Wednesday, September 30, 2020

4646 A Satantic Invasion


A deranged garden gnome burst through the living room wall last night.  It was drenched in brimstone and stank of sulfur. It was having a seizure of epic magnitude, its face twisting in pain or in hate and demanding that the sound of its agony be all that anyone heard.


So much for the presidential candidates’ debate. So much for the rule of law, so often has bleated about.  If it can’t follow the simple rules of discussion, how can it be expected to follow the rule of law as the head of a formerly great nation?


The debate was supposed to feature two grown men and a moderator.  Instead, it featured the apoplectic gnome, a befuddled but well-meaning opponent and a moderator whose glands of reproduction and whose spine melted before our eyes on live television and whose arm froze in midair en route to the switch that would have turned off the gnome’s microphone.


Where was the bouncer when this cheap little one man death squad burst in?  Where were the white coated men with huge butterfly nets when this crazed diabolos appeared?  Where were the animal control officers when this rabid racoon gnawed and ripped its way into our homes; our lives? 


His words were a festival of lies, lies about the economy, the coronavirus, equal rights, environmental wrongs?


Former vice president Biden could have been declared the debate winner by never opening his mouth.  But that’s not what happened.  What he tried to do was get a word in edgewise. Sometimes he could.  When he did, he was exposing the lies of the gnome.  Oh, and occasionally offering a plan to offset the years of damage the gnome has wreaked.  And he spoke right into the camera, right at you, eye-to-eye.


Then, there was the melted gonad and rubber-spined moderator, living proof that the apple CAN fall far from the tree. Chris Wallace, what would Mike Wallace do if caught in a s*it storm like this?  He may have just sat back and let the gnome destroy itself.  But more likely, he would have directed the control room to cut the video, cut the audio and put up bars and tone.

Or maybe he’d just show a clip of the movie “Animal House.” 

 In any event, last night’s debate taught important lessons. When your candidate can’t follow simple rules his handlers agreed to, when he interrupts everyone like a spoiled child, when he’s a convicted liar and tax cheat, when he kneels before or embraces other dictators, you have to vote him out. You have to.  Now, go and do what you have to do.



We’ll deal with the president’s taxes on Friday, 10/2/2020.

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Monday, September 28, 2020

4645 The Laugh Track

 Old time radio sound effects men. Need hoofbeats?  A creaking door? A gunshot? A thunderstorm or howling wind? This is what went on behind the scenes.


This is an experimental interactive Wessay™.  It’s to help you watch pre-election television, become your own executive producer and cable news talking head.


Context: In the early days of TV comedy, they used “laugh tracks” to aurally decorate where they wanted you to laugh.  The theory says if you hear laughter, you’ll laugh along.  It worked pretty well for a long time.


We need to revive the practice.  Not for TV comedy, but for TV politics.


Now, the interactive part.  Here is the results page from a Google search for Audience Reaction Sound Effects and if it doesn’t show properly, you can do your own by using the same search term.


What you will find is laughter, applause, cheers, jeers, boos, shock, awe, love, hate, and every other reaction. You will find catfights, howling dogs and wolves, trumpeting elephants, rimshots, explosions, tornadoes at play and the hoofbeats of a cattle riot.


From this collection, you can make your own playlist, put it on your iPhone, turn on Fox News and fill your room with laughter.  It may lighten your mood but it won’t do much good…


Unless.  Unless you spread the idea, with or without the medium-tech tools now at your disposal.  


Make trump into the joke he is.


Weaponize laughter.


When the “president” speaks about his fake accomplishments, don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Get laughing.  It’s not going to change him. But maybe it will change those he depends on for his dictatorship of the reality show. And you can spread the practice to members of your own social circle.


Each one teach one?  That often works. This is a variation of that. And there’s a nice little irony in this fire.  The concept of weaponized laughter first came to the attention of many when it was written about extensively by the Grandma of Modern Fake Conservativism, Ayn Rand.  Not that she was a big fan of people like Nixon and Reagan. To paraphrase: “laugh them out of the house.”


Think of trump and Pence as Abbott and Costello or Toody and Muldoon or Cheech and Chong, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler or Key and Peele. For more spice, make it a threesome by adding Bill Barr and thinking of them as Larry, Moe and Curley.


Notes From All Over:

(NEW YORK) -- the NY Times has started a series of articles about trump’s taxes, something we’ll eventually deal with here in detail. Summary in a sentence:  If you did what he did when and how he did it, you would already be eligible for parole.


(WASHINGTON) -- The race is on and Amy Coney Barrett will win because she’s running the track alone. We can’t wait for the swearing in as associate justice of the Supreme Court, and her first opinion written in tongues.


TODAY’S QUOTE: “Truth will always matter.” -- Shep Smith, who begins his new TV job at CNBC tonight almost a year after becoming persona non grata and Fox News.

