“GLORY TO THE HEIST”

August 12, 2018

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“I laugh because I must not cry” – Abraham Lincoln (1862)

These days I never miss highlights of Stephen Colbert (CBS), Trevor Noah (The Comedy Network), John Oliver (HBO), Jimmy Kimmel (ABC) or Jimmy Fallon (NBC) — in that order. Thanks, YouTube!

They keep me sane and share one thing in common.

They are brilliant performers with a staff of gifted writers at a critical time in our nation’s history when they’ve never been needed more.

There are dozens of other comics similarly dedicated to keeping this current craziness properly perceived. Their focus is the same. We are being ruled by the rich and their slimy surrogates, led by a lifetime lunatic.

Comedians have played a critical role in cultural consciousness throughout history, from their role as favored fools in the courts of kings to such American icons as Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson.

Twain called political party loyalty, “A snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes.” Chaplin’s masterpiece, “The Great Dictator”, brilliantly satirized Hitler and fascism, receiving five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.

It was Will Rogers who proclaimed, “I am not the member of any organized political Party. I am a Democrat!” Bob Hope once famously declared, “No one party can fool all of the people all of the time. That’s why we have two parties.”

 In a remarkably prescient moment more than a quarter century ago, Johnny Carson announced on the Tonight Show in 1992, “Jennifer Flowers got a new job today — as Donald Trump’s backup mistress.”

For Fox fans — Ms. Flowers was said to have been romantically involved with Bill Clinton for an extended period back when he was governor of Arkansas.

Back when I was a mean little kid in Syracuse, I would walk into our neighborhood Ben Franklin 5&10 with my friends and engage in friendly dialogue with whoever happened to be in charge, usually a hapless clerk given to easy distraction. Simultaneously, my associates would quickly grab little goodies galore from unwatched counters to be evenly divided following departure. Such practice stopped when I started Catholic School in 5th Grade. Clerks were one thing, but nuns dramatically something else. There were bites to their barks.

Such youthful misbehavior came to mind when I was trying to figure out another fresh way to frame this current outlaw administration. In many ways, Donald Trump is much more a distracter than actor. While he endlessly bleats and tweets divisive drivel in the spotlight, his gang is back in the shadows hooting and looting.

There’s former EPA Secretary Scott “The Devil Made Me Do It” Pruitt, who plundered his way to dismissal through such extravagances as a $43,000 private phone booth.

Treasury Secretary Steven “Munchkin” Mnuchin believes he can engineer millions more in tax relief for billionaires without involving Congress.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan “Stinky” Zinke is looking for ways to open thousands of square miles of federal lands to commercial exploitation – specifically drilling and fracking.

The latest issue of Forbes Magazine reports Secretary of Commerce Wilbur “Bald Boss” Ross “could rank among the biggest grifters in American history” after swindling $120 million dollars from associates.

Mick “Zany” Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Acting Director of the Consumer Protection Agency, just cut that agency’s budget in half and fired all 25 members of its advisory board.

H.U.D. Secretary Ben Carson’s solution for low-income Americans’ housing is to raise rents.

Kurt Vonnegut would herein add, “And so on.”

Glory be to the heist.

Trump’s “best” seem unblessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Smokesman Birthday”

August 5, 2018

220px-Smokey_Bear_Only_You_campaign_hat

It’s August 9, 2018.

Happy 74th Birthday to Smokey Bear!

With many able bodied young men fighting overseas in World War Two, The U.S. Forest Service decided to develop a major campaign to remind citizens about the importance of accepting individual responsibility in preventing forest fires.

When Walt Disney’s “Bambi” was released in late 1942, it was noted by planners that the film included a climactic forest fire sequence. They received permission to use the newly beloved character in its advertising efforts, but were only licensed to do so for a year. Walt ran a tight ship. Artists marched back to the drawing board like dwarfs heading off to work. Heigh-Ho. Heigh-Ho.

