“The 100 Daze”

April 23, 2017

Dazed

You are not alone. In fact, you are in the American majority by a 2 to 1 margin according to late breaking polls.

Dazed? Confused? Frustrated? Depressed? Can’t sleep?

Your tummy turns every time you see his boastful, bloating, blubbering body bulge across your TV screen?

Relax. You’re enduring “The 100 Daze” – a completely rational response to what has become a tragic travesty with this Saturday marking (marring) the completion of Donald J. Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Our Crybaby-in-Chief — tail firmly trailing between his legs — will observe the occasion by scurrying away from the annual White House Correspondence Dinner in Washington where they might make fun of him. He’ll be running off to Harrisburg for hastily assembled adoration from what handlers hope will be another throng of truculent Trumpoids eager to growl and grovel at their masters bone spurred feet. At least that’s what he says kept him out of Vietnam.

Matt Reed was in town last week, filling in for Representative Tom McClintock’s District Director, Rocky Deal, in a regularly scheduled constituent visit over at the Chamber of Commerce. Matt did a fine job, even describing with a perfectly straight face Tom’s reluctance to accept “climate change” as established science.

Annie from North Fork wasn’t having any of this, passionately presenting Matt with an extended explanation and personally handing him more than ample documentation proving her point. Matt accepted both with an appreciative smile, never attempting argument. Smart.

Joseph from Oakhurst annoyed a few folks by video recording the goings on, perhaps overlooking the fact that because something’s legal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cool. Matt didn’t seem to care. Smart.

Perhaps the most succinct commentary from those filling the room with almost exclusively anti-Trump attendees came from a gentleman who simply and courteously stated that it is now impossible to believe Trump would not be “going down” far before the end of a full four year term. He pointedly and firmly added that Republicans in Congress who failed to act responsibly in the face of such outrageous behavior and incontrovertible evidence of dangerous delusion would also “go down” – perhaps for no fault of their own other than timid complicity. This wasn’t lost on Mr. Reed. Smart.

Counting all the spectacular achievements as President constantly touted by Trump at every turn, I come up with one – Neil Gorsuch – the latest Supreme. That’s it. And that was really Mitch “Turtle Time” McConnell’s win. Most of Trump’s numerous “Executive Orders” (when he remembers to sign them) merely attempted to overturn what Barack Obama had thoughtfully put in place after many hours of thoughtful reflection. It can take a month to build a house, yet just a minute to bulldoze it down. I am not a fan of mindless negation – however convenient and time efficient.

Part of the curse of this“100 Daze” is a complete inability to provide any sort of cohesive summary as to exactly where we are right now. It’s like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics – an impossibility to precisely measure both the location and velocity of an object at the same instance – or even theorize same. Trump’s that wacky.

Meanwhile, our new Republican Attorney General, Jeff “Pee Wee” Sessions doesn’t seem to know Hawaii is a state, wants to wage war on weed, and stunned ABC’s “This Week” viewers Sunday morning by declaring without substantiation that the “Giant Border Wall” should not only be built, but be paid for by $4 billion dollars a year in excess tax payments that go to “mostly Mexicans.” Pee Wee was apparently referring to a six year old Treasury report that never mentioned Mexicans or any other nationality. Along with other horrors, it now seems the “Wall” would be an environmental disaster as well as a global embarrassment.

It was terrific seeing my old friend Alan Cheah back in print last week with his Guest Commentary — “On The Chopping Block.” I join Alan, the California Alliance for Retired Americans (”CARA”) and the Oakhurst for Peace group urging you to attend a special “Town Hall Meeting” from 2 till 4PM this coming Sunday at the Oakhurst Library.

I hope Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives (Liberals with Attitude) and all in between will join together in urging our government to keep “HANDS OFF OUR SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID!” Congress is proposing huge cuts and changes. Don’t stay home.

 

 

 

 

“Any Way The Wind Blows”

April 9, 2017

rolling-dice

War by impulse.

The newsman’s voice rang with startling alarm: “Trump shows the world he’s not afraid to attack without warning!”

Great.

So much for calming down frazzled foreign fears — especially our closest allies. We should excuse them if they take a few steps back.

It didn’t take long for things to settle down after last week’s fusillade of Tomahawk missiles worth thirty million bucks raining havoc (or at least sprinkling sparkle) on Syria’s Shayrat Air Force Base. This was supposed to be a message sent. It turned out to be more of an “Itchy-Kitchy-Koo” tickle than a serious kick in the assets of President Bashar al-Assad.

Operations pretty much returned to normal at the installation the following day with renewed attacks by Syrian and Russian jets on Khan Sheikhoun, the same poor little town that had earlier undergone poisonous chemical exposure, precipitating American intervention in the first place.

