Steve Kerr Too Conventional? The Warriors at first glance have not repeated the mistake they made three years ago when they inked Mark Jackson to a contract. Coach Kerr appears to be a person anyone would want to work with. He has wanted to coach and planned to coach since his playing days ended. Though he was not a superstar fate placed him on teams where he could see the best coaches and players that the game had on a nightly basis. Curiously the obvious choice of consensus talent head NBA coach to be, David Blatt, was not even considered by the Warriors brass. Blatt’s incredible performance as a head coach overseas is well documented. He is considered an offensive innovator. Is he possibly the Don Nelson of his generation? There is the main problem. His generation. At 55 he is not part of the Michael Jordan generation that obsesses over itself. The main reason he was not considered by the Warriors was his age. In fact they tried to entice him to be an assistant coach, judged to be too old for the real job. To an outsider it seems they have it backwards, he has earned the head coaching job, Kerr is another Michael Jordan generation player with no experience as a coach. At least he has front office experience and does not have the obvious personality flaws that Mark Jackson has. Nonetheless the organization is taking a 25 million dollar gamble on a long shot rather than a 10 million dollar gamble on a odds on favorite. Very odd. To return to Kerr, the only question is how much has he learned? Does he have a feel for the game like Popovich and Nelson or will he miss the ebbs and flows of the NBA game like Mark Jackson did? Jackson was frequently criticized for not calling timeouts to stop the opposition’s momentum, a crucial role that NBA coaches must master. It is part of the job. Coach Popovich put the Spurs in a position to close out game six against Oklahoma and, in my view, won the game by calling time outs at just the right place and time. However, I have to say coach Don Nelson would have won game six in last years finals by calling timeout and making sure Allen or any of the other shooters were fouled as soon as the clock ticked below ten. First “King” James would have been fouled before the three-point shot, though he is the least dangerous of the three-point shooters and most certainly both Bosh and Allen would have been fouled on the rebound though with Nellie, Tim Duncan would have never left the game and might have grabbed the rebound. In any case the point is, with a three point lead, Nellie fouls with less than a ten second lead, Pop does not. Judge for yourself. Does Kerr go with conventional wisdom and not foul or with Nellie and foul every time? Bet on Kerr to go with conventional wisdom. Has Steve Kerr learned how to manage games? Giving the ball to Curry and praying is not really much of a game plan. With all the talent the Warriors have the Coach can be expected to orchestrate the game appropriately. Blatt must have been salivating at the chance to plan an offense around the talent the Warriors can put on the floor. Kerr seems well aware of these nuances when he is analyzing the game for the broadcasts. But Kerr has no experience. However, his biggest flaw may be the very thing which caused the Warriors brass to find him so attractive. He seems to get along well with consensus opinions and not challenge the prevailing mind sets or group think that is present in the organization for which he works. The ability to mesh is fine, but then the ability to think outside the box and plan schemes and plays that maximize your team’s strength and minimize your opponent’s strength may be something that is hard for him. Time will tell. He seems to buy into whatever conventional ideas are repeated on ESPN without question. He is a representative of Gen-X, according to studies, the most conservative generation in American history. Therefore his inability to think creatively and to make adjustments on the fly may be his most limiting characteristic. When ESPN announcers state that Mark Jackson changed the “culture” at Golden State to “get” the players to play defense, Kerr goes along with that line and affirms it as true like it was written in stone. But serious fans know Don Nelson’s run and gun teams of the eighties played defense with what they had, and entertained all with the best offense in the league with several good offensive players. How do you think run TMC would have done with a rim defender like Nate Thurmond rounding out the team? Then no one would have questioned their “defense”. But you coach to maximize the talent you have. Calling out the Warriors as a “no defense” team who tried to outscore their opponents was silly. Imagining and stating the Warriors played poor defense because of stupidity on Nelson’s part is just a way of avoiding a serious study of the team’s he coached and their potential. Nelson knew you were not going to beat very many teams in a half court with the line-ups he coached. For Kerr to go along with this non-sense makes me wonder if he thinks too much inside the box to ever get the best from his players. In a short series Don Nelson never had a problem either beating a superior team or making them suffer with whatever he had on his bench. He could draw up defensive schemes to disrupt the game plans of far better teams. His defeats of superior Utah, San Antonio and Dallas teams are the highlights of twenty years of Warriors basketball. His Bucks teams shocked the Larry Bird Celtics by sweeping them in four games. Did any other coach do this? His “We Believe” team’s sprint to the playoffs and stunning upset of the Dallas Mavericks was perhaps the most exciting two months of basketball in Warrior’s history. That is the challenge for Kerr, no doubt he understands the game but can he get the maximum out of every player and win when he does not have the better players? Warriors fans watched inferior teams with undersized and undermanned benches out perform the opposition for years. Hardaway, Richmond, Marciulionis, Mullin and Higgins formed a lethal lineup that played hard and exciting basketball every night. But could you realistically expect that lineup to take on the “Showtime” Lakers whose point guard was taller than anyone on the Warriors? Yet they did and made un-winnable games close and even stole a few from the a team featuring the best of the best. Coach Kerr inherits a team far more skilled with more depth than any team Nelson ever coached in the Bay Area. Expectations will be higher and justly so. Time will tell if he can do more with the team than expected or if he is like most of his generation just as good as you expect them to be no better no worse. Jackson’s total inability to maximize the offensive talents of this team was disgusting to old Warrior fans used to staggering offensive numbers from teams filled with D-league players and one or two legitimate NBA stars. The Monta Ellis Warriors in Nelson’s last year with only rookie Steve Curry and five healthy shall we say bodies finished second in offensive production that year in the NBA. What Kerr does with a roster full of stars will be quickly seen to be either folly or exceptional. The Bay Area fans know offense and are waiting for Coach Kerr to show what this team can do. The owners on the other hand are showing a clear prejudice for the conventional as well. Though they have hired good players (for the most part but oddly claiming the signing of Andre Iguodala was the roster move of the century Monta Ellis and D. Blair could have been signed for far less and would have led to many more wins) and good assistant coaches, their choices for head coach can only be called mundane. Clearly they wanted Kerr because NBA legend Jackson in NYC wanted him. But Phil Jackson wanted to teach Kerr to coach. So it will be interesting to see who plays better the well coached Cavaliers with a proven offensive star coach or the Warriors with a Michael Jordan generation side kick. In that they could have had Blatt for less than half of what they paid Kerr his hiring says more about them than they realize. As a final note the Michael Jordan generation prejudice of the owner’s is evident in their handling of JIm Barnett. Barnett is easily the best color man in the NBA. The only announcers to rival him and Papa in their heyday are Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith. Bob Fitzgerald is terrible and no one I know likes his style, in fact I have to mute him often because of his repeatedly inane and repetitive lines. Tim Roye on radio is hardly much better, but you can’t be worse than Fitzgerald and you can’t mute the radio. Papa wastes away as the pre game host of the Warriors. Bringing him back to work with Barnett would be the best thing to happen to the Warriors since the We Believe run. But Barnett is the wrong age so the owners are planning to get rid of him. Only a monstrous surge of opposition from their fans stopped that move this year, but you can count on some Michael Jordan fan being in his seat next year. The owners are suffering from a huge case of agism.