It was on August 9, 1944 that “Smokey Bear” made his national debut – with the “e” intentionally added to the accepted spelling of “smoky” to make the name unique. That’s tripped me up more than once. Although “Bambi” lost money in its first release, “Smokey” was a major hit from the start.

Smokey’s slogan “Only you can prevent forest fires” was updated to “wildfires” in April of 2001 due to a massive outbreak of fire activity in grasslands and to explain that Smokey was not talking about officially sanctioned outdoor fires.

2018 may well turn out to be the worst year in California wildfire history – and our state is not alone in courting such dubious distinction. Nor is our nation.

Glaciers are melting around the world. Deserts are expanding as never before. Oceans are rising at an elevated rate. Human impact on climate change is scientifically irrefutable, yet still denied by the dense. Speaking of whom —-

Devin Nunes? I’ve had enough smoke getting in my eyes. Get off my TV screen.

This creepy little stooge has been all over the channels whining about state government and asking viewers to join him in his fight against California taxes, especially the new one on gasoline enacted to provide $5.2 billion annually for road and bridge repair and expanded mass transit. That’s instead of deficit spending for these things, which I thought should please conservative Republican friends.

“Governor Moonbeam” has been balancing his budget these last few years, even generating billions of dollars in surplus for a rainy day. More mass transit will greatly decrease auto emission levels, a reasonable, climate conscious goal. Get it, Devin?

You don’t really spend much time in your 22nd Congressional District anymore, do you? You’ve been far too busy kissing up to our Cowardly Liar with embarrassing middle-of-the-night plots while displaying the lamest political leadership since Incitatus grazed in the Roman Senate. He was Emperor Caligula’s favorite horse.

State stuff is none of your business anyway, Devin. You’re supposed to be dealing with important federal matters. But there’s nothing you can be proud of there.

How about showing your face in public and answering local taxpayer questions, like why you voted to end federal health care without a “cheaper and better replacement’, as your lord and master guaranteed. “Promises made. Promises Delayed.”

 Why did you support the despised “Tax Reform Act of 2017” primarily benefitting the very richest in American society? They don’t live next door. This is the same bunch waiting for another multi billion-dollar pay-off any day now in the form of adjusted capital gains. They’re grabbing all they can. No one seems to notice.

It’s much too smoky.

“Breathe deep the gathering gloom.

Watch lights fade from every room”

 “Late Lament” – The Moody Blues (1967)

Though the same sun shines on all — divided as a people — this is a summer of discontent.

The fall can’t some too soon, seasonal and otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Obliteration of the Obvious”

July 29, 2018

Trump Clown

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

George Orwell – “1984” (1948)

“Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

President Donald J. Trump – (July 24, 2018)

Everyone loves tariffs. Stormy Daniels does not exist. Truth in government does. There was no meeting in Trump Tower between Russians with “dirt on Hillary” and Junior. If there was, Senior never authorized or knew about it. Where’s Russia on a map? Montenegro is our enemy. Those last two syllables say it all. Who is Michael Cohen? What Playboy Bunny? When is “Fox and Friends” on again? Where’s my Coke? Not that — the one I drink. Presidential ponderings abound – unencumbered by reality. The obvious becomes obliterated.

In Oakhurst, we need not be told, “Where there’s smoke – there’s fire.” With Deadwood disappearing everyday — that’s hard to forget.

The Trump/McClintock administration scoffs at the proven human impact on climate change. Trump has announced withdrawal from

The Paris Agreement of 2016 signed by 179 other countries. The United States thus joins Syria and Nicaragua in not supporting the pact – a major change in direction since it was we who initiated the whole idea. Does anyone possibly believe the USA continues to lead the free world? Does anybody really think we are still trusted by our friends? Is thinking itself not an endangered exercise?

It seems quite clear many folks don’t like to think. Or judge. It’s not their fault. They’re not wired that way. Sometimes the hardest thing to believe — is in yourself. It can feel much safer to go along — not go alone.