It’s all Exorcist level head spinning – round and round we go – and where we stop nobody knows – particularly Donald J. Trump.

A cheering cowboy chorus of clamorous congratulations has since given way to more somber reflection with the realization that once again our Philanderer-in-Chief has done exactly the opposite of what he promised countless times he wouldn’t do. No voice was louder than his in 2013 urging President Obama not to intervene with air power in Syrian affairs. That position was repeated throughout Trump’s shockingly successful run for the Presidency and echoed only days ago by Secretary of State Rex “Let’s Try That Again” Tillerson and his recommendation that any sort of regime change in Damascus be “left up to the Syrian people.”

I hope you’re sitting down for this. Ready?

Hooray for Tom McClintock!

Our Fourth District Representative has issued the following statement:

 “The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons is an atrocity and a war crime, but it is not “a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” as provided in the War Powers Resolution.  No matter how strongly we may feel about the actions of the Syrian government, the President had no legal or constitutional authority to order this attack without the consent of Congress.  This action crosses a bright line that separates the fundamental powers of our government and risks a constitutional crisis if continued.” 

 I could not be more in agreement. Let’s remember what happened almost four years ago.

President Obama had gone on record, however imprudently, suggesting that a “red line” for action would be any future use of chemical weapons by government forces in the Syrian conflict. Then in August of 2013 — a team of UN weapons inspectors confirmed that the nerve gas sarin had been unleashed on the Ghouta agricultural belt — killing more than 1,400 people with thousands more seriously injured.

In reviewing any number of unpleasant options, the President decided that choosing sides in a civil war of infinite complexity would be ill advised. Instead, he welcomed a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that called on the Syrian government to destroy all remaining chemical weapons under its control. In fact, Putin offered a personal guarantee this would happen. Now look. Oh, Vlad. So sad.

Responding to continuing cries from some that this was a whimpy way to wiggle out of a call to action, President Obama then formally asked Congress to authorize full-fledged air strikes on Syria. “I am prepared to give that order”, said the President. “But – I am also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.” In response, it was crickets on chloroform. The silence was deafening. No vote was ever proposed or taken in the House or Senate. The issue remains essentially unresolved. Barack Obama was correct at the time. Tom McClintock remains so now.

Many have commented on the blatant hypocrisy arising from President Trump’s expressed horror at having “little babies” die from chemicals, seemingly as long as they perish far from here. Under Trump’s temporarily court blocked Muslim travel ban, those same victims would remain unwelcome on our shores. But why should we enjoy the slightest measure of clarity and consistency on this issue when the White House has become a Tower of Babel with different voices offering varying positions on a variety of critical topics?

When will we ever learn?

Only Trump Tower is tall enough to reach heaven — with a moral code under random rule. What might be nice? Let’s roll the dice!

“Nothing really matters

Anyone can see.

Nothing really matters to me.”

Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Patsy”

April 2, 2017

devin_nunes_fresno_62713_s878x659-1

pat-sy – [ˈpatsē]

Noun – A person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something. A fool. A sap. A sucker.

Used in sentence — Representative Devin Nunes (R- Tulare) was, is and forever will be – a patsy.

You can see it in his vacuous stare. You can hear it in his ever-changing lies. You can read it in his querulous quotes – peevish and fretful over a self-inflicted predicament — foolishly initiated, amateurishly executed and clumsily concealed.

In case you’re a Sierra black bear only now rising rested from a long winter of hibernal bliss, here’s what happened:

Through patronage-prodded party politics, this nitwit Nunes somehow ended up being Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, pretty much like putting a mouse in charge of cats. Investigating possible Russian influence on Donald Trump’s White House, Nunes broke all sorts of past practices and procedures in a doomed effort to provide the President with “vindication” for an insane claim that his orangeness had been “wiretapped” by a predecessor. What a jerk. Make that jerks.

How anyone can regard Nunes as anything less than “a stain on his office” (Nancy Pelosi said that) is beyond comprehension. How Nunes has dishonored his duties, discredited his profession and denigrated his district is evocatively evident. How Devin Nunes can ever avoid criminal liability for such blighted behavior seems profoundly problematic.

Far past Nunes’ mischievous mission is the expanding horror of an administration gone mad, displaying every sign of rampant paranoia as it wildly strikes out at perceived slights, presenting the world with a schizophrenic posture lacking clarity, resolution and/or substance.

Each new day dawns with yet another affront to civilized sensibilities, oftentimes twitted from the offal office in semi-literate, often misspelled, tirades. Does “cat” have one or two “k’s”?

