2016 – The Show

Chris Chupik first said it about two weeks ago: 2016, bad writing, implausible premises, and why are we even still watching this?

Now, as most of you know, I’m not a big one for TV.  Mostly, if I get captured by a tv show, or two, it means that I was sitting around, spending time with my husband while he watches, and the show was so good, it caught me.

I got caught by 2016 for various reasons.  To begin with I’ve enjoyed some of the predecessor shows.  Even 2001 with its nail-biting climax three quarters of the way through, a sudden shift in focus from what had been discontent and bickering abroad to an external threat… well, I’ll be honest, that season wasn’t enjoyable.  It depressed me so much I acquired a new cat and spent three months in front of the tv, crying.  But I WAS watching.  In 2002 the writers had already lost the plot some.  The appeal to the UN subplot really didn’t appeal, because let’s be honest, the UN is so twentieth century and no one in the twenty first could believe in it as a force for good.  Particularly not when we’ve seen the subplots about sex slavery where UN troops go, about child abuse, about UN secretaries who are both rapacious AND crooked.  So I thought they were trying to return to the plots of a simpler time, but it is the effect of writing that you can’t put humpty dumpty together again.  Once you’ve dirtied a character or subverted a background, you don’t have it back clean and sparkling, unless of course, you engage in one of the endless reboots that comic book franchises do.  And I always thought that was a cheap trick.

Anyway, since then we’ve had our ups and downs with this franchise.  I thought 2012 had jumped the shark with having one of our ambassadors die on 911 and yet the “crooked media” device being used to smooth it over and give the crooked president and his crooked associates yet another term.

But I hadn’t seen anything yet.  In 2016 they take one of the responsible for the 2012 dead-ambassador debacle and run her for president.  This was already stretching my disbelief, as I thought they’d have to use the crooked media to a near-unbelievable point to make it work.

They have.  But to this they have added, to make it plausible this terrible person would win the election in a country of non-crazy people, the ascendancy of a crooked lapdog of government businessman, who is like the worst cliches of the seventies come together as her opponent.

To do this, they used the “crooked media” device to get rid of more promising candidates on both sides.

Now I understand there are contracts to honor, and the crooked ex-secretary of state might have one that said she got to play president later, but really…

One way to make her ascendancy plausible, in addition to giving her the least plausible opponent ever (in fact, many are predicting later in the season, the reveal of a double cross plot, in which her opponent is running SOLELY to handle her the presidency.  As stupid as that plot would be, I regret to say it would be slightly more plausible than the idea that the opponent is playing it straight) is to handicap the opponent.  Make him stumble a couple of times in public.  Give him a secret illness.

The writers seem to be aware of this, but instead of applying it to the opponent, they applied it to this Hillary character, thereby making my disbelief start to scream for mercy.

As though to keep its viewership through sheer horror, the show started killing characters left and right. Let’s say that I think that George RR Martin is moonlight in 2016, with characters dying left and right. As though this weren’t enough, the foreshadowing has been really heavy all along.

I mean, okay, I’m not the greatest person to talk on forecasting, since I like mine so light other people don’t see him.  That’s neither here nor there, though.

This one has been so heavy that we have trouble abroad, an impending massive economic crisis, and “government” that doesn’t do anything about its most show-defined legitimate function: Common defense.

Instead, the “government” in this show blunders around creating trouble, helping enemies and hurting friends, in a way no real life human being or even group of beings, human or alien would do.  It just makes no sense.

It’s too obvious that, alert to flagging viewership, the writers are preparing a big “surprise” (not) global conflict to bring them back in 2017.  Or as another critic put it “It’s obvious we’re watching the period that is labeled in history books ’causes leading up to’ just before the maps get all spikey and arrowey.”

Look, I’m as fond of a war show as the next viewer.  It gives an opportunity to sketch characters larger than life, and to make subplots that resonate with practically everyone.  Also, times being what they are, on likes the idea of problems one can shoot one’s way out of, as opposed to the ones we have to deal with.

But 2016 has run up against a major issue with long running shows trying to create a major “war scenario” — it’s almost impossible to do without someone (to quote one of the worst scripted scenes of a former show) “acting stupidly.”

And the problem with the idea that the character should cause his/her own problems is that you must be careful not to make it too obvious and stupid.  Because if you do, we lose respect for the characters and confidence in the writers, and stop watching.

Which I think is where most of us are right now.  And no, the appearance of random “creepy clowns” unexplained, in various parts of the show, doesn’t make any of this more plausible or interesting.  It just makes me wonder if the writing team is having a nervous breakdown.

As much as I hate reboots, comic style, I think that it’s time for one, if this series of shows is going to be salvageable, and if anyone is going to come back to watch 2017.  Heck, at this point I’d take that most hackneyed of reboot devices “it was all a dream.”

I suspect that the writers will resist this because they think they’re entitled to artistic pride.  Trust me, guys, you don’t have any left.

2016 is just a bad show that needs to be rebooted, if it’s going to save itself.

178 thoughts on “2016 – The Show

      1. “They said “Smile, things could be worse” so I smiled and things got worse.” 😈 😈 😈 😈

      2. On the 8th day, God told Murphy, “You’re in charge.”

        He’s taking his job seriously.

