How did the media get the 2016 election so wrong? Easy, they lied to us

fivethirtyeight-is-terrible

How did the media get the 2016 presidential election so wrong? Easy. They lied to us.

The most common trick the media pulled in 2016 was to over-sample registered Democrats to create a story. Democrats will tend to vote for Clinton and Republicans will tend to vote Trump. By asking more people that will likely vote for Clinton their preference, you will get a poll showing her winning.

The US population is 29% registered Republican, 33% registered Democrat, and 38% Independent (according to 2012 post election data). But when you look at the polling methodology, the polls will have 45% Democrat, 25% Republican, and 30% Independent. Of course Clinton looks like she’s ahead in those polls! But they don’t reflect real life turnout, as seen by the results of the election.

fivethirtyeight-is-terrible

Here’s a user that takes polling data directly from reuters.com and draws conclusions.

poll-oversamples
Click for Large

What does the graph say in simple English?

The red and blue lines track Trump and Clinton, respectively.

The green line is the percent difference between the number of Democrats and Republicans. The higher the green line is, the more Democrats they put in the poll to make Clinton’s numbers go up. As the green line goes, so does the blue line.

So why does the green line rise and dip? Why wouldn’t the pollsters keep the polls the same to be factually accurate? Because the media wanted to construct stories about Clinton or Trump rising or falling in the polls!

Democratic Convention “bump”

On the far left of the graph, we can see the green line is at 0. This means the polls are roughly reflecting reality of equal parts Democrat and Republican. Look and see that Trump was winning when the polls weren’t skewed. Trump was ahead the entire time!

The Democratic National Convention was held from 7-25 to 7-28. Look what the pollsters did: they started wildly oversampling Democratic voters to make it look like Hillary was pulling away.

The opinion of the general population didn’t change. The pollsters just started asking more Democrats who they’d vote for. Because they wanted to create a story about Clinton winning.

First Presidential Debate: 9-26-16

Again, the oversampling stops right before the debate because the media wants to create a story where Clinton scored a resounding debate win over Trump.

Pollsters pulled their polls or didn’t show their polls when Trump was far ahead

Reuters had a poll up on election day showing Trump up by 6 points (his soon-to-be margin of victory). They pulled down not only that day, but all days back to November 1st. Why 11/1? Because that was the last day Clinton was winning in their polls.

RealClearPolitics.com simply refused to update their polls if Trump was winning. So there were months-old polls still up by election day. And these months-old polls showed Clinton winning.

2012 vs 2016 Primary Turnout

Presidential primary turnout is a great indicator of general election turnout. It has been an accurate predictor of the past several elections.

Republican turnout was up 62%. Democrat turnout was down 21%. And yet every pollster still thought that grossly oversampling Democrats was a good idea.

TheGatewayPundit.com corrected for increased Republican enthusiasm in the polls and found Trump easily winning. The truth was always right in front of us, but the pollsters hid it.

Two weeks before the election, the polls mysteriously went from +12 Clinton to +2 Clinton

ABC News:

From a 50-38 percent Clinton lead over Donald Trump […] it’s a 47-45 percent contest in the latest results.

 

This was several days before FBI Director Comey re-opened the felony case against Clinton, so it couldn’t be that. In a week of zero new news, Clinton bizarrely collapsed in the polls. This isn’t possible.

It was pollsters trying to salvage their post-election reputation because they knew Trump would win. They all unskewed the polls because they saw the writing on the wall. If Trump won with a +2 Clinton lead and a margin of error of +-3, then the pollsters could claim it was just chance and that their methods correctly accounted for it. But Trump winning after showing all the polls +12 for Clinton would destroy their professional credibility.

Why did the media do this?

They are bought and paid for. Here is the Clinton campaign asking for poll over-samples to use in released WikiLeaks emails. WikiLeaks has a perfect 10 year reputation for only releasing verified true material.

The following links are a tiny sample of how the Clinton campaign was working closely with the media, telling the media what to report,

The only thing @NateSilver538 and @FiveThirtyEight got right about Trump all election season

Check the date of this tweet.

Newspaper endorsements for Trump: 1
Newspaper endorsements for Clinton: 41

Newspapers were in on the take too.

The same people that rigged the polls were the same people disparaging Donald Trump 

The media already lied to us about the polls. We all saw the election.

(Like this post? You’d love my book Meme Magic: How Stupid Pictures of Badly Drawn Frogs Influenced the 2016 Election)

Why You Should Fib on Your Resume

pinocchio

It wasn’t the best date in the world. Who talks about their jobs on a date? Me, apparently. I was fascinated how the hiring process worked, and she was in Human Resources. On a semi-related side-note, some guys really struggle with why they can’t get a girlfriend. At this time in my life my dating clothes could be best described as “business casual”. So hot. But thankfully I failed these dates so I could later meet my wonderful wife.

I’m going to try and convince you that you should fib on your resume and feel great about it. I’ve talked to several hiring people, worked at small companies where everyone is involved with the hiring process, and used these methods to get the interview on the vast majority of all applications I’ve submitted.

