“Lady and The Trump”

October 24, 2016


It was Round Three.

The lady looked lovely. The Trump looked scared.

The biggest laugh of the night came when The Trump said, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody!”

This proved to be too much for an audience pledged to silence.

Muffled giggles quickly yielded to choked chuckles before finally bursting into loud, unrestrained laughter. After all, it’s not just a “He said/She said” anymore. Now it’s a “He said/She said /She said/ She said/ She said/ She said/ She said/ She said /She said/ She said/She said /She said– with more to come.

Even though Secretary Clinton continues to climb in polling with the election just 11 days away, it’s clear The Trump still commands a significant amount of national support, particularly remarkable in the light of his demonstrable deficiencies and utter unsuitability for high office.

In far too many quarters, civic ignorance reins supreme.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be” – Thomas Jefferson (1816)

It is important to remember that “ignorant” does not mean dim, dumb, or demented. The most basic dictionary definition of “ignorant” is simply “lack of knowledge.” At a deeper functional level, Webster points out that the root verb “ignore” specifically means “to deliberately disregard, pay no attention to or refuse to consider.”

I sadly suggest that millions of our fellow citizens who regard themselves as law abiding, God-fearing, patriotic Americans are convincingly well intended, but critically clueless as to how government works. You can’t fix it if you don’t understand it. You can’t understand it if you don’t study it. You can’t study it if you don’t want to learn. You can’t learn anything without an open mind.

Four years ago – way before The Trump started his pursuit of the presidency — here’s what former Supreme Court Justice David Souter said at a public forum on the U.S. Constitution in New Hampshire: “When problems are not addressed, what I worry about is that people will not know whom to blame. Some one person will come along and say, “Give me total power and I will solve these problems. This is how the Roman Republic fell. This is the way democracy dies.”

 Behold – The Trump.

“I am your voice! I alone can fix it! I will restore law and order!”

 Donald Trump, although wildly unprepared, clinically crazy and thoroughly thuggish, is nevertheless correct about crushing inequity.

The top one-tenth of one percent of all Americans owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. More than one half of all new income generated since the Wall Street Crash of 2008 has gone to the top 1 percent. We are working longer hours for lower wages and have one of the highest child poverty rates on the planet with a quarter of our kids going to bed hungry tonight.

It is un-American to ignore such things.

According to Fortune Magazine, the U.S.A. currently is confronted with the largest inequality gap of any major nation in the entire free world. Our economy IS “rigged” against the middle class, let alone those even more unfavorably positioned. Flag waving Trump cheerleaders at revved up rallies boisterously chanting “U.S.A. – U.S.A.” are ironically paying continuing tribute to their own escalating decline.

Worried about “The Establishment?”

The Trump IS “The Establishment” – a self-proclaimed billionaire and self-confessed sexual predator who’s scammed the system, cheated on wives, conned contractors, flaunted the rules, scorned “losers” stupid enough to pay taxes, and credits no one but himself on all he is and has – a narcissistic megalomaniac loose in our midst.

Hillary Clinton has paid her dues and then some.

This lady was the first ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College, a distinguished graduate of Yale Law School, a former Law Professor at the University of Arkansas, a former First Lady of Arkansas and First Lady of the United States. The lady was elected twice to the U.S. Senate from New York, the second time in 2006 with 67 percent of the vote against her Republican rival’s 31 percent. That’s a two to one win. Then she served for four years as Secretary of State, having been appointed to that position by a former adversary who admired her intensity, intelligence and integrity.

As much as one might pillory Hillary for human flaws and failings, Donald Trump is a garbage dump.

I’m one old white guy who’s voting for the lady.

If The Trump doesn’t like it – he can sue me.


October 16, 2016


We have descended into madness.

In the face of outrageous, undisciplined, unprincipled behavior on the part of the Republican Party’s national standard bearer, a significant percentage of our fellow Americans are nonetheless prepared to leap off the ledge November 8th and cast their ballots for a mental midget whose tiny paws can’t stay where they belong.

Trump no longer speaks to the masses. He screams to the mobs with incendiary rhetoric more common in earlier times from Caligula’s throne, Mussolini’s balcony, or Hitler’s podium at Nuremberg.

A new acquaintance in his early 80’s just informed me that Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Tim Kaine is a secret Muslim, running covert operations for ISIS in every major city across the land, recruiting dozens by the day. This gentleman faithfully watches FOX News, but caught wind of the Kaine conspiracy from a pal of his who watches Alex Jones on You Tube.

