The Picnic

Posted September 18, 2016 by baconspress
Categories: Uncategorized

I was at a picnic the other day.  The host walked up to me and handed me a plate piled high with fresh dog poop…and a fork.

“What’s this?” I asked, assuming some kind of awful joke.

“A lot of people seem to want that,” He said.

“Not me,” I reply, rejecting the plate, bile rising, “I’m having none of that.”

He smiled and took the plate.  Not two minutes later, he was back.

“I knew you were one of us,” he said with a knowing wink.  He handed me a plate piled high with old, dried-up cat poop…and a fork.

I looked at his face.  He seemed serious so I told him, “I don’t want this either!”

The man shrugged and said, “That’s what there is; fresh dog poop or dried-up cat poop.”

“I heard Bernie was bringing hamburgers…”

My host chuckled.  “Yeah, he tried.  Can you believe that guy?  We uninvited him the moment we heard.”  People around me were trying to choke down some of the cat poop.  “He tried to slip in anyway but we stopped him.  The nerve of some people…”

“Well, then, I think I’ll just go with some of that salad I see…”

“No, you can’t have the salad,” he insisted.  A woman near me was sick.  She straightened up, wiped her mouth, and popped another piece of cat poop into her mouth.  She immediately began heaving and I overheard her companion tell her it helps if she holds her nose.

“I really don’t want dried cat poop,” I said.

“Hey, it could be worse,” my host offered. “It could be the fresh dog poop.”

“Well, I can see how that could be worse,” I acknowledged.  “But, somehow, that doesn’t make this any better.”  I shook my head.  “I’m going with the salad.”

“No,” he said firmly, “you can’t have the salad.  Look,” he explained, lowering his voice conspiratorially, “one of our guests just…showed up with that salad.  We didn’t expect it and it’s not part of the previously agreed menu – so nobody’s having the salad.”

I looked at all the faces around me, green with sickness but trying to accept the dried cat poop.  “You should have let Bernie bring the burgers,” I thought out loud.

“The menu was already decided!”  My host exclaimed, clearly irritated with me. “And you can’t have the salad.  Now is not the time for a ‘protest plate.’  We’ve all agreed on the cat poop!”

By this time, I was confused.  “Well, couldn’t we all agree on the salad?  I mean, if it’s just a matter of everyone having agreed…”

“We’ve already agreed on the dried-up cat poop!” He insisted.  “It’s the lesser of two poops.”

“It’s still poop.” I pointed out, walking toward the table.  I put some iceberg lettuce on a clean plate.  “Given the choices, I prefer the salad,” I explained.

“You want the fresh dog poop!” he chided.  His arm rose straight out from his body and his bony finger pointed straight at me.  His eyes widened and a screech emanated from him as if to identify me as “not of the body” to the crowd.  “Rabbit crap, 2016!” he declared.

The crowd began chanting in unison, “Hold your nose.  It could be worse.  Hold your nose…”

“I prefer the salad…”

“It could be worse…”

“I just prefer the salad…”  I took my plate and headed for my car.

“You’re wasting your plate!” My host shouted.

“Yeah, well,” I answer, “at least I won’t have to have that taste in my mouth…”

Just How Crazy IS He?

Posted August 20, 2016 by baconspress
Categories: Hillary, politics, Trump, Uncategorized

I’ve long been a proponent of the idea that Trump isn’t really trying to run a winning campaign. Instead, he’s simply playing a role. His job is to be the crazy distraction from anything that might appear anti-Hillary. He’s doing a pretty good job, too. For example, when FBI Director James Comey made his oh-so-damning statement about Hillary, Trump praised Saddam Hussein’s ability to kill. The press stays on Trump’s insane statement until Comey’s statement fades into the past, Hillary is protected from the fallout…

Sure, it seems crazy but consider this: during the week Aug 15 through the 19th there have been no new charges, no new accusations against Hillary – and the Donald has been quiet…sane, even.

