Michael Konik http://michaelkonik.com Home of the Thought of the Day Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://michaelkonik.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-SmileyReefer-160x160.png Michael Konik http://michaelkonik.com 32 32 Andrew Cockburn on America’s Role in Yemeni Slaughter http://michaelkonik.com/andrew-cockburn-on-americas-role-in-yemeni-slaughter/ http://michaelkonik.com/andrew-cockburn-on-americas-role-in-yemeni-slaughter/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:01:29 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10316 It’s not a fun read. Most will avert their eyes, as we tend to do when confronted with imagery and information that contradicts the comforting stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we stand for. But Andrew Cockburn’s “Acceptable Losses” article in Harper’s magazine should be mandatory for all American citizens, especially those who think our bloated military is filled with “heroes” keeping us “safe” and protecting “our freedom.” Cockburn, the brilliant investigative journalist, reports on our “ally” Saudi Arabia’s reckless bombing of Yemeni civilians, hospitals and food-distribution centers — carried out with American F-15s, American cluster bombs and American expert “logistical support.” The unrighteous carnage will continue so long as we elect unrighteous leaders.

cockburn on tv

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At Dodger Stadium http://michaelkonik.com/at-dodger-stadium/ http://michaelkonik.com/at-dodger-stadium/#comments Sun, 28 Aug 2016 17:01:43 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10309 dodger stadiumYou attend a baseball game once-a-year. You don’t follow the sport or the players. Long ago, when you were a boy, you were a true fan who knew all the statistics and the nicknames, the characters and the storylines. These days, you’re only vaguely aware of who’s starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and even less aware of who’s playing for the other guys. You have no investment in the outcome of the contest, financial or otherwise.

You go for the spectacle, the grand circus of light and sound and motion, the hordes of humans swathed in blue and white. The players: beautiful in their graceful power. The field: radiating chlorophyll. The night sky: endless yet intimate. The air: redolent of grilled onions and cooked meat. Dodger Stadium itself: an elegant dowager confidently reassured by her place in history.

Being there is a pleasure, a constant offering of sensual enticements.

Except for the advertisements.

They’re everywhere.

Well, not everywhere. The players are not yet stickered with corporate logos, like NASCAR racers.

But almost every place a perspicacious marketer could hawk his goods is now “sponsored,” “branded” or “supported” by those with something to sell. The outfield wall. The scoreboard. The loge-level partyfoul foul pole boxes. The foul poles.

Yes, the foul poles. If you should chance to look at the gleaming yellow spires towering from the left- and right-field corners – and it’s sort of hard not to throughout the game – you’ll be reminded to Fly a Certain Airline. The message is affixed to a stiff banner that extends a foot-or-two off the pole into fair territory. If, say, Justin Turner or Corey Seager launched a fly ball toward the bleachers and the foul-line and the ball stayed just fair it would collide with the airline advertisement, simultaneously scoring a Home Run and a grand slam of value-added product placement.


We like to tell ourselves that Major League Baseball is “America’s national pastime,” an entertaining exhibition of grown men playing a child’s game. Maybe that’s right. For what could be more American than treating every person in attendance as a potential customer?

baseball advertisingAt the ballpark, our national urge to consume – whether pig innards served as “Dodger Dogs” or an international airline served as an umpiring tool – is reinforced with every pitch and at every interregnum in the action. Not participating in the commercial charade is only slightly less patriotic than neglecting to stand and applaud for the “Military Hero of the Game.” Few can say exactly why our brave soldiers are currently in Afghanistan or Iraq, but we all know intuitively that their sacrifices make our freedom to purchase stuff possible.

And to Fly a Certain Airline the next time we travel to the Middle East, preferably on non-war-related business.

When you make your annual sojourn to the stadium, you’re reminded at every turn how heartlessly mercenary the sport has become. This brilliant pitcher earns many millions of dollars, and that slugger earn many millions more, and, yet, in the curious mathematics of modern capitalism, they’re probably underpaid. Absent the coddled players, without their numbered presence and exalted skills, most of us probably wouldn’t pay to come to a place where our entire purpose is to cheer on cue and buy whatever’s being sold, whether $6 water, $15 beer or the comforting fiction that our cherished athletic competitions somehow transcend the tacky American imperative to make a profit.