The Reason Behind the Reasons Mark Jackson Was Fired
The firing of Mark Jackson created more news than the firing of a coach usually does. By nature coaching positions are temporary. Only a handful of NBA coaches have spent their careers with one team, Stockton, Auerbach and Popovich come to mind. All had winning teams and were or are consensus Hall of Fame coaches. But even the great Nellie, Don Nelson, moved from Milwaukee to Golden State and then around the horn.
There are more reasons to fire a coach than to hire one. With Mark Jackson there were plenty of reasons to keep him and plenty of reasons to let him pass. His relationship with some of the players (we still have not heard from Bogut or Blake) was supposedly a strength. His weaknesses, well, that depends on your perspective but clearly it might be summed up as his relationships with everyone else and the lack of a coherent offensive plan with perhaps the best offensive team in the league. Clearly those that are religious and those that are black have a different take on his limitations and feel he was fired for reasons of prejudice against either religion, race or both. Many black writers have implied that Jackson’s firing was in part based on race. ESPN has unsubtlely basically inferred this endless numbers of times. On the Warriors many fan forums Born Again Christians, blacks and the racially sensitive see prejudice, an inability for the owners to relate to the black culture and just plain, old-fashioned white privilege. Born Again Christians who are masters at casting themselves as victims have also claimed it was his prayer sessions with players, chapel with players, taking time off from his coaching to preach at his church (which Reverend Jackson called his real job, calling his coaching job a part-time position), spending religious services with some of his players, and finally the recording of church oriented videos at his office with the Golden State Warriors that got him fired. The videos were posted on the internet and then rapidly disappeared. If there was nothing wrong with recording religious videos at your place of work why take them down? When Jackson was working for pay for the team he took time off to make videos at his place of work which reflected his religious beliefs for people totally unconnected to basketball. This could be seen as reason enough in itself to fire him. Of course his backhanded homophobic remarks which are now mainstream and accepted as a legitimate response to a person “coming out” in Born Again circles are not mainstream in the liberal, tolerant Bay Area. The inference that he would pray for the souls of the sinners is insulting to some and disrespectful to nature. For it is nature that decides sexuality and homosexual behavior is prevalent in many species. It is utter unscientific non-sense that being gay is a life style that one prefers or one does not prefer.
At ESPN the race card is clearly being played by the “I just have no idea why Mark Jackson was fired.” group think that is the party line on that network. That must have been said a thousand times in one week with the tacit implication that he was fired because he was black.
Stephen A. Smith “wonders” why Kerr is the “golden boy”, a strange metaphor, at the current time when the hunt for a new coach is on by a plethora of dissatisfied owners. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith clearly implies that because Kerr is white he is getting more interviews than “he deserves”. Of course if Phil Jackson wanted a black coach of merit and all of a sudden interested piqued that would be fine. Clearly Kerr has received the “Phil“ bump. It is not complicated. It is not racist. Phil Jackson carries a lot of weight in the NBA plain and simple.
Many of the Bay Area Writers were smitten by Mark Jackson. Jackson was connected to the ESPN establishment, the Holy Grail, of sports media. His personality of convincing the unwary that they were on his side against the owners won over many of the writers who had been at war with Don Nelson for years. A coach that uttered “We are a defense first team.” Thus tacitly confirming what the writers fumed about for years, that is that Don Nelson could not coach defense, rather than the alternative view he got the best out of what he had. By saying we are a defense first team, Jackson implied and confirmed what the writers wanted. They were now his because he told them what they wanted to hear. If he had said, anyone who can win 26 games with Monta Ellis and Steve Curry as a rookie with 5 d-leaguers is a helluva coach the writers would have choked on their wine.
When Jackson was fired writers at the Chronicle and other papers were as stunned as if Mickey Mantle were traded by the Yankees. Or if Joe Montana was sent packing in his prime.
Mark Jackson proceeded to go on tour selling himself. He is a victim, he did a great job. The players loved him. The fans loved him. Stephen A. Smith loved him. His congregation loves him, O’Neal loves him, Green has improved his “relationship” with God through Mark Jackson. Why is that an endorsement for a coach? Curry loves him. Jackson does not use the Bible as a weapon, he said so at a press conference. Who accused him of using the Bible as a weapon? That statement is a perfect example of how Jackson divides people. Upon hearing that statement religious people think that the “liberals” have accused yet another poor innocent Christian of some outrageous crime. But not everyone buys this.
Bogut does not appear to love him, Greg Papa, the best play by-play NBA announcer alive, thinks Mark Jackson can’t coach and has said so for three long years. Interesting. Papa has seen nearly every Warrior game for decades? What does he see that others don’t?
