Do We Miss Richard Simmons?

I met Richard Simmons once in my life. He was traveling through the McGhee-Tyson airport in Three Stooges pajamas. I stopped and said hello, and he insisted we take a picture together.

The creator of “Deal a Meal,” “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” and other wildly iconic fitness gimmicks was a fixture in media for some time. Then in 2014, he disappeared. Simmons didn’t return phone calls from friends. He stopped talking to people that visited his Hollywood Hills mansion.  Something was wrong.

Was Richard Simmons missing? Did someone kill him? Was he being held hostage by his housekeeper? Apparently speculation ran so rampant Simmons did an interview on the Today Show last year to let people know the rumors of his demise, capture, or otherwise were completely unfounded.

That’s not good enough an explanation for Dan Taberski, one of Simmons’ friends, a Daily Show producer, and former regular at the “Slimmons” exercise classes Richard taught up until his “ghosting” from public life. In an effort to get some closure or answers regarding the fitness celebrity’s disappearance, Taberski launched a weekly podcast in the vein of NPR’s “Serial” called “Missing Richard Simmons.”

When I first read “Missing Richard Simmons” was “like “Serial,” but better,” I had to give it a shot. The first two episodes have been interesting, and I’ll continue to give it a shot into the third episode. It’s full of stories about Richard Simmons and his interactions with the public. It also raises a very troubling question: Does Simmons owe the public an answer as to why he’s peaced out of public life?

Taberski seems to intimate the answer is “yes” through the two episodes he’s cranked out so far. His rationale is that with the amount of people Richard Simmons helped lose weight over the years, simply refusing to speak to anyone isn’t good enough. There are some, possibly Taberski, to whom Simmons owes at least a courtesy call or text saying “I’m taking a break.”

This view smacks of entitlement, foolishness, and a complete disregard for Richard Simmons as a human being. The sad thing is Taberski manages to acknowledge without saying in two episodes exactly why Simmons is entitled to remain “missing,” and either doesn’t understand or is cleverly keeping the audience listening to find out.

Two episodes in we learn Richard Simmons is a very emotional caring person who can be described as a giver of the highest sort. He saw a calling in helping people who didn’t look like gym rats get fit and stay fit, so he actively pursued that calling. It made him millions, but the money wasn’t as important as the lives he touched. That would explain why up till his sudden disappearance, Simmons still taught exercises classes for twelve bucks a head.

Eventually, the giving wore out.  There’s only so much a person can give of their time, money, and energy before there’s nothing left to give. If one follows this basic axiom and applies it to what we know about Richard Simmons, his obsession was giving people the gift of health and making sure they stayed healthy. Simmons gave and gave until there was nothing left in his tank. As a result, he decided to go into isolation until he could recharge his batteries.

Taberski, the Slimmons regulars, and those whose lives were bettered by Richard Simmons are right to care. It’s as if a close friend kept a great, positive relationship with you for an extended period of time and then stopped talking without any explanation. If they want to hear from Simmons again, the best thing all parties could do is take one simple principle to heart.

You are entitled to nothing. The world owes you nothing. 

This is true in relationships, business, hell all of life. You are owed nothing, even if it’s an explanation why one of your business associates decided to stab you in the back. No one “deserves” an explanation from another human why they decided to hit “unfriend” on Facebook. Yet we feel we are deserving of such issues, and that only speaks to the hedonism and narcissism of our modern society.

If Richard Simmons wants to stay missing, he can stay missing. He’s earned his money. He’s made his relationships. Like any adult, he’s free to do with them as he pleases.

Until the next episode catches my attention, I won’t be missing Richard Simmons, and honestly you shouldn’t either.

When Good Guests Strike

We had guests at the Compound this weekend. A family of four. This meant eight people in a household normally designed for four. You can imagine the productivity in the house went absolutely to shit.

The guests were perfect, surprisingly. One is a badass who works with the State Department and has probably toppled three governments and assassinated a few dictators, if not drug lords. He’s currently studying Spanish for his next job in a country where we’re not building a wall and making said country pay for it. As you can imagine, he’s a completely nice, wonderful guy who has nothing but love in his heart.

His wife is the perfect person for his next assignment. A Spanish teacher, she’s taught everywhere from Africa to Australia as her husband travels. Their two kids are the epitome of everything you’d want in kids: bright, looking into science and engineering, athletic, and inquisitive. She speaks Spanish to her kids just as much as English, and the kids responded in return.

I expected the two days to be a shitshow. No sleep, complaining kids, no help whatsoever. Again, there was a surprise. They did the dishes. They helped with the kids. We took everyone to the zoo yesterday and they graciously paid for all the people needing tickets. They were gracious when we made them dinner.

