My Personal Subjective Survey

[This post late, it was lost to and retrieved from the “cloud”. Also, were we at cyberwar on Friday? WTF?!?]

“Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” Groucho Marx, Duck Soup, 1933.

“Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” Groucho Marx, Duck Soup, 1933.

I recently drove from nowhere to nowhere in a “blue state”. Well; that’s not entirely true because there are no “blue states”. There are only “blue cities”. When, as is common, blue cities steamroll the red remainder of the state we call it a “blue state”.

My itinerary would take me from what I like to call “free territory” (a comfortable rural redoubt), through what I think of as “occupied territory” (an urban area sufficiently large that I’d fuel up and get the hell out pronto lest I get trapped in traffic or be forced to listen to rap), to a final destination that was “suburban” (infested with malls, trendy people, and tight parking).

To pass the time I started counting Trump and Hillary signs. What would the ratio of the two be? Based on polling it should be close to 50/50 with a slight edge to Hillary. Math failed me because there were no Hillary signs. You can’t divide by zero. I wish I’d grabbed a paper and pen to count the Trump signs. I lost count of the Trump signs after a few dozen. By that time, I was maybe 40 miles into my trip. I guessed from 1 – 3 Trump signs per mile in fairly uninhabited nowhere.

As often happens, the radio had nothing but crap. The scan feature headed for the strongest signal and I was delivered to the clutches of America’s Pravda (NPR). Is there anywhere in America left without a strong Federal propaganda FM broadcast?

“Trump is toast! Thirty years ago he said some stupid shit. It’s unacceptable.” The announcers (whom we would formerly call journalists) were engaged in a round-robin discussion. Each was eager to prove they were the most convinced of Trump’s doom in the group.

I was aware there was some sort of kerfuffle but hadn’t paid attention. It seemed minor to me. A billionaire can get laid without “dating”, “courting”, or even “civility”? No shit. It seems a main perk to being filthy rich. Does it surprise you? That Trump bragged about it is believable. When is Trump not bragging? That he was crude? Um… I’m running out of ways to say ‘not surprised’. Meanwhile the party that created “getting a Monica” as a euphemism was play acting their temporary role as preening moralizers. Raise your hand if you haven’t seen that show before. Provided it isn’t a Clinton or a Kennedy they’ll act shocked that tawdry sex exists. When it’s Clinton or a Kennedy it’s a private matter between the man and an intern or Marilyn Monroe. What’s new? Plus, NPR has been predicting Trump’s demise daily for a year so maybe they do it reflexively? Then again Scott Adams seems to have thrown in the towel. Adams seems to know which way the wind is blowing and I wouldn’t know the zeitgeist if it bit me on the ass.

But what gives with the absence of signs?

While the radio babbled, I passed another bevy of Trump signs. The Trump count was somewhere around four or five dozen. I hadn’t seen a single Hillary sign.

Finally, 65 miles into my trip, I passed the first Hillary sign! I jotted a note of this remarkable observation on an old gas receipt.

What does it mean when I can drive 65 miles to see the first Hillary sign? What does it mean that I passed enough Trump signs that I lost count? What does it mean when Trump signs are outnumbering Hillary maybe 40 or 50 to 1? How does that comport with NPR congratulating itself over its most recent prediction of Trump’s demise? The most charitable explanation I conjured is that rural areas are politically irrelevant?

I kept driving. At 100 miles into my trip I’d witnessed only that one single Hillary sign. Baffling! This close to an election I ought to see signs for everyone from both parties and half-dozen bumper stickers supporting lunatics like Sasquatch or Bern (even if he isn’t in the race anymore).

Maybe I’d misheard NPR? I clicked on the radio it and was immediately assaulted:

“New polls show that Trump is utterly doomed. There is no reason to have a vote. All hail Hillary!”

I clicked off the radio and kept driving. When I’d driven 175 miles I still had only seen the one Hillary sign but I was approaching an urban area; Hillary’s natural habitat.