Here’s a rule.  No, a law: If a person can control when and how he or she is “crazy”, the person isn’t crazy…

The Trump Insane Game…

Posted August 13, 2016 by baconspress
Categories: Hillary, politics, Trump, Uncategorized

Okay, so by now any astute person paying even a modicum of attention has noticed that every time some new accusation comes out against Hillary, the Donald saves her by making some big “gaffe”.  James Comey makes his “she’s guilty but we’re not going to pursue it” statement and Trump praises Saddam Hussein’s ability to kill terrorists.  The corporate disinfotainment machine pushes Trumps comments to the forefront and keeps it there until Comey’s statement fades as quietly as possible into the background.  The DNC primary rigging emails come out, Trump praises Putin and invites foreign hackers to attack.  Clinton repeats the lie that Comey “cleared her” and Trump picks a fight with a gold star family.  There’s a pretty solid correlation.

Each time a new charge comes out about Hillary, Trump has to say something to distract.  But the accusations against Hillary just keep coming and, according to Julian Assange, they’re not going to stop any time soon.  If Trump is going to continue his successful distraction campaign, he can’t just keep repeating crazy things he’s already said.  He does, anyway, from time to time, just to keep those things going but we’ve all heard those crazy things.  They are, literally, yesterday’s news.  If he’s going to be certain to control a news cycle or two, he needs to come up with new and ever more crazy things.  But where can even the Donald go from ‘Second Amendment Solutions’ to his opponent?

He has attacked his own party.  He has attacked veterans and gold star families.  He suggested women seeking abortions should be jailed.  He threw a baby out of a rally!  He heaps praise on the likes of Putin and approves nuclear first-strike.  He suggested requiring all members of a given religion wear a visible symbol to identify them.  Each time, he dominates the news cycle and nobody is asking anything about Hillary.  In short, the plan, so far, has worked perfectly.  But where does he go from here?

That’s the game: where does Trump go with his NEXT “gaffe”?  Wikileaks seems determined to release information slowly – something of a steady drip of damage rather than a simple, single punch to the gut of the campaign.  This suggests we can expect some new, damning information about Hillary and the DNC in this coming week.  THAT means, the Donald is going to have to come up with some newer, crazier thing.  So what’s it going to be?  Will the Donald suggest blowing up the moon?  A hunting season on Muslims?  Hillary in collusion with Stalin?  Hell, it could be anything.  So what’s your guess?  How will the Donald distract from the next Hillary accusation?

Note: there is no prize.  You just get the warm fuzzy feeling of being correct should you name the actual distraction he chooses…

Clinton vs. Stein…

Posted August 1, 2016 by baconspress
Categories: Uncategorized

Generally speaking, it seems to me that Sanders supporters who still plan to participate have broken into two camps: those who plan to vote their principles and those who have taken a calculated position.  The calculated position is that we must all unite behind a single candidate or Trump might win so they overlook Hillary’s shortcomings like an abused spouse overlooks the occasional beating – because they fear the alternative.  I understand.  It’s not a position I can “get behind” but I do understand.

As an observation, I find it interesting that the DNC went to so much trouble to install a candidate who is so reviled and so unpopular she might not beat the caricature of evil that is Donald Trump but for our purposes, let’s just agree that Trump is a non-starter.  The topic is not Trump vs. Clinton.  The topic is Clinton vs. Stein.

Based on the available evidence, I believe Hillary will serve, in this order, A) herself, first and foremost, B) the corporations that own her and then, C) maybe, if there’s time and it doesn’t conflict with a) or b) above, “average Americans”.  The reality is that Hillary has already harmed me – and you, by the way.  All of us by undermining Democracy in America and me, personally, because I donated to the Sanders campaign under the false belief that the primary was an honest opportunity for people to choose from the available options though we know, now, that Hillary was “selected” before the first vote was cast.

The only argument I’ve seen against Stein is that “she can’t win”.  That’s called a circular argument and it’s a logical fallacy.  She “can’t win” only because people don’t vote for her because she “can’t win” because people don’t vote for her.  See?  It’s an argument that depends upon itself.  The moment we all unite behind her, she CAN win – just like Hillary, right?