Today they leave, and life returns to normal. I’ll actually miss the lot of them. It was a nice visit, and one that forced me to relax a bit. Yesterday I got the first chance to really “play” and relax. The four guests were completely wonderful, and the time flew by to the point I didn’t even realize what hour it was and when the kids needed to be in bed.

The weekend was a nice reminder that not all house guests are like viruses. You can have a select few that are good and will give you a good time when they come by. A select few might even make your life easier when they show up. It just depends on the person or people who show for a few days.

Still, horrendous curmudgeon that I am, I waited to figure out when they would leave, what time, so I could put on my nice happy smiley face, wish them a good day, and then get back to my normal business of being an utter bastard. That’s what my people do. We act like we’re the nicest on earth and preach civility until someone acts a fool or tries to be a dick, then the lawyer kicks in and we respond accordingly.

Our short time with the guests was a nice reminder that it’s okay to let our guard down occasionally around those we can trust. The trick, unfortunately, is figuring out who you can let your guard down when they’re near so the wrong person doesn’t get the chance to stab you in the back.

Sometimes you can actually have fun when people come to visit. It’s a nice reminder that there are good folks out there, especially for those people like me in a profession where you see the worst in everyone. Unfortunately, these moments come few and far between.

I’ll actually look forward to these guests coming back. They did all the dishes.

Understanding MILO, Understanding Donald (Update)

The world learned yesterday MILO, the self styled “Dangerous Faggot” landed a quarter million dollar book deal. A bunch of people lost their collective ever loving minds over this. As of this writing MILO’s book, “Dangerous,” sits as the number two best seller in all of Amazon. The crazy part is his book won’t be out until March of 2017! How does someone who describes himself as a “virtuous troll” achieve such instant success over a book that isn’t in print?

Understanding the cultural phenomenon that is MILO means understanding the America that elected a reality television star President. You may love it or hate it, but you’ll have a better grasp of the America that allegedly rejected “progressive” values. Taking a moment to examine the events of the last twenty-four hours surrounding MILO’s book deal will help you get a better grasp of where America stands culturally as we move forward into the new year.

MILO represents a rejection of identity politics. 

Identity politics have been quite the rage. It’s common to see someone start a social media post labeling themselves “As a” before launching into an argument or stating a position. When your “As a” label is offended, it gives you a chance to express your outrage and call someone a racist, sexist, transohomophobic bigot. That outrage sets the internet social justice posse in motion, silencing you for your viewpoint. It makes you think twice before you hit “post” or say something in public.

MILO is part of the cultural nexus that holds up the viper of identity politics, cuts off its head, and throws both pieces of the snake into two separate fields. His “Dangerous Faggot” college tour holds talks with themes like “Feminism is Cancer,” “Fat Shaming Works,” “Why Do So Many Lesbians Fake Hate Crimes?” and other ridiculously outlandish topics. The stated purpose of each talk is to make people laugh, piss people off, and maybe make people think.

It would be easy for people to dismiss him if he were simply a white guy. Under the mantle of identity politics, he gets a following for being a gay Jewish Briton with a German mother who has a propensity for dating black guys. It also makes him damned near bulletproof from the Social Justice mobs.

People love him for his outlandish antics, and his talks are often to standing room only crowds as a result. When college campuses pull off a stunt that either shuts down a talk or cancels it completely, it makes headlines. Shouting him down only amplifies his voice to the people that want to hear him.

Silencing MILO only makes his voice stronger, and people hate that. 

The “Heckler’s Veto” is a common tactic for those who want to silence someone with whom they disagree. Shouting someone down produces no honest conversations that lead to productive exchanges over big ideas. Yet society continues to do this and ask for “honest conversations” at the same time. You can’t have an honest discussion if you’re unwilling to listen to the ideas and concepts you can’t stand to hear.

Silencing MILO, for some reason, only makes his voice that much stronger. It’s the real life equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader “Strike me down, Lord Vader, and I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” When Twitter suspended MILO’s @Nero account during the Republican National Convention he dominated press row the next day. Every time a campus shuts down or protests one of his talks it’s a newsworthy story.

This is why MILO’s book deal dominated the media world for twenty four hours and put his book at number two on all of Amazon. Announcing an alleged quarter million dollar advance for a book due in March caused an incredible number of celebrities to decry Simon and Schuster for “normalizing hatred.” The Chicago Review of Books announced it wouldn’t review a single S&S release in 2017.

The effect of this was an insane number of pre-orders for a book that’s going to launch with a $26 hardcover price. A comparable hardcover sells for approximately $17. This is what people mean when they speak of voting with their money. People want to hear what MILO has to say so much they were willing to launch money at him three months before his book ships.