Jones is a multi-millionaire who’s made his fortune making up crazy stuff. What he comes up with is so far out that it gets reported by mainstream media, where ratings and revenue rule. Political correctness notwithstanding, everyone loves a freak show. This free promotion brings more viewers aboard who subscribe to his website, buy his books and ring that cash register. Ka-Ching. Alex makes them feel smart. They make Alex rich.

Alex scored again last week, saying this about Hillary Clinton: “She is an abject, psychopathic demon from hell that as soon as she gets into power is going to try and destroy the planet.” Jones added that President Obama is a demon too, “and they both smell like sulfur.” I understand this caused quite a stir the following morning in early risers’ coffee cups at Judy’s Donut Club, aging heads nodding in tacit agreement over how we really do need to be great again.

In many circles, rhyme and reason have been banished from discussion. Nothing matters except keeping Hillary and Bill Clinton from returning to the White House.

No matter what, mystifying consensus continues to pretend there’s a genuine possibility that Donald Trump can bring back all those jobs lost in the rust belt, create a giant border wall from sea to shining sea paid for by the people of Mexico, end poverty in the inner cities, replace The Affordable Care Act with something “much, much better”, deport millions of “illegal immigrants”, quickly defeat “Radical Islamic Terrorism” within weeks, balance the budget by the Fourth of July, teach dogs how to talk and knock down the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to make way for “Trump Tower Two”, the highest human edifice ever created, stretching 238,857 miles into the sky all the way to the moon.

A primary argument heard from Trumpies and Trumpettes is that our next President will be appointing a number of new Justices to the Supreme Court, perhaps as many as three or four. They fanaticize that while Hillary would surely nominate Communists, at least Trump, nuts or not, is a much safer bet. Hah!

What if Donald “Law and Order” Trump decides to put a real cop on the Court and chooses his buddy, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. for such powerful distinction? Clarke is a major supporter of Mr. Trump. Sheriff Clarke’s latest pronouncement on the pending election was that “It’s incredible that our institutions of government, the White House, Congress, the Department of Justice and big media are corrupt. Pitchfork and torches time!” This tweeted appeal for a violent patriotic uprising surely suggests that Clarke would be an ideal, ruthless enforcer of stern judicial wisdom in a Trump administration. Take no prisoners. Just shoot them. Our safety will be secured.

Jumper Tom McClintock, our Fourth District Congressional Representative in this neck of the woods, still seems reticent to accept my humble recommendation of several months ago to “scrape Donald Trump from the bottom of (his) boot”. However, I feel it most appropriate to conclude this column commending Tom for his recent decision to support Proposition 64 legalizing recreational marijuana in California. Representative McClintock properly observes, “Legalization take the criminal profit out of the equation and allows us to regulate marijuana the same way we currently regulate alcohol.

I’ll smoke to that.



“Poodle’s Puddle”

October 7, 2016


There are established predictors.

When a Pope seeks signs of divine selection in nominees for Catholic Sainthood, he demands a minimum of two confirmed miracles.

As Napoleon Bonaparte would review junior officers for elevation to higher military status, he would ask of their superiors, “Are they “lucky?””

And in considering candidates for managerial promotion in our radio group when I was Chief Operating Officer, I would always openly wonder if those offered for selection were “housebroken.”

By this I would hope to determine whether the parties under consideration had that certain, indefinable, instinctive grace to behave properly with acceptable decorum and effective action when confronted by surprising, often unpredictable, even unsettling situations — achieving a positive outcome without embarrassing themselves or the company in the process. Using that word came into my head early on. I always found “housebroken” easily understood and awesomely functional.

In evaluating our recent Vice-Presidential debate between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike “The Poodle” Pence, I must suggest this Poodle is not housebroken.

For purposes of full disclosure, I herein admit that I watched the proceedings with supremely subjective bias, screaming at my flat screen with wild invectives every time Poodle offered yet another lame defense of the indefensible and hoping in each instance that Kaine would simply reach over and soundly, savagely slap him.

See? This whole election process has me passionately out of control. I offer no apology. Any other response would seem disgustingly irrational and wholly inadequate, yet I do promise to externally behave much more than not with professional propriety, desiring to break no houses myself in offering admirable adult example to twelve impressionable grandchildren and any number of their small domestic pets.

As my own Irish grandfather, William McClaskey, once warned, “Never trust a man with not a hair our of place!” I suppose that’s when my own instinctive dislike of Pence first started. This judgment has been consistently reaffirmed ever since.