        1. And we’re lucky it’s him; it could be his cousin O’Toole, who refers to Murphy as “the clan optimist.”

    1. We have a kind and beneficent deity. When you ask “how could things get worse?” it is happy to show you.

      1. This is why I was not entirely p*ssed about the delivery driver accidentally mucking up the main display on my pick-up. Yes, it was a pain and it took me 5 minutes with the manual to sort out. But that was the 3rd truck-related problem, so I didn’t have to sweat getting in another wreck or having a part fall off on the interstate or something. At least for this round.

      1. The English haven’t quite mastered the ‘unpack all our troubles from our old kit bag and wait until we all drop dead’ yet. Brexit won.

    1. I cannot help but observe: When James Joyce’s Ulysses starts making that much sense we are all in trouble.

      1. I think Finnegans Wake is scarier: The last page of the novel takes you back to the first page in a closed loop. It’s all a vast dream from which there is no hope of waking. Ulysses has a beginning and an end.

  1. It could be that this is actually the climax. The writers are aware the series has jumped the shark and so they’re planning for a meteoric performance to bring the curtain down at the end of the year. Just as they did at the end of the Dinowars saga 65 million years ago

    1. And there’s even been a little foreshadowing, with our greater abilities to see the things as they come really, really close. Or, to observe them as they whiz by.

  2. The tweet in question:

    “Christopher Chupik ‏@CChupik Oct 6
    Ten months in and I just can’t watch this “2016” show anymore. Writing is unbelievable and characters ludicrous. Shark jumped.”

      1. Even the Blog of Eternal Stench noticed, for some reason.

        (I mean, is everything a Puppy says newsworthy over there? Weird)

        1. They don’t seem to be able to find self-worth any other way. I have come to the conclusion they don’t HAVE lives to get on with or back to.

    1. It’s worse even from a selfish pov. If it is you on LSD, you can stop taking it, them, not so much.

      1. My theory, such as it is/was that it’s still 1972, I’m 5 years old, some ratfink slipped this kid some LSD or such, and… well it’s a bad trip, man. It’s NOT my choice.

        1. This is why you should not ever drink the Kool-Aid.

          After all, the Democrats are the faction which gave us Jonestown.

  3. The only thing that gets me through it is knowing the Writer and trusting that the outcome actually does make sense, somewhere down the line. Not always reassuring, when we’re stuck in the murky middle, but indeed the only comfort in life and death, as the old phrase goes.

    1. From that point of view, perhaps this is the modern Deluge meant to kill off the faithless and evil, but to leave the faithful alive at least and able to rebuild.
      I had meant this as a throw-away comment, but having written it, it just makes too much sense.

      1. Alas yes. The whole “OK, I’ve used flood so that’s off the list” bit still leaves far too many options, especially for the creative Writer.

        1. The Flood isn’t necessarily off the list.

          As you might recall, according to Genesis the rainbow is supposed to be God’s way of saying that he will never flood the Earth again. And it turns out that if there’s enough air pollution, then rainbows can’t form.

          Make of that what you will.


  4. Some months back our esteemed hostess expressed her concern here that what we would be facing now was a sort of Clinton – Bush rematch. You have to admit that this is not exactly the story line that was expected.

  5. Voiceover: “Last time on 2016”
    Trump: “It’s gonna be YUGE!”
    (images showing the rise of ISIS)
    Hillary: “Baskets full of deplorables!”
    (random images of evil clowns)
    Trigglypuff: “WHAT ABOUT FREE SPEECH???”
    (outer space, an asteroid approaching)
    Concerned scientist: “Our deep space telemetry detected this two days ago. It’s bigger than the national debt, and it’s headed straight for us.
    Other scientist: (awed whisper) “Sweet meteor of death . . . ”
    Voiceover: “And now for the conclusion . . . “

    1. Ah, sweet meteor of death
      at last you’ve found me.

      Ah! I know at last the secret of it all;
      All the longing, seeking, striving, waiting, yearning
      The burning hopes, the joy and idle tears that fall!
      For ’tis death, and death alone, the world is seeking,
      And ’tis death, and death alone, that can repay!
      ‘Tis the answer, ’tis the end and all of living

  6. Could be the writers are imitating ‘Lost’, too. The characters are all dead and in afterlife already, some sort of purgatory. Well, that’s the hopeful alternative. The other is that they are already in hell, and there is no way out.

    (And yes, I know the showrunners have said the island in ‘Lost’ was not supposed to be purgatory and that the – surviving – characters were supposed to be alive during all of the series except the last scenes, but the general impression definitely is that they were not – all the not logical fantasy stuff which were never given any really plausible explanations… [admittedly I have never watched everything, the series rather lost me early on although I did a few halfhearted attempts for a marathon later because I wanted to know if there actually was a coherent plot and how it ended – didn’t manage to watch everything though, and skipped a lot in the episodes I did kinda watch] – so I’d say that show was not that well written either)

      1. Yep. I hoped there would have been some coherent explanation, but things seemed to happen as plot demanded them, not as if there had been an actual world built and the plot then would have needed to stick to the rules of that world.

      2. It was the stranded and soon-to-be-starving people killing that bear (first episode) and not bringing back the carcass that did it for me.

  7. It is always a problem when the writers and producers stop minding the show-runner. That this particular program has persisted for so long as it has in spite of that is testament to the Creator’s brilliance.

