I want to lead with a couple of thoughts and a link. This is a Wikipedia link, but it gives a nice breakdown on the history of humans and the different time periods broken down politically, culturally, and technologically. Remembering just the basics of history, you can summarize all of human history into just a few categories.
PreHistory – The period that lasts between the first appearance of the scientific animal known as Homo Sapiens who often lived as hunter/gatherers to the invention of the first writing systems. This lasted approximately three million years and the actual time of this period is unknown.
Ancient History - Human beings began organizing into groups and complex political systems. Religion becomes part of many cultures’ daily lives. This was when the first empires mostly based in Mesopotamia and Egypt came into existence. There was also a dynasty that existed in the area around China.
Classic Antiquity – This is the epitome of human evolution at the time as many ideas from this era still exist today. This era was mainly linked to the Greek and Roman Empires and their inventions.
Post-Classical History – Often remembered for the empires that collapsed, the Hans in China, the Romans, the Guptas in India, and the Persians.
Middle Ages – A long 1000-year timeframe of monarchies and regressive political systems ruled by kings, the lords who influenced them, as well serfs and merchants who were considered lower class people. This period started with the rise of Christianity and Islam and ended with the Renaissance.
Renaissance and Age of Discovery – The human race evolves again as it spreads out to previously undiscovered territories and human beings increase in wisdom and knowledge due to printing presses.
The Era of Democracy – Our present-day era. This timeframe led to incredible technological innovations, new political systems, and new philosophies. The idea of monarchy, feudalism, and imperial colonization began to die at the end of this timeframe. Human beings began to practice the philosophical ideas of democracy invented by the Greeks during the Classic Antiquity.
When observing how history moved from the Renaissance to the Era of Democracy, two significant events occurred: The American Revolution and the French Revolution between 1775 and 1799. During this time, another new entity was created, the democratic nation state.
Until these revolutions, borders were just something that Kings and Queens fought over for thousands of years usually at the request of the land-owning lords and the Church. Throughout early history, humans were warlike looking to capture as much land and rule as many people as possible. After the people rose up and executed the French monarchy and began the first steps of creating a republican experiment like their allies did across the Atlantic, the French ultimately failed in changing their culture. Early parliamentarian politics was unpopular and was dissolved, and Napoleon soon took over as the first dictator in 1799 leading us into a new type of warfare as well as being able to control the population in ways that were previously unimaginable like instituting military drafts. Soon, Napoleon launched the first Continental War with the Napoleonic Wars which evolved out of the French Revolutionary Wars of the 1790s. Napoleon became the first figure to control a large majority of Europe until his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. The impact of this era affected Europe for generations due to the collapse of multiple empires and many of the innovations brought about by the French culturally and politically that still have a lasting impact on the continent today. This era of democracy led to technological innovations best symbolized by three different eras: The Industrial Age, the Nuclear Age, and the Internet Age. These inventions led to freedoms previously unimagined. It also led to control mechanisms that every aspiring dictator craved. Different political systems were invented including capitalism, socialism, and anarchism. With the rise of the “democratic state”, jingoism/nationalism became a dominant philosophy and the consequences of this led directly into World War I and II with Adolf Hitler becoming the second dictator (Fuhrer) to take over the majority of Europe in the 1930s to mid-1940s basing his ideas around a fascist authoritarian ideology. On the opposite side of this ideology, Mao Zedong in China and Josef Stalin in the Soviet Union were pushing an authoritarian state Communist based model that killed millions of their own people during its implementation. But the main takeaway from this Democratic era was the rise of the nation state.
Since the year 2020, the Western philosophy of freedom represented by democratic republicanism has begun to decline. A new philosophy appears to be taking hold that happens to be based around the current political situation in China.
The old system of the Middle Ages (Lords, Merchants, and Serfs) called feudalism had become a relic of the past. But the ideas of this past have never actually gone away. During the Napoleonic Wars, one European family made a fortune. This one bet on the war has led to a parallel development during this Age of Democracy. Wealthy individuals have learned over the past 200 years that making money through invention and being a successful businessman/merchant was no longer necessary. Real wealth was working with the nation state. This development has led to consolidated wealth among a small group of people that has never been seen in human history. With this development came the narcissistic need to control these governments and the people within the borders. Globalism was the idea. But that idea only worked at an economic level. As people have begun to wake up to these systems that their governments and elitists have created for them, the people in power are starting to lose control.
So what is the point you are trying to make with this long thousand word explanation?
It appears we are entering one of these transitory periods of history after the Age of Democracy. Right now, the elitists are fighting to impose their own visions upon the world. But the people they want to psychologically and mentally control are beginning to unshackle their minds. No one knows how this will end. But it will be transforming.
Over the next year, I will be posting various blogs related to this topic. If anyone has any ideas for a specific subject matter, please let me know. I hope you enjoyed this short historical summary.
So to all the unfortunate people who read this blog, I qualified to make my annual NFL predictions again. For the second straight year, I successfully predicted eight of the fourteen playoff teams. For every Los Angeles Rams will win the division prediction, I had a Miami prediction that was almost perfect. I missed on the Cincinnati Bengals (Yeah, Joe Burrow is good) and nailed the improvement of the Philadelphia Eagles. Counting 2021 and 2022, I have successfully predicted 16 of the last 28 NFL playoff teams. For a league that changes so regularly, change is often more incremental than many football fans would like to believe. So, let’s do a quick recap of the 2022 season.
Super Bowl LVII: Kansas City 38 Philadelphia 35
This is Kansas City’s 3rd Super Bowl title and 2nd since the 2019 season. They also won their 5th AFC Championship and 13th AFC West title: 7th consecutive since 2016.
For Philadelphia, their recent string of success continues. They won their 4th NFC title and 12th NFC East title.
Other AFC Division winners
Buffalo: AFC East – 10th Division title: 3rd consecutive
Cincinnati: AFC North – 11th Division title: 2nd consecutive
Jacksonville: AFC South – 4th Division title
Other AFC Playoff Teams
Miami Dolphins: 24th appearance
Los Angeles Chargers: 20th appearance
Baltimore Ravens: 14th appearance
Now, the NFC!
Other NFC Division Winners
Minnesota: AFC North – 19th Division title
Tampa Bay: AFC South – 8th Division title and 3rd team all-time to win a division with an under .500 record.
San Francisco: AFC West – 21st Division title
Other NFC Playoff Teams
Dallas Cowboys: Tied with Green Bay for the most postseason playoff appearances with 35.
New York Giants: 34th playoff appearance
Seattle Seahawks: 20th playoff appearance
Onto the 2023 divisional predictions and playoff teams. The power in the NFL is definitely moving east.
Miami is a sleeping giant. Mike McDaniel appears to be a wonderful coach that fits into the Sean McVay mold of young coaches taking over the NFL by storm. If the Dolphins can avoid injury and stay healthy, this team can win this division and the conference. I believe the battle between Buffalo and Miami will go down to Week 18 this year. Miami will be the wild card.
Everyone is excited about the changes that the New York Jets have made. Coming off a mediocre 7-10 season, the Jets only need to improve by 3 games to be a wild card team. But here is the kicker. I am not sure if free agent and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is playing at an elite level anymore. This will put pressure on this young team to step up their game. Because of this, I think the Jets will likely win 9 games and miss the playoffs.
From 2001 to 2019 (19 seasons), the Patriots won the AFC East 17 times including an NFL record 11 consecutive division titles. No team may ever match this incredible statistic. But looking at this team from a talent perspective, this team could win the AFC and NFC South and possibly even the NFC North. But in the AFC East, they are the 4th best team out of 4 talent wise. Expect the Patriots to hang around .500 but still finish last.
Cincinnati has Joe Burrow and a great amount of talent around him. The offensive line, the problem for this team the last two seasons, continues to improve. The defense took a step-up last year. This is a very good team that can also win the AFC. Cincinnati will roll to a wild card this year, but an improved Baltimore will steal the division from them.