Psychologists claim the hardest thing for most of us — is to stand up and address a crowd. It’s a subconsciously programmed, inherited fear. For dozens of centuries, heads were hacked — not hard drives. Even in these times, many would rather be ruled than ridiculed. For these, there are few things more comfortable than acquiescence and acceptance, yielding with quick, defenseless release to swift, sweet surrender.

A fatal German flaw leading to the rise of Hitler was not philosophical agreement or racial hatred, nor outright complicity. It was obedience.

Congress is now on a five week, hardly earned vacation.

After two years of calling Russian election meddling in 2016 “a hoax,” Trump’s final act before the jokers left town was to hastily convene a meeting of the National Security Council. With 2018 November elections now a hundred days away, it was to be their first official group discussion on voting integrity. The session lasted a half-hour, then the President left to play golf, honoring precious priorities.

The position of White House cyber security coordinator was eliminated in early May with no replacement deemed necessary. There is no single individual or agency currently taking the lead and overseeing strategy. Accountability is absent. No one’s in charge.

Now comes word that Russian hackers have upped their game, concentrating on power grids and other critical aspects of American infrastructure, including nuclear facilities — possibly impacting target settings. Change that “M-O-S” to “L-A-X”. Sweet.

A glaring national vulnerability has exponentially increased in recent years with ever more sophisticated intricacies of connection, collaboration and coordination. We only need look about. A brilliant cyber attack would not bring about simple, passing inconvenience. Properly unplug us and we are doomed.

But perhaps Trump’s magic will never stop. There he is — just before dawn — high on a hill — live on cable news. He bellows, “Sun! Arise! And it does. Everyone cheers. Another big win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Overload”

July 22, 2018

Trump-Queen-golf-bag

“Hear a funky noise? That’s the tightening of the screws.”

 “Doom and Gloom” – The Rolling Stones (2012)

Smoke billows against a red setting sun.

There is chaotic silence.

We are far past overload.

The shame of Helsinki yields to servile surrender as our Comrade-in-Chief invites his killer to the Capitol. Trump may catch kids, but Putin burns them alive with fire from the sky. We can’t look away.

Our Fourth Congressional District Representative and Eager Enabler Tom “Glad for Vlad” McClintock continues whining about the federal deficit, but only after adding hundreds of billions in borrowed debt with new tax breaks for rich old friends. Only makers should be takers.

29 year-old Maria Butina, an active member of the NRA (“Naughty Russian Agents”) has been arrested and is being held without bail. According to the FBI, Butina tried to develop secret back channels with American politicians that could “penetrate the US national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation.’ Speaking of penetration, Ms. Butina is said to have casually exchanged personal familiarities with much older men in pursuing her mission for Moscow. All in a day’s work. Maria has friends in high places.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov almost immediately demanded that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo release Butina. You’d think Mike had her tied up in his office or something. Rumors ran rampant. Maria remained in a Washington jail cell under federal custody — judged a flight risk.

You might remember Sergie from his temporarily secret White House visit to the Oval Office on May 10th of last year, the day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. When Lavrov dropped in on Donny, accompanied by Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and various aides, they laughed and lounged about. That’s when Mister Mouth said that firing Comey had relieved “a great pressure – because of Russia. That’s been taken off.” The President also observed that Comey “was crazy, a real nut jobI’m not under investigation”.

Trump then proceeded to spill the beans about certain top-secret matters, boasting that he had “Great Intel.” We are aware of this thanks to Russian media coverage. No members of the American press were allowed in the room or even knew about it. Not even Fox News.

We’re once again dependent on Russian sources for clues as to what took place in Finland — possibly many dark secrets were whispered despite 24-hours of daylight.

Trump and Putin met alone and conversed for more than two hours, accompanied only by official interpreters. Although the Russians probably recorded the whole thing, our side has no idea as to what was discussed, negotiated, or, most critically, agreed upon.

