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Thomas Nast’s classic cartoon
created the symbol of both parties
Caveat #1: This post has nothing to do with policy; it is entirely about the strategies and tactics, individual strengths and weaknesses of the various candidates for the two parties’ presidential nomination. It is a purely intellectual exercise, not an ideological one.
Caveat #2: We are 13 months out from the election; the political landscape can cartwheel three or four times between now and then. This post reflects conditions as they presently exist.
Among the GOP:
Historically, the only non-politicians elected president by Americans are generals who just won major wars that either protected the U.S. or expanded its holdings. Trump, Carson, and Fiorina will not make the cut.
If you are not a fresh face to national presidential politics this year, you are yesterday’s news. Quite specifically, if you didn’t soundly defeat the rest of the ’08 and ’12 fields, why should anyone believe you can beat the Democrats’ 2016 candidate?
Bush fatigue is a real thing, and nobody thinks he did a good job anymore (at best they will claim he was sincere in his efforts). Jeb Bush has been campaigning in a way that makes one suspect a passive-aggressive agenda: He is bowing to family and old boy network pressure to run, but he’s saying things that — while the old boy network can’t fault him — drives more and more potential voters away.
That leaves us with Rubio and Kasich.
On paper, Kasich is the least problematic: Solid conservative principles, pragmatism to cross the aisle and get things done. He’s dropped the fewest potential verbal land mines.
The problem is he a middle American white boy at a time when a significant number of American voters have expressed a willingness to listen to what non-middle American non-white non-boys have to say. Ironically, race and gender may be two of his biggest handicaps.
Rubio is a little more of a firebrand, but his public utterances haven’t been as extreme as other GOP candidates and he would be able to plausibly appeal to Latin American voters as having earned the nomination on his own, not as a GOP ploy to win minority votes.
As of today: A Rubio-Kasich ticket looks like the GOP’s most viable team. Carson has an outside chance as the bottom half of the ticket, especially if Bush can’t convince enough of the GOP base not to vote for him.
Among the Democrats:
Clinton fatigue is real, too. Hilary Clinton has the chops to do the job, but after 8 years of Bill and 8 years as Obama’s secretary of state, a lot of voters — Democrat and independent — have had enough of her.
Bill C. has done her no favors, either; and by Bill C. I mean Bill Cosby. In an astonishingly short time, Cosby plummeted from one of the most admired and respected figures in America to a pariah. The generation of female voters who came of age after 9/11 look at Bill Clinton’s shenanigans in light of Cosby’s disgrace and curl their lips in disdain. Hilary’s relationship with Bill is not a strong selling point with this crowd.
Bernie Sanders is old, he’s white, he’s Jewish, and he’s a socialist, but oddly enough those characteristics tend to cancel themselves out, making him the most ideologically pure candidate in either field (“ideologically pure” in the sense that identity politics have been nullified).
As an old white guy, he’s reassuring to old white voters; while his age and whiteness have no appeal to younger and/or non-white voters, his other characteristics do.
He’s Jewish, which appeals to people sick of evangelical Christian influence in politics. Conversely, he has successfully reached out to evangelicals and told them what while they’ll never get what the GOP promised them, there are things President Bernie can deliver.
The evangelicals are listening to this.
He is a socialist, but he’s a socialist from one of the most contrarian conservative states in the union. The fact he has served them and served them well tells voters that even though he’s the most extreme left candidate, he’s still comfortably within mainstream American politics.
(As of this posting, neither Joe Biden nor any other viable potential candidates have officially announced for the Democratic slot. Biden is not the goofy uncle the public perceives him to be, but nonetheless they perceive him as the goofy uncle and it’s too late in the narrative to change that. Of the others, only Elizabeth Warren today offers an outside shot of securing the nomination but she seems willing to wait 2016 out. It’s not impossible she could end up on the bottom half of either a Clinton or Sanders ticket.)
Clinton faces a unique situation among candidates in both fields: She has started the campaign with the most support she can possibly get and must now keep voters from defecting to Sanders or later to the GOP candidate. She will lose supporters but if she can keep it down to a trickle and not a stream or more disastrously, a torrent, she can win handily. To do so she has to defeat Sanders in the early caucuses and primaries, defeat him decisively yet diplomatically so as not to alienate his supporters.