Understanding MILO means understanding America in 2017. 

If you take a moment to examine the meteoric success of MILO, you will understand why we have Donald Trump in the White House. Both men represent a group of people tired of being told they were a bunch of things they weren’t, like racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bigoted, ableist, or whatever label you could put on them. Both men listened to the America that was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Both men took time to listen to those more concerned about rising health care costs and lack of employment than discussions of which bathroom or pronoun to use.

Both men were unapologetic in their actions. Both men said and did whatever the hell they wanted without fear of repercussion. When people tried to shut both men down the public that was mad as hell lashed back with time, money, and energy most thought never existed.

Examine MILO. Instead of trying to shut him up, take a moment to understand why he dominates public discourse. When you understand that, you’ll understand America in the coming year.

Watch American Milo here.

MILO is in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.

His YouTube Channel is a repository of his college talks.

UPDATE: “Dangerous” is now the number one book in all of Amazon. The self-styled “Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet” strolled past Carrie Fisher’s “The Princess Diarist.”

Score one for the bad guys.

Has Pantsuit Nation Imploded?

Pantsuit Nation started as a secret Facebook group where supporters of Hillary Clinton came to coordinate wearing pantsuits on election day. Once Clinton didn’t win the election, it became something of a collective grieving space for those who couldn’t believe we didn’t have our first female president. All that changed one week ago when Libby Chamberlain, the group’s founder, announced she’d landed a book deal.

The Huffington Post quickly called Pantsuit Nation a “sham.” Apparently someone didn’t like the New York Times reporting on Chamberlain’s book deal the previous day. Chamberlain also filed a trademark application for Pantsuit Nation, despite allegedly seeking no profit or compensation from the group’s activities. HuffPo writer Harry Lewis called the move “a branding machine.”

Elizabeth Chamberlain has every right to make a living. Are her activities a “sham?” Is she guilty of scamming people? All signs, from this deception artist’s perspective, point to “no.”

Assuming the facts least favorable to Ms. Chamberlain, she isn’t under any obligation to abstain from profits under a book deal she signs. People are allowed to make money in America. That’s part of the good stuff in this country. Starting a Facebook group isn’t illegal, and getting a book deal for “stories” told in the group is a testament to the power of social media.

Ms. Chamberlain is under no obligation to pay any participant who chooses to submit a story for her book. If that changes, I’ll change this post. What sticks out as interesting is her decision to only include stories submitted with express permission. Obtaining that “express permission” would arguably require sending each potential participant a contract for signature and return. The terms of such a document would be worth examining, and each participant would be well advised to look over the “permission slip” with an attorney.

She also, according to my understanding, does not owe the collective, invitation-only Facebook group she created any sort of “duty” to tailor its activity to anyone’s liking. That argument’s been tried before at other sites, and with no rules placed other than what Chamberlain and the group’s admins set the “duty” is whatever Chamberlain and her friends say it is.

The issue people seem to take with Chamberlain’s actions is they’re not active enough. Over at Slate, Christina Cauterucci finds several members of the (approximately) four million member Facebook Group wanted to do more than just share their stories. A book didn’t live up to their expectations.

“We came to fight Trump,” [one Pantsuit Nation member] continued. “Instead, [Chamberlain] made a coffee table book? Really? Not only are there millions of us, but we are passionate and ready to go. A coffee table book feels like a kick in the teeth.”

A book may not have been what brought Pantsuit Nation together. That book may be the group’s undoing. But for now, if Elizabeth Chamberlain happens to make money off the Facebook group she created, that’s not a scam, sham, or any other negative word you might choose to label it. Asking for additional transparency won’t do any good. Someone got lucky and secured a book deal.

Unfortunately for the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, they can’t even be happy about that.

I accepted an invitation some time back to Pantsuit Nation for reasons I can’t explain. Part of me was fascinated at the alternate reality some of its members saw. Another part of me was curious at the alleged fear its member base “felt” in the aftermath of President Elect Trump’s rise to power.

Now that it’s disintegrated to infighting, it’s time to move on. There’s more important battles to fight, and more conflicts worth discussion than the self-destruction of Pantsuit Nation.

The book deal Elizabeth Chamberlain has is far from a potential scam. Some people just can’t accept her refusal to do more. That’s expectation management, not deception.

Taking Communication Seriously

We don’t communicate effectively because we don’t take communication seriously. I recently came to this startling conclusion after, predictably*, listening to the Jim Cornette Experience.

