If I Could Be Serious for a Moment…

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With all of the political talk going on, I wanted to take a break to throw out an idea that’s been rolling around in my head that…has nothing to do with politics whatsoever!

Although I write mainly opinion pieces, I have dabbled in other writing styles including science fiction. I am in the process of putting together a crossover story featuring one of my favorite superheroes (Green Lantern) and one of my favorite science fiction heroes (The Doctor). Although I can’t promise anything at this point, I would be interested in getting feedback on whether there would be enough interest in posting the story on this forum. It’s totally fine if you don’t want to read it, just as it would be totally fine if you do.

So, with that being said, what do you think?

The Political Prestige

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held a press conference today announcing he would not be running for the Republican nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention. This left me with two questions. One, Paul Ryan is still Speaker of the House? And two, why did he feel it was necessary to hold a press conference? If he wasn’t running and didn’t want delegates to vote for him, he could have done it with a Tweet, a press statement, or an email. If he would have used Hillary’s email server, everyone would have known about it in a few seconds.

There are any number of possible explanations. He might have wanted to get on TV for something other than betraying his own party. Maybe he wanted a sick relative see him on TV once. Or, he could be jockeying for a Vice Presidential spot with one of the remaining Presidential hopefuls or even for a potential floor candidate like Mitt Romney. I’m sure they might be able to turn Romney/Ryan 2012 merch into Romney/Ryan 2016 merch without too much trouble,

But there could be another option, one that fits perfectly with the current state of American politics. Paul Ryan is angling to be the 2016 Republican nominee.

In the book and the film The Prestige, a magic trick is explained in three parts. The first part is “The Pledge,” where the magician shows the audience an ordinary object that may or may not be ordinary.  This is designed to create a grounded reality so you suspend any disbelief prior to the execution of the trick. The second part is “The Turn” where the object is made to do something unbelievable. Because you’ve already accepted the reality created in The Pledge, you are more inclined to believe the unbelievable. The third and final part is “The Prestige” where the object is returned to the audience’s attention. If done well enough, The Prestige will not only reconcile the believable and unbelievable elements of the trick, but also cut off any and all further inquiries about the trick.

So, what does this have to do with Ryan’s press conference? Plenty. Ryan’s press conference may have been designed to create a grounded political reality where he shows he has no interest in being nominated at the Republican National Convention. If we take him at his word (a requirement for The Pledge to work properly), it should be case closed.

At least until we hit The Turn. With the current Republican nomination process being more like mud wrestling than politics (which is saying a lot, but none of it good), we could easily see a brokered convention where none of the candidates actually running for the position get the required number of delegates to be the nominee. Should that happen, I believe we will see The Turn in the form of a change of heart from Ryan. After all, if the party is still fractured by the convention, shouldn’t there be a candidate that has the backing of the delegates and would be a stark contrast to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? And if that candidate just happens to be Paul Ryan…well, you get the idea.

That leaves The Prestige. If Ryan accepts the nomination and vows to heal the self-inflicted wounds from the Republican campaign, the Establishment GOP will not only breathe a sigh of relief, but anyone grousing about it afterwards would be hard-pressed to be taken seriously. The party would be unified under a (presumably) better-liked candidate and two thorns in the GOP’s side would be sidelined. It’s a win-win for those who want a united front as long as it’s not behind Trump or Cruz, but it would wind up in a Republican loss to a weak Democrat challenger.

For now, I’m willing to take Paul Ryan at his word, but I’m still going to be carefully watching for the second and third parts of his possible political prestige to play out.

The Most Burning Issue Today!

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I have some good news, some bad news, and some worse news. The good news is we’ve taken care of all the major problems in America like poverty, starvation, and preventing Shia LaBeouf from doing another awful Transformers movie. The bad news is we’re left with insane issues like gender neutral bathrooms. The worse news? I was kidding about there being good news, and I’m completely serious about the bad news.

Due to a law passed in North Carolina prohibiting transgendered people from going into the bathrooms for the gender they self-identify with, we need to talk about gender neutral bathrooms as a political and social issue. (And by “talk” I mean “dissect and mock accordingly.”)

There are a couple of parts to the issue. The first is the concept of self-identification. (I plan to get into this concept in greater detail in a future Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week installment, but here’s a taste.) Self-identification is, well, self-explanatory, but there is an expectation for the rest of the world to honor your decision. For example, I self-identify as Brad Pitt. Of course, I’m not, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world can tell me I’m not under the current self-identification mindset.