Pittsburgh’s season relies heavily on the development of Kenny Pickett. The talent on this team continues to improve. And their coach, Mike Tomlin, continues his incredible streak of not finishing below .500 in any season that he has coached (Dating back to 2006). This team is an unknown dynamic. I can see a few future scenarios. Pickett is still developing but improving and the Steelers once again hang around the .500 mark. Or Pickett develops into the next elite quarterback. If this is the case, the Steelers could very well win this division. I personally believe the latter is going to happen but next season (2024). But watch out for the Steelers. They could be a dark horse this season.
Cleveland has talent but not at the level of the rest of this division. They may pull an upset or two, but last place is where they will finish.
Jacksonville is continuing to build around Trevor Lawrence. The issue is that the Jaguars have a 1st place schedule this year. So even if they show improvement, it is very possible that their record is worse. But because the division seems in flux, they still are the most talented team in the South. They should repeat.
Tennessee has an incredible running game and solid defense which can lead to another division title. The problem revolves around the quarterback. With two quarterbacks breathing down starter Ryan Tannehill’s neck on the depth chart, any mistake could lead to him being benched. I expect this to happen. I expect that the Titans are going to be engaging in the QB carousel this year. Because of this, they will miss the playoffs.
Houston can only look forward to a brighter future after the disastrous 2022 season. They have their QB and defensive leaders of the future to build around. With time, there will be talent. I expect them to be better and finish just out of the cellar.
Indianapolis’s season has been in turmoil since Jonathan Taylor requested a trade. With a young quarterback starting and dysfunction in the franchise, this season could get very bad for the Colts very early. This is exactly what will happen.
Denver’s 2022 season was an absolute disaster. With Sean Payton taking over the reins for this franchise, the Broncos are expected to be one of the surprise teams of 2023. Russell Wilson will finally have an offensive play-calling genius to help him improve in the Mile High City. I am not ready to make them a playoff team yet even if they win nine or ten games.
I like the Chargers. I like their talent. I like their ballsy coach. So why does it feel like this will be a lost season with Brandon Staley on the unemployment line by December? 2023 will be another season where the Chargers underperform their expectations.
Many teams get hammered for their pathetic histories. Because the Raiders won 3 Super Bowls between 1976 and 1983, their recent string of failure is often overlooked by the media. Since their three straight AFC West division titles from 2000-2002 and AFC Title in 2002, this team has played twenty seasons of football with two playoff appearances, 1 AFC West title, two winning seasons, three .500 seasons, and 15 losing seasons. They are 116-206 since 2003, the 2nd worst record in the league in front of only the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo from the 49ers. This isn’t going to matter. The Raiders will be in the cellar again.
Dallas has an incredible amount of talent especially on their lines. The problem revolves around the leadership of Dak Prescott. I believe Dallas will shock the league and win the NFC East this year keeping that incredible streak alive of no repeat division winners that dates back to 2004. But will the Cowboys get over their postseason blues? The answer to this question is NO.
With that incredibly difficult loss in the Super Bowl, I expect the Eagles to have a hangover this year. They will lose a few games they should win and allow Dallas to slide past them and win the division. The talent on this team is explosive and incredible. If they slide into the playoffs, the Eagles will be the one team that no one will want to play.
The Commanders seem like a team that can make the playoffs. They have been steadily improving. Now that the chaotic ownership situation has been settled (One of their biggest problems over the past twenty years), the Commander management can start guiding this team towards success. But in 2023, that success will have to wait at least one more year.
The Giants rolled to a playoff appearance and wild card win due to one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. As a person who is still not sold on Daniel Jones or this team’s defensive talent, I think a more difficult schedule this season will expose this team as being lucky in 2022.
Chicago is another team that can only improve off the miserable season they had last year. Justin Fields started to develop as a leader as the season went on. The lines are improving. The defense is being refurbished. I am not sure if this is a playoff team this year, but the Bears should have a defined identity by the end of the season.
Green Bay is my wild card. The talent on this team has definitely slipped. I am putting them in 3rd place because of the unknown talent of Jordan Love. I am expecting him to have a rough season and the Packers will struggle to win games this year. But if I am wrong and Love turns out to be their QB of the future, the Packers can walk away with this division.
Minnesota is due for a rebuild. They have a talented team that seemed to have good fortune throughout the season which led them to the NFC North title. As the season went on, the Vikings looked more unimpressive and flawed. They were finally exposed at home during the wild card round against the Giants. With the 1st place schedule, I expect the Vikings to have a rough season. It would not surprise me if there were a coaching and quarterback change at the end of the year.
This division maybe even more unstable than the AFC South. Every team in this division is below average talent wise. So who will rise up and win this division’s only playoff spot.
The starting quarterbacks in this division are:
There are too many unknowns here. Talent wise, I really like the Atlanta Falcons but because of Carr, here are my picks.
Atlanta is building a decent team in the background. The team has decided that 3rd round pick Desmond Ridder will be their starter. With an improving run game and defense, if Ridder is just a game manager, I think the Falcons can make the playoffs. If Ridder is even more, this team can win this division.
Carolina is on the Bryce Young rookie train. This will be an interesting season for the Panthers with a lot of ups and downs. They will have a better idea of their future and what they are lacking after Young completes his first season.
Tampa Bay could very well be the worst team in the NFL this year. A long fall for a franchise that hosted a Super Bowl trophy just three seasons ago. The rebuild has begun and Baker Mayfield will do his best to try to win a game or two this season.
The Seahawks appear to be the rising team. Despite the increase in talent, I am still not sold on Geno Smith. With Smith as the QB, this team’s peak is likely the divisional round. Smith is basically a Dak Prescott type of quarterback with less talent. I don’t see him taking Seattle on a deep playoff run despite the talent that surrounds them.
Speaking of teams in trouble, the Los Angeles Rams are setting themselves up to have a season much worse than their previous one. After setting the NFL record for the worst title defense team in NFL history (With a 5-12 record), this team ate many of their overinflated veteran contracts that were signed to push them towards their Super Bowl triumph during the 2021 season. Now, they have the capability of scraping the bottom of the barrel in this league with the 2020 champion Buccaneers. The defense looks awful. If they win games, it will be because of Matthew Stafford. A dark season approaches for Los Angeles. Luckily, they can probably start competing for a playoff spot again in 2025 with the cap space and draft picks that are coming.
Arizona is the worst franchise in NFL history. They have a talented quarterback, a lot of talent at the skill positions and a good defense. Despite this, they only managed one playoff appearance. The team is now in full rebuild mode. It will be shocking if Arizona is anything other than the worst team in the NFL this season.
Here are my 2023 playoff seeds.
Given the nickname America’s Finest City back in the 1970s, San Diego often ranks as one of the most tourist friendly and favorite cities for many Americans. The city has grown to become California’s 2nd largest but unlike its much larger neighbor to the north, San Diego has a different appeal. The city is home to four separate military bases. Unlike Los Angeles which is laid out in a massive valley near the Pacific Ocean with scenic hills and mountains shadowing it in the distance, San Diego County mostly consists of beautiful rolling hills and scenic mountains with the majority of the population living in the flatlands close to the water. San Diego is home to probably the best craft beer scene in the country. San Diego also has the cleanest beaches in Southern California. With all these benefits, there is a reason why a native San Diegan is often arrogant about their hometown. But there are two things the city lacks (Not counting the escalating homeless and criminal problem that exists downtown which is impacting every major California city). First, the culture here lacks the diversity of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Yes, they got concert halls, museums, gorgeous parks, amazing beaches, and solid entrepreneurship along with amazing food. But it lacks the originality and sheer volume that have given Los Angeles and San Francisco the reputation of being some of the most creative cities in the world. Second, the professional sports teams in this town are pathetic. The history of San Diego when it comes to athletic success ranks among the worst cities in the nation. An argument can be made that it is the worst. This blog will dive into this pathetic legacy and why the 2023 San Diego Padres are the latest and best example of the failure of sports in this town.
