“Terms of His Surrender”

July 30, 2017
WWCK Air Staff -- 1981

WWCK Air Staff (1981) — Michael Moore on Far Right (Only Time Ever)

I sold popcorn with him at the University of Michigan (Flint) student theater when his annual income was less than I paid in taxes. Years later, legal papers estimated his net worth at over fifty million dollars, the bulk of it accidentally earned when Walt Disney chickened out at the last minute and allowed him and partners to acquire, release and distribute a new film Disney had bankrolled. That was “Fahrenheit 9/11” — the highest grossing documentary of all time. Michael Moore had just turned 50.

Mike and I first met in the early ‘70’s when religious leaders in Davison, Michigan were attempting to throw me (“Satan’s Pied Piper”) and my rock concerts out of town. They also wanted to shut down Michael’s “Davison Hotline” – an organization dedicated to helping troubled area teens. It didn’t help that Mr. Moore had just been voted onto the Davison Board of Education at the age of 18, becoming at the time the youngest person ever elected to public office in the history of the United States.

Michael Moore became our “Director of Sunday Programming” on WWCK-FM in Flint for many years, hosting “Radio Free Flint” Sunday mornings with twelve incoming lines ringing off the wall. This is when WWCK became the highest-rated Rock & Roll station in the country. Mike played no small part. I paid him with free airtime to promote his fund raising activities, including sold-out concerts with the late Harry Chapin, who donated all proceeds to “The Flint Voice” – Mike’s alternative newspaper.

In 1987, Michael started working on a movie about Flint, personally handling every aspect of preparation, production and promotion. My major contribution was obtaining some TV credentials from Toledo so he could film the closing of a major Flint assembly line and sending him my personal copy of “Jingle Bells” by The Singing Dogs. This can be heard in the final minutes of “Roger and Me” as a Flint family is tossed out of their home Christmas Eve, brilliantly juxtaposed against a festively attired General Motors Choir singing traditional carols at a lavish corporate banquet in Detroit. Mike thought he might get ”Roger and Me” on “Frontline” if he was lucky. The rest is history.

After “Bowling for Columbine”, which won a 2002 Academy Award as Best Documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Sicko”, “Slacker Uprising” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” in 2009, the election of Barack Obama brought about a seeming resurgence, however temporary, of mainstream progressive thought and Michael was no longer the almost singular “voice of the America left” he had inadvertently become.

When I contacted Michael after surprisingly seeing him on MSNBC with Chris Hayes shortly after Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency, Mike said that was his “first time in a live TV studio in years.” Now he’s super charged up, mightily motivated and on the move.

Last Friday, Michael Moore’s first Broadway show, “The Terms of My Surrender” opened for a 12-week run at the 1,018 seat Belasco Theater. Seats are quickly selling out. Additionally underway is a follow-up to “Fahrenheit 9/11” in cooperation with Bob and Harry Weinstein, founders of Miramax. They’ve purchased worldwide rights to “Fahrenheit 11/9”, which will deal with the aftermath of Trump’s election commencing the day after voting ended and the insanity began. Mike also returns to television this fall for the first time since 2000 with “Michael Moore: Live From The Apocalypse” on TNT.

 When you’re hot, you’re hot.

Thanks, Mr. President, for giving my old pal work.

That’s one done, ten million to go.

 

 

“Bye-Bye, Bannon”

August 20, 2017

sean-hannity-91

 

“The Trump presidency that we fought for and won, is over.” –

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen “The Grim Reaper” Bannon — upon being relieved last week of further executive responsibilities (fired).

What this means is anyone’s guess, probably including Bannon and definitely D.J. Trump, left spinning his usual truth — fast and furious fiction – a President abandoned by many and despised by most.

But so much for all that.

Let’s dwell on something more enjoyable — like an asparagus pizza, a bowl of hot squirrel stew or an air hammer root canal.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, “The Music Man” featured 76 trombones, and in a few weeks I turn 76 years of age. So does my birth brother, Bernie Sanders. We both came to earth (I like the sound of that) on September 8, 1941. He appeared in Brooklyn, New York. I landed upstate in Syracuse. That same day German forces began a blockade of Leningrad and exterminated the entire Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania. It was in the first hours of our life. This much older time offers sparse comfort.

