“Even Odds”

February 19, 2017

time-trump

Bet one — win one.

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

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

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

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

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

Does Donald J. Trump tell the truth?

Is Smoky the Bear Catholic?

Does The Pope sleep in the park?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I completely agree.

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

 

 

 

 

“Act One”

February 12, 2017

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Wah Wah Wah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hold fast to your playbills and hang on tight.

Act One has just begun.

“Kakistocracy”

February 5, 2017

trump-signs-executive-order-to-scale-back-wall-street-regulation

While things got wild and wooly for our Fifth District Congressman Tom McClintock — requiring a heavy police escort leaving his Town Hall Meeting up in Roseville Saturday — things were quite different that same day here in Oakhurst at Denny’s.

The first meeting this year of our Oakhurst Democratic Club generated the largest turnout ever with a standing room only crowd exceeding over a hundred in attendance – but you could have heard a pin drop as the soft, unamplified voice of featured guest, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, spoke of deeply shared values, prolonged spiritual reflection and a genuine, sustainable commitment to enduring world peace.

Abu-Shamsieh, formerly Director of the Islamic Cultural Center in Fresno and currently Community Outreach Liaison at Hinds Hospital, verified with his polished presence and powerful presentation the reality that we ARE “all in this together” – and need to pledge ourselves to continued cooperation and unshakable unity in the face of a frightening instability never before experienced at the highest levels of American elective office.

Mar-a-Lago is a 126 room, 110,000 square foot, Trump-owned palace containing a members-only club with guest rooms, a spa and hotel-style amenities. The Trump family maintains private quarters in a separate, closed-off area. As a taxpayer, you’ll be subsidizing this high-tone hangout to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years. Make sure those Treasury checks are made out to Eric. Donald no longer has anything to do with the family business.

Even as Democrats and friends met in Oakhurst, the creature was twittering and tweeting deep discontent from the bowels of Mar-a-Lago — his self-designated “Winter White House” on Palm Beach Island.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.”

Our so-called President was referencing a nationwide restraining order signed by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart in Seattle halting parts of an Executive Order temporarily barring some immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The way it is written, Syrians might have to stay away forever. Robart was nominated to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2004 and confirmed by the Senate in a vote of 99 to 0.

Characteristically confusing historical with hysterical, Trump thus added Robart to his list of judges refusing to discern the endless wisdom hyperbolically pouring from his 500 word vocabulary, spurting forth in 140 characters at least a dozen times daily. He also doesn’t like that Mexican one born in Indiana.

All weekend the King of Kakistocracy continued his relentless attacks on Robart. Kakistocracy is a delightful new word I picked up at our Saturday meeting.

Kak.is.toc.ra.cy

 NOUN

 “Government by the most unscrupulous or unsuitable people, or a state governed by such people.”

Trump insists he only wants to keep his country safe, although virtually universal consensus indicates exactly the opposite is true.

Look at leaders elsewhere. Justine Trudeau in Canada. Francois Hollande in France. Angela Merkel In Germany. Theresa May in Britain. Vladimir – oops. Wait. Putin’s siding with his pal. The Russian President owes D.T. at least that much for seeming to accept the potentially functional merits of casual killing as the whole world was watching FOX on Super Bowl Sunday. By the way, “D.T.” is also old slang for “Delirium Tremens” – involving shaking, confusion and hallucinations. Purely coincidental, I’m sure.

Bill O’Reilly kept a fairly straight face as Trump changed his time line for completely repealing and replacing ObamaCare from “three or four weeks” to “sometime next year”, implied that President Enrique Pena Nieto, with whom he ”gets along very well,” might be fine if we invade Mexico to help him deal with drug cartels, kept insisting that three million illegal voters cost him the popular vote and threatened that if California becomes a “Sanctuary State”, he just might withhold federal funding. This obviously ignores the fact that California sends much more money to Washington every year than it ever gets back in return. The Art of the Steal?