I never intended to be evil. It doesn’t feel great suggesting that you… fib. But the more I found out about the hiring process, the more disillusioned I became. Once I found out how to get the phone interview consistently and succeed in the in-person follow up 75% of the time, then I REALLY hated the hiring process. It’s completely rigged, and I’ll show you how to beat it.

Human Resources Girl confirmed what I already suspected: she simply matches the words on the application to words on the resume and passes along the resume if it matches those words. The manager you’ll be doing work for never sees your resume before HR does. Zero people actually read it. Word matching game.

Copy words from the job posting onto your resume get past HR and in front of a manager.

Most people try to use big words or spice up their resume. Don’t. Use the exact words and acronyms on the posting. Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V. If you don’t get called for interviews, it’s because you’ve failed this step. If you have all the words on your resume that they have on their job listing, there’s a huge chance for at least a phone interview with HR. Don’t worry about later steps in the in the process yet. No interview, no job. Work on getting the interview first.

What’s that? You’re saying that you have no experience in Blue Widget Systems like the company wants? Don’t worry, that doesn’t matter. Usually. Here’s why.

How a job listing gets made

Jamie has been working at a company for 5 years. Jamie decides to leave the company. The manager needs to replace Jamie, so they have Jamie list all the tools used on the job.

The manager gets the list of tools and programs and puts on the listing:

  • “Needs 5 years experience in the following:”

Why 5 years? Because Jamie was there for 5 years.

Did Jamie have 5 years experience all those things listed on the posting? Hell no, Jamie was hired as an intern out of college. But now everything that Jamie has ever touched needs 5 years of experience. It doesn’t matter that one program could be taught in 5 minutes because it’s rarely used. “5 years experience” is what you’ll see on the resume.

This leads to stupid situations like requiring 5 years of experience for technologies that are 2 years old. I have gotten these jobs easily because everyone else was too afraid to list the impossible. They got filtered out by HR in the word matching process. I didn’t.

So the job listing includes unreasonable experience on almost everything. Just to make sure he didn’t miss anything, the manager also includes the OLD job listing that has been floating around since the 1980’s. “Needs 5 years experience in Lotus Notes and Gopher“.

Since Jamie had the job as an intern, the starting wage is exceptionally low because that’s what Jamie got. So they expect to pay you like an intern but you must have 5 years experience in everything.

And finally come the nice-to-have’s that the manager just sticks on there. MBA. Foreign languages. Charity work.

The ultimate result is a job listing that not a single person on the planet is qualified for, not even the previous employee. This is why you shouldn’t feel bad about fibbing a little bit.

It’s all bullshit anyway because the manager is going to hire a “good culture fit”.

What the managers actually hire for: Will you make their lives easier?

I had gotten the suit from the Goodwill. I think I got two suits for $35 because I was broke as hell. They were tacky looking and the sleeves were way too short for my arms so I kept them hidden under the table. But as soon as I got into the interview, the hiring person sighed with relief and smiled: “THANK YOU for wearing a suit. I can tell you’ll be great, let’s get the details out of the way”. The HR person didn’t care about any credentials I had. All the other people applying for this job couldn’t even do the bare minimum and dress nicely. The HR person ranted about how the other candidates came dressed in T-shirts. But by even doing the slightest preparation, I set myself apart from the crowd. By being prepared, I made HR’s lives easier. That’s why they instantly approved me.

Next up, the manager.

Mangers generally don’t have a clue as to how you actually do the job you’ll be doing. This is why it doesn’t really matter that you don’t know the things you said on the resume. You have to know enough to pass their bullshit detectors and be at least somewhat useful when on the job, but you don’t have to be the rockstar you claimed to be.

Small talk is the most important interview skill you can have

Plenty of people have skills. But plenty of people are also insufferable assholes. Since your manager will be spending 40+ hours per week with you, they are far more concerned about your asshole tendencies than your work production. If your skill level is a C- but your attitude a B+, you’re hired. But probably not if it’s the other way around!

Have a sense of humor, smile, and try to make the interview fun and comfortable. Complaining of any kind = NOT FUN.

Meeting your future co-workers

This is going to be the hardest part of the process because some of those lies you told may come back to bite you. Or they might not. It’s hard to tell. Your future co-workers actually do the job, unlike the manager and HR person before them, so it’s harder to bullshit them. So between the time you submit your resume and get the interview, you need to study. Study a LOT. You have to be able to speak intelligently on the things you said you did. Read industry articles and current events so you can use them in conversation during the interview.

Fortunately, your future co-workers are just like your manager. The most important thing for them is to weed out assholes.

Learning how to tell funny or interesting stories about past projects is way better than trying to impress with knowledge

Prepare 3-5 stories beforehand to use in interviews. These stories shouldn’t have a “bad guy”. They should be filled with everyone trying to do the right thing but it just didn’t come out right. The stories should end with “In hindsight, I learned…”.

I like telling people about the things I learned when working on White Castle’s social network. It gets people laughing and sets me apart from other candidates.

Congratulations, you got the job

Remember all that stuff you said you knew? Yeah, now you have to actually do it. You have between a few weeks and a few months to actually learn how to do this at an acceptable level. Your co-workers and manager will forgive mistakes during this period and charge it to the transition. Fortunately, a few weeks/months is more than enough time at most jobs. If you can’t learn your job in a few weeks/months, you aimed too high.