I started living in San Diego in 2012 before buying a condo in Southern California wine country (Temecula/Murrieta) in Riverside County back in 2017 where we have lived since (I have also lived in Los Angeles County, Orange County, the Riverside County Desert, and Phoenix, Arizona). With so much movement inside California paired with my lifelong interest in sports, the teams I root for are mostly based in two locations, Los Angeles, and San Diego. During my childhood, San Diego had this monstrous AM radio station called XTRA 690 that broadcast out of Rosarita, Mexico (About 30 miles south of the Mexican border) XTRA aired sports talk radio and broadcast the local college teams, the San Diego Padres and the NFL Chargers. Growing up in Los Angeles allowed me to appreciate teams from three distinct areas, Los Angeles Orange County/Anaheim, and San Diego.
To make this comparison legitimate, here are the cities that house professional sports franchises in California and the number of championships that their teams have won. I will also add my adopted city of Phoenix into this mix.
Los Angeles (8 Teams: Dodgers, Kings, Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Galaxy, and LAFC). Lakers have 12, Dodgers have 6, Kings have 2, Rams have 2 (Also won another single title in both Cleveland and St. Louis), Galaxy have 5, and LAFC has 1. The Raiders also won 1 here during their short run in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994. This gives the city a total of 29 sports championships.
San Francisco (3 Teams: 49ers, Giants, and Warriors). 49ers have 5, Warriors have 5, and Giants have 3. The California Golden Seals of the NHL played in San Francisco but folded. This city has 13 sports championships.
Oakland (1 Team which will be none in 2025: Athletics). Athletics have 4 and the Raiders who moved to Las Vegas in 2020 have 2. Oakland will finish with 6 sports championships.
Anaheim (2 Teams: Angels and Ducks). Both the Angels who have had a tortured history and Ducks each have 1. The Rams played in Anaheim from 1980 to 1994 and won no titles. The city of Anaheim has 2 championships.
San Jose (2 Teams: Sharks and Earthquakes). Sharks have none, Earthquakes have 2. The city of San Jose has 2 championships.
Phoenix (4 Teams: Cardinals, Suns, Diamondbacks, and Coyotes). The only team that has won a championship is the Diamondbacks. This city only has 1 championship.
And Sacramento who have only one professional team, the NBA Kings, has never won a title.
So what city is missing? My beloved San Diego!
San Diego (2 Teams: Padres and a future MLS franchise). The NFL Chargers played in the city from 1961 to 2016 and the Rockets in the NBA from 1967-1971 and the Clippers in the NBA from 1978-1984. All these teams had a cumulative zero titles in the city.
To compare Sacramento with San Diego is unfair because that city has had only one sports franchise while San Diego has had 4 through its history with 3 of them leaving for other cities. Sacramento has played 38 seasons of professional ball with no titles.
Phoenix comes the closest to San Diego’s ineptitude. The Suns have played 55 seasons, the Cardinals have played 35, the Coyotes have played 28, and the Diamondbacks have played 25. That totals 143 seasons of professional sports with only one championship. Phoenix has also lost 4 times in a championship series/game.
The Padres have played 54 seasons, the Chargers had played 56 seasons, and the Rockets/Clippers had played 10 combined. This totals 120 seasons of professional sports with a single championship won by the Chargers in the AFL in 1963 which no longer exists (The league was merged into the NFL). This past college basketball season, the San Diego State Aztecs made a surprising fairy tale run to the Final Four and NCAA Championship Game. With this city craving a title badly, the Aztecs lived up to the San Diego tradition and got blown out in the Championship game moving the city to a Buffalo Bills-like 0-4 in title series/games while being non-competitive in every single one. As arrogant as San Diegans are about their beautiful city, the entire history of professional sports in this city has been an embarrassment. Here are a few other examples.
The two sports heroes in this town both died young.
Tony Gwynn passed away at 54.
Junior Seau died at 43.
Their second owner Ray Kroc, of McDonald’s fame, belittled the team over the PA system in 1974.
The founder of the Padres, C. Arnholt Smith, was a notorious San Diego figure who often got in trouble with the Feds and law enforcement. During his short-term ownership, the team averaged 7500 fans and over 100 losses a season. He was going to move the team to Washington D.C. until Ray Kroc bought them. Smith served time in prison for embezzlement in 1979.
This run of bad owners is a tradition of Padres history. The Krocs owned the team through mostly misfortune (And 1 NL Title) until 1990. It was taken over by Tom Werner from 1990-1994 who sold the team and became a fantastic owner with the Red Sox and led them to 4 World Series titles. The 18 years of John Moores had highs (The 1998 NL Title, 2005 & 2006 NL West Titles) and many lows. The 8-year ownership of Ron Fowler was a miserable failure. Now, Peter Seidler has taken over.
The ownership problem impacts all teams that have called San Diego home during any portion of its history. The old San Diego and now present-day Los Angeles Chargers are owned by Dean Spanos who angered the entire city when he moved the Chargers north to be tenants in the Rams new stadium and has managed to run the franchise just as badly as his father Alex once did. The Clippers were owned by Donald Sterling, a team that had losing records in over 80% of their seasons under his leadership. He was forced to sell the team and was banned for life by the NBA for some racist remarks he made back in 2014. Currently, there are only two teams based in Los Angeles that have never won a championship for the city. They are the Chargers and the Clippers, and both spent time in the city of San Diego.
Looking at other local professional sports played in the city, San Diego has won a few professional championships in minor league sports or leagues that have a small following. The San Diego Sockers are an indoor soccer team that has won 14 titles in 3 different iterations. During the eight seasons of the now defunct WCHL, the San Diego Gulls won 5 titles during that minor hockey league’s history before folding. The San Diego Seals are a winning franchise since they started playing in the National Lacrosse League back in 2019. But following city tradition and despite having the best record in the league in 2023, they were upset in the 1st round of the playoffs and remain title-less.
In 54 seasons, the Padres only have 16 winning and 2-.500 seasons. They have 36 losing seasons. They have as many 100 loss seasons (5) as division titles (5). The Padres have only won over 90 games four times (1984, 1996, 1998 & 2010). They have never won 100 games in any season with 98 wins being the franchise high. The Padres have made the playoffs seven times in their history. They are 6-7 in playoff series including being 0-2 in the World Series. During both their World Series appearances, the Padres played two of the best professional baseball teams of all-time, the 1984 Detroit Tigers (104-58) and the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48) and managed to win only one game.
Since Peter Seidler became the owner, the Padres have actually spent money consistently for the first time in their history. He inherited Manny Machado who was signed as a free agent & Fernando Tatis who grew up with the organization. Since taking over, he has added Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Josh Hader, Xander Boegarts, and Juan Soto. Despite this accumulation of talent, the results have been mixed. The 2020 COVID shortened season ended with a wild card appearance. The #4 Padres beat the #5 Cardinals 2-1 before getting swept in the NLDS by the Dodgers 3-0. In 2021, a once promising season came apart when the pitching collapsed in August and September. Padres ended up with a losing season. Last year, they rebounded to finish 89-73 after the massive Juan Soto trade. Padres actually made a respectable run and defeated the Mets 2-1 in the wild card round, the Dodgers 3-1 in the NLDS, before getting beat by Philadelphia 4-1 in the NLCS.