I fear worst is yet to be, particularly since a full third of our population seem oblivious to the fact they are supporting a cause not only lost, but exhausted. Just look at the man. He is not having a good time, finding out far too late that being President is a regimen, not a role. It’s work. Non-stop. 24/7/365. That’s why we see such aging in office. Last week Trump staged a big “Executive Signing” – then tried to leave the room without signing a thing. An aide caught his attention. “Huh?”

In the cornered rat department, fired National Security Advisor Michael “Thin Skin” Flynn, having gone on record stating that only criminals need immunity, suddenly wants a little of that action himself. His attorney enticingly writes that Flynn “certainly has a story to tell”, but doesn’t want jail when he tells his tale. No takers so far. Mister “Lock Her Up” from the GOP Convention wants no stay in any house of detention.

As a champion of “the little guy”, Donald J. Trump certainly hasn’t brought many on board in structuring his staff. In fact, 27 Trump hires are collectively worth more than $2.3 billion dollars, including his daughter, Ivanka, and hubby, Jared Kushner, who score a cool $750 million all by themselves without a nickel of Donald’s dough.

This information was part of a massive White House release of financial disclosure forms late last week for dozens of officials as required by law. The details are fascinating.

Guess how much loudmouth Kellyanne Conway made last year defiantly defending “The Donald? ” $800 grand!

White House Chief of Staff Reince “E.T. Call Home” Preibus only knocked down $500,000 as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, but hauled in an extra $750,000 in a buy-out by former law partners.

But leaving behind two-bit players, Chief Economic Policy Advisor Gary Cohen pulled in $75 million or so in 2016, but that might be more. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could write a check for $1.3 billion that wouldn’t bounce and, even on a slow day, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is worth about $2.3 billion and change. Trump, himself, is estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index at having $3 billion in assets, which Donald can always be counted on to round up past an even $10.

Presidential Historian Robert Dallek writes, “You’d have to go back to Herbert Hoover to see a cabinet that was this reliant on wealthy people, but the wealth has changed. Millionaires have become billionaires.”

 It was the administration of Herbert Hoover that brought on The Great Depression of 1929.

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it!” – British Statesman and Philosopher Edmund Burke (1794) – generally viewed as the intellectual founder of modern political conservatism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fool!”

March 26, 2017

 Donald-Trump-the-Sloth--109362

“I guess I’m here, what? 64 days? I never said, “Repeal and replace Obamacare” You’ve all heard my speeches. I never said, “repeal it and replace it within 64 days.” — President Donald J. Trump late Friday afternoon after “Trumpcare” was pronounced D.O.A. and laid to rest by imperial decree.

Trump was at last truthful in this fumbling, stumbling, bumbling utterance. He never did use those exact words. What he said instead over and over again dozens of times was that “repeal and replace Obamacare“ would be virtually immediate (on his “first day in office”) and easy (“no problem for me”) and universally beneficial without exception (“giving everyone big league coverage in every state at much lower premium cost.”)

The walls are tumbling down.

Recent days have revealed cascading consequences of a White House in full disarray, displaying chronic chaos, staggering ineptitude and rampant presidential paranoia at seemingly every turn.

Begorrah! Hope you had your bets down March 17th! We were treated to a world class Trifecta during Trump’s Saint Patrick’s Day meeting with visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel when he managed to insult three major global powers all at once in the same Press Conference.

Claiming Germany owes the U.S. money for NATO, hallucinating England wiretapped Trump for Obama and castigating a trade-cheating China, pompous posturing hit a new milestone in disingenuous diplomacy.

FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers have now testified under oath that no proof exists to support Trump’s claim that he had been “wiretapped” in any way by President Obama. Comey has also publicly announced that the Bureau IS currently investigating the possibility of criminal connections between Russian operatives and members of the Trump team.

On the crippled legislative front, “Trumpcare” had proposed to work its worst on the elderly, sick and poor as an $880 million dollar cut to Medicare over ten years would have produced a virtually equal tax reduction targeted to the super rich.

In late hours of mindless panic the night before failure was final, Trump agreed it might be a fine idea to win ultra conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus to his increasingly more caustic campaign by proposing the option of doing away with specific “essential elements” guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. These would include such things as ambulatory patient and emergency services, basic hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services laboratory work, chronic disease management and pediatric offerings.

Undoubtedly, all of this would deliver cheaper insurance (“lower premiums”), but with almost nothing of meaningful consequence properly covered, accompanied by sky-high deductibles.

For spurning this generous Trumpian offer of legislative leniency and not “giving him a win” (Donald’s single thought clearly expressed in anemic efforts at persuasive dialogue according to all testimony) members of the House Freedom Caucus experienced heavy incoming tweet fire early Sunday as an enraged chief executive twittered away, blaming the entire right wing of his party for “saving Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.” This sentiment was immediately echoed on Sunday morning talk shows by White House Chief-of-Staff and Guy With Space Alien Name, Reince Priebus.

