Looking FORWARD (For Once) To 2020

New years night going into 2020 was actually quite nice, given my situation. I spent it around people, but not in a crowd. I wasn’t hugging or kissing a woman, but I did a few toasts for the new year. Probably ate a bit too much, but at least I didn’t pig out. Had a beer or two, but not enough to break the law driving home.

First, A Memory:

I know it was at least twenty-two years before this – probably more like 24 years, but I’m not sure about the year. I can narow it down to a couple of years, but that’s about all.

Still, I remember a night where, after answering phones through the afternoon and into the evening I waited after 10 pm, hoping that after a few minutes I would be given the remaining cab and do some New Year’s Night driving. Lots of partying, lots of drinking, and one third of the runs would end up being “dry runs;” but I’d still bring in enough in fares and tips to make it absolutely worth it. As a taxi driver, New Years Night, along with Christmas and Thanksgiving, were the times you made your money as people needed your services and were especially thankful for you. There were also football games and other events, but it wasn’t like Chicago or New York where there was always enough out there to make bank if you hustled (this was pre-Uber and pre-Lyft, lest we forget) so you made your living (there was always enough for THAT) and profited when you could.

However, when the last cab left the lot at 10:15 with its assigned driver, I knew I had to do something other than what I was doing. So I went to the house of a friend who I knew was doing something that day…and sat for a half hour while the four other people there played hand after hand of a card game. I then went home, preferring to sleep.

That morning I called Joanne and asked if I could come over, and she said “yes.” New Years Night may have been nothing, but at least the day itself was saved.Read More »

Another Bus Service Ends In NW Indiana…

Grrr…..

Bad enough that, when I moved into NW Indiana there was a hodgepodge of bus services all over Lake County. At least there was a halfway decent route between downtown Chicago and where I lived, even if I couldn’t use it on a regular bases. There was also full service across Hammond (even if one of the bus routes went every hour-and-a-half) and the South Shore was around.

At least The South Shore Line is still around and is actually being invested in and even expanded. However, I’ve also watched as the Pace 355 route became a Rush Hour only service (If you ask me, they should have expanded into the Evening service. Needless to say, they made a point of NOT asking me.), Hammond Bus service go through a shining moment of good service before being killed off for a bunch of stupid bike path bridges, and taxi service in NW Indiana take hit after hit.

And now…the Coach USA service to the Chicago Airports is being closed down.

Thing is, I drive by the Coach USA terminal in Highland plenty of times, and it’s rare for that parking lot to be empty. Usually there’s plenty of cars in the lot, and with the Holdiays going on right now it’s full. I was seriously thinking about using it to go to and from the airport for an upcoming trip – but it looks like it may be down before then (note: took the bus to O’Hare, had to get another ride back).

And the thing is, I can’t help but wonder if the company (Yes, we’re talking about Venture Capital, alas…) got to the point where they figured that, even if the service was popular, that they’d rather close it down than acutally pay the drivers a good wage in order to keep the service up. After all, they shut down service to Valparaiso “due to not enough drivers out there,” it’s not actually much of a leap to figure that they’d rather not pay drivers than make a decent profit off a wanted service.

And thus NW Indiana takes another hit in the Quality of Life Department.

Thoughts about THE Peloton Advert

First, the Peloton Advert everyone’s slamming for the pleasure of it:


Now, my thoughts:

What I’m curious about is the story before this.
  • Was the woman talking about doing workouts before this?
  • Did she drop a couple of hints about wanting a Peloton?
  • Was there a sudden crime wave and she found herself hiding away in the house?
  • Did she complain about not being able to exercise due to having to drive around all day (Look at the line of cars in your average Suburban School pickup/dropoff zone at the beginning and end of school nowadays, and know that that stuff didn’t exist in 1983, when I graduated from High School.)?
  • Maybe she felt herself growing into the woodwork, and her hubby figured he’d make sure she didn’t need to talk about that anymore?
  • Maybe her husband had heard her talking about signing up for yet ANOTHER gym membership and figured he’d cut THAT idea off while he still could.

I didn’t see any fear or loathing in the video before the Peloton came on the scene. While one can posit that the guy became abusive later on, there’s still the idea that there was no fear from before.

Another thing that I notice is the lack of posing that the videos show. She looks very nervous in front of the cellphone, more aware of what she wants to show to the world instead of what she’s expressing – and even if her joys and pleasures are true, their expressions are VERY MUCH amateurish for the standards of a corporate commercial. More an inability to “give the right pose” for the camera instead of fear, if you ask me (I have an awkwardness in front of the camera still…).

Probably the biggest off thing for me is her giving her thanks to the camera instead of to her husband. Why give it in what amounts to a third-person way, when you could say it to his face? And the scene of them watching – it gives off the wrong vibe.


Now I get the “abused woman in danger” view. Her awkwardness in front of the phone camera can easily be read as fear of retribution should she not show enough “determined joy,” as can the shot of her groaning about waking up at 6am (the one shot that seemed to truly fit the commercial gestalt). And the thanks (again via the Telephone – the one thing that set me off), instead of teary thanks, can be easily read as a forced reading of a script she’s memorized in text but not quite in emotion.

However, we’re talking about Peloton – a company that’s so focused on marketing to their target market that they’ve lost touch of reality. They’ve so assumed that their sales pitch is so restricted to whom they’re marketing to that they say stuff better off left unsaid and do stuff better left undone. After an advertisement campaign that looked more like house porn than an advertisement for an exercise machine, we get this.