    Gene Roddenberry’s Trek franchise could learn lessons.

  8. 1. I still think Bill Clinton was the Moscow Candidate, he just took advantage of the Soviet set-up after the communist empire was gone. 2. If Trump is Hillary’s fall guy, how will she know if he decides he wants to be president and starts really trying?

    1. Maybe Trump is the dog who caught the car. Or possibly started out as Hillary’s fall guy, but is already trying for real because his show did so much better than anybody expected. Never trust anybody as ambitious as he seems to be (at least as ambitious as Hillary, maybe even more).

      The whole thing is a train wreck you just have to watch. I’d much rather spend the rest of this year and the next just reading, but I can’t help myself.

      1. Trump isn’t a good candidate. But he’s better than Hilary. I’ll take stupid over evil any day.

        1. Trump is many things but I doubt he is stupid.

          I think his “idiocy” is actually him playing from a very different set of objectives than we’re used to seeing in politicians, especially presidential candidates. I have no illusion those objectives are good by any reasonable definition but I do believe that in the space of “self-centered objectives by those seeking power” the continuous set of “objects of everyone but Trump who has run for president in my lifetime” does not contain Trump’s objectives.

          As a result we measure him by conventional politics and find he is an idiot. However, looking at his success in life (materially and meeting the needs of his ego) he could not have gained them if he was an idiot no matter how big a head start daddy gave him. The real unknown of Trump is not “will he win” but “what does he want to win”.

          1. Trump’s one advantage is that he doesn’t start from the premise of actively hating America.

            1. That doesn’t give me much confidence, though, because I’m not convinced that he understands what made America great, and will likely hurt America as much as help it, when he tries to fix things…

              1. If something is hurting America, he will at least try to fix it rather than saying good and doubling down.

                1. That’s what Hoover and FDR tried to do, and all they have to show for it is a Great Depression.

                  I would much rather see a politician (from any party!) double down on doing nothing, rather than trying to fix something. Whatever they fix always seems to get worse.

                  (I’d like to see politicians take it a step further, and fix what they did wrong in the first place, but often they can’t even do *that* without causing harm…)

                    1. For anyone seeking someone who will do nothing rather than try and ‘fix’ something as, for example, FDR had done to the nation trying to ‘fix’ the economy, hating the country or not is not the issue.

                      I would be comforted if I believed that Hillary would do nothing. No, she shows every indication that she will work hate to fix any and everything — broken or not. How about a single payer medical system? Under Hillary we probably have one before we can say influenza.

        2. Crass, vulgar, pompous and self-promoting vs. corrupt, corruptive, banal and self-promoting?

          O.K., its not the kind of choice I prefer, but it seems the one I have.

        3. Sometimes stupid can cause even more destruction than evil, evil might at least refrain from some things for self-interest’s sake where stupid might blunder in…

          Well, fortunately I don’t have to decide anything because this is just spectator sport for me as a foreigner. Except not looking is about as impossible as walking past that damn train wreck without gawking.

          And even if I can’t do anything about the end result it might concern me too, considering the effect your president can have on world affairs, so that is another reason to be curious. Bloody scary to watch when you remember that though.

          How about you guys just flip a coin and let the fates decide?

          1. Spectators are sometimes hit by a foul ball…

            In any case, I see it as a binary tree (in re Trump as POTUS). Either he means to try doing everything he says he is, or he isn’t. You may like all of the things he’s planning to do – or hate them.

            The whole tree, though, converges in one place. He’s not going to do whatever he intends to do. Unless the highly unlikely event of a blowout and “mandate” occurs – equivalent to Reagan, or Nixon – both the “R” side and “D” side of the Party will quickly exhibit all of the spine (and other parts) that have been missing for over a decade, in order to block him. All of a sudden, there will be ways to overturn an Executive Order, to cut off the money, and so on.

            The Hillary tree, though, is open-ended. And I am quite confident that she will do everything that she says she will (that she tells her bankrollers in semi-privacy, that is). Without opposition.

      2. There’s evidence that your first sentence is an accurate descriptor.

        There’s the lack of a ground game that persisted right up until he finally had the nomination clinched (and iirc, his ground game is *still* in pretty poor shape). In essence, while he was ostensibly running for the nomination, his campaign was based exclusively around campaigning for the nomination, and not worrying about what might come afterwards (iirc, he was actually closing his state campaign offices immediately after the primaries in each state) – for instance, actually having to run in the General Election. And someone who was part of his inner group early on stated during the primaries that Trump hadn’t actually expected to win. Supposedly he’d only entered the contest so that during the next president’s term, Trump would have a little more authority when he openly criticized what that president was doing.

      3. Yep – the dog who caught the car. Started out as a publicity stunt, perhaps – and then … got caught up in it, and it turned serious. I thought his primary value early on was to have the balls to actually voice a bunch of stuff of concern to the average resident of Flyoverlandia, and demonstrate to the other nervous nellies of the GOP that coming right out and saying them was not the kiss of political death.

        Me, I am hoping that everything can hold off going all pear-shaped until after our schedule of fourth-quarter local markets is done.

        1. I am relying on the hope that Trump’s energy policy can’t possibly be worse than Hillary’s plans. Further, that unlike the Up-Hillary, the Donald doesn’t believe government regulations provide benefits without cost.

