New Year, New Congress, Same Bullshit!

New Year, New Congress, Same Bullshit!

January 3, 2019, marked the formation of the 116th US Congress and despite all the new congresspeople who ran on a progressive platform, Medicare for all, $15/hr federal minimum wage, free college etc, only three of these ‘progressives’ voted against the Pay-Go bill that includes a budget neutral rule, which would stop any vote on bills that are not backed by a “how we will pay for it” plan of action.

The obvious answer to how we are going to fund the progressive agenda, remove all the corporate tax loopholes from the tax code, even without repealing the Republicans 2017 tax bill, that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for progressive, dare I say socialist programs. However, we know that the Democratic leadership will not allow that to happen, as regardless of whether a congressperson has a (D) or an (R) after their name, they are all paid off by the same corporate interests, this is a stonewall fact!

Back to Pay-Go and the progressives that voted for the Democrats’ rules for the House, which included Pay-Go. If these people were true progressives, they would never have voted for such a rules package when it goes against the platform which they ran on. Only three progressive Democrats voted against the new house rules, Ro Khanna (CA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Tulsi Gabbard (HI).

After voting “yes” to the rules package, Pramila Jayapal (WA) has put forward legislation to repeal Pay-Go. I believe this to be a face-saving exercise after criticism for voting for a bill that creates a massive stumbling block to progressive priorities. Once something has been incorporated into the house rules, it’s very hard to overturn. We know that Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership have zero interest in the progressive agenda, despite the widespread public support for such programs as Medicare for all.

After the congressional elections, I did wonder how long it would take for the incoming class of 2019 to become corrupted. In a system where being corrupt is the norm and the only way to survive past a single term, it would be hard to turn down the money. I’m pretty sure that if Koch (I Live in Kansas) came knocking on my door offering hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, I would sure as hell take the money to make my family’s life better, and I suspect that most people would do the same.

After so many “progressive” congresspeople voted for something that makes pushing the progressive agenda harder, the jury is out on how progressive these new congresspeople really are. introducing legislation after the fact is not good enough, progressives need to fight for the cause from day one, as didn’t you know “progressive” is an alternative word for “communist”? a “fact” pushed by the right-wing.

Moving onto HR-1, the For The People Act, which is a bill that will supposedly take corporate money out of politics, increase ethics accountability in Congress, restore the voting rights act and eliminate gerrymandering. Which, let’s be frank, is utter bullshit, none of the incumbents want corporate money out of politics. How can a corrupt government possibly vote for a bill that would eliminate their main source of income, allowing these multi-term congresspeople to become multi-millionaires? I will be extremely happy to eat my words, should I be proven wrong, but I doubt that I will have to do so.

This bill is nothing more than lip-service to the people of America. The majority of Americans want an end to corruption in our government at the federal and local state level. Nancy Pelosi and the leadership of the Democratic party know there is no way in Hell this would pass the Republican-controlled Senate during the next two years. The objective is to make themselves look good in the eyes of voters, while not pushing for actual change in the way our government, who I remind you are public servants, is run.

I have lived in the USA for 10 years; and those 10 years has taught me that the opening line of the US constitution, “we, the people” is a fallacy in this time. Our congresspeople and senators do not, and will not ever do what is best for their constituents, because they are being paid handsomely by their corporate overlords to do their bidding, which is contradictory to what is best for the American people. The Democrats are Republican light, there is no clear line in which Democrats differ from Republicans.

Meanwhile, upto 800,000 federal workers are still working without pay or have been furloughed because of the man-child, Donald J. Trump refusing to sign any governmental funding agreement unless he gets billions of dollars for his pointless southern border wall. The orange one has even suggested using “national emergency” legislation to bypass congress to get funding for his wall. If there is a national emergency happening, ground zero is the White House, where rules and laws seemingly go to die.

Trump also went on the record, saying that the government shutdown could continue for months, or even years if the Democrats don’t fund his increasingly unpopular border wall. Federal workers can not wait for months, and definitely not years without pay, they’ll have to move onto other jobs. I find it disgraceful that congresspeople, senators and the White House have excluded themselves from the shutdown, so they still get paid, while people who cannot afford to lose a weeks pay, suffer extreme financial hardship.

Don’t believe me, check out first-hand stories from federal workers that have been furloughed or are working for free, on Twitter, #ShutdownStories, not forgetting that this is the third shutdown in a year.

