I Worked The Phone Bank And Regretted It

I was going to meet the next Governor of Kentucky yesterday but things happened and I couldn’t make it. One of my tires had a piece of metal in it and I had to pay $15 for the privilege of having it taken out. By the time my tire was ready to go, it was too late to make the drive to the Daviess County Democratic Party HQ in Owensboro in time to meet Andy Beshear. Too bad, because I wanted to get a picture with him. I haven’t posted anything on Instagram in over a month, which is an ice age in Instagram time.

I’ve been in the Daviess County HQ before. It’s where I went for my brief foray into phone canvassing for Beshear and the Democrats. I volunteered for it. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment.

This happened a few weekends ago because I e-mailed a local political action group about getting involved in something somehow. I’ve been incredibly frustrated with. . . well. . . everything. Look around us. Watch the news. It’s infuriating. The Democrats represent the best chance we have to do anything to address this current shitstorm we’re living in.

I was contacted and offered the chance to do work at the phone bank. The gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky is done in an off-year which means 2019 is the one. Campaigns rely a lot of volunteer help so I’m glad help even a little bit, which in this case meant volunteering to work the phones on a Saturday afternoon.

I don’t know if I can go through with it again.

It’s a small office but since it was Saturday there weren’t very many people there. The guy in charge introduced himself to me and gave me the basic how-to and then let me at it. A nice older lady was already on the job when I got there. That was it. Just the two us, trying to convince Daviess County to swing to the left in 2019.

I was given a flip phone and an alphabetical list of names of people who lived in Knottsville. Name, age, sex, phone number. I called the number on the top and I got a voicemail. I hung up and then I had to key in on the sheet that they weren’t home because I got the voicemail. They had a key for everything. If the caller wasn’t home, if the phone was busy, if the phone was disconnected, yada yada yada. 98% of my calls went in those categories. It would have been tedious had it not been the first time I was doing it.

The guy in charge informed me that this would happen a lot and that I should come back on a night when they do computer calling. Because the computer filters out all the people who don’t pick up. No, I’ll pass on that. I actually prefer the indirect rejection of a voicemail. In the event I got to talk to a live human being, I was given a sheet that I could read from to introduce myself and talk about Andy Beshear and the Democratic ticket. Somebody (or some people) had probably been paid a lot of money to figure out what should be on this sheet. I decided to make it my own and just roll with it. The people who came up with this stuff got paid either way.

I began to feel what I imagine someone who goes out fishing feels like. Out on that boat, rod in hand, just waiting for a bite. Hours on end, just waiting for a little excitement. It’s boring, almost tedious, until it’s exciting. I don’t fish, in case you can tell.

Some people said no and I thanked them for their time. Some people recoiled in disgust and hung up. I keyed them all on my little sheet: REFUSED. Meanwhile, the nice old lady? Doing way better than I was. Some people have the gift, what can I say?

In the end, after five pages of names only six people deigned to talk to me. Three of them said they would vote for Beshear, three for the other guy. One of the Bevin voters actually sang to me like a lunatic, in a sing-songy way. I wasn’t even mad at her. I was almost starved for human contact by that point. All of that information gets keyed in as well. The people who say they’re voting for Bevin? Their info is taken off future lists, as well as the info of the people who refuse to talk and those whose phones are disconnected.

I presume their information is sent straight to hell.

While I’m no political consultant, I have to presume that late Saturday afternoon is no good time to call people and ask them how they feel about politics. Is there a good time to do that ever? Especially in this day and age when people get anxious whenever they see an unfamiliar number on their phone? Even if they offered up their number voluntarily, which I presume they did. It’s one of those things you do and then forget about until you get a strange call and then play the voicemail after. “Oh yeah that’s right, I signed a petition. I gave my contact info to the Democrats. Goddammit.”

 

 

 

 

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Blue Pilling Myself On Jeffrey Epstein

Today I learned what a JFK truther must feel like.

In the early morning hours of August 10, 2019 the notorious pedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. That’s the official explanation.