It’s really starting to look like a one-man show. Who needs Congress or the Federal Courts? Expect a steady extrusion of future Executive Orders oozing from the Oval Office. Anticipate regular live coverage of that special, glowing, look of infantile happiness joyously revealed on Donald’s face as he completes and contemplates his daily duty — proudly holding aloft on full display the end product of signing efforts for all present to see.

That’s entertainment.

 

 

 

 

“In This Together”

January 29, 2017

omran

Rocky was ready.

Rocky Deal concluded an exemplary 28 year career in the U.S. Navy as Chief of Staff to the Commander of Naval Air Forces Pacific, having previously served as Commanding Officer of America’s Flagship, the super carrier USS Constellation and leading the legendary “Jolly Rogers” Fighter Squadron — “The 54” – as his outfit was named “best in the Atlantic Fleet.”

It was quickly evident these and other stellar career highlights more than prepared him for the overflowing crowd at the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday when Rocky, now District Chief of Staff for California’s Fourth District Congressman, Tom McClintock, filled in for his boss listening to local constituents expressing passionate opinions – most of such commentary not necessarily of a positive nature.

Despite tolerating a pinched nerve and additionally burdened by a heavy cold, the District Chief graciously extended his stay until all were heard.

Congressman McClintock was praised by attendees for his courageous vote on January 13th against Republican House members in their current stampede to kill the Affordable Care Act through legislative maneuvering masked as “budget reconciliation.”

It’s encouraging to note that Rocky must have passed along the word from Oakhurst, since Representative McClintock was quoted in the New York Times a few days later cautioning fellow Republicans at a planning session in Philadelphia that — when it comes to replacing “Obamacare” — “We had better be sure that we are prepared to live with the market being created because that is going to be called “Trumpcare”. Republicans will own it lock, stock and barrel – and we’ll be judged by that!”

 That’s why Peace Oakhurst, the Oakhurst Democratic Club and other concerned entities packed the Chamber of Commerce headquarters for Rocky’s visit with a standing room only crowd. We asked that Congressman McClintock know we are paying critical attention and that we implore our representative to, in my own words, save us from a mad man – this Republican President — wholly unsuited, fatally flawed and dangerously unbalanced.

Forget Inaugural crowd size. Meaningless messaging has turned to menacing.

Our Sissy-in-Chief now sees fit to alarmingly share his inferiority filled fantasies and shrieking insecurities with an Executive Order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States for the next 90 days, suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days, and keeping Syrians, displaced by millions, out of America indefinitely. You’ve seen the picture? Omran Daqneesh? That poor little five year-old boy from bombed out Aleppo hopelessly covered with rubble and ruin? No way. He can’t come here. Too bad. Trump’s scared.

Global shockwaves have been seismic.

It’s a Muslim ban, but not where Trump has hotels or any other business interests and absolutely not with any country having anything to do with 9/11.

Alexander Nowrasteh is an analyst of immigration policy at the Cato Institute, a highly regarded conservative think tank in Washington. Alex just compiled a list of the number of persons killed on American soil by citizens from the seven “geographic areas” selected for initial emphasis by the Trump terror team over a forty-year period – from 1975 through 2015. Ready?

Iran – Zero. Iraq – Zero. Syria – Zero. Libya – Zero. Yemen – Zero. Sudan – Zero. Somalia – Zero.

From certain nations NOT included?

Egypt? 162. United Arab Emirates? 314. Saudi Arabia? 2,369.

Connect the dots.

The Oakhurst Democratic Club has.

We hope you’ll join us this Saturday at Denny’s on Highway 41 for our very first meeting of 2017. Breakfast is served at 8:30 and at 9:30 Kamal Abul-Siehsem, former Director of the Fresno Islamic Center, will join us with reflections on how — “We’re All In This Together!”

kamal

 Kamal, currently Community Outreach Liaison at Hinds Hospital, was born in Ramallah, Palestine and is currently a PhD candidate at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA in the area of practical theology and Islamic Studies. He has been focusing on Islamic spiritual care with particular focus on end-of-life situations.