Not only that, but it’s usually 116 pound women who want to lose those last few pounds and make it 112, no matter what the cost. And that’s likely the market target for Peloton – the woman who’s fit enough but sees herself as not as fit as she wants to be.

As for the husband – one could say this commercial depicts him calling her bluff on that, and the woman basically backing her words with actions. No real abuse, no threats; just a women putting up when challenged.

Election 2020: What I’d Like To See

It’s getting near that time in the election cycle where people in various parties (Dems, Greens, Libertarians, Socialist – the Republicans were pussy-whipped into submission in 2016 and won’t get their manhood back until 2024, if they’re lucky) are getting to chose who represents them on the ballot in 2020…and already there’s a stampede of people saying “Vote Blue No Matter Who.”

A fair proposition, especially since there IS enough of a difference in the parties to make such a comment sayable. However, if there’s something that the Democratic Party should have learned in 2016, it’s that you can’t run on the idea of “Not Being Your Opponent.” There were enough people willing to sit out that election to make change the outcome, and that’s just the people who voted (and let it be noted that Democrats are nortorious for not voting – a party supposedly by the majority of registered voters (even removing the “illegal aliens”) found themselves shut out in many states when enough people sat down in 2010 to let sociopaths who knew how they wanted to fix things into government).

So, in hopes that the Democratic Party will for once listen to the rumblings outside and figure out that they need to What I want in the Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2020:

  1. Youthfulness. Anyone seventy years old or older is too old for the presidency, in my opinion. I thought we learned THAT lesson when Ronald Reagan started losing it during the 1984 Elections; 2016 proved me wrong (The two youngest candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties were Republican Hispanic men in their forties, and I would have been tempted to vote for either of them had they won the Republican Primary solely for that reason alone) and it looks like everyone’s doubling down on the benefits of Alzehimers (sorry Sanders, although I WILL vote for you if you win the primary).
  2. Further Left. Tax the Rich AND the dead (Yes, bring back the estate tax. And I say that as someone who’s benefited from the seeming sacred status of dead men’s monies)! Expand Medicare and Medicaid (at the very least make it so that someone starting to rise above the poverty level doesn’t lose ALL their financial aids and health insurance the moment they earn a buck over the zero point). There’s others, but these are the most important tome.
  3. If You Can’t Help Being A Neocon, At Least Show You Heard Us. In 2016 the two major parties ran with old Bottle Blond(e)s who chose confederate running mates. The difference was where that Clinton had just beat down a challenge from a resurgent radical wing of the Democratic Party, while Trump WAS the resurgent radical wing of the Republican Party. Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine looked very much like insult to injury, whereas Trump choice of Mike Pence was a rapporchment of sorts.
    This is important. While the Clinton supporters were saying “Vote For Our Candidate, We Order You To,” Trump was saying “I hear you, I get your pain, do know that I stand with you.” It’s something that Reagan understood, something that Bill Clinton understood, and that Obama understood; how Hillary could have missed it after eight years being the First Lady I don’t understand. Heck, had Warren been the vice presidential candidate I would have voted for Hillary – and, I think, so would have enough voters in enough states to insure victory for her.

And as a final note: Things have been sucking more and more for fifty years, nearly as long as I’ve been around. You want to insure that you get my vote? Tell me you get it, and I’m much more likely to want to give you a chance to show it.

It’s 2019. And? …

For the last year or so, I’ve been blogging about my regular pace – meaning very occasionally, when I REALLY needed to write my way through some thoughts I was in the middle of. And while I’ve been doing the normal writing stuff (trying to figure out what the bleep happened to the American Political system…I mean, was Robert Ailes REALLY given godlike powers of persuasion and we’re now finally seeing the full flower of them in the WHOLE of American politics?) there’s been a lot of other stuff going on in the background of my life.

So let’s start, eh? From the outside in, on the topics that have been key in my mind:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Continuing Implosion of Apple

In last year’s year-beginning article I commented on how Apple had intentionally engineered a phone of theirs so cheaply that it did stuff that it wasn’t supposed to (bend, fall apart, etc). One would think that they would have learned their lesson by now, but it turns out that their latest iPad offerings include ones that don’t even wait for you to use it a bit before bending. Meanwhile there’s still issues with the keyboards of their newer Macs of all kinds, and people aren’t buying the new iPhones at nearly the pace they were buying, even for the troubled iPhone 10 (and that is, of course, where they’re allowed to sell their phones…). Add to this the fact that the latest iOS was dedicated to bug fixes, and you’re talking about a company is the middle of some major troubles.

The fact is, 2018 has done nothing to buttress Apple as a company; instead it has shown that the company has fallen into a black hole of dysfunction based around the idea that they must stay profitable AND PHYSICAL QUALITY OF THEIR MATERIALS TAKE THE HINDMOST. Remember, we’re talking about a company that has turned the strategic removal of certain once-integral-but-now-dated technogies into simplification for the sake of simplification, and damn the consequences for those of us who can’t afford something new every moment. Whether it’s their computers, iPads or their iconic iPhone, they’ve traded solidness for lightness and expect us to continue to pay for it.

