“Tripping With Trump”

May 21, 2017

Bow

Jared is scared.

Along with being the President’s son-in-law and Ivanka’s marginally honorable husband, Jared “The Kid” Kushner is or may soon be the “subject of interest” referenced late last week in the Washington Post.

Accordingly to the multi-sourced report, a “senior White House adviser close to the President” is under scrutiny in connection with the newly configured probe into certain Russian connections between the Trump organization and Donny’s pal, Putin.

The Kid and Ivanka are together personally worth around $700 million, so whatever Jared might have dared was undoubtedly prompted more by love than money. Overlooking this romantic aside, when Kushner sought top-secret security clearance in becoming his Liar-in-Law’s senior adviser, he was required to list in writing all encounters with senior government officials over the last seven years. This was tantamount to sworn testimony. It says right on FBI Standard Form 86, “Knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.” Whoops. The Kid left a few things out.

In what must have been a temporary burst of amicable amnesia, Kushner neglected to include dozens of dalliances, including a meeting only weeks before with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak (there he is again) and the head of Vnesheconombank, Russia’s state owned bank. That would be yet another Sergey, Sergey N. Gorkov, whose credentials include graduation with honors from Russia’s top spy school, Moscow’s Andropov Institute. It is said to achieve distinction at The Institute, one must learn to disappear in an empty room. Impressive.

Kushner’s assumedly apoplectic attorneys have since referenced these omissions as being “inadvertent” – brought about by a “premature submission.” There are certain things with which one must learn to take more time.

Whether or not Jared ever cared to update his data, there he was as usual — right down front in Riyadh at the beginning of Trump’s widely heralded first big trip overseas, dripping in golden opulence and staggering splendor in the court of King Salamander. Yes, things kicked off in Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca, Mohammed and 15 of the 19 terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11. This Memorial Day Weekend, we should not forget. Never.

Trump presented an amazingly subdued address to the assembled Muslim leaders, more than a few being despotic dictators, but what’s gruesome to some may be unrestrained guidance to others – surely nothing that forbids friendship.  This “Donald on Downers” was much more laid back than I’ve ever seen – appearing more embalmed than emboldened. Not a bad look.

While being lavishly entertained like the monarch he seeks to be, Trump was joined by his Secretary of Commerce, 79 year-old Wilbur Ross, Jr., prancing about like Flopsy and Mopsy during an official Saudi victory dance, ceremonial swords held high or, in Wilbur’s case, about halfway up. Speaking of which, Wilbur was there with his third wife, the blond and beautiful Hillary (ironic, eh?) Ross. Mrs. Ross III, is said to be a “fixture of Washington and Palm Beach” and a “Power Society Hostess.”

Wilbur is worth several billion bucks, much of which he earned investing in corporate takeovers costing thousands of American workers their jobs, staging career executions on cue – carving up assets and bleeding pension funds to the last penny. Wilbur offers a prime example of vulture capitalism at its worst — awful, but lawful. And our current Secretary of Commerce was only two short years ago Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus — generally recognized as being primarily created to launder dark Russian money with deep ties to Vlad the Bad. It is heavily rumored that, in many ways, as Vice-Chairman of the Bank, Ross reported directly to Putin.

There’s one thing certain about the parties in Saudi.  Everyone there had big money. Lots of it. Lots. That brings me to Netflix.

 ‘Get Me Roger Stone” just came on line for streaming. Watch it more than once. It pretty much explains everything we are experiencing in the hallucinogenic-like, mind-mauling horror of our 45th President as we continue tripping with Trump.

Accordingly to the Washington Times, Stone recently admitted that he has been in private communications with Russian-connected hackers into Democratic National Headquarters. Stone also boasts of having a “back channel” to Julian Assange — Wiki-leaker extraordinaire.