Jackson’s latest salvo that he, Mark Jackson, will deserve the credit if Coach Kerr produces a winning team fits right in to his entire MO. If Kerr fails Jackson looks good, if he succeeds it is because of Jackson’s coaching which laid the foundation for the team’s success. Nicely done.
Bogut according to First Take’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, Jackson’s most vocal supporters, is Bogus. He didn’t show up, he does not show up. (Conveniently forgetting last years playoffs when playing injured he clearly was the difference maker with Lee out) otherwise Jackson would have done better we presume? But Jackson already exceeded expectations and actually was ahead with a few minutes left in game seven with the Clippers? The Clippers who have two of the best players in the world, two of the top ten players in the entire world, and a hall of fame coach? And his crappy team without “Bogus” nearly beat them. Why? Because Mark Jackson is a natural born leader, just ask him. Jackson has actually said: “I am a natural born leader, people gravitate towards me.” Sounds more like a cult figure than a leader to me.
As the Warriors pondered hiring Fred Hoiberg I read a few articles about him. His co-workers described him as a natural born leader. Do you find this an interesting contrast to Jackson who describes himself as a born leader?
Jackson took this inferior team the owners thrust upon him and then won over fifty games and nearly beat the Clippers. A great achievement, just ask him. He deserves all the credit because his guys played their hearts out. His guys. For him. If the owners had given him a decent bench…. He also changed the culture. Ask ESPN, ask him. Nellie’s teams could not play defense. That is the tacit insult lurking behind the “changed the culture” nonsense. Sure Nelson’s teams could score. Monta Ellis and the rookie Steve Curry along with five d-league players put up big numbers on offense (second in the league) and won 26 games with two NBA players who could play for any team in the league, one of whom was a rookie, and five other players who would fight to make the roster, any roster in the league. Most of the year the bench didn’t have nearly enough healthy bodies to play a decent NBA game. Yet incredibly the fawning Bay Area Media somehow never asked Mark Jackson why it took 4 years for Steve Curry to return to his rookie year form. In 2009 -10 Curry had perennial all-star written all over him. But Nelson’s teams could not play defense. It was not the lack of NBA quality players, but the “culture”. Anyone can claim to be a defensive coach by slowing the pace of the game. Mike Fratello made himself a millionaire by grinding the game to a halt and then claiming he was a great defensive coach. Really are people that unobservant? Jackson had Bogut. Nelson had nothing. Give Nellie Bogut and then you will see defense and offense that will be dazzling entertainment and great basketball. Nellie would make use of all of Bogut’s skills. Maybe the reason Jackson’s defensive numbers are good is because his offensive numbers are bad? If the team plays a little more up tempo and scores 15 more points a game, the opposition will score proportionally more with the same defense. The result will be more wins but a “poorer” defense. More possessions increases the score. This is something writers and ESPN analysts seem to have a hard time grasping. Maybe the public schools are that bad.
With Bogut Jackson’s inferior team would be expected to beat the Clippers and quite easily according to his logic, right? No dunks for Jordan, no domination of the post by Blake. But Jackson has said this vastly inferior team should still lose to the Clippers because: “The Clippers have two of the best players in the world, two of the top ten, and a hall of fame coach.” Incidentally when the Clippers lost Doc Rivers rolled out the same excuse as Mark Jackson. The ESPN cast has a script and they stick to it. Rivers is part of the gang.
That is pretty strange. A hall of fame coach that was hired because Chris Paul insisted Vinny Del Negro be fired. With the edition of J.J. Redick, another year of experience for Blake, and a vastly more mature front court, the Clippers won a grand total of one more game than last year. So exactly why is Rivers a Hall of Fame Coach? Because he won in Boston with three Hall of Fame players and all-star point guard? Or because he was an ESPN broadcaster and is part of the fraternity? Pretty good line up to work with, how did he do when he had less talent? How did he do with the Clippers this year? Speaking of race what if the colors were reversed and Del Negro had been black and Rivers white? Stephen A. Smith would be screaming racism on every broadcast. He would be castigating the Clippers and the league for firing a good black coach and hiring a white coach who only won one more game with a far better team. You know that’s true if you follow ESPN.
What do we learn from this about coaching? What did Warriors fans learn about coaching from watching good people try to coach really bad teams? Cohen never spent the money you need to spend in the NBA to win games. That is not complicated, so all of his coaches were doomed to mediocrity.
Except one. Nellie, Don Nelson, took an aging Baron Davis, a great team player in Jason Richardson, and a couple of other good players to the second round of the playoffs in one of the most thrilling couple months of basketball in Warrior history. Had a few free throws fallen in Utah they would have made the West finals. He beat the Mavericks who were the first seed with the NBA’s best record. First time that an eight beat a one in the seven game playoff era. Not too bad. Dallas had a hall of fame, MVP power forward, a good point guard and played very hard. They had Nellie’s protege as the coach. The next year despite trading the second best player, Jason Richardson, for nothing, (a trade exemption that was not used and an unproductive rookie) Nellie’s team improved. How could that happen? Imagine how far they would have gone if they had kept JR or traded him for Gasol? Did Nellie change the culture? The personal got worse, noticeably so, and the team got better? But it was Mark Jackson years later who changed the culture.
Don Nelson never held a press conference and talked about how God had his hand on “his” team? More likely Nellie’s god was pushing a beer across the table. When he was fired by the new ownership (just one more reason to fire a coach) he took his hat, pocketed the money owed him, and went off into the sunset of Maui.
But when Mark Jackson was gracefully fired he went on tour trashing the entire organization. The same organization that did not say he was a bad coach, and the team deserved a better coach. The same organization who said “mea culpa”. The owners gracefully said the problem was in relationships not performance. They let people more or less conclude his homophobic remarks set him at odds with the tolerant liberals of the Bay Area and that he could not get along with the owner’s son or the gay executives or the strait executives of the Warriors for that matter. Looks lots better or your resume that saying that he was incompetent, divisive, and impossible to work with. In short Jackson was not a team player, not a guy the organization could work with. He banned Jerry West and Jim Barnett from his practices, you’d think he’d pay them to watch and advise. Wouldn’t you?
