Millionaire asshole golfs again

After Donald Trump’s trip to France to celebrate Bastille Day (surely he recognizes the symbolism?), he skipped returning to the White House, and immediately went to his Trump golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament is there, which lasts throughout this weekend, and the Golfer-In-Chief wasn’t about to skip out on his 2 favorite pastimes: golf, and leering at women.

Trump has already advertised the tournament on his Twitter page, multiple times…

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At this point, you are probably wondering how the hell a POTUS can get away with advertising for a golf course that he owns and profits from.

To be fair, Donald Trump was awarded the tournament in 2012, back when he had just bowed out of that year’s presidential election, and was still happily cashing NBC checks on “The Apprentice”. Upon being awarded the tournament, Trump had this to say:

“It is my great honor to have Trump National Golf Club Bedminster host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open,” said Donald J. Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organization. “We designed this course to appeal to and to challenge the greatest golfers in the world, and having the most prestigious event in women’s golf at this course makes our plans complete. I look forward to a truly memorable championship.”

The USGA, after Trump’s election, wanted to move the tournament to a different course. Apparently, Trump’s attorneys threatened a lawsuit if they moved, so the USGA had no choice but to hold the tournament at Bedminster.

Although, I’m not quite sure why this particular course was chosen in the first place. According to Golf Digest magazine, Trump Bedminster is a mediocre golf course, and is not even a top-10 course in New Jersey. It reportedly has a flooding problem, which helps to explain why Trump’s golf balls always end up in the water when he golfs there (or elsewhere!).

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Eric Trump, son of Donald, is the one nominally in charge of the Trump Golf enterprise, when he’s not busy diverting money from cancer charities and children’s hospitals to buy oil paintings and housewares. The Trump children have had a horrible week, from Ivanka getting exposed by the Washington Post for her hypocritical business practices, to Donald Jr. lying several times about the several Russians he met with during his father’s presidential campaign. As the “Russiagate” investigation rolls on, Donald Trump is busy trying to distract us from his crimes. Whether that is awkwardly yanking on the French first lady’s arm, having bouts of amnesiausing his 2020 re-election fund to pay for his son Donald Jr’s legal fund (now there’s a sad irony), or calling the Russiagate investigation a “hoax” despite the 25+ investigators and attorneys currently working on it, Donald Trump always manages to stay in the news on a daily basis for doing things that are stupid to the point of being newsworthy.

And, of course, despite the fact that he continually called out Barack Obama for his golf trips, and the fact that he promised to not vacation as much when he became president, this is the 36th golf outing that Trump has taken since he was inaugurated 6 months ago. Trump’s vacationing has become so notorious that there are several websites dedicated to keeping track of it:

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Since Trump still fully owns Trump Organization and discreetly oversees it, he profits off of U.S. taxpayers, who get charged every time he travels to a Trump hotel, golf course, or any other associated property. Between the usage of Air Force One and Marine One, the security costs, etc., it adds up very quickly. As you can see on the graphic above, he has already cost taxpayers over $46 million (in my opinion, the actual costs run much higher). And that money gets put right back into his company, which is an apparent violation of the U.S. Constitution emoluments clause. The fact that he still advertises Trump golf events on Twitter just adds insult to injury.

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A plane flies over Trump Bedminster golf course in New Jersey, protesting the appearance and ownership of President Donald Trump.

The “Russiagate” investigation has started to ramp up recently, so using his companies to profit off of his presidency may not seem like a big deal compared to things like espionage, conspiracy, and perjury. I assure you, however, that it will be one of the many things that will contribute to his eventual undoing.

 

MAGA: My Angry Government Article

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Ever since Donald Trump unimaginably became our 45th president, I have refrained from writing articles about him. Mostly because he does something stupid to the point of being newsworthy every day, and I would not have the time to constantly write about it.