But then a little thing called reality pimp-slaps you and you realize just because you think you’re something doesn’t make it so. You can wear more makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker at clown college and wear dresses, but if you’re packing an XY chromosome, you are male. You can also wear suits and cut your hair shorter than Paris Hilton’s attention span, but if you have an XX chromosome, you are female. It’s not oppression; it’s biology, kids.

So, the issue at hand is some people feel there should be gender neutral bathrooms so transgendered people don’t have to feel self-conscious by having to use the restroom associated with their actual gender. The problem with that is you can’t override biology no matter how you feel about it. You are the gender you are, and that’s that. Thank you for playing. Enjoy your lovely parting gifts. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

The other issue at hand is how North Carolina reacted to the possibility of perverts self-identifying as the gender of the objects of their desires. Not an unrealistic proposition by any stretch of the imagination because we live in a really weird time in society. The fact Nikki Minaj has a music career is a sign of that. But I have to wonder how much of an overreach this might be. The fear of a possible molestation is powerful, but is it a realistic possibility? Given how small a percentage of the population are transgendered and how small a percentage of the population are pedophiles, it’s hard to believe the Venn Diagram of the two is going to overlap that much. It’s a legislative solution for a problem that may not exist in great numbers, and it’s based on fear.

You know, like the fear ginned up by gun control advocates after every shooting?

Neither side of this debate is right, but there is a simple solution: unisex bathrooms with doors that lock from the inside. It strikes the right balance of security and privacy, and it doesn’t require government intervention.

But what do I know? I identify as Brad Pitt.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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This week’s jaunt into the Leftist mindset takes us to the land of Bernie Sanders. (I would have preferred the land of Dairy Queen, but the plane was booked.) Although the race for the Presidency on the Republican side has had more explosives than a fire at a Missouri fireworks stand, the race on the other side of the aisle has been pretty sedate. Granted, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders make the Golden Girls look like college coeds on spring break, but Sanders has tapped into the youth vote thanks to a concept called democratic socialism. So, let’s dive into this weeks Leftist Lexicon Word(s) of the Week…

democratic socialism

What the Left says it means: people pitching in to help each other and care for each other

What it really means: There are a lot of people who didn’t get the memo about socialism.

Democratic socialism is an example of how the Left manipulates perception through creative wording. By starting off with a positive idea (democratic), the Left tries to get people to ignore the negative connotations of the other half of the phrase (socialism). It’s like someone offering you a deluxe dog crap sandwich. Sure, it’s deluxe, but you’re still eating dog crap.

Which brings us back to socialism.

No matter how you try to dress it up, democratic socialism is still socialism, and it’s still an epic fail when tried on a large scale. In small groups, it’s easier for people to get on the same page, but the larger the group gets, the harder it gets to keep everyone singing “Kumbaya”. Eventually human nature kicks in. If you’re busting your hump working in the field all day and you’re getting the same as Skeeter, the lovable yet incompetent methhead whose contribution to society is as negligible as the bibliography of a Jackie Collins novel, you’re going to get mad sooner or later and want to be better compensated for your efforts. And there ain’t enough verses of Kumbaya in the world that can change that. You can draw up as many scenarios, flow charts, and contingency plans as you want, but human nature trumps central planning every time because we cannot turn off what we are.

It’s also the reason we aren’t a democracy. Imagine the chaos, fist fights, and general mayhem that goes on during Black Friday sales. Now, multiply it by, oh, a couple billion. That’s what America would be like under a democracy, and there isn’t even a cheap TV set or a BluRay player awaiting the winner of the scrum. We might be able to agree on a few things nationally (like keeping incest illegal), but we might have trouble with some bigger items (like abortion). And imagine the chaos that would arise with enforcing laws with the whim of the majority. One day you could be within the law eating beef jerky, and the next you could be thrown in jail where beef jerky takes on a whole new meaning…

Of course, there is an easier way to accomplish what the Left promises will happen if we enact democratic socialism. It’s called being a human being. It doesn’t cost anything, and it won’t tank the economy. Plus, we get to keep the cheap TVs and BluRay players we got during Black Friday sales!

The Long Game

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The 2016 elections are already shaping up to be one of the most divisive in modern history. It’s getting to the point the Crips and the Bloods might need to hold an intervention for the Republicans and Democrats, and considering both major parties wear the colors of said gangs, it might be pretty easy to figure out which one is going to side with which.

