How We Got Here

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

“Get Together”
The Youngbloods

Break records at Louis, ate breakfast at Gucci
My girl a superstar from a home movie

Kanye West

Trump could win.

The left-leaning mainstream press, except for Fox News, of course, is selling a different story, that Hillary is safely ahead, the Democratic turnout is deafening, Latinos are coming out in droves, and the Donald has little chance.

But Nate Silver says otherwise. He says that Hillary is up by three points nationally and that three point polling errors happen all the time. And that Trump has a one in three chance of electoral college victory. And Nate is the most accurate prognosticator we’ve got, but he’s been wrong too. He said Trump had no chance in the primaries, but Trump succeeded. Is Silver overcorrecting? Afraid to have egg on his face? Then again, Silver is dealing with data, not emotion, and if you lean toward sanity, this is positively scary.

As for that left-leaning mainstream press… That’s a construct of the right wing propaganda machine. Hillary is a criminal and the press is not to be trusted, it’s biased, in favor of anything the right wing does not believe in, in this case reason. But that’s the country we live in, where everybody’s working the refs, and the Republicans did a great job of it, read Paul Krugman on the Comey letter

And that proves we also live in a world of individuals. Not only can one person in Silicon Valley change the world, but one person in Washington, D.C., one person at home with a vote. And that’s always been true, despite groupthink, but that’s one of the few things that parallels what once was.

The mainstream media has never had less power. And it is run by elites. Have you seen what these TV personalities make? Furthermore, none of them do any reporting, they’re just talking heads, pundits, entertainers, no wonder the news divisions are profit centers, there’s little gravitas, and little audience.

So the country is run by the “New York Times,” with boots on the ground. But the “Times” is not gaining online, it’s individual websites, news sites, who are repurposing the “Times”‘s facts if there are any facts at all, speaking to a mistrustful audience that only hears what it wants to. What’s a poor boy to do? Certainly not play in a rock and roll band, there’s no money in that. Corporations control the cash, and for all the tech press, the odds of scoring big are just as long as having a hit record and if you’ve got a brain you hunker down and get an education, it’s the safe way out, and in this era you want to play it safe, otherwise why would record companies employ the same cadre of old men to write all the hit records, they don’t want to take a risk!

The youth may have succeeded in getting rid of Lyndon Johnson, but no one under thirty expected Richard Nixon to get elected and the seventies were all about licking one’s wounds, going back to the land. Hell, even Bernie Sanders moved to Vermont, albeit in ’68, it was just too rough in the decaying inner city run by the usual suspects.

But today the cities are safe, other than Chicago, and bastions of intellectualism, it’s the country where your life is in danger, from opioids, from guns, from lack of services. And this is where the disgruntlement has burgeoned.

Along with a south that was scary back then and is scary still now. If you had long hair you didn’t venture below the Mason-Dixon line. But instead of feeling inadequate, our brethren in the Sun Belt now feel powerful, they’re not licking the wounds of Reconstruction, North Carolina is bringing back the values of the Old South, and Texas is as red as it could be. They’re girded for battle, they won’t back down, the Allman Brothers might have gotten moderate Democrat Jimmy Carter elected President, but now there are no powerful moderate Democrats down south and all the players are in Nashville where if you evidence blue values, you’re evicted.

And then came the eighties. It was not the sixties anymore. First came MTV, which showed us you could make a lot of money by looking good and selling out. It also showed us we lived in a heterogeneous society of many colors. Which is why we’ve got a black President and gay marriage, credit MTV, it changed people’s values. But it also eliminated the rock star values of yore. Wherein speaking your truth and being independent counted. It was all money, all the time. Sure, Led Zeppelin made it about the money in the seventies, but that band played by its own rules, they were the Trumps of their day, albeit less heinous, although one can compare the mud shark episode to the groping scandals of Trump, then again, Jimmy and Robert, never mind Bonzo, were not running for President. They were selling something different, music, and it hasn’t been about the music for a very long time.