But, after this weekend, I cannot stay silent. Donald Trump is, without a doubt, the most incompetent person to ever hold office in any capacity, let alone being a leader of the free world. He thoroughly embarrassed the U.S. during the G20 Summit, from letting his unelected daughter Ivanka actually represent the U.S. at the table during a meeting (the G20 is the largest meeting of world leaders, having a child represent you is unusual and has never happened before. He should have, at the very least, suborned his chair to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, NOT his daughter!) to having a secretive meeting with Vladimir Putin that lasted for hours, without any note-taking or witnesses. He actually stated that him and Putin would start a cybersecurity initiative, despite the fact that Putin’s Russia was the country who hacked into our voter logs and nuclear reactors. If that isn’t insane enough, Trump has seemingly taken a page from communist countries like North Korea, and posted a choir singing his own “theme song” celebrating his Make America Great Again catchphrase (this video is from July 4th. he has posted a newer one with a super ridiculous slideshow on his Twitter page):

 

Pretty awful, huh? OK. Let me pour a nice big glass of “covfefe”, and let’s get started…

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Donald Trump is a liar. He will literally say anything to try to get over on you. Don’t believe me? Here, he’ll prove it:

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Didn’t expect him to say that, huh? He still has literally hundreds of contradictory and ridiculous tweets on his page. His former golf caddy and current anti social media director Dan Scavino Jr. hasn’t bothered to delete any of his older tweets, or even to suggest a coherent and consistent platform for Trump to follow on Twitter, so his tweets continue to be outrageous and hypocritical.

How bad is Trump? Well, he has a 34% approval rating in the U.S., and is hated even more outside of the U.S. (he has a 12% approval rating in Germany, where he just left from the G20 Summit in Hamburg). He hasn’t accomplished anything of substance, except to divide the country even more with his ridiculous rhetoric. The only thing he seemingly accomplished was keeping the Carrier air-conditioner jobs in Indiana, and that has proven to be fake, since the jobs are being lost anyway. His executive orders are mostly meaningless, and state and local leaders ignore his orders to report undocumented immigrants and voter logs. The GOP-created “Trumpcare” is being called the most-hated piece of legislation in U.S. history. He has taken more golf trips during his first 6 months than most presidents take their entire term, and he has cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars already due to flagrant overuse of Secret Service security and the Air Force One plane. His speeches are filled with lies, and complaints towards media organizations that have treated him far better than he deserves. If that’s not bad enough, whenever he visits a Trump hotel or golf course (oh, you thought he would have to put Trump ownership in a blind trust? Nope, he still discreetly runs the company!), he charges the government for its usage. Donald Trump is, quite literally, using the presidency as a way to profit off of you and me.

His administration is filled with Trump acquaintances and family members, along with K-Street and Capitol Hill rejects. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who had absolutely no political experience (Trump himself had no political experience either before becoming President), became senior staff members in the White House. Rick Perry, who wanted to get rid of the Department of Energy yet couldn’t even name it in a debate (the moment ended his presidential campaign last year), is…you guessed it, the secretary of the Department of Energy. His Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a long-time associate of many influential Russians, and Vladimir Putin even awarded him the Russian Order Of Friendship in 2012. Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, with his son, reportedly had Russians attempt to hack into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. The Housing and Urban Development cabinet is run by a man who thinks poverty is “a state of mind” (Ben Carson), and a wedding planner whose only qualification is that she presumably lives in a house (Lynne Patton). If you are Catholic, you should be offended that a woman who had an affair with a married man whose wife was suffering from cancer, has been nominated by Trump to become Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican). If you are Muslim, you are certainly offended at his ill-conceived attempts at banning Muslims from entering the country (which have been overturned by U.S. Circuit Courts). If you have average intelligence or higher, you have to be offended at a White House that refuses to allow videotaped press briefings, that treats journalists like troublesome children, and that uses social media just like troublesome children.

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There has been proven collusion with Russia during the election, with Donald Trump’s campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies have proof, and major media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post have proof as well. U.S. intelligence agencies have asked the media to not release this information, but as the investigation moves along, this information will eventually be released to the public. This is why the “Golfer-In-Chief” always talks about “fake news”, he wants to discredit the media before the Russiagate investigation goes to the next level. Robert Mueller, head of the investigation, has dozens of people working on the case, and he even has people focusing on potential money laundering and fraud (trust me, there’s been a lot of that). Needless to say, the Commander-In-Queef wants to control the media narrative before it controls him. This is something he’s done his entire life. Remember when the New York Post infamously ran a cover story bragging about Donald Trump’s sexual prowess? He personally leaked that story. If Marla Maples hadn’t been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement like everyone else who is associated with Donald Trump, she would surely tell the truth. Of course, rumors abound that First Lady Melania Trump (when not working on her “cyberbullying initiative”) is cheating on Donald with a man who lives in NYC, and this was part of the reason she stayed behind to live in Trump Tower (which we paid for) while Donald moved into the White House.