With Trumpcare dead as Donald’s diet, it seems “tax cuts” are next on the agenda for financial wheeling and dealing, dicing and slicing, cutting and gutting.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s initial proposals for the 2018 fiscal year are obscene with massive increases in military expenditures, outrageous slashing of social spending and nothing at all for climate change — an item Mulvaney has relegated to mythological status.

But Trump still has his troops.

“Lock her up!” yet rings from the rafters.

In November absence at the polls of an educated electorate — our slowest learners often select their fastest talkers.

Batten down the hatches. It’s full greed ahead.

But will The E.P.A. Go Away? Can Spicer Be Nicer? Dump Trump?

This Saturday, April First, the Oakhurst Democratic Club presents: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” — An April Fools’ Day 2017 Special — An Uncensored Open Discussion – A Free-For-All Forum in which everyone who wishes to speak about anything gets a chance to talk.

It all happens at Denny’s on Highway 41 with breakfast served at 8:30 AM and our presentation beginning at 9:30.

The public is cordially encouraged to attend regardless of party affiliation.

Coming in May, the Oakhurst Democratic Club will feature, “Today’s ACLU” — in June, Award Winning Author Tim Hernandez and “All They Will Call You” and in August, KVPR Director of Program Content, Joe Moore and KVPR President & General Manager Mariam Stepanian discussing, “Valley Public Radio and Freedom of The Press.”

 It’s time to leave the sidelines!

 

 

“Chuck Berry” (1926 – 2017)

March 19, 2017

Chuck Berry 352635
 

The following are excerpts from “Local DJ” – an extended memoir recalling many decades in Rock & Roll Radio.

 “Chuck Berry played Flint in early fall of 1967, appearing with the Beach Boys. After the performance, a few of us took him to The Stardust Lounge – a major station hang out. I got to carry Chuck’s guitar case and diligently guard it when he jumped on stage to join a few local musicians play his songs.

Mr. Berry was a soft-spoken gentleman, but had prison-hardened eyes from time served and bitter experiences with authorities of the late ‘50’s who hated “that music.” Certain suspicions and cynicisms remained. Chuck Berry had been horribly mistreated more than once. It showed. Many stars carry scars.

 In January of 1971, I received a call from a Detroit booking agent informing me that Chuck was spending several weeks in Lansing, recording a new album with a young Michigan group called “The Woolies.” They had constructed a makeshift recording studio in a garage annex next to their house.

After his incredible success in the mid to late ’50s and a period of incarceration brought about more by his choice of skin complexion and unparalleled popularity among white youth than overt acts of felonious illegality, Mr. Berry had fallen on marginal times. He had never been the primary beneficiary of his earlier triumphs. As a black artist, he was not unique in this distinction, but his experience was singular in terms of magnitude.

As a consequence, Chuck Berry had become a lone rider on the Rock & Roll Range. He was his own manager now and all he carried on the road was a guitar. His contract specified simple amplifier requirements and local support musicians of acceptable ability.

Whenever Berry was booked in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio — The Woolies were his first choice. Promoters were instructed accordingly. Chuck was also without a recording contract. When The Woolies offered him use of their humble facilities at extremely favorable terms, Mr. Berry was most pleased. He had set aside much of January for the project.

Chuck had also reflected upon the possibility of generating a few dollars in the immediate vicinity during his stay in Lansing. Learning of his proximity, I agreed instantly to promote a Flint appearance.

Backstage we had gone through a ritual prior to performance — standard when dealing with Chuck Berry. He had carefully reviewed the ticket count and then audited the money given him. He had gone into percentage and was thus entitled to $1,770.00 for the night. This amount was presented in cash, mainly in one and five dollar bills. Mr. Berry carefully counted each and every dollar. It took approximately ten minutes. Satisfied that all was in order, a giant, tooth-filled grin crossed the showman’s face. With the word “mellow”, he signified his satisfaction. One would not wish to see Chuck Berry frown.

During one of several encores, he introduced a novelty tune about a little boy and his bell. Crowd participation was requested and given. A studio version performed with The Woolies was later discarded in favor of a live recording made during an appearance the following winter at the Lanchester Polytechnic College Arts Festival in Coventry, England. The BBC resisted severe pressure to ban the song after being accused of being “a vehicle for mass child molestation” by self-styled protector of British morals, Mary Whitehouse. “My Ding-A-Ling” sold over two million copies around the world.

September First of 1971 was our last major outdoor concert of the season at Sherwood Forest. Chuck Berry closed the show with his famous “Duck Walk”. Later, we proceeded to a friend’s house with several close acquaintances and partied through the night. I just listened to his stories. We were on the air over WTAC at 5 AM as he co-hosted the first hour. He made it to the Flint airport for a 6:20 flight.”