A great national malaise continues unabated. A number of my dearest pals for decades have become bitter old white guys. Others join me in concerned astonishment that these mutual acquaintances have become oblivious to what seems obvious. It is discontentment born of disconnection. They are mentally living off the grid – 21st Century Ted Kaczynskis – hermetically secure in a mind cabin of self-restricted consciousness — sealed away from all but the balm of ever more righteous right wing radicalism.

Crazy is contagious. But God-fearing Republicans may yet save us all. They do know how.

Hannity insanity is almost finished running its brilliantly manipulative multi-million dollar course.

Fifteen years ago I spent one evening sharing a few serious adult beverages with Sean and his former partner, the late Alan Colmes. It was a Client Party at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan.  I was with Comcast at the time. We had nationally televised a live broadcast of the old “Hannity and Colmes” program from the Grand Ballroom. Guests included Ollie North and G. Gordon Liddy. It was quite a night.

Sean had just released his first book. “Let Freedom Ring – Winning the War of Liberty Over Liberalism.” He was being treated like a Rock Star, patiently signing dozens upon dozens of copies for aging, devoted followers – some actually weeping in his presence. He finally ran out of books. Alan and I stood aside and marveled.  He and Sean had started with successful radio careers in an industry where everyone used to know everyone else. We shared many memories.

Far from being uncomfortable with Sean’s sudden surge in popularity, Alan appeared genuinely proud of his long time friend and enjoyed basking in the light of advantageous association. Colmes exclaimed, ”He knows how to promote – he really understands marketing. Look at the ratings!” I found Sean to be extraordinarily charming and naturally charismatic. He provides pure performance and delivers what works.

That “Independence Day” song from 1994 by Martina McBride he often uses as a program theme? About “letting the white dove sing” and “letting freedom ring?” It has nothing to do with American patriotism. It’s about an abused housewife who sets her drunken husband on fire. A happy ending? Their eight year-old daughter is sent to a “county home.” It’s a country tune. Sean never plays that part of the record.

Your uncle with the crumpled red Trump hat that smells like Bud Light should keep that in mind.

 

 

 

 

“Forty Years Gone”

August 13, 2017

Elvispresleydebutalbum

It was the autumn of 1956.

Barbara was a 14 year-old honor student, Girl Scout Award Winner and founding member of our St. Joseph’s Catholic Youth Organization in Syracuse when she carved 5 letters onto her lower left arm — “E-L-V-I-S.”

None of us boys were a bit surprised. Elvis was that cool.

The nuns were shocked and alarmed. It was further confirmation of what Father Shannon has assured them. Elvis Presley was “an occasion of sin.” Father would know. He heard Confessions. “Bless me, Father, for I have rocked.”

 It was forty years ago this week (August 16. 1977) that Elvis died at the age of 42. Last year his estate earned an estimated $27 million dollars. It’s as though he never “left the building” at all.

When I first heard “Heartbreak Hotel” on the radio in February of ‘56, I thought it was by Mahalia Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a black American gospel singer with a powerful contralto voice, not a skinny “hillbilly kid” of 21 — a dirt-poor truck driver originally from the backwater town of Tupelo, Mississippi – population 21,000.

Elvis and his family moved to Memphis when he turned 13. Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records at 706 Union Avenue, always told friends if he could “find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, (he) could make a billion dollars.” Sam sounded cynical at best, racist at worst. He was neither.

When Elvis Presley wandered into Sam’s little Sun Studio to record a song for his mother’s birthday, Phillips found his “white man.” Then a few more impoverished, unknown, wild, white Southern boys crossed the Sun doorway including Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Imagine!

When Eileen and I finally visited Sun Studio, I was amazed to see how tiny it was — not much bigger than a large family garage. We also spent time at Graceland, now located in a fairly sketchy part of Memphis. The tour ended at Elvis’ grave, where he quietly rests along with his parents and twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, who was stillborn.

We had finally seen Elvis in person on New Year’s Eve of 1975 along with 62,000 others at Pontiac, Michigan’s Silverdome Stadium, now 176 acres of rubble and ruin just north of Detroit on I-75.

It turned out to be the highest attendance number of his career, ushering in America’s Bicentennial Year with a 25 song set list, opening with the twelve bar classic, “C.C. Ryder.” His voice was magnificent, but there was a lot more Elvis by then. He split his white jump suit pants right down the middle at the end of, “All Shook Up.” But he wasn’t, casually strolling off stage and emerging a few minutes later freshly attired in gold. During the interim his band played on, horns wailing away like Judgment Day. It was seamless — unlike those pants.