The embarrassing doglike loyalty Pence unapologetically offers in his relationship with The Donald earns Mike his Poodle nickname and was evidenced once again only hours after the debate.

Concerned that Trumpty was infuriated with reports that Pence had pulled off a better and more distinguished performance than his Excellency, Pence proclaimed, “Some people thought I won, but from where I sat, Donald Trump won. His vision to make America great again carried the day!” This fawningly confirmed Trump’s instant public declaration after the sparring concluded that he was “getting lots of credit” for choosing Mike Pence as his running mate and that was his “first hire.” This attempts to erase memory of Donald’s initial campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who was fired for general incompetence just before Pence’s selection. The Trumpster’s second organizational chief, Paul Manafort, was dismissed only days later for receiving multi-million dollar pay-offs from pro-Russian clients. Some relationships offer more immediate compensation than eventual comfort.

Although remaining calm, cool and collected during the proceedings, particularly when compared with his master, Pence’s puddle became dramatically self-evident once fact checking was underway. Keeping faith with campaign culture as he displayed a perfectly straight face and ramrod straight composure, Poodle lied his tail off. This splashed down smoothly without the slightest hint of embarrassment.

Abundant evidence easily available to the contrary, Pence repeatedly denied almost everything both he and Trump have said during the course of the campaign. A true indictment of the currently bewildered state and sadly predictable future of the Republican Party can be found in a new, widely held popular opinion in GOP land. The whispered word is that even if Pence didn’t really do Trump that much good in the debate, at least he brilliantly got a leg up on future competitors, establishing himself as Trump’s inevitable successor.

Voices of darkest desperation thus ring with hollow hope.

Lasting shame, thy name is Trump.

Thy pooch is Poodle Pence.

“Voice Your Choice”

October 7, 2016


Presidential Campaign 2016 has less than five weeks to go.

Here’s a question for “undecided voters”.

What’s wrong with you?

On January 20, 2017, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States.

The only message a vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein might send is that you placed personal political purity over practical public priority. Sorry. I’m not impressed.

Not voting is also a vote letting others choose your future — putting on your slave collar. Surrender to surroundings? I’d rather fight.

Never before in my lifetime have I seen two candidates for the highest office in our land being more decidedly different in style and substance by any meaningful measure. This is not an election calling for deep philosophical reflection on positions presented followed by a rigorous review of issues, ideas and initiatives. The Democratic and Republican standard bearers are polar opposites this time out. It’s left or right. On or off. Up or down. Come on. Commit.

Although Hillary Clinton was not my first choice to lead this nation, she’s the only one now. Please.

The churlish cries of “Hillary lies” have become a primary rallying screech for most who oppose her election, yet ask anyone to honestly cite a single specific accusation not yet extensively explored and thoroughly discredited. Other than shameful sheep bleats from the FOX NEWS echo chamber (please watch where you step), silence will reign. All charges involving Benghazi, Emails and The Clinton Foundation fall into this category. For extended examination and grueling analysis to the point of utter exhaustion and sporadic suicidal impulses, you may check out past “For Your Consideration” columns at sierrastar.com. That’s what it’s there for. The new format is really cool.

Sniff. Donald J. Trump, on the other hand, is a spectacular liar. Sniff. It was super easy picking a new “Top 10 Donald Doozies” just from that last debate alone. Sniff. Trump rudely (he interrupted Hillary 55 different times — 40 in the first 26 minutes) and loudly (his microphone was working perfectly well) lied about the following items before 82.5 million viewers.

Setting The Record Straight Thanks to Rachel Maddow

Bill Clinton did NOT sign NAFTA. George H. W. Bush did.

Trump DID go on record saying that global warming was a “Chinese Hoax” and he did so more than once.

Trump DID repeatedly question President Obama’s citizenship long after the President released his official Birth Certificate.

The New York City murder rate is going DOWN, not UP as Trump insisted.

Trump WAS in favor of invading Iraq in 2003 before it happened.

Hillary Clinton has NOT been fighting ISIS “all of her adult life.”

Hillary did NOT start the “Birther” movement.

“Stop and Frisk” WAS ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge.

Trump DID suggest that he would “negotiate down the national debt.”

Trump DID support our Libyan involvement at the outset.

As witnessed above, a fair comparison between Hillary and Donald on the “fibbing front” seems quite one-sided. Are you kidding?