Working with Chuck Berry was a major highlight of my life, both professionally and personally.

He was kind enough to allow me to use his lyrics without charge from “Roll Over Beethoven” in a book I was writing.

I have his permission signed by attorney on file here in my office, allowing me to start my life story with Chuck Berry’s own words:

“I’m gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my “Local DJ.”

It’s a jumpin’ little record I want my jockey to play.”

 Chuck Berry – (1956)

Long live Rock & Roll!

chuck-berry-local-dj

Local DJ---Front Cover

 

 

“The View from Killarney”

March 12, 2017

With Saint Patrick’s Day but a day away, our friend John O’Mahony, Editor of “Killarney Today” brings us a 2017 update – as we now tarry in today’s County Kerry.

Killarney-Amazing

“The View from Killarney”

There is a seldom a stampede to the doors of busy newsrooms when the shout goes up for volunteers to cover events, as they happen, at monthly meetings of Kerry County Council, the 33-member local authority for the county of Kerry.

Few opportunities are featured on the dour and mundane but lengthy agendas that might provide opportunity for an eventual Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Politically, the bill of fair is more side street café table d’hôte than Michelin star a la carte: Potholes that need filling, bends that need straightening, flower beds that need watering, grass that needs trimming and traffic lights that need fixing.

Occasionally, excitement can reach fever pitch when, for example, a row over the location for a new cemetery is being discussed, offering the possibility of a ‘Kerry’s grave dilemma’ headline.

But along comes big Donald Trump and, suddenly, heads pop up and the mere possibility of a mention of America’s new first citizen at a council meeting had reporters, some seasoned, many novice, frantically competing for a seat on the press bench before the ‘No room at the Inn’ sign was exhibited for the first time in a long time.

There was an occasion when a President in Washington and a Pope in Rome competed for attention as any wall space became available in family homes in the Emerald Isle. JFK and Pope Paul VI were the pin-ups of the day. Now, in the County of Kerry at least, President Trump and Pope Francis are back in big demand when it comes to topping the invitation list to visit a rapidly changed Mother Ireland.

It all started with a proposal from Councillor Bobby O’Connell – a member of the governing Fine Gael party – who suggested Pope Francis be issued with an official invitation to Kerry where, despite an alarming fall-off in the numbers attending Mass, there should still be sufficient support to fill a football field with devout, faithful followers.

But, not to be outdone, Councillor Tom McEllistrim, a member of main opposition party, Fianna Fail, suggested that an invitation should also be sent to The Donald, who would surely enjoy playing around – sorry, playing a round – on one of the fabulous local golf courses.

Councillor McEllistrim said he believed such a visit would do for Kerry what John F. Kennedy’s visit did for New Ross, what Ronald Regan did for Ballyporeen and what Barrack Obama’s visit to Moneygall did for the County Offaly town.

He insisted: “The publicity it would get would put Kerry on the map and also from a tourism point of view, it would enhance our tourist numbers.”

Councillor McEllistrim added: “The priority is Kerry and it’s from a Kerry perspective I’m putting down the motion and I think it would be good for business, jobs and tourism and it would also be good for the undocumented Irish in America.”

 But the Trump invitation left some elected members horrified and bamboozled and while many maintained a dignified silence – not forgetting that Kerry is a tourism county that relies on American visitors – at least one voiced vehement opposition, citing Trump’s attitude to women as disgraceful.

County Councillor eventually, albeit reluctantly, backed a proposal to invite Trump to Kerry, but added an amendment calling for correct protocol to be adhered to and insisted the matter should first be referred to the new U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

The amendment also asked that the council first ascertained Mr. Trump’s policy towards the undocumented Irish – an emotive matter that affects thousands of families in this country.

Mayor of Kerry, Michael O’Shea – who is currently on an official visit to New York and Boston for St Patrick’s Day – raised a chuckle when he observed: “Between Donald Trump and the Pope, we are going to have our hands full.”

 Incidentally, one of President Trump’s senior management team in his hotel chain just happens to be from Ireland’s premier tourist town of Killarney. He is on record as saying that if his boss does lay his considerable head on a Kerry pillow, it will be after a feed of bacon and cabbage cooked by his mother in Kerry.

John O’Mahony

Editor – “Kerry Today”

John O'Mahoney

http://www.killarneytoday.com/

“Fire Trump”

March 5, 2017

donald-trump-angry

Enough!

I suggest Donald J. Trump’s insane assertion that Barack Obama personally authorized electronic surveillance of Trump headquarters prior to the November election offers final proof of his mental imbalance, emotional instability, and incapability to serve. Moreover, his continuation in office presents an immediate clear and present danger to our national security and continued existence as a free state.