Something went wrong

Maybe you bombed the interview. Maybe they fired you right away. Maybe you aimed too high and applied for brain surgeon. Perhaps you could have studied more. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself in interviews: you need a job and embarrassment is part of the cost. I’ve had interviews stop immediately when I tripped their bullshit detectors. Oh well. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

The important thing is that this method worked far better than not. Because once you start gaining experience and adding new skills you become more valuable in general. This method is also a way to keep learning and stay current with industry trends. A lot of people just stop learning new things yet magically expect to get paid more. That’s not how it works.

I hope I’ve convinced you to lie like a dog on your resume

  • Is it fair to get rejected by an HR person just matching words? No.
  • Is it fair to get rejected because you don’t have 5 years experience in a 2 year old system? No.
  • Is it fair to get rejected because you don’t know Technology X when they are hiring on personality anyway? No.

The job application process is broken. It’s so broken that lying is the way to go. You have a choice between unemployment, working a job you hate, or getting the jobs you want. I want you to live the life you wish for, and I think you do too.

A Home is not an Investment

home-sunset

I fell for it like an idiot. Stop throwing money away by renting and buy a home, they said. So I bought a home and found out that it was all a pack of lies. Houses are weapons of life destruction.

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Don’t get me wrong, there’s some upsides to owning a home. This was the view from our dock.

I’m sure you don’t believe me. Everyone does it, how bad can it be? Your grandparents bought their house for like 4 bucks and sold it for their retirement. Sounds like a solid deal, right?

Nope. All lies.

Disclaimer: If you like owning your home, that’s great and wonderful. Keep doing things you enjoy! I’m taking issue with people talking about how much money people claim to make on their houses.

Disclaimer part two: I’m also not talking about rental property or “flipping” (buying dilapidated houses to fix up and sell at profit). Only personal homes.

Simple proof of how a home is not an investment

Over the life of your home loan, you will pay double the buying price of the home due to interest and taxes.

Here’s a mortgage calculator to show how you’re paying $400K to own $200K.

Let’s say your house cost $200K. You will pay $400K over that 30 year mortgage on interest and taxes. In what universe does paying $400K to get $200K become an “investment”? If I walk up to someone and tell them if they give me $10 then I’ll give them $5 back, they’d rightly punch me in the face.

“But this person bought their house for $30K and sold it for $400K decades later!”

That’s called “inflation“. When grandma talks about how everything in her day cost a nickel, she’s basically showing her ignorance on simple economics. The US government aims for 3-4% inflation every year. Basically that means that prices on everything will rise by 3-4% every year. If you kept $100 under your mattress for a year, that $100 would feel more like $96 because prices had gone up.

When adjusted for inflation, homes only gained 0.2% value each year for the past 100 years!

After adjusting for inflation, prices for homes has been essentially flat

Homes gain value at the rate of inflation. Is dropping six figures on a house better than stuffing it in your mattress? Absolutely. If you were to buy your house with cash, you’d “only” lose a ton of money instead of an insane amount of money, because…

Houses need constant maintenance

Every single home has a “Honey, do” list that is never completed. I bet even Michelle rides Barack about the mold in the bathroom.

Replacing the furnaces, AC units, roof, driveway, gutters, paint, etc, are all crap that needs to be done every 10 years or so. And on top of that, sometimes the basement floods or the pipes burst. Our neighbors wanted to renovate a room and found water damage. Goodbye front of their house, hello six figure second mortgage.

Your home is plotting to destroy you financially. It’s waiting until you’re cash strapped and then BAM! Ice dams wreck the roof. Sure your insurance covers it, but that $3K deductible sucks. And then your insurance goes up because you’re now high risk.

The tax breaks are pitiful

Anyone who claims tax breaks are the reason to own an home is delusional. You can only deduct the interest paid. So on a $200K home you’re paying ~$125K in interest over the life of that loan. So the tax breaks “save” you tens of thousands of dollars. That’s good until you realize that $125K you’re paying is just for the privilege of getting a loan. That’s what interest is: the price you pay to borrow money.

Hooray, tax breaks mean you paid $95K instead of $125K!

“But my renovations and improvements will drive up the value!”

Nope. Again, homes have only gained 0.2% over inflation over the past 100 years. Other people have updated their homes. The math doesn’t lie: you will not get that money back from the master bath you put in.

I’ve read a pile of books on rental property. The books all say that “curb appeal” is the biggest difference maker and is something people will pay for. I’ve found this to be correct. On our rental property, we did updates like replacing the windows with energy efficient models and put gutters on to control water flow. Did any of the renters or buyers care about the windows or gutters? Not a single one. But the new paint made it look far more appealing. It also cost nothing in comparison.

By the way: when in doubt, take advice only from people who have made money from their expertise and ignore everyone else (This includes me! See bottom for profit made.).

You can’t recoup that money anyway

Since you’ll always need somewhere to live, you’ll always have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in your house. Sure you can cash out that $$$ when you move into a retirement home, but what would you rather have: a million dollars at retirement when you’re feeble or a nice vacation every year for 40 years?