The same organization that gave him a great team, an opportunity to coach and lots of money is now being throughly trashed by Mark Jackson and his allies in the media. One of the Bay Area Sports writers actually said it will now be hard for the Warriors to hire a head coach because of the way they “treated” Mark Jackson. Mark Jackson aka victim. Does that writer still have a job now that Kerr has stated he preferred the Warrior’s organization to the Knicks?
That is why Mark Jackson should never have been hired. His history shows he causes discord in organizations. His run in with John Stockton and the Jazz management is well documented. He divided the locker room into those on his side and those on the other side. Sound familiar?
He put up lots of numbers as an NBA player. But he played for many different teams? Jackson and people like him can be very difficult employees, bad employers and just plain ineffective managers when they are in a position of power and authority.
Mark Jackson has an Authoritarian Personality. That is the simple explanation for his behavior and that of his followers aka supporters. And that is why he can’t be a team player and why any organization will have difficulty when he needs to work with, not above or below, but along side another person.
(Do you have an Authoritarian Personality? Take this test and find out. http://www.anesi.com/fscale.htm)
A certain amount of people do in all cultures.
That is why Jackson is perceived as a vindictive person by some who used his conversion to Christianity to create relationships that give him wealth and power over other people. Others who “fall into line” see him as an authority and leader because that is how they relate to people. Their relationships are either “follower” or “leader” relationships in all walks of life, Jackson fits that mold perfectly. He “acts” like they think a leader should act.
Notice he has difficultly with relationships of equals. There is a hierarchy in his relationships that is somewhat inappropriate or may be perceived as such by some “non-authoritarian” people. He sets up his team relationships as son-father, not player-coach, spiritual mentor not basketball coach or instructor-pupil relationships. He can’t relate to coworkers who have substantial but limited authority over part of the preparation (assistant coaches) who are not interested in relating to him in an authoritarian fashion so he just refuses to even consider those relationships because he cannot handle them. So he fires any and all assistants who threaten him in some imaginary way. Then he has his allies, Stephen A.Smith, denigrate them on national TV. Doesn’t it surprise you that Stephen A. Smith has spent so much time laying waste Bogut, Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman? When has a national media figure spent so much time denigrating assistant coaches? How is it that so much air time with the Warriors has been devoted to Jackson’s relationships or lack thereof with his assistant coaches? Notice that Jackson said they were disrespectful (i.e. dared to challenge his place in his hierarchy) and disloyal? There was no mention of the quality of their work because to Jackson maintaining his power was far more important than improving the team.
Because his first goal is to maintain his power, Jackson’s secondary goals have to do with the Warriors organization. Further he can’t relate to his boss or his bosses circle of advisors and work to build a consensus or an agreement. His bosses all have power that he craves and are therefore the enemy or the opposition. He sees them as the competition not as the team leaders. He spends his time trying to divide the organization into his supporters and the opposition so he can gradually increase his power base.
The bottom line is Mark Jackson is a very strange man with a personality disorder. Why would you want him to be in charge of a billion dollar business?
The key to understanding Jackson’s dysfunctional effect on organizations is to see the obvious. Look at his relationships with co-workers. They don’t work. Look at his relationship with “his” players. They don’t improve their skills, they play inspired basketball at times. Great for Green who had impeccable coaching in college. But how about Bazemore and Barnes who very much-needed to understand the game to improve their many natural skills. They got worse under Jackson not better. Bazemore should have grown into a fine bench player and Barnes should be a rising star. Hopefully his confidence has not been shattered to the point where he will not reach his full potential. But the handling of Barne’s growth was in and of itself reason enough to fire Jackson. Now the Warrior forums are filled with Jackson supporters who are blaming Barnes for not improving and calling for him to be traded. Trading him now while his value has been crushed by bad coaching is a very bad way to run an organization. Trading Green who is at the zenith of his value is a much better option if one has to be moved to get Kevin Love.
Jackson will always have followers. Preaching is perfect for his personality type, he can speak with the Authority of God and who is going to dare argue? But is he the kind of guy you want to build an organization of people determined to work together to achieve a common goal?
No. Because his goal of consolidating and maintaining his power base will always be more important to him that the goal of the group. That is why he was fired. The owners may have not analyzed the situation exactly this way, but, intuitively they knew he just did not fit, they knew why and they knew what to do about it.
Or: “You can take the trash out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the trash.”
Mainstream Democrats are befuddled by lots of things these days, but none more so that the seeming paradox of people who vote for policies which not only do not help them but harm them financially.
These same people vote for Republicans year after year. Democrats have no chance of making inroads with this group and Paul Ryan and others can, without giving it a thought, propose cuts to Medicare and Social Security, cut food stamps, stomp on the unemployed and put in policies to demolish the safety net. In short Ryan and others in the Republican party are trying to undo everything FDR accomplished in creating a middle class and a more egalitarian society. They do so with the support of those who have benefited the most and have the most to lose.
Medicare and Social Security programs in particular are the life blood of their constituents and are supported by these same constituents who nonetheless pull the lever than tugs the blade that slices their throat.
