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I’m feeling schadenfreude over the firing of Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly. For the past few years I had been growing tired of going to the local Target store and seeing new books with his byline being released every few months that have titles like Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, Killing the Rising Sun, Killing Patton, and a whole bunch of other historical books with the name Killing in the title.

One of the reasons why I’m enjoying his downfall is that this piece of shit once threatened one of my friends with assault.

The friend in question works for an organization that’s concerned with issues regarding the separation of church and state. From time to time he has appeared on various cable news talk shows where he has discussed these issues. Bill O’Reilly’s show is among the shows that he has made more than one appearance. My friend has plenty of stories about Bill O’Reilly, including what went down the last time he appeared on that show.

Since my friend lives and works in the Washington, DC area, whenever he was invited to appear on any Fox News show as a guest, he usually went to the studio of the local Fox affiliate in downtown DC where he made his appearance via satellite. That notorious night he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show was no different. He appeared via satellite and debated Bill O’Reilly about a certain hot issue at the time. When his segment ended and the show went to commercial break, Bill O’Reilly was still able to communicate with him via satellite, even though their exchange wasn’t being aired live at the moment. Bill O’Reilly told my friend if he ever sees him in person he was going to beat him up.

Since that incident wasn’t filmed, there is no evidence that Bill O’Reilly has threatened my friend with violence. But I have no problem with believing my friend’s account because Bill O’Reilly has a history of less-than-respectable behavior. His daughter has alleged that she saw her father choke her mother and drag her down a flight of stairs by her neck. Of course that marriage ended in divorce but that didn’t stop Bill O’Reilly from suing his ex-wife for $10 million last year on the grounds that she had fraudulently misled him into signing a separation agreement while having an extramarital affair.

And then there is this classic video that comes from his pre-Fox News days when Bill O’Reilly was an on-air presenter for the TV show Inside Edition.

It took a bunch of women accusing Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment to finally get Fox News to cancel his show once and for all.

I’m happy that he’s off the air. If he has any common sense, he should keep a low profile. (Of course that’s assuming Bill O’Reilly ever had any common sense to begin with.) Maybe he can take advantage of his free time by writing a new book: Killing My Fox News Career.

UPDATE (April 21, 2017): If you think Bill O’Reilly’s assault threat against my friend after appearing on his show was an aberration, think again. This link has a couple of paragraphs about how Bill O’Reilly issued a similar assault threat against one of his guests, the son of a 9/11 victim named Jeremy Glick. Why? Because Glick had opposed the Bush Administration’s invasion of Afghanistan. That’s right, Bill O’Reilly had simply disagreed with Glick’s opinion on a certain topic. On top of it, O’Reilly spent months demonizing Glick as a “traitor” on his program. (In contrast, my friend got off relatively easy with just a single assault threat.)

Which proves my point that American discourse will be better off in the long run if Bill O’Reilly simply takes that $25 million severance pay that Fox News gave him and retire in obscurity. I don’t ever want to hear about him again until his death.

I did my first podcast last Friday after I learned how to do it through an online course in Social Media Marketing. I did it on Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli a.k.a. the Cash Me Outside How Bow Dah Girl. At the time I did my podcast I knew that Danielle and her mother had taped a follow-up episode of The Dr. Phil Show but all the articles I read said that the show didn’t indicate when it would air that episode.

It turned out that the show was aired last Friday, the same day I had completed my first podcast. On that same day The Palm Beach Post had published an exclusive interview with Danielle’s biological father who not only denied that he had abandoned his daughter but he also denounced all the attention that had been heaped on his daughter.

So I decided to do a second podcast devoted to this girl. I briefly mentioned the father’s interview then I decided to try doing one of those reaction podcasts where I react to what I saw on various video clips from that episode.

While I still plan on making more podcasts in the future, this will be the last one I’ll devote to this girl because I feel that everyone needs to leave her alone. I see her not as a celebrity but as a deeply troubled girl who needs professional help before she becomes a teen mom, a jailbird, or dead and I fear that she’ll become worse the more people gawk at her like she’s some kind of a circus sideshow freak.