We’re Mean Parents, Cause & Effect, A Life Lesson

We're Mean Parents, Cause & Effect, A Life Lesson

Christmas is over and done with, unfortunately for my 14-year-old son, he refused to make any extra effort to bring his school grades up to where they needed to be for him to be able to get the $300 Nintendo Switch and $60 game, that we bought for him this Christmas, so we had tears this Christmas.

The story is that my 14-year-old son has a D in biology and an F in English, both as a result of not getting his assignments in on time, or in the case of biology, not handing it in at all, dropping 60 points, then passed up multiple opportunities to get extra credit, which would have put him back in the high B’s, but despite multiple requests for him to bring home the work to get it completed, he refused to do so.

We told him a whole month ago what the consequence of his inaction would be. It seems he did not take us seriously and now is living the consequences. My son, as I expected, tried to use his grandmother, who we spend Christmas with, to try to guilt us into letting him play with the new Nintendo Switch. His grandmother immediately, as I expected, said “can’t he play it today as it’s Christmas”, my immediate response is “absolutely not”. This is the fourth year in a row, we have faced this situation, I’m not giving in this year, my son needs to realize he is in the big leagues of High School now, no more letting it slide.

If we continue to let it slide, we are doing our son a disservice, everything he does in school now counts towards his future. This is intended as a life lesson, he cannot just drift through life, playing video games. He needs to earn his Switch, by fulfilling his potential, instead of slacking off, claiming “I’m stupid” expecting us to give him a pass. Bottom line, in life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, we all have to work to earn our lunch, I don’t enjoy many aspects of my job, but I do it, to secure my family’s financial security, I expect the same from my son, especially at 14 years old, he has no idea how lucky he is.

Because of the change of school agenda going into 2019, my son’s grades have been reset, so he thinks that absolves him of any responsibility, which is partially our fault as, in previous years, we had been lenient and allowed for a ‘reset’ of game privileges. The last two semesters grades count toward his overall GPA, which is well below 3.0 right now. The wife and I agree that we should not even consider letting our son have his game privileges back until February 1, 2019, to make sure he has earned it, not have it given to him because of circumstance, i.e. grades being reset due to a school agenda change.

I just hope that us being mean parents, will shock him into knuckling down, having to earn his game time. Playing video games is a privilege, not a right. Some kids live in situations where having expensive video game consoles is not even an option, some parents cant even afford reduced rate meals in school, let alone $300 game consoles. As I said before, our son has no idea how lucky he is. I grew up with very little, my family was extremely poor, gifts were thin on the ground in my household at Christmas, and I didn’t complain once, it was the hand we were dealt, there’s no point crying over it, no good will come of it.

A Mixed Bag Life Update II

A Mixed Bag Life Update II

It’s been a challenging month, so here’s a second life update. In the previous life update, I talked about my wife spending a week in the hospital. This resulted in her being told that her services are no longer required, with the manager of Uptown Landing, telling the temp agency, Real Estate Personnel that my wife, Erin didn’t notify the manager that she would not be into work, due to her hospitalization, which is wholly untrue, we can prove that she did, through a chain of text messages with her former manager.

Honestly, Erin is better off out of that property, the management company currently managing Uptown Landing, Weigand Omega, from what I saw could not manage their way out of a wet paper bag. They had Erin, a certified property manager with more than a decade of experience, sitting on a sofa in a construction trailer on site, playing with her phone while waiting for people to stop by for a tour.

The manager would literally take the property cell phone with her, so my wife was not able to answer calls. Weigand Omega also did not provide my wife, leasing agent, Erin with a desk, chair or computer, so she had zero access to the resources she needed to effectively do the job she was employed to do. Instead of doing leasing tasks, Erin was sat there applying for other jobs on her phone, just to fill the time. I think I would have told them to stick their job up their collective arses for being insultingly underutilized.

There were many other issues with Uptown Landing and Weigand Omega, including their marketing being in disarray, photos that were not of the actual property, different phone numbers, and addresses on marketing in various places on the web, but I don’t want to take up any more space on this blog post.

With this loss of income, albeit, a relatively minor loss, it paid a little over $110/week after taxes, this puts a strain on our finances, creating more reliance of credit cards, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

Things were eased a little today when Erin received a $1,600 check from a real estate deal that she had been working on for more than two months with difficult clients, who wanted Erin to do their due diligence, which she couldn’t do, she cannot organize their mortgage. The whole deal took so long because the buyers had not completed the loan paperwork they need to do for the deal to finally close.