I have people bragging to me all the time about how much their house is worth. Yet these same people don’t have money to spend because it’s tied up in their house. If you can’t use the money, it doesn’t exist.

Buying a house is almost exactly like signing a 30 year lease. Except with a house you have to pay taxes, fix it up, buy insurance, maintain it, and carry a large financial burden that destroys your life if you miss payments. So it’s a lot worse than signing a 30 year lease. Never mind.

“But you always need some place to live, so why not gain SOME equity instead of none?”

Because renting is significantly cheaper: no insurance, no maintenance, no taxes. Instead of getting that equity 30 years down the road, you can save ~30% each month by renting. And invest your down payment, letting it make you money.

 

30 years is a long damn time

Who will you be in 30 years? Where will you be? What will you be doing? I can’t even answer these questions for myself. Props to you if you can see the future.

If you bought your house in your 20’s or 30’s, then over 30 years you: were born, learned to talk, went through puberty, school, became an adult, lost your virginity 1-3 steps ago, got a job, etc, etc, etc. All that shit happened and you think you can see the future? You think your family and job will always be conveniently located within spitting distance of your house for 30 years? You didn’t even EXIST 30 years ago as the person you are now. You were probably still shitting on yourself.

It’s nonsense to think you can plan that far ahead, and here’s why that matters. Every time you buy or sell a house, you pay a gigantic sum in fees. Closing costs, realtor fees, loan origination fees, etc. And the loans are always front-loaded, which means the first 10 years of payments are almost entirely interest and not principle. So that means you’re not gaining [much] equity if you sell your house before the 10 year point. If you sell your home before 10 years, renting was far and away the better option financially.

What will happen to the surrounding community in those 30 years? Detroit became a ghost-town within 10 years after the car manufacturers left. Flint, MI developed lead problems with the water, making it not only dangerous to live there but also destroying home values so people can’t leave. Hurricane Katrina wiped out Louisiana so badly that insurance companies instantly declared bankruptcy. Those people lost their homes with nothing to show for it. Chicago became the murder capital of the country. Even the *good* can be bad: San Francisco is now so expensive that it priced people out of the city.

Commuting is a cost too

Alicia and I have changed jobs and careers every 2-3 years for the past 10 years now. So will most people. Alicia’s commute went from 20 minutes to 45 minutes after a job change and her happiness went way down accordingly. So we moved closer to her work and she got much happier. But if you own a home, that’s rarely an option because of the cost.

Ditching your commute is worth $40,000/year in happiness.

Your commute costs you real dollars too.

Stock Market vs Home Owning

Investing in an index fund has a rate of return of ~11% annually over the past 100 years. And it’s effort-free: buy stock, wait, cash out. You can start with a few hundred dollars and cash out any time.

Investing in a home has a rate of return of ~4% annually over the past 100 years. But you have to maintain it. Upgrade it. Pay taxes. Insurance. You have to start with tens of thousands of dollars on a 30 year commitment.

For those of you who want to point out that the stock market can turn downward, so can home prices. Talk to all the people with “underwater” mortgages. Look at graphs of home prices to see home values swing just as wildly.

“But I OWN it!”

If you have a mortgage, the bank owns it. You’re renting it on a 30 year lease.

“You’re just mad because you lost money on your home!”

We owned our home for four years. Bought it for $540K and sold it for $640K. Lived in it for two years, rented it out for two years.

$100K profit sounds good, right? No, it’s trash.

  • $40K of that “profit” will go to realtor fees and closing costs
  • $10K was spent on painting and other repairs to sell it
  • $70K was spent on mortgage payments for two years (which went to interest we we won’t get back)
    • The renter paid for the other two years

So even though we sold our house for considerably more than we bought it for, we still lost $20K. If we would have lived in it all four years we would have lost $90K on it. To sell our home and make a legitimate profit, we would have had to buy it for $540K and sell it for $740K in those four years.

“So I shouldn’t buy a home?”

If it makes you happy, buy it. Increasing your long-term happiness is always a good life investment. It is possible to trade money for happiness and I encourage you to do so whenever you can.

But realize that you’re paying a premium and limiting your financial flexibility when you buy a home. A home is a large obligation that can be hard to get rid of and can make you less happy.

If you want to be rich or live free, hold off on that house for awhile.

God Emperor Donald Trump Will Save Us

God Emperor Donald Trump

God Emperor Donald Trump

Donald Trump. The man who destroyed the Bush dynasty with a Twitter account and baseball caps.

This election cycle has been pretty nuts so far, and can potentially get even crazier. Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI for not one, but two separate felonies. Her competition for the Democratic ticket, Bernie Sanders, is a straight up unashamed socialist. The Republican establishment is falling apart before our eyes. The Bush Dynasty is officially over. The Republican old guard can’t get their preferred candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio off the ground. The media and special interest groups are fervently trying to change the game but find themselves helpless.

The eye of the storm is firmly centered around an eccentric billionaire named Donald Trump.

Read the book “Meme Magic: How Stupid Pictures of Badly Drawn Frogs Influenced the 2016 Election” for the untold story of the election.

“Responsible journalism”

Believe what you will, but when did the following become acceptable for the media to act?