Now, I know full well that I predicted last year that Apple could easily become a zombie company in ten years time, there so that the rich could strip-mine its assets for the tribute they figured was theirs. I stand by that prediction, with a notice that I have a couple of older Apple products that I hope I can make last longer – long enough so that Apple can turn itself around, or I can deal with the ego-blow of letting my brother teach me how to work on the Windows/Google platforms (and trust me, he won’t let me let go of that should Apple decide to stick with their present path). However, for Apple to recover they will likely have to do the following:

  • Fire Cook. He’s locked Apple into a profit-oriented company, and the past two years has shown what happens when tech companies focus on the bottom line instead of their products.
  • Tougher products. We’re talking about a company that’s dictated to others certain items in the past (this despite them using a strongy proprietary system), they could probably make their products twice as thick as presently and the whole industry would fall over itself to follow their lead.
  • Make your products easily repaired and upgradable again. Goes back to tougher products, also makes computers more affordable over the long term – I can justify buying what I need now with the idea of playing catch-up later on, I can’t justify buying something planning for three years ahead of time as I don’t know what I’ll need in three years time.
  • When you make a mistake, OWN IT. Every Apple-hater loves to bring up the antenna issue on the iPhone 4, however there are major differences between then and now – The Antenna issue in the iPhone 4 was owned by Apple, a fix was put in place, and it was fixed. Apple has never owned how weak they made the iPhone 6 and they haven’t owned how weak they made the 2019 version of the iPad Pro. Just fixing it next issue is not going to work – they need to do something that says “my bad,” like they did with the iPhone 4. The iPhone 6 and 2019 iPad Pro needed strong cases to use around their products, and Apple needs to make a point of giving them away. What they offer doesn’t have to look nice (but then, the bumpers around the iPhone looked ugly), but at the very least they need to take ownership of the problem.

The “#MeToo” Backlash/Psy-Op

I can’t help but think that the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court could have been stopped had they stuck on the guy’s record. After all, he wasn’t a good justice, he wasn’t good with his finances, and he was one of these guys who looked like he had been handed everything on a silver platter all his life – and was ready for life to give him his comuppance, for once.

Then came the Sexual Assault allegation – and suddenly Kavanaugh went into “party bro pissed that his past was being held against HIM” pose. And his fellow Republicans unite behind him so that he makes it into the Supreme Court.

Thing is, I can’t help but think that this was a psy-op. Think of it – a guy with an iffy past suddenly becomes a cause-celebré of the right. Add to that, you have a bunch of (admittedly shaky) Democratic senators in Republican states suddenly find themselves unelectable due to a sudden exposure – either stand with the state and lose your urban support because you stood against them (and the party as well, who would quite happily put someone against you just to make a point) or stand with your party and lose the rural support. And as close to the election as it was, there was no time for them to remind their state how they stood and the details of their stands – it was stand up and take your hits.

And it did its job – remove the replacement of the Justice issue and chances are Trump would be facing BOTH houses run by Democrats. Not sure there would be a real chance of an impeachment reaching conviction (you’d need 2/3 of the Senate, and both attempts made so far (Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868; I’ll assume you know about Clinton’s trial.) came up short), but Trump would be much more constrained for the next two years.

Entering My Own Private Idaho

Partly because of what has been happening in my life (see below for a riff on thoughts from that) and partly from a decision made in the aftermath of the mess of a year that was 2017, I decided that I needed a break from what was going on. After all, if you’re going to experience a constant state of panic, you’ll need a space to recoup so that you don’t break down when you should be holding up the bridge when needed.

One odd place to take the lesson from is from Choir, but it’s an apt place as one can be stuck with singing some REALLY long notes with a bunch of people:

“This morning I have been pondering a nearly forgotten lesson I learned in high school music. Sometimes in band or choir, music requires players or singers to hold a note longer than they actually can hold a note. In those cases, we were taught to mindfully stagger when we took a breath so the sound appeared uninterrupted. Everyone got to breathe, and the music stayed strong and vibrant.

Yesterday, I read an article that suggested the administration’s litany of bad executive orders is a way of giving us “protest fatigue” – we will literally lose our will to continue the fight in the face of the onslaught of negative action. Let’s remember MUSIC. Take a breath. The rest of the chorus will sing. The rest of the band will play. Rejoin so others can breathe. Together, we can sustain a very long, beautiful song for a very, very long time. You don’t have to do it all, but you must add your voice to the song….”

Aimee Van Ausdall (not directy from her, something tells me it was meant for a personal post and the quote turned viral instead, complete with men being given credit for the thought to justify its becoming viral (just like before – and here’s the original of THAT one time…)…)

Another idea that had come into my head is to pick my stands and support others indirectly. So…I stand for allowing Bankruptcy Protections for Student Loans (Even as it implies the continued closing of smaller colleges around the nation). I also plan on supporting the arts; I can easily see myself helping out art spaces in Northwest Indiana, as well as the punk scenes presently going on around me.

Not that I don’t support other causes, but the above causes are presently where I plan on putting my main efforts into.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum Of ANY Sort

And finally, one of the reasons I found myself strangely sanguane compared to the people around me – I had to deal with the death of a VERY deal friend of mine. Joanne had been bedbound for nearly three years when she finally died, and while there was plenty of emotional issues I had to deal with it wasn’t nearly as bad (I was there when she became bedbound. Let’s just say expected demises don’t have the punch of an unexpected demise, especially when you’ve already done a good deal of mourning already), nor was I as strongly affected by outside happenings.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that some people view the absence of Joanne as a vacuum in my life and have sought to fill it to their benefit (and their benefit only, never mind me for that matter). I’ve found it necessary to back off and do stuff that has made certain people angry at me, all because of the blind self-interest that has reared its ugly head in the wake of Joanne’s death.

I’ve had to cut back on social activities recently because of this. I’m still doing stuff, but it’s more on my own. I’ve done plenty of stuff alone in the past, and I’m on familiar ground when alone, even when I’m taking on new habits and patterns in my life (as I’m doing at this moment). When “alone,” I can also pick and choose my allies carefully. The needy and greedy ones I can back away from, the more cautious and careful ones I welcome.