Since 2013, Kamal has been serving as consultant to healthcare institutions and training leaders to offer chaplaincy services in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, across the US, and in Europe.

In Fresno, he served as director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno (2005-2012). In addition, he previously held a leadership position with the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles and the Washington DC-based Interfaith Alliance.

Kamal will leave plenty of time for questions. The general public is cordially invited to attend regardless of party affiliation.

The eyes of the world turn our way with frightened focus.

We’ll be thinking of Omran Daqneesh.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of mine, ye have done it unto me.” —- Matthew 25:40

 

 

“Oakhurst Rising”

January 22, 2017

rising

The liar’s liar – red faced with rage – faced down the press with marked petulance.

Sean “The Brat” Spicer so began his first official White House Press Briefing late Saturday afternoon, shouting at those in attendance for lying to the American people about the Liar-In-Chief’s sparse size.

At issue was the crowd count at Friday’s Presidential Inauguration, estimated by media consensus at around 250,000 folks, although the new President claimed he personally saw “between a million and a million and a half.”

 The Brat went on and on with his contentious castigation, inadvertently providing excellent sound bites in later news reports contradicting everything he said. Pictures told an irrefutable story.

There was the Washington Mall in 2009 for Obama. There it was in 2017 for Trump. Ta-da! Comparative aerial shots dramatically demonstrated the extraordinary extent of Spicer’s nonsensical claims, including the ridiculous allegation that Friday’s Inauguration turnout was “the biggest in history.”

Of course, that craziness didn’t start with him.

Only hours earlier, our 45th President saw fit to befoul the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia that honors 117 fallen CIA officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. The sore winner spent most of his time complaining to a hastily summoned group of CIA employees sprinkled with Trump team lackeys that he had been once again viciously attacked by “the most dishonest human beings on earth”, thundering that he had been depicted by the terrible press as addressing “an empty field.”

 Ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro quickly twittered that Former Director John Brennan “is deeply saddened and angered at Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes. Trump should be ashamed of himself.” In reply, Trump trash talker Kellyanne Conway promptly told viewers on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the highly regarded Brennan was nothing more than a “partisan political hack.” Let’s hear it for unity building.

Even as Sean The Brat finished his diatribe and scurried from the room like a frightened ferret without taking a single question from reporters, it had already become established that Trump had just been overwhelmingly out performed by countless women around the world in pink pussy hats.

Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington dwarfed Trump’s audience on The Mall, even as it generated similar response in dozens of cities nationally and globally.

Special congratulations to Tim and Susan Madden, Rebekah Jensen, Judy DeRosa, Joe Nelson and the many others connected with Oakhurst Area for Peace. This group brought forth dozens of participants braving icy rain and freezing cold at the corner of Highways 41 and 49 from 8:45 until 9:30 on Friday with a vigil “in silent reflection and contemplation on the state of the union” even as Donald John Trump simultaneously took his oath of office.

Their success increased by tenfold for Saturday’s remarkable local gathering of several hundred in support of the Washington March, proceeding from Oakhurst Community Park to the intersection of Highway 41 and Road 426 – featuring live music, shared message signs and spirited commentary.

While the Oakhurst organization reflected admirable altruism in their planning and staging of both events, stressing the need for non-partisan cooperation and collegiality, the underlying universal theme was decidedly and passionately anti-Trump and all he stands for, whatever that might eventually be.

Along with the daunting challenge of attempting to decipher a specific vision from the twists and turns of down the rabbit hole Donald – speak, we are now faced with Trump’s deeply concerning nomination of cabinet and other top-level positions. These primarily consist of aging white guy generals, billionaires and multi-millionaires. Then there’s a black dude named Carson, but no Latinos for the first time in the last 30 years. Vergonzoso!

