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Watching and listening to the Trump impeachment debates

Last night, I listened to the debate over the Trump impeachment vote; the 30 seconds given to each member to speak their mind forced everyone to not express anything unique or interesting. It forced concision. And among lawyers and lawmakers that may not be a bad thing, but to listen to hours of speeches last evening it was clear that all the Republicans and Democrats sounded the same, and listed out the same talking points, as if they all had “the memo” from their party brass. It was only toward the end when we heard the party brass themselves speak that some utterances that were in more detail as to the learned opinions of the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Sometimes, speaking at length is just verbal diarrhea. But that is the only time we get to hear an individual’s thought process. In 30 seconds, it is really easy for a Republican to say “there is no evidence against the President”, since that already used up a couple of those seconds. A few more of these sweeping sensatioanlist statements, and their time is already up.

Another use of the 30 second rule is that if you say something truly absurd, you don’t need to elaborate. You drop your verbal bombshell and just leave your nonsense hanging in the air. Like when one of the nameless, faceless speakers stated that Jesus was given more rights by Pontius Pilate than Trump was given by the Democrats. It had the effect of a crazy Trump tweet. There is no journalist asking the person questions, so the statement is disconnected, taken as it is. The beauty of crazy statements made to “the speaker” or of tweets made in social media, is that no one is there to question you, your grasp of reality, or ask for details. Who cares if Pontius Pilate consigned Jesus to carry his own cross, endure public scorn, and suffered 40 lashes, only to have nails driven through his feet and hands to the wooden cross at the end? What kind of numb-nut would say that Trump had it worse? It is great copy for those who don’t care about the Bible.

Would a more accurate comparison be to compare Trump’s public speaking appearance at a Michigan stadium yesterday (same day he was being impeached) to the Nuremburg rallies, and the propaganda against the Democrats as being like the Reichstag fire? Actually, it is close: the New York Times has compared it with Castro rallying his followers after the government did the same thing to him one year. The Nazi comparisons I’ve made as an example are kind of extreme too, and would only rankle die-hard Republicans. Those views don’t teach us much nor advance any discussion regarding articles of impeachment based on evidence. In fact they do the opposite, in inhibiting clarity of thought and in discouraging honest and open debate and discussion.

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As I have said elsewhere …

I have been saying for the past six months that the coverage of Donald Trump has the effect of support for the Republican presidential candidate. Other events also contributed, most notably the coronation of Trump which constituted the whole Republican convention from start to finish. The mediocre crop of candidates surrounding Trump did not want to team up to bring him down, effectively dividing the vote in Donald’s favour, and everyone was in on the punch line except those same Republican candidates.

But the media play a big role, and all coverage follows a pattern of Trump saying something stupid, and like a Greek Chorus, the media then reacts with pundits buy generic viagra with american express and, oh yeah, the Democratic candidates as well. The rest of the media, including the Democratic party, and anyone else with an informed and responsible opinion all seem to act as the “straight man” to the Donald’s “zingers”.  But it has always been clear that Donald plays the lead.

It is like a sitcom, a serious process of choosing the leader of the free world, which has now become indistinguishable from show business. A person who contributes nothing to any democratic debate, and advances no topic worthy of serious discussion. There is also this slogan — I think it was “Make America Hate Again”, wasn’t it? Seems about right.

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Crappy Album Covers #259 — Recordings of Enigmatic Individuals

Lee Harvey Oswald is one of many that lived during the days of the Kennedy assassination. That is, one of many Lee Harvey Oswalds. So at any rate, who the heck knows if this is the real Oswald? Of course, one of these Oswalds were killed days after the assassination by Jack Ruby. The Oswald, whom they refer to as the “lone nut”. I suspect that this is the Oswald the album claims to deal with.

It is hard to say if this LP made it as a “hit” record, even a short 3 years after the assassination in Dealy Plaza in Dallas.

Civil Rights activist. Co-founder of the Black Panthers. Author of the book “Barbecueing with Bobby”. Spokesperson for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. This is the enigma that is Bobby Seale.

This LP likely deals with the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. You see, Lyndon Johnson announced that he had enough of trying to fit into JFK’s shoes, and would not seek a second term. That meant that the democrats had to hold a convention to see who would lead. It was slim pickin’s, what with brother RFK assassinated also.