It is incredibly easy to go down the conspiratorial route. A giant part of me is incredibly skeptical. It would be foolish not to be, especially in this day and age. There’s a strong public sentiment that goes against the incredibly rich and powerful. There’s a wild fantasy running out there to guillotine the rich who have conspired to tilt the system entirely in their favor and keep the multitudes miserable.

There was a tenuous hope that the court proceedings of Jeffrey Epstein would reveal a trove of misdeeds by the privileged elite so grotesque that the public would rise up and demand justice. Epstein in addition to his own crimes stood accused by others of running a child sex trafficking ring, with links to royalty, political figures  (including the current US President) and titans of industry. Not only was this to be an indictment of Epstein but of the capitalist system itself.

It was just too much to ask for. A desperate pipe dream, and it drained away along with the last futile pumps of blood in Epstein’s heart in that lonely Manhattan cell.

Occam’s Razor is the philosophical theory that assumes the most likely scenario is probably the correct one. Since this concerns a famous suicide, I’ll let you make your own razor joke now.

In 2008 when Epstein was convicted of prostitution and NOT sex trafficking and child sex abuse, he was given an incredible sweetheart deal. He was held not in a prison like most inmates, but in a jail in West Palm Beach. He was allowed to leave the jail six days a week as part of a work release program. He was allowed to go his office for twelve hours a day. His cell door was not even locked. Thirteen months later he was granted released, after which he integrated back into high society.

Now eleven years later, his many offenses had caught up to him with a vengeance. He was sixty-six years old. The authorities had found everything he possibly had. Every little video and picture. All his computer discs. Now he was locked in a Manhattan cell with no possibility of being released on bond. A judge found him to be a flight risk. He had a Israeli passport with a fake name and $70,000 worth of diamonds in a safe at his mansion. He couldn’t be trusted to stay home as part of a bond deal, even though he offered to put his entire mansion up as bond. He had to stay in jail until trial.

For the first time in his life, Jeffrey Epstein was confronted with the reality of what he had done and the potential of facing the consequences. He stood to face up to forty-four years in jail. He would never see another day of freedom ever again.

He had only been in jail for five weeks.

In life, he was a coward. What else can you call a child predator? No surprise he would choose to die the same way. Scared to live in a world where money and power could do nothing for him, could not bring him control over his environment. Where his powerful associates could not vouch for him. So that’s where the conspiracy buffs come in. Because it’s too easy to fall into the trap of whodunit. We have questions, naturally. We want an investigation and we want it NOW! IMMEDIATELY! THIS INSTANT!  It can’t be as simple as the scenario I just laid out, can it?

A man put on suicide watch after his first attempt tries again successfully after being taken off that watch while a guard is away or inattentive. It can happen, right? To be fair, there’s never been any prisoner quite like Jeffrey Epstein with the connections quite like he had.

But. . . but. . . but he never got to flip on those people! All those royals and politicians and businessmen! What’s going to happen now?

The President’s former personal lawyer is in prison for campaign finance fraud. Before he went to prison he flipped on his own client, who is still in the White House. We’re eager to see the powerful flip on each other. We want to see them punished for their crimes. If they have to eat each other, so be it.

But I ask you this: what was he going to say? The authorities took everything he had. All his videos, photos and saved files on computer discs. Hundreds or even thousands of pictures of underage girls. What more could he have to negotiate with? Unless he had actual visual evidence of other people in flagrante delicto with underage girls, he had nothing more to negotiate with? Not to mention what could he possible ask for in return? To be put in a nice prison? Club Fed, if such a thing exists? Prison is still prison, especially when you’ve never known a world when you’re not in control of your own life.

And even if any of this true, we will never learn about it. Like we will never really know what happened with JFK. Was there a second shooter or a third? Or if it was the Mafia or the Cubans or the Soviets or the FBI? And what the hell happened with Jack Ruby?