Donald Trump IS fake news. He is the original gangsta, the Triple OG of fake news. How fake? He used to call news organizations under the guise of “John Barron”, who would “leak” news that praised Trump in some capacity.  Any news article or show that makes complaints about Trump (which is basically everything except for Fox News), is called “fake news” by him and the White House, because his feelings got hurt. Donald has a son named Barron, he has fake Time magazine covers posted on his Trump properties along with oil paintings of himself that was paid for with Donald J. Trump charity foundation money, and he is still leaking fake news out to the world, but on a much larger level.

I’ll end this article as simply as possible, with the philosophy of Occams Razor. Occams Razor states that if two explanations exist for one outcome, then the simpler and more logical explanation is usually correct.

Are we to believe a man who has lied his entire life, who has lived by his rules without ever being held accountable for them, who currently has open lawsuits ranging from sexual assault to non-payment of funds (yes, the president can be sued for things that happened before he became president), a man who recently renewed the web domain “TrumpTowerMoscow.com” , a man who is either narcissistic, has dementia, or is an idiot (probably a combination of the three)…or are we to believe our own intuition and facts that are easily accessed on the internet?

The ironic part is that Trump has been committing crimes his entire life. He only ran for president out of spite, to prove to his many detractors that he could actually become president. Well, he accomplished it all right, but now he is subject to the same checks and balances that guide everyone else in government. He has committed fraud on an unprecedented (unpresidented?) scale, and has been flagrant about it. Unfortunately for him, he can’t bribe or extort the U.S. government to drop the investigation, although he has surely tried, like with former FBI director James Comey.

If you are a true patriot (not a fake patriot who waves their made-in-China flag around and uses flag emojis constantly, but is really a hypocrite traitor, like Michael Flynn and his son), then you have to be pissed off at where our country is. I’m pissed off. Trump has alienated our world allies, while reaching out to dictators in Turkey, the Philippines, and Russia. That’s why I took the time to write this article. His entire administration is filled with complicit traitors. Most of the U.S. military, contrary to his propaganda, does not respect him, and Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis is probably the ONLY person in his administration who is not a traitor (incidentally, Mattis is #6 in the presidential line of succession). Donald Trump has always been a fake, a fraud, and a coward. He has never won a fair fight in his life, because he has always rigged the fights in his favor. If you believe in karma, then he is certainly due for his. If you believe in the rule of law, then he will be held accountable for colluding with Russia to win the presidential election, for lying about it, for obstructing justice (most notably, for the firing of former FBI director James Comey), and for violating the U.S. Constitution emoluments clause.

Whether his supporters are in denial, or simply support him out of spite towards everyone else, they will soon find out what most of the world has already learned: that he is an incompetent traitor. The day Donald Trump leaves office is the day that we can truly begin to make America great, again.

 

 

 

 

MUSIC REVIEW: The Acacia Strain, “Gravebloom”

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Good old TAS, the OG’s of nihilistic downtuned modern metal music. Ever since their inception around the turn of the millenium (has it been almost 20 years already?!?), they have been kicking our collective asses. In their first 10 years, they released three legitimate classics: 2006’s “The Dead Walk” (is there anything heavier than the beginning of “4×4”?”); 2008’s “Continent”, which was/is 10/10 perfection from beginning to end; and 2010’s “Wormwood”, which would begin a shift from the mid-tempo malevolence into the slower, doomier sound that they are known for now.

Now it’s 2017, and there are probably hundreds of bands out there operating from The Acacia Strain’s influential musical template. So, what do they do? Why, record and release “Gravebloom”, of course, which certainly ranks among their best albums (released June 30th on Rise Records).

It opens with “Worthless”, a self-loathing song set to swirling guitars which has a surprising dynamic shift around the 2:45 mark. Things don’t get any happier: the indictment of society on “Plague Doctor”, exploring how to not be a model citizen on “Model Citizen”, the funereal dirge of “Cold Gloom”, and the Deftones-esque dissonant wall of sound on “Abyssal Depths”.

“Bitter Pill”, “Dark Harvest”, and “Calloused Mouth” pick up the tempo and are more reminiscent of the old-school TAS sound that we all know and love. “Dark Harvest” in particular is musically and lyrically reminiscent of the awesome “Holy Walls Of The Vatican” off of their previous album Coma Witch.