Along with MTV the eighties bought Reagan, who the Republicans have deified. For what accomplishments, I’m not sure. But this is important. Because the right wing skewed the game. It started the Federalist Society, to put right wing judges in place. It’s a giant disinformation campaign wherein government is not to be trusted, taxes are bad, and corporations are good. I’ll argue Reagan did much more damage than good, but my inbox will fill up.

But I can take it.

But no one else can.

Everybody today is recoiling, trying to avoid the tsunami of hate.

And then Bill Clinton gets elected and prosperity reigns. As the social safety net is eviscerated. But so much money is coming in, the deficit evaporates, that we’re all partying like it’s 1999, and then it is, we don’t care about the poor, the country is run by educated baby boomers who’ve been coddled and out of touch with the rank and file for years and then…

The twenty first century comes along and it all gets worse.

There’s a tech revolution, spearheaded by Steve Jobs. First we get iPods, then we get iPhones. And in the process, media is disrupted. Not only the music companies, but the news too. And the movies. Music is now in a good place on a business level, it’s made it to the other side, all the wares for one low legal price. Where is this in movies and television? Nonexistent, and that’s a problem. But the movie and TV executives believe they’re smarter than the idiots working in music, that they’re immune, and there’s the problem right there, elites who think they’re better than the rest, and immune. But they’re not, Brexit taught us that.

So now we can all communicate. And what we’ve ended up with is noise, a Tower of Babel society, where you only hear what you want to. Where Hillary fans know no Trump supporters. With all this information at our fingertips we actually know less, because we filter for our prejudices. We just reinforce what we already know, while those in power try to sell us what’s advantageous to them.

Like there’s no downside in selling out to the man. Music used to be predicated on independence, no longer. Therefore, the public doesn’t look for truth in it like it once did. Why would you believe what a musician has to say? Someone who wrote the song with nineteen other people and is trying to sell you jeans and perfume along with his or her opinion.

And if you don’t have money, your opinion is worthless. Reagan legitimized greed, the rich flaunt their lifestyles and in a world where Lloyd Blankfein makes all the money and rules, why listen to a singer? And Marc Andreessen is a seer… What did he ever do other than start Netscape, a company that’s been plowed under, no one’s using Netscape today, but they are still listening to Beatle records.

We’ve got false idols and life is hard and you’ll do and believe anything that makes you feel good.

Purdue says OxyContin is not addictive so it’s overprescribed and we end up with a heroin epidemic. And no one cared until the sons and daughters of rich Republicans started dying too.

And the younger generation, even college graduates, is still living with its parents, they can’t afford to move out. But we keep hearing about the greatness of Megyn Kelly. How does one become her and what exactly is she selling? So if you’re not beautiful you don’t count and if you’re on TV you matter, is it any wonder everybody’s at home burnishing their social media brand, trying to make it? YouTube and Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat are the great hope, they’re the way out of the doldrums, out of the suburbs into a world of money and fame. And you might question what skills these people bring to the table, but what skills does Kim Kardashian bring to the table, and she’s their hero, she’s the biggest winner! She makes more than the musicians and the path is easier, why would you bother to learn how to play?

And if you do play, you can’t get noticed unless you play pop music and are pushed by the machine. So most players are disgruntled. Everybody in America is disgruntled other than the rich. So we want to be them and they ride herd over us. Hell, people believe Trump is their friend the same way we thought David Crosby was our friend way back when. But Crosby was a hotheaded stoner in service to the music, he and his cronies made lasting contributions. But now it’s all smoke and mirrors and self-aggrandizing and…

There’s progress to be made. We could all agree on the facts. But that would require news outlets to focus on them, to stop employing false equivalencies and focus on reporting. And put aside the emphasis on the get and the horse race. But it might be bad television. That’s right, “Network” predicted this, it’s all about ratings.