Currently Republicans have cut 8.7 billion dollars out of food stamps, refuse to renew unemployment benefits (even thought true unemployment in the USA is near 20% and more like 50% in certain minority areas), threaten to end Medicare (as we know it) and want to stop the COLA increases in Social Security (which are too small not too big) and replace it with the so-called chained CP (an atrocity that Obama, the Great Capitulator supports as well). All that is fancy talk for reducing benefits to the poor while increasing benefits to the rich and powerful. For example: where is the one billion dollar grant that has been give to “Ukraine” going to end up? Either in the hands of the Ukrainian billionaires (oligarchs as they are unabashedly called) or it will be spent for weapons from the United States. Bank it. Yet none of this bothers the hard-core Republican right. One billion to Ukraine to empower the rich people (and bankrupt the rest of the country with a loan form the IMF which will result in the end of pensions and them imposition of austerity) is just fine to the far right. Yet the trailer park voters barely register this moral profanity or their moral thermometers. Democrats are not without blame here. Obama created a culture where this heartless behavior is the norm and he and the so-called centrist or corporate Democrats share the blame and deserve scorn.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? Obama, sly fox that he is, positions himself as being the great compromiser when in reality he is the great sell out. But the leadership of the Republican Party unabashed attacks the poor and blames them for their state and supports policies to further remove wealth from the middle and lower classes and give that wealth to the already wealthy. In short they want to create the feudal societies of the past that they so love.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? This answer is this simple. Most of the hard-core constituents of the Right Wing are staunch one issue voters. They have made up their mind on some ridiculous hot button issue which has captured their minds and seemingly prevented all thought from occurring. Therefore the overriding economic messages of their “leaders” have no impact on their vote.
Their poor constituents are not necessarily in the order of zeal, gun-nuts, racists, people who think the South will rise again, anti-abortionists, Christians who think the country is too secular, people who fear immigration is responsible for their loss of jobs, value voters, and others who are detached from reality and believe things that are not true. People who view evolution as a religion not a science and see religion as revealed truth not to be questioned are easily led astray on other issues because facts have been replaced by faith or opinion. The identities merge.
Polls show around 37 percent of Republican voters describe themselves as White Evangelical Christians. This group tends to be wildly anti-abortion. Currently, having made abortion illegal or impossible to get, throughout “Red State Nation”, they are expanding the term “abortion” to include birth control. That is the essence of “Hobby Lobby’s” claim that is being heard before the Supreme Court at this time. I can’t imagine any other civilized country entertaining the notion that corporations have religions and religious rights. But there it is.
Even though the number of gun coconuts is relatively small, only anywhere from 8 to 13 percent of the voters are of the opinion that gun laws are to restrictive. Since gun laws are not restrictive at all, this group is probably similar in number to the gun voters who feel that their “freedom” is threatened by gun regulation. While not all the 8-13% fall into the psycho category who have arsenals of military weapons in their basement and think Obama is coming after them, most of that group are never going to vote for a Democrat based on their love of weapons and fear of any even reasonable hand gun or military weapon regulation. Almost half the people favor better gun laws. However, they are not split on party lines. So already with just guns and Evangelical Christians the Republicans have totaled 50 percent of the voters. Of course there is some overlap. And this is fifty percent of the poor voters. You won’t find snake handlers on the Wall Street, the snakes are in the offices at the desks. Those poor people are the ones whose programs are being cut and they don’t care. The people who are stock piling weapons in their basement are passionate. And they believe the Republicans are on their side and the Democrats are on the side of the Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Indians, or whomever they perceive to be an enemy. This is a paranoid state. Rationality does not enter into it. Mexicans are not coming with Obama to take the guns from some guy who lives in a trailer park in the hills of LA or some small town in Texas. Sorry. That is a paranoid delusion.
End-timers like Sarah Palin believe the world is ending and the big J is coming back. Well, like the sound of one hand clapping, it is not liable to happen. Nonetheless are they going to vote for secular Democrats who want a better life for their children when no such time will ever exist? Think about it.
Clearly white voters still vote strictly along racial lines. Obama, arguably a master campaigner and organizer, still managed to win the white vote in only 4 states. Hard to believe but true.
People who vote based on emotional issue like race, guns and religion do not care or do not understand the economic knife that they are voting for to cut their own throats. Since that is the case the only course for the Democrats is to educate them. This is how the Viet Nam war was stopped, through teach-ins about what was really going on. Obama wants to be like Reagan, or what his perception of other people’s perception of Reagan is. He cares more about Fox news viewers that Democracy Now viewers. He thinks that Wall Street and the poor can coexist with democracy. They cannot. That is why the great FDR said to Wall Street “I welcome your hatred”.
Until Democrats take a stand and explain it well with fireside chats, they will keep losing the low information voters to emotional issues far removed from economic realities.
Obama had a chance to be the second FDR, instead he wanted to be the second Ronald Reagan. I find this appalling, and fodder for another article.
Problems for Apple TV on the Verizon Horizon?
Talking about another unsolved problem for Apple is very sad. To many of the “Apple Faithful” the company’s demise continues apace. Since Jobs passed, the iPhone 4s has been the only product worthy of the company he first built and then rebuilt after the “sugar water” salesman drove it to near bankruptcy.
The next big thing was to be Apple TV. Jobs reportedly said jubilantly before he died: “I cracked it”. This gave hope to the masses that the cable companies could be bypassed and that a customized internet experience would be available for everyone interested. Everyone who has cable, satellite or phone company TV gets a 1000 or more channels and maybe they watch 5 regularly.
Currently Americans are becoming sadly and slowly aware that, like health care, their internet connections are the slowest and most costly in the developed world. Our health care costs twice as much as French health care that is better and free to the patient. French doctors go to your home at no cost. It is the same with cell, internet and TV services. Even South Korea has a far better internet experience than the United States. You can download a two-hour movie with no problems.
Our cable and internet companies are all monopolies. They have an incentive to keep the politicians out of their monopoly, and provide the worst “acceptable” service so politicians don’t hear about it and they max-out their profit.
Netflix has been reporting for years that Comcast, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FIOS and Time Warner Cable have been slowing their download speeds. Currently a stunning court victory by Verizon that many believe has opened the door to an end for “Net Neutrality” has let to scattered reports of internet download slowdowns throughout Verizon’s “territory”. I have FIOS and use Apple TV. Prior to the court decision Apple TV worked just fine. Personally I find Apple’s decision to keep shows that I buy on their servers reprehensible. When I want to watch I movie or TV show I own I have to again and again download it from Apple’s servers. That is workable and worth paying for-as long as the downloads work. Recently it has been just frustrating to use Apple TV. One show downloads slowly but consistently. The next takes 20 minutes to start and then the next pauses right in the middle for no reason other than FIOS is slowing the internet connection.