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Councilmember David Ryu’s Leadership Problem http://michaelkonik.com/councilmember-david-ryus-leadership-problem/ http://michaelkonik.com/councilmember-david-ryus-leadership-problem/#comments Sun, 21 Aug 2016 16:39:52 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10289 councilmanryu10On July 14, the Parks & Open Spaces committee of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (HHWNC) considered the future of Runyon Canyon Park. Public comment was heard on whether or not the HHWNC should recommend the immediate termination of the Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Los Angeles and a euphemistically named group called “Friends of Runyon Canyon” (FORC), which has a contract with the City to manage certain aspects of the park.

Two people spoke in support of FORC; one of them was a FORC board member. On the other side, 49 people spoke in opposition of the group (including, it should be noted, this writer).

The massive disparity was no surprise: FORC is roundly reviled among Runyon Canyon park-goers for attempting to build a secret basketball court – a sponsored horizontal billboard  — in the middle of the canyon,  and for drafting plans to construct a parking lot on top of the yoga meadow, and for a litany of other missteps and mendacities that have cost L.A. taxpayers nearly $200,000. Hundreds of people have signed an Open Letter to FORC, asking them to step aside; more than 1,000 have joined Citizens Preserving Runyon and Runyon Canyon Defenders, groups dedicated to preserving Runyon Canyon and removing FORC before they do additional damage.

They’re extravagantly unwanted.

This fact became even clearer six days later, on July 20, when the full HHWNC met to consider the termination motion. Again, resident after resident expressed their distrust and dislike of FORC. This time not a single person spoke in support of FORC; indeed, not a single FORC board member was in attendance for the vote.

Which was not close. The tally was 17-0 to terminate the MOU and fire FORC.

Unanimous. No plausible case could be made that there was another side to the story. No one from HHWNC voted for FORC to remain in Runyon Canyon.

An unequivocal message had been sent to Councilmember David Ryu, in whose District 4 Runyon Canyon is situated. We the people of the HHWNC want the City’s MOU with FORC to be terminated.

A couple of days later, Ryu released a statement through a spokesperson: “The Councilmember believes that the MOU should not be terminated at this time.” Hisryu exultant spokesperson wished to stress the “at this time” part.

“At this time,” the majority of constituents in CD4 will not support the re-election of David Ryu if he doesn’t comprehensively clean up the mess in Runyon Canyon. Let’s remember, Ryu initially provided “positive support” for FORC’s basketball court. Although he responded appropriately to an emergency meeting of the HHWNC and a lawsuit by asking RAP to halt construction, Ryu has never withdrawn his support of FORC, offering, instead, praise for their ineptitude. He’s never suggested FORC should face any consequences for their misdeeds, including a serious ethics violation by founding member Joshua Kopel that could lead to criminal charges. He’s turned his back on the voters from HHWNC who helped put him in office, making a mockery of the Neighborhood Council process. That’s usually not a good move if you wish to have a long career in politics.

Maybe David Ryu, a first-term Councilmember who campaigned as an “outsider” immune from the corruption of City Hall insiders, is a once-in-a-generation wise man who has insight far better than the collective wisdom of his constituents.

Or maybe he doesn’t fully understand what an elected leader is supposed to do. That would be “represent the will of those he represents.”

Anastasia Mann, President of the HHWNC, said, “I am disappointed that David has not yet vetted the position taken by the board on behalf of the stakeholders, but I understand his reasoning. I feel our city reps should take our positions VERY seriously.”

la-me-ln-koreatown-celebrates-20150520-001Ryu’s campaign pledges to honor transparency and maintain the integrity of the Neighborhood Council system are in jeopardy. Sources tell us he’s about to capitulate to developers on the hotly contested 8150 Sunset project, which the HHWNC has also strongly opposed.

