Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Gervais pleased many, angered others at Golden Globe awards show

Don’t you get sick of seeing and hearing people in the entertainment industry, including athletes, when they inform us of how we should think about things, especially things outside their miniscule area of expertise? We may even wish there was a way to stop them.

But then, if they were somehow convinced to stop their proselytizing and propagandizing, we would lose the exciting evidence of their egotism and often their idiocy.

Last week, for those who watched the Golden Globes, it was a celebration of comeuppance for those purveyors of “I know better than you do” when the host, comedian Ricky Gervais, gave the audience and viewers a great show.

At the top he announced that it was his “last time” hosting the show and then proceeded to do what so many of us have been wanting someone to do: put virtue-signaling Hollywood in its place. 

“Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense,” he said. “Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, so remember that.”

Suggesting to them the way they should behave in accepting an award, he said, “So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and [expletive deleted] off, OK?”

Gervais poked fun at a few folks. He teased Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a penchant for women younger than his 45 years, and the premier of his new two-hour and 40-minute film “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” 

“Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end — his date was too old for him,” he said. “Even Prince Andrew is like, ‘Come on mate, you’re nearly 50.'” he said, as DiCaprio laughed approvingly.

He got a bit edgy about director Martin Scorsese, making fun of his feud with the Marvel franchise, comparing the fight with a theme park, and mocking Scorsese’s diminutive height. Gervais said, “I don’t know what he’s doing at theme parks.” He’s not big enough to go on the rides.”

“Lots of big celebrities here tonight,” he said. “Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, that’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you man. Don’t have me whacked.”

For the most part, the celebrity-infested audience took it pretty well. 

Pat Sajak, the long-time host of “Wheel of Fortune,” also has taken it to our entertainment betters, although in a much less splashy way. “I’m sick of hearing how we celebrities are in some kind of bubble and we don’t understand real life,” he tweeted. “When I’m out in public and people approach me, I’m always interested in what they have to say to my security detail.”

In another tweet last August, Sajak took it upon himself as a celebrity to help Americans understand how to live well: “As you probably know, we celebrities are uniquely qualified to tell you how to live and what to think, and I take that responsibility seriously. I’m working hard, and I expect to have my list of rules available in a week or so. Meantime, just do your best on your own.”

Following the Las Vegas massacre in 2017, celebrities rushed to Twitter, cameras and other outlets to make sure everyone knew exactly what they thought about it. Unable to resist the opportunity to poke them, Sajak tweeted, “OK, let me explain this again: We’re celebs. We’re wiser & more empathetic than you. We are famous. Please take our opinions more seriously.”

However, while the winners took Gervais’ ribbing pretty well, they didn’t take his advice on how to properly accept their awards, holding forth with their predictably self-important advice and political opinions.

Without giving them undeserved promotion, the following nameless winners got political:
* One big name, who was not present, but had submitted an acceptance message, blamed climate change for the Australian fires.
* Another condemned President Trump’s killing of the Iranian terrorist Qassem Suleimani.
* A third used her acceptance speech to defend killing the unborn.

The news media, on the other hand, was horrified at the insolent treatment of the nation’s beloved elite. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Vulture, USA Today, and others blasted Gervais for daring to speak so negatively about America’s cherished celebrities.

Summing it all up, The Federalist wrote: “If the Monday morning analyses of Gervais’s hosting gig are to be believed, we really ought to be more sensitive to those poor celebrities and not be so ‘just plain mean’ to them simply for ‘having hope.’ Entertainment writer and self-proclaimed ‘neoliberal shill coastal elitist’ Bob Chipman even suggested that celebrities are a marginalized people who don’t deserve to be skewered this way.”

Having been duly chastised for our brief period of enjoyment at the celebrities’ discomfort, we will now obediently go back to bowing and scraping before them.

Remember, they’re just jokes.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

A few days into the new year, and Trump’s already in trouble!