So what unity did the Democrats have after the Tet Offensive and the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King? Not much. You got Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Edwin Muskie. None of these people were a match for the opponent, Richard Nixon, who led a united Republican party to win the Presidential election.

The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago was held in what has been described as a Potemkin-style setting, in a building with bulletproofed walls, and chain-linked fences topped by concertina wire surrounding the perimeter. Demonstrators, ranging from moderate to radical, who had a myriad of special causes, but with Tet and Martin Luther King fresh in their minds, had what was intended as a peaceful demonstration, but which ended up as being violent. It has been widely accepted that the Chicago Police and the Illinois National guard were the instigators, and even journalists were getting beaten up. Among the roughed-up journalists were Dan Rather, and Mike Wallace.

Among the arrested, tried and jailed were members of what became known as The Chicago Eight, a loosely-connected bunch whose most prominent members included Bobby Seale, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin. The latter two were founders of the “Yippie” (YIP=Youth International Party) movement. Bobby Seale was not charged, although he was sentenced to 5 years for contempt of court, due to an outburst he had toward the presiding judge Julius Hoffman. The outburst was due to Seale being denied the attorney he wanted, and being denied the opportunity to represent himself. Seale was ordered bound, gagged, and chained to a chair for the remainder of the proceedings. Hence, the record cover. Because of the contempt of court charge, his trial was never heard, and the Chicago Eight became the Chicago Seven. The four-year sentence for contempt of court was one of the longest in the history of American jurisprudence for that charge.

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Crappy Album Covers #21 — Celebrity Corner

All people who put out albums are celebrities. I am only talking about people who actually have no business making records.

Shaq O’Neal has been a superstar on the basketball court. On this offering, he exposes to us his skills as a rap singer. It was widely known that Shaq had modest talents in this area, yet he had inflicted upon us no less than five rap albums, extending all the way to 2001.

This is the cover of a single, (I Know I Got) Skillz off of his 1993 album “Shaq Diesel”.

A decade earlier, you may remember Tammy Faye and Jim Baaker, who had hosted the PTL ministries. PTL stands for “Praise the Lord!”. I recall how they came under fire for increasingly shady practices.

Tammy Faye, years before this, was actually quite attractive, and had shorter hair and a pound less makeup , closer to the population average for females. This is her in the early stages of her getting into this “makeup store casualty” chic. She seemed to have believed that makeup should be applied to the face no less than an inch thick.

Apart from the fact that she should stick to preaching and singing on TV, the cover shows her in her unfortunate makeup casualty stage. There was a time a few generations ago that a woman simply wearing that much makeup and hairspray would have been considered vain and sinful.

The late president Ronald Regan was born in 1911, in the days of the horse and buggy. If that was a 1938 picture of Reagan, then he was 27 years old there. His acting career started in radio, then went to movies (which could have been either silent films or talkies). He became president of the Screen Actors’ Guild, then later Governor of California, then President of the United States. Quite a career path for a middling actor, not known for ever saying anything particularly quotable (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations does not list Reagan), unless it was something comedians could make fun of.
An album and album cover to be liked only for die-hard conservatives. There are 5 albums listed on allmusic.com credited to Ronald Reagan, but this is not one of them.
The next one is about Barry Goldwater’s recording of an acceptance speech, supposedly for winning the presidency against Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

And that is what makes this cover hilarious. The election was actually won by Lyndon Johnson, by a landslide (60%). So what was this guy trying to prove?

Another “Dewey Defeats Truman” episode. I can’t brag too loud for the Democrats, however, since it was Lyndon Johnson that escalated the Vietnam war, and by 1968, Americans had enough of him, and many began burning their draft cards in protest of the war.

History has shown that The Goldwaters, the accompanying campaign band for Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid, was the best thing that ever happened to Lyndon Johnson’s campaign. If all you do as a campaign organiser is get a bunch of amateurish but politically loyal musicians from local university campuses to show up with you on every campaign stop, you know you’re going to get into trouble.

The barely listenable music inside the album should cause one to re-title it: “Sing Folk Songs to Bug the Republicans”.

There are more of these kinds of albums which will be covered later, including albums by Democrats.