Since his press liaison did not reply to written questions, we can only speculate why Councilmember David Ryu wants the MOU with FORC to remain in place when his most important advisors – the HHWNC board representing CD4 stakeholders – have told him unequivocally that FORC has got to go.

That David Ryu would behave in ways that damage his reputation and invite rampant speculation suggests that there must be a pretty big carrot buried somewhere with his name on it. Why else would he risk enraging voters and ruining his future?

The short answer is that this is merely Business As Usual in a rigged political system, where wealthy benefactors call the shots. All the letter-writing, all the meeting-attending, all the public hearings – the process is reduced to a sordid charade when the decision isn’t really made by “the people” but by influence-peddlers. The HHWNC has no credibility as an advisory body when 17-0 votes are ignored. Why should the public bother participating in local government when the end result has nothing to do with them?

FORC’s co-founder and first President, John Gile, is a “professional fundraiser” or “bundler,” or, depending on your view of how democracy ought to function, a “fully legal money launderer.” His job is to bring large donations – no strings attached, of course – to his clients, who include Hillary Clinton, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the Parks committee – which oversees the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP). The General Manager of RAP, Michael A. Shull, was appointed by Garcetti. Shull and RAP blithely gave approval for the notorious basketball project — shepherded by John Gile and FORC’s current President Don Andres — before a citizens’ lawsuit changed their mind.

Shull and RAP also decided to “reimburse” the basketball court’s opportunistic donor, even though documents presented at a public hearing showed that claimed work wasn’t done, the financial figures didn’t add up and the City wasn’t contractually obligated to pay anything. This abdication of fiduciary responsibility no longer garners much attention; it’s understood that the citizens aren’t really involved in making money decisions anyway.

Now, whether or not you think the Democratic National Committee is a quasi-legal mafia or a quasi-criminal mafia, we can all agree that it’s a kind of mafia, whereHillaryu made members are protected and unwanted interlopers, like Bernie Sanders, are institutionally opposed. The DNC’s true colors were exposed by Wikileaks this summer. They’re not an honest organization, to put it kindly. They rigged the primary in favor of a serial liar – as proven by the FBI, no less – whose Clinton Family Foundation does on a wholesale level what John Gile does at retail: collect “donations” in exchange for favorable treatment. And when a corrupt phony like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is forced to resign, she’s promptly offered another nice job.

David Ryu (along with Garcetti and the rest of the Los Angeles establishment) is an ardent Clinton backer; how that jibes with a concern for “transparency” only he can say. This much is clear: in the case of terminating FORC, someone other than the voters of CD4 guide his decision making.

In the coming weeks, you’ll probably hear a lot of credible-sounding assertions from Ryu and his cronies claiming that so-called “Friends” groups are a vital fund-raising tool for a cash-strapped City. Actually, these groups are also a convenient way for City officials to abdicate their management responsibilities, outsourcing work that they’re supposed to be doing themselves – like managing our parks. In the case of FORC, the group has cost the City more than it’s raised, and their dedication to “transparency” – there’s that word again – is questionable at best. This additional layer of fogginess seems to comfort our politicians. Numerous CPRA (public records) requests have gone unanswered; numerous documents relating to FORC’s notorious demolition and construction that ought to be on file are missing. They “forgot” to inform the HHWNC about their basketball court.

FORC LandYet, if you’re a politician, there’s something useful in having a “Friends” group to handle donations: You don’t have to beg rich people for money, you have friends do it for you.