During a recent broadcast, Cornette, a former pro wrestling manager turned social commentator, lamented the passing of pro wrestling as he knew it because none of the new generation knew how to take “the business” seriously. No one had it drummed into their heads “the business” was something where you created a suspension of disbelief. This created a generation of workers who equated matches with video games. Crowds who chant “this is awesome” no matter the actions of the heels or the babyfaces.

The same holds true for communication. We don’t communicate because newer generations don’t take the art of communication seriously. Worse, technology makes it easy for all to simply ignore the art of effective communication. Why attempt the nuance of a face to face conversation with someone, or a simple phone call, when you have texting, email, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter at your disposal?

When it’s simply words on a digital screen, the nuance of speech is gone. Once you stop interacting with others, you lose the ability to read facial expressions and body language. The person receiving your message is left to their own devices to figure out what the hell you meant. Sometimes they’ll lose the message you intended and go for the exact opposite.

That moment of digital interaction as opposed to the flesh and bone connection of human beings is an easy, thoughtless choice. It’s also a dangerous way to live. Those who choose to cut themselves off from society run dangerously high risks of mental illness. That’s because people are genetically social beings. We need human interaction. Losing that means losing a portion of what makes you a human.

Yet we encourage this. It’s now easier than ever to order your groceries through a smartphone and have them delivered curbside to your car. We discourage visits to local retailers because Amazon makes it so easy to pay with one click. And food? Simply have it delivered to your door with a few clicks of a button. No need to deal with pesky waiters and waitresses ever again!

This disconnect also makes it easy for people to live in echo chambers by never experiencing an unpleasant thought, word, or deed. If you don’t like someone’s social media posts, it’s easy to simply block the offender for life. Take issue with something you see at website of your choosing and label it “fake news.” And if someone does something you find “problematic” simply cut them out of your life instead of addressing the problem.

We take communication as seriously as pro wrestlers take the business seriously. It’s just easier for us to take the digital way out instead of having honest conversations about big ideas. This leaves the genetic aspect of our lives to a ruinous waste, but who cares? Better to punch a button on your iToy or say “Hey Alexa, send a Christmas card to my uncle” than actually take time to tell that person how much you mean to them.

Want to know why we’re divided societally? Thank your emoji-addicted pals.

*If you don’t know why this came “predictably,” you’ve not spoken with me at great length.

Has the Constitution Failed Us?

The Medium post from a ThinkProgress author starts predictably by slamming the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United has failed

This is not fine.

A fairly damning statement, but one worth a consideration. Let’s take a look at the arguments. The author first asks questions designed as an appeal to emotion. Time to hit all the social justice high points. There’s an argument about the election being “stolen” by the loser twice in sixteen years. Two questions designed to play into racism, whether by slavery or through civil rights. One concerning the increasing game of “deficit chicken” our legislature plays with repeated fascination and escalation. All often repeated talking points, and ones the regressive left plays with great fascination.

Then there’s the kicker point, equating the Constitution with a holy text.

Americans speak of our Constitution as if it were a religious text. To label a law “unconstitutional” is not simply to say that it violates some procedural rule or legal technicality, it is to label it fundamentally unAmerican. To do so is to question the values of any lawmaker despicable enough to support such a law, and to suggest that those values are at odds with who we are as a nation. (my emphasis)

The hell you say. No, labeling a law “unconstitutional” doesn’t make it “fundamentally unAmerican.” Those who support a law labeled “unconstitutional” aren’t despicable, no matter how much you want to place value judgments on them. It means a court held a law incompatible with some core principle in our nation’s founding document.

Where’s the point in all this? Oh yeah. That “religious text” brought us President Trump.

Now, our country is facing a man of superlative ignorance…(ed. note, stricken all the usual racist, sexist, homophobic, LITERALLY HITLER statements) And the Constitution has placed this man in the White House…(ed. note, stricken the rest of the fear mongering quotes)The Electoral College has voted. Trump will be our next president. This is what the Constitution hath wrought.

No, actually it didn’t. The vote ushering in the Era of the Donald was the product of a nation tired of being told it was racist for not kowtowing to your latest hash tag. It was a vote prioritizing families eating over who uses what bathroom. A vote repudiating identity politics as a whole. The Constitution didn’t place the United States in a position where an entire group of people said they were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. Bowing at the altar of “progress” did.

But please, do continue.

It did this because our Constitution remains the product of a compromise with moral monsters who believed that human beings could be owned as property…(ed note, again striking a good portion of the nonsense)It did this because our Constitution fosters voter ignorance. It did this because our Constitution can be gamed — and was gamed quite successfully by the Republican Party.