So here is my latest podcast: Leave the Cash Me Outside How Bow Dah Girl Alone Part 2

I’m writing this blog post instead of watching the Super Bowl this year. None of my friends and acquaintances were throwing any Super Bowl parties and I’ve ditched cable a few years ago because I grew tired of Comcast increasing my bill from $79 per month to a whopping $200 per month. (I wasn’t watching any pay-per-view shows at all. Comcast likes to lure you with a low “introductory price” bill for the first year or two then start to jack up the rates really high.) I haven’t gotten around to buying rabbit ears so I can watch network television. These days I use my TV set to watch videos and play console games. So I’m spending Super Bowl Sunday doing something else.

Yesterday I had a whole bunch of stories crop up in my Facebook newsfeed about this 13-year-old girl named Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli who became an Internet sensation after she appeared on The Dr. Phil Show and uttered this phrase: “Cash me outside, how bow dah!”

Danielle had appeared on an episode titled “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.” Having seen video excerpts from that episode posted on that last link, it’s obvious that this girl needs help. I’ve long cringed at Dr. Phil putting minors on his show when these troubled teens would be better off seeing a therapist where they could work out their issues in a private office. That’s because I’m not sure putting these kids on television really help them in the long run and there’s always the chance that their classmates will see that troubled teen on TV and they’ll use that show to taunt and bully the kid at school.

Danielle can be hard to understand because she has chosen to speak what she calls “street talk” where this white middle class girl from the suburbs tries to talk like she’s from the inner city hood but she fails miserably because I doubt she has actually had any kind of exposure to real inner city residents. Shoot, I’ve heard real inner city residents in both Baltimore and DC talk more clearly and eloquently than her! Danielle acts tough but I would be willing to bet that she wouldn’t last even fifteen minutes in a really tough hood like this one before she either gets shot, beaten up, or she has a total meltdown because the real hood didn’t conform to her fantasy idea of what a hood is like.

Danielle isn’t the first troubled teen who has ever appeared on The Dr. Phil Show but, for some reason, her phrase “Cash me outside, how bow dah” resonated with someone enough that this person made a meme with her face and her quote. That led to other people making other memes featuring the girl and her quote and, before you know it, she has become the latest Internet sensation. She is known as The Bhad Bhabie on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and she has opened her own store on Shopify where she’s trying to cash in on her unexpected Internet notoriety. What’s more, she’s scheduled to make a return appearance on The Dr. Phil Show this week.

Frankly I just don’t get the Internet exalting Danielle like this. She’s not some prodigy where she’s a whiz at music or dancing or art or chess or some other field. She’s just a 13-year-old girl with an average intellect who has serious issues and someone needs to put her in some kind of a therapy situation before she ends up either becoming a teen mom, a jailbird, or dead. Based on what I’ve read, it seems like she’s thrilled with being an Internet celebrity but I hope some responsible adult is telling her not to expect this kind of fame to last forever because she will ultimately be replaced by the Next Big Thing on the Internet. So far she has been seen threatening paparazzi in Hollywood as if she is some kind of a major celebrity.

There is even a video game called Cash Me Outside that’s available for iOS and Droid.

The whole thing is just crazy. In fact, I did my own parody meme that I’ve just unleashed on various social media sites where I used an image of Grumpy Cat.

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It may sound tacky for me to post this on Inauguration Day, although it’s very fitting considering who is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Heck, I found out that the BBC plans on carrying this event live because this newspaper in Scotland has this hilarious description of the event in its TV listing.

I know I’m going out on a limb here by making this prediction. But I think it’s an educated prediction that I’m qualified to make because I graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in Journalism and a minor in Government and Politics and I try to keep up with the news as much as possible. I am well familiar with Donald Trump because I’m old enough to remember when he published his first book (The Art of the Deal) and he had the news media portray him as some kind of a business genius. I also remember the first of his multiple bankruptcies. I even watched the first few seasons of both The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. I still remember that one episode of his reality show where one of the challenges took place at the same Trump Taj Mahal (which The Donald hyped on that episode as being “state of the art”) that filed for bankruptcy just a few weeks after that episode aired. (So much for “state of the art.” LOL!)

Based on what I know about Trump and U.S. government in general, I not only believe that President Donald Trump will not last past his first term in office but there’s a chance that he may be out of office before his first term is up. Here are the reasons why I feel this way, based entirely on facts.

1. Donald Trump has never held any kind of public office before in his life. He has spent his entire career in the private sector where he never had to deal with things like checks and balances or negotiating compromises with lawmakers. To instantly become President of the United States with no public office background will involve a much steeper learning curve than usual for The Donald.