After bringing in Xander Boegarts during the offseason, the 2023 Padres have never been in sync all season. They are a few games under .500 despite having a plus 64 run differential. The Padres are also 14-17 against bad teams with losing records. The Padres currently have 21 blown saves/holds in 49 opportunities which is tied for 2nd worst in the league. The bullpen numbers do not look bad upon analysis. If the Padres are blowing a team out or losing a game, the bullpen tends to perform well. The numbers crater when the bullpen is asked to protect a 1, 2, or 3 run lead. Despite having 58 wins so far this season, Hader only has 27 saves. Because when the Padres win, they usually do comfortably. Everyone of the Big Four has disappointed and their stats are tracking below their norm. There are rumors that Boegarts is battling a season long wrist injury. Jake Cronenworth has regressed. Trent Grisham continues to hit around the Mendoza line. Free agent pick up Matt Carpenter has been practically useless. During the first three months of the season, the Padres had one of the worst batting averages with RISP. The Padres are also 6-23 in one run games and 0-10 in extra inning games. All these problems mixed in with bad management and a GM who has put a team together piecemeal has also contributed. But the biggest tragedy is the waste of good starting pitching. Here are the Padres five main starters’ statistics. Other than Darvish and Lugo who still have decent stats, these starters have been fantastic.
Blake Snell 10-8, 176 Strikeouts, 2.65 ERA (The bullpen has blown seven of his games so far this season)
Joe Musgrove 10-3, 97 Strikeouts, 3.05 ERA (On the DL currently for the second time this year)
Michael Wacha 9-2, 78 Strikeouts, 2.65 ERA (Just got off the DL after being on for over a month)
Seth Lugo 4-6, 94 Strikeouts, 4.16 ERA
Yu Darvish 8-8, 134 Strikeouts, 4.24 ERA
Those are the pitching stats of a World Series winning team. Yet, the Padres are below .500.
Whatever dark cloud or supernatural curse that has impacted this team, I am hoping at some point it will stop. The pain of being a Padres fan and having expectations only seems to lead to the inevitable disappointment. Let’s hope that after the waste of 2023 is sketched into the history books, that this team can put together a run for the ages in 2024. This old Padres fan will be watching and waiting!
Before diving into my review, let’s take a diversion back to the mid-1940s. Like many Americans, I had a few ancestors that fought for the United States in World War II, my grandfather Gerry, and my uncle Brad. My grandfather ended up in the Pacific fighting the Japanese and my uncle participated in Normandy and survived the Battle of the Bulge towards the end of World War II. My grandfather wrote a war diary. As people who have lived through the consequences and have read the history of World War II, we understand what the Atomic Bomb can now do. But back in 1945, the soldiers in the military had no understanding of it. Mainly for two reasons.
First, the Manhattan project was completely secret and only a handful of Americans knew about it. The normal GI had no knowledge of what was occurring in the high desert of New Mexico.
Second, most individuals in the United States supported the dropping of both weapons with the understanding that it would end World War II. But since atomic energy had never been used before, the consequences of those bombs would only be understood many years later.
Here is an interesting quote from my grandfather dated July 2nd, 1945 (15 days before the Trinity test). He worked in the Army Air Corps.
“Worked on the line all day. Busy getting the A26's ready. We have six now. Tomorrow two are going up to Luzon (Philippines) and the rest are going to hit Formosa (Taiwan). Thursday that's a hot target…Won't be long before we hit the seas to Okinawa. It is rumored. We are going to Hiroshima. It is an island northwest of Okinawa. Probably spend most of our time in fox holes... I don't know how long the ship took to get there yet, but I'm just wondering why they would send them to those places when they knew they were going to drop the bombs there.”
So on July 2, 1945, my grandfather was aware of some sort of “bomb.” But no one had any understanding of what this weapon was capable of doing.
August 6th and August 9th (The day the bombs were dropped) pass without a diary entry. President Truman informed the nation on August 6th about the usage of the atomic weapon. My grandfather’s next diary entry is regarding the upcoming Japanese surrender dating August 11th, 12th, and 14th, 1945.
“I heard rifle fire on the other end of the strip, and I was sure of it. Well, it ended up that the jets wanted to quit, and they said they would accept the 13 points (The terms of surrender). The tracers from the 20 mm were all over the sky. They really raised hell. I was afraid that I would be hit with sharp shrapnel. Six men were killed in the excitement. It is a crime. We had to load planes anyway. I was dead tired. The war is continuing. Anyway. The third attack group is operating from Okinawa. The United States is having a time deciding whether to accept the Jap's offer. Finally, it was decided that we would accept. Russia is in Manchuria over 100 miles away. They are closing in on Harbin the Cliff City. I'm not sure if I got that right. We are now waiting for the Japs to decide if they want to accept. It is a matter of hours now.
Emperor is to remain on the throne but we he will take orders from the supreme commander of the US. The war continues while we sweat it out. It is a matter of hours. However, the radio station here is Radio Okinawa and is a stone's throw from Tokyo. August 14th, 1945, this afternoon the answer came over the radio that Japan accepts the surrender. Everyone is elated.”
My grandfather died of leukemia at age 66. Most of his family lived deep into their 80s. This next entry is the key point I want to make about these nuclear bombs which ties into my upcoming review of Oppenheimer. These atomic bombs became a reality in July of 1945. But no one knew anything at the time about nuclear fallout and the lingering effects of radiation poisoning. If this was the case, they would not have sent my grandfather into Japan in late October. This is what he saw upon entering Japanese territory.
“On October 26th they get off their boats and settle in and are greeted by the people who are in terrible shape. Will pay anything for cigarettes or food. The destruction is incredible. Practically every building is burned or flattened by bombs. The people are living in the burned-out areas in these galvanized tin huts. They are in a sad way. It is a dusty trip. There are trolleys and electric trains running Saturday.”
My grandfather takes a train from a small town called Yamato and onto an electric train into Yoka Shama.
“Most of the people are working class or peasants. There is not much to be bought in Yokohama. It is demolished completely.”
So ends World War II.
Till this day, most Americans (53%) still support the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the time of their dropping, support was 80%. Those two bombs are still the only time in human history that atomic weapons have been used on a foreign nation. There is still lots of controversy in our own nation about this action. This COUNTERPUNCH article fills in some of the details of what was occurring behind closed doors at the time.
My only criticism of the movie is that there was so much more to tell. The death toll of the Japanese and the effects of nuclear fallout are discussed during one key scene as well as a lecture he attends later on but this is mostly glossed over. Even though Oppenheimer knew Einstein, you still get the feeling that the movie could have used his wise advice a few more times than it was provided. Cillian Murphy who absolutely will walk away with the Best Actor trophy this year is wonderful at portraying guilt. Oppenheimer spent many years of his life trying to ride the middle road by keeping the military who was funding his work and his fellow scientists happy. But after unleashing a weapon for a “changing world” (A theme often discussed throughout), his opposition to nuclear weapons becomes undeniable. This also leads to his opposition towards Edward Teller’s H-Bomb which led to disagreements between the two men. Teller was the Dr. Fauci of his day. Betraying Oppenheimer in real life due to his disagreement over the need for a Hydrogen Bomb, Teller had a volatile personality and was often accused of being an exaggerator that took more credit for his discoveries than he deserved. Alienated in the scientific community due to his betrayal, Teller became one of the first scientists to have a deep long running relationship with the US government and the military so they could fund his research. He was a long-time supporter of increased defense spending until his death.
What else can I say about Oppenheimer? It is incredible to me that Hollywood would fund a movie, even with the reputation that Christopher Nolan has, about a theoretical physicist that put together the smartest scientists in the nation to build the first functioning atomic weapon. These are the type of movies that can save the dying film industry if these media corporations can find the bravery to take chances on this type of material. The world is not interested in “diversity” or “woke culture” when it comes to filmmaking. All anyone wants is to be told a good story. Oppenheimer delivers this in every imaginable way.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Throughout my entire life especially during my early years inside the Catholic Church, I was told about this Russian novel THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Being over 900 pages long divided into twelve books and an epilogue, completing this novel always felt like a journey that would never be completed. This 19th Century novel is filled with philosophical musings, observations of that historical society and large ideas revolving around the importance of virtues like love, faith, and the importance of philosophical ideas like rationalism. After completing the novel, Dostoevsky famously said that this novel reflects everything he has ever wanted to say about the human experience. As the most famous quote from this novel explains above, the quest of any human life is to live with virtue and love. Lacking these things can send any person into a spiral of despair and anger that they may never recover from. In this short review, I will give some background on Fyodor Dostoevsky. Then, I will dive into an analysis of the story inside the book and finally, a completed review.
Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. He showed at an early age no interest in science, mathematics and military engineering preferring to dabble in art and literature. This open-mindedness would get him in trouble after he had written a couple of novels as his interest in socialism and possession of a banned pamphlet from his literary idol Nikolai Gogol called a LETTER TO GOGOL got him arrested and forced to face a firing squad. Instead of being executed, he was sent to Siberia to serve four years of hard labor. Upon returning, Dostoevsky got himself involved in various publications but could never create a life for himself due to his gambling addiction and badly reviewed writing. His most famous novel CRIME AND PUNISHMENT was written during this time. After he married his second wife and started his own family, he continued to have financial issues. Eventually moving back to Russia from Germany, this was the most successful period of his life writing the novel DEMONS, THE IDIOT and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Shortly after THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV was released, Dostoevsky died of a brain hemorrhage in early 1881.
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV is a deep and complex story. The main story does not kick in until the resolution of Book IX. The novel is loosely based on the Karamazov family, Father Fyodor, twice divorced and the patriarch of a family with upper class wealth who is murdered mysteriously during Book IX. Fyodor has three kids: his oldest Dmitri, an impulsive, risk-taking alpha male who is in love with Grushenka. Dmitri has a personality that could be perceived as potentially bipolar. The middle child is Ivan, a professional intellectual whose own philosophy on life fails him when he realizes that he may be responsible for his father’s murder. Finally, there is the younger brother Alexei, also known as Alyosha, who is a young practicing monk trying to live a noble, spiritual life. The book ends with a trial for one of the sons who may be guilty of killing his father while the two remaining brothers do their best in trying to save him while grappling with their own conscious and thoughts about their father. This main story only makes up about one-third of this book. The novel goes deep into analyzing each of the family member’s personalities and character as well as entire chapters dedicated to side characters. Through the first half, the book is very philosophical with many religious overtones and analysis. After all these various themes and ideas have been planted, Dostoevsky reveals the main story at the heart of this novel at the end. This part of the novel is definitely the highlight of the book.
I have always been told that Russian novels are dense and filled with lots of ideas. In fact, too many ideas that make the novels feel like they lack a general sense of direction. THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV definitely fits into this category. This novel since its release in 1880 and a year before Dostoevsky left the mortal realm is used for philosophy classes. It is used by the Orthodox Church and other religions to analyze its teachings and philosophies. And you will often find college literature students diving into the novel when studying the artistic output of Eastern Europe or Russia. I love much of the philosophy in this book. One of the most famous recent video game series, ASSASSIN’S CREED took its own motto for the assassins, “EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED” from this novel. Dostoevsky also analyzes the difference between intellectuals and the common folk. With recent world events that have occurred over the past few years, this quote explains in clear detail while the people with the simplest thoughts are not only the happiest, but also more likely to be honest and more difficult to manipulate.
“The more stupid one is, the closer one is to reality. The more stupid one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence squirms and hides itself. Intelligence is unprincipled, but stupidity is honest and straightforward.”
Despite this, the novel has some flaws. First, some of the conversations between characters are often filled with long monologues. As a person who has met quite a few Russians over my life, these long monologues do not feel Russian. I am used to short and to the point conversations with thoughts condensed down into short summaries. These conversations between characters do not differentiate their personalities enough and they are filled with interruptions and bizarre diversions that are common with manic depressive or hyperactive individuals. These conversations often took me out of the book. This leads directly into my second complaint, the length. Dostoevsky could have said everything he needed to say with about 400 less pages. The novel is a chore to get through with some stretches (Like Book X) feeling like an extra add-on that felt unnecessary for the type of ideas he was trying to portray. But even accounting for these criticisms, I still think reading this book would make anyone think about their own life and how satisfied you are with the decisions you have made up to this point. This aspect of the novel is the reason why it continues to fascinate people 140 plus years after it was released in Tsarist Russia. If you can find time, dive into Russian literature and start with this classic from Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Next week: OPPENHEIMER!
A few weeks back, one of my best friends and I went to see the new INDIANA JONES movie on release day. Besides the fact that the movie theater was only 20% full (Another topic for the future), the movie was given mostly negative reviews. As the film has matriculated through our culture the past couple of weeks, the score has balanced out to a more realistic median. But since the movie is likely going to lose money for Disney and LucasFilm, how much of an impact did this vocally loud group of negative reviewers have on this film? This is a topic that has fascinated me over the past couple of years. Back in 2018 when the Wes Anderson ISLE OF DOGS came out, he was accused of cultural appropriation by multiple journalists. Despite the fact that the filmmaker went out of his way to hire voice actor Kunichi Nomura to review the Japanese cultural aspects of the movie for authenticity. Like is often the case in our anti-intellectual present-day outrage culture, the opinions on this movie seemed misguided. Another recent example was LICORICE PIZZA, a movie about growing up in the mid-1970s in the Valley of California. A character who is portrayed as an opportunist for anyone who has half a brain uses a derogatory Asian accent to talk with his wife. When we meet him again, he is doing the same thing with a different Asian wife. This became enough of a controversy that TIME Magazine featured it in an article. Movie reviews and film analysis have only gotten worse since then. After giving a brief summary of my own personal review of the new INDIANA JONES, I will look into two factors which have destroyed present day film reviewers and is causing the industry to make political and social statements that are misguided and alienating. Feel free to comment back with your own opinions on this issue.
INDIANA JONES and the DIAL OF DESTINY is a good film. Since there are four other movies to compare this current iteration to, let’s do a quick INDIANA JONES story checklist.
Adventure film with memorable set pieces: CHECK
Story based around a historical relic from the past that may have supernatural or religious elements: CHECK.
Indiana Jones has a notable and memorable sidekick: CHECK.
The villains of the movie are Nazis: CHECK
The soundtrack is done by John Williams: CHECK
The DIAL of DESTINY feels like an Indiana Jones movie. The main difference for fans of this series is that this franchise has existed for 42 years, and the protagonist (Harrison Ford) has reached his 80s in real life. So, his action scenes minus the 25-minute opener that takes place at the end of World War II with a de-aged Indiana are slightly more toned down. But once the movie gets started, it never stops. The plot revolves around a device called the Antikythera (Based on a real life historical mathematical device) that has been broken up into two pieces so its power can never be used. Indiana’s competition for this device is Dr. Jurgen Voller played by the irreplaceable Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. After the film opens, the race is on to acquire both pieces of the device, combine them into one entity which will activate it, and use the power of the Antikythera to change history. One of the biggest surprises to me was actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge who goes along with Jones on the journey while having her own personal motivation for acquiring the device. The movie is entertaining and when the device inevitably activates at the end (SPOILERS), the ending takes an incredible risk that pays off the many years that Indiana Jones has studied and tried to acquire historical devices as an archaeologist. Some of the common criticisms of the movie is that Indiana is a broken man. From my point of view, this is wrong. As a character who has aged into his later years and has plenty of personal regret, this key development of his character is important as it explains his mindset at the end of the film when he finds himself in a different time and place. My only complaints about this film are minimal. Mads Mikkelson is such a wonderful actor especially in many of his native Danish films that he feels wasted again in this movie. Like DOCTOR STRANGE and the third FANTASTIC BEASTS movie, an actor that can engage in complicated character studies feels very one dimensional as a Nazi scientist. There is another young teen boy in the Short Round tradition that also feels like a waste. That is why this film feels most comparable to me with TEMPLE of DOOM. While the Ark of the Covenant in RAIDERS of the LOST ARK and the Holy Grail from LAST CRUSADE had religious elements, the Antikythera also has supernatural elements revolving around an ancient Greek scientist and time travel. This is comparable to the historical Sankara Stones in TEMPLE OF DOOM which activate when Indiana speaks the name of Shiva. The outlier of these films is still the worst of the five, INDIANA JONES and the CRYSTAL SKULL, which added an alien supernatural aspect to the movie that actually feels out of place with the classic Indiana Jones story. But these are minor complaints. This is a very good movie that dives into the nostalgia you had for many of the characters from the previous movie while wrapping the film series up satisfactorily.