For all of Trump’s promises to take care of the little guy, he’s already stacked the deck with big time players.

For his repeated denunciation of Wall Street power brokers and their practices, he’s emphatically shown his cards by selecting six Goldman Sachs heavies to lead the supposedly “populist” charge. The Goldman Sachs stock price has surged almost 30 percent since the election and it reported a four times increase in quarterly profits just last Wednesday – outperforming every other investment firm on the exchange.

For Trump’s solemn declarations of “love” of anyone or anything temporarily in his favor, Ivana and Marla should come to mind.

Is anyone paying attention?

We are in Oakhurst.

“Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight”

 Bruce Springsteen – “The Rising” — (2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Obstreperous Obstinacy”

January 15, 2017

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Obstreperous – adjective –“Stubbornly defiant; attended by a loud and tumultuous noise”

Obstinacy – noun –“Not yielding to argument, persuasion or entreaty.”

Obstreperous obstinacy in human form – Trump team adviser Kellyanne Conway telling Fox and Friends’ viewers on Sunday that serious allegations of scandalous behavior on the part of the president elect while romping in Russia be kept secret “to protect the public.”

One curious thing I keep getting asked is why I use “big words” all the time instead of simply “saying it like it is” like — for example — Donald Trump.

I have no idea. It’s quite mysterious, particularly since such observation ignores the fact that Trump routinely combines incompetence with incoherency heretofore experienced only by those in the throes of deep delirium. I do credit the Sisters of Charity at Cathedral Academy in Syracuse and those no nonsense Jesuits at Le Moyne College for mandatory vocabulary enhancement. I must have been actually paying more attention than I thought.

When I sit down at the keyboard to write this column each week, I tap into whatever emotional key triggers a torrential rush of thought. More often than not this last year it’s been Mr. Trump’s insidious and dangerous rise to political prominence. Tomorrow he becomes the 45th President of the United States. My heart is pounding. My mind is reeling. My head is exploding.

Here’s the deal. While it is traditionally and Constitutionally understood that we Americans will accept without question the national leadership of those selected by established protocol, I find myself intellectually incapable of regarding Trump as anything other than an improbable imposter – a horrible electoral accident and a continuing threat to our general welfare and collective security. A fan for decades of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, I will “rage, rage against the fading light” of our shared historic democracy and “not go gentle into that good night” of the incoming Trump administration.

 And why has no one done anything to stop this travesty? That phrase “obstreperous obstinacy” sailed into my head and won’t go away.

Good Republicans have fallen into line like Pavlov’s pups, opportunistically barking belief and wagging their tails at the thought of total federal control and an immediate potential for substantial professional gain. They intentionally have ignored dozens of damning deficiencies and have brushed aside glaring inadequacies becoming ever more crushingly evident with each new passing day. In pursuit of personal fortune, they embrace a perfect fool. This will not end well.

Who would believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend would witness a personal assault by Trump against a civil rights icon who marched with the slain leader in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, and was beaten bloody in his fight for freedom?

Since Representative John Lewis (D-Alabama) was uppity enough to question his presidential legitimacy while interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC, Trump twittered, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart – not to mention crime infested, all talk, talk, talk. No action or results. Sad!”

 Social media became instantly flooded with commentary from Lewis’ constituents in Atlanta expressing shocked consternation over Trump’s classless, outlandish claims. The Congressman’s district includes the Georgia Institute of Technology, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the busiest airport in the world.

I love what political strategist Howard Wolfson tweeted in response to Trump’s tirade — “John Lewis did more to make America great in one day on the Edmund Pettus Bridge than Donald Trump ever will.”

By the time my twelve grandchildren and great-granddaughter are old enough to read these words, history will have hopefully reached initial conclusions as to what forces on earth might have been so inexcusably irresponsible as to bring about the election of Donald J. Trump.

I herein nominate “obstreperous obstinacy” and its practitioners.

They surely knew better.