2. Donald Trump has only worked for his family-owned businesses. His first job out of college was with one of his family’s businesses and his father was the ultimate boss, unlike the vast majority of Americans who have to work for bosses who aren’t related to them. Being President of the United States means that he’ll have to learn to deal with Congress, lobbyists, and a whole bunch of other people who aren’t family members and that’ll take a huge adjustment on his part. He’s also going to have to adjust to not always getting his own way, unlike being the head of the Trump Organization, because of the whole checks and balances thing that’s built into the Constitution.

3. There are people who are openly questioning whether Donald Trump is even a legitimate president before he even takes the Oath of Office. Usually when a new person is elected president, everyone, including the opposition, have traditionally provided respect for the person until a few months after Inauguration Day. Considering the fact that Trump’s approval ratings have sank to a historic low before he has even begun occupying the Oval Office is very telling. Unless Trump can focus on doing what it takes to earn the respect of all Americans, and not just white heterosexual men, he will not last long on the job.

4. Donald Trump seems reluctant to live in the White House. He somehow didn’t realize that moving to Washington, DC and living in the White House is one of the requirements of being President of the United States. There’s no way he can govern from Trump Tower in New York City since everybody else that’s even remotely connected to the Federal Government is in Washington, DC. Heck, he can’t even live in his own Trump International Hotel in DC while he’s in office. Nope, he has to live in the White House and that can’t be negotiated.

5. He was the subject of a civil lawsuit over his failed Trump University until he settled it soon after he became president-elect. This settled lawsuit could give Congress a way to possibly look into criminal charges, thus paving the way for impeachment.

6. There are his recorded admission that he had forced women to kiss them while saying that he had to grab them by the pussy along with the numerous allegations of sexual abuse against Donald Trump ranging from sexual harassment to rape. One woman dropped her lawsuit over the allegation that Donald Trump raped her when she was 13. But it has been replaced by a defamation lawsuit that has just been filed by one of his accusers, a former Apprentice contestant named Summer Zervos. And that’s not to mention the incredibly disturbing things he has said about his own daughter, Ivanka, which The Daily Show has compiled into Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Own Daughter and Again, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Own Daughter (which is why so many eyebrows were raised in DC when reports surfaced that Ivanka will serve as First Lady instead of The Donald’s own wife, Melania). Trump’s past behavior could be a White House sex scandal waiting to happen, especially if he does anything to any of the female White House staffers and interns, which could possibly bring on impeachment.

7. There is the reported conflict of interest between the new President Trump and his continued running of the Trump Organization, which could be another way for Congress to consider impeaching him.

8. Donald Trump is also prone to having major Twitter meltdowns, which could easily bite him in the ass at some point in the future. There are already questions about whether those Twitter tweets he continues to issue around the clock are an indication of some kind of mental health condition that The Donald is suffering from, as explained in this video.

9. There is the speculation about Donald Trump’s very cozy relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Recently BuzzFeed posted this report claiming that the Russians have some embarrassing evidence about The Donald that they could potentially use against him. This could cause Americans to wonder if Donald Trump really has the interests of the United States in mind and would his relationship with Russia be construed as treason.

10. While the Congress will be dominated by Republicans for at least the next two years, there are plenty of Republicans who aren’t so enthusiastic over President Trump (especially those who supported Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries). More recently, Republican lawmakers have voiced disdain after Trump went on Twitter to announce that he has more faith in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange than in U.S. intelligence agencies. If Trump does things that further alienates his own party, I can imagine that they would be willing to throw him under the impeachment bus in the hopes of being replaced by President Mike Pence, who’s way more palatable to the right-wing than Trump is.

11. If President Trump really screws up his first two years in office, there’s a strong chance that progressive people can be elected to Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections—people who are more likely to oppose and obstruct President Trump every step of the way. This might give President Trump an incentive to either resign or decide not to seek a second term.

While there’s a part of me that hopes that President Trump will rise to the challenge of being in the Oval Office and actually do something for the large part of the population who are unemployed or underemployed, I am not going to hold my breath on this. I predict that one of four scenarios will happen to President Trump.