The thing is, of course, to remove the unwanted. Good thing for me they tend to uncover themselves in due time – although I’m sure that part of it is the necessary standoffishness that becomes necessary at certain times. After all, if you can’t tell whom to trust, you can at least tell whom to shy away from – that’s often enough skill to protect from the obvious scammers, even if it doesn’t give you access to greater things.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Finally, in preparation for the 2020 elections, I have a simple statement to make:

I will vote left if given the chance. I’ll vote Socialist, I’ll vote far liberal, I’ll vote Communist – hell, I’ll even vote for a Tankie (Stalinist – you got to admit, they won WWII in Europe and were the main catalyst for the end of the Japanese theatre of the war, Hiroshima and Nagasake to the contrary) over Trump. I have no problem being leftist. However, give me a candidate whose main point of being is “Not Trump(TM), and I’ll sit back and watch.

Want to whine about that? Go ahead – not only do I have popcorn ready, I also own Popcorn and Broomcorn stock; I also know of many others who’ll happily watch the world fall apart if the only choice we’re given is “fall apart now or fall apart slowly” so know that if the choices are as bad as they were in 2016 I plan on profiting from those who choose to spectate along with me.  I also understand fully that, at some point, you need to have the option to walk away (and take the necessary punishment for doing so) if you’re going to bargain. The Right has taken this to heart, and it has given them great power over the nation; once the Left figures this out they’ll finally be able to get some of their wishes and, at least, to halt the Rightward slide this nation has been on.

Thoughts on Election 2018

Here’s a few thought on what we saw last night:
  1. Methinks the #metoo movement ended up putting many Democratic Senators on the firing line. Vote no for Kavanaugh and watch a lot of Christian voters (who, for various reasons both Christian and not, were willing to stand by Kavanaugh) turn away from you; vote yes for Kavanaugh and watch YOUR base stay home. They were probably pushed into a no-win situation. This leads to two observations:
    • I smell a psy-op here, a successful one.
    • Finally, we’re seeing some standards being forced on the left. After forty years of “We’re not Republicans,” people on the left are finally being forced to stand on their principles and their promises. The Democrats may have lost this battle (the US Senate is now more tightly Republican Run, sadly enough) but I can see a war being won.
  2. Many Republican governors in Democratic-leaning states finally had to deal with levels of voting usually done during Presidential years…and they got tossed out. Also, many other places will see a stronger Democratic presence in their state, county and local governments. Hopefully all the left-leaning voters have learned that you must keep voting, and NOT to just show up every fourth year for the Commander-in-Chief.
  3.  Don’t be surprised to see more women and minorities (and, naturally, minority women) running for office. The Democrats have seemingly found a way to expand their officeholder base in a way that Republicans are very much unable to follow (esp. since much of their base believes fully in an order of sexes that dictates against women taking leadership positions), so expect more minorities and women running for office (including a black woman for President – the ONLY way a woman will win President the first time around).
And finally: Voting is the least one can do, but one must always do the least. As long as some changes can be made by voting, one should vie for such changes by the vote. Do know, however, that it doesn’t END there – there are other ways to act, both individually and collectively, both legal and illegal; and anyone who just settles for voting will be as frustrated as those who bemoan the vote because it doesn’t automatically give them everything they will want ten years from now (as well as what they want now, the way they want it).

Ten ’80s Songs For A 9 Year Old Daughter

I read a post on Facebook that asked the question about which ten songs one would play for a nine year old daughter in order to introduce her to eighties music. I gave a quick, somewhat thoughtful answer, then spent the next few hours picking it apart.

So…here’s a second try, complete with justifications and alternatives.

  1. When Doves Cry – need something by Prince. Could also have 1999, Little Red Corvette, or if you want to show how deep Prince penetrated you could play Chaka Kahn’ version of I Feel For You or Manic Monday as done by The Bangles.
  2. Invisible Touch – Phil Collins dominated the ’80s for good or ill, both solo and with Genesis (indeed, the eighties would prove welcoming to Prog Rockers willing to show people how to do pop right). Invisible Touch is probably the purest version of a Genesis/Phil Collins Song in the ’80s, so it gets listed here (although In The Air Tonight can be argued for as this song is a legacy by itself – complete with its own Urban Legend).
  3. Lucky Star – can’t forget Madonna, the female version of Phil Collins or Prince. While Holiday (her first hit), Like a Virgin (the bust-out) and Into The Groove can be argued for, Lucky Star was the song that proved her mettle, both preceding and outlasting Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark on MTV.
  4. Eight Miles High, Hüsker Dü – Punk/Hardcore May have been a small part of the eighties music scene, but it was a part of a musical movement that would lead to the mid nineties Alternative scene. While one could easily choose Black Flag (Annihilate This Week, amongst others), Dead Kennedys (Halloween is their best song, IMHO) The Circle Jerks (Killing For Jesus comes to mind) or some others, Hüsker Dü’s Eight Miles High is probably the purest example of what the Punk/Hardcore scene was about and what drove others there.
  5. Give Me Back My Man (Wild Planet version), The B-52s – Also part of what would become Alternative, the B-52s were a band that, at its best, could write about ANYTHING and make you dance to it. My suggestion is but one song (and even here one could make a case for the extended mix of the song, hence my specifying the Wild Planet version of the song) as there are plenty of other songs off the first four LPs and two EPs one could pick (Starting with Cosmic Thing the band began taking themselves a bit TOO seriously as a party band.).
  6. Blue Monday (The Original version, out 1983) – with this song New Order not only stepped out from the Shadow of Joy Division (and thus into immortality) but also pointed the way to the future of dance music.
  7. World Destruction, Afrika Bambaataa with Johnny Lydon – Rap started as party music done live, but as it began to show up on vinyl it began speaking on graver matters. Here you get a mix of Rap and Post Punk attitudes in a heady mix of music about the coming end of the world. A case can be made for Walk This Way by Run DMC (and Aerosmith), but World Destruction is the more interesting song.
  8. Bring The Noise, Public Enemy – Before Gangsta Rap focused the Rap world on drugs and “bitches,” there was plenty of Rap focused on Black issues that got strong play, and while one may not like PE’s answers (or maybe one would – I’ve read plenty in the social left scenes that would be in full agreement with The Black Muslim view on the Causes, even as they make a point in not taking the Black Muslim viewpoint on the cure) Bring The Noise is a good place to start. One could also try out NWA’s Fuck Tha Police, but only after some thought.
  9. Livin’ On A Prayer, Bon Jovi – and now we must deal with Hair Metal, aka 80s Glam, more properly known as overproduced “hard rock.” As distasteful as the genre is, it does make sense as a logical extension of many aspects of ’70s Rock and Roll. Bon Jovi gets listed here because they’ve been the most steady of these groups, one could easily make a case for Round And Round by Ratt, Girls Girls Girls or Dr Feelgood by Motley Crüe, and Lookin For A Good Time by Poison.
  10. Don’t Shed A Tear, Paul Carrick – as keyboards and synthesizers matured into useable instruments, their aesthetic began to seep into the still vital Adult Contemporary market. There are plenty of songs by plenty of artists that could fit here, this is one of the more memorable ones and also allows me to bring up someone a bit obscure to talk about (see below for a suitable replacement).