In weighing such matters as demeanor, experience, focus, character, self-discipline, temperament, intelligence, preparation and performance, I submit that Secretary Clinton is infinitely preferable to Mr. Trump for these and other crucial qualities.

Yet with everything factored, we still see men, particularly those who have not attended college or finished high school (the man in your life?) favoring Donald over Hillary by double digits. Discounting other thoughts and theories in attempting to comprehend what seems inexplicable in Trump’s rise and at least temporary resilience in this grouping; the outrageous gender differential remarkably evident in every poll being taken surely suggests — that which dare not speak its name. Gynophobia.

Gynophobia: “An abnormal, extreme or irrational fear of women.”

It is important to note that gynophobia should not be confused with misogyny, which references hatred and contempt for women.

Gynophobes aren’t scornful — they’re simply scared.

Ladies, tell your guys it’s perfectly safe. Women make fine rulers. Look at Joan of Arc. Elizabeth the First. Maggie Thatcher. Rosie O’ Donnell.

Gentlemen, let’s climb into our big boy pants – the stretchy ones from Duluth.

Barack Obama has declared that no candidate in modern history has been “more prepared than Hillary Clinton” to assume the office of the American presidency. In that assessment, President Obama includes himself and Hillary’s husband.

It’s hard imagining anyone less prepared than Trump.

Unless it’s Pence.





“All That Rises”

September 27, 2016


After forty eventful years in broadcasting and what we thought was an early retirement, Eileen and I moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1998, right after we helped the Toledo Irish-American Club join with the Lucas County Ancient Order of Hibernians to bring in The Wolftones – Ireland’s biggest rebel group. It was wall to wall.

Youngstown is Flint, Michigan without the glamour.

As the car industry collapsed in Michigan, steel mills had already closed their gates in Youngstown, crushed by the forces of unrestrained, steadily increasing overseas competitors. Jobs had flown across the Pacific to the shores of Japan.

In Mahoning County, Youngstown pumps water from Meander Reservoir. Locally it’s often said that’s where old gangsters dumped their dead. While we were there, the water was a peculiar, dusky color and tasted like watermelon. City fathers swore it was algae.

There’s little consolation in consolidation. It was the beginning days of extensive corporate expansion. A broadcast outfit called Gocom Communications had purchased WKBN-TV, the big #1 CBS Television affiliate, and wanted to add five radio stations to Youngstown holdings. Their bank made a multi- million-dollar loan conditioned on my involvement as Vice President/General Manager to assemble and operate the radio group.

Necessitated by circumstance, I ran the five new properties acquired from separate former ownership through the end of the year, faithfully combining facilities, compressing logistics and sacrificing dozens of long time broadcast employees upon the altar of corporate efficiency. Thinning the herd. When I finally admitted to myself that I had become much more a Chief Executioner than Chief Executive, I left the radio business. Bob Dylan was right. Times were changing.

Youngstown was back in the news last week when Donald Trump’s Mahoning County campaign chair, Kathy Miller, announced there was no racism in America until Barack Obama was elected President. Elaborating on the subject, Ms. Miller proclaimed to the press, “If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your fault. You’ve had every opportunity. It was given to you.” Miller added, “You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages.” Miller also called the “Black Lives Matter” movement “a stupid waste of time” and said lower voter turnout among African Americans could be related to “the way they’re raised”.

Youngstown is a traditional Democratic stronghold. After decades of economic decline, it is now ground zero for disaffected white, working-class voters who are drawn to Donald Trump’s cynically hollow, utterly implausible promise to “bring back jobs.”

Before the primaries, some 6,000 Democrats in Youngstown switched party affiliation to Republican in order to vote for Trump, seeking remedy from a raging renegade and bitterly blaming all but themselves for sustained misfortune.

As well as chairing the Trump campaign in Youngstown, Kathy Miller was also an official Ohio elector to the Electoral College for Donald J. Trump. Backlash from Kathy’s comments has forced her resignation from both positions. Nonetheless, she represents a sad, resentful segment of our society willing to believe the brags and boasts of a bellicose bully offering fast facts, tough talk and easy answers.

In 1998 there was a wretched resonance in the air. I first saw it in Flint, then Toledo and finally Youngstown. It echoed in empty bars surrounding shuttered plants. It crowded into long lines at the unemployment office. It flashed and death danced in the eyes of abandoned factory workers resolutely pondering their unexpected fate and silently wondering without hopeful heart, “What happened to mine?” Often left unexplored was, “What can I do about it?” Personal initiative can be unfortunately uncommon.