Either way, the Republican nomination process is under fire by…the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. As the states start picking delegates, Trump’s campaign is starting to see there’s more to winning a state than winning the popular vote. It’s also important to make sure your people are in place at the state level so they can represent you at the national convention. And what we’ve seen in Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, North Carolina, and possibly other states, the Trump campaign has been left flatflooted as the Ted Cruz campaign has racked up additional delegates simply by…following the rules.

I know! That bastard! How dare Ted Cruz play by the rules!

Seriously, though, the Cruz campaign is being accused of using “Gestapo tactics” because they’re playing the long game. In politics, like in war, you cannot just win a battle and claim victory for the entire war. As conditions change, strategy must adapt to ensure more victories can lead to winning the war. Like it or not, Cruz’s approach focusing on winning delegates is strategically wise because it shows knowledge of the current process. Is it a perfect process? Heck no! But it is the process all the candidates agreed upon as they decided to run.

At the risk of getting flamed worse than the Hindenburg, the Trump campaign is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game. Instead of learning from the mistakes made in the aforementioned states and adjusting to reduce the likelihood of mistakes in future contests, the Trump campaign is…salting the ground by trying to delegitimize the process. Although this may work in the short term, it can only end badly in the long term.

Let’s say Trump does better than expected and wins 1237 or more delegates at the Republican National Convention. Will he accept the nomination, or will he reject it? If he does the former, it makes it look like he’s buying into the very process he’s attacking right now. If he rejects it, it makes him look like a quitter and not a serious candidate.

That leads to another question: what will happen with the Trump voters? In the former scenario, it doesn’t hurt Trump very much, but it does hurt in the credibility department, and you know Hillary Clinton will not hesitate to use something like that should she overcome Bernie Sanders and gets her party’s coronation…I mean nomination. In the latter scenario, Trump and the GOP gets crushed as Trump voters may not be motivated to vote in the general election. It would rip the heart and soul out of a lot of people, people who could cause candidates further down the ballot to lose.

This is why the long game is important. Ted Cruz may not be your cup of Earl Grey, but he’s not to blame for the Trump delegate situation. Cruz is playing the long game, and playing it well. Trump’s team needs to take a look at itself closely and readjust their strategy in dealing with the delegate issue in a constructive rather than destructive way.

Are You SURE You Want to Do That?

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Lately, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been trading barbs about who is qualified to be President of the United States. Mrs. Clinton said Sanders isn’t qualified because he hasn’t had all of her experiences. Senator Sanders said Clinton isn’t qualified because of her ties to Wall Street bankers.

For once, I agree with both Clinton and Sanders!

Hillary Clinton isn’t qualified to be President because her experience has been mostly bad. Remember the “Reset Button” with Russia? Remember Hillary’s support for the Arab Spring, which gave rise to ISIS/ISIL/ICUP/whatever name they’re going by this week? Of course, we could always ask Ambassador Chris Stevens for his opinion on Mrs. Clinton’s leadership qualifications. Oh, wait…

Bernie Sanders isn’t qualified to be President because he lacks even a basic understanding of how a constitutional republic or a free market economy (both of which we still have, last time I checked) works. No matter how much “free” stuff he offers, it will not balance the books, boost the economy, or fly in the halls of Congress or the courts of the land. Besides, do we really want a President who looks like he gets his hair cut at a low-rent pet salon?

Although the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have a legitimate political basis by which to question each others’ Presidential qualifications, it opens up a larger conversation where neither one measures up. But, who am I to argue with the Benghazi Bungler and the Socialist Septuagenarian? Neither one has my vote for President, and I have them both to thank for making my decision that much easier.

The Definition of Insanity

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

A President (let’s call him…Zimmy Barter) decides to expand home ownership to more Americans. Another President (let’s call him…Dill Plimpton) decided Barter’s idea was so good that it needed to be expanded to the point where mortgage banks would have to approve more loans to people who may not have the ability to pay or else the government would have to get involved. Then, just for the sake of argument, let’s say there was a monumental global economic collapse due in part to the Barter/Plimpton mentality. It would be utter insanity to repeat the steps that lead to the collapse, right?

Wellll…not according to the Obama Administration. Recently, President Obama proposed banks lend money to people with bad credit so they could buy houses. But don’t worry. The government will provide additional insurance to protect lenders in the case of default because we’re totally flush with money and completely recovered from the financial meltdown of 2007.