And as for some “Omissions:”

  • Michael Jackson was outside the trends, and was well on his way down by the time Bad came out.
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic was more a sideshow than a tastemaker, and tended to be more a barometer of greatness than great by himself. THAT wouldn’t happen until well into the ’00s, when his longevity got noticed.
  • Bruce Springsteen was more a beneficiary of the ’80s than anything, and with Tunnel Of Love Bruce took a hard turn into The Wilderness where he stayed for a full decade.
  • Kate Bush was a sui generis, Tori Amos would reign in her shtick and use it as the first strike (along with Riot Grrl) to start what would be a revolution in the ’90’s.
  • The Go-Gos were but a flash in the pan, although Belinda Carlisle could easily replace Paul Carrick in #10 with either Mad About You or Heaven Is A Place On Earth.
  • and finally, Sun City by Artists United Against Apartheid is probably the one song that belongs in the above top 10 list, and would easily make it at #11. As part of the Artists United For A Cause(tm) movement in the mid-80s, Sun City stood apart by actually being successful in its goal (making Sun City uncool for artists to play at).

So that’s my list. Take it with however much salt you need as the above is personal opinion, however much informed by observation and knowledge.

What’s This About The Ford Active “No Longer Being Planned For The US Market?”

Some odd musings about Liberal Issues:

I read a lot of stuff in Facebook about how “Ford Was Schooling Trump About Car Manufacturing By Canceling The Ford Active In The US.” Which may be true, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on behind the scenes:

  • Ford was already cancelling their whole sedan lineup. Anything that sat lower in the ground than a Escape was already planned to be removed from the Ford lineup in the next few years, due to people wanting bigger cars.
  • One of the two nontruck vehicles was the vehicle in question. Yes, it was to be a crossover; but it was a small car that would be able to fit into the city landscape. (and yes, the article is out-of-date; the idea of the article was to report on something happening, not on something that was about to be cancelled).
  • Ford Didn’t expect to sell a lot of Actives in The USA. At less than 50,000 units/year, we’re not talking a lot. And when you can no longer build multiple lines on an assembly line to justify the expected low level of sales, it can be hard to justify a single offering that you don’t expect to sell that well.
  • Trucks sell, cars don’t. I remember during my most recent visit into Iowa seeing a lot of trucks on the road. Understandable seeing as people used their trucks on the farm, but as I heard from someone who lived among them, farmers always bought two trucks – the bare-bones model for use on the farm, and the decked out vehicle (Complete with stickers all over the tailgate) for driving into town.

Now I fully get this – the same forces that brought about the 1957 Coupe De Ville, the long land-yacht-like vehicles of pre-oil crisis early 1970s, and the SUV/Truck onslaught that I found suffocating in the mid-late 2000s still find ways to come back in full force. Still, this does not sound/read like the Ford Motor Company that I’ve long respected – the car company who stuck by their small offerings even as they weren’t profitable. And while I understand “Market Forces” (i.e. how libertarians and corporatistas couch their ideal of Popular Opinion stomping over all else – especially when it’s apparent that Popular Opinion is but a code for Monopolistic Dictat), there’s still something about a company doing the wise thing against all seeming sense and triumphing when “The Market” comes back around – and Ford Motor was one such company that could be said did “the right thing” and profited when “the right thing” became the right thing to do…and now they’re just chasing the present money for money’s sake.

However, I can’t help but think that this is a(nother) case of Trump rubbing his shit at Liberal sensibilities. Think of it: He sees something that Urban America Elites and Elite Wannabees might like (a small, car-based Crossover vehicle that could easily be Hybrided or made fully electric), proceeds to shove it out of the market and watches as the UAE/EWs mock him for taking away one of THEIR choices.

Another way to look at it: Ford Motor has decided to absent themselves from the sedan and coupe market outside of a pony sport car and a Crossover for the city. Trump moves in such a way as to remove the one Vehicle that Ford Motor wants to market in America that can operate in the city for human transport. And in response – cheers from the groups of people who might want that vehicle.