I happened to be at the radio station when our red UPI Bulletin Light started flashing in the newsroom. It was an early Tuesday evening. Elvis DEAD? I quickly found a copy of “That’s All Right” in our WTAC library; the first song Elvis ever had played on the radio.

One of my favorite Elvis songs is the fairly obscure Country ballad, “Old Shep”, recorded by the legendary Red Foley in 1935, the year Elvis was born. It offers a heart-rending close:

“If dog’s have a heaven, there’s one thing for sure

Old Shep has a wonderful home.”

 I like to think he does.

With Elvis — forty years gone.

 

 

 

 

“Summertime Blues”

August 6, 2017

Vonnegut Smile

    Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007)

“Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do —
But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” –

First recorded by the late Eddie Cochran in 1958, the song gained further fame performed by such notables as The Beach Boys (1962), Blue Cheer (1968) and The Who (1970).

Summertime Blues” is seminal early Rock & Roll — inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 – ranked 73rd in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of all time – and officially listed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame among critical contributions that indelibly shaped contemporary American music.

Today is August 10th – the 222nd day of 2017.

This time every year I encounter my own “Summertime Blues” as days get shorter, nights get cooler and the shimmer of summer gives way to the colors of fall and beyond. Another legendary Rock & Roller, Bob Seger, properly nailed it when he poignantly observed, “Strange how the night moves with autumn closing in” – wistfully sharing nostalgic adult memories of faded adolescent love.

Our grandkiddies in Tennessee have already returned to school. In Madera County, we’ll see those yellow buses back on the road next week with Yosemite High students in class again on the 17th. Let’s once more particularly be on watch for excited little ones playfully energized in roadside wait.

The wheel of the seasons turns with increasing speed as our lives race on, hurling toward the finish line with relentless subconscious impatience, the promise of a new beginning impressed or implied by every major world religion since time, itself, began.

What appears like an eternal summer through the eyes of childhood now seems to flash in a day, then dashes away.

In my own reflections generated by the bittersweet departure of summer, I find myself facing the choice of being frightened – or enlightened.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. remains a personal hero of mine.

Mr. Vonnegut was captured by German troops near the end of World War Two and held as a prisoner-of-war in a deep cellar located below “Schlachthof Fünf” in Dresden. This ironically saved and changed his life forever when British and American forces firebombed the city on February 13, 1945, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and ruin and killing an estimated 135,000 Germans in the process.

Returning to civilian life after formal German surrender only ten weeks later, Vonnegut went on to eventually write the semi-autobiographical “Slaughterhouse-Five” – “The Children’s Crusade – a Duty Dance with Death.” Published in 1969 (the year of Woodstock) and described at the time as a “satirical novel”, the book quickly established Vonnegut as one of the most brilliant, if not controversial, writers of his generation.

One of his most profound works was “Breakfast of Champions”, published in 1975. In Vonnegut’s own words, it tells the story of “two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.”

From such a somber introduction, a number of final conclusions are brilliantly inspirational. Particularly coming to mind is this brief passage discussing mankind as a self-evident example of biological machinery, but adding an illuminating introspective into human consciousness, also referenced in certain theological circles as the “soul.”

“His situation, insofar as he was a machine, was complex, tragic and laughable. But the sacred part of him, his awareness, remained an unwavering band of light. At the core of each person who reads this book is a band of unwavering light.”

And at the core of those who read this column, too.

A band of unwavering sacred light – as autumn closes in.

And the night moves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Smokehurst”

July 23, 2017

Mariposa Fire 7:21:17

When Oakhurst turns Smokehurst – things just aren’t the same.

Thank The Lord Mariposa still stands.

Last week’s 75,000+ acre Detwiler Fire brought the first series of smoke shrouded days this season, even Deadwood disappearing at times behind a curtain of heavy, ash-laden haze.

It provided a dramatic reminder that Cal Fire and associated professional responders regularly meet such challenges with speed, accuracy and outstanding endurance in a consistently reliable display of heroic performance. It also offered stark confirmation of recent predictions by fire and police authorities that 2017 may witness the most destructive fire months in California state history.

Along with last winter’s drought-defying precipitation producing abundant fresh fuel, as do a hundred million dead and dying trees, it now seems that formerly helpful and dependable night-time increases in humidity with significantly decreased temperatures have given way to shifting climate conditions resulting in minimal dusk to dawn respite for fire control compared with traditional patterns. This is a big deal. 24-hour work shifts are becoming common.