The first sentence of that quote is one worth exploring, but with some nuance. Robert G. Parkinson’s excellent book “The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution” suggests, going back to original sources, that some of our Founding Fathers might have “gamed” the Southern colonies into signing off on the Declaration of Independence by creating fake news stories of British insurgents paying off slaves to revolt against their masters. Driven by fears of internal revolt, the “moral monsters” then agreed to join the rest of the colonies in a united force against the British as an attempt to establish independence.

If anything is owed to the “moral monster” sentence, it would be a need to compromise, to keep the lie a secret for as long as possible until slavery could be abolished. As far as the rest of that quote is concerned, the Constitution doesn’t foster “voter ignorance.” That’s on the individual voter. And no party “games” the Constitution until you start whining about how your side lost.

The next arguments posed are how the Electoral College, that impossible villainous group of swine who didn’t succumb to the whims of those who stayed home, are horrendous assholes. They’re nothing but activists who pledge to do a certain thing: vote the way they’re told, by the group of people who actually tell them to do so. There’s an argument over how unAmerican giving each state two senators is. An amusing rant over how the Supreme Court “sat on its hands” during the years African-Americans suffered real tragedies during the Civil Rights movement. A final screed on the number of roadblocks it takes to write a new law onto the books.

Yet here we still are, despite this “failure,” two hundred and forty years after a group of colonies decided they were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. That’s an amazing run for a “failure.” But if you want to label that document holding some of those fundamental rights you cherish so much a lost cause, remember there’s always a way out.  Take all those well-informed people you care about so much and trigger an Article V convention. No, I’m not going to ‘splain to you what that is. If you’re ready to declare the American Experiment dead, go look it up yourself.

But should you manage to trigger that Article V convention, know some of those rights you cherish so much might just leave you as quickly as the ones you hate. While you might get rid of that nasty Second Amendment that keeps so many shooty bang-bang thingies in the States, someone else might decide that First Amendment that gives you the right to call the Constitution a “failure” needs to go too. Let’s get rid of that nasty Fourth Amendment stopping cops from looking into what’s on your cell phone, or searching your car without a damn good justification. And the Fifth and Sixth amendments are kind of stupid anyway, what with granting you the right to remain silent and speedy, just trials.

Call that document granting you the Fourteenth Amendment you admire so much a “failure” all you want. If you want to enact change, there’s a way to do it. But remember when you do that you’re sacrificing all the rights you hold dear at the expense of those you find odious. It’s an all or nothing procedure.

Your move.

 

Stein’s Recount: The Art of the Steal? (Update x2)

One of the first things theatrical pickpockets learn is attention and expectation management. “The Art of the Steal” requires you to learn where people aren’t looking and act accordingly. If the Green Party’s Jill Stein’s efforts to establish a recount in three battleground states is as some now claim, it appears Jill Stein and I studied under similar tutors. Her last ditch effort to raise money for a recount in three states smells fishy at best.  At worst, it reeks of a major confidence scam.

As I outline my theory, and I stress this is a theory, I’ll be using a few terms worth mentioning. The first is “mark.” This is a term con artists used in the days when they frequented carnival midways with rigged games designed to fleece people out of money. If a person bought the scam, the con artist would mark their clothing with chalk as they exited the game, letting other con artists know a particular “gamer” was easy pickings for other predators.

1. Find the mark’s need and offer a solution.

Election aftermath left many people in states of fear, resentment, and unhappiness. They wanted anything  to stop Donald Trump from getting to inauguration day. Potential solutions ranged from petitioning the Electoral College to vote their conscience as “faithless electors” all the way down to implementing algorithms at Google and Facebook to eliminate “fake news” that allegedly handed conservatives control off the Legislative and Executive branches, and several new gubernatorial mansions to boot.

The folks of Pantsuit Nation wrung their hands in fear until Jill Stein came along with a solution that seemed plausible. Get enough funds together and petition for a vote recount in some states. Surely if the votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are closely scrutinized we’ll have proof Hillary won, or at least the Donald didn’t get enough of the votes to get those states’ electors, right!

Stein’s nugget of hope came at the right time and in the right fashion to generate around five million dollars as of this writing. That shows someone trained in the deceptive arts she managed to tap into a vulnerability many people wanted desperately healed.

2. Start the Put-Up 

It’s hard to tell why anyone other than Jill Stein would want $7 million dollars to push for a recount of an election that will most likely not benefit anyone or “raise confidence” in the voting process. The “put-up” is the phase of a confidence scam where the grifter establishes a rapport of trust and support with the mark. Right now with a good number of people “disgusted” in a “rigged” system where one person won the popular vote but the winner triggered enough votes to get the required electors are especially vulnerable to  someone who comes along preaching an ideal of “election integrity.” That message was enough to catch the ears of someone who apparently understood the internet, but didn’t get people.