You’ll also probably be hearing about FORC’s alleged assistance in raising funds for a major land purchase near Runyon Canyon, the “knoll” at 2450 Solar Drive. This acquisition would have minor impact on park visitors, but it would have a major impact on preserving the view of Ms. Julie Anderson, a founding member of FORC. After reviewing hundreds of documents – which include multiple bankruptcies and several acts of mortgage fraud – we’re of the opinion that the City is attempting to buy land it already owns from someone who doesn’t really have the right to sell it. In other words, a complete boondoggle dressed up as an act of preservation, with suspicious connections between the Trust for Public Land, former CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and his chief-of-staff Carolyn Ramsay (who lost to Ryu in the race to replace her document-shredding boss). More details on this dirty deal will come to light soon.ryubeingryu

In the meantime, everything’s working the way it was designed to work. The developers are getting “spot” zoning exemptions and private meetings with elected officials while the general public waits hours to speak for two minutes to those same elected officials looking at their phone. On September 18, Mayor Eric Garcetti is hosting a legal bribery event disguised as a concert – tickets $150-$2,700 — in which he and County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl are the featured entertainment. (This is not a joke).  The proceeds go to the Hillary Victory Fund.

Lubricated by the constant flow of money, our pay-to-play system is functioning perfectly. Unfortunately for everyone who cares about the future of Runyon Canyon — and Hollywood, and the City of Los Angeles — FORC and David Ryu seem to be comrades on the same team captained by Eric Garcetti, who stands for re-election in 2017.

He’s already raised $2.2 million, with help from the ex-President of FORC.

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Chance for Peace http://michaelkonik.com/chance-for-peace/ http://michaelkonik.com/chance-for-peace/#respond Sun, 14 Aug 2016 16:02:11 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10282 ike and bernieDid you hear the latest hippie rant from Bernie Sanders? Or maybe it was Jill Stein.

This is what was said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Poetic, right? But clearly the words of a leftie progressive idealist who doesn’t quite live in the real world.jill on war

Actually, the “cross of iron” speech was originally called the “Chance for Peace” speech, and it was delivered in 1953 by Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican President of the United States and Supreme Commander of the NATO Allied Forces during World War II.  A career military man, a member of Augusta National golf club, a classic conservative.

This is how far right our country has moved in the subsequent 60 years: Eisenhower today sounds like a Berniecrat. Comparing military spending to stealing from the people is not something you’ll hear from either Money Party nominee in this year’s Presidential election. Whether neoliberal Democrat or demagogue Republican, the military-industrial complex isn’t something to be warned against, as Eisenhower did; it’s who you work for.

gandhi-21The business of America is war-making and will continue to be war-making until We the People collectively demand peace. Not a conditional, theoretical, Utopian peace, but comprehensive, leading-by-example demilitarization. This is obvious. And necessary. All we are saying is . . . what Lennon, Gandhi and, in his own way, Eisenhower said: We have a chance for peace. Let’s not squander it.

Electing leaders who are adamantly anti-war would be a promising start.

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Francisco Pais: Verde http://michaelkonik.com/francisco-pais-verde/ http://michaelkonik.com/francisco-pais-verde/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 16:59:33 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10278 Guitarist Francisco Pais comes from a small town in Portugal where every shade of green seems to burst forth from the land. On his new album “Verde,” numerous threads from guitar history comprise the compositions, weaving an aural quilt of engaging sounds. You hear shades of Hendrix, Waters, Clapton — and all the jazz titans you can name. You also hear Pais’ expressive voice — and his extraordinary band, which includes Ferenc Nemeth on drums and Myron Walden on tenor sax. Far from “easy listening,” Pais’ music is easy to listen to. And enjoy. Recorded without edits or isolation, “Verde” is pure pleasure.


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Chareze http://michaelkonik.com/chareze/ http://michaelkonik.com/chareze/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2016 17:46:34 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10271 chareze and charmWe knew her for a month before she died in a terrible accident, but Chareze Clamor touched us so profoundly that she may have well spent 15-or-more years, a whole doggie life, as part of our family.

She was only five-months. A puppy. She weighed maybe seven pounds, much of it hair. A pure Shih-Tzu, Chareze was a tiny physical presence. Ephemeral. How amazing – how enlightening and inspiring – to realize the immense power coursing through that little canine body. Spiritual power. Chareze projected a yogic calm and confidence; she was never aggressive and she was seldom afraid; she was ready to befriend every creature she encountered, even the neighborhood’s grouchiest old snarler, who quickly became Chareze’s best friend. Her secret? Chareze seemed determined to love the world, and the world was inclined to love her back.