The problem is that saying some mean things about Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t make you a mass-murdering genocidal maniac. Heck, after Rosie’s heart attack, he even wished her well and the two seem amicable.

everyone-who-disagrees-is-hitler

Another problem with the hate speak is that if Trump is Hitler, that means all Trump supporters are Nazi’s. This is obviously ridiculous, but if you disagree with the left then you’re immediately branded a racist-Nazi-wife-beating-rapist-child-molester. So people choose to stay silent rather than talk about it and face liberal hatred. Here’s how tolerant liberals are:

I have gotten more flack from being a conservative Republican than for being trans

-Caitlyn Jenner

Racism

You know who doesn’t think Trump is racist? Minorities! You know, those people who experience the most racism. Donald Trump captured 44% of the Latino vote in Nevada while running against 2 Latinos. Black voters are tired of being told by rich white people how they should think.

People think that because Trump wants to build the Great Wall of America it must mean that he’s xenophobic. The duty of the government is to protect its’ citizens. It’s not racism, it’s the damn job description. Ted Cruz is the one who is talking about deporting people, while Trump’s plan is forward-looking only.

“Undocumented immigrants” or whatever you want to call illegal aliens today are never called one thing: “American citizens”. The Don harbors no resentment towards people who are citizens. He’s even married to a legal immigrant. He hates non-Americans so much that he… married one?

“He must be getting votes because the country is full of bigots”

The problem with this theory is that over the past 10 years we have seen:

  • Legalization of pot
  • Legalization of gay marriage
  • First black president gets 2 terms
  • Attempts at nationwide health care

All the evidence points to a country that is increasingly more tolerant and helping of others.

What’s to like about The Don?

  • Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. No longer do conservatives have to be embarrassed by their candidates catering to religious extremists or the Tea Party.
  • He doesn’t want or need special interest groups funding him. Isn’t this our dream for politics? To get people like the Koch brothers or Goldman Sachs out of policy making?
  • He’s not a career politician. No backroom deals or terrible compromises because he owes someone a favor. Isn’t this what we want?
  • He’s against nation-building in the Middle East and was against the Iraq war. Isn’t this what we want?
  • He’s pro woman. This is what equality actually looks like. Donald’s #1 for a long time was a woman. His daughter, and not his sons, is running his businesses while he’s stumping for president. He employs women in executive positions and pays them equally. While others are making grand speeches about one-day-maybe-kinda-sorta-something-oh-look-at-the-time-gotta-go, The Don is making real equality happen. If you can perform, you get the job.
  • He’s talented and smart like nothing we’ve ever seen. Became a billionaire. Hated by Dems, Republicans, Clintons, Bushes, special interests, Obama, and media. Doesn’t matter, he still comes out on top. Jeb! spent $125 million to come in last place. Trump spent $25 million for a commanding lead. Donald also spent 7% of his budget on… hats. Trump destroyed the Bush dynasty with a Twitter account and red baseball caps.

trump-invincible

The Great Wall of America

If you’ve ever said something like “Mexico will never pay for that wall”, then congratulations: you’ve been played like a fiddle. This is a common sales tactic called “talking past the sale”. By arguing about who’s going to pay for it, both sides implicitly agree that it’s already going to be built! Donald wrote a book titled The Art of the Deal and lays it all out.

Why would Mexico pay for it? Because they have no leverage. Their economy depends on the US and not the other way around. NAFTA eliminates tariffs between CA/US/MX, so US facing companies put their factories in Mexico to reduce expenses. Donald merely has to insinuate that he is going to bring manufacturing back to the US by repealing NAFTA (a wildly popular idea in the Rust Belt) and Mexico will pay for it if he lets the issue drop.

The reason the wall goes up on the Mexico border is because Canadians aren’t illegally coming into the country in large numbers. Source: the NHL isn’t beating out the NFL for the national pastime.

Is it necessary? Former governor of Arizona thinks so. She’s just someone who’s state was directly affected by illegal immigration, what does she know?

How is The Don 360-no scoping everyone?

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has a wonderful piece on how Trump is outsmarting everyone. People can remember his quips like “the wall” and “low energy” because he’s brilliant at anchoring.

He says his most outlandish quotes when he wants to capture media attention for a few days until his next speech, debate, or appearance. Instead of buying attack ads, he simply captures all the media attention with a few sentences. Other candidates need to spend millions while Donald has to merely Tweet. When Rubio had a spirited debate performance against Trump, the news cycle leading up to Super Tuesday was supposed to be how Rubio was now a serious challenger. Instead, the next day Donald received an endorsement from NJ governor Chris Christie and changed the discussion back to how Trump is inevitable.

Role Models

The-Donald

It’s weird how Bill Clinton gets a pass for cheating on his wife and lying to congress and Hillary gets a pass for being investigated by the FBI for two separate crimes. But Donald Trump is supposedly a worse role model because he does stuff like participating in fake wrestling matches? He’s in the WWE hall of fame, and it’s hilarious.

Hillary took millions of dollars from Wall Street and in return, bailed them out after the financial collapse. Trump says mean things on Twitter. Who’s the actual evil person here?