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Friday, September 25, 2020

4644 Commitment


The “president” isn’t committed.  There are, of course, people who believe he should be. But that’s not what this is about.  Just when you think trump can’t cross another line, he does.  This time is he’s “not committed” to a peaceful transition of power at the end of his term.


This is one of his magical talking blurts that even he realizes is idiotic and sorta-kinda backpeddles by saying “throw away the ballots. They won’t mean anything…” Um… in the twisted world of trump, that’s an explanation.  Then he offers an explanation of the explanation by saying he meant that there won’t need to be a transition of any kind, that his first term will be followed not by Joe Biden’s inauguration but by a “continuation.”


Oh, okay. That explains… um… something.


Don’t be taken in.  The guy could be toast.  Oh, he’ll cry foul. He’ll cry “fixed.” Don’t laugh. Assume he really thinks that. President for life?


Believe that he’ll fight to remain in office. Do not overestimate the power of belief.  Don’t respond to trump by saying “oh, he can’t really do that,” whichever “that” he does next.  Shrugging him off is capitulating. Enough of that, and trump could be right when he says he’ll win.


TODAY’S QUOTE: “trump may be behaving like a strongman, but he is weaker than he’d like us all to believe. Autocrats who actually have the power to fix elections don’t announce their plans to do it; they just pretend to have gotten 99 percent of the vote.” -- Columnist Michelle Goldberg in the NY Times, 9/24/2020



-They’ve already removed sharp corners and doors from the Oval Office, and now should ensure the “president’s” safety by installing oval padding.


-Maybe it’s a movie prop, but there are rumors that a van marked “St. Elizabeth’s Hospital” and carrying white-coated workers with enormous butterfly nets has been parked near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.




(HOLLYWOOD) -- They’re making or have made a miniseries about former FBI chief James Comey and they needed a tall actor to play the part so they chose Jeff Daniels who is 6’3”.  The actual Comey -- the real-life one, is 6’8”.  Can’t wait to see Daniels in five inch heels.


(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Fauci finally got fed up with Rand Paul and lost his temper at a hearing and told Kentucky’s Other Would be Dictator “you’re not listening” to the truth about how New York State realized in was screwing up and changed its ways, and now is the least likely state in which one can expect to contract COVID 19.  Fauci’s was not an epic blowup, but you could see the red rising in his face when he spoke.


(SEATTLE) -- A protester is lying on the ground at a demonstration. A cop is walking his bicycle toward the demonstrator… then rolls the bike over his head and neck.  The officer has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.  Any guesses about how this investigation will end?

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

4643 A Merry Band of Terrorists


Not only does the Robopublican Party bring new meaning to the phrase “artificial intelligence,” but it should be ruled a terrorist organization.  It plunders the poor to serve the rich. It destroys roads and bridges with neglect. It strikes fear in the hearts of any rational being and it does it with the grace and precision of a volcano and the stink of a tire fire.


It poisons the air, the water and the people.  And then it feeds us more poison, branded as a cure.  The only difference between this mob and Iran’s Baath Party: Saddam Hussein kept most of his domestic terrorism at home.  The Republicans spread ours worldwide.


We have agencies that are supposed to protect us.  In the trump era, we have regulators drafted into service from the industries they're tasked with regulating.  We have a secretary of Education who opposes public schools and favors blood-sucking private colleges.


We have a secretary of Housing whose biggest accomplishments are being black and conservative and whose second greatest asset is his taste in redecorating his offices.


OSHA?  That's the outfit with 100,000,000 businesses and nonprofits to cover with 100 inspectors and a budget the size of your Ball Jar for loose change.


The CDC, the FDA, the SEC?  Every day’s a holiday for the top guys whose credentials and qualifications are diminutive and their underlings work under the awful distortion that their real abilities count.


And this food fight about a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg? It’s really not about the Supreme Court, exactly.  Yes, trump would like to put yet another thug on the bench.  A lifetime appointment will make the court his own even if he loses the election (again.)  


This is about getting rid of Obamacare.  This is to take affordable health care away from those poor people who aren’t smart enough or hard working enough or blessed enough or lucky enough to buy their own.  It’s to further reduce the population beset with preexisting conditions.  It’s probably even more effective population control than ignoring COVID 19 as long as they did.

 And, of course, a trump court will say to women “We want your body. Forget Roe v. Wade.”

 Oh, but the economy, they’ll tell us, is in great shape.  They’ll say “look at the stock market?” They can’t see the bubble. They can’t see that all of the upticks are from institutional trade and that the Gallup Poll says 55 percent of us own stock.  The 148 million others -- the rest of us -- are still too busy trying to make ends meet to play at the stock exchange casinos.  Those realize that exchanges are casinos without the rules that keep criminals out of the real gaming industry.


