The Supreme Court Decision

They’re gonna take away your guns!

They’re gonna turn your kids into homosexuals, even worse they might end up being trans!

These are the tropes the right runs on again and again. Tiny issues, usually social issues, that they blow up to obscure the real issues, which are often to the detriment of their constituents, to win elections. AND IT WORKS!

I was having dinner with John Glenn… You remember, he was a senator in addition to being an astronaut. And, he was from Ohio. Which used to be blue. And he’s telling me how the right weaponized social issues to win. But he was already out of office, approaching ninety… Everybody knows the truth, but no one wants to say it on the left.

IT’S ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT!

If you’re educated, you’ve been repeating this mantra this entire century. Has there been any traction? OF COURSE NOT! Because the Democratic party and its minions have consultants lost in the last century telling them you can’t win by going negative. They adhere to all these rules that no longer apply. And if you want to challenge the orthodoxy, they shut you up. Like AOC… They want to undercut her instead of following her. I mean do these oldsters in Congress have any idea what the younger generation thinks? If they do have kids, in most cases they’re already out of school.

As for polls…

Let me see, ever since 2016 they’ve been wrong. So why trot them out now?

All these numbers dictating that Republicans won’t change their opinions as a result of the 1/6 hearings… Am I really even going to tell someone if I have doubts? I mean come on, don’t trust the polls. And let’s not even get into methodology, who agrees to respond, etc.

So, the Democrats could have made the Supreme Court the issue.

They could have said, over and over again, THEY’RE GOING TO GET RID OF YOUR RIGHT TO GET AN ABORTION! They could have scared the populace into voting for Hillary, which would have eliminated this entire problem. But no! Hillary herself was so focus-grouped she lost touch with her inner feelings. Once you lose touch with your inner tuning fork, you’re screwed, it’s your core beliefs that guide you.

And let’s be clear, even a huge proportion of Republicans don’t want abortion rights to be eliminated. They’re past the age of procreation, or they never have sex, or… But the right keeps paying fealty to the religious zealots who represent ever fewer members of the voting constituency. What do we call this? THE TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY!

So the New York gun decision comes down.

The first thing that I think about is if it weren’t for McConnell, the decision would have gone the other way. Yes, Merrick Garland would be a Supreme Court justice and there wouldn’t be enough time to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whose legacy needs to be re-evaluated… How come on the right you must take one for the team, but Ginsburg kept her job even though she knew she had cancer? Talk about being self-serving. Ultimately narcissistic.

And now this issue eliminating Roe v. Wade.

On every news site they say this is not the will of the people, most people want abortion rights maintained.

But there are articles saying most people use the pill now anyway (that’s the abortion pill, not the contraceptive pill, which they want to get rid of).

Yes, the water is boiling in the pot but unlike lobsters human beings are sentient and they still won’t jump out. They’re still making excuses. I mean what’s end game? An authoritarian state? How do we end up standing up to that? As for street combat, it’s the right that has all the guns.

And speaking of killing… After this week’s 1/6 hearings you know it’s only a matter of time. Supreme Court justices need protection? Now even POLL WORKERS need protection! Ever vote? You’ve encountered these people. Usually somnambulant, living life in 3/4 time. Eating their doughnuts, providing a public service. If you think they’re the enemy, that they’re conspiring to overthrow elections, you’ve never voted.

And speaking of truth. We had to endure national analysis that the Democrats were even in trouble in California! Which turned out to be complete hogwash. We don’t want no stinking billionaire running Los Angeles, and now that the entire vote has trickled in, Bass is killing Caruso. As for all this anti-California backlash, the Golden State looks really good if you want, or even NEED an abortion. What if California acted like the red states. You can’t get an abortion unless you show a California driver’s license. Imagine the uproar!

That’s what the right specializes in, uproar.

The left? We take our lumps individually. We retreat with our tails between our legs. The solution is always the same… VOTE! Give me an f-ing break. As a result of the liar in chief spreading the falsehood that the election was stolen, all these draconian voting laws have been passed, making it harder for “those people” to vote. Why is it you don’t have to wait to vote in rich white neighborhoods, but you have to stand in line in Black neighborhoods for hours. Do you think this is by accident? WAKE UP!

And it’s all because of the Supreme Court. We don’t need no stinking voting laws to keep the southern states in check. Yes, the mantra of the people on Fox News is that we live in a post-racial society. Truly. They talk about equality, a bunch of other B.S., how it insults the dignity of people of color, and then their minions go to Charlottesville… That’s one thing that has become absolutely clear, there’s a plethora of white nationalists in the Republican party, i.e. there are good people on both sides.