Media cited numerous acts of selfless volunteerism with strangers lending a helping hand to those they’d never known before. There were countless stories of neighbors helping neighbors, providing food, shelter and clothing at a time of harried need. Some shelters even offered room for evacuated pets and livestock. Many of them are people too!

Being of critical assistance in times of tragic testing often seems to be a reflective, instinctive, intuitive act – the “better angels of our nature” referenced by Abraham Lincoln — urging us to take instant remedial action, often without conscious reflection.

Wildfires are as natural as the wind.

Native Americans were regularly burning parts of their ecosystems going back thousands of years, promoting a diversity of habitats to provide greater stability and security in their lives, but being cautious not to purposely burn when forests were vulnerable to catastrophic conflagration. According to that big “fire hazard dial” on the right side of 41 just before you head into Oakhurst from the south, that is precisely our current status.

We will be living these next few months with possible catastrophe a single spark away. A hastily abandoned campfire, a handful of illegal fireworks, or one carelessly tossed cigarette can explode into a wall of flames just as quickly as a lightning strike, airborne embers or other unavoidable phenomena.

Oakhurst is not new to evacuations. A bit of family strategizing with various contingencies in mind, including alternative planning seems like a fine idea.

It could be worse.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations report a Yellowstone National Park earthquake swarm has registered 1,284 events since June 12th, including one of 4.5 magnitude June 16th in West Yellowstone. This represents a “notable uptake in activity.”

The Yellowstone Caldera sits on top of North America’s largest volcanic field spreading across an area of 300 miles. While most scientists believe the probability of a major eruption is small, it could blast 240 cubic miles of ash, rocks and lava into the atmosphere, rendering two-thirds of the nation immediately uninhabitable, and plunging the world into a “nuclear winter.”

We don’t need to worry about cold around here yet.

Washington is having a hot summer too.

Exactly 97 years ago this week (July 26, 1920) — cultural critic and iconoclastic journalist H.L. Mencken wrote a column in the Baltimore Sun which included this amazingly prescient quote: “On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of this land will reach their heart’s content at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

 Nudge. Nudge.

Wink. Wink.

I’ll write no more.

 

 

 

“Senior Sex in Oakhurst”

July 16, 2017

Ice+Cream+Truck

 

First of all, relax.

This is a family newspaper.

What follows would be labeled a Walt Disney “G” or earn an old Catholic Legion of Decency rating of A-I for “General Patronage”. Well, maybe an A-II for “Adults and Teenagers”, but probably not an A-III for “Adults”, let alone A-IV for “Adults with Morally Objectionable Parts.” I always wondered if this was an anatomical reference. If so, it probably wouldn’t be a hard guess what might fit that category.

Using Roman numerals seemed to add a certain ecclesiastical cachet.

Times were much more restrictive back then. In the ‘50s, you couldn’t say “pregnant” on the radio. Even Lucille Ball couldn’t describe her condition with that word when she was “expecting” little Ricky in 1952. Another forbidden word was not allowed. S-e-x. Sex.

Here’s who’s having “it” among seniors:

Among High School seniors = 62%

Among College seniors = 57%

Among senior citizens 70 years of age and older = 54% of men and 31% of women.

In fact, The New England Journal of Medicine reports that a majority of older adults who were married or had intimate partners remain active through their 80’s and “a significant number” well into their 90’s.

A comparable study by Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion found somewhat similar results with 43% of men and 22% of women over 70 reporting they regularly engage in sexual activity.

More research by the National Commission on Aging found that women say sex over 70 is more satisfying than that experienced in their 40s. The Senior Citizens Guide stresses that we should erase ”the long-held myth that aging inevitably dampens the desire, and that older people are not interested in or able to have sex.”

Yet sex remains a sensitive topic for all ages — particularly cringe-inducing for the young commenting on behavior of the old.

When I joined a local gym upon turning 50 or so, one of our daughters sternly cautioned me to “not be like all those creepy old men staring at young girls working out.” I made an instant mental note to stash my Playboys in a more secure location. And dump all copies of Penthouse where I left those Hustlers.