If there was any sort of rationality in the world I would see dozens and dozens (perhaps thousands) of Hillary signs in the land of her true faithful supporters. It was getting dark but I peered into the gloom. I was desperate to see something that would reconcile the propaganda on my radio with the real world where I was driving. I passed a plain blue billboard that supported the Democratic Party (no sign of Hillary). Was that it? Later I passed a Trump billboard, no sign of his party affiliation. The Hillary edge that would reconcile the polls remained invisible.

With my transition from rural to urban the steady stream of Trump signs petered out but there was no countervailing growth in Hillary’s count of… one. I formulated a new theory. Maybe rural folks will stand and be counted while urban folks can’t or won’t publicly declare their affiliation?

(In the interest of full disclosure I have only one political sign on my yard, an American Flag. That’s the only sign I need. A politician who wants advertising space on my yard can either rake my leaves in payment or kiss my ass and take their sign down the road.)

Another theory; perhaps urban people are so highly regulated they cannot put up a yard sign. Maybe homeowners associations are that brutal? A logical stretch that could make NPR’s poll data match my observation would be many millions of Hillary voters who live with a HOA that’ll firebomb you if you put up a yard sign

Seriously folks, I’m not sure what’s up and am open to ideas. I was in a state that will likely go to Hillary and would have maybe gone to Bernie Sanders and might possibly vote for Trotsky if you exhumed the body and had a couple of college professors wheel it around. If the urban/state vote is sure to be hers why am I not seeing evidence of it?

I drove straight through the heart of a very large city and there was no indication an election was afoot. I crossed a state line; theoretically moving from a “blue state” to an “even bluer state”. In suburbs six miles over the state line I saw my second Hillary sign. Plus, the usual herd of Trump signs. I had now traveled 285 miles and counted two Hillary signs. At 325 miles, I counted the third Hillary sign.

It was a 400 mile trip, there were scads of Trump signs most of the way and I had seen three Hillary signs total. During 8 hours on the road no FM station mentioned the election except NPR. I checked them every half hour and roughly 50% of the time they were announcing Hillary’s coronation. (The other 50% was a smattering of concepts; how awesome it is to be gay, the story of some dude’s script writing, an interview with a young woman in Syria, and something vague about religious comic books. Jesus in a comic book? I must have missed something.)

I’ve grown used to the press telling me things that are contrary to what I observe. Within reason, I chalk it up to living in the hinterland. If everyone in my county all died in a meteor strike statistically it wouldn’t matter. Conversely, just because I don’t care who uses which shitter at Target doesn’t mean RuPaul’s urinal options isn’t riveting to folks from Chicago or Miami or whatever.)

But surely a 400 mile transect should unearth some level of objective truth? I just drove 400 miles and saw only three signs for the Democratic candidate who, we are told, is polling well. What gives?

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How Half Of America Lost Its Mind

I’ve been driving across the great beautiful chunk of freedom referred to (by assholes) as “flyover country”. I’ve been counting political signage and it’s fascinating. However, when I wrote what I’d seen it was eaten by the cloud. What can I say? I’m in an area of sketchy WiFi. (Usually I write locally and upload when done. I should have stuck with what works.)

In lieu of original thought, I’m going to refer to Cracked (which is hardly a fount of depth but sometimes they hit the nail dead center). David Wong slammed one out of the park with How Half Of America Lost It’s Fucking Mind.* Here are a few random quotes:

Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?

An obvious observation, but there’s more:

“But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!” you say. “He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he’s not an everyman; he’s a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!”

Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:


You’ve never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve?

I’m in awe. An analogy bridging Trump with Ironman; it’s silly but it’s brilliant. A rich jackoff that scares the squares and breaks shit while you cheer him on; unless of course this movie wasn’t meant for you. Brilliant.

I encourage everyone to read it all.