I can not, in good conscience, vote for Hillary.  But the position voters just want to unite behind a candidate to ensure Trump loses so why not unite behind Jill Stein?  It’s a win-win.  Principle voters get to maintain their principles and position voters get the unity they seek – hell, they even get to still cast their vote for a woman…

The Psychology of Comey…

Posted July 7, 2016 by baconspress
Categories: Uncategorized

As it happens, I believe FBI Director James Comey when he says he didn’t coordinate his statement with anybody else.  I think if he had, some…re-writes would have been in order.  I seriously doubt he would have been allowed to make the statement he made the way he made it.  He was very clear about which laws Hillary has broken.  He was quite clear about all the various and sundry ways in which she broke them.  Then he just asserts no prosecutor would prosecute and runs from the podium.  (Ok, he wasn’t running, per se.  It was more like speed walking but he was clearly “aggressively unavailable”.)

Now, I’m no psychologist so it would be a mistake to consider this some kind of authoritative analysis but go with me, here.  It seems clear to me that some edict (ultimatum?) came down from on high that Comey was to be “Powelled”.  That is, his honorable reputation was to be sacrificed in service to “the goal”, whatever it may be.  (In Colin’s case the goal was to start George’s Wars.  In Comey’s case the goal is to install the corporate candidate…)

I can’t speak to the kind of inducements that might cause a person to go along with such things but people do, often, go along as instructed.  Comey knew he was going to accept his fate and recommend as instructed and the weak excuse that no prosecutor would prosecute was probably just the suggested cover story.  It doesn’t have to be true or even make sense, as in this case.  After all, prosecutors prosecute mishandling of classified information on a regular basis so that particular bit of pablum isn’t even worth wasting time covering.  The corporate media just needs a cover story to pound away on until enough people are out there parroting the lines…

But…Comey’s not stupid.  He knew that not only was his personal reputation being “Powelled”, he was crapping on his entire agency.  He was crapping on each of his agents, but most of all, he was crapping on the agents who participated directly in the investigation and who know that Clinton broke the law casually and repeatedly.

I think that’s why he was so careful to point out what a great job his team did by showing in such detail which laws Clinton broke and in exactly how she broke them.  He was defending his team – making clear without saying so specifically that they have what they need to prosecute because the agents involved did their job well.  Perhaps he’s hoping it will be viewed by his agents as a noble gesture to fall on his sword like that but it’s too late.  His command authority has been completely dismantled.  (Prediction: James Comey won’t be the Director of the FBI for too much longer…)

If you’ve been relying on the corporate media to tell you what Comey said, you’d be better off watching for yourself…


In Support of the Living Wage…

Posted September 23, 2013 by baconspress
Categories: Uncategorized

You know those ads in which the very serious voice-over claims to have information “the credit card companies don’t want you to know about”?  Turns out, the advertisement is for one of those credit management companies the credit card companies very much want you to know about.  If you, the consumer, have decided to pursue bankruptcy – you know, as a business strategy in an effort to reposition yourself for improved operations going forward (just like big business does when jettisoning pension obligations) – the credit card companies would first like to take a look at your finances…a very close look.

To that end, they’ve developed a detailed budget format.  I’ve had occasion to see one of these forms and I can assure you, it covers EVERYTHING.  They’ve thought of things you haven’t.  When setting up a personal budget, most people tend to think big; house payment, car payment, electricity, water.  But there’s also what’s known as “the Latte Factor”.  The idea is, if you stop by some local coffee stop every day and buy a four dollar latte, why, you’ve spent $120.00 month – $1,440 dollars a year you COULD have been giving to the credit card companies!  (For the record, I don’t really mean to denigrate the idea.  I support the notion of paying one’s bills…)

They’re looking for that.  It’s the form equivalent of turning you upside down and shaking to make sure your last shiny penny isn’t hidden at the bottom of a pocket.  They want to know, on average, how much you spend on birthday presents each month.  I mean, it’s VERY detailed.  The first time I saw one of these forms I was simultaneously impressed/sickened by the comprehensive nature of the personal invasion associated with credit card companies ensuring you’re not spending their money foolishly.  (I note there was no space on the form to explain that the good job you once had that allowed you to manage your debts is now done in China and all you’ve been able to find to replace it is a job – or two – in the “service industry”…)