Fifty years from now, when our children are complaining about our grandchildren like we complain about those damn millennials, we’ll get a big data dump about the Epstein case. Except entire sentences and even whole paragraphs will be blacked out. Names will be redacted. It will still be too soon. We will never learn the whole story. It will remain partially classified forever. So we have to go with the most plausible explanation. Anything else will put us on a wild goose chase or guessing game and drive us mad. The world drives us crazy enough anyway. Have you watched the news lately? Sometimes the real conspiracies are right there out in the open for you to see every day.

So go back to bed. Everything’s okay. Our best interests are being protected even as we speak. We’re safe and sound and all the things we worry about will work themselves out eventually. We’re going to be just fine.

Certainly

Moscow Mitch & Two More Candidates

Last month I wrote what will be the first of many posts about the 2020 U.S. Senate election, in which Kentucky Democrats will attempt to unseat longtime Republican incumbent and Senate Majority Leader… oh I don’t want to fucking say his name fuckface fuck this guy I hope he fucking chokes on soup.

On the bright side, Mit-I mean fuckface fractured his shoulder in a fall over the weekend. Good, hope it hurts. Unfortunately, he did not choke to death on soup. You have to take what you can get. Since my last post, fuckface has picked up a new nickname. . .

“Moscow Mitch”

A lot of this came from fuckface’s refusal to allow bills on the floor for a vote regarding national election reform. This also goes back to his refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election, despite President Obama’s wish to issue a bipartisan statement.

And he fucking hates it.

Fuckface actually went on the Senate floor and complained about “modern-day McCarthyism” because everybody started calling him Moscow Mitch. You know who popularized that nickname? Fucking Joe Scarborough, that’s who! Of all the people in the world, that guy. But it took off. The Kentucky Democratic Party started selling Moscow Mitch merch, which you can see some of in the first video. You can get a wool hat, a beer can coozie, a t-shirt, the works. They’ve sold a shitload. Who wouldn’t want an awesome Cossack hat?

mitchhat

There is another lesser publicized element to the nickname and that is the Rusal aluminum mill. From Salon:

Former McConnell chief of staff Hunter Bates and former top McConnell adviser Brendan Dunn, who now work at lobbying giant Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, pressed Congress and the Treasury Department to allow the Russian company Rusal to invest $200 million to develop an aluminum mill in McConnell’s home state.

Rusal was only allowed to make the investment after the Treasury Department lifted sanctions on the company when sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska reportedly agreed to give up control in the firm. Deripaska, who was owed millions by former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and received internal campaign information from him, was sanctioned for helping the Kremlin seize land in Ukraine, ship weapons to the Syrian military, and interfere in foreign elections. 

After Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin lifted the sanctions on Rusal in December, McConnell blocked a bipartisan effort to stop the sanctions relief in the Senate in January. 

McConnell claimed in May that his support for the sanctions rollback was “completely unrelated to anything that might happen in my home state.”

I’m sorry but there’s no way this guy doesn’t let this happen without getting his beak wet. Count on it. He’s a fucking crook. Vote him out. I don’t care who wins the Democratic primary. A puddle of rainwater could win and I’d vote for it.

Speaking of the primary, there are two more candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Steven Cox is a 33-year-old from Bremen who actually preceded Amy McGrath’s splashy campaign rollout. Since he didn’t have a professionally produced three-minute video and national coverage, a lot of people missed it. After McGrath’s day-one blunder on Brett Kavanaugh, Steven Cox took advantage as best he could pushing himself as the true progressive option for Kentucky voters (the main planks of his platform according to his website are Medicare for All, supporting women’s reproductive rights and ending Citizens United).

He also appears to be the most online candidate.

The “Mike” that Steven Cox is referring to is Mike Broihier, who announced his candidacy last month. Like McGrath, Mike Broihier is a retired Marine who has a professionally produced campaign video.