* P.S. I could point out the inherent bias of equating “support Trump” and “lost it’s fucking mind” but if you didn’t notice it on your own you never will. Also it’s Cracked fer crissakes, Let it slide for comedy and you get a winning headline.

** P.S. 2. I should mention that I haven’t seen the latest Ironman movie. I’m basing my approval on older movies. I’m assuming the character is about the same. If, in later movies, Ironman and the  Hulk went all Brokeback Mountain after they immolated a busload of kittens then the analogy might be a bit weak.

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The Debates As Interpreted By “Wait But Why”

I recently discovered a blog called Wait But Why. (Warning, huge time sink… lots of great stuff to read! Give yourself time to peruse.)

The author took the time to transcribe the entire second presidential debate. This is one of the shorter posts and funny as hell. (Link here.) Here’s a sample:

Clinton: He’s lying about everything, it’s all on my website, and let’s just be happy that this loose cannon isn’t in charge of the law in this country.

Trump: Because you’d be in jail.

Audience: Oh dayome!

Anderson: We’d like to remind the audience to stop being a piece of shit.

Martha: But really, Hillary—what’s up with the emails you sneaky fuck.

It goes like that through several topics. Hilarious!

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Bad Advice From People Who Hate You

I’ve noticed a pattern. I call it “bad advice from people who hate you”. Rather than wallow in the cesspool of election coverage I’ll describe the same process in another venue. Reporting on Papal Conclaves is where I first noticed it.

Bad advice from people who hate you runs ankle deep in the streets whenever a Pope dies. The pattern has been repeated for as many instances as I can remember. It goes like this; the Pope dies (which is a bummer) and then a bunch of guys with pointy hats sequester themselves in a room (doing God knows what) until they decide who the new Pope should be. I’m cool with this; I’m not a particularly religious man but I respect folks’ beliefs. I would never presume to interfere with how a religion chooses its leader (also I think the colored smoke thing is pretty groovy).

Once the new Pope has been selected, the press kicks in with “bad advice from people who hate you”. Earnest looking blowdried airheads with microphones will stand in front of the Vatican and look into the camera. Then they spew advice to the new Pope:

“We here at MSNBC / CNN / New York Times / America’s Pravda (NPR) are glad to hear the new Pope is such an awesome guy. We hear he saves kittens in his spare time and he’s going to look really good in a robe. In no way do we want to remind our viewing public that we spend six hours a day 365 days a year bashing any non-Islamic religion as ‘backwards hicks’. Also we think the new Pope has a great opportunity here…”

Wait for it…

“…what the new Pope needs to do is embrace changes that will increase the popularity of his religion. He should totally chill out with complaining about divorce, or abortion, or drugs, or premarital sex, or homosexuality, etc… Also, our polling suggests that young people think this whole focus on sin is a huge turnoff.”

See where it’s going?

“So if the new Pope just quits complaining about sin and stuff he can really improve the church!”

They do it every time.

Who are these peons? They say words like they have thoughts behind them but they’re just airheads. Worse yet they’re airheads who presume to know what Catholics should do. I mean how much bullshit can be squeezed into a journalism career? What fries a mind until one thinks you’re better than the Pope… at being the Pope?

Even if I could get over the idea of giving advice to a dude who has “direct word of God” on his business card, what about the next assumption; that popularity is the point. I’m not a theologian but I’m sure I read somewhere that the purpose of the church is eternal salvation. It doesn’t say anything about being popular. Perhaps they’re confusing the goals of a centuries old organization with the season finale of “Dancing With The Stars”?

Finally, suppose the Pope takes the advice of America’s Pravda (NPR). Suppose he quits talking about sin and pre-marital sex and tones down all the God stuff? Maybe he starts hanging out with rich Hollywood actors and flies around in a private jet bitching about global warming. Maybe he decides all that celibacy crap is lame and so he picks up a supermodel girlfriend and shacks up for a couple of long weekends. It might make him really popular and he’s done everything they’d advise him to do, but is he really a Pope anymore? How far can he go before he’s just a guy with an epic hat? Isn’t their advice on how to be Pope instructions on how not to be Pope at all?