So you ask me to have faith in the Supreme Court??

And the Supremes aren’t the only ones. Trump rammed through a million right wing judges, some with no courtroom experience whatsoever! So you think you’ll be saved by the courts? Good luck!

I lost faith in Congress first.

Now the Supreme Court.

Who do I believe in. John Lennon? Oh, that’s right, he’s DEAD! SHOT WITH A GUN!

Don’t tell me to vote. I mean I will, but that’s not going to solve our problems, we need action.

Like a national strike. It’s very clear here, you need to hit the corporations, they can’t handle, can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. They want problems solved NOW!

And the people who work for these companies… They care more about their paychecks than they do abortion rights, believe me.

But no, that’s too much, too far. We’ve got to respect the rule of law. Just like… TRUMP?

I literally cried when I saw the decision on my phone. Which I did not expect whatsoever. I mean I already knew the outcome, but to see it in broad headlines on my phone. It was like one of those bizarre movies playing out an alternative history, but this time it’s REAL!

As for all those people claiming America’s the greatest country in the world… Even Boris Johnson was scratching his head at this decision. I mean you can get an abortion in Catholic Ireland but not in the U.S!

And this isn’t the end, just the beginning.

And do you know what is going to happen folks… NOTHING!!!

That’s right, absolutely nothing. We’ve seen it again and again. Maybe there are a few protests, to show solidarity, but in the twenty first century protests have no effect, everything happens online. But when it comes to online boycotts, sacrificing convenience, it’s been proven again and again that people will not give up a single thing. They’ll still shop at Amazon and…

We don’t even have any leaders on the left. Forget Biden, a twentieth century man in the twenty first century. But our leaders, like Schumer and Pelosi. They keep saying how bad it is but their hands are tied. Yup, that’s the way to inspire people, RIGHT!

I mean the left has so many tools in its belt, so many bullets in its arsenal. Killer Mike? Articulate Black rapper? Build that guy up, give him as much screen time and ink as you can. Everyone can see that he believes what he’s saying, and he has a sense of humor to boot. I’m not saying to run celebrities, but to use them to get results. The right keeps saying the left owns Hollywood, and Hollywood keeps blinking. Own it, double-down on what’s right! You can’t appeal to everybody anyway.

Pick out one target a week. All these Congresspeople are rich. Boycott the company, the income of one Republican every month. Oh, they’ll kick and scream. How does it feel? EXACTLY HOW IT FEELS FOR US RIGHT NOW!

But we don’t kick and scream, we accept it. We rationalize.

So what we end up with is the tyranny of the minority.

You’d think that the Constitution was written last week according to these originalist judges and Republican elected officials. No, it was written by human beings 250 years ago, people who’d be flummoxed by a dial telephone, never mind an iPhone.

We keep correcting the past. The slaveholders, the Confederates. Yes, we’ll take down their statue, change the name of the building, but that’s only window dressing, that’s not real change. Meanwhile, those on the right say that people have never changed. That the Constitution is inviolate. Do you think the framers foresaw a day when North Dakota would have two senators and California would have the same number? OF COURSE NOT!

As for amendments… The way we’re going the Supreme Court is going to eviscerate those rights as opposed to having new ones enacted.

You not only have to fight for your right to party, you’ve got to fight for Democracy too.

As for the brainwashed rank and file on the right, they’ll be the first ones to say they didn’t understand what was at stake when they become oppressed too.

Once you start taking away the rights of people, it’s a slippery slope, where do you start?

As for truth… These stinking Supremes lied in Congress saying Roe v. Wade was inviolate.

It’s like America is run by drug kingpins, or the Mafia. What they say goes, and what they want happens. And if you go against them…you pay, oftentimes with your life. Yes, try getting an abortion for medical reasons, conditions that will kill the mother. Ain’t gonna happen. That’s what happens when you live in an absolutist society.

And let’s not bother talking about freedom. The right only employs the concept when it benefits them, they’re hypocrites. Why should you care what I’m doing, why should you restrict my behavior when it doesn’t affect you?

Never mind the insane ruling on Maine schools. Separation of church and state? The Supremes don’t even believe that, they want to overrule it, demonstrating their belief in following the letter of the law, the Constitution, and the intent of its creators…they’re just outright lying. The Constitution talks about separation of church and state. If a state is giving money to a religious-based organization, where is the separation? IT DOESN’T EXIST!

Yeah, you’re on my side. We’re all in this together. And we all do nothing. Because the Democratic party has abdicated, it’s got no leaders. It refuses to wake up and see the situation we’re in as our rights and powers slowly slip away, and now even more quickly.