Yeah, and if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

As someone with 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry, I can tell you returning to the lending standards from before the mortgage crisis is a worse idea than getting driving lessons from Caitlyn Jenner. Lending money to people with bad credit comes with an amazing amount of risk. That’s why the interest rates on “payday loans” are higher than Snoop Dogg in Colorado on 4/20. Even with government insurance, it’s too great of a risk. Let me put it this way. We have a federal government who can’t seem to live within its means backing up people who have a similar problem on a smaller level.

Yeah, doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, does it?

While President Obama’s intentions may be noble, the reality of the situation is not everybody is capable of owning a home. It takes a lot of work, commitment, and yes, money to ensure the house you get from the bank doesn’t wind up getting lost in a foreclosure sale. If Obama gets his wish, I guarantee we will see more and more people lose their homes on the promise of a President whose current political capital makes a crack house in Detroit look good.

It’s said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result every time. For Democrats, it seems to be standard operating procedure.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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Did you hear about the white student at San Francisco State University who was verbally and physically assaulted by a black student? If you didn’t, well, now you have.

Now, what could have caused the black student to attack the white student? Did the white student say something racially insensitive? Was the white student protesting against Black Lives Matter? Was the white student nonchalant about Colin Kapernick getting traded? Nope! It was because that evil racist scum of the earth white guy dared, I repeat dared…to wear dreadlocks.

For most people, a white man in dreadlocks is no big deal, but to the black student it was cultural appropriation. Which brings us to the Leftist Lexicon Word(s) of the Week…

cultural appropriation

What the Left says it means: taking concepts and artifacts from other cultures without permission

What it really means: promoting diversity though segregation

America used to be a melting pot where people from around the world could come and celebrate their cultures and appreciate our freedom simultaneously. Today…well, the only thing melting is the collective brain power of America as we try to make our way through the minefield of modern political correctness while wearing clown shoes. Step the wrong way and you don’t get blown up, although your Twitter feed might with people telling you how horrible you are. (This is one reason I don’t use Twitter. If I wanted people telling me how horrible I am, I’d go back to college and tell the students to stop being wussies.)

Granted, there is some legitimate grounds for people to get upset about cultural appropriation. White frat boys having a Cinco de Mayo party complete with caricatures of Mexican men with sombreros taking a nap is a jerk move, to put it mildly. But celebrating Cinco de Mayo in and of itself would not be a legitimate form of cultural appropriation because a) it’s not trying to take anything from the Mexican/Hispanic culture as much as it is trying to get really drunk, and b) Cinco de Mayo isn’t even celebrated in Mexico.

Now, here’s the fun part. The people who are the most upset about cultural appropriation are just as “guilty” as the ones they accuse. Wearing Nikes? Appropriation of Greek culture. Need a Starbucks to get your day started? Another appropriation of Greek culture, and an expensive one at that! Driving a Prius? It’s a Honda, so it’s appropriation of Japanese culture! Even going to college is a cultural appropriation, and no matter how many gay albino midget amputee art cultural studies classes you take will square that circle. If anything, it might make it worse and it will guarantee you will be working at a Starbucks right out of college.

As with most things in the world, we should use our heads and hearts when it comes to celebrating the diversity we have in America. If it doesn’t feel right or if you have to make a ton of excuses and/or justifications to try to get out of trouble, it probably isn’t a good idea. It’s completely possible to be respectful and have a good time. Just put yourselves in the shoes of your guests. Not literally, of course…unless they have some really cool shoes in your size and it’s your house, then go nuts.

Anything we say or do has the potential to offend, but we should all try to be adults instead of the self-absorbed preschoolers in grown up bodies that get offended by a hairstyle someone else is wearing. For all we know, the person wearing dreadlocks might not be trying to appropriate someone’s culture, but rather appropriate some pot or munchies because he smoked pot. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Unless, of course, it’s anything by Stephenie Meyer.

No Deal or No Deal

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Remember the Iran Deal, that great initiative from the State Department designed to get Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions? Well, it turns out Iran may not be following the spirit of the deal, in spite of following the letter of the deal.

Now, who could have seen that coming? I mean, aside from anyone not in the Obama Administration.