Hillary’s recent FBI investigation revealed that the Clinton Foundation received donations by Boeing and the Saudi government after a sale of F-15’s to Saudi Arabia. It’s straight-up bribery! But Trump said mean things on Twitter! Apparently that’s more damning than betraying the country.

THIS TRAIN HAS NO BRAKES

The establishment, special interests, and media are all terrified of Trump. He can’t be bought. He can’t be stopped. “Tolerant” liberals suggested that the only way to stop him is by assassination.

Listen to Trump in the debates. Follow his Twitter. Decide for yourself. Vote.

(And yes, along the way he’ll say some mean things)

Related: how does Donald Trump win?

If you liked this post, you’d love the book “Meme Magic: How Stupid Pictures of Badly Drawn Frogs Influenced the 2016 Election“.

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Star Wars: the Force Awakens is the laziest movie

star wars force awakens

star wars force awakens

Star Wars: the Force Awakens is the laziest movie I have seen yet. And I’ve seen the shot-for-shot “Alien” ripoff, Leviathan. So damned lazy.

Warning: SPOILERS ahead. Spoiler game so strong that I’ll even be spoiling episodes 8 and 9.

The Story – Does this sound familiar?

Hero grows up on a desert world with little friends or family. They’ve become a great pilot by the time a droid is thrust into their possession. This droid is carrying something. The good team wants it. The bad team doesn’t want them to have it. Hero’s home gets destroyed by the bad team and accompanies said droid on the mission. Soon they meet up with Old Mentor Guy. Old Mentor Guy was once with the good team, but someone close to him went to the Dark Side and they feel personally responsible. Hero manages to bring the droid to the good team, and it’s a good thing too because the bad team made a planet that kills other planets and they need what’s in the droid to save the day. The planet that kills other planets has a weakness: lower the shields manually and shoot this spot here. Old Mentor Guy goes with Hero to the planet that kills other planets, but as soon as he steps foot on there the Dark Lord of the Sith feels his presence. For Hero to escape, Old Mentor Guy must sacrifice himself. They blow up the planet that kills other planets just in time. Hero then travels to a remote world no one has ever heard of to find a Jedi Master that lives in seclusion like a hermit.

It’s the exact plot of Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope. If you don’t believe me, ask director JJ Abrams:

The story of history repeating itself was – I believe – an obvious and intentional thing, and the structure of meeting a character who comes from a nowhere desert and discovers that she has a power within her, where the bad guys have a weapon that is destructive but that ends up being destroyed – those simple tenets are by far the least important aspects of this movie, and they provide bones that were well-proven long before they were used in Star Wars. – JJ Abrams

His explanation makes sense: the plot isn’t the point of the movie, it’s the characters. Focus on the essentials and strip away all else that doesn’t matter. The problem is that the characters lack any semblance of depth and are mere pandering.

The Hermione Problem

The Harry Potter movies differed from the books in a few ways, but none so obvious as Hermione. This is a great (and short) read about the issue. The TL;DR version is that Harry is supposed to be the Action, Hermione the Brains, and Ron the Heart. That’s how the books do it. The movies just make Hermione a superhero who drags Harry and Ron toward victory at every turn. Without Hermione, Harry and Ron would die grisly deaths 10 minutes into every movie through sheer incompetence.

In Episode 7, Rey can do everything. By the time we see her, she’s already an excellent pilot and can handle herself in a fight. Believable since she had to scrap for herself on Jakku since she was small. But it gets ridiculous 0-to-lightspeed quick.

Soon she’s repairing the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon. OK, so she’s a salvager who can barely get enough to eat and has had no formal schooling on this planet but somehow has her PhD in Hyperdrive Repair. Han Solo and Chewbacca often struggle with repairs to the Falcon even though they used it for decades. Now we also have the problem that she lives in abject poverty while possessing a highly desirable combination of skills that a tiny percentage of people in the entire universe have. Right. I get that she’s waiting for her family to show up, but why not do some mechanic work and get yourself one of those cool Sand Igloo places?

Eventually she’ll have this whole “Force” thing figured out within 5 minutes. And be pretty good with a lightsaber to boot. Never mind that everyone else in the Star Wars Universe had to train since they were children. Yoda even says about Luke (then roughly the same age Rey is): “He’s too old to begin the training”. His 20 year old ass is a washed up Old Maid. But Rey figures out how to use the Force, and 10 minutes later defeats a Sith Lord who has been training since near-birth from the greatest Jedi to ever live. Even after months of practice, Luke had to really concentrate just to pull his lightsaber to him in the ice cave with the Wampa.

Supergirl Rey also makes friends quickly. She’s regal, respectful, attractive, and seems pretty well socialized for someone spending all their time alone in the desert. Rey is also brave. Every positive quality out there, she has.

Luke was not only a whiny bitch, he was also a dreamer who couldn’t put in the daily work. Overconfident. Prone to anger.

Leia was a workaholic who had problems developing personal relationships.

Han and Chewy were outlaws. Not like Robin Hood style outlaws, either. In all episodes, they were experienced killers, human traffickers, and scammed everyone they met. They worked for crime lords like Jabba the Hutt.