If you’re optimistic you’re delusional.

Unless we take action, we’re doomed.

And that action is not protesting, and it’s not even voting. Like I said, let’s start with a national strike. Or limited strikes. Show our power. It ain’t that hard not to go to work one day. You say you’re sick, is the company really going to show up at your door and check? And when a plethora takes action, the company is impotent, and usually caves.

And how about packing the damn Supreme Court right now. Yes, introduce a bill. I don’t care whether it ultimately passes or not, play like it’s going to. You stand up to bullies. You don’t reason with them, you don’t accept what they say, because the field for you to play on gets smaller and smaller.

You publish names of Congresspeople who believe the election was stolen from him. The right hammers those on the left by name every day. You’d think that George Soros is the shadow president. The left? Well, it’s unseemly, distasteful, and we might piss somebody off.

OF COURSE WE’LL PISS PEOPLE OFF! But there are more of us than there are of them.

We’ve got to throw the long ball.

This game is down to its final minutes. We’re way behind. There’s not enough time to stick with the ground game. You don’t always connect on the eighty yard pass, but there’s a chance you do. Whereas if there’s thirty seconds on the clock and you’ve scored almost no points against a strong defensive line to run the ball ensures defeat, you just can’t win using that strategy. Oh, you can be delusional, like the Democratic party, but everybody knows it’s impossible.

Give me some hope. Tell me what to do. Lead me. PLEASE!

Pat Simmons-This Week’s Podcast

Pat Simmons is the only person who has been in every iteration of the Doobie Brothers. We talk about motorcycles, playing live before the Doobies, hooking up with Tom Johnston, New Orleans…there’s a lot of history here!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pat-simmons/id1316200737?i=1000567480427

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9ff4fb19-54d4-41ae-ae7a-8a6f8d3dafa8/episodes/40a1199f-b245-4b23-bb7d-c1d7d3c60e87/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast-pat-simmons

https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast/episode/pat-simmons-204310657

Grosses

ERIC CHURCH

6/11/22

U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

Capacity: 51,117 

100% sold

Tickets: $54.50-$455

GROSS $9,519,167

This is the biggest show in the chart, number one, above three Paul McCartney dates. Why? MORGAN WALLEN! In order to do that business in rock, you’d have to have two classic acts, or acts that made their bones over twenty years ago.

As for McCartney, he played smaller buildings. He too went clean. But the top and lower prices were actually a few dollar less than Church’s. This is not a diss of McCartney, this just illustrates how powerful country can be. Eric Church has been building his outsider status for over a decade, and he’s definitely selling rock. And Morgan Wallen has the biggest album of 

the past two years…

PAUL McCARTNEY

6/4/22

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Capacity: 42,662 

100% sold

Tickets: $539.50-$428.50

GROSS $8,848,665

CAMPING WORLD STADIUM? This has turned into a joke, no building maintains the same moniker, ultimately undercutting what credibility, status they’ve got. Sure, people will go anywhere to see a hot show, but that does not mean they’ll feel good about the building. Everything in America is sold out. The money may not have trickled down, but the philosophy sure has. People put the money first, as do the acts. And that means you can’t trust or believe in either. As for naming rights…how long is Staples gonna be Crypto.com? I’m sure there are all kinds of guarantees in the contract, but if the company goes out of business…

As for Mr. McCartney… People are now realizing that you’ve got to see the dinosaurs now, or they may forever be gone. That’s the Charlie Watts effect. All the hosannas about Taylor Hawkins, but he was all doped up, taking his own life, albeit by accident, whereas Charlie was clean and the Big C got him. Hawkins was a very good drummer, but Watts underpinned rock and roll. And if Charlie can go…so can you.

KENNY CHESNEY

6/11/22

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Capacity: 53,502 

100% sold

Tickets: $69-$274

GROSS $5,569,182

The Jimmy Buffett of his day, and not only musically. Kenny comes around almost every year, it’s a ritual to go to the show, doesn’t matter if he’s had recent hits or not. He’s got enough hits, but he also promises a show, with new, impressive production every year. Sure, he had Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce in support, but that was just making a day of it. Chesney could sell out stadiums all by himself. It’s doubtful that Eric Church could sell that many tickets all by his lonesome.