Looking at sex from a purely mechanical perspective, it seems silly. Can there be a more vivid illustration of ecstasy ignoring embarrassment? We follow powerfully transcendent instinctive inclinations and gain ultimate pleasure in unqualified surrender. That’s why sex can also lead to potentially dangerous, even criminal behavior.

It’s not control of sex by community consensus, but degrees of repressive restriction that threaten common decency in a democratic society.

Even those of the 10 Commandments in Judaic/Christian/Islamic culture often cited as being sexually prohibitive were nothing more at the time of origination than property laws — in the good old days when almost everyone knew men owned their women.

Many anecdotes about senior sex can now be safely and publicly shared.

Hearing that her elderly grandfather had passed away, little Suzie rushed to comfort her 95 year-old grandmother. When asked what happened, Suzie was told he had a heart attack while they made love that Sunday morning. Horrified, Suzie told her grandmother having sex at such an advanced age was looking for trouble.

“Oh, no, my dear” replied Granny. “Many years ago, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would ring. It was just the right rhythm, Nice and slow and easy. Nothing too strenuous.”

“If that darned ice cream truck hadn’t come by, he’d still be alive today!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oakhurst Top 10”

July 9, 2017

Yosemite Painting

 

“Should I stay or should I go?” – “Combat Rock” – The Clash (1980)

Eileen and I moved to Oakhurst in November of 2006 to spend more time with daughter Susan and her family. Earlier this year, Susan and Rich decided to head for exciting new high-tech opportunities in Nashville, departing last week with Allison, Asher, Isaac, two cats and two fish. They got there in four days. This leaves our entire immediate family well east of the Mississippi, but not abandoned to strangers.

“Bitsy” and I just love it here. But is this the time to consider geographic transition ourselves? We’re not getting any younger. Or stronger. Or faster.

Perhaps wiser.

With Fresno International Airport right down the hill, we’re still less than a half-day away from closest kin and simultaneously offer a spectacularly attractive destination for those enticed to visit. That’s how I’d start a ‘Top Ten” list of why I want to stick around Oakhurst like industrial strength Velcro. Or Super Glue. Or those two Quesadillas I ate late last night before sliding into bed. Nine more reasons come quickly to mind, listed as a matter of personal priority. See if any click with you.

(9) Cal Fire. Anyone who thinks government can’t work should check these heroes out.

(8) Cool local bars. The Oak Room, Dirty Donkey, Southgate Brewery and Hitching Post head the list. Erna’s is way too fancy for the likes of me.

(7) Wildlife. Herds of Mule Deer, flocks of Wild Turkey, squads of squirrels and coveys of quail abound in these foothills. October brings Tarantula time. Don’t kiss the rattlers.

(6) An active and harmonious political environment allowing for what I call “positive cross pollination.” During election season, almost all of our speakers at monthly meetings of the Oakhurst Democratic Club are Republican candidates. I consider John Pero, Central Valley Tea Party Coordinator, a friend. Folks seem amazed when they see Bill Atwood and I having lunch together at El Cid’s. They’re even more dazzled when Bill picks up the tab.

(5) A solid spiritual base. Virtually every major religious group finds representation in Eastern Madera County, as well as evolving philosophical thought. I am particularly impressed by such prominent Oakhurst originals as Angelo Pizelo and his work with the Emerson Institute, now of nationally renown. Angie always makes me laugh.

(4) Community Clubs and Projects. We’re not a city, suburb, village or town. But for a “Designated Census Area”, we certainly offer a multiplicity of organizations dedicated to addressing specific needs and projects.

(3) Exceptional law enforcement. The California Highway Patrol #456, part of CHP’s Central Division, covers over a thousand square miles of state highways and unincorporated roadways in an around Oakhurst. The Madera County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Jay Varney now offers an Oakhurst substation on Liberty Drive to better serve the foothills area. Similarly, District Attorney David Linn has opened a satellite office at that same location to make his services more accessible.

(2) Our wonderful neighbors. We are blessed with friends and acquaintances of all kinds and minds.

(1) Yosemite. Always first and foremost in evaluation must be the stunning, breathtaking beauty of America’s première national park. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is celebrated internationally for its granite cliffs, crystal streams, dramatically plunging waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, glaciers and biological diversity. And here we are with Half Dome in our own backyard. Five million visitors are expected this year.

But we get to stay.