1. President Trump resigns halfway through his term in office.

2. President Trump gets impeached by Congress and removed from office halfway through his term.

3. President Trump gets assassinated. Which wouldn’t be a major stretch since he has gone out of his way to insult women, LGBTQ people, ex-POWs, disabled people, Muslims, and Latinos on the campaign trail. I could easily see some unhinged person deciding to take matters into his/her own hands and go after President Trump with a gun. I’m not the only one who wouldn’t be surprised if President Trump gets assassinated.

4. President Trump simply dies in office. At 70 years old, he is considered to be the oldest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. Being President of the United States is the highest stress job there is and it tends to rapidly age whoever occupies the Oval Office at a faster rate than usual. It’s possible that this new job will literally kill him.

5. President Trump either decides not to seek a second term or he is defeated for re-election in 2020.

The only downside to the first four scenarios is that Mike Pence would become president and he’s a guy who’s not only an extremist when it comes to women’s reproductive health but he’s also very anti-LGBTQ rights. He’s less of a buffoon than Donald Trump, which makes him really scary. The best thing we can all hope for is the fifth scenario where a new President and Vice President can be elected and the Executive Branch can begin 2021 with a totally clean slate.

I would really love to be proven wrong about my low opinions of President Trump and he turns out to be the best president since FDR. I would be ecstatic if that happens. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

In the wake of the recent presidential elections that resulted in Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States, there have been concerns about his antics, especially regarding his tweets on Twitter, where he has managed to piss off China and declared that the U.S. will be creating more nuclear missiles and possibly using them. There are concerns about how suitable he really is to occupy the Oval Office.

The Electoral College was scheduled to meet on December 19. Usually they tend to rubber stamp the results of the elections. This time a movement known as the Hamilton Electors sprang up and they were urging the Electoral College to reject Trump in favor of a more moderate Republican like Mitt Romney or John McCain. On December 19 these Hamilton Electors had called for rallies to be held in every state capital in the U.S. urging the Electoral College to reject Trump in favor of someone more moderate and with more experience than Trump. (Donald Trump is the first president-elect in history with no prior military or political experience.)

Since I live in Maryland the rally was being held in Annapolis. I had thought about going there to make a stand against Trump. But then I remembered that Hillary Clinton had swept Maryland in the elections so Maryland’s Electoral College delegates had already pledged to vote for her instead of Trump or another Republican. On top of it, it was a cold day and I was less enthusiastic about freezing to make a public stand against Trump when my state’s delegates had already committed to Clinton. So I decided to skip the rally altogether and do something fun instead.

My decision turned out to be a good one for two reasons: 1) the Electoral College decided to award the presidency to Trump anyway despite the Hamilton Electors movement and 2) I went to a place that I hadn’t been to in two years and it was nice to go there again.

I went to Valley View Farms in Cockeysville. It’s a long commute from the DC area but it’s so worth it because it has one of the most awesome Christmas shops anywhere in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Here are some photos I took to show how awesome it is.

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And if you like these photos, check out photos I took of the same place in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Birthday Cake

Today is yet another birthday for me. For this special day I’m going to upload .jpegs of some special letters I wrote earlier this year that basically explains a few things about myself.

Here is some background. This past spring the Religious Exploration program (which is what my Unitarian Universalist congregation calls its Sunday school program) decided to do an intergenerational activity which is supposed to foster more community between the young children in the program and other adult members beside the children’s parents.

So the Mystery Buddy program was started. Basically one adult and one child would be paired up. Neither would know about who the buddy was other than each person was given a mailbox number where the two buddies would deliver letters. (The mailboxes were really manilla folders that were hung on a bulletin board and they each had a number.) Basically each Sunday in April the person would drop off a letter for his/her buddy while picking up the letter that the buddy left for him/her. At the end of the month a special reception would be held after both Sunday service and the Religious Education classes (which run concurrently) where both paris of mystery buddies would meet each other in person for the first time.

I decided to take part of it because I figured that it would be fun. I was paired with a pre-school boy who is a big fan of My Little Pony. Since the kid was so young, I had to be careful about writing letters mainly because I wasn’t sure what his reading level was (or if he had even learned to read yet). I decided to create picture collages instead. Well, anyway, we managed to put our letters in the slots and I finally met him in person. (The boy was a bit on the shy side and he ended up not speaking much while sticking closely with his mother. I ended up talking with his parents instead, which was okay.)