“If there was hacking or tampering with ballots anywhere, both sides should support a review. America deserves clean elections.”–George Takei, 23 Nov 2016.

Grifters are masters of the put-up. People afraid of losing something are especially vulnerable to a good put-up. This election cycle was largely dominated by fear, and post-election fears continue to escalate. Those buying into Jill Stein’s bill of goods are heavily invested in a mindset of fear, so if this was a scam the odds are people pouring cash into Stein’s coffers are doing so because they think she can alleviate that fear.

As far as trust and credibility with the mark goes, Stein may not have the same level of credibility as some, but she does have the exposure of being a major third party Presidential candidate. People voted for her. Many pundits asked, and people demanded, a third option when the duopoly produced Queen Meemaw and The Donald. The media narrative would rally behind a female presidential candidate asking for a recount to ensure “election integrity.” The put-up, if this were a scam, would already be a slam-dunk.

3. Escalate the game for more of the mark’s money 

In carnival sideshow games, the grifter offers a chance at a greater prize for just another dollar. Sometimes the need taps into an irrational side of our brains which the grifter exploits. Regardless, at some point during the scam, a good grifter is going to ask for more money because of a critically important reason.

On Wednesday, November 23, Stein initially asked for $2.5 million, needed by Friday, 4 PM central, in order to begin the petition for a recount. That sounds suspiciously like scams from “psychics” asking for a certain amount of money by a particular time or date in order to make something happen or prevent a tragedy. It certainly sounds like a scam a televangelist pulled on his flock warning of his death unless $8 million in donations hit his door. Maybe there are good reasons for Stein needing that amount by 4 PM on Black Friday.

If that’s the case, it’s a touch troubling over the weekend Stein changed the total goal to $7 million once the funds started rolling in. David Cobb, Jill Stein’s campaign manager, told LawNewz when asked for comment the initial funding goal was just factoring in Wisconsin. When they “realized” the cost of a recount in the other states, they upped the fundraising goal. That sounds reasonable. A recount costs money, and ventures of any sort often require more funds than initially anticipated.

Taking David Cobb’s word at face value leaves the uneasy with questions. If they only started their fundraising efforts with Wisconsin in mind, why did they begin the fundraising drive with all three states in mind? At what point in time did the Stein team “realize” the $2.5 million would cost more than anticipated? And why did the Stein recount team initially tell donors they could not “guarantee” a recount, but only “pledge” for one, then delete that text?

Take a look at this twit from political comedian Tim Young. It contains the original language on the Stein fundraising website on Wednesday the 23rd. The current text is located at the LawNewz article, circled in red. Why the change? According to David Cobb, the text was changed to make the fundraiser “clearer.” There were no “discrepancies;” it was merely “explanatory text.” Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume from the start everything is on the up and up. From this angle, it doesn’t look too good for Jill Stein, her “recount” fundraiser, or even the rest of her career. It looks like she’s preparing herself for the final phase of the con.

4. Clear the table, insulate yourself, and get out of town.

We haven’t seen Stein do this, so there’s a good chance she’s on the up-and-up with her recount efforts. And reports from the news indicate she is using donor money for good, since Wisconsin will now begin a recount of the vote after Stein leveraged what capital she had to make it happen. If you donated money to the Jill Stein recount fundraiser, it looks like things are OK.

But there’s still two states left. Two states where if the word comes back “no,” the money donated goes to help promote “election integrity.” What that says is as clear as the phrase “Make America Great Again.” The difference is one phrase got a guy into the White House. The other sounds good, but smells heavily of a cheat trying to leave town.

I’m not writing any of this to suggest Jill Stein is a fraud or that her efforts to get a recount started are less than sincere. What I am saying is that from the eyes of someone who’s studied con artists, who has a grasp of the fundamental principles by which people can take your watch, cell phone, and wallet without you ever knowing, if this were a scam it smells like one that needs exposure.

Donate if you wish, but know what you’re buying before you chip in your hard earned money.

UPDATE: I woke this morning to the following Medium post from Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s counsel, regarding Secretary Clinton’s involvement in the recount efforts. Read it if you will, but it’s full of double-speak and proposes no concrete action. And they’re not donating money.

UPDATE x 2: We now know why those lawyer fees went so high so quickly. Jill Stein missed Pennsylvania’s voter recount filing deadline.

Timing is everything, especially when you’re working against the clock before someone calls bullshit.

A Thought Experiment To Ruin Your Night (maybe).