Trump seemed overjoyed during a subsequent press conference that Putin had volunteered to help investigate himself. Yes, Vladimir would have his intelligence forces ask Russian officials charged with felonious hacking what they were up to. Would one Russian not speak the truth to another? Naturally, Vlad would also need to formally interview certain Americans, including a former US Ambassador to Russia, about vital matters of serious concern. Speak loudly into this rat cage, Mr. McFaul.

I have a dream

Trump turns out to be an ultimate chess player, aligned with Robert Mueller all along against the Russian menace. Sealed indictments are revealed. Federal Marshals storm the Ilyushin II-96-300 PU as soon as it touches down at Joint Air Base Andrews, arresting Putin on the spot and dragging him away in chains. He is charged and tried for Espionage, War Crimes, Election Tampering and Poor English. He’s found guilty, stir-fried, then traded to China for Chicken Chow Mein.

Who knew?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Limp Blimp”

July 15, 2018

Baby Blimp

There was no point or purpose other than the obvious.

Outcome expectations ranged from appalling to apocalyptic as Air Force One headed to Helsinki and our Colluder-in-Chief’s annual employment review.

Trump’s NATO meetings were disastrous. A hundred thousand marched against him in London waving taunting signs, many of which would make a biker blush. A 19-foot baby blimp diapered in his image merrily floated above the crowds. His visit to Windsor Castle and Tea with the Queen lasted less than an hour, suggesting Her Majesty, just to be rid of him, sucked down her brew like chugging a beer bong.

With a dozen Russian Military Intelligence Officers under criminal indictment on federal felony counts in addition to the 13 Russian nationals and three specific companies similarly accused in February, Trump’s “rigged hoax” is crashing down toward his humungous head like a Scottish protester.

What?

At the same time the latest charges were being announced, a Greenpeace activist paraglided himself only feet above as Donald arrived at his Scottish golf course. Duck, Donald! Trump nearly tripped over a curb as Secret Service agents steered him to safety. “TRUMP: WELL BELOW PAR” read a massive yellow banner clutched by the offender as he zipped above the President. Scottish police confirm they had been given a “heads up” about the pending intrusion ten minutes in advance, but possibly may not have warned Trump to keep his head down. Or he didn’t listen.

He certainly didn’t listen to bipartisan demands that he either immediately abandon his Putin Summit plans in the wake of such damning new developments or, more boldly, dramatically confront Vladimir with insistence that the named perpetrators be arrested and extradited for trial. Trump offered a fat chance for either – pun intended.

The Trump/McClintock administration continues to brutally embarrass our nation at every turn as the rest of the free world watches with deep disappointment and ever increasing horror.

Of course Donny and Vlad will spend significant time alone together in celebration of a love that dare not speak its name.

In 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson, a Christian school superintendent, pastor and anti-communist conservative writer named John A. Stormer published a book entitled, “None Dare Call It Treason.” It accused America’s “left-leaning” Democrats of paving the way for a Soviet victory in the Cold War. It sold seven million copies, but Johnson carried 44 of the 50 states and crushed Goldwater by more then 15 million ballots in popular voting. Of course, I mention this only in passing with no intention of impugning the innocent.

Back to the target, I am saddened that our President’s favorite goon, Kim Jong-un, now holds hostage our fallen dead.

North Korean officials did not show up last Thursday in Panmunjom for a scheduled meeting with their American counterparts to discuss the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers who died in the Korean War.

This repatriation had not only been agreed upon during the recent Shanghai meetings with Kim, but is something President Trump keeps irrationally insisting has already taken place.

This is yet another fantasy, like those thousands of New Jersey Muslims in Trump’s mind celebrating 9/11 or those three million imaginary illegal immigrants who voted for Hillary or that certain former president with a suspicious foreign name who personally wiretapped Trump Tower, probably lowered on a jungle vine from a Deep State helicopter flown by diabolical snowflake elitists on a Godless, moonless night.

Is not the whole world conspiring against him? Is this not an ultimate rebellion against his unbelievably stable genius?

