where she was immediately gunned down by the officer in the passenger seat.  They didn't even get out of the car.  There's no police footage of the shooting, even though all police now are supposed to have cameras activated in a situation like this.  Whether the body cameras of the officers were never turned on, or were intentionally turned off and the video erased, remains to be seen.

Australian authorities are going to get involved, meaning the Minneapolis Police Department and the police unions will not be able to sweep this under the rug.  The nature of Justine and her character make a character assassination by the PD/unions very difficult.  There was no gun, and the PD/unions know it will be impossible to convince the public Justine was a likely candidate to gun down a police officer.  Minnesota Tourism, lead by the mega-draw Mall of America, dependent on foreign travelers, are going to demand some sort of punishment for dragging the state's reputation into the mud. And with the NFL getting ready to bring their biggest game of the year to Minneapolis, there's a need to convince the league their players, coaches and fans won't be gunned down, legally, by Minneapolis police for flashing a 'we're number 1' sign.  This time, for many reasons, there's added pressure on everyone to not take a murder by badge lightly.

I'll state the obvious first.  My guess is the officer who murdered Justine will be held accountable because she's white and Australian.  Afterwards, the pompous, arrogant blind defenders of police will scream how the anti-police people have gotten their 'pound of flesh,' acting as if a no brainer guilty verdict was some grand injustice.  They'll also tout establishing a 'shoot only non-white suspects if you want to get away with murder' standard as a 'compromise.'

The police seem to have zero intent on changing this fractured dynamic.  They've been told at all levels of the legislative and judicial branch legally murdering people is a 'perk' of the job.  They feel invincible.  There's a decent chance Justine's murderer will be found not guilty because the enablers of this type of behavior have told the officers there are no consequences for their actions, and have created a system which validates their actions, regardless.

That's why we need to hold everyone responsible.  Let's start with the officers who murdered Justine Damond and the police department who CLEARLY did not screen or train their officers appropriately.  We need to condemn the police union who defends and applauds this disgusting result.  We need to condemn the Prosecutor, Judge and Jury in the Yanez trial, who sent the clear message; "it doesn't matter what the video evidence shows us.  You'll be found innocent." And we need to condemn the political opportunists, who insist anyone who dares question what they endorse as a "good kill" is un-American and hates police.

We need immediate screening processes in place to remove all racists, bigots, violent, mentally unqualified and scared police officers from the forces in Minnesota.  This includes a social media screening of EVERY police officer.  We need to have extensive remedial training on when and where an officer pulls a weapon and/or fires a weapon.  And we need the police to understand, we're afraid of them; not because we're being irrational, but because thy keep shooting unarmed and non threatening individuals.  If these people are going to be given the ability to legally murder anyone, then we need to make sure only the most upstanding individuals are given a badge.

Instead, I'll wait for the laughable defense, the character assassination, the fixed trial, and the preening and posturing politicians looking for police union campaign donations after the injustice.

I'll also pray for Justine Damond, her fiancé, her family, and all who are starting to wonder if calling the police would only make things worse.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/14/17

Be careful! This Friday Link you might actually learn something.

The first video is a fun little 10 minute piece on how the states got their weird shapes.  It does have some interesting tidbits (Ohio and Michigan almost went to war with each other?), and those tidbits make up for a fairly average delivery from the presenter.  Hey, the guy is trying, so I'll give him some slack.  Minnesota get's a shoutout, as anytime there's a weird geographical story on the USA, they undoubtedly have a segment on the Northwest Angle in the very northern part of the state.

The second video is a lovely piece from CBS Sunday Morning about Northwest Angle.  I can't comprehend the distance the school kids have to go, especially the ones on some of the islands off the coast.  Still, I'd be lying if I didn't say the place sounded nice...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wonder Woman, Cruz Ramirez and Bill

Wonder Woman is a great film.  That's a factual statement.  Why some men hate the movie is beyond me.

I have no idea why some men act threatened when a woman is strong, independent and a leader.  I've known powerful women all my life, so strength and leadership are something I've always attributed to both sexes, whether politically, professionally, artistically, physically, intelligently, compassionately, or on a nurturing level.