Never mind that the Ford Active is to be made in China and in Europe. Never mind that the Wayne, Michigan factory which was making the Focuses is now being readied to make the New Ford Ranger. And never mind the spectacle of American companies thumbing their noses at major sectors of the American Market (With the Implication that Trump’s actually doing Ford’s bidding by giving them an excuse to remove the Active from the American Market). We’re looking at a supposed spectacle of “Corporate America Telling Trump Off” and Urban America cheers.

This isn’t the left I remember and loved. Corporations are to be tolerated and avoided wherever possible, and when unavoidable held to standards and looked at with jaunticed eyes, not cheered on for abusing others.

Was Trump Set Up To Become President? Three Things That Happened:

I’ve always been of the mind that Donald Trump didn’t necessarily want to become President. Sure, he ran and ran hard, but that’s because he’s always styled himself as a successful businessman, and the one thing that successful businessmen always do is finish what they start. Even if things fail (and Trump, long known to bankruptcy courts, is no stranger to failure), he understands that finishing is one way to succeed, and that sometimes the image is more important than the reality.

However, one can make a case that, at a certain point, Trump was the Chosen candidate. After facing down the crowd of candidates that was the Republican Party, it is entirely possible that Trump was chosen at the president WELL before the elections were done, complete with the scenario set up where the Great Lakes/Midwest struck by forty years of economic abandonment (outside of Chicago, natch) and a Pennsylvania butt-hurt by the treatment given to their holy University in State College turned around and changed their voting habits around enough to shift the election. (And yes, I know what it implies – that 2016 was set up; and it’s possible that so were other earlier elections. And that doesn’t mean 2000 either – if one can freely consider 2000 and 2004 as set up, one must conisdier 2008 and 2012 were set up for optics and other reasons as well).

What would give me that idea? Three different occurrences:

  1. Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court as a replacement for Anthony Scalia, and the Republican opposition. One could say that this was basic Republican Obstructionism (Do note that the Repbulican party had been given marching orders that it was better that America died than that Obama had a victory), but Merrick was a softball pitch to the Republicans when most of the polls were positing Hillary Clinton wiping the floor with Trump and her coattails reaching down to Dog Catcher in some village elections. One wonders whether Obama knew something many people didn’t (and the difference between your average voter and Obama is that Obama was in a position to know. Many people picking Trump to win were reading tea leaves and picking up cues and clues amongst their circle of friends and acquaintances, Obama would have had The Deep State with its multiple ways of knowing stuff) – and the Republican congressmen, with a goodly portion of that same knowledge, made a conscious bet that they could do better.
  2. The NRA deciding to only give to Republicans. Now I will grant that they have always favored Republicans, but in 2016 they made a point of disavowing Democrats. Makes one wonder if they felt they didn’t have to spend as much money – or if there was a threat felt to purify their selection process (add in whether they were with the Republicans) or they’d be left behind. Would explain their endorsement of a historically pro-gun control Donald Trump.
  3. The sudden rise and ensconsing of the word “gaslighting” to mean “Abuse by attacking the memory.” Think of it – a term used in a way that I had never heard of before suddenly being used as if it was a full member of the English langauge, complete with a back history that made it seem like it had been around longer than it was. There was no awareness of the term as a slang term, no bubbling up from the depths, no awareness from odd corners, not even an appearance of the term complete with explanation – just a sudden introduction of the term as if it was common knowledge.

So together, we have a collection of odd, seemingly disparate happenings which, if put together, seem to hint at a decision made in backrooms amongst power brokers (or, at least, at a foreknowledge of the outcome). A gamble made seemingly against all signs and all sense, a lobbying group going against their history, and a term seemingly created with the intent of rallying the troops in opposition –  I doubt all this would this have happened without someone knowing what would happen and preparing for it ahead of time.

Welcome to 2018 – If 2018 Will Have You

An Odd Bit Of Background:

Early in 2016 I had a dream in which I was getting ready to move into a house which was made with high-tech materials which were supposed to hold up to everything. Unfortunately the materials couldn’t hold up to each other, and the house started falling apart almost from the beginning – even as efforts were being made to keep it up. Eventually I had to tell the workers to stop working on what was left of the building, and what remained quickly collapsed onto the ground. A horrific enough dream, with an easily understood meaning (which came true almost immediately).

The dream continued, however, and I then looked off into the valley below, where a city had grown with all sorts of buildings and amenities visible and hidden to the eye. I don’t remember the exact comment I made, but it was something about the stuff below falling apart (maybe a wish for it not to? I don’t remember), but right after I made the statement things started falling apart. Buildings fell, transit systems mafunctioned, vehicles crashed into each other – just EVERYTHING that could go wrong seemed to suddenly WANT to go wrong, and in the worst possible way.

And while I woke up after a few things fell apart, I wouldn’t be surprised to have watched things collapse, fall apart or otherwise get destroyed for as long as I was sleeping.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

On Myself:

Now, the dream is nearly two years old (as of the publication date of this blog entry), but in telling me what to look for and (in code) what will happen, it’s still the clearest guide I’ve had in a long time. It told me that my life was about to fall apart in some ways, and it did so. It also told me that the world was about to fall apart as well – and while I was to fix my life, I was to watch the world as its wreckage grew.

I have made my efforts to fix myself (as I said last year, for the first time ever I could say I was an adult instead of acted like one for a small bit), although I keep finding stuff and wouldn’t be surprised if there were limits to my developing of virtue/destroying of vice. Especially at the age of 52 going on 53, with more of my life behind me than ahead of me.