I thought I was imagining things when the internet connection suddenly slowed after the court decision, but reports about this “phenomenon” are coming from all over about FIOS. Apparently Verizon is experimenting with slowing down connections to see the reaction from consumers. If they get away with it they probably will first ask Apple and Netflix for money to speed up their downloads and then ask the consumer to pay for a higher download rate to receive the downloads. They want to take a bite out of both ends. It is never enough for a monopoly. This strategy can easily be forced on the consumer by slowing download speeds and giving the alternative of downloading the same product at a much higher speed from Verizon or whichever provide controls the pipes.
As it stands now that has made my Apple TV all but unusable. I certainly won’t buy anything else from Apple’s iTunes and wait 20 minutes for it to begin to download. I can barely watch the shows I already own.
This is clearly a big problem for Apple that they need to address on a National level. The US is not even in the top ten of global download speeds. As of November 2013 it was ranked 31. Now with the monopolies who provide internet service able to slow the internet at will it is likely to get much worse.
Apple has the money and the clout to influence National Policy. It is about time they started looking out for their customers and their share holders. The future of Apple TV is at risk. The dream if the highly anticipated iTV may never become a reality. Possible solutions are to be discussed in the next article.
If the internet monopolies are free to manipulate download speeds, they will become “partner” in any and every product sold on the internet. Hollywood, Apple, Netflix and others ought to be on high alert.
Clearly this has already impacted iTunes. Why buy video from Apple if it will take an unreasonable time to download? People buy movies and TV shows to unwind. If the experience is stressful they will be less inclined to buy. I know I am buying nothing on iTunes until the download situation is resolved.
The Honorable Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Building
Washington, D. C. 20510
Making the Post Office Work for the People
The constitution requires the US government to deliver mail. Of course the existence of the United States Post Office is a source of never-ending torture for the extreme right-wing that is now controlling all the media and most of the government. They hate the USPS for four reasons: First, it shows that the government works better than the private system. (Try sending a letter for 45 cents through Federal Express.) Second, it is the largest unionized work force in the USA. Third, it takes “business” away from Federal Express and United Parcel Service and thus donations away from the political parties. Finally the egalitarian nature of work and pay shows that federal bureaucrats paid less that 1/100th of CEOs and their ilk in upper management of UPS and Federal Express can do the same job or even a better one for a fraction of the cost.
Nonetheless, despite their hatred, since the constitution requires the US government to deliver mail, it is doubtful they will be able to fully privatize (and thus destroy) the USPS. However, they are trying and if the last 65 years have shown anything they never quit. The greed that “motivates” Wall Street and the Oligarchy of the United States is a powerful force. They have been undoing the New Deal piece by piece since that fateful day when Truman took office in the twilight of WWII. If the insiders had not derailed Henry Wallace’s Vice-Presidency and replaced him with noted “anti-communist” Harry Truman we would be looking at a different, far better world.
Piece by piece, by creating and empowering the cold-war, passing the Taft-Harley act, creating the CIA, deep-sixing Truman’s tepid try for National Health Care and on and on, the hard-core right has succeeded in not just stopping the continued evolution but completely eviscerating the reforms that created a strong middle class and eventually replacing the New Deal with the Reagan’s Raw Deal and that has turned the United States into a 3rd world country. The single and only goal of the Republicans is to establish a permanent Plutocracy in the USA. All their “policies”, propaganda, “ideas”, economic “theories”, and wall to wall advertising disguised as news and entertainment with only one over reaching goal: that is to eliminate the middle class FDR created and to return to a feudal state where the government coddles the rich and ignores the poor.
The Post Office should be not just a service for the people of the United States, but a source of income, pride and good government jobs. The USPS should be a model for the use of clean energy, the redistribution of wealth, ecological responsibility, and government for the common good.
The Republicans are screaming that the Post Office does not make money and therefore should be eliminated, shut down, or at the minimum reduced in size. Clearly they would love to sell its assets to UPS or Federal Express for a dime on the dollar. Make to mistake about this that is their intention. Since their overall goal is to transfer money and power from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, this is just one more area for them to attack to promote their agenda. However, in the constitution the Post Office is mentioned under the provision which gives Congress the power to raise money, i.e. tax. That means by a simple logical deduction the founders were not concerned that the USPS be a profit-making entity. Their concern was that all citizens should be able to communicate with one another, free speech, on important issues easily and with little or no cost. Newspapers and magazines (or pamphlets) were often the only way to engage in political discourse in that era. Thus having access to mail was a way to provide opportunities for free speech. It was their intent that these forms of communication be available to all, regardless of location, economic conditions, or wealth. Further it was their intent that this means of communication should be private (in the sense of no one could read them except the person to whom the letters were addressed). Government, foreign and corporate spies read your mail under penalty of law.
Because of the Republicans determination to turn the commons of the USA into tools for corporate entities both national and international who then would use them to make more and more money, the USPS inadvertently played a large role in the Second Republican Great Depression. From 2001 until 2007 or 2008 virtually every time I checked my mail there was a letter from some criminal mortgage company offering me the deal of the century. I looked at the postage stamped on the letters. Usually it was for almost nothing. One or two cents. Three cents. Stunned by the cheap mail for corporate entities that were basically advertising, I researched this and found that the advertising was subsidized at the bequest of the Right Wing Appointees at the USPS. The head of the USPS arrogantly said that corporations who paid little to nothing for the mail were supporting the entire USPS because of their “volume”. First this is nonsense. Obviously one person mailing a few letters at full prices is paying the same amount as a corporation mailing dozens of crappy advertisements. Clearly the work it takes to deliver 20 letters that are ads for mortgages is at least 20 times the amount required for delivering 1 first class letter. But in the non-factual world Fox and the Republicans have created anything can be said and believed, if repeated enough. That was just Supply Side NewSpeak to justify transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
Citibank mails me my monthly statement and other mail for anywhere from a low of 13 cents to 25 or 30 cents. They sometimes hide the amount of postage they pay. It is not even printed on the envelope. Why does Citibank get a discount? Why can they hide the amount of postage paid behind some cryptic message? Citibank can put a stamp on their letters just like I do. If anything they should pay more that a person-or use Federal Express or the UPS. The USPS mail is not for the benefit of multi-national corporations but for the benefit of the people.