As we all now pay the price.

It won’t come easy.

“Dog Catches Bus

January 10, 2017

dogcatchescar

 

“They’re like the dog that caught the bus. They don’t know what to do about ObamaCare.” – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) January 4, 2017.

Canines chasing buses, bikes or Buicks display an instinctive urge to engage in predatory aggression. This phenomenon is called “prey drive.” The desired consequence is an eventual ripping, tearing and brutal death savagely delivered to a victim, immediately followed by delicious din-din for the doggie.

Congressional Republicans have been chasing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bus ever since it gained passage and was signed into law by President Barack Hussein Obama on March 23, 2010. Who’s sane? Check this out.

Reviewing primary features of the Act, an extensive survey recently conducted by the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that 85% of Americans support the idea of allowing children to remain covered by their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. 80% of voters think providing proportionate federal subsidies for those subsisting on limited incomes is a fine idea. An identical 80% look with favor at expanding Medicaid services through the states. 69% of voters believe it makes sense to not allow insurance companies to discriminate against clients due to preexisting conditions and a full 60% find a mandate for businesses with fifty or more employees is fitting and perfectly proper.

While certain Republicans squeal and clamor that the Act is responsible for wild premium increases across the board for everyone purchasing health insurance, including those on employer plans, simple arithmetic dramatically depicts a completely different story.

In reviewing premium rise between 2006 and 2011 before the Act took complete effect, annual increases averaged 31%. Between 2011 and 2016 with the Act in place, this dropped to 20% — representing an average decrease of 35.4% in yearly escalation. Thanks again to the Kaiser folks for figuring this out.

So what’s the deal here? How come something offering so much good became perceived as being so horribly bad?

In a dazzling example of brilliant branding, foes of The Affordable Care Act cynically, maliciously and effectively labeled the measure and all its provisions, “ObamaCare.” Giving the devilish dogs their due, this proved to be a genius move. Really!

In a classic case of undeniably successful Freudian transference, Congress thereafter tried more than sixty times to repeal the Act, hoping to kill the bill – even if they couldn’t end the man. As President he stood in their way. In eight days Obama leaves office. His successor has promised to “repeal and replace” with “something better for less money” — these things combined being factually and functionally impossible.

Republicans have had six years to come up with a viable replacement for “ObamaCare” — a concept endorsing mandated health care initiated by the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation in the first place. As Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan stumbled, fumbled and jumbled in responding to a reporter’s question last week regarding specific planning: “Ummmm – we have a plan. Errr. Ideas! Ummm. We have lots of ideas!”

Let’s consider one more item here.

Because of a technical move in the Senate to avoid Democratic filibuster opposition to immediate replacement of ObamaCare as promised by Republicans on their first day — look at what just happened.

By a vote of 51 to 48 last Wednesday — without one single mention of The Affordable Care Act by that name or any other — The U.S. Senate approved a measure that establishes “appropriate levels of the public debt” would rise from the current $20 trillion to $29.1 trillion in the next ten years. Yes. And by the tenth year, annual deficits will easily top another trillion bucks. That’s every year. Excuse me? Accountability?

Leading GOP lawmakers insist these are “just numbers” and everything will be worked out in the end. But these specific figures have now been officially voted into the record and will shortly be sent to the House for eagerly anticipated approval.

Oh, and as long as that darn dog is catching the blighted bus of ObamaCare, why not toss Planned Parenthood under that same vehicle? More points with the pious!

The poor — primary beneficiaries of Planned Parenthood facilities — will need to settle for our pity –being no longer able to grab pennies from the public purse.

That’s being privatized.

 

“Twitterdee Dumb”

January 1, 2017

trump-pump

Our Clown Prince waits not for his formal coronation.

January 20, 2017 —- a date which will live in infamy.

Anyone who believes the pending inauguration of Donald J. Trump represents anything less than an immediate threat to democracy and a direct attack against core principles of this Republic had best get their heads out of their assets and start paying serious attention to certain alarming realities.