So, as a special birthday feature, I’m going to upload what I originally gave to my Mystery Buddy. Each week of the Mystery Buddy program had a different theme so we didn’t have to come up with a subject idea for our letters, which was a great idea. The first week focused on music. I downloaded some graphics off the Internet and I did this collage in Photoshop where I mixed in some of the musicians I actually like (such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles) with Octavia from My Little Pony (as a nod to my Mystery Buddy’s interest in that show), the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku (I figured that he might be into cartoon characters), and the Internet sensation Keyboard Cat (I figured that he would get a kick out of that one). For added measure I had Rainbow Dash near the rainbow-producing prism that graced Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album.

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Week 2’s theme was favorite hobbies. I ended up doing a short one-page letter where I included a few samples of my drawings and photographs.

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Week 3’s theme was happiest childhood memory. I was a bit stumped on this one until I decided to write about The Enchanted Forest. Even though, at two pages, it’s the longest of my letters, it’s basically a short and simplified version of my Saving The Enchanted Forest movie that I screened at last year’s Artomatic in Hyattsville.

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The fourth and final week had favorite games as the theme. I decided to just list two board games (Monopoly and The Game of Life) and two video games (Pac-Man and Angry Birds).

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Okay so I didn’t write my entire autobiography in those letters but hopefully, through reading them, you have the chance to learn a little more about the person who writes this blog (me). 🙂

Ever since Donald Trump was proclaimed the president-elect nearly a month ago this guy has literally gone off the rails. I’ve previously lived through the election of a brand-new president which marks a change in White House administrations. Normally the new president-elect is busy with making appointments while spending time decompressing from all those months on the campaign trail by spending the winter holiday season with family and friends.

Not Donald Trump. This guy has been busy taking to Twitter to complain about every single minor thing that he shouldn’t even be concerned about. But that’s not all, folks! He has also been doing things that a president-elect usually wouldn’t do. There’s nothing like attending the opening ceremonies of the month-long Festival of Lights in Greenbelt, Maryland while having my cell phone go off with this push notification from my Guardian news app about how Donald Trump decided to reach out to Taiwan while pissing off the People’s Republic of China in the process. It’s one thing if he had done this after he gets formally sworn in next month but it’s something else for him to do this while Barack Obama is still President of the United States.

Trump is also busy feeling butt-hurt every time Saturday Night Live does another sketch poking fun at him. He takes to Twitter complaining about how the show skewers him. Here’s the latest sketch that aired last night, which features Alec Baldwin doing a dead-on impersonation of him while making fun of Trump’s penchant for spending a lot of time on Twitter.

Once again Trump gets butt-hurt over Saturday Night Live‘s parody of him so, naturally, he took to Twitter late last night to complain about it. Alec Baldwin’s response to Donald Trump is pretty awesome: He said that he’ll quit portraying Donald Trump only if Trump releases his tax returns (which he has long resisted, unlike every single other presidential candidate in history).

But that’s nothing compared to the multi-part response that an activist named Danielle Muscato unleashed on Twitter. This link has compiled her responses in chronological order but it’s still pretty epic and I personally applaud her for this.

Of course the Internet has exploded over Donald Trump’s latest rampage over his feelings being hurt like a teenage drama queen. This link shows not only the snarky story about this incident but also the snarky comments about The Donald’s ultra-sensitive feelings.

I don’t understand why Donald Trump is so damned surprised that Saturday Night Live is making fun of him. That show has long made fun of presidents. I’m old enough to remember the first season of that show back in the 1970’s, when Chevy Chase used to impersonate Gerald Ford’s clumsiness.

That tradition has continued into successive administrations. The other presidents have mostly ignored those parodies. Sometimes they gamely went along with the parodies by appearing on the show, such as this clip featuring ex-President George H.W. Bush.

But these presidents have ignored the parodies of them because they chose to turn their attention on more pressing matters, such as running the country. This is the first time I’ve ever seen any president or president-elect actually complain about Saturday Night Live‘s portrayal of him.

Donald Trump’s Twitter-based jihad against Saturday Night Live only proves one thing: He is totally unsuitable for the nation’s highest office. If he gets his sensitive feelings hurt over how some comedy show have chosen to satirize him, I’d hate to see how he’d react to any perceived slight against him by a foreign leader. Especially since he has access to the codes that launch nuclear weapons.