 

Unlike McGrath, Broihier’s well-produced video does not have as many views (just under 10,000 on Youtube) nor does he have anywhere near the $3 million that McGrath has raised nor does he have the social media reach (under 4000 followers on Twitter). Even Steven Cox has more followers than Broihier. But what both Cox and Broihier have that McGrath doesn’t have is a platform on their websites. If you go to her website, you get no information whatsoever. Just an invitation to visit the online store and to make a donation to her campaign and only these words as to what she stands for:

ANTI-CORRUPTION

ANTI-OBSTRUCTION

ANTI-B.S.

 

Cox has criticized both McGrath and Broihier for not being progressive enough and hammers Broihier for not being a real Kentuckian (he moved here in 2005). For his part, Broihier wants to improve ACA by adding a public option to compete with private insurers, legalizing marijuana, and closing the gun show loophole (which seems particularly relevant right now). Although to be fair to Cox, there is also this:

Mike agrees with President Reagan’s vision of America as a shining city on a hill whose “doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

In any event, Cox and Broihier have the slimmest of chances of winning the primary unless Amy McGrath unexpectedly dies between now and next May. She’s the only one running TV ads and Cox has only has one-ninth of her Facebook following. Meanwhile, Mike Broihier has fifty-three subscribers on Youtube.

Although there could be another candidate. Or two. But I won’t speculate. That’s for another day.

 

We Need To Step Our Game Up

There are so many problems in this country that one doesn’t know where to start. But sometimes things are brought into laser focus. A pair of mass shootings in one day will do that, one at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, the other in downtown Dayton, Ohio. This ended the same week as another shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California and another Wal-Mart in Southaven, Mississippi. Nearly 40 people are dead and nearly 70 people are injured after this week’s shootings.

It all seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? You start to think you could be shot for no reason simply because you were in public doing what you were out to do, going about the business of your day. You went to Wal-Mart (I know it is Walmart now, but I’m old school and it will always be Wal-Mart to me) or the movies or a festival or anywhere people congregate. You’ve been told that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots but you didn’t take that to mean innocent people.

Some people (like Greg Abbott, governor of Texas) believe mass shootings happen because America has a mental health problem. And believe it or not, he is right but not in the way he intended. Because when you have white nationalists who feel like the United States is under threat of falling under sharia law, that is fucking crazy. When white nationalists believe that America on the verge of white genocide, that is fucking crazy. When a subsection of the internet believes that Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of a pizza place in Washington, D.C., that is fucking crazy.

These people are crazy enough to try something. We’ve seen it over and over again. Somebody brought a shotgun to that pizza place in order to rescue the child sex slaves. We’ve seen a man attempt to mail bombs to real and imagined opponents of Donald Trump: CNN, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and at least dozen other people and entities. So yeah, there is a mental health problem because no sane person would believe this stuff in the first place. There are a lot of crazy people who are willing to attempt crazy things because they want to fight for. . . Trump? The white race? Who can tell?

But crazy, racist conspiracy theories cannot kill people by themselves. You need weapons for that and heavy duty ones too. And that is something we should stop. Because fixing the mental health of this nation would take a long, long time and there’s no guarantee. But the gun problem? That would still be hard but it would be easier.

I want you to think about what happened recently in Puerto Rico. The governor was just forced to resign because the public protested for ONE week. Do you know what he did? He was in a vulgar group chat with members of his cabinet. They mocked their political opponents. They joked about the fatalities in Hurricane Maria. This all came out LAST MONTH. Literally less than a month ago.

A half-million people flooded the streets on July 17. Within a few days there were a million protesters, enough to block all eleven lanes of the PR-18 freeway. The P.R. House of Representatives considered impeachment and on July 24, the governor announced his resignation. It took ONE WEEK to make the Puerto Rico governor resign, all over his comments in a group chat.

Now think about all the wretched shit that our leaders have done. And how little we hold them accountable. A million Puerto Ricans outside the governor’s mansion calling for his job.

Son of a bitch, I wish we were like that. I wish we gave enough of a damn to stop what we were doing to protest ANYTHING until we got what we wanted. On any issue. We’ve been complaining for years and years about this gun issue. We have the numbers. We know people are fed up with this shit. We want some sort of national gun control. We want a solution. We want our elected officials to do something about it. We just. . . we can’t fix it in a weekend or with a vigil that lasts a few hours. They won’t let us.