      1. There are reports, reliability unknown, of people going to the GOP offices to do Trump GOTV and being shuffled off to work down ticket. Given the party’s functionary views of Trump I’ll willing to listen to these stories but want more than antidote.

        That said, if they are true, it shows party functionaries have no clue of how much the typical GOP bait-and-switch worked to create Trump.

        1. All of this makes sense if you start from the assumption that the latest Bush was “supposed” to be the nominee, basically set up by the primaries being structured so that the candidate with that highest name recognition would be in the lead by the halfway point.

          Since Jeb! “Mom-made-me-run” Bush could not out-name-recognize The Donald, and in the end really really sucked as a candidate, there was a major chunk of the GOP hierarchy that immediately wrote off 2016 as a Dole year, took their ball and went home. WHat they should have done is make sure the GOP field narrowed early, down to three or so candidates by the second debate so those early-primary non GOP crossover voters would be outweighed by the later primary GOP-only voter pools.

          Some of the GOP Illuminati got reengaged when Bernie! made so much trouble for the Dowager Empress, but they were hair trigger to bail on the first October Surprise, which they have.

          I think the effort to rig the GOP primaries in favor of Jeb! Completely ignored how frustrated the tea party folks had gotten, and how attractive someone spouting what The Donald has been spouting would be. That failure to understand the temperament of the electorate is what has doomed the GOP. I think they will manage to hold majorities in Congress (barely) but that gives more power to the squishiest, so we’re in trouble on stuff like The Supremes unless The Donald manages to pull off a miracle in the next few weeks.

          In the end the bed the GOP honchos find themselves in, by trying to rig in Jeb! while peeing all over the tea party folks, is completely of their own making. The problem is they managed to prevent any of the other candidates other than Jeb!, who each could have defeated The Dowager Empress, from getting to this point, and for that the rest of us have to pay.

          And after the VP debate, we don’t even have the comfort of a non-nutjob Dem fallback guy for when Hillary has to leave office “unexpectedly”.

          And Tsar Vlad will be there ready to use all the emails he somehow has from The Dowager Server.

          What a mess.

          1. there was a major chunk of the GOP hierarchy that immediately wrote off 2016 as a Dole year, took their ball and went home

            And in the process made me a Trump supporter.

            Why? Because they taught me that if their guy wasn’t the nominee they were happy to let the Dems have it over a nominee prefered by the great GOP unwashed.

            Had Walker, my first choice, gotten it would they have supported him? I have no reason to believe it. If Jindal had gotten it would they have supported him? I have no reason to believe it. If Crux, who I actually voted for in a primary, gotten it would they have supported him? In all probability the long knives would have come out faster than they have for Trump.

            #NeverTrump has done more damage to the GOP and, imho, movement conservatism than Trump can ever do. #NeverTrumpers, for a large part, have confirmed every accusation of the GOP and conservative punditry being frauds who were more amenable to modern leftism but wanted to be in charge so pretended not to be.

                1. 28 days until we can see if the thesis of y’all is full of shit or not.

                  Trump victory obviously would mean that I’m entirely full of shit.

                  If Trump’s victory strategy (given the oppo we all knew would come out, etc…) was ever viable, than it will maintain that viability in the face of the relatively small level of opposition it has faced from that quarter. (Which opposition has been greatly magnified by Trump and supporters throwing hissy fits over it.) In which case we would not expect a blow out victory for Clinton.

                  1. How does Trump winning or losing prove or disprove my thesis.

                    My thesis statement is, “#NeverTrump has done more damage to the GOP and, imho, movement conservatism than Trump can ever do. ”

                    How does Trump winning or losing answer that question? How do you disentangle what happened? If the GOP loses the House is it voters disgusted with Trump so not voting down ticket or voters disgusted with the GOP sandbagging their own nominee refusing to support down ticket?

                    I would say the real test will be in 2020 when they run the Jeb! again (and even if Trump wins next month I suspect they will run a Jeb! in the 2020 primaries) and how that fairs both in the primaries and the general. 2018 also might be a show if Hillary wins.

                    I do know this, after this year the GOP will never get my vote on loyalty which means no more “lesser of two evils” votes for the GOP by me and that has NOTHING to do with love of Trump and everything to do with the proof the GOP has stole time and money from me for 20+ years via fraud.

                    1. Jeb’s not going anywhere no matter when he runs. Even without Trump, he would have fallen flat on his face this time around. His campaign was a tone-deaf disaster.

                    2. Jeb! in this case is a place holder for the Romney-Jeb-Kasich continuum candidate they will form up around next time. I’ve also Marco Jeb Kasich in the past.

                    3. If Trump loses big, beyond what a GOP stab in the back could have caused, than Trump’s probable contention that it is the fault of traitors within the GOP would be undermined.

                    4. Again, how does that disprove my thesis?

                      Trump winning or losing is part but not the totality of the question. Trump winning or losing means much less to me than never giving the GOP a loyalty vote, and probably never a vote, after this election.

                      Why? Because #NeverTrump proved what I had started to suspect, that all the time, money, and energy I gave working to elect GOP candidates was stolen via fraud because the GOP leadership never intends to change the course of the ship of state towards complete socialism despite what they claim every other year and they will insure no one rises to a position of sufficient authority in the GOP to change that.