In these troubled times so much farther down the road, perhaps Trump was inevitable. But beware. Highest reward can never be found in the lowest common denominator.

Democracy is not automatic, nor does success in any form arrive without adequate preparation, perseverance and patience. A stark reality not yet accepted by many is that yesterday’s jobs are not tomorrow’s answers. They are gone for good. Opportunities abound, but only for those willing to apply themselves and engage what lies ahead with determined dedication.

For every position eliminated by foreign competition, three are being lost to technology. This ratio is about to explode.

Whatever their occupation, workers need to begin learning how to add value that complements soft-powered automation. This is the future.

How to fairly and equitably distribute the product of such modern magic remains to be resolved. This is the new politics.

Upward motion can drive us all. And unite.

“All that rises must converge”. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1941)



September 18, 2016


You may have missed it.

In early September, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that Wells Fargo employees, facing pressure to meet unrealistic sales quotas, opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts for customers who never asked for them.

Almost immediately, the bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines for these illegal acts in attempting to defraud its customers. 5,300 employees in connection with the scandal were fired.

Their boss, 56 year-old Senior Vice President and Head of Community Banking, Carrie Tolstedt, has submitted her resignation. For diligent efforts on behalf of Wells Fargo, Ms. Tolstedt will receive a severance package totaling $125 million.

In announcing her separation from the company, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer, John Stumpf, called Ms. Tolstedt, “a role model for responsible leadership” and “a standard bearer of our culture.”

Got that kids?

A role model.

Donald Trump has promised to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as one of the first acts of his new administration.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau back when she was still a Professor at Harvard Law School in 2007. She thought it would be a good start in climbing out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Trump doesn’t like Senator Warren either. He calls her, “Pocahontas.”

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of this current election cycle is the stunning prioritizing of form over substance, packaging over contents, tripe over truth.

As the First Presidential Debate is scheduled for next Monday, let’s see if Donald Trump can go one on one with Hillary and deal with real issues without displaying his fraidycat essence.

“Fraidycat.” That’s the word (it’s even in Merriam-Webster) Michael Moore wrote me in November of 1998 describing Donald Trump’s persona when they appeared together on a New York TV show. Trump had to be assured by Michael that Moore wouldn’t “go after him,” threatening to leave the studio without that understanding established. Mike amiably complied. Donald calmed down.

We’ve seen a whole lot of that fraidycat recently.

Flint Pastor Faith Green Timmons backed Trump down last week in one swift move, cutting him off in front of her entire congregation with a single hand grab as Donald was reaching mid-bellow. He instantly looked like a whipped weasel, but was much braver the following day, being safely away and out of reach when he called Reverent Timmons, “a nervous mess” on Fox & Friends.

In visiting the Mexican President on August 31st, Trump choked and never mentioned “The Wall” or “Who will pay for it?” until later that same day securely across the border in Phoenix, when he also implied President Enrique Pena Nieto lied in stating the Trumpster had been functionally told, “No way, Jose!” in opening comments by Nieto about border building. Donald also took the occasion on home turf to unleash a xenophobic tirade before such Latino antagonists as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe “Make ‘Em Wear Pink” Arpaio, just found guilty of contempt of court by a U.S. District judge and awaiting criminal prosecution.

Then we witnessed Trump abruptly refusing questions after staging a phony press conference last Friday in Washington. That’s when he solemnly declared that Barack Obama WAS born in America. But he replaced one fib with another, declaring Hillary Clinton was the one who started the “Birther” movement in the first place. He then scurried from reporters like a frightened ferret. I’m almost out of rodent references.

You can count on it. When push comes to shove, Donald scoots.

But it’s time to forget all this election business for a while and settle down with a good book.

Here comes the third annual Authors Faire from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday – this year taking place at the Oakhurst Community Center. Come and meet the authors, purchase signed copies of books and learn about writing in today’s publishing industry. A number of local businesses have donated raffle prizes. Food will be available for lunch.

I’ll be on the scene peddling “Local DJ” – “A Rock & Roll History.”

“Of all who had a major influence on me while growing up in the Midwest, none matched the audaciousness, tenacity and gonzo-like behavior of Peter Cavanaugh. He was the one who taught me how to go up against the powers-that-be and live to tell all. Thank you, Peter Cavanaugh, for “Local DJ” and for saving a generation of Flint kids from the likes of Pat Boone” 





“Down The Stretch”

September 11, 2016


Never toss college words at kindergarten minds.