In his loving embrace of Russia’s Vladimir “Smarty Pants” Putin, his audacious support of Israel’s Benjamin “Bribery Boy” Netanyahu and his accommodating acceptance of Taiwan’s Tsai “Just Saying Hi!” Ing-wen’s phone call threatening to unravel decades of established bipartisan American policy toward China, “Twitterdee” Trump has become truly unruly. So much for rising to the occasion as he sinks ever lower beneath contempt. This man is a menace.

I regard the President-elect’s conduct over the past two weeks as treacherous — if not treasonous. “One president at a time” is not just a silly slogan – it is a Constitutional command. Look it up.

Over the Holidays, I was standing in front of Von’s casually minding everyone else’s business when a well-comported, fashionable attired, middle-aged gentleman was introduced to me as a “Good Republican.” I greeted him warmly, saying, “These days we need all the good Republicans we can get!” My reliably rebellious reputation evidently preceding me, his response exploded with a notable measure of challenge. “I voted for Trump! You people had the last eight years! Now it’s our turn!” And so it was — in mere seconds – I heard the most ignorant utterance since moving to Oakhurst a full decade ago. Here’s why.

My virulent opposition to Trump has absolutely nothing to do with party ideology and everything to do with plain common sense.

In my lifetime I have voted for many Democrats, but I also voted once for Nixon, twice for Reagan, once for George The Father and even once (the first time he ran) for George the Son. This last example was because I despised Tipper Gore for helping to create the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985 and threatening the radio industry with censorship, so I took it all out on Al. I know. Pretty shallow motivation. I suppose I was a “single issue voter” at the time, so I understand how that works.

Donald Trump is not a conservative, nor a liberal. He is not right, center or left. He is a pompous, vulgar, sociopathic dimwit whose success in life is totally attributable to being born to wealthy parents and being blessed with outrageous good fortune, avoiding cataclysmic collapse only by hubristic hook and cunning, conniving crook.

Trump has no moral compass, determining direction by wayward whim in random fits of fleeting focus. He displays the attention span of a comatose gnat. His scurrilous skin is thinner than the atmosphere of Mercury. Astrophysicists will observe that Mercury has no true atmosphere – being far too close to the Sun — just as Donald basks in the golden glow of flaming self-reflection – a New Age Icarus fatefully launched into ultimately terminal orbit.

Crisis is about to become commonplace with daily disappointments.

Cries of “Repeal and Replace ObamaCare” have already changed to “Immediately Repeal and We’ll Figure Something Out By 2018” – more currently morphing into “Well — Let’s Wait Until After The Next Presidential Election in 2020.” That’s correct. I even saw that on FOX.

Mexico will not be paying for that giant border wall because one won’t be built.

There will be no trillion dollar federal investment in new infrastructure, although such is desperately needed.

Blue-collar workers will soon discover – as The WHO once warned –they did get fooled again.

Heavy governmental subsidy for advanced technical education – the primary element required for upward mobility in the 21st Century — won’t be sufficiently available. The rich need to get richer – and they will.

They always do.

“While the poor people sleepin’ with the shade on the light – while the poor people sleepin’ – all the stars come out at night.”

 Steely Dan – “Show Biz Kids” (1973)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Flashback 2016”

December 25, 2016

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Cool TV establishes continuity beginning each new program with a standard phrase I herein borrow:

In previous episodes of “For Your Consideration” —

January 2016 started with “Takedown” — suggesting Donald J. Trump should be disqualified once and for all as a serious candidate for the American presidency. “Town Hall Tonight” again commended Tom Wheeler for holding outstanding local meetings. There’s another scheduled for January 12th. “Breakout for Bernie” congratulated Senator Sanders for besting Hillary Clinton in their Democratic Debate, while “Flint” discussed the discovery of poisonous lead in the water of what was once home to the highest paid factory worker in the history of the human race.