So why is Indiana Jones not doing well in the theater? Media corporations are a main part of the problem. Too many corporations especially on the entertainment side seem very interested in pushing social and political change through entertainment. No matter how you feel about politics from a conservative side (STRANGE WORLD) or liberal angle (See the aforementioned ISLE OF DOGS and LICORICE PIZZA above), people are just not interested in discussing political or social justice issues inside of animated or adventure movies. Plus, these criticisms allow the studios to blame incorrectly a “racist” or “closed-minded” audience instead of grappling with the fact that the movie was flat out bad.
STRANGE WORLD: 5.7 out of 10 on IMDB
LIGHTYEAR: 6.1 out of 10 on IMDB
This allows Disney or the talent involved to blame the poor performance on a particular social problem while ignoring the fact that the movie as a whole is not very good. In twenty years when the present-day politics has evolved to something completely different, how many people are going to revisit LIGHTYEAR and brag about how fantastic the movie was? From an evergreen perspective, the movie will not be remembered as a classic of American cinema. That is the goal that every film should be striving towards. This is why CASABLANCA 84 years later is still a watchable and entertaining film.
Finally, we have to acknowledge our degraded review culture. Here are three reviews (Here, Here, and Here) of INDIANA JONES that are so badly written, I thought these came out of MAD Magazine. Whether being lectured about “Black people dying first” in the first review which apparently is part of an imaginary scorecard or the movie failing the pointless and imaginary Bechdel test with social justice commentary in the second review or this hilarious quote that taints an otherwise solid review from the LOS ANGELES TIMES,
“For the most part, “Dial of Destiny” tries to steer clear of the exoticizing First World gaze and monkey-brained racist stereotyping that has so often marred the series.”
movie reviewers are so full of shit now that they don’t realize how their social justice rants paint them as out-of-touch, self-important adults who all regret getting that Bachelor of Arts degree at their university. These aren’t even the worst cases. Go to YouTube and enter in the search, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Review.” Here is what you get. Most of these reviews are negative. These reviewers have a huge influence with many videos sitting between 500,000 views to multi-millions in a few cases. While some like CRITICAL DRINKER and DEEPFOCUSLENS are great reviewers with an often insightful and hilarious perspective, most of these videos are just click bait. Here is my summary of most of these individuals, “Let me find something I don’t like and make a big deal out of it.” In the case of one of my favorite podcasters Kevin Smith and his FATMAN BEYOND podcast, the focus seemed to be on WHAT THEY BELIEVED THE FILM SHOULD BE instead of analyzing what the film actually is. So many people love these films from our childhood because not only were they well made, but they were entertaining. We have reached a point in our postmodern culture where we can’t even appreciate the things our culture gives us anymore because it doesn’t fulfill an escalated standard inside our nostalgia-tinged minds. See THE LAST JEDI as another example of this. Until our culture starts to evolve or snap back on this new normal, movie analysis and film reviews are going to continually be ruined by self-involved parasites. And if the film industry does not wake up to this problem soon, streaming a film may become the only way for you to see the next blockbuster.
Next week: My review of the Russian novel THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Have a good week everyone!
There has been an interesting trend that has circulated through the mass media over the past couple of years. At first, it seemed curious. But as the years have gone by, the number of times that this ‘mistake’ has been made no longer seems like an accident. The media is purposely trying to forget and “disappear” an entire generation. Since the media loves to label everyone into a generational category, the generation impacted would be the 90s slackers immortalized as Generation X.
This article came across my computer as a recommendation on Saturday. It was a poll that showed “millennials” were moving to the right politically. Upon looking at the graph, something seemed odd about it.
The millennal generation apparently has absorbed the fifteen years of another “unknown” generation. A year ago, USA TODAY published an article that supposedly set the years that define every generation. Generation X was defined as being born between the years 1965-1980. This graph above says nothing about Generation X. It states that this monstrously large 30 year long “millennial” generation is moving politically to the right. If you look at this graph, you will notice that the previously defined Generation X and the oldest millennial cohort (1980-1984) are the age groups moving the fastest rightward. Taking Generation X out of this count and adding in the majority of millennials born after 1985, millennials are not politically right-wing based on the USA TODAY generational definitions. In fact, what this graph actually shows is that the Generation that no longer exists is the one moving to the right.
Back in 2019, CBS aired a graphic showing the current generations. Interestingly, the people born between 1965 to 1980 were conspicuously missing. Why? Did the United States go through a generation where no babies were born for 16 years. For the people who have been disappeared, since we no longer exist, do we really have to pay taxes? Counterpunch covered this phenomenon here. The CBS graph is here. David Gergen on CBS wrote a book about the Baby Boomers running the country for the past 30 years (Try 40 plus David). He also seems to have forgotten that there were babies born during a 16-year timeframe from the mid-1960s to 1980. As a millennial formerly known as Generation X, these obviously intentional omissions are hilarious. My friends and I never liked being labeled as lazy, apathetic slackers in the 1980s/1990s. So having been completely forgotten by the media seems like the next inevitable step for our generation.
It would be hilarious to just laugh this off and chant “Boomer” under your breath while you pop another craft beer (Another industry created by Generation X). But you can’t help but feel a certain aura of hostility behind this. Remember, the 1990s was the generation of Bill Clinton. In 1993, as the globalists were beginning to consolidate their wealth on Wall Street during the mega-merger 1980s, the health care industry made its first push for universal health care. It was resoundingly rejected by the American population. The creation of the World Wide Web released to the public in 1991 fell apart with greed and ineptitude due to the Tech crash. Not to mention, we were the generation that openly defied large business and wanted the government to just leave us alone and help the poor. We are the generation of small, independent business. But our biggest crime may have been our rejection of popular culture. This led to the music industry, film industry, comic book industry, video game industry, and popular Generation X sports figures playing longer than ever which allowed us to completely take over the culture. The most controversial journalists that question our political system in the present day with incredible insight and research, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and Julian Assange, are all Generation X. There was a recent report showing which generations controlled certain aspects of society. The Baby Boomers are economically dominant, politically dominant, and socially dominant. But since the 1990s, they lost control of the culture to Generation X. And 30 years on, our generation is still culturally dominant. Based on Academic Studies done on voting by age group, Generation X seems to lean paleo-conservative and nationalistic. Despite Baby Boomers bragging about being the most-right wing generation, it is not true according to this Academic Study. As part of the "America First" movement which controls part of the Republican Party, most of the politicians running as “America Firsters” are Generation X.
Personally, I believe the 1990s was a year where classic American values were being re-established in the United States with a more evolved, open-minded consensus on social issues and politics. I also believe that the wealthy elites were losing control of the nation after putting a generation of work into capturing it. This Generation X cultural revolution which was changing the way people thought about the world did not last longer than a decade. On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists and the individualism that was celebrated in the 1990s disappeared into a nationalistic collectivism. We are still dealing with the consequences of this 22 years later. We find ourselves living in an era with increased authoritarianism, corrupt politicians everywhere, broken institutions, and a collectivist “Woke” culture being forced onto the population. American citizen's personal activities are being monitored by technology. The ideals of Generation X are dead. And as a member of the generation that no longer exists, all I can say is “EH!”