                      I have been a good enough volunteer that Isaacson’s campaign contacted me in July 2015 to work his campaign. That is damage Trump could never do directly. I held my nose for McCain and came back two years later. I watched the year after I worked a Senate campaign as the candidate went to prison for sex crimes with minors and came back and worked for the GOP (CT 2000 for those who care).

                      But not this time. I won’t help elect another statist in sheep’s clothing under the GOP brand.

                      The question is, am I unique or not. That will take time to tell and is what my claim is really about. By showing their true colors I contend the #NeverTrumpers have sent a large group of reliable GOP voters out of the party permanently including a lot of people who supplied the ground game.

                    5. Again, those aren’t #NeverTrump. If #NeverTrump had the influence to be gatekeepers to Republican power, they would have used it. Those gatekeepers may want to brand themselves #NeverTrump once Trump is safely out of the way, and they can no longer be tied to the support of third parties, but they did not support #NeverTrump when it counted.

                    6. On that we will have to agree to disagree. The strongest #NeverTrumpers I’ve seen started virtue signalling they would never accept Trump as a nominee and would take their toys and go home months ago.

                      I love how “they can’t stop Trump in the primaries” means “their actions are meaningless in the general”. Gee, no one said that about people who didn’t support Romney in the primaries who refused to support him in the general. They get blamed for him losing the general regularly.

                      But with Trump it is different somehow…they are powerless and it’s not at all their fault.

              1. Yep. After they hanged Sarah Palin out to dry – in blaming her for John McCain’s failure — when she was the only reason he had a ghost of a chance at all. An appealing, hard-working local pol, not the spouse or spawn of an established member of the National Uniparty … and they stood aside and let her be slimed without raising a tentacle.

                I also remember how – when I was active in a local Tea Party – it seemed as if the local and national GOP were happy … energized and hopeful. I think that they saw Tea Partiers as a brand new source of volunteers and contributions. As a sleek and spirited pony, all bridled and saddled, ready for them to ride … but that was at first. Later, it turned out that Tea Partiers weren’t all that willing to be tamed and ridden by the GOPe. Nope – very much the opposite. Which, I think – scared the bejeezus out of them all.

                No, heavens for-fend that the Tea Party upset that nice, profitable arrangement that allowed them to poke their snout into the shallow end of the national trough.

            1. The thing about any of those other choices is that they don’t have Trump’s volatility. So while the party aparatchiks might have ultimately turned on that particular candidate, they wouldn’t have had the myriad excuses that Trump keeps providing. And while you can argue that the Dems and the press would have manufactured an excuse anyway, at least they would have had to *work* for that excuse and/or get voters to think, “That seems a bit out of character for Ted Cruz.”

              With Trump, that’s not an issue for the Dems.

              1. Just because it would be harder for them to do doesn’t mean they wouldn’t find a way.

                It isn’t the ease of doing it but the drive to do so that is the problem.

                1. But having to jump through more hoops tends to make the result less plausible to the general public. And they are fallible. Otherwise Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee right now.

              1. You do but in general people like that were not running around the past four years blaming the re-election of Obama on conservatives who stayed home over excessive purity tests. The people I’m angry at have been screaming about how disloyalty to the party was the biggest sin ever because it elected Obama.

                Only to turn around and when Trump got the nomination prove their idea of loyalty is, “you do whatever we want or else we go home”.

                I have known people since 1992 who were right of center and refused to vote for a given GOP candidate. I’ve known those who worked for the LP and the Constitution Party when they didn’t like the GOP candidate. I’ve also known those who were never GOP but they aren’t relevant to this discussion.

                I have never harangued those who “went off the reservation” on a given year even though I was a party loyalist. I won’t this year.

                However, everyone who has harangued others for 20 years and now goes off the reservation. Yeah, they have earned my scorn and then some.

            2. It isn’t Trump that did the damage, it was all the Republicans who supported Trump (despite Trump being sure to lose, thereby preventing the support from going to some third party candidate who could possibly defeat Clinton) because they were too invested in the Republican party to take the risk of moving to a different party. Yes, a third party candidacy stood up on May 3 would have been extremely unlikely to beat Clinton. However, it would’ve had a better chance than Trump.

              1. It isn’t Romney that did the damage, it was all the Republicans who supported Romney (despite Romney being sure to lose, thereby preventing the support from going to some third party candidate who could possibly defeat Obama).

                It isn’t McCain that did the damage, it was all the Republicans who supported McCain (despite McCain being sure to lose, thereby preventing the support from going to some third party candidate who could possibly defeat Obama).

                It isn’t Dole that did the damage, it was all the Republicans who supported Dole (despite Dole being sure to lose, thereby preventing the support from going to some third party candidate who could possibly defeat Clinton).

                Before you say Trump is nothing like those three I’ll agree. As of today Trump is infinitely more likely to win the Presidency when he was the nominee than they are. They already lost.

                There is another difference: GOP office holders, disgruntled over the primaries, weren’t actively sabotaging them. If the GOP had half a brain they’d STFU and let Trump lose instead of working to defeat him thus:

                1. Making him a martyr to his supporters.
                2. Proving to those who aren’t Trump supporters per se every single suspicion about how the GOP would react if anyone who wasn’t already bought and paid for by them won the nomination.

                Remember, as Sarah loves to point out, the part of the GOP that is currently destroying Trump choose him over Cruz because they could deal with him.

