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rpannier's Journal
rpannier's Journal
September 28, 2016

The Stupid and Desperate meme is being used by some now

I've seen in a few places where they remind everybody that both Pres Reagan (1984) and Pres Obama (2012) had terrible first debates and recovered to go on and win
Leaving partisan politics aside, there are (IMO) two important things that are left out of this (ahem) thought

1. The temperament of Pres Obama and Pres Reagan were never really an issue with people. There were no stories about either President calling people losers, or making fun of their weight, or anything like that.
The question of ability and character was really on their opponent, not on them. In this case, the questions were about Il Douche and not about Clinton. Herr Oompa only succeeded in reinforcing what many people were thinking, "That he's a lazy jerk."

2. This is probably more important than the first, both Obama and Reagan are/were sitting presidents. They have/had the advantage of people knowing how they had governed, so being able to brush off a bad debate performance was not difficult for either man. They just picked up and moved on, something Il Douche has already shown he is unable to do with any grace.

There are other factors that make it far more difficult for Trump to undo the self-inflicted damage; most people who saw the debate do not think Lester Holt was unfair to Trump, many people were irritated by his constant interruptions, his post-debate rush to spin the debate in his favor looked desperate, his seeming inability to change and move away from the obnoxious horse's ass he was in the primary, the vocal opposition to him from prominent members of his own party (sorry Dixie Lee Ray you were not prominent), his taxes comment (guess what? most people don't think paying zero taxes makes you smart ask Al Capone and the jury), his refusal to let anything go, his uber macho campaign, and so on
But these are all just symptoms of what makes Hitlinni suck.
What makes the idea of comparing Trump's crappy first debate performance to the sub par debates of two sitting Presidents is that both of them had a track record in the White House for people to go with and a perceived temperament that didn't overly worry people about one debate performance.
Trump doesn't have that and, unless Hillary turns in two straight Trumpesque debate performances, little is going to wash away the damage he did tonight

I would also add, I think the second debate is critical. If she destroys him a second time, there will be few who will watch the third, exception of political junkies and those who enjoy watching train wrecks because if he gets killed twice, there will be nothing that can save him then

September 18, 2016

Yakuza: Odd Facts About Japan's Organized Crime

1. I say potato, they say chivalrous.
The Yakuza refer to themselves as Ninkyo Dantai which means chivalrous organization

2. They're on my sight seeing map?
The Yazuka see themselves as a social organization. They have signs outside their headquarters. They're not hard to miss

3. I wonder what's 'In' with the Yakuza this season?
The Yakuza have their own magazine.Yamaguchi-gumi distributed a newsletter to its almost 28,000 members. Named Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the magazine included haikus and articles on angling. An editorial from the gang’s leader talks about difficult times for the organization. Yakuza numbers have been falling, and the magazine was seen as a way to boost morale.

4. And you thought your tattoos rocked.
The Yakuza sport numerous tattoos. They use the traditional method of manually inserting ink under the skin, known as irezumi. They are seen as a mark of a person’s bravery due to the pain the method inflicts. In recent years, the number of non-yakuza getting this style of tattoo has increased significantly. Popular designs include dragons, mountains, and women. They also get their genital area tattooed as well.
In Osaka, you may not work for the city government in any capacity of you have any tattoos at all

5. You threw a Halloween Party and no kids came? Why are you surprised?
The best Halloween parties are thrown by the Yakuza. The origins date back to the 1980's. A group of Japanese children who lived near a school for foreign children learned about Halloween and went Trick-or-Treating. They went to the local Yakuza HQ in costume with their bags and wanted candy. The man at the HQ tried to shoo them away, they refused to leave. Perturbed and perplexed he finally gave them money and the kids left. The clan researched what Halloween was and in a short time almost every Yakuza gang was hosting a Halloween party, complete with haunted house, candy and so on

6. And you thought the US was litigious.

A Japanese restaurant owner began the process of suing Kenichi Shinoda, the extremely dangerous head of Yamaguchi-gumi we mentioned earlier. She claims that Shinoda has “employer’s liability” for gangsters that demanded protection money and threatened to burn down her bar if she didn’t cough up. She is claiming damages of 17 million yen, around $2.8 million.
In 2008, a group of residents sued to evict the Dojinkai gang from their headquarters in the city of Kurume. The group had split following an argument over leadership, leading to a violent war between the two sides. The residents argued they deserved to be able to live in peace, and so wanted the gangs gone from the city.
At the start of this year, the Kudo-kai, a yakuza syndicate in the south of Japan, were labeled “dangerous” by law enforcement. They had been linked to a series of grenade attacks on rival gangs. Their lawyer argued the label infringed on the group unfairly (they were the only one of the area’s five gangs to receive it) and that it was a violation of the Japanese constitution.

7. That guy that went by with aid packages, probably wasn't from the Red Cross or They have something in common with Hezbollah

Yakuza groups have been sending trucks from the Tokyo and Kobe regions to deliver food, water, blankets and toiletries to evacuation centers in northeast Japan, the area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which have left at least 27,000 dead and missing.
As with the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake, government workers were slow in reaching afflicted areas, and the 300,000 or so survivors, so yakuza groups stepped in quickly, and in many cases, were first on the ground. The yakuza used scooters, boats, and a helicopter to deliver supplies around the clogged streets.

8. Not sure you want to be a member, join the part timers club
Not all the 120,000 or so members are fulltime. About half are considered part-time members

9. They're rather integrated.
While most Yakuza members are Japanese they have some ethnic Koreans and people of other nationalities as well.