--It’s time to re-read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” because members of the pigs’ leadership are back in the barn learning to walk on their hind legs.

 --RIP Betty Bushman of Kansas City, 89, the first woman to call radio play-by-play for a major league baseball team, the Kansas City Athletics in 1964.

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Monday, September 21, 2020

4642 Mitch, Match, You Sonofabatch




The body wasn’t even cold when McConnell start to make good his promise.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last Friday.  And the so-called senate leader, McConnell pledged to hold a vote on her replacement before the end of his iron grip on the Robotican Party. 


Do you need a reminder about similar circumstances that arose in the waning months of the Obama administration? When McConnell wouldn’t allow so much as a hearing on possible confirmation of Merrick Garland.


Do you remember him saying that close to an election day the American people should have the right to pick their next Supreme Court Justice?  Do you remember old reliable Lindsey Graham saying pretty much the same thing? That was in February, nine months before the election. This is only a few weeks ahead.


Fortunately, Mitch, there are some longer memories than yours, even within the Robotican Party.  And some of them will have the stones to try and block the vote you promised to hold before election day.


Of course, there’s a wide-open window between election day and inauguration day.  And that’s another chance for you to work your magical thinking.  But maybe not your magical doing.  


What else is magical? The actions of your fellow Roboticans if they win re-election and still won’t vote your way.


Meantime, the “president” has put forth a prefab roster of possible appointees.  We note with interest that Senator Cruz wasn’t on the short list.  The conman-in-chief wasn’t even wise enough to add his name near the top of the if only for the sake of the reality TV show he’s running.  


There’s likely to be a nominee this week. The “president” says it’s going to be a woman.  He has -- like Romney had back in the day -- a “portfolio of women.”


It’s a small portfolio.  They range from embraces of arch conservatism in the trump way to Qanoons who think George Washington was a Communist.


Our guess is his choice will be the one whose … um … private parts trump would most like to grab.


Someone try to find out whether Simon Cowell or Jeff Zucker will work as consultants.  They know how to build suspense on reality television.


As for your own future, Senator Sonofabatch, the polls say there’s an outside chance you can’t buy your way into another term. Poll results are always flighty, so no one is writing you off.  But as you’ve come to learn, sometimes totally unexpected things happen in the voting booth.  Send the Mrs. out to supervise the kidnapping of mail boxes.

QUOTES OF THE DAY: “The American people should have a choice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president…” -- Mitch McConnell 2-13-16


“President trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” -- Mitch McConnell 9/18/2020

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020

Friday, September 18, 2020

4641 The Bully


You love him. You cheer him on as he steals America’s lunch each day.  You laugh with him as he corners his enemies with hurtful and hateful words, actions and failures to act.  You laugh with him at the “losers” like fallen soldiers, the sick, the poor, the brown and the lame.  And you will continue until the day he comes for you. And mark these words, he WILL come for you.  Even if you’re white, angry, were born in the lower 48 and speak english exclusively.  


The bully is insatiable and peripatetic. He may be obese, slovenly and brutish, but he has the energy of a dozen and the surgical precision of a coal mine collapse or an avalanche. He feeds his insecurities by playing into ours.  He feeds his power lust by diminishing everything in his path.  And he switches paths as fast and as often as some of us roll past stop signs.


His appetites are prodigious. He is a glutton and people are just the appetizer.  Four years ago, you had and blew the opportunity to just say no.  That didn’t work too well for Nancy Reagan’s drug abuse solution either.  But in the 2016 election, all you had to do is vote.  Especially if you live in one of the Super States with overwhelming numbers of electors.


If you accuse me of blaming the victim, you’re right -- to an extent. There were more than enough votes to put the less but still nauseous and nauseating Hillary Clinton into office.  As a nation, we did that.  


As a nation we seem poised to go for Biden. But the only way our votes to the right to retain our own lunch bags can count is if we’re joined by enough people in those Super States.  Do you live in one?  Do you have friends or relatives or colleagues in one -- or more?  Pick up the telephone and share your thoughts.  Write a letter (if the post office is still delivering mail by the time you get to it.) Write an email. Send a fax.  Something.


The Bully has bullied us into the world’s laughing stock.  He has cornered us and we stand and tremble. He has bullied the once-adequate Republican Party into submission and put campaign interns, contributors, and all manner of thieves, incompetents and sycophants into positions to control our lives.


Progressives and Libertarians understand this.  Educated people understand this. But not all of them.  Not enough of them.


It’s up to us to face down The Bully.  What do you have in that brown bag, donald?  Probably a Big Mac.  Or maybe Melania made you a symbolic sandwich: Bologna and store-brand American Cheese on White.


For the rest of us, as Marx and Engles said, you have nothing to lose but your chains.


Today’s Quote: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” United States Constituion, Article 3, Section 3.