                If this is how they treat someone not in their old boys club who they think they can deal with (and if he’d paid the consultants and kissed the rings to lose a NY Senate race a few years back they’d have openly embraced him) what would they do with a Cruz?

                No, the stake in the heart of the GOP isn’t Trump or the Trumpsters but the #NeverTrumpers who have proven they will do anything to defend the status quo including embracing Trump to stop Cruz and then destroying Trump to get Hillary.

                1. Drop McCain and Dole from that list. No Republican had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning in 2008 or 1996. Romney we can discuss.
                  Trump, on the other hand, was one of two candidates that Democrats could convince people Clinton would be a better option than, the other being Jeb Bush. (Huckabee and Santorum might have also made that list, but neither of them had a shot at winning the nom)

                  1. And Rubio…I’d have voted for Jeb! over Rubio.

                    That said, that’s not my point. Trump is the symptom, not the disease, and treating Trump and the people who got him the nomination the same way Hillary Clinton does is not going to get those people voting GOP again.

                    If they think they can outbid Democrats for Democrat voters they are welcome to try.

                    1. Why would I want them to vote GOP?

                      That’ll lose again in 2020.

                      There are better options.

                      1. Borrow Trump’s technique, and run Pat Buckman in 2020.
                      2. Create from whole cloth a third party, a sane third party, capitalizing on Republican weakness, and start opposing Democrats at the lowest level first.

                      Yeah, those efforts mean sinking a lot of effort that isn’t going to oppose Democrats meaningfully right away. That isn’t going to happen anyway.

                    2. Why would I want them to vote GOP?

                      Not sure which “you” you mean.

                      If you mean current Trump voters my answer would be the best guess is they are in large part the old Reagan Democrats whose votes swing a lot of states.

                      If you mean Democrat voters then because they want to voters who will sit down and shut up and take what papi government gives you.

                    3. 2. Create from whole cloth a third party, a sane third party, capitalizing on Republican weakness, and start opposing Democrats at the lowest level first.

                      Up until sometime in July we could have taken the GOP Senators, House members, governors, state legislators, and local office holders who don’t want statism and have objects beyond personal power and gain and with them moved to create a whole new party with a large infrastructure in place a la the Republicans when they replaced the Whigs.

                      However, between how few of those people there appear as revealed by us getting Trump I think that option was never realistic as much as I think it is the best one.

                2. The part of #NeverTrump I have direct experience with is absolutely not Republican Party leadership. At worst, media figures who calculated that Trump absolutely has no chance, that the long term hit more than offsets the short term hit, and the discipline to stick to that messaging. If they had much influence in the party, they would have coup’ed Trump at the convention, and maybe there would be a chance for other than Clinton as #45.

                  The Republican Party leadership is full of sacks of shit perfectly happy letting Clinton win. This cycle has made that clear, yes.

                  The folks who helped Trump at the convention and are only now backing out are shortsighted scum, sure.

                  Dole, Romney, and McCain didn’t help create the third party numbers we are apparently getting.

                  Sabotage? Those cowards are only desperately trying to avoid the fallout of the oppo and loss that everyone knew was coming. They didn’t want the fallout of severing ties with the Republican establishment, so they get to deal with Trump.

                  1. Well, as I said, John McCain a former nominee who was probably even more disliked by the base than Trump and who made his name gutting the First Amendment and criticizing Republicans every chance he got is so #NeverTrump he’s using his franking privileges to mail out anti-Trump material.

                    The one most in my face is Erik Erikson and he is probably the prime example of the 2 faced GOP punditry that blaming Romney losing on pouting conservatives who stayed home only to be too good to do anything but actively campaign against the icky Trump.

                    Dole, Romney, and McCain didn’t help create the third party numbers we are apparently getting.

                    In 1996, 2012, and 2008 respectively no. However, I think Romney and McCain did a lot to create the third party numbers this year given their unwillingness to engage and for McCain his utter hatred of his own party and its voters.

                    Trump didn’t come out of nowhere. Trump is the “karma is a bitch” candidate. That bad karma came from somewhere.

  9. Even a badly written and acted story can have its moments of brilliance that reward attention. For example, the fly landing on Hillary’s botoxed brow during the last debate, delivering talking points from Beelzebub was a very nice touch.

  10. In John Barnes’s Jak Jinnaka universe (I wish there had been more than three novels) the “sacred” book of human culture, The Wager , is revealed to be a satire some writer’s created by observing the keys to success embodied by people like the Clintons, Trump, McCain, etc: backstabbing, treating people as means, etc.

    I suspect the writers of 2016 and the upcoming 2017 are the group that will give us The Wager. In trying to be unbelievable in an attempt to change our perspective and behavior they are continually surprised we embrace their insanity.

    1. Hey, it’s been my observation in the last 20 odd years that that is the most common way to success. Second is the ‘do or acquire something worthwhile and market’. The actual build and create is miles in the dirt from parasitism in terms of success.

      1. I think that was Barnes’s point as that series, especially in the last book, is social satire that is very, very in your face. It is also a big part of the coming middle class anarchy I mentioned in yesterday’s post’s comments.

        1. In fairness, it is increasingly difficult to write social satire of any sort, subtle or over the top. I was giving the Red Cross a pint of my best this afternoon and had to confess inability to determine, for some questions, whether I am “male” or “female.”