Can Trump not make Russian great again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mob Boss”

July 8, 2018
Since Trump
This is an evil thing. 

“Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!” – Latest Trump Rally — Great Falls, Montana – 7/5/18.

Had Hillary been in attendance, she would have been hung, drawn, quartered and fed to ferrets.

Mass hysteria has been the subject of serious scientific study for decades. Mob psychology is one manifestation. It transmits collective illusions of danger or discomfort through a population impacted by rumors, fears or a lively imagination. A common type of mass hysteria occurs when a given group convinces itself all members should experience similar beliefs or urges.

There were the cat nuns of France. A novitiate in a 15th Century French convent inexplicably started to meow like a cat. This led to many of the other nuns also meowing. Eventually all the sisters would meow together for a certain period every day. This stopped only after local authorities were called upon to intervene. Police threatened to whip the kitties. There were no more meows.

In those same Middle Ages, a nun in a German convent began to bite her companions, and the behavior spread through other convents in Germany, into Holland and as far as Italy.

The majority of examples are much more sinister.

Between 1626 and 1631, the Wurzburg Witch Trials resulted in 157 German men, women and children being burned at the stake, most having first been beheaded. This was shortly thereafter echoed in our own Salem Witch Trials (1692 –‘93) when 20 citizens were executed for practicing witchcraft in what is now recognized as America’s most notorious case of mass hysteria driven by ignorance, isolationism and religious extremism.

There is consensus this phenomenon induces individuals in a crowd to lose their sense of private self and personal responsibility with a propensity to unquestioningly follow predominant ideas and emotions. This behavior comes from an archaic shared unconscious and is uncivilized in nature — limited by the moral and cognitive abilities of the least capable members.

Sigmund Freud correspondingly suggests that becoming the member of a crowd unlocks the unconscious mind so powerfully that one’s individual moral center of consciousness is displaced with group think, which, in turn, is replaced by a powerful charismatic leader. Basic emotions are reduced to the most common denominator. This results in primitive levels of emotional expression, complete with the organizational structure of a pre-civilized society.

There are such masters as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Putin, Kim Jong-Un and Duterte.

Seven Republican Senators, led by Richard Shelby of Alabama, spent the Fourth of July in Moscow seeking to “strive for a better relationship” prior to Trump’s Putin Summit in Helsinki on July 16th. They did all but surrender. Shelby specifically stated he did “not accuse Russia or this or that or so forth.”

North Korea wouldn’t even let Secretary of State Michael Pompeo meet with Chairman Kim last weekend, calling Mike’s latest visit to Pyongyang “regrettable” and saying his approach was“gangster-like,”

Philippine President/Dictator Rodrigo Duterte further endeared himself to Catholic constituents by promising a few days ago to resign immediately if anyone can prove God actually exists. Duterte claimed Barack Obama is “the son of a whore.”  President Trump has invited Duterte to the White House.

Chest pounding, tough sounding, Hillary-hounding Donald J. Trump is the loudest, meanest monkey of all as he appears before base believers on an All-American hysteria hill, but let’s not forget that “base” is dictionary defined as “having or showing little or no honor, courage or decency: mean; ignoble; contemptible.”

 That sure seems to fit like turtlenecks on Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael.

Note to Hannity fans – just ask your grandkids.

 

 

 

“Get in the Game”

July 1, 2018

Putin Bay

I hope we keep Alaska.

Note to Fox viewers: On March 30, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars – roughly 2 cents an acre.

Knowing how our Dealmaker-in-Chief makes decisions all by his Double-Scoop Donny self without wasting time talking with others, here comes the “Putin Summit” July 16th in Sweden. It’s customary to begin such lofty meetings with leaders exchanging gifts.

“Vladimir? To increase our love, take Alaska.”

 “Donald? Here are tapes.”