As of this posting: The nomination — and quite probably the election — is hers to lose.
I enjoying coming up with
weird little stories inspired
by old time advertising and
pulp illos, but this time the
original story blurb worked
better than anything I could
possibly think of.
art by Harry Harrison
I’ll take the opportunity of Martin Milner’s passing to comment on Route 66, and Route 66 to comment on Martin Milner.
Mr. Milner passed away this weekend at the respectable age of 83.
He had a long and worthy career as an actor behind him. Never a huge star (though he starred in two of the best remembered shows on TV, one of which is a bonafide classic), he was a competent journeyman actor.
Do not read that as a put down:
Quite the contrary, it’s a tribute to his ability to show up, take an ordinary character / scene, and imbue it with life. He worked and worked a lot because of that ability. While his TV career overshadowed his film career, he had significant roles in several major motion pictures, four of them quite good.
He was the jazz musician fiancé of Burt Lancaster’s sister in The Sweet Smell Of Success, a much too laid back shore patrol officer from Alabama in Mr. Roberts, James Earp in The Gunfight At O.K. Corral, and Natalie Wood’s friend-zoned playwright suitor in Marjorie Morningstar.
What he is most famous for, depending on your age, is as the driver of two of the most iconic TV cars after the Batmobile and the Beverly Hillbillies’ truck.
The obituaries all mention Adam-12, which was a good show and used the easy rappaport between Milner and co-star Kent McCord to present a more personable view of police work than displayed in its companion series, Dragnet.
But the great shining jewel in Milner’s career crown was Route 66, arguably one of the most important TV series in American cultural history and one of the few that everyone should track down and watch, even if only for a few episodes.
Route 66 was created by producer Herbert B. Leonard and writer Stirling Silliphant in answer to the Chevrolet Motor Company’s musical question: “If we lend you a brand new Corvette, can you build a TV show around it?”
Leonard & Silliphant could & did, and the result was the incredible Route 66, a semi-anthology that offers rare slice of life Americana, with stories taking place in less traveled parts of the country, involving occupations and true-to-life situations typically not explored in drama, much less network television.
Milner was convincing as Tod Stiles, son of a bankrupt industrialist who inherited nothing from his father except the Corvette he and his traveling companions drove. They were the consistent, friendly, appealing touchstones that enabled audiences to get into the surprisingly complex and insight stories that made the series a justifiable hit.
One may argue that Maharis (who had to leave the show due to health reasons) and Corbett were more dynamic actors, but Milner made it possible to welcome the show into your home every week. He may not have been a dramatic showboat, but he got people to tune in.
Milner had a shockingly normal personal life:
The child of a family on the fringe of show biz, he married actress / singer Judy Jones in 1957 and stayed married to her for the rest of his life, producing four children.
We’ll let him have the last word in his own memorial:
“I have no complaints on any level.
I’m pretty happy about the way
everything turned out.” — Martin Milner
We are, too,
10-4 & RIP
 Milner and his co-drivers George Maharis and later Glenn Corbett typically bookended every episode by arriving in a new town looking for work and thus getting involved with the characters & story of the week. Their contributions to the actual stories were often slight: Knights errant arriving in the nick of time to serve justice at the end of an episode, then hopping in their car to drive off to their next adventure.
 Jack Kerouac felt Route 66 had ripped off his novel On The Road. While the basic idea of two young men drifting around the country, taking odd jobs where they could find them, is similar, the focus of the TV show was vastly different from the novel’s. Noetheless, credit where credit is due, and without On The Road there may never have been a Route 66.
Sometimes you get an idea for a story and you have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out until you start writing it.
And then to your amazement stuff just starts falling into place, including the perfect capper that comes from what seemed like a wholly extraneous side point.
And you wonder:
Did I create that? Did my subconscious put all those elements together and shape them into a coherent story?
Or has the story simply been waiting all this time for someone to find it and tell it?
Creativity can be a puzzling thing.
Gawd, I love ‘em, but you can only find ‘em online now.