EAGLES

5/28/22

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Capacity: 10,926 

100% sold

Tickets: $99-$750

GROSS $3,717,639

Charge what the tickets are worth, that’s how you beat scalpers. The Eagles are forever, at least as long as Don Henley wants to do it. Did you see that Kidd Creole was listening to “Take It Easy” when he encountered that guy he killed? Yes, you should read the story, also to see how fame doesn’t mean you’re rich, Creole even worked as a security guard: https://nyti.ms/3OltdCI

LOUIS TOMLINSON

5/15-17/22 (3 shows)

Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile

Capacity: 8,201

97% sold

Tickets: $26.33-$1,344.65

GROSS $1,386,096

So he only did 97% at one gig in South America… No, he went clean in Lima on 6/1/22 and grossed $1,022,367!

Tomlinson could not sell anywhere near this number of tickets in the U.S. Which used to mean he would sell fewer tickets in South America. But, the U.S. is behind in more ways than politically and economically. The U.K. does a better job of spreading their acts worldwide. And pop and rock travel better than hip-hop, which is where all the focus is in the U.S.

SNOOP DOGG

4/19/22

Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD

Capacity: 10,081

95% sold

Tickets: $36.50-$166.50

GROSS $874,490

Snoop Dogg is a legend, around for 30 years already. To do these numbers in South Dakota is amazing. It’s very hard to sell out in these Northern Plain states. Interestingly, the opener was Koe Wetzel, an edgy country rocker who most hip-hop fans have probably never heard of, you’ve probably never heard of, but he’s got streams of 40 and 50 million on Spotify. And you wonder why you’re not rich and famous on your million…

“NASHVILLE COMEDY FESTIVAL”/BILL BURR

4/22/22

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Capacity: 12,624

99% sold

Tickets: $29.10-$69.50

GROSS $653,055

Let’s forget the 1% unsold. Just imagine how bad those seats are, in the rafters…FOR A COMEDY SHOW! These barns all have bad acoustics, I’m stunned people will sit so far back to listen to people talk. But they will, that’s just how hot comedy is.

HALSEY

5/29/22

Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkson, MI

Capacity: 14,446

92% sold

Tickets: $29.50-$129.50

GROSS $594,949

Halsey seems to have superseded the here today, gone tomorrow stamp that so many of the Spotify Top 50 wear. She’s seen as more of an artist than a hitmaker, to her advantage. As for not going clean, at these outdoor shows there are endless lawns, far away, this is a very impressive number. And she racked up similar grosses in Toronto, Cuyahoga Falls and the Woodlands in Texas.

JOHN MULANEY

5/12/22

Addition Financial Arena, Orlando, FL

Capacity: 7,654

89% sold

Tickets: $46-$126

GROSS $585,363

This guy was seen as white bread and harmless, and in his act he reinforced, in a humorous way, that he was not gay. Then he went to rehab, dumped his wife and had a baby with Olivia Munn and you wonder who really is this guy? Not an edgy comic. But perceived to be one of the funniest out there.

This is a huge number. Used to be comics could sell out theatres at best, with superstars playing a gig at Madison Square Garden. But in truth, comedy is hotter than music. Because in the era of sold-out cancel culture they’re the only people speaking truth (well, there are the Simpsons and other animated characters too). Everybody else is fearful of pissing somebody off, jeopardizing their career. But that’s the comedian’s act! People want to laugh and get a jolt of the truth. Do not underestimate comedy. Rather than becoming a musician, you’re better off becoming a comedian. You can buy your beats, create a hit and be back in your bedroom within a year. It’s a lot harder to make it in comedy, you have to pay your dues, hone your craft, but once you break through you can tell jokes FOREVER!

DaBABY

5/13/22

State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

Capacity: 10,929

45% sold

Tickets: $49-$300

GROSS $522,259

45? In ATLANTA?

If you read the press, you’d think that DaBaby was one of the biggest acts of last year, if not the biggest! He’s got two tracks with over a billion, significantly over a billion, streams on Spotify. Too much too soon? People didn’t used to play arenas so early in their career. And are people wary of laying down their hard-earned cash for something that has such a brief time in the public eye?

Of course, this makes one wonder what else in the Spotify Top 50 can’t sell tickets. And if you think the act will have any sort of career, maybe you should play theatres first, where hopefully the demand will be overwhelming, generating heat for the act.

KATT WILLIAMS

4/23/22

Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

Capacity: 5,807

92% sold

Tickets: $59-$350

GROSS $486,387

Katt is a known quantity, but he did these numbers BEFORE his new special “World War III” dropped on Netflix. Sure, there were supporting comics, but none with his firepower, nothing close. Katt sold these tickets.