10. Do they sport Confederate flags on their pick ups?
Looking at a map of the Yakuza gangs, they are almost exclusively found in the southern parts of Japan. There are a few in Tokyo, but there don't seem to be any really active gangs in the north

11. They'd probably vote for Il Douche Trumpf

Yakuza members are closely tied with conservative political parties. In 2012 Japan’s justice minister, Keishu Tanaka, was forced to resign his post when it came to light that he had links to yakuza.
Like the machine politics of the US, the Yakuza turn out and vote for the LDP and help with campaigns
Yoshio Kodama united the Yakuza factions and became the first “godfather”. He was extremely right-wing and funneled money into the Liberal Democratic Party — an anti-communist right-wing political party.

12. Oh great another test!

Yes, they Yakuza have tests. In 2009, the Yamaguchi-gumi created a 12-page exam for its members. The move came after the government passed harsher laws against organized crime. The test was the group’s attempt to keep its members from getting into trouble by making sure they were clued up on the law. It covered topics from dumping industrial waste to vehicle theft.

13. And don't call him fingers
Yubitsume. Yakuza members who do something they shouldn’t are forced to atone in a brutal way—by chopping off part of their own finger. They start with the tip of their pinkie, but further transgressions require further mutilation.
This dates back to the period when they carried swords. The pinky helped steady the sword. Forcing members to cut off fingers made them more indebted to the Master or Lord. This 'tradition' did not begin with the Yakuza.

14. Their names change so often, how foes anyone keep up.
Crime organizations are named for the leader. The Yamaguchi-gumi is named for their leader Yamaguchi (gumi means group). When he dies, if someone with a different surname takes over the group, the name will change

September 3, 2016

My Great Aunt Lena turns 100 next year. Talked politics and such the other day

I hope that doesn't jinx her that I said she's going to be 100
She still drives, she still can do hers (and in a pinch others) taxes -- she was a tax accountant
6 years ago she had to be coaxed down off a ladder because she was going to paint her house
She is what the family calls 'a pioneer woman'

Lena, like my grandfather and all his siblings (save one) are/were Democrats.
My grandfather (mothers family) NEVER voted for a Republican (in partisan elections) in his life -- EVER

Lena was born when Wilson was president. My grandfather when Teddy was in the White House.
I asked Lena if she could rate the presidents of her lifetime in order.

1. This was easy. She prides herself on being a 'Roosevelt Girl' (her words). She worked for his election and re-election in Stark County, IL even when she couldn't vote. She said Roosevelt is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th greatest president in her lifetime (this is important for her later ratings) Lena can tell you almost everything you wanted (and not wanted to know about the man.)

2. If not Roosevelt then Truman. She liked Truman, he got things done, decent man. Felt he ran against one of the few passable Republicans to run for the presidency. But Truman is far greater than Dewey

3. LBJ. She liked Lyndon. Again, accomplished a lot of good things. She remembers vividly Johnson going up into the hills of Kentucky to talk with the poor who lived there. It was the event that started his War on Poverty. She wishes more presidents would go into poor areas and just listen. She admits Vietnam was a mess. He never should have gotten so tied up in it

4. She hemmed and hawed a bit. She went with Obama which surprised me because she was madder than hell at him for the longest time and couldn't utter his name after his comment where he said Roosevelt sat on his hands for 9 months and let the economy get worse.
For people who have seen the All in the Family and Maude... think Maude's opinion of Franklin Roosevelt. Lena seldom raises her voice, but bad-mouth FDR and you have a fight
She thinks he's gotten some good things done and she's never seen such a difficult congress in her lifetime.
She thinks if she had been president she'd have strangled 'that idiot from Kentucky.'
If Truman had been president he'd have chased that idiot from Kentucky and the orange faced crier from Ohio from the white house with a stick

5. She went with Wilson

6. John F Kennedy. She said had he lived longer she would have probably placed him above Wilson... maybe Obama too

7. Bill Clinton. She's not a fan. Felt he capitulated to the Republicans too much. He needed to use his presidency more aggressively to counter Republicans

8. Carter. Her quote, "Never saw a man who could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like Jimmy Carter." She was disappointed how he went from a 31% lead in June to barely eking out a victory over that 'Ford character'. His loss to Reagan and so on. "Had a lot of good ideas, but couldn't get them done and micromanaged too much."

If you haven't noticed the trend... The first 8 are all Democrats... Just in case you missed it.

To her there are only 3 types of Republicans... Poor, Passable (Dewey was passable) and Because (I'll explain this later)

9. The passable Eisenhower. She never voted for him, but he was passable.
10. Nixon
11. George Bush I
12, Ronald Reagan
13. Calvin Coolidge (the real culprit behind the crash of '29)
14. Hoover. "Great vacuum." She also added, "He had a vacuum between his ears. It sucked up dirt and junk. Greatest thing Hoover ever did; he was such a failure that it made it easier for FDR in '32."
15. George Bush II.
16. Harding. A man she loathes. She can tell you every useless and horrid thing about Harding.

Ford does not make her list... "The man never got elected to a damned thing. He was appointed both times."

Contrary to what some here at DU believe, yes you can vote for someone other than a Democrat and still be a great Democrat. Great Aunt Lena is a testament to that.
Every Presidential election she could vote in, she voted Democratic. Every Senate race except one she voted Democratic. Every congressional race Democratic. Almost every state office Democratic.
She has almost 80 years of voting, canvassing, rally attending, hat and button wearing, song singing, etc on her resume

Now the 'Because' Republican
Yes she did vote twice for Republicans. She couldn't remember the year except it was in either the late 70's or early 80's. There were two people on ballot as Democrats in Illinois for state office (she thinks they were the nominees for Attorney General and maybe Sec of State) They were LaRouchies and she just couldn't stomach them getting elected to anything - Democrat or not.
The Republicans who ran were the 'Because' Republicans. Because the Democrats for those two offices were vile

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