The Electoral College is meeting in two weeks to formally vote on the new president. Usually this meeting is little more than rubber-stamping the elections. This year there are calls for the Electoral College to reject Donald Trump for the White House. If this happens it would be completely unprecedented.

I would love it if the Electoral College would do this but I’m not going to hold my breath on this. I really think that the Constitution should be amended where a person should be required to undergo psychiatric tests if he or she shows any signs of mental instability either before or during his/her administration and if that person refuses to undergo these tests or the tests show that he/she is mentally ill, that person should be immediately removed from office. It’s outrageous and potentially dangerous that a person who has shown signs of suffering from an extreme form of narcissism is about to occupy the White House.

Donald Trump is little more than a big baby who should be living in a padded room in a mental institution instead of the White House.

2016 has turned into a totally sucky year with so many beloved celebrities dying like David Bowie and Prince. You can now add Florence Henderson to the list. Her death was just announced this morning on Black Friday. Here’s a video showing her in her best-known role as the matriarch of The Brady Bunch.

But there was more to Florence Henderson than her alter ego Carol Brady. She appeared on Dancing With the Stars and she proved herself as a pretty decent dancer. Here she is doing one of her dance routines with her partner Corky Ballas.

She has also done a number of ads on TV as well starting in the late 1950’s.

I have a friend who’s swearing that if I start doing video book reviews that I would get more attention, build myself and my reputation into a “brand,” and would ultimately lead to better job offers. So far I haven’t gotten much attention but I’m still new at this. I’ve done two video book reviews, a video opinion on why lowering the voting age to 16 is a good idea (which that same friend urged me to make), and a video where I noticed that a local shopping mall started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween and it was really weird hearing it when I was standing in front of a haunted house with a large cutout of Chucky the killer doll from the Child’s Play movies.

My friend had even suggested that I make a video opinion based on this story about how some researchers have discovered that dogs can sniff a variety of things including certain cancer cells in humans. Unfortunately I can’t think of anything to say in a video other than it sounds like fascinating research and that video would last maybe 10-15 seconds. It’s not really news that dogs have a keen sense of smell to anyone who has ever lived with dogs (including myself).

I managed to check a couple of books out of the local library recently and I’ve reviewed one of them, It’s Your Move by Josh Altman. (Altman is one of the stars on Bravo’s reality TV show Million Dollar Listing.) Even though I had never seen a single episode of Million Dollar Listing, I basically liked this book and the video explains why.

Four years ago this video featuring a crying child named Abby went viral. She started crying because she had heard yet another ad on the radio urging voters to choose one of the candidates who were running and she grew tired of hearing such ads all the time.

Ironically the 2012 elections were tame compared to the hell that’s currently going on with this year’s elections. Tomorrow the Elections From Hell will be over. In some ways it will be a relief but in others it will lead to a divided nation that will take a long time to heal, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s blatant maligning of everyone except for white Christian heterosexual men with no disabilities along with the DNC’s blatant siding with Hillary Clinton during the primaries at the expense of other candidates. (On a side note, I find myself wondering if the DNC was so enthralled with Hillary Clinton from the beginning, why did it even bother to run a state to state primary campaign in the first place? They could’ve just said “Hillary Clinton is our candidate—like it or lump it!” and saved taxpayer money on running the Democratic primaries.)

These days I only express my political opinions in this blog because social media has become such a toxic cesspool of political trolls trying to pick fights with people for the fun of it. Even then I try to keep those political opinions to the bare minimum because I didn’t create this blog for political opinions. (Besides there are so many political blogs out there—ranging from the alt right to far right to center right to center left to far left to socialists to communists to outright anarchy—that any political blog I write would probably get lost in the shuffle no matter how well written and well researched my posts are.)

These elections have had an effect on my life. Not only have I quit writing my political opinions on social media but, as I wrote before in this post, I have jointed the #DEMEXIT movement by re-registering as an independent because I’ve become so disgusted with the DNC shenanigans during the primaries. Thanks to reports that the Clinton campaign had hired professional trolls, I no longer trust anyone who writes pro-Hillary Clinton posts on social media because I automatically assume that they are getting paid to do so.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll support The Donald. He has become so odious and toxic that I would never vote for him even if his name was the only one on the ballot. Then again there are still those persistent rumors that he’s waging a fake campaign because he really wants to help his friend Hillary Clinton win as well as gain free publicity for this new venture called Trump TV that he plans to embark on after the elections. (Which shows that he is expecting to lose because, otherwise, why create a time consuming project that could potentially affect his ability to devote time to the duties of the Oval Office?)