Yes, everyone loved her. Adults and children, dogs and puppies. Even the doves in our garden.

The power of her adorable physical presence – when it was taken away from us suddenly, shockingly, our despair was intensely felt. My wife Charmaine and I both had trouble sleeping or eating for several days. (Talking with a trauma therapist helped). Until she was gone, I hadn’t fully realized how comprehensively Chareze filled my heart. You could say she cracked my heart wide open, and you would be right on, because the act of cracking does involve pain, the acute anguish of loss and remorse, but it also involves widening the aperture through which our kindness and compassion flow.20160710_173200

For the past seven years-or-so since my mutt Ella died, I wasn’t ready, for various reasons, to adopt another dog. (Charmaine has been ready and campaigning for a couple of years.) Chareze came into our life not by choice but by chance; we were doing a good deed. But taking her in meant getting over my lifelong prejudice against toy dogs. Within a day or two, Chareze had me convinced that no matter how small the package, the delivery girl brings as much joy to our life as a larger creature. She taught me that love is omnipresent if you let it be.

Chareze was – and I know this is going to sound crazy – Chareze was gifted. She was extraordinarily intelligent, learning new behaviors and tricks on an almost daily basis. When I was still drowning in the “if only” and “should have been” phase of my grief, I was fixated on the idea that Chareze was going to become a highly trained therapy dog, just like Ella. She seemed to have the aptitude and the composure for the job. She would have been a tremendous therapy dog. Then a friend helped me realize: Chareze already was a therapy dog. She didn’t have a license or a cute vest, but she was already doing the work. For the month she lived in our home, she healed all of us in one way or another.

chareze and kingstonAnd imparted many lessons. There’s that power, again. She was here briefly, she taught deeply.

One of the many things I learned is that my newly opened heart is eager for a canine friend amid the writer’s solitude. As we recovered from her loss, wouldn’t it be wonderful, we fantasized, to adopt a puppy with some of Chareze’s best qualities? Calm, happy, confident, unaggressive, affectionate, playful, smart. Not one that looked like her or was necessarily the same breed – but a puppy with Chareze’s personality and vibe. Was that possible?

Yes. Everything’s possible. The worst and the best. Tragedies happen. So do miracles.

We found Chareze’s spirit harbored in a 10-week-old mutt that may be part Shih-Tzu, and may be many other things. For her soulful eyes, we namedbillie charm her Billie, after Billie Holiday. The runt of her accidental litter, she grew up at a rescue ranch in Southern California, where the dogs (from pitbulls to poodles) live outdoors, uncaged. She likes being outside.

Billie Henrietta Konik has a few favorite lying down spots in her new back yard: beneath a rose bush to nibble on; atop a leaf pile near the lemon verbena; beside the geranium pot. But her joy place, the place she returns to every day, every morning, is in a stand of tall grass just across from Chareze’s grave. Something’s going on here, and I know it’s good.

Love does go on. It doesn’t end. Let us count ourselves lucky whenever our heart cracks wide open and the divine energy flows through us, for a minute, a month, a lifetime.

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Finders Keepers http://michaelkonik.com/finders-keepers/ http://michaelkonik.com/finders-keepers/#respond Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:46:56 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10265 Sometimes one craves unmitigated weirdness. Not much we’ve encountered lately is quite as weird as the story told in the finely-made film “Finders Keepers.” A man loses his leg in an accident and receives a prostheses. The man (weirdly) gets to keep his amputated leg and (even weirder) decides to stash the mummified limb in a small outdoor grill, which (even weirder) gets purchased at a garage sale by an entrepreneurial gent with a pronounced streak of insecurity-masked-by-bravado. This fellow (even weirder) refuses to return the leg to its owner.  Drama and black comedy ensue. “Finders Keepers” is not a Coen Brothers feature. It’s a documentary, a report of a true (and ongoing) story.

finders keepers


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#WeAreOne. Really? http://michaelkonik.com/weareone-really/ http://michaelkonik.com/weareone-really/#respond Sun, 17 Jul 2016 15:17:59 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10254 jesus-buddha-way-of-heartYou’ve seen the trending hashtags: #NotMeUs; #StrongerTogether; #WeAreOne. They’re all useful shorthand for complex ideas. On a “normal” day of “normal” news, the concept of Unity strikes most of us as reasonable, a thoroughly un-controversial acclamation of cooperation and fellowship. Great. Sure.