An American drone attacked and killed the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, terrorist Qasem Soleimani, last Thursday night in Bagdad, Iraq. The action, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts in 2020, has earned him the wrath of Iran, Democrats, and much of the news media.

The Federalist reported, “According to the State Department, Soleimani’s Quds Forces plotted a terrorist attack against the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on American soil in 2011 that was luckily foiled. And in 2018, Iran and the IRGC were found liable in U.S. federal court for the 1996 Khobar Towers Bombing which resulted in the loss of 19 American lives.”

Iran is and has been the top state sponsor of terrorism for a long time, and as its top general, Soleimani had much blood on his hands, having killed or badly wounded thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and Lebanese, and killed some seven hundred Americans over the last decade or so. And just last month an attack on a U.S. base in Iraq killed an American contractor and wounded several American and Iraqi forces. He was one of the most evil and wanted creatures on the planet.

And, the Trump administration said that Soleimani was planning attacks against other American troops in the region. But neither those statistics nor that explanation was enough to dampen criticism from the anti-Trump faction and media.

The attack on Soleimani served as retaliation for the December attack, and a pre-emptive act for planned attacks. Preventing attacks is far better than avenging previous ones, although the latter is better than nothing.

Among the interesting responses from the MSM: The Washington Post labeled Soleimani to be “Iran’s most revered military leader.” CBS News referred to the terrorist as both a “revered figure” and a “war hero.” A New York Timesjournalist tweeted a video of Soleimani reading poetry. Another journalist compared his death to the killing of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Captain America. And one critic imagined that this attack somehow represented an “act of war,” as if Soleimani was not already at war with us.

The media discovered yet another new word, after discovering “existential” last year. This was Trump’s “Benghazi,” a term rarely used after the 2012 attack when an American ambassador and three brave associates were murdered at the American diplomatic compound in Libya. Multiple pleas for assistance were ignored or refused, while then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-President Barack Obama unconcernedly sipped herbal tea in the safety of their offices.

Comparing Trump’s exercise to Benghazi is a preposterous concept, even for Congressional Democrats: four Americans died in Benghazi because the Obama administration failed to act; no Americans died in the Bagdad attack when President Trump acted.

And, of course, Democrats were horrified, angered, perplexed, and ran for their safe spaces. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized Trump for leaving Congress out of the decision and for the retaliation Iran promised. 

“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” Pelosi said in a written statement. “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.  America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

In 2011, another terrorist with American blood on his hands was sent to hell by the U.S. military. The Obama administration did not notify Congress prior to the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. But somehow Trump’s action against Soleimani required Congressional approval. Pelosi and the rest need to understand that the U.S. President is also the Commander-in-Chief of America’s military, whether a Democrat or a Republican.

A President Pelosi, if the nation were ever to be so hopelessly unfortunate, would apparently prefer to let Soleimani keep killing Americans a few at a time, forever. Perhaps she has forgotten, if she ever knew, that Iran has been a rogue nation for decades, breaking terms of the nuclear deal that was supposed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons with abandon, and killing people — including hundreds of Americans — at will.

The Iraqis had a divided response to the death of the terrorist. Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi called the U.S. drone strike an “assassination.” “Why would the Soleimani assassination not immediately trigger a limited or even major conflict?” he said in a statement. “The structural factors are powerful.”

On the other hand, many Iraqi citizens were celebrating the demise of the terrorist, who was in Iraq talking to an Iraqi militia leader for some reason. The militia leader also died in the attack.

Under Trump’s presidency, a number of terrorist leaders that have been eliminated: Hamza bin Laden, son and successor of Osama bin Laden; ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and likely successor Abu Hassan al-Muhajir;
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataeb Hezbollah or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF); and now Qasem Soleimani.

Having a president who fights back sends a beneficial message to the world, a message missing from the U.S. for a long time. If you kill Americans, this president will repond.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year! The roaring twenties? Or, the middling twenties?