So the USPS should immediately stop the discounts given to corporate entities. That would raise a ton of money over night.
Also the USPS has parking lots, buildings and services all of which can be used to support the care of Mother Earth rather than to encourage her destruction. Global warming is real, and despite Obama’s lip service to climate change, he per usual has done essentially nothing to promote a better life for all.
Every parking lot and building of the USPS can be used as a source for solar energy. This energy would be sold to the local power company. This would do two things, one lower the cost of operating expenses for the USPS and create an income stream for the people of the United States. It would also lower the cost of energy for the people in any given area.
Parking lots covered with solar panels promote clean energy two ways. First they produce it and second in the warm weather they keep cars cool so the AC which uses lots of energy will need to be used less and, to boot, the cars will be more comfortable. Building solar panels on parking lots and buildings would create local jobs and help stimulate local economies.
Recycling of mailing materials is currently discouraged by the USPS. The boxes they give away are difficult to recycle and of odd dimensions. The paper bags or envelopes are designed to be used once. Opening them destroys them. Even if you try to recycle one of their “fixed price” boxes they refuse to send it unless you use the “right” postage. You can’t send a CD by media mail in one of their small packages even if you cover it over with tape. They don’t allow it. This prevents rather than encourages recycling. This odd rule and giving the packages away makes me wonder who benefits from the free piles of new white cardboard boxes that fill up most Post Offices? Surprise, the Koch brothers own one of the largest paper producers in the USA and they make pearly white, clean, bleached cardboard just like the kind used in the boxes.
Clearly recycling the packages used to ship goods would benefit the USPS, the environment and citizens. Simplifying the charges would also benefit both citizens and the workers at the USPS.
Recycling at the USPS should be this easy. The boxes sold/supplied should be unbleached recycled cardboard. The charge for shipping a USPS box should be the same nationwide so no wasting time calculating postage by distance. Federal Express and UPS might charge by the distance but there is no reason why the USPS should. The goal is to provide a simple service, not to make a profit. The USPS should offer boxes that reflect the services needed. There are lots of CDs shipped by mail. Lots of software is shipped by mail. A reusable box that fits 1, 2 or 3 CD’s shipped by Media Mail seems to be a needed item. Such a box could have a plastic opening accessible from the inside where the shipper could place the address of the person who is getting the CD. The same is true for books.
The address form that would slide into the plastic pouch would have the addresses of the sender and receiver, a code number for the order, a number for the box and the correct postage.
This would allow for unlimited recycling of that box. The charge to ship CDs nation wide should be as simple as $1 for 1 CD, $2 for two or three and $3 for 3 or more, etc..
Other boxes could be done the same way. There would be a window accessible only from the inside that contained the names and addresses, the postage, and a number for the transaction. The paper invoice could be printed from the USPS web site or eBay, really any where. As the box was scanned the USPS would know which box was used and where it was being shipped. No stamping would be necessary.
The boxes themselves, instead of having to destroy them just to open them, could have the fold down corners that Apple or other companies use and be closed with one piece of tape. This would enable a piece of tape to re-tape the box and allow for multiple uses. It would be an easy matter to see how much each box is used and to experiment to keep the boxes circulating longer. Good for the environment and good for the customers. Below are a few pictures of boxes that could be used multiple times.
There is also no need for so many different levels of service. The USPS is not trying to make a profit. They/we are providing a service to ourselves. The mail should be delivered expeditiously. This would eliminate the currently needlessly confusing pages of different rates. If a hurry up service is found to be necessary than just identify the packages and letters by coloring them red. Increase the postage appropriately and it is done.
This details are easy to work out so that there are very few choices. Less choice makes things simpler for everyone. There are only three rates needed. One for media and another for everything else. A third-rate for those in a hurry might be needed. The postage for letters should be charged by the size of envelope. Very simple.
Corporations can pay the same rates as people plus 20 percent. That will act as a value added tax and raise revenues. Corporations don’t need to use the USPS and have no right to use it. They are not people despite what the Romney’s and Scalia’s of the world say. That is just nonsense and Obama should unilaterally end that ridiculous notion.
Finally, the most significant change in the history of the Post Office is the emergence of email. Currently email is not private like mail. Email is read by every government and corporation that is willing to pay for the information in it. Mention Porsche in an email, and the next Google search you do will feature ad Porsche somewhere on the page. Who needs this? Who wants this? It is fundamentally un-American.
The USPS needs to start offering an email service that is safe, clean and private. The emails themselves can only be opened/read/scanned/accessed by the person they are sent to period. Government prosecutors with a court Subpoena could then read the email just like it was mail. This is what America needs from its government. Corporations like Apple, Google, Visa, AT&T and Amazon have made a mockery of the bill of rights. AT&T states that it owns the private conversations of its customers. How ridiculous. The government should make it clear that AT&T has no right to monitor conversations and harvest information from them. Nor do they have the right to sell that information to anyone even the spy agencies of the government. Because it is not their information to begin with, never will be and never should be.
To counter the horror of corporations endlessly collecting data on people the USA government needs to enforce privacy laws and to protect the bill of rights. The USPS can provide email that is guaranteed to be clean, safe, and free. In addition the USPS should establish its own internet highway. This would prevent private companies from monitoring searches.