What happens, though, when someone drives a truck into dozens of families?

What happens when terrorists terrorize, when violators violate, when haters hate? What happens when someone behaves as though he’s inhuman?

All those hashtags feel impotent and vaguely ridiculous. #WeAreOne? Really?

Yes. We are. Really.

Just as the First Amendment is most devoutly honored when society permits and accepts hideously vile forms of speech, the concept of global unity – of universal harmony – is most devoutly honored when we refuse to label despicable malefactors as Them, as the dreaded Other. The temptation is to think of murderers as substantially different from the average human being, that reprehensible killers are zombie mutants, a debased sub-species of humanpolice-shoot-woolwich-killers that’s not really human at all.

But it’s not true. We know that the men who commit mass shootings and suicide bombings are bad, that they’ve committed Evil. We would probably say that about someone who killed fewer people, too. We would probably say that about someone who killed one person. Some might even say that about someone who kills only herself. And although it’s difficult to identify exactly where, at some point in our deductive reasoning we recognize that takers of human life can sometimes be rehabilitated and forgiven. We do it every day with our soldiers and police; we might even congratulate them for their bravery, as we do ourselves every time we execute someone to show that killing is wrong. Somehow we understand that being a killer doesn’t make you inhuman at all. It makes you a deeply flawed human being (or a hero, depending on your ideology).

Imperfect. Just like us. Like me. And maybe you.

In the world’s darkest moments, when peace and unification seem impossible and hopelessly naïve, is when we must open our hearts widest, recognizing that at one time or another we’ve all had hateful, destructive thoughts. Maybe we’ve harbored violent fantasies of retribution and revenge. Some of us may have even lived out our fantasy during the televised “shock and awe” phase of the Iraq War. Or “Game of Thrones.”

We Are OneMost of us, though, choose kindness over cruelty. We understand that healthy people don’t behave violently, even if they have violent thoughts. We know – we don’t have to be told on Twitter, we know ­– that the only answer to hate is overwhelming love and compassion. For everyone, not merely for those who look like us or speak the same language or worship at the same temple or were born in the same general place or under the same zodiac sign. Love everyone. This is the fundamental principle of all the world’s religions, of progressive politics, of every social movement in search of peace and justice. To take care of each other, to truly be our brother’s keeper, we must first be brothers. To care for the least among us, to truly heed the words of Jesus and Buddha, we must consciously, willfully choose love and compassion, even when confronted with seemingly obvious examples of the Other – mass murderers, Bashir Assad,Words of wisdom Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton. Or whomever you find impossible to love.

They’re awful, reprehensible, disgusting – whatever adjective describes your outlook. But they’re not the Other. They’re us on our very worst days, only more so. How much only you can say.

In the face of what currently feels like overwhelming global anger and malice, shining the bright light of love is more crucial than ever. Be courageous. The world needs you. You need you. And, yes, we need each other. All of us: the horrible and the hideous, the gorgeous and adorable, the pathetic and the piteous, the mighty and the righteous. We’re all in this inscrutable mystery together.

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Lady Dynamite http://michaelkonik.com/lady-dynamite/ http://michaelkonik.com/lady-dynamite/#respond Tue, 12 Jul 2016 15:17:29 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10250 The new comedy series “Lady Dynamite,” now streaming, has much to recommend it: a loose, quasi-meta narrative structure that delivers unexpected delights; stellar cameos from giants of the “alt” comedy world (Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Judd Apatow); and recurring characters you look forward to seeing frequently, notably the foul-mouthed super-agent Karen Grisham (Ana Gastyer). Even lacking these treats, Lady D would be mandatory viewing, because it stars the singular Maria Bamford, a genuine genius of laughter. The show is highly autobiographical — Ed Begley and Mary Kay Place portray Maria’s Duluth-based parents — and, therefore, dark, awkward, and hilarious. The series is a magnificent showcase for Maria’s stunning menagerie of voices and personas, proudly weird and consistently wonderful.