Here in the Misty Mountains. Where the spirits go. Over the hills, where the spirits fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My Summer Vacation” (Sierra Star for 7/6/17)

June 30, 2017
heart normal anterior view of exterior structures

Medical Illustrations by Patrick Lynch, generated for multimedia teaching projects by the Yale University School of Medicine, Center for Advanced Instructional Media, 1987-2000.

 

When a lab technician stares at the screen and loudly proclaims, “Wow!” — adding, “Don’t you feel that?”, one realizes he is at the scene of breaking news.

Every year in early summer, Eileen and I travel back east to Syracuse, NY, where we were both born at Memorial Hospital on “the hill” adjacent to Syracuse University. I remember Jim Brown jogging on the sidewalk in front of our house on Ackerman Avenue when I was a kid.

We enjoyed a great week with family and friends, including several days at Alexandria Bay near the Thousand Island Bridge on the St. Lawrence River, now at its highest level in memory and threatening to flood the city of Montreal upstream. Many of the little islands are completely underwater. Tourism has been greatly curtailed and it has recently kept on raining days at a time. But there’s no such thing as global warming.

Then I suddenly started feeling weird and super tired. By Sunday morning I was huffing and puffing like that little train that could, except I couldn’t. I could barely stand up.

Moderate COPD enthusiastically earned smoking 2 1/2 packs a day for 40 years colliding with the mysterious onslaught of severe heart arrhythmia in the form of Atrial Flutter (with a consequential pulse rate relentlessly racing at 150 beats and above for over 50 hours) brought about radical shortness of breath and marked pneumonia .

Ejection fraction is a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts. The left ventricle is the heart’s main driving chamber pumping oxygenated blood through the ascending aorta to the rest of the body, so ejection fraction is usually measured only in the left ventricle. An LV ejection fraction of 55 percent or higher is considered normal. I was clocked at 30 — a little over half of that. Stroke City, here we come.

Such warranted four days of hospital stay, but all has been successfully addressed. Happily there was no permanent heart muscle damage as originally anticipated when treatment was initiated. But Eileen and I did miss our Tuesday flight home.

Arranging our delayed return home, an exercise complicated by heavy Fourth of July bookings, brought an unpleasant encounter with corporate compassion. Although armed with a handwritten note on hospital stationary penned by a prominent Syracuse cardiologist explaining my plight, it cost more for us to fly back to Fresno than the price of our original round trip tickets. “Sorry. Company policy!” It was pay or stay. Climate change deniers must be in charge.

While I was recuperating, Clown Boy struck again with a brutal attack on Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC with five major lies viciously compressed into two mindless tweets.

Legendary New York ad agency icon and TV host Donny Deutch, guest appearing on “Morning Joe”, proclaimed Trump “a pig” adding, “Let’s face it. When it comes to appearance, a quality he constantly brings up criticizing others, Donald himself looks absolutely disgusting.” Cautioned that he was taking “the low road”, Deutch emphatically stated, “It’s time we all did. This guy is a menace.”

This weekend Cheese Child finally meets Putin in Hamburg.

“Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly.”

It’s great being home again.

Don’t smoke.

 

 

Sent from my iPad

 

“Eve of Obstruction”

June 15, 2017

Keebler Jeff

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.”

 Donald J. Trump

3:55 AM – 15 June 2017

Nice.

The “Russians story” isn’t phony, there’s plenty of proof, and “obstruction of justice” is certainly much clearer than how you can possibly think you look good with that thing on your head.

Mister President? Why don’t you just jump on a broom like the Wicked Witch of the West and circle the White House, replacing “Surrender Dorothy” with — “I’m Guilty!”

 That would save us all time, attention, money and face. We do need to move along, discarding you on the trash heap of history as a mock messiah unworthy of memory for having shamed us all with bitter betrayal, national disgrace and global dishonor.

The self-indicting tweet confirmed a report in the Washington Post that the Republican President was personally the subject of an extensive criminal investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for obstructing justice. Upon learning of same, Trump seriously contemplated firing Mueller just as he had FBI Director James Comey, but was finally dissuaded by the few clear heads left in his inner circle. Not you Steve Bannon.

All this was after Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard “Pee Wee” Sessions testified under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee as it continued its own investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as any ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Futilely attempting to radiate elfin innocence with a sugar sweet smile and an occasionally engaging “y’all” drawl, Pee Wee did past audition as a future poster boy for the Smedema Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting amnesia. Rolling Stone magazine counted 25 separate times Pee Wee encountered a major memory lapse while testifying. They might have been stoned. Several other publications came up with 26.