          Shouldn’t Americans be able to donate blood without being subjected to such microaggresiveness?

          1. Now that Pumpkin Spice Latte is the devil for being a product of coffeehouse culture which is highly white and gendered as well as being part of the pumpkin entertainment complex (and yes, this is all from a peer reviewed journal article) I think stuff that isn’t insane is the real satire.

  11. “helping enemies and hurting foes”
    I think that reads better and more truthfully as:
    helping enemies and hurting friends

      1. I am so sorry to hear that. These are times that try man’s soul and one needs to be properly caffeinated, we dare not sleep:

    1. That’s certainly the one I was thinking of and was going to mention- but this time I thought to refresh the page and check if anybody else had made that comment. 🙂

      1. yep “The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.” I first heard it from Rod Machado, but it goes back a lot farther.

  12. More proof that the Russian hacks have inserted falsified documents into the purported Clinton Campaign emails:

    Emails show DOJ coordinated with Clinton campaign
    Emails published Tuesday by WikiLeaks suggest the Justice Department communicated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the administration scrambled to deal with the fallout from her use of a private server.

    Brian Fallon, Clinton’s campaign spokesman and a Justice Department alum, wrote in May 2015 that “DOJ folks” had tipped him off to an upcoming status hearing in a high-profile lawsuit that threatened to expose Clinton’s 30,000 work-related emails to the public.
    — — —

    Only the Russians could believe that our sainted Justice Department could possibly meddle in politics.

  13. I believe the answer is really quite simple. In some dark secret lair, a crack team of scientists are (foolishly) working on the infinite improbability drive. Unfortunately, they are using the multi-universal setting, so our ‘reality’ is actually a mis-mash of thousands.
    It is the only way the infinite nonsensical we are enduring makes any sense.

    1. It is interesting to contemplate that while America had West Wing, Britain wrought Yes, Minister.

      “There is an implicit pact offered to every minister by his senior officials. If the minister will help us to implement the opposite policy to the one that he is pledged to, which once he is in office he will see is obviously incorrect, we will help him to pretend that he is in fact doing what he said he was going to do in his manifesto.

    1. Not soon enough.

      As an aside, Bust magazine had a “Ready For Hillary” cover with a bunch of women giving their opinions about President Clinton II including . . . Chelsea.

      Conflict of interest? What’s that?

      1. Obviously, Chelsea believes that if her mother is busy being President, she’ll not be busy trying to run Chelsea’s life. 👿 👿 👿 👿

        1. What little I have read of adult Chelsea – I’m afraid the impression is of rather spoiled entitled mama’s girl. She may be looking forward to all the opportunities mama can throw her and her husband’s, and children’s way when she is president.

          And she would be the only person – and a woman too – in the country who is the only child of two presidents. Should keep her in rather luxurious lifestyle all by itself even if some of the other money spigots might dry out once her parents are gone, unless she has been raised to take mom’s place once she is out of the picture.

          1. Well, there’s a difference between “getting the perks of being the daughter of powerful people” and “having your mother completely meddling in your life”.

            She could very well like the first and dislike the second. 😉

          2. I don’t know about that. Some of the more recent stories seem to point to her being Daddy’s girl.

            Which, considering how Daddy likes to spend his vacations – could explain a lot of things about her.

            1. At the very least, Dad’s probably a lot more fun to hang out with – particularly if those rumors about Hillary’s attitude toward the “help” (including her own Secret Service bodyguards) have any truth.

              1. There was a story about her when Bill Clinton was President.

                She told her school that it would be better to call her dad instead of her mom because Mom would be “too busy”. 😦

            1. I gather, from informed source (Michael Medved, who was in law school at Yale with her and Bill, as well as various articles over the years) that she can be a perfectly lovely person.

              For certain values of perfectly lovely not often associated with the Human species.

              My own impression is that she can tend to be the sort of thoughtful caring concerned boss that was the model for Nurse Ratched.

      2. Anyone in the press discussing Hillary is a conflict of interest…then again Hillary got her co-defendants immunized and then used them as attorneys.

  14. It is sad, when you can read just one word and know exactly what show is being critiqued. Kind of like reading “Meatloaf.” You know what’s coming, and it’s not comfort food.

  15. Perhaps they’re gearing up for the upcoming spin-offs: Adventures set in the former United States, starring all the neat new countries that’ve been developed thus far: Adventures in Mormon-land. Adventures in the People’s Republic of California. Adventures in La Raza-land. Adventures in African-Americans Only land, Adventures in Sharia land, Adventures in Dixie-land, etc, etc, etc.

    1. Adventures in the People’s Republic of California. Adventures in La Raza-land

      …but you repeat yourself…

      1. Not really. I was going to mention this earlier, but didn’t. La Raza Land is much, much bigger than just California. It would also include Mormon Land (Utah was claimed by Mexico prior to the war, iirc, though it effectively ignored the area), everything south of Utah, and of course Texas.

        That last bit could get entertaining.

        Also, California has a pretty wide mix of groups. If people ever started to take La Raza seriously, then it would quickly be dismantled by all of the other racial minority groups that live in California.

        1. I’d love to see them try and take Utah. In some ways it would be more entertaining than trying to see them take Texas.