JIM GAFFIGAN

3/30/22

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Capacity: 7,902

97% sold

Tickets: $28.62-$89.75

GROSS $435,148

Arguably he’s leaving money on the table. He’s investing in his career by not charging the three digit prices of all the other acts. This does result in scalpers controlling the great seats and earning the lift, but the low prices do add to Gaffigan’s everyman persona. As for the high prices paid to scalpers… People LOVE PAYING THEM! Talk to anybody who’s paid way over face value for their seats. They love that they didn’t have to buy their tickets a year in advance and they know otherwise there’d be no way they could get these seats. So, you can either pay the act or the scalper, but don’t expect to sit in the front row for under a hundred dollars, the tickets are worth much more to fans!

As for Gaffigan himself. He’s seen as a safe, family comic. Although not THAT safe. But this guy does this kind of business everywhere.

Now think about that gross…

He’s got to pay his agent. But I’m sure he’s paying less than 10%, he should be. And he’s paying his manager, which can’t be more than 15% and should be less. But, for the sake of argument, let’s round off the numbers and take 25% out of 400k. That leaves Gaffigan with 300k! Oh, he’s got costs… He owns his own microphone probably. And he probably pays a road manager he doesn’t need, just to have company. And he stays in thousand dollar a night hotel rooms. But does the promoter pick that up? And then there’s transportation… Well, if he flies, I’m sure he goes private. And let’s just say he does a one-off, leaves New York and then comes back. Let’s put the jet at a relatively high price of 50k to go back and forth to Nashville. That still leaves him with 250k net! Of course, we’re talking gross numbers here, but someone like Gaffigan… He probably has a 90/10 deal. Or something close. And I rounded it off to 400k anyway. The buildings want him inside. To sell parking, food and merch. They’re dying to put acts like Gaffigan in their buildings. A guaranteed seller??!!

BERT KREISCHER

4/10/22

Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

Capacity: 5,958

95% sold

Tickets: $39.75-$99.75

GROSS $339,611

The MACHINE! I hadn’t even heard of this guy until last week and he can sell this many tickets? Would we see this amount of fervor for most of the acts in the Spotify Top 50? NO!

TURNPIKE TROUBADOURS

5/7/22

White House Music Hall-lawn, Houston, TX

Capacity: 5,166

100% sold

Tickets: $50-$400

GROSS $267,650

My e-mail has been blowing up with this band in the last month or so. They’ve been around since 2007, but they’re not on a major label and they’ve never had anything close to a hit. Granted, this is Texas, acts sell tickets in Texas that can’t get arrested elsewhere. But the Red Dirt sound could easily spread with the right commitment. It’s like taking country to the U.K., you’ve got to invest, show people what they’re missing. And this can’t be done via a major label, Universal tried with Pat Green, this has got nothing to do with hits, it’s a slow and steady build that pays dividends forever. This is the new music business. The Spotify Top 50, that hit business, THAT’S THE SIDESHOW!

Having said that, the Turnpike Troubadours’ top ten tracks on Spotify all have double digit million streams. One even has 38 million. So, it’s not just about live. But also know you can have this many streams and still be unknown to most.

RYAN ADAMS

5/14/22

Carnegie Hall, NY, NY

Capacity: 2,741

100% sold

Tickets: $55-$75

GROSS $150,205

I can’t believe Carnegie Hall booked him. Who next, Harvey Weinstein?

This is a bad look. But an incredible number. Until you look and see three days later he only sold 47% of the tickets in a similar-sized hall in Philadelphia, only 1,292 people wanted to see him there.

My problem with Ryan Adams is he never apologized, he never owned his behavior. America loves to redeem its stars, as long as you give us a chance. Then again, in the wake of #MeToo, every infraction is seen as equal, whether it be by LouisCK or Aziz Ansari. CK went back on the road, I don’t think he should have been banned forever. As for Ansari, I’m not sure I get it. He blinked more than CK, but he just got married and…

SAM FENDER

5/7/22

Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Dusseldorf, Germany

Capacity: 7,200

50% sold

Tickets: $36-$50

GROSS $138,154

50% is a bad look, then again I don’t know this hall. Seems like a bad choice, he should have played somewhere smaller but the fact that Sam Fender can sell 3,600 in Dusseldorf, never mind Berlin, is pretty impressive. Fender has the goods, and he’s definitely a rocker. He couldn’t do anywhere near these numbers in the U.S., but why even try? Top 40 radio won’t play his tracks, he sounds nothing like what’s in the Spotify Top 50, he’s better off going where his music is embraced.

CHELSEA HANDLER

4/30/22

Kingsbury Hall, Salt Lake City, UT

Capacity: 1,870

87% sold

Tickets: $49.50-$169.50

GROSS $135,218

Handler does this business everywhere. And she’s been off late night TV for years! Once again, this is the power of comedy. And for those who still think Salt Lake City is backward…you haven’t been there!