The event might have been more enjoyably held in Putin Bay, Ohio. It’s actually “Put-In-Bay” – an island resort off the southern shore of Lake Erie between Toledo and Cleveland. Thousands of partiers gather for hot fun every summer. There are dozens of bars. The parties start at dawn. Live bands blast Country and Rock & Roll at a zillion decibels. “Put-In-Bay” is Disneyland for drunks. I loved it.

Our WIOT Coyote – a thirty-foot high blow-up mascot – would be set up in the middle of town for live broadcasts. Our DJs were rock stars. We were #1 in all of Northwest Ohio – just as the USA used to be #1 in the world.

Helsinki is no Put-In-Bay. It hits 30 below zero in the winter. At this point, Trump can’t seem to keep Putin at bay. We keep losing.

In less time than it took Columbus to reach San Salvador from the Canary Islands of Spain in 1492 (five weeks), Trump has alienated our most important traditional allies, initiated a mindless trade war which particularly threatens our farming communities and earned global condemnation for withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council while caging kids at the Mexican border.

Our “leader” no longer leads the free world.

Of even more immediate concern is Trump’s display of dog-like loyalty in his unqualified acceptance of Putin’s word that Russia did not meddle in our 2016 presidential election.

In February 2018, testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the heads of America’s top six intelligence agencies emphatically again stated Russian interference did take place. As of today, at least 11 Trump associates or officials have admitted having contacts with Russian agents during the campaign or transition.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has already indicated 17 individuals in the early stages of his ongoing investigation into Russian collusion and obtained five guilty pleas, but he’s not giving press conferences or tweeting mindless “hoax” charges on a non-stop basis from the Awful Office.

When the most serious charges come down, I predict we’ll see dozens of felony indictments, including Vice President Poodle Pence. He’s in things right up to his albino eyebrows.

Should this take place after a newly elected Democratic Congress takes over in January 2019, that would potentially put a Democratic Speaker of the House in direct line to become President if both Trump and Pence were to be impeached in the House of Representatives and found guilty of high crimes in the Senate. Impossible? Look who’s President now.

Supporting Jessica Morse’s campaign against Trump/McClintock gives every voter in California’s Fourth District a direct opportunity to erase the disgrace of the most corrupt and dangerous administration in the history of our republic. That brings to mind a gentleman who used to be one of my favorite Republicans.

Conservative Washington Post Columnist George Will has officially abandoned the party, referencing it as a mere “plaything” for Donald J. Trump. Will writes, “Just as a magnet attracts iron filings, Trump attracts and is attracted to, louts.” George calls for voting Democratic in 2018.

There’s a Jessica Morse Campaign Office in Oakhurst with plenty to do.

Get in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Bumps in the Night”

June 24, 2018

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Here’s a ghost story for your Fourth of July campfire – assuming such is allowed within current burning restrictions. Otherwise, just turn off the lights and whisper as follows:

The house was in Oriskany, New York and dated back to the early 1800’s. The Oriskany battlefield, a national landmark that had witnessed one of the bloodiest encounters of the Revolutionary War, was only several hundred yards distant. The site is known in oral histories of the Iroquois nation as “A Place of Great Sadness.”

The structure was originally built as a private home for an eccentric and exceedingly stern Circuit Court Judge. According to local records, he had often resorted to the gallows’ pole in defining community standards.

Later in its life, the residence had been a “Home for Aged Priests”, a “Catholic Training School for Boys” and, during World War Two, a “Well Known Whorehouse”. Rome Air Force Base was only five miles distant. A house with a history, it had fallen into disrepair after the War ended and the pilots flew home. It had been closed for years.

Only part of the ground floor had been recently restored and made available for occupancy. The unfinished front section of the dwelling featured the dusty remains of an old chapel, complete with stained-glass windows, creeping cobwebs and bent and broken pews. We lived on one side of the completed construction with seven rooms. I was doing the morning show on WTLB in Utica covering Central New York and the historic Mohawk Valley — James Fenimore Cooper territory. This was 1966.