This entry is about a story that came together over a single afternoon, written by hand on a collegiate notebook using a PaperMate Flair pen and transcribed / revised into my computer this evening. It needs to sit for a few days / weeks and then we’ll see how well it stands up, and whether it goes straight up here or if I try to place it somewhere first.
I’ll keep you posted.
Someone did not like my previous Duggar post:
“like them or not you are commanded by Christ to love them – your words do not exemplify that – no matter how loathsome you may find their words or deeds you are called to love them – you do not have to accept them or approve of them – but you do have to love them – call them to task for what you see as their faults or failures but you have to do it in a spirit of love – not in a snarky sarcastic way – THAT is how others will know you are a disciple of Christ”
As my late aunt was wont to say, I am bumfuzzled.
First off, I don’t see any snark in what I posted previously.
Josh Duggar is a sexual predator.
The Duggar clan are sexual deviants.
The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches, the Bill Gothard led faction of same, and the whole Purity Movement have perverted the gospel of Christ.
These are inarguable facts.
Pretending these facts are not true by refusing to call them what they are is not going to help anybody.
Josh Duggar has checked in to “rehab” for treatment of his “sexual addiction.”
I use quotes because addicts can’t self-diagnose themselves; they may indeed have that particular problem, but it takes trained professionals to recognize all the symptoms and help locate the root of the problem.
I use quotes because the “rehab” facility is is attending has no medically or legitimately trained personnel; it is yet another extension of the same basic mind-warping / soul-killing / child-abusing IFB cult that both directly and indirectly made Josh Duggar what he is today!
Sending him to that facility
is like trying to conduct an
AA meeting at a bar
during happy hour.
They will do nothing to fix his problem, because they are the problem: Their grossly distorted, domineering, sexually deviant, soul crippling theology that attracts the spiritually and intellectually fearful.
It would be bad enough if their toxic nonsense was just confined to their own group, but that’s not the case: They crowd themselves in front of microphones and cameras, determined to shout down all attempts to try and present the genuine gospel of Christ at work.
They are modern day Pharisees, concocting an ever widening network of laws and rules and regulations and rituals and practices that are guaranteed to make worse the lives of anyone who tries to follow them.
They are precisely what Christ champion against in his brief ministry on earth.
And it’s not just the IFB;
they’re merely the particular flavor
of the Duggar clan sickness.
People are leaving Christianity, and they’re leaving it because we are letting the moral imbeciles and the con men and the slickee boiz get away with their crimes and perversions.
The Duggars, at least Jim-Bob and Michelle, are not victims but perpetrators. He’s a hack politician who couldn’t even please the undemanding electorate of Arkansas. She’s his enabler. Together they milk the system to enrich themselves without regard to any havoc they wreak.
Wanna see the Duggar true colors?
After their “we’re a wonderful family and you’re not” show was canceled (because they hid the fact their son had molested his kid sisters while they were away pressing political flesh), they tried to crawl back on TV by pitching a show where they would “counsel” victims of sexual abuse.
This after Jim-Bob blithely asserted child molesting by older teen sons goes on all the time in fundamentalist families.
Good lord — these people have no shame!*
Do not try to protect these people. They cannot be forgiven and loved until they stop harming others, and by that I mean shutting the fnck up and getting out of the public conscious and acknowledging the system they embrace causes far more problems than it purportedly solves.
You wanna love and forgive ‘em, fine; just don’t let them keep spewing their nonsense out to the world at large.
* I don’t, either, but then I’m quick to point that out to people. They don’t; in fact, they hide behind a false mask of pious humility.
Not one but two video podcasts I recorded at TFExpo in Wichita.
First, a half hour interview with Duron Land for TransFormers For Your Listening Pleasure (also available on iTunes).
Then a lengthy interview with co-guest Matt Frank conducted by Chris Ho of Vengelus Central.
I had a post all set to go on the latest Josh Duggar fiasco called “The 21st Century Badger Game” but then I received a couple of messages accusing me of being unfair and unforgiving to Josh in particular and the Duggars in general.
As the incestuous orthopedist once said:
Give me a mother-fucking break.