We need not wait four more years.

25th Amendment to the Constitution – Section Four

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The Amendment goes on to provide further mechanics in the process of Presidential removal, ultimately concluding with finalization by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate.

I trust that enough of our Republican brethren in Congress will soon place patriotism over party, particularly since true conservative goals under a Pence administration could be more realistically reached without a maniac in charge.

Let’s face it. Donald J. Trump has proven himself time and time again utterly unworthy of trust.

And it’s time for forgetting — “Extreme Vetting.”

This hysterical phrase has never meant anything of merit other than to those stuck on stupid.

As an extensive “60 Minutes” segment recently outlined, Middle East refugees are already formally “vetted” by various governmental agencies for up to two or more years before being conditionally approved. More the 99% of all applicants fail to make the cut.

Included in the process are United Nations screenings, a State Department examination, several background checks, three levels of fingerprint analysis, an extensive interview by Homeland Security, cultural orientation and a multi-agency security review. The whole process is as tight as a tick on tequila.

Then came official word from Homeland Security, the State Department, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Executive U.S. Citizenship and Terrorist Service that our Republican President’s aborted attempt to ban travel from certain “Muslim States” was dangerously dumb, as would be any attempt to resuscitate it. Not admitting error has become a bullheaded bulkhead rapidly emerging as a Trump hallmark.

This combined report by multiple agencies concluded: “We access that most foreign born US based violent extremists are likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”

 Bottom line? Homeland Security believes Trump’s court-condemned, world reproved, temporarily abandoned ban would have accomplished nothing other than fueling radicalization, making America much less safe. Impatient to make an impressive macho move only days in office, Trump couldn’t help but just rush in.

Speaking of Russians, the number of Trump-connected individuals who made meaningful contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was inaugurated jumped from zero to five last week, but not one remembers what might have been discussed in an amazing demonstration of virtually total amnesia, protectively collective as well as politically convenient.

Prior to his breathtaking Saturday backslide, last week also witnessed a temporarily dialed-down-Donald, addressing Congress Tuesday night and sticking to his teleprompter like that thing hanging on his head, offering plenty of platitudes, but sparse on specifics.

Many raved about his trimmed tone, briefly thankful that our new occupant of the now Awful Office had successfully completed what must have been an exhausting exercise holding back characteristically torrid twitters, tasty taunts and tantrum tweets. Even unfriendly fact checkers later reluctantly admitted that he only blatantly lied outright no more than several dozen times in his speech.

Alas, our new Mr. Nice lasted less the life span of a Mayfly – approximately 24 hours.

Hopefully, Trump’s tenure in office will shortly offer relatively similar brevity.

He’s gone over the edge.

Let’s not follow.

Instead, let’s get ready for our annual Saint Patrick’s Day column next week with John O’ Mahony — Editor of “Killarney Today” – offering Sierra Star readers an exclusive Irish perspective on today’s America from a bar five thousand miles afar.

First round’s on me.

 

 

 

 

 

“Together Divided”

February 26, 2017

mariposa

Daniel had his Lion’s Den.

Tom McClintock had us.

Building “A’ at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds was overflowing with concerned constituents last Tuesday as Fourth District Representative Tom McClintock faced a crowd estimated by the Los Angeles Times at over 900 attendees. McClintock generated a similar turnout in Sonora the following night with the Union Democrat reporting Sonora High School’s 569-seat auditorium was filled to capacity with another several hundred left outside. A rock star was born.

While Tom McClintock was our local headline attraction, Donald J. Trump deserves all the discredit for packing both places to capacity and then some, just as he did at dozens and dozens of similar “Town Hall Meetings” across the land. It was all over TV. This nation’s gone nuts, nuts being particularly hardy, healthy and helpful in this instance.

Roughly two-thirds of the folks in both Mariposa and Sonora were on a vibrantly vocal anti-Trump side of the political divide, while the rest were loyal McClintock fans who came out to back their guy and, to a certain extent, their new Republican President, although sounding much more in tune with Trump’s politics than persona. All in all, things were loud and lively, but not unduly so. Everyone basically played well together, even though widely circulated email allegedly authored by The Mariposa “Republican Central Committee” predicted otherwise.

I obtained copies from four separate sources.

It announces the McClintock Meeting, then states, ““The progressive
left has targeted this and all other town halls hosted by Republican
Congressmen to be disrupted and shut down. You are being asked to
stand for Mariposa and what is good and proper and if necessary
showing the left that we will not tolerate their behavior.”

 We were quite surprised.