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You’re With Who? http://michaelkonik.com/youre-with-who/ http://michaelkonik.com/youre-with-who/#comments Sun, 10 Jul 2016 22:18:27 +0000 http://michaelkonik.com/?p=10241 HRC resignedThis was not a good week for people who had hoped to see a woman become the next President of the United States.

Their candidate, the one they shamelessly were “with” despite her sordid track-record of war-making and bribe-taking, was proven to be a serial liar with poor judgment at best and callous disregard for the law at worst. Their candidate, the one they praised for her “experience” and “intelligence,” was proven to be a national embarrassment. Their candidate was exposed as a bumbling fraud – again. But unlike Benghazi (a matter about which she appears to have lied under oath) and Bosnia (in which her tall-tale fabricating was refuted by video evidence), this time the American electorate seems to be paying attention.

When the Empress wears no clothes, everyone watches, hideous though the spectacle may be.

Her apologists will look for someone else to blame. But let’s be clear: The downfall of the “presumptive” nominee for the Democratic Mafia is not the product of a right-wing conspiracy, or a media hoax, or old-fashioned misogyny. This downfall isComey testifies on FBI probe into Clinton emails

entirely self-made. What’s happening to her campaign – and what will continue to happen until she withdraws – is karmically inevitable, the inescapable conclusion when enough light is shined on the dark and dingy corners where moral squalor and financial plunder grow like mold. When you and your husband are at the head of a global money-laundering operation that does business with the lowest scoundrels on the planet, dictators and tyrants who oppress women and torture dissidents, folks will eventually figure out that you don’t really have their best interests at heart. (Even if you don’t hold a press conference for more than 8-months.) Sometimes it just takes a few video clips to catalyze the cleansing.

How painful it must be to be confronted with incontrovertible evidence that the candidate you’ve stood behind, the one you’ve proclaimed to be most in line with your values, has no credibility. (She is literally “not to be believed.”) How demoralizing to realize that despite enjoying every advantage imaginable over a “fringe” opponent your candidate unilaterally rendered herself un-electable merely by being herself.

what you gonna doRather than bask in schadenfreude, we’re trying to be compassionate. We’re trying to imagine, for example, if Bernie Sanders were proven to be an embezzler — that all those $27 donations were going to fund his casino gambling debts and Vicodin habit. We progressives would be devastated, dumbstruck, depressed. Now, imagine you’re one of the many celebrities and private prison lobbyists and podcasters and café owners and Los Angeles City Councilmembers in CD4 who have publicly and passionately declared allegiance to HRC. How must it feel? You’ve said “I’m With Her.” And now the whole world knows who you stand beside, and they can see her stain upon you.

We imagine it feels terrible, as all betrayals do. And for that we’re truly sorry.

We’re thrilled, however, that Madame Presumed has clarified the choice between she and Bernie Sanders. The difference in their integrity is Yin toBernie for prez Yang. Bernie is honesty incarnate. Bernie is truth. (Now try reading the last two sentences with her name; as Jesus Quintana once said, “it’s laughable.”) Fortunately, there’s still time to get on the right side of history. We’re hopeful that our brothers and sisters momentarily lost in the dark will soon join us in the light, on the beautiful path toward social, economic, racial, gender, environmental and political justice.

We’re on our way. The transformation has begun. And here’s the good news for all the voters who are late to the party, Superdelegates and Hillbillies alike: we’ve got room for you, too. When Bernie Sanders is President, the United States of America will have one rule of law for every citizen regardless of color or wealth, and every citizen will enjoy the dignity and responsibility of recognizing that we’re all in this together.

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