This experience inspired Erin to finally, switch real estate brokerage, from Berkshire Hathaway, who were not providing the service to Erin, that we were paying close to $1,000/yr for, to Keller Williams. Who, so far have been much better, than the former, providing much more support and training, without the condescending remarks from the broker and coach, like at Berkshire Hathaway in Wichita, Kansas.

An update on my son and his distaste for putting in the effort to get his grades to where we expect them to be, a C minimum in all grades, which is easily achievable. Conner refused to bring the work home to complete extra credit assignments and other school work, so his grades remained the same, finishing with a D in biology and F in English, which means his Nintendo Switch stays boxed up for Christmas.

3 weeks ago, we explained what would happen if he didn’t put in the extra effort to get his grades up, and now those threats will come to fruition, an empty threat is no threat at all. If he had put in the extra work to improve his grades and fallen short, we would’ve been more lenient, but he didn’t, so the consequences are upon him. At 14 years old, he has zero excuses to not knuckle down and get it done.

Finally, due to the events described in my last blog update, I have changed the way I work. I have removed my employer’s Email from my cell phone and moved all my employer’s social onto a separate account, so I no longer get constant nofications on my cell phone in my private time. And since I did this about a week ago, I’m happier, my downtime is my downtime, no more work interruptions. I like my job, for the most part, but, it needs to stop dominating my whole life with constant work Emails/notifications.

Stop Micromanaging! Do It Your f**king Self!

Stop micromanaging, or do it your f**king self!

The past few days have been extremely frustrating for me because of a client of the company I work for, micromanaging everything I do, despite what I have been doing working spectacularly well. The client is a commercial development company, who have branched out into residential development for the first time, hiring the company I work for to manage their property and marketing efforts; and yet they feel they know better than a group of people with a collective experience of more than 30 years in the field.

It all started last Wednesday, when, the representative from the client, the property manager, regional manager and I had a ‘meeting’. I put meeting in quotes because it was more of a lecture than a meeting. The client’s rep basically told us what we need to do, with such petty things like criticizing the size of the logo overlay on my photos, the colors, and font I used, because it was something other than the logo colors and font, handing me a sheet with CMYK values and font names, which costs $200, written on it.

It was made clear in this meeting, that the client didn’t want the Facebook page to be for residents, which was fine at the time, but over the weekend, it came to light that Facebook is placed 56th of 58 resources that people use when looking for an apartment, but more highly ranked as a resident resource, so I posted an image for the holiday event on the property, with a view to posting something like “move into our community to live the lifestyle with regular events”, making it clear these events are for residents.

I get an Email within minutes of posting this to Facebook requesting I take it down, I responded with my reasons for posting, sharing a link to the study that showed Facebook pages as an ineffective medium to push apartment rentals. The client’s representative just went back to “we agreed to not post resident posts”, despite the brand new evidence, showing that a Facebook marketing page is extremely limited in generating leads. Which I can corroborate with my own experience in using Facebook as a marketing tool.

Ultimately, I just gave up, if they don’t want to go down the path that would have maximum benefit, in this case, a hybrid marketing/resident posting system for Facebook. If they don’t want to take advantage of my skills in the specific field of rental property marketing, then, so be it. I’ll just do what they request and do nothing more outside of that. If I am honest, I was close to saying “f**k it, do it yourself!”, handing over the page to the client’s representative to manage, I have plenty of other projects to work on.

Obviously, this feeling wasn’t caused by this singular event, it has been going on for months, since the launch of the property, and it has ground me down, I hate the feeling of someone standing over me. If they feel the need to ‘watch over’ the person/company they hired to do the job, they need to do it themselves. It just does not make sense to spend so much time managing an external resource, who you hired to handle aspects of your business, use that time to do it yourself and cut out the middleman.

A Mixed Bag Life Update

A Mixed Bag Life Update

There’s been a lot happening over the past few weeks, hence the lack of updates on the blog. The biggest of these is my wife spending 5 days in the hospital after two emergency room visits for a Lupus flare. After a visit to her primary care doctor, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis.

Obviously, this puts a lot of pressure on me, as I was effectively a single parent for a week. If anyone thinks being a single parent is easy, clearly they have never been a single parent, it’s freaking exhausting. But, I was happy to take on my wife’s load, so she could get the care and rest she clearly needed.