The government invented the internet, that is a fact. Now corporations claim they own the internet and own anything that travels on “their” pipes. This means they are claiming they “own” your emails, their content, your phone calls over the internet and their content. Of course the corporate shill, Obama, is fostering this non-sense by paying via the National Security State corporations for “access” to emails and phone calls. First, if the USA Justice Department has a reason to access phone calls or email, they need to get a subpoena. After they get the subpoena they do not need to pay anyone to get the information. Did J. Edgar Hoover ever pay AT&T to tap a phone? Second paying corporations for this information does two things: it transfers money from the poor to the rich (which is the goal of the Republican party, corporate America, and the Media-Military-Congressional Corporate complex) and it obscures the need for a subpoena to access private information which is protected by the constitution by creating the pretense that information actually is a material possession owned by an entity. By paying corporations for the information the entire issue of right or wrong is pushed aside. You are just buying something rather than conducting an investigation. This is just one of many stains on the Obama justice department and his flawed presidency.
Text messages should also be handled by the USPS. After all a text is just a short piece of mail. There is no reason they should not be treated like mail, private, secure and the property of the receiver not some company. If folks want their texts public they can Tweet them.
The constitution provides for mail to be sent the US government. The people through the Post Office have the right to demand the government provide this service. Those that hate the government can express their opinions. But opinions and facts are two different things. We have a right to private mail, private conversations and private texts. It is time to bring the USPS into the Aquarian age with a set of new directives that create a state of the art service. A service that creates as much energy as it uses, pays a good wage and is safe and secure from all prying eyes. Below are pictures of boxes that can be recycled multiple times. By putting a plastic window in the middle for the addresses and postage, recycling would be made easy.
Obama’s Minions Have It Wrong
The talking heads that have once again anointed Hillary Clinton the Democratic Primary victory once again are now being told by the Obamanites to cool it because they believe her false sense of inevitable victory, entitlement and superiority cost her the election against Obama. Curiously they blame her rather than credit Obama for the debacle that was her campaign.
That it is an interesting perspective. Certainly Obama’s fans are not going to say that he conned the Democratic electorate into thinking he was an antiwar progressive Democrat and stole the primary election under false pretenses. That does not sound very flattering. However, that is what happened.
As I pointed out before Hillary Clinton will in all likelihood be defeated once again by E. Warren or Bernie Sanders or both if they should run together. Clinton appeals to the Wall Street types that are Democrats, (a smaller number every year), the Clintonistas, folks who celebrate celebrity for itself, and a set of women who want a women president and don’t care about the politics involved. That set of people is not enough to win her any primary victories outside of New York and a few other states.
The voters in Democratic primaries care about the issues. Not just about guns, gays, God, abortion and “a balanced budget”, issues that any right-winger can dredge up to win almost any election in the United Sates. Obama stole the election with his slick, cool persona and ability to let people see what they wanted to see in him. He appeared to be against the war to those against wars, in fact he has expanded the ridiculous “war on terror” to Yemen and Pakistan. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. No war crimes, no charges, no trials, nothing. The average American is totally clueless to why we are fighting 4 wars in the Middle East. “They hate our freedom”. That was Bushes statement, no doubt tested by several think tanks and found to work with the Republican base, and the rest of the “low information” voters which includes about 80 percent of America now. No one who has read anything about the Osama believes that. But the line works. However, the insiders on Wall Street and the War Machine itself were never fooled by Obama’s nod to the left. They knew Obama was one of them. That is why donations to his campaign flowed from Wall Street and the Captains of Industry who would never donate to a progressive candidate (unless they actually cared about the people). There are always exceptions to the rule.
Donations from Goldman Sachs are to buy political influence and make money for the company and their top 1000 employees or so. That is all. To pretend they are donating because they want peace, and egalitarian society or a real progressive tax rate is just nonsense. Romney would not release his tax returns. The media did not care. This was never done before. Yet there were no reporters shouting at him: show us the money, or what rate did you pay, etc.? In fact McCain has his returns from when Romney was considered for VP. An enterprising reporter with connections to the old McCain train could have gotten the returns if he or she wanted to.
While it is reasonable that the elephant like machine she built to win the election was not nimble enough to fend off a real challenge from a well-funded supporter (as the Obamanites claim), the real issue is why there are so many well-funded supporters who oppose her in the Democratic Party?
She is a woman. So perforce she gets unearned support from the chance of her birth, she is the popular wife of a popular president, but still a large section of the Democratic electorate has no interest in seeing her run. Why is that? Isn’t that the real question rather than the process which in true Obama style is more interesting to his followers than reality? Obama was far more interested in the election mechanics than he ever was in actual progressive reforms.
It is not complicated. There are a majority, a strong majority, of Pete Seeger (in honor of) Democrats who don’t want war in the Middle East. The wars are supported by two groups, Big Oil and the Neo-conservatives. Neither have lots of Democrats as members. Obama cleverly side-stepped every question about the Middle East and allowed the primary voters to think what they wanted to think. And, by the way, he made a speech against the war before it started and was not in the Senate when the crucial votes were taken. He made sure everyone knew that. At least Edwards had the integrity to admit his vote was wrong. Clinton did not. As Edwards and Kucinich faded their voters who were strongly anti-war drifted to Obama as the lesser of two evils. That is how Hillary Clinton lost the election last time and how and why she will again be on the wrong side of history. Democrats don’t want a Neo-Conservative cold warrior who is pro-Israel to the extreme of undermining peace in the Middle East and a hypocrite who will not admit she was wrong on the Iraq war. Republican primary voters love it when their candidates maintain they are right regardless of the facts due to the “authoritarian personality complex” they all seem to have. But Democrats who thought they were getting a second FDR in Obama and found out they were getting the first Republican black president will be in no mood to elect another right-wing pro war Democrat.
Obama won the presidency but has lost the country for the democrats. His silly refusal to offer Medicare for all and instead give away the store to the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and hospital industry caused the Democrats to be slaughtered like lambs in the 2010 elections. Peace and prosperity would be closer if four more years of McCain had let to a true progressive being elected, a second FDR being elected. I doubt seriously if anyone besides Goldman Sachs CEOs and the rest of the 1 percent want another four years of Republican policies offered by a Democratic president. That is what Hillary will offer. Obama got away with it and he thinks she can to. Hence, the advice to her campaign from his advisors. But maybe in the back rooms they are telling her let them think you are a reformer who is against the wars. That is what we did. If so she may then win.
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