Roger Stone goes back to Goldwater. He is a colorful cockroach of a character – delightfully diabolical. You can’t help but marvel at his manipulative genius, while sadly recalling the immortal words of P.T. Barnum, “You will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

Die-hard Trump fans?

You’ve been played.

 

 

 

 

“Downward Donald”

May 14, 2017

Downward

Allegiance is shifting.

Self-survival requires nothing less.

Tipping point reached, balance lost, we now witness rapid acceleration of a plunging decline to eventual abandonment as former Trump supporters, shocked and silenced by behavior as bewildering as his broken promises, firmly and finally withdraw open endorsement.

NBC’s “Face the Nation” resounded Sunday with honest Republican reevaluation.

“A Presidency without guardrails.”

 “Richard Nixon on steroids.”

 “This guy scares me.”

 Not much time is left for those who wish to remain on the right side of history.

Consider the astounding enormity of Drumpf’s (original German spelling of Trump’s family name) latest miscalculation in foolishly fantasizing that Democrats would delight in the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Parenthetically, HBO’s John Oliver defines the word “Drumpf” as meaning either “a serial liar” or “the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy store.”

I just read that. It’s too good to leave out.

While many Democrats do believe Comey’s handling of the Hillary email probe was less than stellar (including Mrs. Clinton) – virtually everyone still agrees that Comey nevertheless was and remained valiantly virtuous by almost every other measure during his long and dedicated years of government service. For such extended devotion to honor and duty he was abruptly dismissed without fair warning or the slightest pretense of proper protocol – ignominiously fired before millions on cable TV.

Effortlessly tossing some of his closest surrogates (including Poodle Pence) under the Lester Holt “NBC Nightly News” bus that following day in a live interview and introducing a brand new set of alternate facts in the process, President Pigeon kept insisting that he personally was not being investigated. That came down as item #1. He even made up some fresh fibs — straight from the oven steaming hot. Sniff the snit. Everyone else? The campaign? Those Russian guys taking pictures in the Oval office? Who knows?

After every new “worst week” comes another.

Now he’s about to represent us in his first overseas mission since being inaugurated. Saudi Arabia. Israel. The Vatican. Then comes the NATO Summit in Brussels followed by a G7 Meeting in Sicily. What can possibly go wrong? Everything.

Horrid organizer. Pathetic planner. Destructive delegator. Move over, Miley. Donald J. Trump is the ultimate wrecking ball. It’s quite conceivable he can unite the world by making everyone on the planet hate us all at once. But it won’t be his fault. Nothing bad ever is.

Donald feels his good things include Pee Wee.

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the 3rd, whose middle name may soon disappear in the middle of the night along with the rest of him, didn’t tell the truth on January 10th when he told Senate peers under oath he hadn’t meet with any recent Russians.

Oh, wait! That “Sergey Kislyak?” Him? Isn’t he a tailor or something? Sessions later allowed that he had met with the Russian Ambassador twice in 2016, but not as part of the Trump campaign. And Pee Wee didn’t buy any suits.

To alleviate any consequential concerns about his lasting love of law and order, Jefferson the Third has just ordered that federal prosecutors should “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in drug cases, even when that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing. This would bring back pre-Obama era incarceration policies that led to the United States – representing 5% of the globe’s population, housing 25% of its prisoners.

Mandatory sentencing for drug users has been controversial of late with significant bipartisan support building for review and revision.

Many reflective Republicans now oppose the concept as proven to be unfair, ineffective and far too costly. Not Sessions. Pee Wee likes the P.R. – characteristically treasuring form over substance.

 Most of Trump’s cabinet appointees are moving in predictable directions, even though much of his new administration is alarmingly understaffed, particularly the State Department. That should work out well on this weekend’s trip.

Obstruction of justice was one of the first charges outlined in the proposed impeachment of Richard M. Nixon on July 27, 1974. When the investigated (Donald) dismisses his primary investigator (James), this would seem to offer a classic definition of such obstruction.