NIKKI GLASER

5/20/22 (2 shows)

The Wilbur, Boston, MA

Capacity: 1,093

90% sold

Tickets: $42-$98

GROSS $107,732

Another comedian. And unlike in rock, women in comedy are equal to the men, many make bank, the audience loves you as long as you’re funny.

TWIDDLE

4/2/22

College Street Music Hall, New Haven, CT

Capacity: 1,400

92% sold

Tickets: $25.50-$40.50

GROSS $35,914

A jam band, and not the most highly respected either, at least not by the older generation still going to see Phish and DMB, but the kids need their music too. The last album they had came out in 2018, and it was a live one. The band’s success is not about hit records, it’s not about airplay, it’s about live shows, delivering an experience, that is different every night. They’re throwing a party, the pop arena acts are giving a performance, and there’s a huge difference between the two. See the hit act extravaganza and…you don’t need to see it again, unless they’ve got another hit or two, and chances are they won’t. Whereas Twiddle is a night out, you can own it.

So the lesson is not to shoot for the stars, but the road. And know that traditional success, being on the cover of magazines and all over the radio… Many magazines have gone out of business and all of their readership is down. Believe me, the target audience for Twiddle is not listening to terrestrial radio. So, if you’re good enough, have good enough songs, you’ll eventually get bigger and bigger. Otherwise, you can continue to do it as a job, making a living, until you get burned out. This is the old pre-recording paradigm, and it’s back. You’re in control of your own destiny, it’s only you and your fans. No one telling you what to do. But it’s your responsibility to bring people to the gig, not the label’s, not the media’s, your music is your sales tool, and it either resonates or it doesn’t. Live is where the rubber meets the road, literally, but this is where your excuses evaporate. If you can get gigs and continue to build no traction, you’re either far ahead of the audience or not good enough. 

It’s incumbent upon you to stick it out, you can complain all you want, but no one is listening. And some of the most talented have given up, talent is at most 50% of making it, most of making it is desire and perseverance. It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. And it seems live people would rather hear something closer to rock and roll than what’s in the Spotify Top 50.

Can You Live With A Lie?

We’re watching this show “The Journalist,” on Netflix. It’s Japanese, watch with subtitles, it’ll rivet you, not that it’s fast-paced, but your mind won’t be drifting, you’ll be paying attention.

And what we’ve got here is a lying Prime Minister. Caught in action, self-dealing. And at first the administration evades the issue, and then the Prime Minister outright denies it.

Everybody in the administration is shocked. Now they’ve got to cover up what has already been done, because of course the Prime Minister is guilty. They need to change all the records. And whenever someone balks, their boss says they’ll take responsibility.

Yeah, right. Until the heat comes down.

It’s hard to live with a lie. A sociopath can, but most people cannot. You can employ mental gymnastics to try and convince yourself you’re not culpable, but when the facts are clear, and the heat is getting closer to coming down on you, it’s nearly impossible to live in your own skin.

Or even if they’re never on to you, never catch you, you know what you’ve done. You never forget it. Years later you still think about it, sometimes you can’t stop thinking about it.

One thing has been proven definitively, Donald Trump lied about the election being stolen, there were no issues of fraud, Joe Biden won fair and square.

Now if you’re in the hinterlands, in your own news bubble, you still may not know this. It’s possible. And your faith is in your leader, Mr. Trump, and you’ve been taught to hate the enemy at all costs.

So if you even think about it, you have plausible deniability. When we’re talking about criminal convictions, it all comes down to intent. You can convince yourself you did not know. But as we go further and further up the food chain…

Everybody knew. Just like in that Leonard Cohen song. There was no fraud, even Trump’s own officials said “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

And now there are hearings detailing that Trump’s own people told him he was wrong, he was delusional, that he lost. But Rudy Giuliani decided to sacrifice whatever credibility he still possessed to pursue Trump’s cause, even though Trump had never come through for him, never given him the cabinet post he desired. And the rest of the choir? They were outsiders like John Eastman and Sidney Powell, who did Trump’s bidding, but also knew his belief the election was stolen was a cockamamie delusion. Hell, Eastman lobbied for a pardon, knowing what he was doing was illegal. And Sidney Powell’s defense is to undercut her own credibility, to say she’s merely an actor on a stage and you can’t trust anything she says.

But what about the people in Congress?