“Trump Goes Thump” on February 4th saluted a headline story in the New York Daily News discussing The Trumpster’s loss to Ted Cruz in the Iowa Primary. “Taking the Cannoli” took Hillary to task for hauling in those big bucks from Wall Street interests. “Little Miss Sneaky” again scolded Hillary for presenting a highly altered interpretation of Bernie Sanders’ perspectives on health insurance and “The Nine Lives of Donald Trump” included a quote from one of my favorite old time Country songs, “The Cat Came Back”.

“Stress Test” on March 3rd addressed our 2001 Buick Park Avenue sedan bursting into flames in a self-ignited Viking funeral going up Deadwood. “It Ain’t Over” depicted how the election seemed to be tightening up for both major parties. “The View from Killarney” brought us St. Patrick’s Day thoughts from John O’Mahony in the Emerald Isle. “Both Sides Now” encouraged consideration of Senator Elizabeth Warren as a V.P. candidate on any eventual Democratic ticket.

“KOLS-LP” on April 7th discussed my filing of a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission protesting the illegal operation of 98.5 in Oakhurst, an action that has placed the facility under formal review. “Landmark Legislation” saluted Governor Jerry Brown for signing into law an increase in the California minimum wage. “Hotter Happenings” observed that both major party Conventions would be held during the hottest time of the year. “Saudi Duty Time” called upon Saudi Arabia to own up to their possible involvement in 9/11, however peripheral. “Prince” bemoaned his death.

On May 4th, “Requiescat” similarly lamented the passing of Father Daniel Berrigan, political activist and the toughest teacher I ever had.   “Citizen Trump” joylessly saluted the Cheetos Chiseler for locking up the Republican nomination. “Hating Hillary 101” stressed that Secretary Clinton was trailing her opponents in many polls due to an historic, virulent, deep-rooted hatred that might prove difficult to diffuse.

“News” on June 11thnd discussed Troy Pope, Editor-in-Chief of the Fresno Collegiate, and his appearance at a meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club. “Welcome Mister President” celebrated Barack Obama’s visit to Yosemite. “Hail Incitatus” suggested Donald Trump was the most curious candidate to enter politics since the Emperor Caligula appointed his horse to the Roman Senate in 40 AD. “Independence Day” discussed Britain voting to leave the Common Market. “Time Machines” suggested how lucky we are having some fabulous area museums within easy reach.

July arrived with “Doofus Days” on the 7th – a column referencing how Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was both stupid and incompetent. In fairness, it is herein acknowledged that Chaffetz’s impetuous demand submitted to the FBI for more information on Hillary was directly responsible for Director James Comey’s letter to Congress just prior to the election. This probably cost Mrs. Clinton the Presidency. “Of Mice and Men” and “Death Wish” presented more election rambling. “God and Politics” promoted Dr. Andrew Fiala’s pending presentation for Yosemite Democrats at Denny’s. Andy was terrific.

 “President Poodle?” on August 11th questioned Trump’s choice of such a blatantly sycophantic running mate. “Dear Tom” begged our Fourth District Congressman to disavow the Donald. He didn’t. “Expression Suppression” condemned a hateful attack against the political signage of a Gold Star Mother on Stagecoach Road. “Collapse” heralded what promised to be the final days of Trump in national sentiment just before that cat came back anew.

September 7th saw “75” discuss how both Bernie Sanders and yours truly would turn three-quarters of a century old on the 8th, while “Down The Stretch”, “’Fraidycat”,“All That Rises” and “Voice Your Choice” produced more election reflection.

“Poodle’s Puddle” obviously continued this theme on October 6th, even as did “Jumpers” and “Lady and The Trump”. “Life on Pluto” returned to a critical examination of Director Comey.

“Snow On The Water” November 2nd took a break from politics, even as “Free Fall”, “Goodbye Medicare” and “Bamboozlement” brought more miserable meditation on our eerie election outcome.