This, of course, brings me toward my point.  (Just remember the form bit for a minute.  We’ll get back to it.)  Recently, I’ve been seeing “news” stories about fast-“food” workers staging one-day walkouts, agitating for higher pay.  By now, we’re all familiar with the stories of Wal-Mart paying its workers so poorly they’re forced to turn to state assistance even though they’re willing to work.  The other day, I heard there’s a group out there trying to get public corporations to list CEO pay as a ratio against the pay of the rank and file workers of their companies.  The idea is to “shame” CEO’s into paying better wages…as though CEO’s understand the concept of “shame”…

I don’t mean to pick on McDonald’s but a quick Google search shows that McDonald’s profits for 2012 came in at $5.5 billion dollars – that’s “billion”, with a ‘B’.  Wal-mart’s profits, sadly, were down a bit.  They had to settle for only $15.7 billion in profits in 2012.  Now remember, these are profits – the amount of money left over after all expenses (including wages) have been paid.  These days, a CEO makes roughly 204 times that of their average worker’s pay.

Sorry about the numbers.  I know they’re boring.  But the two preceding paragraphs are a kind of compare and contrast; what’s the situation for the workers as compared to the situation for the companies?  In the face of all of this, California is considering raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.00/hr to the incredible $10.00/hr by 2016.  Woo-hoo!  That means a person working full time for minimum wage in California will only fall $980 below the poverty line in three years instead of the $5,140 they fall behind now.  Assuming, of course, the poverty line doesn’t change between 2013 and 2016.*

More numbers, I know.  The worst part is that all of that is based against a “poverty line” that is, if I may say, ridiculous at best.  For a person to try to get by in most places in California on $22k per year is…difficult, at best.  You want to set a realistic “poverty” line?  Use that form I mentioned at the beginning – the one where the credit card companies want a realistic look at your spending habits.  Fill in real numbers.  Don’t try to tell me how little I need if I just forego heat or indulge in food only every other day.  (For my part, I won’t try to pretend everyone needs the newest iWhatever every time they come out with a new color…)  Do it on a county by county basis – because the cost of living really is different around the state.  Annualize it.

Once you’ve done that divide by 2,080.  (That’s the number of hours a full time employee works each year.  Did you know that?)  You know what you’ll have?  You’ll have a legitimate living wage.  And THAT’S my actual point.  It’s time to stop all the window dressing and symptom-treating and pay workers enough to live on.  Let’s pass THAT law.  (Yes, I know it would hurt small, mom-and-pop business so we’ll start with businesses that employ 20 or more people without any bunk regarding full or part time.)

Yes, I know all about the horrified, hand-wringing and dire, sky-is-falling predicted consequences from businesses that might have to find a way to squeeze by on profits of only $14.7 billion dollars a year.  (Oh, the huMANity…)  But I’ve taken enough of your time, for now, so suffice to say, for now, those calamitous predictions are wrong – just like every other worker reform that has occurred in the face of predicted destruction.  But I’ll come back to it.  There’s a lot that goes into this.  It’s better if we take it in bite-sized pieces…


 *  These are my back-of-the-napkin calculations so you can see (and I can remember) how I arrived at the numbers:

 Poverty line in California for one person, 2012: $21,780

Full time, 8/hr: $16,640/yr    $5,140 below 2012 poverty line

Full time, 10/hr: $20,800    $980 below 2012 poverty line

 Source: quick Google search, answered by  There are no numbers provided for one person but there’s a regular increase per individual of $7,640, which I subtracted from the listed 2 person poverty line of $29,420…

Hillary the Inevitable…

Posted September 16, 2013 by baconspress
Categories: Uncategorized

I’d like to say a few words about the inevitability of Hillary.  Before I do it’s important to clarify that I’m a liberal.  I’m not a Democrat but as of late, I DO play one in the voting booth.  In the last five elections, I voted for Clinton (Bill), Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Obama.  Four out of five wins.  (Yeah, I know…)