Looking Outward:

As for the outside world, we’re talking about some MAJOR issues. There was a lot of fighting going on to protect certain sacred cows, but it appears that Presidente-For-Life Trump won the two most important things he and his allies were fighting for (I don’t expect him to retire from office. Whether he dies in two days or twenty-and-two years, he’ll die as active president, the 25th amendment be damned.) – a Tax Code made to insure that money flows solely to the rich and to corporations (citizens – note that we’re not talking of people, but corporations as citizens and therefore as having rights), and the right of Corporations to dictate what we see in the internet. Anything and everything else is moot, as the system has been fully set up.

There’s plenty of other things going on in the outside world as well. Between Fox and Sinclair Broadcasting, radical conservative broadcasting looks to have a stranglehold on the American Broadcast Television market. The telecoms have been working to insure that they have the right to control what gets looked at online – indeed, at this moment one has to wonder why they’re not freely dictating what’s seen and not seen (of course, this may have already started. I’ve noticed troubles downloading Verizon-owned Yahoo! Mail onto my T-Mobile cellphone, wonder if this is the beginning.).

I won’t comment on the TV thing, except to note that, like the tax law commented on above, this has been forty years in the making. These people have been playing the long game, and the fruits of their plans are JUST beginning to ripen.

On Hollywood Finally Being Forced To Get Its Act Together:

Speaking of the Mainstream Media (Television and movies mainly, although it’s extended to radio and politics, to varying degrees of success), the Sexual Abuse of women has finally become an offense worthy of wiping someone off of the face of the entertainment world. Starting with the bizarre spectacle of Bill Cosby being outed as a guy who could only get it up when the female was literally out of it, the movement against molesters suddenly gained steam as men who were in actual positions of power and glory got knocked down off their perches. Starting with Harvey Weinstein and his cavalcade of victims, we get Kevin Spacey being outed as having a thing for BOYS, Louis CK getting destroyed for HIS habits, Garrison Keillor wiped off the face of the earth (Did you know there WAS a show named A Prairie Home Companion?) and politicians from Al Franken to Roy Moore either resigning their seat or losing elections in places they should have cakewalked to victory in. We even got stories on the width of Roman Polanski’s lustings over teenage girls (let’s just say Samantha wasn’t the first nor the youngest, just the person who spoke up and was believed).

Maybe it was the fact that many of the men being outed and tossed out of the Entertainment and Political world were old enough to have been retired in an earlier, “less progressive” time. Surely they were offputting enough to have been cracked jokes about (as an example from across the pond, listen to people talk about Jimmy Savile in the ’90s, when people would joke about the then well-thought about guy).

On a more positive note, it’s possible that the old boy’s system is falling apart and is being replaced by women. After all, the top three movies in 2017 (Star Wars 8 – The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman and Beauty and The Beast) were Female-fronted movies, with Wonder Woman directed by a woman. It’s possible that, more than clearing away some dead weight, Hollywood may, after a decade of the rising power of its female stars, be ready to hand more and more power to women – and cleaning up its support and power structures in an effort (and part of the price paid) to do so.

Cyber Bullshit Rising:

Meanwhile one of the most anticipated movies to come down the pike is a movie titled “Ready Player One” – a movie where life in the real world is depicted as having gotten so bad that people escape to cyberspace to feel like they have any sort of agency; and CyberCurrency (BitCoin, LiteCoin, IOTA, etc.) has suddenly become the biggest thing in the internet since browsers could put images on the same page as text.

Now, the fact is I could do without Ready Player One, since we’re talking about a movie where escape from reality is treated as the primary right. Never mind the frightening ideas that come out of such a thought (Imagine an imaginary world so alluring that the real world can go to shit and you don’t care, Imagine a world so ugly and distasteful that an alternative cyber world is a necessity…); I can assure you that any power that can make your life on earth so hellish that you give up all hope of improvement within the real world will also be able to make life in the escape world so hellish that you wish you could find your way back to the real world. That’s the thing about absolute power – it brooks no limitations on the pain and suffering of those under its boot, backing off only when it’s amused enough to merely watch for the moment.

As for CyberCurrency, it scares me to death. You think a bunch of old guys whose sole reason for their power is their control of money is bad, imagine a bunch of wired up geeks who know (and wish to learn) no concept of mercy, for whom a major source of pleasure is seeing how many people they can make lose their jobs FOREVER, whose emotional identifiers are arrogance and autistic separation from the people around them – imagine these geeks going around with control over your money. At least the old guys everyone calls Banksters understood human desires and were willing to give you the chance to become independent of them (or at least could deal with that possibility); the computer geeks of Silicon Valley have plans of taking absolute control over your being and giving you nothing – not even the concept of relief from pain and hopelessness – in return. And…whatever you may say about Gold, it is an item with a supply that is strictly limited – can you say that about cyber currencies? Remember, any Fiat Currency is limited only by the self-control of the person or persons in control of said currency – and that includes currences that are solely ones and zeroes, with the additional note that such currencies can disappear without a trace or a thought (you have to work to make an real-world fiat currency become worth nothing once it takes on a steady worth.)

Implosions Possibly Happening Now:

Speaking of things that should not be, this year has seen the beginnings of the utter collapse of two items. Many folks will know about them, others will learn about it in due time.

The first implosion I see starting was Cook County (And Chicago, and possibly Illinois, with it), thanks to the attempted “Soda Tax.” foisted upon the county in desperate need for tax monies (in part because of a state-instituted shortfall in retirement monies), the short-lived tax caused such an uproar that the county was forced to rescend the taxes about two months after instituting them – and the collapse, I think, is nowhere near stopping.