The communiqué added – “Spread the word by e-mail and voice only. Don’t use social media. We don’t want the progressives to get wind of our movement.”

Oops.

 Grammatical curiosities aside, while those of us in “the progressive left” were, in fact, “good and proper”, requiring no lessons in behavior toleration or any other matter, four vehicles in the Fairgrounds’ parking lot with Bernie Sanders bumper stickers had their tires slashed. The following night in Sonora, Representative McClintock properly referred to the “sniveling cowards” guilty of such behavior in Mariposa, adding, “When we catch you, we’re going to throw the book at you because your crime is not only directed at the victims whose property you damaged, it is aimed at every one of us who are seeking to exercise our constitutional rights to assemble and seek redress of grievances.” The crowd in Sonora loudly applauded, as does this columnist.

Our Congressman still embraces the concept of climate change as being more cyclical than man made, hopes to abolish the Affordable Care Act, equates dislike of Trump with prior concerns about Barack Obama, stands solidly against abortion and suggests increased insistence on initiating an extended investigation into Russian links is being primarily driven by election disappointment.

McClintock remains rigidly locked into similarly traditional conservative positions as immovable as Half Dome. No one can claim Tom McClintock isn’t completely consistent with his convictions and hasn’t been rigidly faithful to his flock through the years – qualities woefully lacking in today’s unbalanced occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as measured in milliseconds.

In only 40 days our national government has become a theater of the absurd.

Immediate measures have been taken against undocumented families; Planned Parenthood, transgender teens, and state sanctioned marijuana, but that trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure to create millions of jobs can wait till next year.

Trump’s escalating war against the press can only be rationally understood as pathetic preparation for final revelation when his self-initiated involvement in Kremlin intrigue can longer be avoided or denied. Convictive views? Fake news!

White House communication skills? Kellyanne Conway’s bold faced lies were first replaced by Sean Spicer’s puerile petulance, followed by ultra white Steven Miller’s glorious Gestapo glare, then substituted last Sunday by Deputy Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders’ stumbling stupidity on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, who couldn’t keep a straight face.

Thunderous applause at last week’s CPAC meetings in Washington certified the Republican President’s canonization as the new conscience of American conservatism.

His conservative cabinet is already encountering embarrassing contradictions with global snickering reaching thunderous roar.

Confusion reigns supreme.

Who’s in charge? No one. Not even a mouse.

“Even Odds”

February 19, 2017

time-trump

Bet one — win one.

Odds in Las Vegas that Donald Trump will be impeached before the end of his first term in office were 5 to 1 after his election on November 8th. Following last week’s latest bursts of insanity, including the Republican President’s unhinged tirade during his impromptu Thursday “Press Conference”, it’s now an even bet.

The scary part is – we’re betting our lives.

Michael Flynn is gone, having resigned as National Security Advisor, allegedly for the offense of lying to Vice-President Pence. That’s the current White House spin.

There is ample evidence to suggest that Trump, himself, was directly involved in a decision to undermine President Obama by contacting the Russian Ambassador and signaling a new day was on the way. Pal Putin was so happy he cancelled plans for reciprocal retaliation against newly leveled American sanctions and even invited American kids to the Kremlin for Christmas. Deck the halls with boughs of folly!

This, of course, would mean our new Republican President is lying about having initiated such an order in the first place, lying about why he kept Poodle in the dark for two whole weeks after learning leaks were looming, and lying about how he coaxed Flynn into falling on his sword as a final proof of allegiance with an act of heroic hara-kiri.

Does Donald J. Trump tell the truth?

Is Smoky the Bear Catholic?

Does The Pope sleep in the park?

A heavy hint of probable culpability was dropped during Thursday’s laborious, 77 minute long Trump-a-thon as Donald declared the following when asked if he authorized Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak:

“No, I didn’t. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job”.

 Let’s recall there is absolutely no question that it is highly illegal for a private citizen to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the United States. In fact under The Logan Act of 1799 — it’s a felony. At the time of this “calling other countries”, Trump’s Inauguration was more than three weeks away. Barack Obama was President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief. General Michael Flynn was still — a private citizen.

Reputedly suffering from “cabin fever” after spending his first four weeks with so many boring hours stuck in the Oval Office and urgently needing to bask in the love and affection of a fanatical following who worship him with dog-like loyalty, the Republican President aimed Air Force One at Melbourne, Florida Saturday and his first Campaign Rally for re-election in 2020. It was a typical crowd of Trump’s wrestling world worshippers – pretense being a participatory prerequisite.