The world near me is literally on fire. Florida beat LSU. I’m in the mood to ruin some people’s evenings. If you’re interested in a thought experiment, keep reading. If you’re the type that doesn’t like to think, and would rather have a nice evening, move on. Nothing to see here.

Still with me? Good, because you’re one of the smart ones. I like having you here. Allow me to present a theory. What if I told you last night started a chain of events where Donald Trump got a second term, and Kanye West held a high level position in his administration? Does that sound like a crazy prediction? It’s nothing different than what we’re seeing right now, is it?

Recently our Vice President Elect, Mike Pence, took a trip to Broadway. The crowd booed his entrance. After the show concluded, Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who plays Aaron Burr, singled out Pence and read a speech to him prepared once the show’s cast, crew and producer knew Pence would show up. You’ve probably seen clips of it by now. Here’s a sample of the text.

“Thank you for joining us at Hamilton: An American Musical. We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us. Thank you.”

“Fuck Off. We Won.”

Chuck Johnson of Got News was approached by someone #WithHer after election results were over. This individual asked him what it was like to elect a racist, sexist, transohomophic white guy into the White House. Chuck’s response was simple and to the point. “Fuck off. We won.”

Pax Dickinson, Chuck’s business partner and co-founder of WeSearchr, is featured as the front page photo of numerous international newspapers following Donald Trump’s Presidential election win. The photo is a pictorial version of Chuck Johnson’s statement: Pax with a red “Make America Great Again” hat, smiling, extending both middle fingers to the camera. He says it without words: “Fuck off. We won.”

What a statement worth unpacking, now that “Elites” are beginning to unravel and reveal their true nature. The promises to re-examine their relationship with working-class white people are telling. Now that protests continue to rise in the wake of what THEY term a “rigged” election, it’s definitely time to take a look at the “Fuck off. We won” message and what it means for those who repeat it as a mantra.

In the aftermath of Election 2016, the Elites, from the media talking heads to those playing at the highest levels of the Oppression Olympics, went through the Kubler-Ross “Stages of Grief.” It’s understandable. The loss handed them by America’s new White Working Class vote (dubbed WWC, “a pro wrestling model” in smugness by one writer) stripped the power away from those who would put genderless bathrooms and dub a green cartoon frog a symbol of hate. Those with the power lost everything, and couldn’t accept it when the final results came in. Even those who weren’t entrenched in elite structures kept pressing with smug superiority about “Faux News” and asking the President-elect’s support base if they’d accept the results, along with the President-elect, when he lost.

Then the “unthinkable” happened, and they lost everything because of their political correctness and identity politics. The “If you disagree with me on (x), unfriend me” approach didn’t work. It built an angry silent majority that wanted to have those “honest discussions” the Elites kept shutting down every time someone reached out to have them. Their ways didn’t work, and it cost them the Executive, Legislative, and arguably the Judicial branches of our government.

Within twenty-four hours of the American public’s identity politics repudiation, those who clung tightly to labels of “marginalized,” “oppressed,” and “disaffected” took to the streets and began protesting the election’s results. It didn’t matter the nation’s Commander in Chief or their chosen, “deeply flawed” candidate called for a smooth transition of power. It was time for the anger stage of grieving to begin, and it’s where we currently sit.

(Denial already passed election night and during the hours after. If you doubt this, watch this video of Chris Matthews praying to the Deity of his choosing in the early hours of November 9.)

Now anger is the word of the day. Protests, some organized by people who didn’t vote, fill the streets. The media elites are those supporting this anger, and no one thinks for a second this even close to strange. Media figureheads with major fan bases like George Takei and Joss Whedon called for open revolt in the streets. Those who would call upon our nation’s 45th President with the term “friend” would tell him they’re watching, and that he must stand for all Americans or else more protests would continue.

Even in his first televised sit-down interview, the President-elect was asked to condemn HIS supporters who committed acts of violence against the “oppressed.” He did. It was a nice gesture, and one I don’t know if I could replicate given the circumstances he faced.

One continued stance seems to seep through current discourse like water leaking through cracked pipes. Conservatives who supported Trump, or those who accept his Presidency, must reach across the aisles and comfort those brainwashed masses who think America just elected its first dictator. The folks who prance about Medium say it’s the conservative duty to demand our President-elect “disavow” hate groups who support him. Even those who reach a more nuanced worldview say it’s time to help the progressives #WithHer “de-Hitlerize” their brains by letting them know the world’s going to be okay.

Then there’s the voice of the people. I didn’t understand Mike Cernovich’s view that it was on the Democratic establishment to reach across the aisle and offer a chance at healing until Rush Limbaugh, of all people, put it into perspective for me. As he ranted last week, during every major change in power, whether conservative or liberal, the onus is always on conservatives to “heal” divides and put a band-aid on the nation’s wounds when a divide exists. It happened with George W. It happened with Obama. And now it’s happening with President-elect Trump.