I was visiting Erin twice a day, spending about 2 hours with her per day, once in the morning after dropping the kids off at school, a task that takes nearly an hour as USD259 have elected to send my son to a High School that is 15-25 minutes away depending on traffic. And I dragged the kids to see Erin after school, much to my son, Conner’s chagrin, heaven forbid that he loses some Big Bang Theory watching time. Luckily, I have a job where my time is very flexible, allowing me to take the time to visit my wife.

Erin took almost another week to recover at home, feeling good enough to return to work on Friday and attend a real estate meeting on Wednesday. For the most part, she is feeling almost like herself again, which is not good, her Lupus and Fibromyalgia diagnosis means her quality of life is limited, at best.

Now, we have to look forward to the hospital bill, my wife has decent medical insurance, but I’m still expecting a bill in excess of $2,000. People in countries, like my home country of the UK, where socialized medicine is a reality, don’t know how good they have it, visiting the doctor is never a financial concern.

Moving onto our next topic, my aforementioned son, Conner, who we are having a hard time getting him motivated to put in some extra effort to get his grades up to where they need to be. He currently has one D and one F, both because he refused to hand in assignments, giving up, instead of putting in the additional effort needed to get the grades we know he is capable of. We try to talk to him, but he just stands there with a smirk on his face, like he doesn’t care, preferring to lounge about in bed watching TV.

We have bought him a Nintendo Switch for Christmas, which we have made clear that unless his grades improve to all C’s or above, he will not be allowed to have it until his grades improve. In previous years, we have allowed him to play games on birthdays and Christmas, but not this year, if he is not willing to put in the effort, i.e ‘give’, then we are not going to allow him to ‘take’, allowing him to play games.

I expect a battle with my mother-in-law over this decision, she often goes against our wishes when the kids stay overnight with her, our daughter, Alya rats her out every time. But, enough is enough, Conner needs to learn the concept of give and take, instead of just take, take, take. I understand he doesn’t like school, I was no fan myself, but I got the work done, putting in the extra effort when needed. Conner, because he has an IEP, is given an extra day to get his assignments in, but he refuses to take advantage of this, instead electing to give up, rather than putting in the extra effort to complete the work.

He has not played a video game in months because of his poor grades. In middle school, his grades were reset every semester, but high school is different, grades are not reset, everything from now on is working towards his high school diploma. We explained to him about this reality, before high school started, but he chose to ignore our words of advice, being convinced that we were wrong, claiming that one of his teachers told him grades would be reset at the end of the first semester, now he realizes that was wrong.

Finally, we loaned a ‘friend’, $180, with the promise, we would be paid back on the 29th of November, which, we allowed to be pushed back to the 6th of December, and now this friend, says she cannot pay us back until the 13th of December, leaving us in a financial pickle, not being able to pay our own debts.

We took the same friend on vacation with us to NW Arkansas during the summer, and she paid nothing towards the mini-vacation, she even claimed to my wife that she paid for certain attractions for all of us, which is a lie, as she only paid for herself, not my family like she claimed, I know this as I was stood right behind her when she purchased her ticket. She paid nothing towards the hotel, we had already paid for a ticket for a 30 Seconds to Mars concert, which was the main purpose of the trip to Rogers, Arkansas.

Suffice to say, this ‘friend’ has burnt their bridges with me.

Judge Rules White House Must Reinstate CNN’s Jim Acosta’s ‘Hard Pass’

Jim Acosta Returns To The White House After Hard Pass Revocation

After Trump and his administration revoked Jim Acosta’s ‘hard pass’, after a heated exchange between the President and CNN’s Acosta at a White House press conference last week, a Trump appointed federal Judge, Timothy J Kelly, has ruled that The White House must ‘temporarily’ reinstate Acosta’s press pass.

The case has not been decided overall, however, judge Kelly did say that he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case overall. From what I understand. it comes down to due process not being followed, with The White House arbitrarily revoking Acosta’s hard pass without due process, infringing his fifth amendment rights. Judge Kelly did expand on his comments, saying that The White House could revoke Acosta’s hard pass again, if it followed due process rules, which I believe to be very unlikely.

Judge Kelly criticized The White House’s actions, saying it was shrouded in mystery, as the Justice Department’s lawyer could not even tell the court who ordered the revocation of Acosta’s hard pass. Judge Kelly went onto say that he was not making a judgment on the claim that Acosta’s first amendment rights were infringed. WH press secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in a statement, “today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House.”, which is yet another lie.