The original cast of characters were actual people with good sides and bad. Rey is a mix of Teddy Roosevelt, Bruce Lee, Maverick, Thomas Edison, and Gisele. Because why the fuck not?

Rey also understands the Wookie language despite likely never encountering one on Jakku. This one I’ll forgive because it’s obvious:

Rey is the daughter of Leia and Han

The reason she knows Wookie is because she grew up with Chewy being around.

So why’d Han and Leia dump her on Jakku? For the same reason Luke and Leia were split up. The last Jedi in the universe are too valuable to lose both of them at once. Once Kylo went bad, they dumped Rey on a little shit-hole of a planet and left.

Being Force attuned/sensitive is a two-way street: sure you can detect other people by feel (Kylo Ren/Darth Vader feel the presence of Han Solo/Obi-wan when they land on the planet), but they can also feel you back (Luke and Vader sensing each other in Return of the Jedi flying to the Endor moon). Yoda’s choice to hide on Dagobah was no accident. The cave scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke fights Darth Vader in his mind is confusing to some, but it’s explained in the books a little better. The cave is strong with the dark side of the force as a Sith died there, and Yoda is using that as kind of a Force shield to avoid detection.

Since Leia is Force attuned, having her and Luke and Rey in the same place would be a giant Force Beacon to Kylo Ren. Gotta split them all up.

One more reason. As noted by Yoda in the prequels, Sith travel in pairs. Student and Master. Kylo Ren isn’t alone and the good team doesn’t know exactly what they’re dealing with.

The movie goes out of it’s way to make Rey’s parentage even more obvious. The awkward Leia/Rey embrace and Kylo Ren remarking “You think of Han like the father you never had” were just too much for me. I remember there being a few more references, but I’ve only seen the movie once and don’t plan on seeing it again. I’ve watched Episode 4 literally 100+ times. I know how this story goes.

The plot is set on rails towards a “Luke, I am your father” moment

2 BILLION DOLLARS is why they will simply repeat Empire. “Overwhelmingly positive reviews” is why they will repeat Empire. This means that Kylo Ren will give that speech to Rey in the next episode that they are brother and sister. And the movie is going to end on a down note. Try to look surprised.

Don’t think that’ll happen? Try and imagine someone pitching something different than merely copying the originals:

Writer: “I have some ideas that will take the franchise into the next generation and beyond.”
Producer: “Will it make the guaranteed 2 BILLION DOLLARS that merely reproducing Empire will?”
Writer: “I think it has the potentia-”
Producer: “GET THE FUCK OUT. We paid 5 billion dollars to George Lucas for Star Wars and if we miss a payment he’ll make us fund a sequel to Howard the Duck. Humanity depends on us not to screw this up.”

All the signs of an Empire repeat are there, and here’s a simple proof:

  • Rey has unknown parentage
  • Her parents [generally] need to have Force sensitivity for her to inherit them. Luke and Leia are the only candidates.
  • Where’d Rey learn Wookie? Probably from the guy with a Wookie around him at all times.
  • “You think of Han like the father you never had.”

Boom. Easy.

The director has stated the writer’s decision to copy the plot from the original. Nothing but critical and financial love from all sides. The bottom line: not copying Empire is all risk and no reward.

It wasn’t accident that Han and Chewy were nearby Jakku

Here’s a fan theory about R2D2 and Chewy that is highly entertaining. I love it and believe in it no matter what any of the creators of Star Wars say. It adds a lot of depth to both characters and the story in general.

Obi-wan Kenobi wasn’t just hanging around Tatooine because it was the closest thing to retiring in Arizona he’d get. Jedi are kind of like the nuclear weapons of the Star Wars universe. Their mere existence can usher in unprecedented peace: a Soviet male born in 1923 had an 80% chance not to make it through WW2 whereas now a male dying to war causes are 1 in 20,000 deaths. But just like nuclear weapons, it can all go wrong real fast. Kenobi and Solo were both there to protect their fledgling Force attuned… and possibly execute them should things go wrong. Anakin (ONE Jedi!) ended up resulting in the deaths of millions and the enslavement of the galaxy. And just like nuclear weapons, sometimes they are purely a liability that you wish never existed.

The most interesting thing I thought about the movie had nothing to do with anyone involved with the movie. Some dumb fan theory added more layers to the story than the people who got rich making it.

Star Wars: now with more millennials!

millennial falcon

Alright, so that’s enough time talking about the Teddy Roosevelt/Bruce Lee/Maverick/Thomas Edison/Gisele superheroine that will inevitably save the galaxy. Pandering to the female crowd: complete.

Finn and Kylo Ren are fantastic mirrors of millennial beliefs.

Finn

Finn gets his first job. Like most millennials, he freaks out when he has actual responsibility. He proceeds to run the furthest and fastest that he can and blame the establishment the whole way. He possesses a huge ego for someone who hasn’t done anything in life, believing that the First Order would chase across the galaxy for a sanitation worker who has panic attacks. He’s not fleeing because he sees injustice, he’s fleeing responsibility. He turns down his chance to fight for the good team until his ride is destroyed and his penis tells him he needs to help Rey.