The lyrics of Vincent Bennett alternate between suicidal desperation and hostility towards the corruption of society. When he screams “We exist inside a wasteland / Rolling fields of agony / Bodies hanging lifeless / In a forest of dying trees / The last great disciple of the human race / Slipping through the cracks of time and space” on Bitter Pill, he paints a dystopian picture that is bleak, yet defiantly in acceptance of its fate.

When you get a TAS album, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. Aside from the occasional shift in song dynamics, Gravebloom pretty much sticks to the sound that The Acacia Strain is known for. And let’s be happy they did, because they have released one of the top metal albums of 2017.

 

The 25 Ta Life soap opera just had a plot twist

Anybody who is familiar with the hardcore band 25 Ta Life, knows how much drama surrounds them (check out one of my earlier articles if you are unfamiliar).

In a somewhat unexpected plot twist, however, James “Stikman” Ismean from the New Jersey hardcore band Fury Of Five has signed on to be the vocalist for 25 Ta Life’s upcoming performance at This Is Hardcore 2017.

Considering Stikman recorded a diss track towards Rick Healey (the longtime vocalist for 25 Ta Life) a couple years ago, this is unexpected indeed…

 

Remember when Axl Rose first started performing with AC/DC, and how ridiculous THAT sounded? Well, imagine if Axl had talked shit about Brian Johnson and threatened to kick his ass, and THEN signed on to do performances with AC/DC.

Yeah, it’s like that.

25 Ta Life with Stikman admittedly sounds good, however, especially with the return of OG guitarist Beto…

 

Either way, TIHC 2017 will be awesome, and as a longtime fan of both 25 Ta Life and Fury Of Five, this will be one of the most anticipated performances.

Donald Trump comes to Ypsilanti, MI

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What an unexpected treat! No, I’m not talking about the heavily redacted tax forms that were leaked from the White House…no, I’m talking about our Commander-In-Queef in the orange flesh! In my city! About 5 miles from my house, at the old Willow Run auto plant that has recently been converted to an autonomous car testing facility.

Will he use the word “bigly”? Will he take credit for the economic upturn, despite being a President for less than a financial quarter? Will he accidentally get run over by an autonomous car?

Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.

Here is definitive proof that Donald Trump is a traitor

If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

To clarify: The ONLY thing that our President Of The United States has liked on Twitter so far in 2017, is a Fox News article where Al Franken “thinks (Jeff) Sessions committed perjury”.

It seriously blows my mind that Trump continues to expose himself on Twitter. To this day, you can go on his Twitter page and find dozens of seriously suspect tweets from years ago where he directly contradicts himself or makes himself look like an insecure idiot. 

Now, it can’t be called “fake news” if he writes it himself, can it? Here’s another fun one:

What’s so funny, you might ask? Well, the fact that Donald Trump wrote this in 2012, and the fact that he has now apparently decided to appoint Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia. Trump must not care if Huntsman were to “give our country” to Russia; in fact, it completely goes along with the Russian complicity narrative that his administration has been surrounded in.

For all of the talk about “extreme vetting”, someone needs to vet Trump’s Twitter feed (and Sean Spicer’s Twitter feed too, he is possibly the most incompetent user of social media that I have ever seen). Or not…it is all quite amusing, I suppose…

From White Stripes to black circles

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I never was a big White Stripes fan (although “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” is still my jam), but I have always had my respect for what Jack White has done for music. He brought a punk ethic to a music industry that was, at the time, full of boy bands and second-rate nu metal bands. He proved that you could take a shitty 1960’s Strat copy guitar and (along with Meg White) a basic 4 piece drum kit, to become a successful artist. Sure, part of it was image, as Jack would fully agree to. But the songwriting was always there, and the White Stripes had some good songs. To this day, you can’t go into a college football stadium without “Seven Nation Army” blasting through the PA system at some point during the game.

But what Jack White has done goes way beyond creating music. In recent times, he was one of the early champions of analog recording and vinyl records. With his Third Man Records, based in Nashville, he constructed a top of the line studio with analog recording equipment. Except for Steve Albini and Electrical Audio in Chicago (which Albini started in 1997), there have really been no top studios dedicated to analog recording in the U.S.

And, now, Jack White has went full circle from musician and producer to record distributor. His new Third Man Records factory in Detroit is dedicated to producing vinyl records for his label, and to pressing records for other musicians and labels. Records aren’t just some trendy hipster scene anymore, as they are projected to be a billion-dollar worldwide industry in 2017.