It was hard watching Hillary Clinton lose.  I wanted her to win, but not because I was hoping for the first female President.  Clinton was BY FAR the more qualified of the two candidates, with gender having very little to do with my justification.  She would've been, and still would be, the better President, PERIOD.  The idea many Americans didn't vote for her because she was deemed to be a "woman not knowing her 'role'" is weirdly obtuse.  Do they think they can shame the population into reverting to a time where we limited a woman's role in society?

Whenever you hear a man downplaying a strong woman, and how someone needs to be "put her in her place," they're weak.  They're afraid.  They know the woman is better than they are (which is perfectly fine and normal), so they lash out with ignorance.  It's similar to when I discussed Trump's locker room talk, and how locker room talk only comes from people who are trying to brag about the sexual conquests they didn't really have.  It's a weaklings pathetic attempt to look strong, and it shows.

As women are being attacked in politics and society, it's a different story with entertainment.  2017 has been a stellar year for strong female role models in entertainment.  So far, the best movie of the summer is Wonder Woman, with Gal Gadot.  I'm not surprised by this, as the source material for the character (decades of great comic book stories) is rich and full, itself ahead of it's time.  The movie keeps you entertained and never falls back to the cliche of the man has to save the defenseless woman.  Quite the contrary.  I was proud to take my daughters to see Wonder Woman, but I was just as proud to take my 15 year old son, and I loved the film.  Any man criticizing the film because of its strong female lead is telling you FAR more about themselves then they are about the movie.

There's another movie role which isn't getting as much press, but it's having just as big of an impact on young women, especially girls; Cars 3's Cruz Ramirez, an animated car played by the wonderful Cristela Alonzo.  I'm going to talk some plot points, so ***Spoiler Alert!!!***  Skip the next paragraph if you don't want the movie spoiled.

In Cars 3, Cruz is a 'trainer' for an aging Lightning McQueen, ordered to get him back into shape for one more successful run at the NASCAR inspired Piston Cup. As Cruz works him back into shape, it's discovered she herself wanted to be a race car, not just a trainer, but no one ever gave her a chance.  In the end, Lightning can't catch Cruz on the track, even with all his might.  He comes to realize it's time for him to step aside, and to let her take over as the team's main race car.  She ends up coming into the race, proving she can win when given a chance.  This Disney film not only showed young girls a female can compete and win in the man's world, it also showed a lot of young boys that it's okay to come in second to a girl, with a further, far more important, life lesson: know when to step aside and let the better person, regardless of sex, take the lead.

And then there's Bill, the wonderful companion to Peter Capaldi's 12th incarnation of Doctor Who.  Bill is played by Pearl Mackie, and she's a fun Watson to Capaldi's Holmes.  Mackie's 'Bill' is an unapologetic lesbian, and one of the strongest young female characters I've ever seen.  Doctor Who spent the entire season talking about the strength of women, ending with a season 10 finale which had Bill's love, strength and compassion be the difference maker in the final confrontation.  I must also mention the incredible work of Michelle Gomez.  Her Missy was the first female incarnation of The Doctor's arch nemesis, The Master, and she was brilliant.  Many people are speculating the 13th incarnation of the Doctor, to be revealed this Christmas, will be female.  Regardless, the nonchalant, this is who 'Bill' is (let's not focus on her individual identifications, but rather her role in the larger world) has made this season the best of Capaldi's run, and the best overall since David Tennant's final full season.

I have no doubt I'll see plenty of films and shows this year where the lead character is an over the top male lead, but so far the most memorable moments in entertainment 2017 have all been performed by women.  To the weak men furious about this post, get over your self induced insecurity and inferiority complex, and enjoy the show!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/7/17

I really like the new Planet of the Apes movies.  I think they're far smarter than they should be.  The latest edition, War For the Planet of the Apes, opens in a week, and I can't wait.

Since this is a comedy post, we commemorate the latest film by heading to Mystery Science Theater 3000, and show number 306, Time of the Apes.  This is an enjoyable 2 hours, but for VERY different reasons.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Please drive safe if you're heading out on the road.

Flowers and an Apology

I want to apologize for not having too much new content here on Progressive Citizen X.  I got done with my vacation, immediately spent the weekend in Wisconsin, celebrated Independence Day, and then had friends visiting from out of town.

I know that doesn't mean much to regular followers, but to try to smooth over any hard feelings, here are some of my better flower photos from the first half of the year.  I have the Friday Link coming out in a bit, and I promise at least three new posts by the end of next weekend.