Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What do you think about election 2016?

First of all let me just state for the record that I am a bit of a political junkie. I love this stuff. But let me also say that even while so much is at stake this election cycle, this is probably the most entertaining and interesting election I have ever witnessed. And certainly I doubt I am alone in this thinking.

By the way, should I note that I happen to be a Trump supporter? Let's just keep that well out and in the open as I proceed. Not that it necessarily matters. But why not just put that out there for anyone interested in knowing where I stand as I write this?

If one thing is telling about how interesting this election is this time around consider one thing if you consider nothing else. A television show has been made that follows it, and it happens to be an entertaining show to boot. While the main players providing the analysis and commentary and reporting, if you want to attach that moniker, are not necessarily apolitical, and certainly mostly lean to the left, I think they are providing for a truthful and honest documentary on the entire process we are in right now.

They'll give kudos to Trump where they are due, and will chide Clinton as well where it happens to be due.

It's called "Circus," and it's on Showtime if you wanted to know.

There is a word that does strike me in talking about this whole process we are in right now, and that word is weird. We have a guy front and center on the GOP side who is as brash as brash can be. He tells it like it is, says sometimes very interesting things, and yet gets away with it time and time again. Of course I am talking about Donald Trump, and I think it is as clear as ever that in any other time, if it were any other person running, the likes of a Donald Trump would have been ground into the dirt long before any nomination was presented.

But let's also be clear that this has been an endearing aspect of Trump and his campaign despite it all, and has contributed enormously to his success and popularity. I think what the electorate is saying loud and clear is that they are tired of traditional politics and certainly traditional politicians. I think they are saying they want someone who isn't going to make you dizzy with spin, who will simply go out there and tell it the way it is—even if it sometimes comes out all wrong. Even if it comes out in a way that sort of scares you.

And by the way, should it scare you all that much? Think about it. There's a swath of people out there saying Trump could spur on WWIII with just a sentence or two. But, we are still a super power despite some decline in our might in recent years. If anyone would be scared, I think, it would be the guy at the other end of our military force, and at the other end of our missiles...

The death penalty is not a punishment as you know. It's supposed to scare you out of murdering. If Kim Jong Un wants to test the waters, he's going to be a little less willing to do so if he thinks the guy at the other end of the world may actually be crazy enough to do something harsh. It's like poking at someone you know who you think might just be that guy who would go berserk if you so much as looked at him the wrong way. You leave that hombre alone, man. You just don't go there.

Just in case.

And by the way, shouldn't we all be fearing someone like Hillary Clinton more? I mean, right now if anyone has an actual body count it happens to be her. Or the Clinton's in general. And I'm not talking at all about Benghazi. As far back as Bill's time in the Oval Office, and perhaps even as far back as when he was the Governor of Arkansas, people just have this mysterious way of winding up dead. If anything is clear it is that the Clinton's will do anything to maintain their power. It's really a regime that operates not that much differently than people in history like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and even Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. You just don't cross certain paths if you know what's good for you, and if you think Hillary would not run the country in the same way you have to be kidding.

Getting back to this whole idea of weird you really have to think about this time we are in. You really have to think about how we got here. If I am to be real, and that is what I always prefer to be even though I lean one way over the other, we should not be in a time, frankly, where either candidate are even contenders in any way for the presidency. But the truth is that in part we're here because of the tried and true (and I use the word true in a different fashion here than it might otherwise be intended) politicians who have run this country into the ground and made it a very different America than any of us are used to.

Perhaps even the Millennials who sat at their kitchen tables at family gatherings and listened as their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles talked about the state of the country, and what was right and what was wrong.

I mean, it doesn't take a rocket science to know that after eight years of Barack Obama no one is better off economically. The country has seen nearly stagnant growth in the so-called recovery from the great recession. The war on terror is a disaster, and now we're less safe than since the infamous day of September 11, 2001. Obamacare has also been a disaster and anyone who pays bills knows their premiums have gone up dramatically from what was supposed to be a more affordable system.

Yet someone like Hillary Clinton, who has made it all too clear she wants to continue with and to strengthen what are clearly failed policies of the current administration, is still being looked at closely by a large part of the electorate as electable. Even Bernie Sanders' rise to popularity before the DNC finished up its efforts to oust him from contention for the nomination is telling of failed economic policy.

If you are doing well and you are making money and things are working out well, no one—not even a staunch democrat—would ever consider menial handouts over an honest days work and an opportunity to advance financially.

This election cycle allowed Bernie Sanders to rise in the polls because the last eight years and the effects of the great recession wore down the mentality that one can succeed in America on their own, and they were willing to throw in the towel and just say fuck it. Let the government pay my way and take care of me because there is no chance for an alternative anymore.