Han kept Luke around because Luke “was pretty good in a fight”. Just like it’s not always clear why certain characters fall in love with losers, it’s not clear why Han keeps the compulsive liar and cowardly Finn around. Finn even leads them into certain doom by lying that he knew how to lower the shields, jeopardizing the lives of millions. But unlike real life millennials, Finn has plot armor that protects him from harm.

UPDATE: It occurred to me later that Luke Skywalker was split into two characters: Rey and Finn. Rey got all the good character traits while Finn got all the bad ones. This means that not only was the plot copied directly, but the characters were as well. Sad.

Kylo Ren

Emo Darth Vader here is probably the worst Sith in all of history. In his millennial fantasy world, everything in his life is his parent’s fault. Never mind the fact that he grew up rich and well-connected with a superpower and soon has a personal army at his disposal. His parents totally screwed him and he’ll make them pay.

[TODO: write and insert millennial rant]

Sith Lord vs Guy Who Has No Force Powers and Zero Lightsaber Experience Have Confusingly Long Duel

The fight between Finn and Kylo was just incredibly lazy. I’m not sure if they didn’t think it through or didn’t care.

Kylo has been training since he was a small child in both lightsaber combat and the Force. Finn trained with blasters and is on his first day of lightsaber combat. Kylo apparently forgot that he can Force Levitate Finn into the air, spin him around, and rape Finn with his own lightsaber from 50 yards away. But let’s assume Kylo’s Force powers are on cooldown because he just used them to knock out Rey. In what activities would a 20 year veteran lose to a complete novice?

Which of these Sith Lords would have trouble with Finn?

Darth Maul: took on two experienced Jedi at once, killing one
Count Dooku: defeated numerous Jedi, fought Yoda to a standstill
Emperor Palpatine: defeated Yoda
Darth Vader: purged Jedi throughout the galaxy

Answer: none. They’d butcher Finn where he stood.

Lack of background detail

A friend of mine’s child was excited for the movie for a simple reason: he wanted to see all the new droids that this world had to offer. A 7 year old picked up on the fact that the Star Wars universe has a crazy amount of detail. These aren’t just “Random Alien X”, that guy is a Sullustan or Mon-Calamari with an intricate backstory. Even though most people won’t know these backstories because they don’t read the books or other materials, the effort in the story comes through in other ways. One of the better examples to emphasize the lack of effort are the ships of Star Wars.

A-wings, B-wings, X-wings, oh my!

The ships of the Rebellion in Episodes 4-6 are various while the Empire had very similar ships. This was a conscious choice to show that the Rebellion was using whatever they could find vs a huge military complex of the Empire. This was never said explicitly, but it was obvious when you saw it on screen who the “have’s” and “have-not’s” were.

The Millennium Falcon is always referred to a piece of junk. That’s because it is. It’s a normal Corellian freighter with an upgraded hyperdrive.  It’s not made for war. Yet there it is leading the attack on the Death Star, because the Rebellion doesn’t really have much better.

Other ships were forced into roles they weren’t suited for as well. A-wings are interceptors and not specialized in ship to ship combat, but forced into that role during the attack on the Death Star. Y-wings were slow and obsolete. X-wings were used primarily because they were cheap to produce and reliable. B-wings were small in number due their cost.

For the bad guys, TIE fighters had variation to them as well based on role. There were TIE Fighters, TIE Interceptors, TIE Advanced, and TIE Bombers.

In Episode 7, all the ships were just converted to TIE Fighters and X-wings. Oh, but let’s paint them black because everyone already owns several grey or red X-wing models or toys. Phew, being creative is hard work!

Miscellaneous

nazi imagery

The scene with the Nazi imagery was just over-the-top. Worse over-the-top than that 80’s Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling movie. It was so forced that I thought they were going to come around with pamphlets and hold a short session after the movie to discuss Hitler and how He Was Bad.

Yes the originals had Nazi imagery too. The name “stormtrooper” comes from the German “Stoßtruppe”, which was the name given to shock troopers in World War I and World War II. But they weren’t condescending enough to duplicate Hitler speaking to a crowd.

Batman, Superman, Star Trek, Spider-man, Transformers, and now Star Wars have all been rebooted in shameless cash grabs

George Lucas got roasted for Episodes 1-3, but there’s reason to believe they are much smarter than you think (Jar-Jar Binks aside). The gist of that link is that the plot repetition wasn’t J.J. Abrams’ idea, but rather was used by George Lucas first. The reason why the prequels don’t feel like carbon copies of the originals is because the characters have sufficient humanity to them and the story differs even if the plot does not. The typical hero journey where the hero sucks, then has a training montage, succeeds and fails a little, and then wins the day is fine. It’s a tried and true formula used for thousands of years. But when your script is just a 40 year old copy of the original with “Death Star” replaced with “Starkiller Base”… fuck that’s lazy.

As for the new characters which are supposed to be the point off all of this

  • Why should I root for a faultless goddess who excels at everything all the time?
  • Why should I care about the compulsive lying coward with the over-inflated ego?
  • Why should I fear the crybaby who can’t defeat a novice in a fight?

But what do I know? I didn’t make billions of dollars selling the exact same movie people have been buying for decades.