One thing you must understand about living in urban areas – people have much less of a problem paying taxes in urban areas in part because they see them as part of the cost of living in an urban area. You want good libraries for you and the kids, you pay a library tax; you want good mass transit, you pay the Transit tax; you want good water wherever you go, you pay the Sewer bill, etc. As long as the taxes aren’t TOO onerous or arbitrary and the people understand where the money is going they’ll pay, and those who don’t want to pay move to Northwest Indiana and enjoy the “Red-Headed Stepchild” status that northwest Indiana enjoys (Enjoy because it’s chosen. Again, those who live in NW Indiana know that services are crappier across the border from Illinois, but they live there anyway for reasons – and many of those reasons are indeed understandable, even once you strip out the bullshit that passes as news about Chicago.).

The Sodapop tax (actually sweetened beverage tax, as only water was untaxed and some places went so far as to tax THAT alongside everything – that’s how organized the opposition to the tax was amongst the corporations being gifted a cause in which they could play the good guys for once) broke those rules – especially once it became known that SNAP recipients could not be taxed for buying pop. Once that favoritism was thrown into the mix, it became a matter of time until the tax was doomed – and the moment we learned that what was expected to bring in $5 million/month had only brought in $300,000 in that same time (implying losses of other taxes from grocery shoppers translating into a likely loss in overall tax revenue) insured that the tax was doomed.

And the thing is, I’m sure many people who had gone to the extemes of going to Elgin or Hammond (a Walmart just over the Illinois border, natch) or even all the way to Kenosha, Wisconsin, found themselves rethinking their love of Chicago. After all, if there’s no logic to the taxation, the state can’t even make its bills, if the state has its local and county-wide safety nets destroyed and its governments forced to embrace cruelty towards those in need (which I’m sure Rauner is counting as his proudest action at the moment – if you can’t celebrate your successes, why not celebrate your enemy’s failures and losses?); why not move elsewhere? Do you REALLY need mass transit, or a store within three blocks of you when you can drive to the town’s Walmart and stock up for the next two weeks? Do you really need to care about the local poor when you can insure that your larder can last for a month?

The second implosion I saw starting this year is of The Apple Corporation.

Think of it: You know something’s going wrong with a certain item, but nobody seems willing to take you seriously. They either look at you funny, or give you “logical explanations” for what you’re experiencing, and either way making you feel stupid for even bringing the item up. And then, suddenly –

¡¡¡BLAM!!!

An instance of what you’ve been talking about has been admitted to, and suddenly everyone must take you – and your dismissals of ALL their points, across the whole time range you’ve been arguing your points – seriously.

That is what happened to a lot of iPhone users who had been complaining for years about the company slowing things down with new iOS updates that happened to come when a new iPhone came out when it was discovered that Apple had put in some battery management programming to insure that phones with worn-down batteries could continue to run under cases of heightened demand. Never mind [a whole bunch of logical reasons I had put here but decided to remove for brevity and honesty purposes]; since Apple has been proven to have slowed down their phones on this one occasion, they must be guilty of having done so since the first iPhone.

Mind you, Apple is a company that once was known for doing things RIGHT and, to be honest, has been living off of that reputation for too long; so in a way SOMETHING was bound to come up. And even if their actions are justified (as I think they are in this case), we’re talking about a situation where a whole mess of wrong – true, false, or mythical – has finally been confirmed as truth. And while Apple has plenty of money and is still profitable, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the company has become a zombie corporation in ten years time, with nobody buying their stuff and “venture capitalists” strip-mining the cash hoards for their stakeholders.

Implosions Happening Sometime In The Future (so far as I can see):

As for a lot of other institutions, there’s lots of bloat and ballooning going around. Higher Education, Medical, Lawyering, even many of the so-called STEM disciplines – every one of them is bloated at the top and is quite happy to cut out the meat of their businesses, sure that the boys in Silicon Valley will come in with “better, stronger, more sustainable, more robust, cheaper, more easily kept up” solutions – and for some reason keep redefining all the definitions to justify their cutting. Professors are replaced with “Adjucts” who are de facto stand-ins for the computerized learning gets stuffed into universities for the same excessive costs, Medicine costs rise as service drops and people come to fear going to the doctor, Law Schools pump out multiples of the number of lawyers actually needed, music goes from an art worked out by people to a mechanical science worked through computer algorhythms and auto-tune.

And if you think poets, painters and pianists will be left alone, I suggest you check out AlphaGo and AlphaZero – If they can shake up both the Go and the Chess worlds after a limited amount of self-learning, I’d hate to see them set upon the idea of poetry and novel-writing. They could easily destroy whole areas of human activity, if the nerds of Silicon Valley decided to do so.

In short, there’s a whole lot of stuff that desperately needs to be destroyed – and the folks in power are destroying EVERYTHING ELSE.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Not very positive, is it?

Well, that was the vision of the future I was given, and unless and until I recieve a different vision of the future coming, I’m sticking with it. Doesn’t mean I’m not looking nor that I’m without hope, just means I haven’t seen it yet.

The simple fact is, I’m not about to let myself be brightsided. Indeed, I’m beginning to think about putting up a page on this that would list all of America’s favorite saying that I would proceed to demolish. That may be another posting, but know that there are plenty of phrases NOT stated by Nietzche that are as stupid as the Nietzchian bromides that keep getting shoved up my ears whenever someone wants me to ignore what’s going on.

Hopefully this year goes better. I’ll be watching, don’t you doubt that.