And of course there is Trump's rise in the polls as well. And even now despite many controversies and missteps throughout his campaign, he continues to be doing actually quite well. In the latest polls I have seen if it is not a dead heat between Clinton and Trump, many polls show Trump again in the lead. Especially in key states. He's got a real chance to actually win this thing.

But his rise, his decimation of what were perhaps the best group of republican candidates to appear on stage in a long time without so much as a blink, is also telling of eight years of failed policies—but it is also telling of an entire and systemic failure of the government and our elected officials to get anything done and actually work in our favor. When the deck is stacked against you and you know who is stacking the deck you are prone to take the deck away from that person. In this case, we're taking the deck away from the establishment.

What's more is that if you go by what most republicans say, even among those who support Trump mind you, the common theme tends to be that Trump is not really a republican even if he is running with an (R) after his name. So, what is Trump really? He is the first independent—or even third party—candidate to ever actually have a shot at winning the White House. And yes, that fits right into the category of weird.

The last time we had a third party candidate even scratch the surface was with Ross Perot.

Consider that even with two very controversial and let's be honest, "unpopular" candidates if you go by polling, the real third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are all but unknowns in this race. Johnson isn't even getting a fraction of the traction that Ross Perot got back in his day. If this election cycle were truly the disaster that so many claim it to be why would not any third party candidate be soaring in the polls.

If the lesser of two evils are really just one single plain evil without an alternative then why are the "alternative" lessers getting nowhere at all?

What else is weird? Well, you've had the whole health issue with Hillary Clinton of course. Hell, all it took for Howard Dean to self destruct his campaign was to get a little too excited during a speech. Hillary, for a while, could barely make it through a speech without the audience close to her podium wondering if a pair of lungs might be hacked out into their very laps. And of course, there is this whole lack of transparency thing with her. Even with the recent indication that what she was suffering was pneumonia, there is still a very compelling reason to wonder if that really is the case despite what we are being told.

Well, it was heat stroke just before that, or was it heat exhaustion, in New York after she abruptly left the 9/11 deal in an earth-shattering, sweat bath of 77 degrees.

Either way, if this election cycle were normal I think Hillary would have fallen dramatically in the polls after even just the first hack attack. Hell, let's not forget the whole Benghazi thing, her near absence from the media for 100s of days—and the list goes on. That may have put her in a bad light as well with voters.

Rick Perry couldn't remember the third point in a debate and his ship was sunk in one fell swoop.

Look, for all of the weirdness in this election I think at the end of the day Trump is not nearly as crazy as everyone thinks he is, and I also think that Hillary is crazier than anyone thinks she isn't. Even for Trump, despite his antics and his unpolitician stance (is that even a word?) I think he may well be exactly what this country needs. And I honestly say this with a straight face. Why will Hillary lose the election? For the same reason that 16 other "respectable" and highly honed republicans lost to Donald J. Trump in the primaries. The status quo is out of favor. Politicians are out of favor. The country is in the tank due to not just the last eight years of Obama, but certainly this has not helped one iota, but due to decades of failed policies on both sides of the aisle doing the work to afford themselves strong political careers, but leaving the American people in the dust to fend for themselves.

Maybe that's even why Johnson does not resonate—I mean, despite the fact that he's more of a buffoon than Trump honestly in my opinion (What is Aleppo? I stopped smoking pot two weeks before I decided to run for president and will not smoke it in the White House...)—and that's because Johnson is, in a way, still a part of the establishment. He's a politician with the badges to prove it.

Do I really want all this entertainment value in what is the most important decision our country can make? Not exactly. But then again, you have to think that more people than ever before are all ears and all eyes on this thing, and you have to consider that one of the reasons so many politicians before this cycle got away with all sorts of undesirable things is because no one that mattered was paying attention. Maybe a Donald Trump presidency will get the American people back in the business of paying attention to the country, to the world, to the problems both face, and to the actions right or wrong that shape the outcome of our very lives.


Monday, September 19, 2016

So, are you a special kind of stupid?

Well, isn't this really a most interesting question for me today? The truth is that as I get older the less I give a damn about whether or not I make a fool out of myself. In fact, one could argue that all one need to do is spend a couple of hours scouring the annals of YouTube and what you gather when all is said and done is, "Boy, there are a lot of stupid people, and a lot of stupid things that get posted. But, boy do they get the views."

And of course, when it comes to YouTube, stupid can be a bit profitable in the right conditions.

So of course being that I am a bit of a money hungry boob, being a boob and maybe having the opportunity to get paid for it as well definitely appeals to me. Besides, this is sort of like that thought you have when you walk out onto a dance floor waving your arms, kicking your feet, and really doing anything remotely like dancing and thinking, "No one will ever know who I am. I will never see these people again."