First off, let us start with the cold hard brutal facts:
Josh Duggar is a sexual predator.
He molested his sisters as a teen, confessed, then went back and molested them again.
He then had his offense covered up by local authorities, his church, and his parents.
He then paid nearly a thousand dollars to “guarantee” an affair from the infamous Ashley Madison website, signed up for an online dating service using another man’s photo, and friended several strippers and exotic dancers on Facebook.
All while telling us how we are supposed to live.
I’m counting a minimum of three strikes here:
This is a man who has forever lost any expectation of ever being taken seriously in matters of ethics / morality / family / fidelity / love.
But he is not to be hated,
he is to be pitied.
He is the product of a deviant sex cult, and just because the cult’s focus is on “purity” doesn’t mean they aren’t any more sexually obsessed than those they have delighted in attacking over the years.
Indeed, I think a very strong case can be made that they are more sexually obsessed than any other group.
Just because they focus their obsession on sexual purity doesn’t mean they aren’t deviant.
There is nothing that human beings can’t turn into either a weapon or a sexual fetish, if not both.
Let’s rack back the focus and look at the roots of the cult the Duggars belong to:
The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church movement and its close association with Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles and Advanced Training Institute home schooling efforts that have proved to be the backbone of the Quiverful movement.
For simplicity’s sake,
we shall refer to this as
The Purity Movement.
I know a little bit about human desire and sexuality from having worked both sides of the pornographer’s desk; I make no bones about my employment as an editor for Penthouse back in the mid-1990s.
I encountered a lot of kink in my job, and saw things that would make a Mormon’s head explode. I learned a few absolute truths along the way, the first and foremost being that there is nothing — repeat, NOTHING – that doesn’t get somebody’s motor running, and the second being that those most critical of other people’s sexuality are those with the greatest anxiety about their own.
To paraphrase The Joker:
“I know a
when I see one, and…”
Now, before delving further into that topic, I need to ratchet things back a bit further still by comparing American Protestantism with European Catholicism.
American Protestants like to believe all moral and ethical choices are simple black and white decisions: Always either one thing or the other.
Catholics are more comfortable with what computer programmers refer to as “fuzzy logic”: Any given issue does not have a single yea or nay question but in reality contains dozens if not scores if not hundreds of smaller questions in them, and in the end a big picture decision invariably involves making what seems like some bad decisions at the micro level in order to secure a more optimum outcome at the macro level.
Back to The Purity Movement.
As stated, they have sexually fetishized “purity”, a perversion of Christian doctrine that places virginity worship at its apex.
They possess an all too typical American Protestant viewpoint that the only possible alternative to absolute rigid unyielding sexual morality in the form of draconian enforced chastity is an equally absolute libertine lifestyle of mandatory free sex between / among all genders.
Oh, do I ever call shenanigans on that!
Look, sexual ethics start with one key irrefutable point:
No person is ever required to engage in any intimacy unless they are doing so of their own fully informed consent.
That’s a far, far cry from the ultra-permissive parody that exists in the minds of most followers of The Purity Movement. One can still advocate moral restraint in sexual matters without requiring the destruction of the human psyche in the process.
In The Purity Movement, all sexual thoughts / interests / ideas / desires prior to or outside of marriage are verboten.
Not something to be controlled,
not something to be dealt with,
Look, I get it; I’ve had ample exposure to various kinks that derive their sexual gratification through masochism and humiliation. You wanna get your rocks off by dwelling on what a worthless sac of human excrement you are because you acknowledge another human being’s attractiveness, hey, go right ahead.
Fly your freak flag high.
But don’t drag little kids into it.
I’ve been tracking The Purity Movement for several years now, and eventually want to do a more fully researched in-depth piece on them, but suffice it to say, they are no different from any other sexual fetish group out there: They have perverted not just natural and normal human desire but also the gospel of Christ, turning it from a life of love and compassion and forgiveness into a horrendous mash-up of KJV and 1984, designed and engineered by a leadership that uses their teachings not to introduce followers to the life of joy and fellowship that Christ has in store for them but to weaken them and control them and make them more compliant victims.