Sarah Sanders, who claimed that Acosta’s hard pass was revoked because he inappropriately touched a White House intern, backed up by a video that had been doctored, by an Infowars staffer, to make the accidental contact between Acosta and the intern look more malicious, which you might call ‘fake news’, Judge Kelly, noted was “likely, untrue” and “partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy”.

As a reaction to the ruling, Sarah Sanders wrote “we will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House” in a statement from The White House. The question I immediately ask is, will these new rules, also apply to the president and his staff? Trump is not known for decorum or being orderly, Donald J Trump’s belittling of the press, especially non-white reporters, in the White House definitely lacks decorum and order.

CNN would like to avoid further litigation and work out a deal out of court, which is more than likely the ultimate outcome. I’m pretty sure The White House would prefer to not have a long drawn out court battle, that they are likely to lose on fifth amendment grounds, if not a violation of the first amendment.

I have to admit when I saw that a Trump appointed judge was going to be overseeing the case, I thought it would not go well for Acosta, so I applaud Judge Kelly for following the letter of the law,  and ruling in favor of the complainant, granting the temporary restraining order in regard to Acosta’s pass revocation.

I would personally love to see Acosta go after Sanders and the Trump administration for defamation, with their suggestion that the CNN reporter had inappropriately touched an intern, using a clearly doctored video, making Acosta out to be a Kung-Fu master with the alleged karate chop on the intern’s arm.

This is a victory for the much-maligned press, who Trump labels ‘fake news’ at every opportunity when they show the president in a bad light in their reporting. These reports are 100% justified and in no way, fake news, much of the right-wing media, who Trump likes, are actually guilty of pushing fake news.

Update [Nov, 20 2018, 11:35]: So the new White House press rules; basically, only one question allowed, if called upon, and a follow up question, only if the President / White House staff member allows it, failure to follow these rules could mean that reporter’s hard pass could be revoked. Basically, Trump can blatantly lie, and there is no recourse, i.e. follow-up, calling out the president on his lies.

CNN’s Jim Acosta has also permanently had his hard pass reinstated, meaning the legal case is over and done with as The White House has backed down from defending against CNN’s legal challenge.

Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix 2018

Mercedes Celebrate Their Fifth Constructors TItle

Mercedes AMG F1 claimed their fifth constructors championship at Interlagos after Ferrari failed to outscore the German team, just two weeks after Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth world title at the Mexican Grand Prix. While, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was denied a certain victory by Mercedes junior, and Force India driver, Esteban Ocon, tipping him into a spin, while attempting to unlap himself.

It started going wrong for Ferrari from the very start with Sebastian Vettel, not being able to initially engage first gear off the line on the installation lap, then lost out to Valtteri Bottas off the race start going into turn 1, dropping back to third place. Then, Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen briefly lost out to Max Verstappen through the Senna S, but regained fourth place going into turn 4, Descida do Lago.

The next few laps were the Red Bull show, Verstappen, overtook Raikkonen for fourth place around the outside of turn 1 on lap 3, then down the inside of Vettel, again, at turn 1 for third place on lap 4. Red Bull stablemate, Daniel Ricciardo was not to be outdone, making up five places to sixth in just five laps, negating his five-place grid penalty for replacing a seized turbocharger after his retirement in Mexico.

Verstappen, on lap 10, continued his rise up the field with a pass on Bottas down the inside of turn 1 to move into 2nd place. And when Hamilton pitted for tires on lap 20, Verstappen stayed out for 16 more laps, when he pitted for soft tires, whereas Hamilton was on the slower medium tire. And that tire advantage paid off, with Verstappen breezing past Hamilton on the main straight for the lead on lap 40.

On lap 44, which coincidentally is Hamilton’s car number, a Mercedes junior driver, Esteban Ocon, attempted to unlap himself through the Senna S and collided with Verstappen, resulting in both drivers spinning, while Hamilton slipped between them for the lead. Verstappen did get to within 1.5 seconds of Hamilton by the chequered flag but was being hampered by a damaged floor from the collision.

For the record, I’m not claiming conspiracy, more poking fun at the theorists that do.