        2. The lands claimed by the “Atzecs were wrongly persecuted – after all, what’s a little mass murder by human sacrifice!” Militants indeed covers everything the Spanish North American territorial claim covered (instead of the actual land that the Aztec ruled, because Victimhood!). The Spanish lands including everything that was not part of the French territory that Jefferson bought from Napoleon in the Louisiana Purchase, up to coast to the stuff the Russians were claiming via their fur trading colonies.

          This is why the Mormons walked over the Rockies to the Great Salt Lake: What’s now Utah was completely outside the United States when they decided they had to leave.

          But in actuality, The Race folks don’t want a whole pile of useless desert – they want to take over the civilized areas, for obvious reasons. And California’s coastal corridor is pretty much their main target.

          1. That’s where they’d start. But territorial claims are seldom completely forgotten. Sooner or later someone would find a rationale to dig the claim back up, dust it off, and try once again to apply it.

            But as I mentioned above, even in California they’d fall flat on their face if the general public started to actually take them seriously. The fact that they have to lie and obfuscate about their goals instead of openly proclaiming them makes it clear that even they know that.

          2. they want to take over the civilized areas, for obvious reasons

            I am putting the over/under on California’s net wealth reaching one quarter of VAT (Value At Takeover) at five years, with a side bet that it reaches one-tenth by that time.

    2. I’ve often wondered if I should leave this country if either Trump or Hillary became President.

      Where would I move to, though? Certainly not Canada or Mexico! I’m exactly sure what my options will be at that point…but I might just move to Texas…

  16. I know its a really small sub-plot, but what annoys me is killing off a bunch of fan-favorite characters– especially the ones that had so much awesome foreshadowing. Seriously, that bit character that was an awesome actor, playing villains and heroes with equal skill, heart-throb to many, who did an incredibly touching interview where he talked about picturing growing old reading the books where he played an antagonist in the movie dramatization to his grandchildren… just suddenly: Boom. Dead. Right in the middle of a whole bunch of other long-time fan favorites also suddenly dying.

    There was a little bit of this starting in last season, but SERIOUSLY!

    I freaking hate it when they get you to love a character, and then– boom! They’re just suddenly dead!

    1. That was great and gets better. The direct action plot arc gets much stronger in following seasons, where it builds to a truly excellent climax.

  17. Looks like the Discordians have beat out the Illuminati, and the world is being run for the lulz.
    Hail Eris! Hail Discordia!

  18. That’s some funny shit right there. It would be funnier if it wasn’t so damned true, but still, some funny shit.

  19. Television shows are not making use of everything the format makes possible.

    We have the technology to make a television show that runs 24/7.

    Not the actors and probably not the writers. Nor could a viewer long survive watching the whole thing.

    However, as far as the actors are concerned, it need only be a set of regular shows that interlock. I’m not sure any soap opera does seven hours in the can every week. News programs do produce a fairly substantial number of hours.

    As for getting the plots, events, and themes to match up, I’m ignorant enough to think it might be possible with the right organization and leadership.

    I dunno about the viewers.

    So, certainly expensive, likely infeasible, possibly uneconomic, potentially undesirable. About normal for one of my ideas.

    1. Consider the way Netflix will dump a full season of a show at one time. Properly planned for an extended story could be told as you suggest. Whether it is worth the doing is a whole ‘nother.

      1. I think I neglected to specify that I imagined this continuing for an indefinite period of time.

    2. Oooh, I can see how that could be made to work… have linking characters.

      Probably the best format would be soft fantasy/scifi with a large dose of humor, think like Bewitched or Buffy, and then have other things with the ‘danes not even knowing anything like that is around.

      Keeping it strictly real-time would be a bad restriction, but not having any set “end of the episode” would be interesting. Basically a bunch of mini-series.

      1. Yeah, I was thinking it would be science fiction and fantasy, with secret world stuff. But also enough thriller stuff and serious incidents not entirely covered up to supply material for fake news programming. (Which is perhaps an excessive complication, as plausible, consistent entirely faked news would need to model a lot of factors.)

          1. Yes, exactly.

            The front end for news should be cheap, as local stations can afford them. A back end that can simulate all the countries of an alternate universe, the secret organizations the shows need, fake companies, media and all that seems very challenging.

            Also, it’d be cooler with no commercials, except for fake ones, ala Mad Magazine.

  20. There was foreshadowing for this Charlie Foxtrot of a season, all the way back in 1796:

    “I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

    This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

  21. Also happening in the 2016 plotline: an attack on a US warship, which appears to be mostly ignored by the media plot devices. Can’t have such things happening right before an election in which the Anointed Successor is well-known for her disrespect towards and lack of knowledge of the military and national security.

  22. 2016, bad writing, implausible premises, and why are we even still watching this?

    It’s trying to capture the magic of

  23. The scene for the final debate is just recycling classic movies. First, Hilary removes her wig, make-up and pantsuit to reveal that he is the brother of a woman wronged by Donald. After ripping him for his behaviour, she asks why he is smiling. Then Donald reveal that he is not Donald either. And in a straight crib states, “My name is Al Gore, commander of the armies of the Green, General of the SJWs, loyal follower of the DNC. Thwarted presidential candidate. I will have my revenge in this election, not the next.” Tootise, Princess Bride, Gladiator. At least, they dropped the “I am Kirk Douglas’s son scene.

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