We just have to go to Washington. We have to stay there until they do something. We have to put ourselves on the line. Block the roads. Stop traffic. Shut down as much of the city as you can. Bring everything to its knees until you get what you need. It’s not easy. Otherwise you’re just propping up the system that you could uproot and change if only you took the time to protest.

You know it’s over ten hours from where I live to the White House? That’s a long way. I don’t have air conditioning in my car. Could I make it that far? Could my car make it? I don’t know. Maybe I could share a ride. How much am I willing to inconvenience myself to try to make things better, before I even get to the place where I want to protest? I want gun control. I want Medicare for All. I want a national living wage. I want our nation’s elections protected. I want the families out of the cages at the border. I want all of it and more.

This makes me realize that Puerto Rico will never be granted statehood because the people of Puerto Rico care too much about how their government is run and that is too much of a threat to the rest of this shithole country.

 

Closing The Book On The July Debates!

I just had three fillings replaced today and the right side of my head is still numb. Seriously. My right nostril is numb. Oh my god. My right sinus feels stopped up. Holy shit. I’ve never been numbed up by a dentist like this before, even when having a tooth pulled. Might as well talk about the debates.

Shoulda been numbed up for the debates. woulda been better ya know?

Inslee was alright.

My leg’s doing better, y’know? I’ve been doing physical therapy for three weeks now. Already getting some of that good flexibility and strength back. It’s still hard to get out of furniture because it’s soft and low to the ground but I’m good getting out of stuff like chairs. I have regular exercises that I’m required to do every day. I generally do them. One of them is medieval. I take a bedsheet and tie it around my ankle, then I get on my belly and pull the bedsheet over my shoulder pulling my leg. It hurts like hell.

There’s no good way to have twenty people debate over two days. It’s ridiculous.

Marianne Williamson is a joke but four years ago Trump was a joke and look where we are now. You people are sick enough to vote for her. Obama got the “why not” vote. Trump got the “why not” vote. Who in 2020 is going to get the “why not” vote? That’s the question. Marianne is the most “why not” candidate. She is also the most the “wtf” candidate.

Seriously, my gums are going to hurt like hell for the next few days because of these goddamn fillings. You know I have to get more fillings replaced? I had bad teeth as a kid. What can I say?

Wednesday I went back to the Healthpark for the first time since May. I missed that place so hard. I got back in that pool and oh my god it was like so much. There’s a lady who works the front desk named Cathy who looks like she hates me. She saw me Wednesday and I told her what happened to me with the leg and she said “I thought you gave up.” Every time she sees me she gives me the evil eye. You know what, Cathy. I got enough problems on my own. Stop looking at me like I’m the devil.

I heard they have Spanx for men now. That’s crayyyyyyzeeeeee.

My top two are Bernie and Elizabeth Warren. Everybody says Joe Biden can beat Trump but that’s everybody putting on their expert hat and as 2016 showed us, nobody is an expert anymore. Watching him in two debates, I wasn’t impressed but do debates even matter when you’re going up against Trump? Can you even debate Trump? There’s no conventional way of dealing with him one-on-one that I can see. The best thing Hillary did in 2016 was point out things that caused him to show his raging temper and she rarely did that. You can point out all the bad things Trump has done and continues to do and it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care nor does his base. What does he do that affects his base either positively or negatively? That’s what matters.

Do I have a third choice after the second round of debates? Nah, I have a lower tier of guys I’d like perhaps as vice-presidential candidates. Perhaps Julian Castro or Jay Inslee? Apparently, seven candidates have qualified for the September debate(s) and three more might qualify and I don’t know if those two are going to make it. June and July was a clown show and several political careers are dead now (Delaney, Gillibrand, Beto). Tom Steyer never made the debate stage so at least we can be thankful for that.

My face is still numb but my teeth are starting to hurt. The dentist told me that my mouth would be sensitive to cold liquid. Guess what? He was right.