19 October, 2016

Rigging in the frigging

The latest from the Trump campaign… no, wait. There is only Trump. The rest of his campaign have given up all hope of professionalism and are just wondering how they’re ever going to explain this on their résumés.

So the latest from Donald Trump is that the system is rigged and that’s why he’s losing. Those of you with memories longer than that of a pot-smoking goldfish might remember that he’s tried this act once before when it looked like he might not get the nomination. Once Ted Cruz had pulled out of the race, allowing Trump to again win on pig-headedness alone, suddenly the Republican National Committee wasn’t corrupt any more.

Now, as more and more Republicans decide they can’t hold their noses any longer and desert him, again he assures us the system is rigged. It’s tempting to see this as a pre-emptive excuse for his failure but for once, I think I understand where Donald Trump is coming from.

To understand, you have to look at the world Donald Trump lives in. Even flattering profiles describe him as a reality TV star, but first we need to unpack what is meant by “reality TV.”

Cops is reality TV. A television crew travels with the officers and film what happens. That’s reality. However, most programs that are described as reality TV, including Mr Trump’s iteration, are nothing of the sort. They take naïve volunteers, put them into highly contrived situations, foment conflict and then edit it all together.

Unscripted? Yes. Reality? Forget about it!

And of course, Trump is the star of the show. His abilities are not in question and never tested. He just gets to judge those who are.

Trump’s other major media enterprises have been the Miss Universe pageant – and don’t tell me that’s democratic – and professional wrestling, which everyone knows is fake. In fact, it’s so fake that they don’t even bother pretending it isn’t fake – it’s just a kind of violent beefcake ballet. The point is, the winner is predetermined.

But let’s not forget that these are all sidelines in Trump’s business interests. He also owns casinos.

For those who don’t know what a casino is, I’ll explain: A casino is a place where people who don’t understand statistics go to give all their spare money to people who do.

The first and only thing you need to know about casinos is that the house always wins. (Which makes it all the more curious that Trump managed to bankrupt a few, but that’s another story.) Trump is the house.

When you look at his history, you can see how running for president is actually the most level playing field Trump has been on for decades. Having secured the nomination, he’s now up to the one part of the election he can’t buy or bully his way through – the part where all the people get to decide. And he’s losing – badly.

Having spent so long having the odds literally stacked in his favour, you can understand why he feels the system is rigged when it’s finally a true test of merits. He’s like the dog in the movie Bolt who, because of his training and grooming by producers, doesn’t understand that he’s not actually a superhero.

While Trump supporters have been tying themselves in knots trying to rationalise the “grab them by the pussy” comment (remember the Republicans are supposed to be the party of family values), the most honest explanation is that he’s like the notorious affluenza teen. He’s so privileged and detached from reality that he can’t properly distinguish right from wrong. And he also can’t understand what life is like when it isn’t actually rigged. Of course the election must be rigged if he isn’t winning.

I could almost feel sorry for him if he weren’t such a creep.

Vote your conscience, America.

08 October, 2016

What did we learn today?

Well, we learnt something pretty amazing about Donald Trump. No, really.

We learnt that Donald Trump really does have a skerrick of shame. Not only that, but he'll take responsibility and apologise for at least something, even if he does flip it to his opponent.

However, what we learnt raises more questions.

What we learnt was that somewhere between:
They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,
Ban all Muslims,”
She had blood coming out of her where-ever,” and
Grab ’em by the pussy,
is a line that Donald Trump and his people have decided should not be crossed.

I would be interested to know exactly where that line is. It’s important, because as disgusting as the recently released comments were, I’m not sure they’re any more offensive than anything Trump has said on a daily basis on the campaign, any one of which would be a career-killer for anybody with a (D) after their name - and rightly so.

In an age when Trump and his running mate shamelessly deny he said things that anyone with an internet connection can prove he did, you have to wonder what is different about this latest incident. Is it that Trump’s sense of decency is on an 11-year delay and that Megyn Kelly can expect an apology some time in 2026?