Not that I’m questioning the brilliance of the same Administration who came up with the brilliant concept of “hashtag diplomacy” and gave Samantha Power, Marie Harf, and John Kerry jobs. Far from it! I’m questioning the sanity of said individuals because no matter how you slice it, the Iran Deal makes the Minnesota Vikings giving up draft picks to get Hershel Walker seem brilliant. Come to think of it, that may be one of the conditions of the Iran Deal.

In the art of the deal, it takes two parties willing to negotiate in good faith for anything to happen. (Say…The Art of the Deal would be a great title for a book! Now, who would we get to write it?) If there are any misgivings or dishonesty, the deal will go south fast.

At the risk of metaphysical levels of understatement, Iran is not going to deal with us honestly, no matter what John Kerry says. How do I know this? Do I have a secret Bat Phone that connects me to Iran? Do I have more eyes and ears on the ground than a crash between trucks hauling potatoes and corn? Nope.

I understand Iran wants to kill us.

And I’m not sure John Kerry got the memo on that. It’s not like Iran is hiding its disdain for us, either. Their political and religious leaders out and out say it. Maybe we should chip in to get Rosetta Stone for the State Department so they can get up to speed quickly, or as quickly as the sloth-like government gets.

In the meantime, we’re having to deal with the consequences. Honestly, I believe Iran already has nuclear weapons (thanks in part to other countries who want us to go the way of “Hot Tub Time Machine 3”), and have a vested interest in playing a game with us. Think it won’t happen? Google “Hans Blix” and “Iraq WMDs” and get back to me.

Hopefully, the next President will be smart enough to tell Iran to take their deal and shove it. Until then, we should be prepared to watch Iran take more liberties, and watch President Obama and his State Department look like Joe Biden at a MENSA meeting.

Or on any given day.

Where Do We Go From Here?

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To say the 2016 election has been contentious wouldn’t be an understatement; it would be the Mother of All Understatements. Republicans going against Republicans, Democrats going after Democrats, Independents going out for pizza. This whole political season is insane!

But once both major parties decide on their candidates, everyone will be holding hands and singing campfire songs, right? Oooooooh, sor-ray. That’s going to be easier said than done for both the Elephant and the Donkey because they’ve decided the primary process is more of a bloodsport than a debate of ideas. And this is just the prelims, kids. Once Democrats and Republicans choose their respective candidates, it’s going to make the Hatfields and McCoys look like the Bradys and the Cleavers.

As someone on the outside looking in, I don’t see how the two major parties can reconcile completely. Both are struggling with a simple binary issue: winning vs. staying true to their core ideologies. The leadership (if you can call it that) from both sides is trying to make people believe it’s either-or when it’s not. You can win and stay true to the party’s core, but you need to have a candidate that is willing to do both instead of siding for one at the expense of the other.

We’ve been told it’s better to have someone who agrees with us 75% of the time win than to have someone who agrees with us 0% of the time win. In theory, it’s not a bad argument. In practice, however, sometimes the 75% with us candidates prove to be with us far less frequently. Remember when Republicans jumped for joy at John Boehner becoming Speaker of the House, wresting the gavel from Nancy “Botox Is Bad, Mkay?” Pelosi? Yeah, how’d that turn out again…oh yeah, Boehner rolled over like a submissive dog in a centrifuge. In fact, even the most seemingly conservative politicians occasionally get a case of Washingtonitis, a malady that makes principled people turn into jellyfish, but with less backbone.

Fortunately for the Republicans, Democrats have their own Washingtonitis epidemic to worry about. The very fact Bernie Sanders can garner more than 3 votes total shows me the Left is fragmenting even worse than projected. Say what you will about Sanders, but one thing you cannot say about him is he’s afraid to speak his mind. (Granted, his mind is filled with ideas that have gone the way of David Duke’s potential rap career, but at least he’s sticking up for them!) Yet, thanks to the power of the Super Delegates, Hillary Clinton is beating Sanders in the delegate count. Put simply, a Super Delegate is someone the Democrats pick to have additional voting power over the average person. And when you consider an absolute slug like Alan Grayson is a Super Delegate, you know it’s a stupid system.

At this rate, we may be seeing the end of the two-party stranglehold on the Presidency and moving towards a political system that is more confusing and segmented than the gender pronouns on Tumblr. If that happens, you will find me on a beach somewhere reenacting the final scenes from the original “Planet of the Apes” when Charlton Heston finds out he landed back on Earth.

And while we’re here, if there are any damn dirty apes reading this, keep your stinking paws off of me!