WHAT DID THE ‘TWITTER FILES’ ACTUALLY REVEAL?: A LOOK INTO THE BRAND-NEW CENSORSHIP-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
Last week, Matt Taibbi on his website RACKET NEWS posted an in-depth article explaining a new government funded industry that should have every American enraged and concerned. Our government has a new Orwellian function, a censorship-industrial complex that is new to the American experience. Back during the early 2000s after the 09/11/01 terrorist attacks, the American people were exposed to the power of the military-industrial complex, ignoring the warning of Dwight Eisenhower over 40 years earlier, and went into multiple wars that the American people had no ability to stop. Than in 2020, the pharmaceutical-industrial complex reared its head after a virus that kills less than .01% of our population was released “accidentally” causing widespread economic chaos and cultural destruction leading to lockdowns that destroyed the education system and an epidemic of mental illness. The censorship industrial complex was exposed almost accidentally. Towards the end of 2021, Elon Musk bought Twitter. No matter how you feel about the Tesla and PayPal founder (And some of his decisions are highly questionable), his releasing of the “Twitter Files” has shown the American people two things.
So how did we get here? Well, one of the key factors that has been overlooked by a majority of the media is the presidency of Barack Obama. Looking past the historical aspects of his eight-year reign, Obama has had a much greater impact on the past six years of our lives than anyone could have previously thought. Obama changed the government. Before his election, the country was strongly divided among the corporations, elitists, and globalists on the best direction to take the United States into the future. The Obama presidency resolved this problem. Distracting us from the failed government policies and corporate greed that led to the Occupy Wall Street 99% movement that spun out of the 2007 Great Recession, a corporate movement was created to divide and isolate the population called “woke capitalism.” This helped to increase the public-private alignment of business and government which has descended our nation into a new political philosophy called corporatism (The proper definition of “Fascism”). Big Tech profits soared during the government issued lockdowns. After the vaccinations were created and made “mandatory” for some, Big Pharma made record pools of money. The direct impact of government policy was minting record profits for the biggest and most influential businesses while the average American citizen was helpless in stopping it. Hollywood, the Media (With Obama bringing the press in line by arresting a record number of journalists), Academia, and Big Tech all became the foundation of this new government-corporate propaganda engine. And now, we find ourselves living inside the United States of Business, One Nation Under the Dollar, committed to corporate profits at the expense of the American people.
The above graph is complicated. But there is a couple of things to take away from this political/corporate/government/organizational alignment that actually exposes its inherent weakness and is likely the reason why decades of trying to create an authoritarian governmental system inside the United States has failed through the majority of the last Century. You will notice that most of these Academic Initiatives, Think Tanks, and Fact Checking Organizations are funded by the same people. Here are a select few of the organizations, foundations and businesses that are using their money and influence to help create these tools of oppression. It is a much shorter list than you would think.
Craig Newmark – Founder of CRAIGSLIST and the non-profit CRAIG NEWMARK PHILANTHROPIES.
The Rockefeller Foundation – One of the oldest foundations on the planet.
The National Science Foundation
The Ford Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Nothing more needs to be said about this.
The Knight Foundation
The Ad Council – An important propaganda part of this machine.
Wikipedia – An open-source online encyclopedia that seems to issue facts about topics based on the underlying political narrative.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center – A prime example of the money and influence that has been put onto academia to push the agenda these foundations want to promote.
The Aspen Institute – Like Annenberg above, this is the best example of a Think Tank being flooded with money so the intellectuals behind the institute can create ideas on how to implement the goals of these foundations.
Finally, Fact Checkers like the Trusted News Initiative out of the BBC are an important piece of this new industry. These Fact Checking Organizations manipulate factual information. The best example to date is the lies about the “effectiveness” of the COVID-19 vaccines. These fact checkers are the bulldogs of the internet attacking any information that runs counter to the narrative that they support.
Finally, I want to mention three more key organizations to show once and for all how the Democrats and Republicans are only controlled oppositional parties that act as puppets for these politically motivated foundations, organizations, NGOs, and Think Tanks listed above.
Democrats hate The Charles Koch Foundation. Yet, their money is very much involved in the censorship industrial complex.
On the Republican side, they fixate on George Soros and his Open Society Foundation. Like the Kochs who lean conservative, Soros is an old left-wing authoritarian who gives his money to many of the same organizations as the Koch’s. More proof that God has a hilarious sense of humor.
Finally, there is Pierre Omidyar and his OMIDYAR NETWORK. Omidyar is the founder of THE INTERCEPT, a news website that was founded to restore ethics and integrity to the journalism profession. Instead, it spiraled into a politically biased website that led to its founder Glenn Greenwald fleeing to Substack. Omidyar now puts most of his attention and money into fighting “disinformation” and bringing about “equity.”
These are the people that we are up against. As you can see, this is not an unwinnable battle. If the American people can learn to take this threat to their rights seriously and stop allowing themselves to be divided up into politically opposed groups, this censorship industrial complex can disappear overnight. Taibbi and his staff deserve a ton of credit for bringing this to the world’s attention. So what are we going to do about it?
One of the biggest “shocks” in the media environment occurred ten days ago when Tucker Carlson was surprisingly fired from FOX NEWS despite having the largest cable news audience by an exponential amount. Upon the dismissal, the ratings for FOX NEWS due to boycotts and the fact that their programming is garbage has cratered. The Fox Corporation stock price has slid over 5% costing the company close to a billion dollars. This surprising action has left many confused viewers wondering, why would FOX and the Murdochs engage in an action that fundamentally impacts their bottom line? The problem with this question is that most people in our society continue to think about cause and effect from a financial perspective. While the lack of audience and the abandonment of advertising often explains most terminations (Looking at you Brian Stelter), the termination of Tucker Carlson does not fall into this category. Understanding this, the people of the United States have to ask themselves some uncomfortable questions. Why did Tucker get fired? In this post, I am going to analyze this question by examining my own experience in the media over the past 20 years. I am going to post and explain a few key articles in our recent history that may explain what happened, and finally, I will voice my opinion on what I believe happened.
My media career started back in early 2001 with Swank Audio Visuals (RIP). I also worked at KOCE-PBS in Orange County on the side before moving over to KESQ-ABC in Palm Springs in 2002. My Bachelor’s Degree in college was for Television and Film. Two years of training and making myself employable by working around the edges of Hollywood and gaining the experience necessary finally got me the full-time job I always had wanted. Like anyone starting a career, my mind was filled with delusions of grandeur. I was going to be the next Walter Cronkite or Seymour Hersh. It does not take any intelligent person very long to understand that this is likely never going to happen. You quickly realize a few things about television news. First, it works like a machine. Every part is interchangeable. News is constant and never-ending and the amount of information that flows into the pipeline is often overwhelming to analyze. Second, the information that reaches your news desk is much more controlled and filtered than I ever could have imagined. It did not take me long to start becoming suspicious. My suspicions were confirmed in 2002 and 2003 during the buildup to the Iraq War.
Yellowcake in Niger
Weapons of Mass Destruction
All lies. All lies that got us into a ridiculous and pointless war. Were there voices speaking out about these lies? Absolutely. One of my favorite resources was www.antiwar.com and the late Justin Raimondo who was pointing out the political lies three days a week. Back then, there was actually an oppositional liberal media at websites like Huffington Post, radio stations like Air America, Michael Moore documentaries, and libertarian websites like www.lewrockwell.com. But, what was disturbing is that despite the contradictory information being provided by alternative media outlets, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX all seemed to be marching in full lockstep with the politicians and military interests. Throwing in the large journalistic outlets like THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST, it almost seemed like they wanted this war, damn the consequences.