Obviously, the campaign feels this can damage them more than any of the previous comments, but that only raise the question of whether they have only just realised he’s a pathological sleazebag and that it might be a problem.

Vote your conscience.

Update: A possible answer,

13 August, 2016

A thought experiment

Two sentences:

1: He's rude, arrogant and doesn't know when to shut up.
2: He says what he thinks and he's not politically correct. 

Which one of these is a compliment and which is a criticism?

Before you answer, remember that both sentences mean exactly the same thing.

01 August, 2016

How oppression works

A certain US presidential candidate's in-no-way-racist comments in response to a veteran's parents pointing out the self-evident truth that he has never made sacrifices for his country the way they and their son have, prompted yet another tiresome discussion on a panel show regarding the oppressiveness of face coverings.

For those who need it spelled out for them, here goes:

Being forced to cover your face against your will is oppression.
Being forced to reveal your face against your will is also oppression.

Being forced to remain silent against your will is oppression.
Being forced to speak against your will is also oppression.

The key words here are FORCED and AGAINST YOUR WILL.

Do you get it yet?
If you're making assumptions about whether a woman's demeanour is by choice or by force, maybe you're the one being oppressive.

Mrs Kahn chose to respond to the talking wig's aspersions, but she should never have had to. She has been through enough and has the right to do or not do whatever she wants. Mr Thinskin McTanningbooth has even less shame than I thought.

08 July, 2016

I want to be wrong

I thought long and hard about whether to say this, because it’s going to be confronting and possibly seem opportunistic, but I’m going to say it because I want someone to tell me I’m wrong.

Within 24 hours of each other, two men were shot to death by police in part because they were carrying guns. Not wielding them or brandishing them in any way – just carrying them. And these two killings are really only notable because they were both captured on smartphone video.

Can we talk about gun control now? Please?

I’m not even going to ask for changes to US gun laws. That’s probably a lost cause by now. Can I just ask that the existing laws be applied equally?

Alton Sterling was carrying a gun when he was he was shot on the ground. It was not in his hand. It was in his pocket. He was not legally carrying because of his criminal record but the police officers had no way of knowing his record or that he was not licenced to carry a concealed firearm.

Philando Castile was licenced to carry a gun and informed police officers that he was carrying as he reached to get his ID. He did everything right.

We are told by defenders of the status quo on gun control that guns make people safer. But carrying a gun did not protect Mr Sterling and Mr Castile. Instead, it got them both killed.

We are also told that keeping and bearing arms is not just for personal protection but to protect the populace from a tyrannical government. Yet, Mr Sterling and Mr Castile were killed by officers of the government for carrying a gun.

So far, the NRA has had no comment.

This leads a reasonable person to wonder if there might be some unwritten nuance to the second amendment, and that the nuance is:

White man with a gun:
“He’s exercising his constitutional rights. What a patriot!”
Black man with a gun:

I know this may seem like an unfair characterisation. I know this may seem like an opportunistic cherry-picking of examples. That’s why I want someone to show me where I’m wrong.

I’m not asking as a “prove me wrong, then!” debating tactic. I truly want to be wrong. I have tried hard to avoid saying ‘racism’ but oops, there it is.

Please, please tell me I’m wrong!

05 July, 2016

Election coverage

You might have noticed a lack of election posts here. That's because I've been posting them all at Ausvotes2016. You can view them all HERE.

My latest post is a prediction of what might happen in a Turnbull government's second term - if they get one.

24 June, 2016

The hypocrisy of Brexit

I have to say it’s rather amusing to see Britain resentful of being told what to do by other countries. It seems they’re nostalgic for the days of when there was one rule for Britain and another for everyone else.

Let’s take just one, extremely selective example…

Britain: You there, Australia! Launch a doomed invasion of a country you have no quarrel with as part of our sorting out some personal differences between royal cousins.
Australia: Right you are, guv!

Europe: Britain, be a good chap and take some refugees fleeing conflicts that ultimately arose from a bunch of arbitrary lines you drew on the world over the last century, won’t you?
Britain: How dare you sir? Do you know who I am? I don’t have to be treated like this. I said Good day!