These elections have turned into a freak show that’s more suited for an episode of The Jerry Springer Show than for something as serious as choosing a person who will become the leader of the United States of America for the next four years. When you have Donald Trump continuously spewing crazy stuff on a daily basis you know that things have gone wrong. But that’s not all, folks! Hillary Clinton enlisted Jennifer Lopez for her help at a rally and Lopez responded by doing a sexy gyration while wearing thongs. Clinton got on stage to speak after Lopez finished doing her thing. Madonna is also doing her thing to help Hillary Clinton by offering to perform oral sex on anyone who votes for Clinton.

What’s even more disgusting is that the media has not only played along with all of these shenanigans but it has even attempted to blatantly alter the elections as well. This headline says it all: This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism. This sketch from last weekend’s Saturday Night Live have further driven the fact of how journalism has become an incredibly big joke in the United States and it has become a detriment to coverage of this year’s elections.

All of these shenanigans are enough for an average American voter to feel tempted to just not bother with voting. I have a better solution than that.

Instead of focusing on voting for president, let’s turn our attention to towards the down ballot elections. This year there are plenty of people running for the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is one of those years where we need to focus on these other races mainly because the Congress serves as a check and balance on the White House. With Donald Trump’s outright disdain for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s pro-fracking policies (and that’s not to mention that her running mate, Tim Kaine, favors the TPP) we desperately need a Congress that will stand up to the president no matter who will occupy the Oval Office.

As to who to vote for president, that’s a tricky question. Both of the major party candidates have issues. My solution is to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party because I can’t stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump. I know it’s not an easy decision. If you’re leaning towards a third party candidate, you’ll be facing messages like this one from Keith Olbermann.

You’ll have people saying either “A vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump” or “A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton” on the grounds that voting third party siphons votes away from the two major parties. That’s true to some extent but I think this automatic equation of voting third party equals voting for Trump or Clinton is total bullshit.

In reality voting for a candidate means that you’re voting for that candidate. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hillary Clinton. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein. A vote for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for any of the lesser-known third party candidates (such as Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party) is a vote for that candidate.

It’s stupid thinking that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is really a vote for Donald Trump because 1) they don’t have the exact same policy positions and 2) if I was a strong Donald Trump supporter, I would personally prefer voting directly for Trump just so I would feel pride in voting for the candidate whom I’m the most excited about instead of this “let’s vote for a third party candidate and hope the elections will swing to Trump despite wasting our vote on not voting directly for him.”

I know that voting third party isn’t going to lead to Jill Stein going to the White House. What I’m hoping is that if enough people vote for the Green Party so it’ll receive at least 5% of the votes, it will qualify for federal funding for the next elections so maybe the Greens can use that funding to build a grassroots movement that will eventually grow to a genuine party with enough power that it can win elections on the state and local levels and, one day, it’ll field candidates to Congress and the White House. It’s past time for the American voters to have more voting alternatives than just Democrats and Republicans. Other Western democracies have more than two parties and many of them have smaller populations than the U.S.

I would advise people to vote for the candidate whom they feel is best suited for the White House. If that choice happens to be a third party candidate, then vote third party. The only exception I would make is if you live in the key battleground states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada) where the margins are very tight between Clinton and Trump, I would suggest holding your nose and voting for Clinton. That’s because a Trump presidency would be a major disaster for the U.S. and possibly the world. (Remember, this is the same man who has a history of multiple bankruptcies.)

In fact, there is a website called Trump Traders where people who live in solidly blue states (just like where I live) can trade votes with a person living in one of the aforementioned swing states. I’ve just signed up and I feel even better about voting for Jill Stein so the Greens can get the 5% needed and having my counterpart pull the lever for Hillary Clinton in order to keep Trump out of the White House.

As for me I live in a state (Maryland) that’s projected to go for Clinton so I have that luxury of choosing a third party candidate. If you live in a solid pro-Clinton or pro-Trump state then you have that luxury to do the same. Don’t let other people scare you into thinking that “a vote for a third part candidate is a vote for Clinton/Trump/the other side.”

I’m going to end what I hope to be my final political rant before the elections with this video of Kate Smith doing the definitive version of “God Bless America.”

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