On a bitterly cold, dark, windy, snow-filled February night a little past Midnight, Eileen and I heard strange sounds of pounding and clanking. Then came loud, angry, echoing footsteps. Dragging, banging noises were coming from the unoccupied floors above. I called the State Police.

Only five minutes had elapsed since summoning aid when a patrol car pulled into the winding driveway. The crashing footsteps, rhythmic slamming and pounding pulsations increased in volume. Then came utter silence.

“There’s this unbelievable racket and it’s really loud and scary and it can’t be just squirrels or even raccoons or anything and it sure would be great if you guys could take a look”.

No problem.

A Sergeant and partner carefully combed all upper floors of the house, flashlights illuminating the rotting, molding legacy of neglect over decades. Incredible debris was stacked and stored everywhere, each sweeping beam revealing boxes and rags, barrels, broken glass, rusting pipes and papers torn by time. The third floor had been an old dormitory; sinks and toilets aligned in ghostly, ceramic precision on their long, empty march to pending demolition. I nervously trailed the police. I was getting more spooked with every step. So were the cops.

A thorough search concluded without hard resolution. The officers walked around all external property and viewed the fresh-fallen snow for any clues to be learned or signs to be seen. The police were undeniably not dismissing our concerns out of hand and departed as reluctant confidants in a mutual mystery. They mentioned they’d been there a few times before, responding to similar calls from former tenants.

After all these years, I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts, goblins or anything else that might go bump in the night, but I’m certain many things are not as they seem.

Perhaps even most things.

Some quantum physicists are now quite convinced that — at our fundamental core — we are nothing more than vibrating strings of invisibly brilliant eternal light — beaming forever with no beginning or end.

But nothing less.

Boo!

 

“Peace for Our Time”

June 21, 2018

TIME

“My good friends, this is peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.” — British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain — heralding an agreement signed with Adolph Hitler. September 30, 1938.

“There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” – Donald J. Trump via Twitter — praising himself for an agreement signed with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un. 6:15 AM. June 13, 2018.

What a week.

Trump acts like a spoiled child in Quebec. He’s late for meetings and leaves the G-7 Summit early after antagonizing traditional allies and trashing critical alliances decades old. Then he zips off to give away the store in Singapore and find a new role model in Killer Kim.

“His people sit up and pay attention. I want my people to do the same” – Donald J. Trump via “Fox and Friends” June 15, 2018.

Kim got everything he wanted. Trump even used the tyrant’s own language ending annual military exercises with South Korea, labeling these practices “war games” and “provocation.” He made the move completely on his own without discussing it first with the government of South Korea, our military or his political party. Wait. It’s HIS party now. He need not tell them anything, now or ever. I forgot about that. But some things I’ll never forget.

I’m seeing this heart-rending picture of a tiny little girl in a bright red dress helplessly crying alone in abandoned agony after being torn from her parents by a chilling Trump/McClintock policy utterly void of common compassion and basic human decency.

I’m hearing the thoroughly discredited Steve Bannon blathering like the buffoon he is on “ABC News This Week” that Donald Trump does not lie and never has.

I’m worried that an ever more cornered rat will strike out in wild, unbalanced rage against friend and foe alike without conscience or consideration, determined to take the world with him as he plunges downward in terminal swoon.

Now there’s a good old-fashioned word – swoon. Curiously, it means both “fainting” and “feeling rapturously strong.” That’s according to Webster. Emmanuel Lewis is never wrong about these things. I was swooning as I monitored recent election results.

I told Tom Wheeler it was like watching him pilot a 747 under the Golden Gate Bridge. I had every confidence he could make it, but there wasn’t much room to spare.

There was never any doubt that Tom would convincingly carry the day seeking his fourth term as Fifth District Madera County Supervisor in the June 5th Primary. While contender Marc Sobel supposedly blew a hundred grand on his failed bid for office, the entrance of H. Nokomis Hernandez (who?) into the contest was what actually made things trickier.