Daniel Ricciardo in the sister Red Bull came close to claiming a podium finish, as close as 1/2 second near the end of the Grand Prix, but his Renault R.E.18 power unit couldn’t quite keep up with the Ferrari 062 EVO power unit in the back of Raikkonen’s Ferrari in the full throttle run from Juncao to the Senna S.

Post-race, Verstappen, physically attacked Ocon, pushing the Frenchman a number of times, in a heated exchange. I certainly don’t condone physical violence, but it’s certainly understandable, as I believe that Ocon was at fault, he was a backmarker, and not fighting for position. The FIA agreed, handing Ocon a 10-second stop/go penalty, the most severe in race penalty, and that should have been the end of it.

The FIA punished Verstappen with two days of public service, whatever that may be, for ‘shoving or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest’, which you have to believe is correct, drivers cannot get into a physical confrontation with another driver without penalty, Verstappen is lucky it’s not a criminal charge.

With Mercedes wrapping up the constructors championship in Brazil and the drivers title sealed two weeks ago, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in two weeks really holds very little interest apart from the shiny lights of Yas Marina, unless something spectacular, like Fernando Alonso winning his final F1 race (in this term) for McLaren, this will more than likely be my final write-up of the year in regard to Grand Prix.

Brazilian Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27:09.066
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.469
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +4.764
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +5.193
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +22.943
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +26.997
7. Charle Leclerc (Sauber) +44.199
8.  Romain Grosjean (HAAS) +51.230
9.  Kevin Magnussen (HAAS) +52.857
10.  Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP

White House Revokes Jim Acosta’s Credentials After Press Conference

Jim Acosta Challenges President Trump, White House, 11/07/2018

Last weekend, the wife and I watched The Post, where at the end of the movie, President Nixon is heard on the telephone banning The Washington Post from The White House. And today, history repeated itself, as we saw Jim Acosta of CNN having his press credentials revoked by the Secret Service for challenging President Trump on current issues, while allegedly touching a White House staffer inappropriately.

Jim Acosta challenged President Trump on his assertion that the caravan of immigrants coming to the US as an invasion, when in fact, the so-called caravan of immigrants are coming to the US border to apply for asylum, which is a legal process, under US law. All the while, the president continued to talk over and deride Acosta, while the CNN reporter tried to ask his questions, instead of showing Acosta the common courtesy of listening to the question before giving a considered answer to Acosta’s legitimate question.

Near the end of this interaction, a female White House intern, tried to snatch the microphone away from Acosta, making several attempts to go over and under Acosta’s arm, making contact on four occasions, to which, WH press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted “…We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…

The video of the incident clearly shows that Acosta is innocent, in fact, at one point, Acosta says “excuse me, ma’am”. RAWStory posted a slowed down video of the contact between Acosta and the Intern, clearly showing, it was the unnamed female intern that touched Acosta without permission, not vice-versa.

After Acosta relinquished the microphone, Trump got in a final dig at the CNN reporter, saying “You are a rude, terrible person, you shouldn’t be working for CNN”, continuing on, to say “When you report fake news like CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people”. Again reinforcing his bullshit talking points of fake news and the press is the enemy of the people, seriously, how can he be allowed to continue to use this rhetoric, we’ve already seen too many physical attacks on the press, including attempted bombings.

While this was happening, Jeff Sessions was fired as Attorney General, ‘temporarily’ being replaced with Trump loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who has been openly critical of Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election. That said, Trump has placed Whitaker in charge of the Mueller investigation, see the issue here… a clear constitutional violation and obstruction of justice.

According to Fox News’ legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, Trump is likely breaking the law, by appointing Whitaker, even as temporary Attorney General, prior to being confirmed by the US Senate. Which, without being a legal expert, I would guess that asst Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein would become acting AG, until a replacement is confirmed, which is a foregone conclusion with a clear GOP majority.

But, with Trump being sponsored by Teflon, nothing sticks, so when Mueller is inevitably fired by Whitaker, on behalf of Trump, Congress will take no action, with the Senate being even more stacked with Republicans after the midterm elections. Trump already admitted on camera, that he fired, then FBI director, James Comey because of the Russia investigation, with absolutely no repercussions.

Back to Acosta, while attempting to reenter White House grounds to do a press ‘hit’, a secret service agent asked for Acosta’s ‘hard-pass’, which gives the press access to The White House and grounds. This is a clear violation of the first amendment and the freedom of the press clause therein. And more importantly for Trump, sending a message to the press, bow your head or lose access to The White House.