The new year is upon us, and our country enters the decade of the 20s with significant problems, as happens most years. But, it also begins with some positive elements.

Among the negatives and troublesome issues are: 
* Illegal immigration and illegal aliens benefitting from their misconduct, as American jurisdictions protect and cater to them. 
* There is far too much crime and dislike of, and violence against law enforcement. 
* Continued mechanization of work will gradually end job possibilities for Americans still in school, or who lack training or skills, and are doing low-skilled and unskilled work.
* Budget deficits and an enormous $23 trillion national debt require serious attention.
* K-12 schools often perform below standards, and too often brainwash kids, rather than focusing their attention on subject matter.
* Foolish political correctness and historical and factual ignorance has produced excitement over foolish ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and misfocused attention on gun control.
* Venomous political division, which reaches its peak with the hatred of President Donald Trump. 

Trump’s unpopularity is due in part to his divisive behavior. But much, or most, of it stems from him being an “outsider.” He defied all the expert political pundits, confounded all the pre-nomination and pre-election pollsters, and won election in the political arena, where he was an absolute green-horn. The insiders were and are beside themselves.

He doesn’t do things in the “approved” way, and that really bothers a lot of people. However, Trump is not the only president to do things that lots of folks didn’t like. That history of other nonconformist presidents should help people understand that being different isn’t necessarily bad.

Trump threatens the continued existence of “the swamp,” the “Deep State,” the unelected bureaucratic establishment, which has gained much power through the years. With that power an out-of-all-reason sense of privilege developed and produced the fallacious idea that these mere public servants really run the country. These misguided employees resent and resist obeying those who hold office, their bosses.

Trump really is an “existential threat” to that group, a group that includes James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and a cast of hundreds or thousands of federal employees and politicians who play the treasonous game.

Trump’s divergent approach to governing/government drives the swamp-dwellers crazy, not only because of the way he does and says things, but because he doesn’t behave in the proper way, and often doesn’t follow their advice.

Worse, in undoing so much of what went on before his election, actions that did much damage to the country, many positive results have occurred that drive the opposition doubly crazy, as their behavior so plainly illustrates.

First, Trump is different, and that is not acceptable, and they also find him disagreeable, disgusting and uncouth. Second, he is successful! Not everything he ran on has come about, but many good things are happening that were not supposed to happen.

Which of those angers Democrats the most? Probably Trump’s successes. It must be frustrating to have a president that they dislike and wasn’t supposed to win, that has done things they either haven’t been able to do, or that they didn’t want done.

Consequently, the opposition is devoted to bringing him down, and will use anything they can dream up to do it. Hence, the badly flawed impeachment and removal process. 

There are many good things going on that we should be thankful for, several of them in the economic sector, which lead to broader improvements in the lives of most Americans:
* A reduction in business-paralyzing regulations has spurred business expansion and job development.
* More than 7 million new jobs have been created since 2017; there are now 1.2 million more job openings than people needing a job; a 50-year low unemployment rate, record lows in Hispanic and Black unemployment; and an increase in the workforce participation rate.
* 6.4 million fewer people now need food stamps, since more of them are working again.
* Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has risen by 8.2 percent, or $5,003 since January 2017.
* The reduction in tax rates has enabled people to keep more of their earnings, raising their standard of living.
* Lower interest rates have decreased the cost of buying a home or a new car, and other borrowing.
* There are 187 new originalist (non-activist) judges now on the federal courts.
* Slowly, the foreign involvement of our troops is being reduced.

These are things Trump campaigned on. Some of his campaign issues have been accomplished, and others are yet to be accomplished. Most of these things have the support of the voting public.

A great way to start the new year, with an election less than a year away, is to adopt a pro-America attitude. Stop trying to reverse the results of the 2016 election and accept Trump as president. Then, acknowledge the good that is happening, focus on the problem areas and work to improve them.

And, if you are not satisfied with the current occupant of the White House, you can vote for a new president in November.