(Fake) Advertisement 

Major world power seeks witnesses willing to testify in a treason case.  Must be able to travel to the country’s Capital at their own expense.  Compensation and benefits based on candidate’s credibility.  High school diploma or GED or higher preferred. Must be at least 18 years of age.  BOX 276 Milton, DE 19968. Equal Opportunity employer. Minorities and women encouraged to apply.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

4640 The Weather and the Campaign

  Catch what you can before it hits the water.


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as Mr. Rogers would say.  Here in the east, there’s a touch of autumn in the air.  Leaves are thinking about turning color, mornings are brisk. Afternoons can be chilly.  


A few hundred miles to the south, a hurricane is preparing to come ashore, propelled by hundred mile an hour winds and the expected downpours and surges that follow. In the west, fires burn relentlessly and there’s no place to hide.


Nature adjusts our environments.  That’s why they call it nature.  It may seem more intense this year, or maybe we’re just all slightly paralyzed by the events coming from so many places at once.


In Mississippi, water will seep under the best of doors.  In California, Oregon and Washington, smoke will seep under the best of doors.

And everywhere there’s the virus.  And the election.  And, as usual, there’s the rule of money.  It’s easy to blame trump for all our troubles.  But trump has a lot of help, some of it involuntary.


It’s September and Latecoming Serious People are starting to contemplate the election now a month and a half away and visible on the horizon.  And strange as it seems to the Full Time Serious People, many people have failed to make up their minds.


There are two things that will happen: 1. The irrational and the cult followers will dig in their heels.  2. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be flushed away in puffs of smoke or torrents of water, a sink drain or toilet because the politicians who lead us believe that the more money they waste, the more they will convince us to vote their way.


Really?  Does all that advertising for and against candidates and issues make a difference?  The conventional wisdom says “yes,” and has data to prove it.  If that really IS true, what does it say about us?


The unconventional wisdom says “no.”  All that money could go for such luxuries as helping the un- and under-employed, feeding hungry children, developing new vaccines for the anti vaccers to decry, no matter the lives saved.


Who benefits from this spending crime?  TV stations and networks, billboard landlords, occasionally a walking dead newspaper or ten and maybe contributors who think they’re buying presidential access they can use to increase their already bloated fortunes.


What does all that advertising say about the way the spenders see the voters?  It says we’re all a bunch of mindless cretins who will believe the last thing we’re told.


There’s reason to believe that’s truer than it should be.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


Monday, September 14, 2020

4639 The Burning Fire Truck


Burning fire truck?  It’s not in the west, it’s in a state known for cool temperatures.


The fire truck is on fire.  It’s totaled. Not even good for scrap now.  


You’d think this would be in the middle of all that’s burning on the West Coast but it isn’t. It’s in a state known for cool temperatures and usually, cool heads.  But it’s a symbol of our times.


It brings together a few big ideas: Climate change which wasn’t the cause here, but it’s a big contributor to fires in the west, in Brazil’s Amazon, in Greece. And it is a picture of the vehicle that is supposed to save lives, not self-consume.


The truck is symbolic.  The real truck is in Washington DC and in your state capital and maybe in your city hall.  It doesn’t have wheels, it has feet.  It doesn’t have an engine; it does have brains. They don’t work.  Sometimes, they don’t work by design.


The people whose job it is to protect us are not protecting us.  The people whose job it is to plan for our survival?  They pulled the plug. 


The “president,” tells Bob Woodward, didn’t want us to panic so he minimized all he knew about COVID19. Because of this, we panicked. He wanted to wish it away.  The mermaid, the genie and all the other dispensers of wish fulfillment were nowhere to be found. The genie stayed in the bottle. The mermaid couldn’t swim to shore. She was blinded by an oil spill and had insufficient tail power to swim through all the plastic waste.


Also on fire: the Constitution.  While your congressman was attending a 2nd Amendment rally, your senators were deadlocked over some obscure point of law and sitting on their hands.  Your Supreme Court justices were waiting for the best among them to die. The fire truck turned to ashes.


We need new equipment.  American LaFrance (1873-2014) is gone. Someone please put “fire truck” into a search block and click on “shopping.”


You know who to vote against.




(SUMMERVILLE SC) -- Do you want to know what happened to the American LaFrance factory? First, the original owners sold out to a private equity fund. The fund then sold the plant to Daimler. Daimler eventually used it to produce the Dodge Sprinter, a passenger and cargo van. They stopped production in 2009.


TODAY’S QUOTE: “Please put the shower curtain inside the tub.” -- attributed to Conrad Hilton when asked what he’d like to tell all the guests at his hotels.

 I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions?

© WJR 2020


4744 The Running of the Bull

  Newsday Photo   A bull escaped from a farm in Moriches on New York’s Long Island and has been playing hide and seek ever since.  It’s not ...