It wasn’t enough for Tom to beat Marc by more than five full points for a Wheeler win by knockout in the first round. He had to do so with more than 50% of the total vote or face a runoff in November.

315 votes for Hernandez delayed a final count for ten days. The fat lady kept clearing her throat, but it wasn’t over till late last Friday when she burst into song and formally declared that Tom’s 50.96% finish officially topped Sobel’s second place 45.42% with Hernandez pulling a flaccid 3.51%.

Congratulations, Mr. Wheeler. Sometimes good guys do finish first, even though, in the words of the late Woody Hayes, “Anything that comes easy ain’t worth a damn!”

This is the first day of summer and my good friend Scott Hill’s 80th birthday. It didn’t all come easy.

But 80 IS the new 18!

“I’m For Her”

June 6, 2018

DF18_4.10_JessicaMorse-6120

 “I’ve hiked the length of our district, skied its mountains, and fished its rivers – I know the importance and beauty of our district. In Congress, I will always put our community ahead of politics.”

— Jessica Morse

At last we have a champion with a chance.

Tom McClintock is convinced he’s got it made.

But he’s never met an office changer quite like her.

Jessica Morse.

The primary season is now mercifully over. Our TV screens are no longer held captive to an endless parade of political poppycock. “Political” is not necessarily a dirty word. Nor is “poppycock” — this being a fine old expression meaning “nonsense.” It sailed into my head out of nowhere. I’ve never used it in a column before. There’s a first time for everything. November could be the first time for many of us to cross party lines as a matter of conscience and conviction.

I hope you’re sitting down for the following confession:

Popular perception to the contrary, I vote independently and am officially registered in Madera County as not having any formal party affiliation. I thus belong to the second largest voting bloc in California, behind Democrats, but ahead of Republicans. We now represent a full 25.5% of the state’s population. How ‘bout that?

The most critical issue confronting us in November deals with our highest elected office. Even though Washington is 2,843 miles from Oakhurst, there’s nothing of more local importance than this national issue.

Ms.Morse has now emerged as victor after a fiercely fought, yearlong campaign against talented opposition. Jessica has proven herself worthy of extended support and is more than ready to become our Fourth District Congressional Representative. That’s why I’m voting for her in November against Donald J. Trump. The whole world is watching.

A vote for McClintock is a vote for Trump. They are wedded together in boundless shame.

Trump/McClintock have just issued a full presidential pardon to Dinesh D’Souza, who mocked teenage survivors after 17 students were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida with the words, “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.”

Trump/McClintock have succumbed to the siren call of “needing a big win” to bow before the wishes of a despotic leader who has already carried the day by obtaining international recognition of unearned parity without giving up a thing in return. They’ve made the proud cry “USA!” into a whimpering “usa?”

Trump/McClintock proclaim their endless devotion to fiscal responsibility — having just engineered the most hypocritical heist in history. The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” adds a trillion and a half dollars to our national debt stealing from the old, sick and poor to reward the ruling, reigning rich.

Trump/McClintock have gutted the Consumers Protection Bureau — slashing its 2019 budget by 23% over 2018 ($630 million to $425 million) and severely limiting the Bureau’s enforcement authority. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was the primary mover behind the formation of this agency in 2011. Take that, Pocahontas.

Trump/McClintock have kicked off a global trade war with friend and foe alike at a time when May 2018 recorded a 3.8% unemployment rate driven by the 92nd consecutive month of job creation coast to coast. Trump/McClintock take all the credit, even though they’ve only been tightly joined in power for the last 16 months. Barack Obama established the initial reversal in economic momentum and upward traction during the first 76. Don’t gasp – just Google.

For the next five months, I’ll be supporting a lady willing to discuss all these things and so much more.

Let the public debates begin – but not up north in a Truckee phone booth. I nominate starting at the Oakhurst Community Center with radio and television coverage throughout the district and worldwide streaming on the Internet.

Jessica Morse vs. Trump/McClintock

We’ll see what happens.