Sometimes, unfortunately, you do eventually run into some of these people. D'oh!

But life is short, right? And you only live once. And at the end of the day I come at this with one thought in mind these days—years ago I may have thought differently about it—who cares what anyone thinks at the end of the day?

Does it really matter?

Look, so much of our lives is devoted to making impressions for everyone else. We hold things back because we fear what others may think. We are reserved because we are sure we will make fools of ourselves. We fear that others may be laughing at us instead of with us, and in some strange way we think that matters.

And then there are the "prudes." For example, the other day while vacationing in Cancun some "friends" of ours in our party would not play along with a clown that showed up at our table for tips making hats and other "balloon gifts" at our table at SeƱor Frog's in Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. He was wanting to make a pair of balloon tits—yep, you heard me right—for one of the "ladies" in our party. She quickly shut that down.

Poor sport, and way too uptight if you ask me. Try to live a bit because if you don't everyone just thinks you're too good for fun, and too full of yourself and your "prowess" in life to let loose a little bit.

As the old saying goes in life; there is time for composure and there is a time for just saying fuck it. Let's have a good time and everyone else be damned.

Am I am musician? No. But I do write my own songs. I even went as far as to release an album on iTunes, Pink Flamingoes (misspelled on purpose), and some might say this is the ultimate example of boobery. But do I care?

Not hardly.

In some strange corner of the world there are fans who like what I am doing even if it is not radio quality, or even good by most people's standards? Can I sing? Some say yes. Others say no. But here again who cares what anyone else thinks? Look, Michael Jackson was an amazing dancer and an even more amazing singer, but ask a number of people in certain circles about Michael Jackson and he was simply a tool and a weirdo and couldn't dance or sing.

By the way, there are a ton of closet Michael Jackson fans out there. You can include me in that group folks.

So I make my own songs and I post them to YouTube, on iTunes and other music store sites like Spotify and Amazon Music, and I share those and cover songs like Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams and The Breeder's Safari on places like SoundCloud. And I think to myself, am I a great guitar player? No. Am I a great song writer? No. Can I sing like Justin Bieber or Michael Jackson? Not hardly. Probably more like Neil Young or maybe some of the failed try-outs on that old prime-time show American Idol. Probably more like them. Probably way more like them than I care to admit.

But again. Do I care? Nope. I am just a boob having fun. Does this make me a special kind of stupid? I don't know. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. But what I do know is that even of the bulk of stuff like this I have ever posted, I am still not as out there as some of the people and things I have seen posted.

By the way, in the above video I am reminded of something my grandfather always used to say about Joe Cocker. "I like his music, I just can't stand to watch him sing it."

Of course I said somewhere before in this little post something about just having fun. At least I think I did. Perhaps I need to scroll up. But even if I didn't that is what this is all about. Just having fun. Making a boob out of yourself and sharing it and not caring what anyone thinks about that and just having fun. Because when the lights go out that is all you have. What you left behind. What you did while you were here. And let's face it, being reserved? What's the fun in that? Again, you only live once. When the lights go out for the final time you just want to have said, "I did what I wanted to. And 10 years after I am gone, even ten weeks after I am gone no one will remember. So who cares? What does it matter?"

I'd rather go out saying I had fun and did what I wanted to, everything else be damned, than be thinking—if you can think when you are dead—I wish I would have done this or that.

One thing definitely stands out for me and that is that when I was in high school—or even grade school for that matter—it was always about everyone else. It was always about what everyone else thought about what you did. When I was a kid I longed to be a writer, and one thing struck me about the whole writer thing.

Many writers use pen names.

Not so much because we don't like our own names, but because creative people in general like to be a bit anonymous. We are uber critical of what we do. It's in the nature of anything artistic. And so we hide behind different names, different personas...

But eventually all who come to the light do as well come out of the shadows.

Again I address the question of whether or not I am a special kind of stupid? I say no. No I am not not. I am simply a guy doing my thing, enjoying what little time I have on this planet and in this life, and finally coming to the realization that at the end of the day I do not need to be good. I do not need to be ultra talented. I do not need to be perfect. I do not need to be accepted by my inner circle. I can be laughed at and that's okay. I can be talked about behind my back by certain groups and individuals and that's okay. I can not be afraid to do what I want, to be who I am, to follow my own dreams and desires, to let loose and not care, and just be...

Who I am.

I am Jim Bauer. This is my life. This is my personality. This is my thing. Like it or love it. Hate it or laugh at it. I don't care.

Am I a special kind of stupid? Nah. A special kind of stupid is being too worried about being something you are not. A special kind of stupid is becoming something other than you want to be. A special kind of stupid is dying having never experienced the true essence of yourself.