Obviously nobody in the press is qualitied to say jack about the Pope. He’s got Cardinals and bibles and stuff to advise him. Nor should the Pope give two shits what some moron on TV thinks. Depending on your level of belief he answers exclusively to a higher power.

There’s something very creepy about a hack churning out 800 word articles for the New York Times who presumes to offer “advice” about something that far exceeds their grasp. This is what I mean by “bad advice from people who hate you”.

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There Was A Debate Sunday

In the interest of an informed electorate I’m posting this clip from Sunday’s debate.

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Venezuela: Follow Up

I know that piling on Venezuela and Socialism is shooting dumb fish in a small barrel but I can’t quit. There’s a part of the tragedy I hadn’t previously considered. It had never occurred to me that a nation could be too poor to operate a prison. Holy shit! What to you do then? Clearly some people must be in jail. But what if your nation is so crapped out that you can’t manage a prison? There is nothing worse than putting a person in a cage and starving them to death. It’s just too ugly to ignore: Prisoners starve to death in Venezuela’s jails as country’s economic collapse sees food and medicine run out.

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Juxtaposition: Venezuela

March 6, 2013: Three years ago Salon whined we should pay more attention to the epic socialist success of Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle:

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism…” (I added emphasis to this and other posts.)

OK, I’m game. My opinion is that socialism fails every goddamn time and all that really changes is the number of years between the glorious revolution and the inevitable starvation or mass murder. But I could be wrong. Salon in 2013 told me Venezuela was just peachy. Is it? Lets look at socialism’s impressive record of economic achievements just three years later:

June 16, 2016:

“A wave of lootings and food riots in crisis-hit Venezuela claimed a fourth life Wednesday… …The government blames the chronic food and medicine shortages on the opposition and an “economic war” it says is being waged in league with the U.S. government. To avoid the threat of unrest associated with long food lines, it has assigned neighborhood committees linked to the ruling socialist party to distribute food.

July 31, 2016:

“The Marxist “paradise” once worshipped by such Hollywood naifs as Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover and Michael Moore is now forcing its citizens to work on neglected farms… Home to the world’s worst economy, Venezuela is beset by severe food shortages, riots in the streets and hyperinflation that’s closing in on 700 percent… So Maduro has now issued an executive decree that subjects all workers to being forced to work for 60 days (or more, “if circumstances merit”) in the fields, growing badly needed food. Economically, the move makes no sense. Morally, it’s barely one step up from government-sanctioned slavery.”

September 1, 2016:

“‘We have been retained by the National Guard in at least – six checkpoints. It’s not fair,’ she said. ‘I feel sad. This government is not what we expected. We’re tired, tired of hunger and humiliation.'”

September 6, 2016:

“Over the weekend, Gen. Padrino announced the appointment of 18 military generals and admirals to oversee the production, distribution and commercialization of 18 categories of food and items considered basic staples for Venezuela’s economy.”

I’ll say it loud enough to be heard from the cheap seats; when a county goes socialist it ALWAYS craters, not sometimes or occasionally… but always. That’s why Russia and China (unlike twits in American universities) gave up on it. Socialism has repeatedly declined into food riots, forced agricultural labor (a form of slavery that’s as cruel as it is ineffective), and party/military control of everything (including food).


P.S. One thing raising food on my little homestead has taught me is that it takes skill. It’s not just musclehead effort. It’s a delicate dance between you and everything nature might throw at you (genetics, biology, chemistry, climate, predation, you name it). Rounding up a dozen schmucks from a city (dentists, accountants, school teachers, truck drivers) and dropping them on my yard for a 60 day “work detail” would seriously screw up what little food production I can manage. Nothing says socialism like burdening precious food production with a herd of urban slaves that know jack shit about the task at hand.


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