December’s “Hamilton”, “President Putin” and last week’s “Shout Hallelujah!” brought the year to an end – even as it brings this recounting to a close.

Regardless of party affiliation –

 “Should auld acquaintance be forgot – keep your eye on the Grand Old Flag!” – George M. Cohan (1906)

Happy New Year!

“Shout Hallelujah!”

December 18, 2016

wreath

“Forget your troubles

Come on get happy.

You better chase all your cares away.

Shout Hallelujah.

Come on get happy.

Get ready for the judgment day.”

Ted Koehler/Harold Arlen (1930)

The Creature had a Mobile mob booing Michelle Obama at his final “Worship Me” Rally, but let’s leave all such cleverly concise commentary aside as we await the pending arrival of 2017.

With the Winter Solstice, our sun returns even as it retreats, bringing ever-increasing brightness with each turn of the earth — even as days begin to darken from Venezuela to Valparaiso. Perception thus finds itself dependent on geographic placement, just as allegiance. And laughter. And love.

It is the Holiday Season around the globe – a universal time for reunion, reflection and renewal.

In many ways, Christmas has become a more secular than religious celebration in the western world during recent decades with “Santa Claus” referenced in the popular press tenfold more times than Christ. You can count it up yourself. This is purely observational.

St. Nicholas was a Turkish Patriarch of the Fourth Century and Bishop of Myra, who became renowned for his legendary habit of secret gift giving. Theologians should note that he was a participant at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and was consequently one of those who composed and signed the Nicene Creed, to this day an early fundamental doctrine summarizing Christian belief.

It is written that when Arius, a priest of Alexandria and Council participant, insisted that Jesus was a lesser spiritual figure than God the Father, St. Nicholas punched him in the face, gifting Arius with a black eye and branding him a heretic. Tough love.

Through the centuries, the name of Saint Nicholas became interwoven with all sorts of year-end phenomena, many customs pagan in origin. The traditional Christmas tree springs from the Nordic tradition of decorating solstice homes with branches of evergreen fir as promisingly symbolic of the spring to come.

Ironically, the early Christian Church during the time of Nicholas vigorously condemned the practice, as did the Prophet Jeremiah much, much earlier in 620 B.C. — when “heathens” would chop down trees, carve or decorate them into the form of a god or goddess and overlay them with precious jewels and metals for veneration, much as Donald Trump has covered the floor of his towering New York penthouse with gold and diamonds. He actually did that. Whoops. I promised to leave him alone for now. Please ignore the preceding twenty-one words. Thanks.

It wasn’t until the mid-19th Century that Christmas trees became cool. This was all because of a story conveyed in what is generally regarded as the most important, impactive poem in the history of American literature.

“The Night Before Christmas” was published anonymously in 1823 and written with wild, festive imagination probably by Henry Livingston, Jr., although it was 1844 when Clement Clark Moore claimed he wrote it and that’s what stuck in terms of general attribution. How fickle is fleeting fame. And how rhythmic the language penned by Livingston possibly ripped off by Moore. All the reindeer have perfect two syllable names.

Dasher. Dancer. Prancer. Vixen. Comet. Cupid. Donner. Blitzen.

In 1939 – Robert L. May added Rudolph.

A rap masterpiece.

Eat your heart out Kanye West.

With the Solstice now passed, if these have seemed like times of deep darkness of the soul, recall not only the Old Testament promises of a caring God, or the lessons of Jesus so brilliantly conveyed in His Sermon on the Mount, or the teachings of Muhammad that the most virtuous jihad is when one speaks the word of truth to an unjust ruler.

It is from the teachings of Gautama Buddha one might learn that the Beatles had it right. There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. Nothing that you sing that can’t be sung.

Love IS all you need.

Merry Christmas and love to all from Peter and Eileen Cavanaugh – and their little old kitty — Fiona Marie.

Catnip is waiting right under the tree.

fiona-earrings