Sure, some are completely delusional, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, but the rest…they know the score, they know Trump lost. But just like in “The Journalist” they figure if they all stick together, deny, deny, deny, it’ll all blow over. And it has, until these 1/6 hearings began.

So now they’ve got to live with the lie.

First they tell themselves everybody else lied too.

But now they’re seeing people like Bill Barr distance themselves. The rats are jumping off the ship. Will the finger eventually point at them?

Somewhere in the last few decades it became about the team as opposed to the player. That’s right, in the sixties it was all about rugged individualism, going your own way. You strove for excellence, not worrying about others’ judgment along the way. You needed to leave your mark, you did not want to be hindered by society’s constraints. And those who succeeded, in many cases musicians, became beacons for society. Everybody wanted to get closer to them, listen to them, model their lives after them. There was hope that you were not just a hamster on a wheel, that you could break out of the drudgery, find yourself and fulfill yourself.

But the coddled millennials had a different philosophy. Participating was enough. Maybe it’s a result of getting trophies for sitting on the soccer bench, but if you follow the alternative sports that were embraced by the millennials, many exhibited in the X Games, winning was nice, but competitors were friends, you reveled in everybody’s success. Unless you didn’t. Shaun White may be a hero in the mainstream press, but in the snowboarding world he’s a pariah, he was all for himself. And that’s not how you play it.

Same deal in hip-hop. The east coast/west coast wars. Biggie and Tupac. Meanwhile, most of America tuned out, many being racist and seeing it as Black people killing Black people.

And simultaneously politics became a team sport. Sure, it was always a two party system, but now you couldn’t cross the party, at least on the right. Stick together, toe the party line, or you’re ostracized. Can you say “Liz Cheney”? Yes, we’ve rigged the game. We’ve gerrymandered the districts such that a Republican will always win, and if you don’t do what I say we’ll primary you, run someone to the right of you, and you’ll lose your job.

And no one likes to lose their job in America. Certainly not a Congressperson with prestige, a guaranteed salary and a blue chip health plan. But if you play the game as told, there will always be a job for you down the line, as a lobbyist, or a lawyer, the Republicans take care of their own. As do the Democrats, which is one of the reasons why people have lost faith in the system.

But there are problems. Who is going to solve them?

Well, certainly not the Republicans in Congress. Their goal is to do nothing, that’s what Mitch McConnell said.

As for McConnell, one has to give him some credit, at least he’s intelligent. He walks up to the line of immorality, illegality, and then backs off. He’s never said Trump won the election. He was troubled by 1/6, but then he realized his party was not and he just wants to have the whole thing forgotten.

But the people don’t forget. Nor does the press. That’s the press’s job, as evidenced in “The Journalist.” So, Trump and his minions have vilified the press. Anybody who says anything they don’t like is fair game, even Fox News.

Everybody in the game knows the above. They’re willing participants, believing if everybody else jumps off a bridge…there must be rescue boats in the water, there’s no way they can drown.

But when the eyes of the law come looking for them…

It’s not only Bill Barr, but Ivanka Trump, the Donald’s flesh and blood, who says the Big Lie is not one.

You see when the whip comes down, everybody saves themselves. The Mafiosi may lie on the stand, change their testimony, but that’s mainly because they know the long arms of the organization are everywhere, they can always be reached. Hell, remember when Tony kills that guy in witness protection while taking Meadow to look at colleges in Maine? You never escape from the Mafia.

And politics has been run like a Mafia business, and people are getting away with bad behavior, crimes, to the point where the entire country is gummed up, where no one believes in the system, but if you lie on the stand neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are going to pay your family, take care of you for life. Once you’re in the legal system, you’re on your own. Like I said, many of these people are attorneys, who’ve lost all credibility since Watergate, and they know what they’re doing is wrong, which is why they ask for pardon protection.

As for Donald Trump… He believes the rules don’t apply to him.

But he’s not the only one. Did you see the story in today’s L.A. “Times” about the Gettys skating on hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes? Hell, Trump himself looks like he’s gonna get away with doing the same. As for the little guy and girl…they don’t even itemize, so they can’t even cheat! Yes, the richer you get the more opportunities you have to manipulate the numbers, put in so many layers of lawyers and shell companies that by time the government understands what you did the people who were excited about nailing you have left for private practice and the entire case runs out of steam.

So one guy screwed up the entire nation.

As for protection around Supreme Court judges’ houses… Turns out if you go against the cabal, your life is in danger. You’ll be threatened. They’ll surround your house. You thought it was only abortion clinics, but it’s not.

So how does this change?

Certainly not with Joe Biden, whose goal was to calm the waters and has not. Congress is different from what it was when Joe served, radically different. It’d be like hiring Russ Solomon to run Spotify.