As anger flows on the left, and they revel in it, maybe Pax Dickinson and Chuck Johnson were right. “Fuck off, we won” might be the mantra conservatives need to adopt.

If the progressive elites and their huddled masses in fear won’t accept the results of a free and fair election? Fuck off, we won. If those who had the power took it too far and decided naming and blaming was the best course instead of figuring out where the hell they screwed the pooch and fixing it? Fuck off, we won. Those who “can’t even” and are “literally shaking” after levers are pulled and ballots counted? Fuck off, we won.

Humility and grace are wonderful traits in any human being. When the same people are demanded to display those traits, regardless of the circumstance, maybe it’s time to consider a different approach. After all, if those who had the power can’t bother to display the same when it’s their time, then maybe it’s time for a different approach.

Maybe “Fuck off, we won” is the appropriate response to the Elites.

The New York Times’ Broken Promise

It took the Paper of Record three days to turn an about-face with its decision to “re-dedicate itself” to journalism. Friday’s letter by Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. to the New York Times’ subscribers promising more fair and unbiased coverage was undone Monday with reportage Steve Bannon, President-elect Trump’s new Chief Strategist, was the “voice of racism.”

All it took was a weekend for Sulzberger Jr.’s conciliatory remarks to mean nothing. After all, we’re often reminded of the chestnut “Actions speak louder than words.” Michael Shear’s hit piece on Steve Bannon just told the world the Times doesn’t give a damn about keeping promises to readers or subscribers. It’s going to be more of the same at the Times, and they know you’ll continue to eat it up each day.

Mind you, no one expects Shear to be nice to Steve Bannon, or give him a tummy rub. Bannon probably wouldn’t allow a NY Times reporter within thirty feet of him. With two thirds of the article devoted to the same name-calling that cost the Pantsuit Nation folks a chance to see a President Hillary, it’s clear Shear, if not the Times, is only interested in advocacy reporting. Fuck journalism and actual reporting of news when you can get the CAIR folks calling the President-elect a threat to our nation’s Muslim population, right?

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s letter to his subscriber base wasn’t sincere in the least. Monday’s edition proves it. It was a plea for mercy asking subscribers who trusted the Times for years to not leave. It was the cheating spouse or lover begging for one more chance, a “this time things will be different.” Fortunately those of us willing to give the Grey Lady a second chance didn’t have to wait long before she reverted back to the problems that put her in this predicament to start. Tigers don’t change their stripes, and those interested in leveraging the power of the Fourth Estate to advance a personal agenda don’t give up that power overnight.

Steve Bannon isn’t going anywhere, no matter how much Michael Shear, the Times’ publishing staff, or others want to think otherwise. Reaching out to partisan bodies for comment on how he’s the “voice of racism” or “anti-semitic” is a dull move smacking of the same smugness that brought Donald Trump the Presidency.

One of the few effective working mediators I know, G.C. Hutson, posted to his Facebook page two thoughts worth mentioning. Here’s the first, and it’s a “maybe.”

1. Maybe, just maybe…
…calling anyone and everyone who in anyway disagrees with your ideology a “vile deplorable racist misogynistic xenophobic piece of hillybilly shit,” backfired a little.
Crazy, right?
But.. maybe, we stop doing that.
Perhaps ACTUALLY being inclusive and non-marginalizing as you CLAIM, would work better in the future.

Another, more damning sentiment worth the time of the journalist who claims it’s time for a new world, one where both sides are given a fair and balanced treatment.

As ridiculous as I consider all “political correctness” to be, not even I realized the depth of its disfavor, across the nation.

It cost you ALL of the elections.
The Presidency, The House and The Senate.

If you hear NOTHING else I ever say, absorb my following words:
…your constant desire to “force” people to think like you didn’t work…
…it simply pushed those opposing sentiments underground.

Which is why, no one saw the elections results coming.

You didn’t open-up dialogues.
– You lectured.
– You oppressed.
– You dismissed.
– You mocked.
– And you marginalized.

And it failed.
Big time.
You became EVERYTHING you claimed to oppose.

The Times is gone, replaced as Carlos Slim’s personal blog. Your mainstream news networks abandoned you for personal favors from the establishment elites. They fed you a steady diet of talking heads and think-fluencers, and when you finally rejected that they plead for one more chance.

It took them three days to break their “promise.”

Who’s left to trust when the media is corrupt? It’s really simple, when you think about it.
The New Scum.
And we’re already watching.