Harvard Law Professor and leading constitutional authority Lawrence Tribe now categorically states, “Trump’s impeachment is an imperative.”

Professor Tribe adds, “Impeachable offenses could theoretically have been charged from the outset of this presidency. Political reality made impeachment seem premature. No longer. To wait for the results of multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation’s fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader.”

 Preach impeach.

 Tom McClintock — (916) 786-5560 or (202) 225-2511

They count every call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Zombie Trumpcare”

May 7, 2017

night-of-the-walking-dead-movie-poster-1977-1020227960

Horror stalks the land.

Spawned once again in the darkest part of night, the monster rose anew. Like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.”

Its putrid essence wafting olfactory insult as it passes, the vile villain now slithers toward The Senate on a mission to maim millions – hacking healthcare to reward the rich with a trillion dollar tax cut over the next ten years. The have-it-alls get more. It’s the least we can do for our betters.

Frankensteins by the dozen celebrated their vivisection resurrection with beer by the barrel on White House steps, led by President Pretense and his precious Prince Pence. Pass the pretzels, Poodle.

Victory was staggering. 216 votes were needed for success. 217 were scored. It was another historic, off the charts, big league landslide. Really special. Tremendous. Incredible.

Here’s a quick rundown.

Most Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act of 2010 because someone named it “Obamacare” and that somehow stuck. Even President Obama started calling it “Obamacare.” Year after year, survey upon survey has conclusively proven beyond any doubt that a significant majority of Americans like what’s in ACA when you break it down. That’s become especially true these last few months. Check out those Town Hall Meetings from coast to coast if you can get in the door anywhere.

The cost of medical coverage has been increasing by leaps and bounds in our lifetime DESPITE “Obamacare”, not BECAUSE of it. This is statistically indisputable. Ask anyone in the insurance business, not Donald J. “Truth Trasher” Trump. The brakes were hit in 2014 when the provisions of the Act were fully in place.

Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan) came up with a scheme at the last minute adding eight billion dollars to the beast for theoretical assistance to those negatively impacted by having a “pre-existing condition” — such as – gender. Anyone shoved head first into a high-risk pool might be able to draw upon this fund for assistance. According to every reasonable estimate, there’s enough there to take you from being ten feet underwater in the pool to being only eight feet beneath the surface. But there’s less pressure, assuming you can hold your breath long enough to tell the difference. Glub – Glub. Gulp. Gone.

Taking cowardly cover from this cynical last minute cosmetic, enough earlier wobblers came on board to breath life into the creature. This included our own Tom McClintock.

Tom!

How can you kiss your wife with those lips?

Rachel Maddow put our guy under a bright MSNBC spotlight after the vote came down, prominently featuring several area constituents loudly labeling him, “Tom McTRUMP.” As of last count, four (4) ladies have lined up to run against McTrump next year, recent Democratic contender Dr. Bob Derlet having decided to sit this one out. You’ll have the chance to meet them all in the near future. They have lots to say.

Zombie Trumpcare elevates and celebrates the worst instincts of self-serving economic privilege. It momentarily pacifies the young, outrageously services the wealthy and permanently injures the old, sick and poor. Zombie Trumpcare is the Sermon on the Mount upside down. Zombie Trumpcare sucks.

Although he and I share little concurrence in specific political outlook, I have always admired conservative pundit George Will for his diligent pursuit of truth, intellectual prowess and mastery of language. And I also love baseball, as does George.

Internalizing the accidental election of Trump far past the point of such silly concepts as “mild nausea” (which must be somewhat akin to “partial pregnancy”) – I find myself constantly struggling each week to find adequate words to express my ever increasing discomfort. Pejoratives offer nothing more than a partial panacea at best and overt overkill at worst.

A single column by George Will was the talk of Washington last week. I found it brilliantly inspirational and utterly fascinating. I close this column with his words.

It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination, but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence. The dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something. It is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man…”

 Tom?

“Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”

April 30, 2017

aclu-logo

Democracy is not automatic.

In fact, it still remains a fragile commodity.

Only 43% of the global population currently enjoys relatively full political rights and liberties.

The Democracy Index constructed by the Economist Intelligence Unit of the United Kingdom is based on 60 separate indicators. These are grouped into 5 different categories measuring pluralism, civil freedoms and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and comparative ranking, the Index then rates nations as one of four regime types – full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Of the 167 countries most recently reviewed, the United States ranks 21st on the list with North Korea coming in last. No surprise there.

But we have been downgraded from a “full” to “flawed democracy” — this development generated not by Donald Trump winning the presidency, but, quoting the report, “caused by the same factors that led to his election” – defined by The Economist as “declining trust in government.”

The consequence of Trump’s elevation nevertheless has spawned a new generation of swamp creatures now threatening core American beliefs and principles unlike any before — a conquering cabal of craven intent dedicated to their own private interests and displaying extraordinary exclusion of everyone else. This is particularly true of anything dealing with the public good and “general welfare’’ – even though those last two words are enshrined twice in the Constitution – both in the Preamble and later in the Tax and Spending clause.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to defending and preserving guaranteed individual rights and liberties. It has over a million members. In 2020, it will be one hundred years old. Get ready to stand back from all the candles on that cake.

The ACLU was formed in 1920 by a group of prominent citizens concerned about government censorship. This had become commonplace. Magazines were regularly being confiscated under anti-obscenity laws. Permits for labor rallies were often denied. Right-wing groups were enjoying enormous political power, while anyone promoting unionization, socialism or governmental reform was branded as being un-American and unpatriotic.

ACLU founders included Felix Frankfurter, later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Felix served for 23 years through 1962.

The first five years didn’t get much done, but things sure changed in 1925 with The Scopes “Monkey Trial” in rural Dayton, Tennessee. Those who recall the film “Inherit the Wind” (1961) know the story. Spencer Tracy received an Academy Award Nomination as Best Actor for his portrayal of legendary attorney Clarence Darrow, renamed “Henry Drummond” in the movie, just as three-time Democratic candidate for President, William Jennings Bryan, became “Matthew Harrison Brady” played by Fredrick March.

Even way back then, it was “Evolution” vs. “Creationism.” Monkeys vs. flunkies.

Darrow, a member of the ACLU National Committee, argued against the fundamentalist, literal interpretation of The Bible endorsed by Bryan, who won the jury, but in real life died only a few days later. Many say Darrow plain wore him out and actually carried the day by favorably introducing the ACLU to millions of newspaper readers across the nation. They followed the trial on a daily basis thanks to extensive syndicated coverage by the legendary H. L. Menken of The Baltimore Sun, a character portrayed in the movie by Gene Kelly.

It seems to be a common belief in certain circles that the ACLU is nothing but a “liberal” group of folks. Not so fast.

Allies in litigation through the years have included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Rifle Association. The American Jewish Congress and the Ku Klux Klan. The Nation of Islam and Westboro Baptist Church.

The ACLU has risen to the defense of left-leaning advocates such as Dr. Benjamin Spock and Dick Gregory, but was equally energized and effective in providing critical legal assistance to staunch conservatives Henry Ford, Oliver North and Rush Limbaugh during troubled times.

Freedom of Speech is a core American value and a fundamental ACLU belief. The organization simply states: “It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something most people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive.”

 The Oakhurst Democratic Club is honored to present Katherine Pantangco of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California this Saturday, joining us for our May meeting at Denny’s on Highway 41. Breakfast will be served starting at 8:30 AM with our program beginning at 9:30. Ms. Pantangco will be addressing us on “Your ACLU in the Age of Trump” with plenty of time for questions.

As it says on their letterhead; “ACLU of Northern California: Freedom Can’t Protect Itself.”

 We need you.

 

“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

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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

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“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!

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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/