Melania Trump kicked things off with “The Lord’s Prayer”, initiating a new Beltway rumor that third wives are the holiest. It was the “Protestant” version too, adding that last part about “The Power and the Glory”. Hopefully this didn’t bring undue concern to our current Supreme Court comprised of five Roman Catholics and three members of the Jewish faith. Nominee Neil Gorsuch could become the first Protestant on the Court since 2010. He’s an Episcopalian thanks to Henry the 8th of England, who had five wives.

It’s certainly possible Judge Gorsuch will be a Supreme Court Justice by the time push comes to shove, kick, scream and shout as serious legal charges are finally levied against our 45th President following the completion of formal investigations.

The 22nd District’s own Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) – a Trump sycophant through and through — isn’t being particularly helpful moving such serious matters along. This chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (???) wants to guard the guilty and whack the whistle blowers.

While Senate leaders seem committed to conduct a legitimate inquiry into allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 elections, Nunes is instead focused with fury about Flynn’s resignation and the “leaks to reporters” which brought this about.

The Fresno Bee, our sister paper, nailed it in a Sunday Editorial.

“The Congressman — despite all his fire-breathing rhetoric – is nothing more than a paper tiger.”

I completely agree.

What we need now – is more than “meow.”

 

 

 

 

“Act One”

February 12, 2017

baby-trump

Wah Wah Wah.

Our Big Baby-in-Chief is finally getting spanked.

First it was those mean judges putting a hold on his Executive Orders to “protect our borders.”

Then that Chinese President made him personally sign a formal statement admitting there is only “One China” after all and insisting that this personal guarantee be hand-delivered to the Chinese Embassy in Washington before any “I’m sorry” phone call might be received. It was. He phoned. Apology accepted. For now. Too bad, Taiwan.

It was tough enough Baby’s promise to “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare quicker than you can say “Big League” must be put off a year or two or three, but can you imagine having to back away from moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem only days before Benjamin Nut and Yahoo comes calling? Oy vey!

This followed that mess with Kellyanne Convict defending Ivanka’s getting dumped by Nordstrom (Kmart and Sears have since followed suit) and National Security Advisor Mike “Thin Skin” Flynn getting much cozier with the Russians than previously known. Or admitted. Dasvidaniya!

Now the dishonest press is making fun when Alec Baldwin’s much less appealing lookalike reports that “busloads of people from Massachusetts” were sent into New Hampshire to fraudulently vote against him and former Senator Kelly Ayotte. That’s in addition to the three to five million “illegals” – all of whom voted for Hillary Clinton — which is why she won the popular vote, which he would have done if he’d really wanted to. No puede haber ninguna duda!

Many of the New England Patriots, winners of what well might have been the greatest Super Bowl in football history, aren’t going to come see him in The White House. The game’s MVP and most winning quarterback in NFL history, Baby’s buddy Tom Brady? Even Tom’s got better things to do.

His Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is telling the world that referring to the judicial branch in a disparaging way seems “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

Conservative Republicans are loudly voicing shock and awe that last weekend’s Presidential Hosting of the Japanese Prime Minister’s “Making Golf Great Again” stay at Trump-owned Mar-a-Largo, now Donald-designated as the “Winter White House”, will cost taxpayers approximately three million dollars. That’s $3 million for one weekend. Those caddies need tips.

Saturday’s festivities concluded with a lovely salute from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the form of a provocative intermediate-range ballistic missile test tracked for over 300 miles across North Korea and into the Sea of Japan a bit short of the island itself. No crash. Splish-splash.

Normally all this would be enough to drive a man to think.

But Baby is a different kind of infant. That’s what got him elected.

A hastily convened back porch response to Kim’s surprise in the skies concluded with more Trump trash talk while Melania looked on with admiration and the Shinzo Abes stood with polite forbearance. A guest must seem impressed.

Stressing that “only a President” knows how dangerous the world really is, the five times Vietnam era draft dodger flaunted his heroic concern for the safety and well-being of all fellow Americans ready for rock and rule. He’s all about super security. The ultimate protector knows who loves us and who does not. His heart is true. His mind is clear. After all, unlike John McCain, Donald J. Trump was never captured by the enemy.

Each time Baby hesitatingly recites obviously unfamiliar words from handy twin teleprompters – clumsily shifting left and right in formal lurch – it is becoming more and more painfully evident that most of the time he doesn’t have the vaguest idea what he’s talking about, nor the intellect or interest in doing otherwise. It’s all just a show.

Not even four weeks in, serious murmurs of inevitable impeachment are already blowing in the wind from sea to shining sea. Four YEARS? Even die-hard supporters are seriously wondering where we’re going and how long it will take to get there, assuming there’s a “there” to reach. How much time will pass before promised jobs, premium pay and other false prophesies of a greater tomorrow are replaced by dire disappointment and deeper divisions?

Hold fast to your playbills and hang on tight.

Act One has just begun.