 One can’t talk about the Hillary Presidency without talking about the Bill Presidency.  That’s fair, right?  After all, one of Hillary’s selling points is that she’s a “two-fer”.  If you take Hillary, you get Bill, too!  I was a big fan of William Jefferson Clinton III.  I very much enjoyed the prosperity the country experienced while he was President and the entire time he was running the show I felt a general feeling of optimism about the direction the country was heading.  But, as it turns out, there were a couple of things.  (No, not Monica.  That was never any of my business…)

 It seems a fine point but I distinguish between legislation a President signs and legislation passed by over-riding a Presidential veto.  If he signs it, he supports it, even if his support is the result of a compromise.  There are three that particularly bother me and they are these: he signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which put the final nail in the coffin of American journalism, he signed NAFTA, which put in place the mechanism that prompted the exodus of American industry overseas, and he signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall which allowed the banksters to run rampant over the American – and world – economy.

 Now, I say again, I like Bill Clinton…so, I randomly decided he signed these destructive bills by way of compromise.  This was, I decided, the “give” so he could “get” the balanced budgets that were benefiting so many Americans – me included.  Again, without evidence, I decided he did it because he believed Al Gore would be allowed to serve the Presidency he won (Yeah, I know…) and if things began to go off the rails Al could step in with the proper fix…

 But that’s all conjecture.  I have no rational basis for believing any of those “explanations” – I just like Bill – so I can’t exactly point to pure speculation as a defense for signing such devastating legislation.  Besides, if pure speculation serves, it would be equally fair to randomly assume he signed those bills because somebody promised he would end up tremendously rich and a member of the Bilderberg Group.  (Which by the way, he is and he is…)

 The one thing I can NOT credit Bill with is the notion that he didn’t understand the potential impact of the bills he was signing.  I believe that Bill Clinton is the smartest person in any room he’s in.  Certainly he understood the risks of repealing Glass-Steagall.  The reason this is relevant is this: if Bill Clinton knew the risks of the bills he was signing – and, being the smartest person in any room he’s in, he did – having him back in the White House on a “two-fer” – even as the “First Gentleman” –  might not be the boon to liberalism many on the left believe.

 All of which brings us to 2004.  By 2004, several things were apparent: the 2000 “election” had been rigged in Florida.  The banksters were already running wild without controls imposed by Glass-Steagall.  American industry was fleeing – or in some cases being forced – overseas to cheaper labor markets, leaving a devastating hole in the American employment outlook.  All signs pointed to yet another rigged election – this one in Ohio – and the corporate media was covering the whole thing over with front page stories of which starlet had the best bikini body…with pictures!

 For clarity, when I say the GOP rigged the 2000 and 2004 “elections”, what they did was put their finger on the scale.  Their guy doesn’t “win” with 100% of the vote.  The “elections” are close.  In fact, the “elections” NEED to be close or the technique won’t work.  In 2004, there was one candidate with the needed popularity and gravitas to bring enough credibility to the Democratic ticket that it could easily outweigh any GOP fingers on the scale – one: Hillary Clinton.

 Liberal America tried to get her to run.  We practically begged her to run.  But when the chips were down and we needed her most, Hillary said “no”.  She was serving in the Senate at the time and she cited as her reason a promise she had made to her constituents that she wouldn’t run for President.  In honoring that promise, though, she doomed ALL Americans – her constituents included – to four more years of Bush 43.

 Truthfully, I think this is the main reason Barack Obama won in 2008.  When liberal America asked Hillary to fight for us, she said no.  When liberal America asked Obama to fight for us, he stepped up.  As it happens he hasn’t been up to the task but he stepped up.

 I’ll tell you this: Clinton supporters will continue to press the inevitability of Hillary and the truth is, if she ended up with the nomination I could vote for her without too many reservations.  But her “inevitable” moment passed in 2004 and I’d like to check my options first.  After all, it’s hard to put one’s faith in the person who stood idly by and watched while you got your ass kicked…