Not only do we have no leaders on the left, the party wants the status quo, to the point where when someone tries to drag the party into the present they’re ostracized, can you say “AOC”? The entire country runs on the internet, only the oldsters pooh-pooh technology and tell you to get off your smartphone, the younger generations grew up with technology and know giving up the smartphone would be like giving up your car, or Uber, unable to journey ten miles to see a friend, never mind go to the dentist.

As for those leading the charge… Chuck Schumer and Adam Schiff are the kind of mealy-mouthed player who talks about the rules after they’ve already been broken. Tells people to go back home after the walls of the citadel have been breached.

But what I’m really talking about is those next in the firing line. Which at this point is those in Congress.

How long are you going to be able to support the Big Lie, keep your head in the sand? You’ve been told just to lie low, the higher-ups are taking care of it. But now you see the higher-ups abandoning the cause, vociferously trying to protect their reputations.

What about your reputation?

Well, you believe your job is safe as a Republican. Your district is safe. Just as long as you play ball and spew the nonsense of Trump.

But Trump even threw Ivanka under the bus! He only wants to save his own ass, he’s the definition of a narcissist.

So who is going to protect you?

If McCarthy turns the light shines bright upon your face.

And you never know when McConnell might turn. He’s all about saving himself, his long term reputation, and keeping the party in line. He’ll let Trump and his minions do whatever they want until it jeopardizes the entire enterprise. Then he aligns with the truth and Trump has to go.

I’d say we’re looking for more good people to stand up, but that won’t be their motivation. It’s not about doing the right thing, it’s about saving their own ass. And the army of truth-seekers is getting ever closer.

Ever read “The Tell-Tale Heart”?

It’s nearly impossible to live with a lie. And if you weren’t the original perpetrator when the law creeps towards your domain, you jump. It’s the same story again and again and again.

Your friends abandon you.

If you think Tucker, Sean and Laura are gonna have your back…you’re sorely mistaken. They live in a different world from you, they’re not elected, they’re on salary, they’re all about numbers, and they run from losers. They feel no responsibility.

But the news never feels responsibility. Which is why it’s hated. They chew you up and move on. Do you want to be chewed up?

As for the criticism of the 1/6 committee?

IT’S A MOVIE!

Yes, but that’s all Americans understand. Most haven’t read the aforementioned Edgar Allan Poe story.

And they’re too busy trying to deny their own reality. Yes, homosexuality is a sin… But you’re homosexual, or your son or daughter, what do you say then? And what do you say when they have an unwanted pregnancy? When it comes home, action is taken. That’s why there’s all this hoopla about opioids, it’s middle class whites who are dying now, not just “those people.”

Life is long. Sure, it’s over in the blink of an eye. But you know as well as I do your faux pas, your moral transgressions, never leave you. Leaving the scene of an accident. Cheating on the test. Lying to your spouse. You’d think it would be the victories that stuck in your brain, but that’s not how your noggin works. It’s the intentional mistakes that haunt you.

And even if you do come clean, it’s oftentimes too late. You’ve been labeled a pariah.

And if the game continues, if you never stand up for the truth, the collateral damage continues to pile up and you know you’re responsible. That’s what happens in “The Journalist.” People die. They get in the way, or they can’t live with the lie.

Ignorance is bliss.

But in truth once you get off the sidelines and start playing the game, almost everybody knows the score. No one says the Warriors didn’t win the NBA championship. And the Houston Astros stole signs and the team will be tarred by this forever, even though to a great degree they’ve cleaned house, it’s different players on the field. And they only stole signs, a relatively minor sin compared to throwing games, they still call it the “Chicago Black Sox Scandal” and it was over a hundred years ago.

So if pressure stays on. If the light continues to shine…

Expect people to crack. Because they won’t be able to live the lie any longer.

And if they don’t?

God bless America. But since God doesn’t exist, it’s gonna be a very rough ride.

Then again, when you believe in false prophets like Donald Trump you’re the chump, you’re the one who loses.

It’s your choice whether to do the right thing.

And there’s a camera everywhere, and you’re leaving digital cookies online all the time. So the odds of you being caught are higher than ever.

The elite can cheat, but not you.

And few are members of that exalted group. But one is Donald Trump. The walls are closing in. And he’s throwing everybody overboard, he’ll throw you too. At what point do you raise your head and take action to do what’s right and save yourself. That’s what we’re waiting for, don’t be surprised if we see it.

But we might not.

And those silent legislators… Will have to live with their decision forever. And forever is a really long time.