We are heading for a constitutional crisis, with press members having their press credentials revoked and the highly likely firing of Robert Mueller and the closing down of the Russian collusion investigation. Donald J. Trump is trying to turn America into an authoritarian regime, like his buddy’s Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Rodrigo Duterte, who our commander and chief, #PresidentSnowflake holds in high regard.

The sad thing is that as long as Trump is doing what their corporate paymasters want, Congress, not just on the Republican side, but also the Democrat side, won’t do a damn thing about it, allowing the United States to go to shit, as long as they line their pockets and the pockets of their rich corporate paymasters.

Finally, what I hope the press will do is band together and boycott The White House and Donald Trump. This would deny President Trump the exposure he craves, to get his message out to his racist, misogynistic base. Stop giving him free airtime, even if it means a drop in ratings, there’s plenty of other news going on, we don’t need Trump’s likeness and voice on national TV every five minutes.

Update [Nov, 8 2018, 21:43]: Trump’s Administration likes to throw around the term ‘Fake News’, then, on the very same day, White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a doctored video of Jim Acosta ‘placing his hands on a young woman’, which was later retweeted by the White House twitter account, to justify the revocation of Acosta’s press credentials. In this story by the Associated Press, video producer Abba Shapiro shows how the video was doctored to make Acosta’s arm movements look more aggressive. The levels this administration will go to push their agenda is truly despicable.

What is more concerning is the number of likes and retweets of Sanders tweet, and the rabid defense from right-wingers. It just shows how many Americans have been brainwashed into believing Trump’s fake news narrative, like Hitler in the 1930’s/1940’s, Trump just parrots the same sound bites over and over, until people start to believe it, pushing the fear narrative, such as the invasion of the caravan of immigrants, to control the masses. It’s almost like subliminal messaging, the human brain gets accustomed to such consistent phrasing and it becomes the truth to them, regardless of actual facts.

Intrust Bank Arena: Misrepresenting Camera Policy Or Incompetent?

No Photography Permitted

Last week, the wife and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil CRYSTAL at Intrust Bank Arena, and the show itself was amazing, but the arena’s actions were not. I booked front row tickets based upon information about the camera policy, small point and shoot, no detachable lenses, no flash, which turned out to be false.

I booked tickets for the show for October 26, 2018, on May 24, 2018, however, before ordering online, I called Intrust Bank Arena to ask if the camera policy on the website was correct, which they verbally confirmed was correct. Furthermore, I was sent an Email with information about the show from the arena via Select-A-Seat on 10/24, which stated the same camera policy, as outlined in the first paragraph.

The camera policy was further confirmed during check in with security at the Arena, the security guy checked my camera to make sure it did not have a detachable lens and he reminded me that flash photography is not allowed. So, this is four separate sources that said my camera was OK to use, the arena website, an arena staff member via telephone, an Email from the arena and finally, arena security.

The wife and I were sat in our $310 front row seats, and I’m taking test shots, to optimize for the lighting conditions with my Sony RX100V, when a male usher came over and told me, along with a few other people that no photography was allowed, not no flash photography, but straight up NO PHOTOGRAPHY. Of course, that pissed me off, I had booked those specific tickets for an unobstructed view for photos.

This experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth. It’s not so much that I was not allowed to take photos, it was that it was not made clear that photography was prohibited. In fact, it was the complete opposite, everyone up to the point of me taking my seat and actually taking photos, said it would be absolutely fine for me to take photos using the Sony RX100V camera I took to Intrust Bank Arena.

I felt like standing up and causing a scene, but I stayed quiet, as I didn’t want to ruin my wife’s or other patrons night due to Intrust’s misinformation, but it tarnished my experience, as all I could think was “that would have been a good shot” throughout the performance. If I was using a flash, I would have no complaints, but I made sure that all external forward facing illumination was off and rear screen dimmed.

This has pissed me off so badly, that after Metallica in March 2019, which I had booked seven months ago, I’d rather travel to Kansas City or Oklahoma City to see shows than give any more of my money to Intrust Bank Arena. Adding subject to change to the camera policy does not apply when an Email two days before the show and event security confirm the camera policy as outlined in the first paragraph.

The only question is; was this willful misinformation about the camera policy by Intrust Bank Arena, or gross incompetence on the part of arena staff, or just an overzealous usher? Regardless of which option was the case, I feel cheated by Intrust Bank Arena, I bought these top price tickets and was not able to use them as I expected to be able to based upon the camera policy at the time of ticket purchase.

Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix 2018

Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix 2018, Lewis Hamilton, Five Time World Championship

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton scored the required points by finishing fourth at the Mexican Grand Prix to become 2018 World Drivers Title after failing to win the US Grand Prix one week previous, while Max Verstappen claimed his fifth career victory, and his second at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Polesitter, Daniel Ricciardo blew his start getting too much wheelspin allowing Hamilton to get between the Red Bulls going into turn 1, with Hamilton having to settle for second exiting turn 3, from Max Verstappen, leading the race. Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas got better drive out of turn 3 to take fourth place from Sebastian Vettel, only for Vettel to reclaim the place going into turn 6 when the pair banged wheels.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, was a victim of circumstance once again, his car being struck from parts of Esteban Ocon’s front wing after the Frenchman made contact with Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault entering turn 3. Alonso continued on until lap 5 where he pulled to the side of the road at turn 11 to retire.

By lap 10, Mercedes duo. Hamilton and Bottas were suffering from severe graining on their front tires, allowing Ricciardo to close up on Hamilton before Mercedes stacked their drivers on lap 12 in the pits for fresh tires. Red Bull reacted, pitting Ricciardo on lap 13 and Verstappen on lap 14 to cover the undercut from Hamilton, with Ricciardo coming back out behind Hamilton while Verstappen retained the race lead.

Ferrari, stayed out for a few more laps, until lap 18, which cost Kimi Raikkonen big time, being overtaken by Verstappen, Hamilton and Ricciardo. Ferrari, pitted both their cars on the next lap after Raikkonen was demoted three places, due to the ultra soft tires that were at the very end of their lifespan.

Vettel was flying on his new super-soft tires, passing both Ricciardo, on lap 34, and Hamilton on  lap 39, for second place. Hamilton was once again struggling with tire degradation, the Briton fell back into the clutches of Ricciardo, with the Australian eventually forcing Hamilton into a mistake at turn 1, to move into third place. Meanwhile, Raikkonen forced a similar mistake from Bottas, to move into fifth place.

On lap 48, Hamilton and Vettel pitted for a second time, which dropped Vettel back to third, behind Ricciardo, who had not made a second stop. Red Bull pitted Verstappen, in response to Ferrari pitting Vettel on lap 49, which, coupled with Ricciardo not stopping, meant Red Bull were running in P1 and P2.

Vettel was chasing Ricciardo hard to retake second place, and Ricciardo was robustly defending his position, when disaster struck on lap 61, with smoke coming from the rear of his car, grinding to a halt on the outside of turn 1, which is RIcciardo’s 8th retirement of the season, promoting Vettel back to second.

RIcciardo’s stricken car caused a virtual safety car period, which neutralized the race, confirming Hamilton as 2018 world drivers champion and Red Bull teammate Verstappen the Mexican Grand Prix winner.

As a Daniel Ricciardo fan, I am kinda angry he has suffered yet another Red Bull mechanical failure. Ricciardo himself, has labeled his car cursed, saying there’s no point racing in the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The Australian going as far as offering his RB14 to his replacement, Pierre Gasly early.

I certainly understand his comments, he has done almost everything right, only to be let down by a mechanical issue while running in podium positions. I’m sure the end of the season cannot come quick enough so he can leave his ‘cursed’ car behind, moving onto new pastures at Renault Sport F1 in 2019.

Congratulations to the newest five time drivers champion, Lewis Hamilton, joining legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Hamilton drove excellently since the mid season break, outclassing title rival Vettel. I was really hoping for a real battle for the title this season, but yet again, Ferrari and Vettel fell apart in the home stretch, giving Hamilton a relatively easy ride to the world drivers title.

Hopefully, now that the drivers title is sealed, Mercedes and Ferrari will let their respective drivers go head to head. I would love to see how Bottas stacks up against Hamilton without team orders interferring with the on track battle. Same goes for Ferrari, with Raikkonen departing from  Maranello at the end of the year, let’s see if he can really take the race to Vettel, or forever be a #2 driver to Alonso, then Vettel.

Mexican Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:38:28.851
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +17.316
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +49.914
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +78.738
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +1 LAP
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +2 LAPS
7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +2 LAPS
8.  Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) +2 LAPS
9. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) +2 LAPS
10. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +2 LAPS