But WHY are vinyl records, and analog recording, so important? My thoughts:

Analog recording (reel-to-reel tapes, as you might picture on an old school movie projector) has been the only constant in the music recording industry. Cassette tapes (which is basically a miniaturized tape reel in a plastic case), with their much smaller sizes, became popular in the 1980’s, but were only suitable for consumer use, and were eventually replaced by compact discs.. CD’s have been the consumer audio standard, but they are quickly falling to the wayside, with digital audio sales and streaming providing the vast majority of music sales nowadays.

Digital audio tape (DAT), which looked like cassettes but were considered suitable for professional music storage, were briefly in vogue in the 1990’s to 2000’s. There were even ADAT tapes (Alesis Digital Audio Tape, which were Alesis proprietary tapes the size of video cassettes for VCR’s). But these soon fell into obsolescence. Back when I was studying and interning for music production in the early 2000’s, DAT and ADAT was still being used, but fully computer-based digital recording was quickly overcoming it. Digital recording software has been in use in the music industry since the 1980’s, but the limitations of computers back then made it impractical. By the late 1990’s, digital recording would become the standard, or at least analog recording with digital mixing and mastering.

With that being said, analog recording has been the only constant recording format. Vinyl records will last many decades without suffering any appreciable loss of sound quality. Compact discs (CD’s), on the other hand, are quick to scratch up and will eventually rot (I have CD’s at home I bought less than a decade ago and are already rotting out). Cassette tapes, with their thin magnetic tape, will eventually lose sound quality. For consumers who want to archive a music collection, vinyl records are at this point in time the only product that will be guaranteed to last their lifetime. 

Sure, you could archive a collection of digital music, such as 99% of us have done. Who doesn’t have songs on their computer or phone? We have MP3, WAV, and AAC files for basic sound quality without requiring too much memory, and FLAC files for higher sound quality. Unfortunately, these audio coding formats aren’t guaranteed to last. There have been many changes in consumer audio and video formats (remember Betamax, laserdiscs, and Mini-Discs?), and things could change yet again. Plus, what if your hard drive seizes up, or you accidentally erase your digital recordings? You can easily transfer analog files to digital formats…but it’s a hell of a lot harder to transfer digital audio to an analog recording.

I can also argue that vinyl records are beneficial for ALL musicians, even the ones who don’t record onto them. With the prevalence of digital music, songs have become as disposable and fleeting as any other trend. But having a tangible product in your hand such as a record, with the artwork and liner notes, makes the music listening more of an immersive experience. It makes you actually appreciate the music, because you’ve invested more time into getting it than simply pressing “download” on Google Play. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of digital music; on the contrary, it has many upsides. It is much easier to listen to music nowadays, and much easier to create and edit music when recording (ever try to splice a reel when editing tape?). However, that doesn’t mean that digital music should be the only format. Analog recording has its place, especially for audiophiles and music archivists.

Selling physical products, such as records, is important because that’s where a lot of a musician’s profits are going to come from. Merchandise (“merch”) is another good profit source unless you are signed to a major label with one of those God-awful “360 deals”. Sure, you can make most of your money touring, if you are a big enough artist who doesn’t have to “pay-to-play” at some shitty club. But what about musicians who don’t go on tour, or have a bunch of merch pressed up for sale? Let’s take a look at royalties. For Spotify, one of the largest digital music streaming services, the average per-stream payout is .0005 cents. For an actual album purchase, digital royalties are still less than royalties for physical album purchases, although this is finally starting to even out. 

If I were to record an album and sell 1,000 copies of it, I might make a few cents per copy from iTunes. But for the average independent musician who presses up a physical album and only pays for distribution (to stores, etc.), he or she will make a few dollars profit for each album sold. If they were to have their own website and only sell the album from there, they would profit even more. This goes for any physical album format: records, CD’s (which, believe it or not, still exist) or cassette tapes (which, believe it or not, also still exist, as the newest hipster trend in music recording and collecting). The more records that get pressed up and sold, the more that physical music releases will become popular again. As a consumer or as a musician, this is a good thing.

Jack White has done a great service to musicians and music fans, and also to the city of Detroit for building this factory. I certainly hope for his success, as a music fan and as a proponent of analog recording.