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Friday, February 2, 2018

Mark one.

I don't know. I'm not comfortable with this, dude. I mean, Big Green is not a corporation. We're not even a corner store. Hell, we nowhere near the corner.

Oh, hi. Just having a discussion with Big Green's branding team. That is to say, I'm hanging out with Marvin (my personal robot assistant), Anti-Lincoln, and the mansized tuber, and they're talking about branding us. Well ... the ones who can TALK, at least. Matt has kept out of it because he's, well, SANE. We've been hashing this out for the better part of an hour, and I honestly don't think we're accomplishing anything other than annoying the piss out of one another. So, all in all, a very typical brand team meeting.

I don't know why everyone assumes a band should have some kind of logo or brand identity. That just generally seems like a bad idea, but in our case, it's patently absurd. We are a creative collective, divvying up the proceeds equally between us - a headless musical beast, if you will, and everyone gets the same share of the nothing we earn. (There's plenty enough goose-egg to go around, folks.) Still, these guys are talking about a new mark for the band. They're throwing up ideas and seeing which ones fill a bucket. Or stick to the ceiling. It all depends on how you interpret the metaphor, you see.

Big enough?This won't surprise you, but this group has very little imagination. How little? Well ... glad you asked. Basically, their ideas for a Big Green logo consist of different colored circles with a picture of each of them in the center. So tubey has one with tubey's picture, Anti-Lincoln with his, and so on. Never mind what these items say about their concept of this band ... this band that NONE OF THEM RECORDS WITH ... these logos are an atrocity. And now they're talking to me about slogans. What a freaking waste of time!

The fact is, we have only worked with one actual logo in the entire time of our modern existence, from 1986 to the present. That's the one our photographer friend Leif Zurmuhlen created for us back in the day - mark one, if you will. So if we're going to use ANYthing, we're going to use that. Take that, branding team! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Run that up your flagpole.

State of the Yum-yun.

Seems like a good time to respond to some choice bits from Trump's first state of the union (or state of the umion, pronounced Yum-yun, if you're reading the official announcement).

First, the big fat entrance. Rep. Claudia Tenney gets a word in Trump's ear as he's working his way down the aisle. Always wearing some bright color and right up front when Trump is in town.

First flub goes to Ryan: "I have the distinct privilege of preventing ... presenting to you the President of the United States."

Now, on to Trump's remarks, delivered in a slithering, slow voice, lots of breath. Kind of nauseating, frankly.

The chief and his enablers."A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land," he tells us, referring to a year ago, then jumped right in with the anecdotes and the guests of honor. "We always will pull through together, always." Runs through a litany of lifesavers, mostly from disasters of our own making, through climate change, gun violence, etc. "The state of our union is strong because our people are strong. And together we are building a safe and strong and proud America." Platitude.

Touting more jobs for Black and Hispanic people. Big cheer for "massive tax cuts," of course. More take home pay! (Mitt Romney, come back - all is forgiven.) Calls out "cruel" tax of the individual ACA mandate, which very few people actually paid - big cheer from Republican recipients of government subsidized health insurance. Crowing about the titanic benefits of this "new American moment." "You can dream anything, you can be anything, and together we can achieve absolutely anything."

Some short takes:
  • "We share ... the same great American flag ...The motto is 'In God We Trust,'" he says, then makes a big point about standing for the national anthem. So much for Mr. We're All In This Together.
  • We're "...totally defending our second amendment and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty." Shoot 'em up.
  • Calling on congress to empower cabinet secretaries to fire people. Is that novel?
  • "We have ended the war on American energy and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal." So much for the section on climate change.
  • "Companies are roaring back, they're coming back. They want to be where the action is." Well, it's a kind of silent roar.
Trump starts talking about reducing the price of prescription drugs, and he gestures to the Democrats to stand and applaud. He does it again as he talks about repairing infrastructure, though the focus of this section sounds like he wants to roll back the environmental impact review process. He proposes $1.5 Trillion plan for infrastructure, but it must provide for streamlined permitting. Smell a rat?

Starting to talk about lifting people out of "welfare". "Let's invest in workforce development and let's invest in job training, which we need so badly." Calls for vocational schools and paid family leave - probably the Ivanka plan. A bleat on prison reform - very vague.

Immigration:

"For decades open borders have allowed drugs and gangs come pouring in." Now he's naming "guests" whose kids were killed by immigrants! MS13. Using them to call out "alien minors". This section is fucking disgusting, worthy of Der Sturmer. He is "calling on congress to close deadly loopholes" in immigration laws. Dirtbags are clapping.

He wants to protect all Americans. How? He wants to defend Americans. "Americans are dreamers, too." Oh, I see. Pretty much the only immigrants he's talking about is gang members. MS13 again. Talking about arrests of gang members. So what is the problem? They're going to prison. But Trump is talking about sending reinforcements. Now talking about bipartisan immigration reform - his draconian plan. Building a "great wall". His rhetoric on immigration is all about violence by immigrants, merit and race based rules, and "protecting the nuclear family by ending chain migration." Then he's blaming opioid deaths on immigrant drug dealers. Just a lot of thinly coded language aimed at racial division.

Next, he's praising cop - another guest in audience - who stopped a pregnant woman from shooting heroin. Then he adopted the baby. Point? This is not a speech; it is a series of extended anecdotes. It's like a fucking variety show. He's using these people as human shields.

Foreign policy and military section:
  • "Weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense." Calling for end to defense sequester. Well, the GOP created it, so why not, right?
  • Taking credit for eliminating ISIS.
  • Calling terrorists "enemy combatants". Sounds like the start of an argument for torture, Gitmo, etc. Just signed an order to re-examine detention policies and keep open Gitmo. Score one for the jihadist propagandists.
  • Touting new rules of engagement. Calling out artificial timelines. Recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Asking to cut off aid to countries that criticize us at UN. "Enemies of America." "America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom." "Terrible Iran nuclear deal." "Communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela."
  • Threatening North Korea again. "Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite ... aggression." Applauding that kid Warmbier. Extended anecdote about Korean guest who crawled to freedom and a further tirade against North Korea. Jesus H. Christ.
Big fat ending:

Patriotic claptrap roll call. Republicans chanting "USA, USA, USA!"

"The people dreamed this country, the people built this country, and it's the people who will make America great again." Yep. When they get rid of you.