It espouses a series of character values that at first glance seem admirable, but on closer examination prove to be full of paradoxical self-contradicting pronouncements of the Arbeit Macht Frei / Ignorance Is Strength / Shit Is Shinola variety.
It’s part of their long standing effort to crush every hint of “rebellion” and “original sin” in a child by destroying their unique individual personalities and stamping them out in cookie cutter molds of their parents, who in turn are cookie cutter molds of the movement’s founders and leaders.
I don’t have the time / space / inclination to go into great detail on The Purity Movement here & now, but here’s a quote from the Duggars themselves on how they deal with sexual temptation whenever they encounter a female in public who isn’t dressed as modestly as a Duggar girl:
“’Nike’ [is] a signal to the boys, and even to Dad, that they should nonchalantly drop their eyes and look down at their shoes as we walk past her… It’s meant to help keep the guys’ eyes from seeing things they shouldn’t be seeing. By using the single-word signal, the warning can be given quietly and discreetly.” — from Growing Up Duggar
Yeah, Christ taught one should cut off one’s hand or gouge out one’s eye rather than let it lead one into sin, but y’know, he was probably using hyperbole when he said that and didn’t literally intend for people to go around maiming themselves in order to better serve God.
Instead of recognizing human sexuality is a part of human nature, and that almost all people — young kids especially — are curious about matters sexual and / or find other people physically attractive, The Purity Movement seeks to terrorize them into blind mindless fearful obedience — which of course makes it sooooo much easier to take advantage of and victimize people who have no coping mechanisms, no ability to independently report a wrong done to them, no assurance whatsoever that their family and friends won’t turn against them and expel them from the community if they should ever dare report their abuse to anyone.
So, back to those who posted messages to me about Josh Duggar:
No, I don’t hate him.
I think it’s a great academic question to ask if he would have been this messed up had he not been raised as part of The Purity Movement, but that point’s moot now:
They made it possible for him to climb and fall and climb higher and fall deeper and then deeper still.
But they will never hold him accountable, much less themselves.
If people wonder why the Christian church is imploding in America, why people raised in it since childhood are leaving it in record numbers, the answer is that we have failed our duties and we have let perverts and deviants and ravenous wolves loose among the flock, and when they lay waste to the brethren, at best we tsk-tsk it and at worse we make excuses and apologies for it.
This shit has gotta stop.
We cannot afford to let self-centered intellectual and moral imbeciles be the face of Christ in this world.
We need to call bullshit on bullshit when it happens, and we need to see that wrong doers who cloak themselves in the robes of the church are held accountable for the havoc they wreak.
That’s not hatred.
That’s not contempt.
That’s not vengeance.
 Normally I play it coy on my blog and Facebook pages, substituting grawlixes or crucial letters in the spelling of my profanities, but not today, folks. Today we are going to be discussing human morality, human ethics, human sexuality, human desire, and human corruption, so if you can’t stand the fucking heat, I suggest you get out of the fucking bedroom.
 As well as a teen baby sitter who was spending the night at the Duggar house while Jim-Bob and Michelle were off pressing the flesh at some political function.
 Which at no time mentioned his predatory sexual behavior as a teen. Look, this wasn’t two toddlers playing doctor, it wasn’t a mutually agreed upon make-out session between two junior high students, it was an adolescent boy sneaking into the rooms of his sleeping sisters and a non-family member and by his own admission fondling them over and under their clothes. That’s as creepy as hell and needs to be corrected immediately. If the Duggars had been upfront about this from day 1 of their TV show, if they had included this information into their presentation, then maybe they could cling to a shred of dignity and integrity. But they didn’t; they hid it fearing it would undermine their perfect family image and negatively impact their ratings. Which it did.
 David Gerrold has observed the anti-gay crowd spends far more time obsessing over gay sex than gay men ever do. This may explain why so many of them get arrested in airport men’s rooms.
 Like he did with his remarks about beams of wood being in people’s eyes or camels crawling through the eye of a needle, etc.
 ‘Cuz we sure haven’t had waves of Purity Movement followers gouging out their eyes or whacking off their weinnies to make Him happy…