California’s own new Senator, Kamala Harris, pointedly noted to Sessions that even in the brief opening remarks he submitted to the Committee in advance of his appearance, “Just on the first page you wrote,” nor do I recall”, “do not have recollection” and “do not remember it.”

 Senator Harris did us proud in rapidly pounding away at Pee Wee until Senator John McCain interrupted her in mid sentence by pounding the table, yelling, “Mr. Chairman, the witness should be allowed to answer the question!”

 Sessions did so, although confessing with due embarrassment that Senator Harris made him “nervous.” Yes. And she’s a woman!

The question Pee Wee was wildly attempting to wiggle his way out of was what he meant by refusing to answer anything he discussed with President Trump, alleging a long held “policy of communications confidentiality.” No one present had ever heard of such a thing. Pee Wee insisted this was not a matter of “Executive Privilege” or even “classified information.” He also wasn’t sure any such rule existed in writing. Anywhere. Adding intentional avoidance to chronic amnesia has started quite a fuss. Some feel Pee Wee should be charged with Contempt of Congress. Senator Elizabeth Warren flatly stated he should be immediately dismissed. Others swear they will never eat Keebler Cookies again.

Trump will be going down. All loyal hangers-on will be going down. History will be unforgiving.

Although “Obstruction of Justice” is emerging as initial candidate for inclusion in a Bill of Impeachment before the House of Representatives, we are scratching the surface.

The ultimate end will be a dollars deal. It usually is.

Forget the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy.

Follow the money.

 

 

 

“Batman v. Trump”

June 11, 2017

Batman-BenAffleck

Last week we lost 88 year-old Adam West, an iconic actor best known for his role as DC Comic’s Batman in the spectacularly successful ’66-’68 ABC TV revival of the legendary franchise dating back to May of 1939.

As with other super heroes packing movie theaters through succeeding generations, the Batman character epitomizes beliefs, balances and behaviors commonly regarded by the greatest majority of our citizenry through the years as core national values. The kinds of things you teach your kids.

Perhaps Superman proclaimed it best. “Truth, Justice and The American Way!”

Batman would have had little use for Donald J. Trump. Nor would Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy or Wonder Woman. Try giving HER a grab, President Puffball.

Trump can’t tell the truth, thinks “justice” means “just us” and believes the American Way is measured in karats, not character.

I watched former FBI Director Jim Comey’s live testimony under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee from start to finish. I found him clearly confident and highly credible. As any professional pool player would quickly recognize, Comey brilliantly set the table for future things to come. When ABC’s Jon Karl later sprang his own trap on Trump, Donald instantly snapped at the bait like a starving sturgeon. Would the President testify giving his “version of events” under oath? You bet. “One hundred percent!” roared the response. Don’t hold your breath.

Latest Quinnipiac polling shows the Republican President hitting yet another new low with a plunging approval rating of 34%, the worst ever recorded. A full 57% of the 2,000 + sample registered disfavor. An even larger majority of respondents (68%) believe that the President is not “level headed” – including 64% of Republicans. Incidentally, these figures were obtained before Comey went before the Senate Committee and swore under penalty of perjury “the administration chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, and that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. These were lies – plain and simple.”

 The initial White House response?

“I can definitely say the President is not a liar,” lied Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee “Southern Baptist Minister’s Daughter” Sanders.

Being unable to secure personal representation from four respectable Washington law firms due to his established legal reputation for “not listening and not paying,” Trump has turned to an old go-to lawyer, New York’s Marc Kasowitz, to act in his stead during the current Russia probe. Marc arrives on the scene quite cozy with the subject at hand since Kasowitz recently represented a major Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank and one particular company owned by billionaire Oleg Deripaska with proven connections to the Kremlin. It’s a small world after all.

And it’s going faster all the time.

I can’t believe it’s been seven and a half years since Alan Cheah and I began writing this “For Your Consideration” column, starting in January of 2010. Along with Editor Brian Wilkinson, Publisher Betty Linn has been with us all the way, providing Sierra Star readers with a perhaps more progressive outlook on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness “(more Superman) than otherwise occasionally encountered. As you may have read, Betty is retiring from the Star at the end of this week, but surely not from Oakhurst and all the friends and admirers who love her dearly.

Thank you Betty for being there for all of us, right, left and center, all the time every time.

You’re very special.