And the cultural institutions would have to have some self-respect. Record companies would have to take a chance on that which is not an easy sell. And the self-righteous nerds in the arts focused on trumping up that which few care about will have to self-correct too. How is it that there are elites in every enterprise? Who think they’re better than the rest. The public is locked out, to the point it doesn’t care, and then it foists something like Trump upon the holier-than-thou elites to show them that they really don’t rule.

That’s right, the people rule. And the media and the pollsters and the prognosticators are all out of touch with the people. They think their power is inviolate, that what they say goes, that they know better, and if you don’t hate these people, you’re one of them.

And there are very few of them.

So, the right wing labels Hillary a crook. As if she broke into a bank, shot twenty people and stole millions. Actually, that’s not far from the version of the truth they’re selling. You’d think she’s a deplorable.

But the true deplorables are the white supremacist, immigrant-hating men and women who don’t believe in change.

But change is inevitable.

And change is what has happened in our country. And no one seems to have a grasp on it. Not the media, not artists, no one seems to be able to say this is where we are and I’ve got a plan out of here. Trump is a bozo selling snake oil and Hillary is completely out of touch. But so is the government. Government is now a way to get rich, no different from Hollywood way back when. Hate the game, not the player.

And everybody does hate the game.

But we keep playing it. So far, revolution has not come. Shooting black people is bad, but somehow it’s now the African-Americans’ fault, explain that to me, please. And if Trump loses his supporters want to overthrow the government, not realizing that Congress has nearly done this, by not promulgating legislation and not anointing a Supreme Court justice. We’re constantly on the precipice but we don’t tip over. Will it take a terrorist attack, or a hacking scandal of gigantic proportions? And then will we elect a strongman who makes us safe who really does anything but that?

If you’ve got a brain, you’ve got more questions than answers.

And if you’ve got a brain you’re doing your best to understand the dissatisfaction in our nation. Quote me statistics all day long, but it doesn’t feel like we’re going in the right direction, it doesn’t feel like I have opportunity, and hope is everything, but there’s only hope for the rich elite.

Which is how Trump gained traction. Want to turn things around? Look at yourself, change your behavior, don’t only vote but ask yourself if you respect others, look for their gifts. The rich have all the money, but the poor will help you in a crisis, that’s what the statistics say.

And we trust statistics, but sometimes falsely. Because they’re cherry-picked, they don’t tell the truth. We won’t know which candidate will win until everybody votes and their choices have been tabulated.

There’s a serious chance Trump wins.

And even if he doesn’t, and let’s pray he doesn’t, our long national nightmare will not have ended, it will have only just begun. The government will be gridlocked and the problems of the people will still exist.

And the problem is we all live in a society, we’re all in it together, and no one wants to live by that credo, everybody’s pointing fingers at everyone else and looking for a way out. They want to separate themselves, but it can’t be done. It is a big tent, it is a Great Society. And you can’t win every time, you’ve got to do your best to understand contrary viewpoints, educate people on the facts and include them in progress.

But recently, that’s become impossible to do. We planted seeds decades ago that are now sprouting and surprising us.

Come on, do you expect the poor to do the right thing when public education has been underfunded and people can’t analyze the truth, never mind know where to find it?

No, we’re all complicit.

And we’ve got to turn this country around.

We need new leaders and we’ve got to watch the parking meters, but the parking meters were all sold to hedge funds that now charge us on Sundays and public service is seen as a joke, an engineer is revered but someone who has dedicated themselves to the process, to helping others, is not.

This is where we are.

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Then again, those words were written by a Canadian.

But we’re constantly told the United States is the greatest country in the world!

But in many ways it’s not.

And if we can’t look for the truth in our country, how are we gonna look for the truth in ourselves?

We’ve got a long way to go, and whatever happens on Tuesday it is not the end, but only the beginning.

Nate Silver – “Election Update: Don’t Ignore The Polls – Clinton Leads, But It’s A Close Race”

Paul Krugman – “Working the Refs”

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