After leaving KESQ-ABC and moving over to DISH Network, I continued to monitor the media but on a much larger scale. At this job, thousands of domestic and international channels were at my disposal. This did not improve things. After a while, you begin to realize how repetitive so many of these newscasts are and how the same information seems to be discussed in every single one. Was I a conspiracy theorist? NOPE. No matter the market, the attractive individual posing as an unwitting propagandist spouted the same nonsense during every broadcast. This does not even include the undisclosed sponsored segments that a sharp eyed engineer could notice if he watched enough networks. These insidious news segments are not declared as “sponsored” and usually promote a product, a business, or is a public relations spot explaining something terrible that has happened to the business and how they are going to “improve their product/services” for the good of the country.
During this period of time, the few remaining decent journalists we had left began revealing information about what was occurring inside the United States. Dana Priest’s TOP SECRET AMERICA is a must read/watch that explains the incredible growth of the government framed around the argument for “National Security.” (This mostly happened during the Bush/Cheney Years). Then, once the floodgates began to open up, you start to realize that it maybe even worse than you ever imagined. Not too long after this, Obama began his war on the media. To this day, all the presidents combined have not arrested as many journalists as the “Chosen One” had. Then, the censorship of content began. It started with the controversial Alex Jones and has only exploded from there. Digging even deeper, you start to find out more uncomfortable facts.
Defense Contractors on Cable News Promoting War: YES
CIA infiltrating every media organization and controlling the content: YES
The recently released Twitter Files showing that the government requested and helped these social media platforms censor content that went against their narrative (CENSORSHIP INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX): YES
The once oppositional liberal media establishment fully working as propagandists for the permanent government: YES (The Trump presidency led to this development).
So knowing all this, how did Tucker survive as oppositional media voices were systematically being removed? Well, Tucker talked about all the important issues, events, and political decisions that impacted the American people while the mainstream media continued its fixation on Donald Trump, our brainless Hollywood celebrities, and Russia. Despite the fact that our leaders think we are morons, the American people swallowed this up and Tucker’s rating exploded exponentially. He talked to his viewers like they were free-thinking and complex individuals. Tucker succeeded because as an individual, he actually evolved as an individual from a pro-war neo-conservative during the Iraq War to a more conservative anti-war nationalist. Because he came out of the mainstream, this allowed him some breathing room. He was the only person that explained and understood why Donald Trump was popular, why the Ukraine War is corrupt, why the COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines may not have worked as advertised, while also giving a voice to the alternative journalists that were kicked out of the mainstream during the Obama years by the liberal press. People like Glenn Greenwald, Ron Paul, Matt Taibbi, ex-Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, RFK Jr., and many others who had been quarantined to the darkest corners of the internet. These crimes are the main reason for his dismissal. Because whether we want to believe it or not, there is a cabal of globalists that want to control the United States and a large portion of the world. Sacrificing a few billion dollars is nothing when it involves the decades long effort to control as much of humanity as they physically can. That is what really happened here. This is also why the loss of Tucker could be one of the most important things to happen in the journalism industry for the next couple of decades. Because the people in control are sending the American people a message. We control your content and there is nothing you can do about it.
So what is the endgame here? To me, this is very simple. Every slide into authoritarianism by the entitled class inevitably fails. Our concern should be how long we are going to have to live under these authoritarian diktats. Since Biden took the oath of office in 2021, the amount of freedom that has been lost is immeasurable. With this radical and swift push into an unknown globalist economic and social system which awaits us around the corner, how many generations will it take for the American people to wake up and understand what is happening to them? That is the true tragedy here. The firing of Tucker Carlson means that the mainstream media has been captured. It is under the control of media organizations and corporations that do not have your best interests at heart. We have reached the authoritarian propaganda phase of the American experiment. The education system, the technological sector, our entertainment companies, and the pharmaceutical industrial complex are already there. Now, the mass media has joined them. May God have mercy on our souls!
Starting the 4th season of BARRY on HBO MAX this past Sunday, I was reminded of the genius of one of our best character and supporting actors of the past 30 years. To give a little background, BARRY is a show about a hitman and ex-military soldier who tries to change his life by taking an acting class. The show is not one of my favorites but is completely watchable due to its bingeable 30-minute episodes and is loaded with memorable characters like Anthony Carrigan’s NoHo Hank and Henry Winkler’s Gene Cousineau. But one of the key supporting characters is Monroe Fuches, a sociopathic and manipulative handler who organizes hits for lead character Barry Berkman while engaging in a long-term schizophrenic relationship with him. Who else could inhabit this complicated character other than the indominable Stephen Root?
According to IMDB, Stephen Root has been in 273 television shows, movies, and has voiced many different cartoon characters. Starting out mostly doing guest appearances on television shows like ROSEANNE and HOME IMPROVEMENT or having small parts in movies like BLACK RAIN, Stephen is the story of a person who worked his way to respectability. The first things I specifically remember him in was as Captain K’Vada in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION covered in Klingon makeup. Another early performance was as the school counselor Gary Murray in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Working around the edges of Hollywood for years in bit parts, Root finally landed a part in a wonderful mid to late 90s TV show, NEWSRADIO, as Jimmy James, the often hilarious and ruthless owner of the radio station. With an ensemble cast loaded with talent (Phil Hartman, Dave Foley, Andy Dick, Joe Rogan, etc.), this show brought Root’s talents out into the spotlight.
So why is it that an actor like Stephen Root who has never really been the lead actor in any film or television show come to my attention? There are three primary reasons for my adoration of him.
First, Stephen Root can do almost any role. Do you need him to be a frightening cult leader? See THE EMPTY MAN. Due to an expressive and emotive face, he can be intense and hilarious within seconds of any scene. His character Gus Lacey in THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS is a great example of his intensity or playing the real-life corrupt Department of Justice middleman Gaston Means in the television show BOARDWALK EMPIRE with a perfect Carolina accent whose opinions greatly fluctuate depending on your money and influence. He can also tear at your heart while simultaneously being hilarious like he was with one of his most famous characters and present-day meme Milton from OFFICE SPACE.
STEPHEN ROOT AS MILTON IN OFFICE SPACE
Second, Stephen Root does every type of genre (Comedy, Mystery, Psychological, Historical, Drama) and every type of television show (Comedy, Thriller, Science Fiction). In fact going over his incredible IMDB profile, I have seen him in at least 70 different productions. He works with some of our best directors including memorable cameos with the Coen Brothers (In movies like OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and THE LADYKILLERS). Director and creator Mike Judge has used him for some of his most famous and significant roles including the aforementioned Milton and as the voice of Bill Dauterive, the fat and depressed neighbor to Hank Hill during the 13 seasons of KING OF THE HILL on FOX. Kevin Smith has used his talent in RED STATE, JERSEY GIRL, and the recent animated reimagining of He-Man in MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATIONS. He even has had memorable comedy roles in Ben Stiller films like DODGEBALL: THE TRUE UNDERDOG STORY where his character Gordon becomes an unbeatable player when his rage is triggered.
Third, when Root shows up in any production, it automatically brings a smile to my face. Despite the incredibly diverse number of characters he plays, there is still an aspect to his performances that makes him easily identifiable. He can mask and hide himself in any role but because it is Stephen Root, I still recognize the actor behind the character. Was I happy to see him appear in the awful BOOK OF BOBA FETT? Hell yes. His appearance as Bill Krogstad in CEDAR RAPIDS immediately brought that surprisingly solid movie some extra reputation points. Hearing him voice the corrupt and ruthless sperm whale Jeremiah Whitewhale in the brilliant BOJACK HORSEMAN allowed a one-note character to have much more depth than he probably deserved. There is just no way you can possibly hate Stephen Root.
I hope that this short analysis will help you appreciate an actor who is never the lead character, but always a supporting one. A gentlemen who can improve almost any production just by showing up for a handful of minutes. And if you are not familiar with Stephen Root, just watch a movie or television show on your streaming services or inside a movie theater. It won’t take long until he pops up again.
Stephen Root in OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
EXPERT OF SOME