Last Friday night, Hillary Clinton told enthusiastic supporters at a Manhattan fundraiser, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

For those suffering from laggard learning, Hillary might better have replaced the phrase “grossly generalistic” with a more easily understood “overstating very badly”—this being a perfectly acceptable, Webster-approved substitution for reasonably sophisticated ears. But reason is rare in certain circles.

By early Saturday morning Trumpty-Dumpty was bellowing from his golden fortress in Trump Tower, “Wow, Hillary Clinton was so insulting to my supporters. I think it will cost her in the polls!”

So signaled, Vice Presidential candidate Mike “The Poodle” Pence then belligerently barked before Christian conservatives in Washington, “Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans and they are due your respect.” Assumingly, Poodle is including those torch bearing, pitchfork waving Neanderthals howling, “Lock her up!” at every perceived rally prompt. Yes, Neanderthals. Science says those recessive genes still reside in some. There was cross breeding 600,000 years ago. Check out your next Trump crowd. You can’t miss it.

Realizing her Friday phraseology had ignited a new volume of viper venom, Secretary Clinton qualified her comments Saturday, stating that use of the word “half” may have been a mathematical exaggeration, but it still remains certain that a large segment of Trump supporters include racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic viewpoints and that Trump’s new campaign CEO, Breitbart News executive Steven Bannon, is an individual that David Duke and other white supremacists openly honor as a champion of their values.

Now less than 8 weeks before Election Day on Tuesday, November 8th, we’re finally coming down the stretch. Many will be voting earlier by mail-in ballot. These will be sent to Madera County residents enjoying “Permanent Vote by Mail Status” in early October — approximately 29 days before the General Election.

The fact that the Trump campaign can take (or fake) exception to perceived “insults” from Hillary Clinton is as ludicrous as Dumpty’s run for the Presidency itself.

By way of brief review, in the last few days, he who questioned a Federal judge’s honesty due to Mexican ancestry, attacked Gold Star parents for daring to oppose him and labeled women “fat pigs”, “dogs” and “bimbos,” just added a few new spins in his degrading diatribes. Trump heaped more praise on the leadership of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, insisted anew that “nobody wants to see (his) tax returns” and suggested that in a Trump administration, Iranian boats would be “shot out of the water if they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to.” Full fire at a finger? This outburst alone should settle the “temperament” issue once and for all.

American media isn’t helping matters any in attempting to bolster ratings and readership by fostering an assumed equity between Trump and Clinton in a disturbing and mindless portrayal of false equivalency that is dangerously irresponsible and misleading.

Each time some new crazy actions or accusations spring forth by, for or against Trump, the press seems obliged to trot out a corresponding negative story leveled against Hillary Clinton to provide an appearance of “balance” and “equal treatment” in their reporting. Thus, we keep repeatedly hearing thoroughly refuted nonsense about “Benghazi”, “Emails” and “The Clinton Foundation” ad nausea (to where it makes you sick, Trumpies) – when that’s evidently all they can try to hang her with against a continuing torrent of troubling Trump trip-ups.

President Obama said it best last week during his press conference in Laos: “I think the most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what (Trump) says and ask questions about what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright bad ideas. Somehow behavior, that in normal times we would consider completely unacceptable and outrageous, is becoming normalized.”

 I hope you’ll be asking hard questions of “The Battling Bobs” next Monday, September 19th, as Dr. Bob Derlet and Robert Carabas join us for a “Meet the Candidates Pizza Party from 6 till 8 PM at the Pizza Factory in Oakhurst. Democratic Doctor Bob is seeking to replace Tom McClintock as our Fourth Congressional District Representative, while Bob Carabas wants to unseat Frank Bigelow in the State Assembly.

Come on out for the fun Monday at The Pizza Factory. If you elect the Battling Bobs, you WON’T want to toss ’em. They’re REALLY awesome!


September 3, 2016


September 8, 2016

On this date Bernie Sanders turns 75.

So do I.

O.K., Bernie, where do we go from here?

I’m not sure about you, but I never thought I’d get past 10.

Back in 1950 when you and I were 9, we Fourth Graders played “duck and cover” at least once a month, diving under school desks as sirens wailed — covering our eyes from that ever anticipated, permanently blinding flash of brilliant irradiated light accompanied by a searing wave of flesh scorching heat heralding the dreaded detonation of an enemy nuclear bomb.

Only five years had passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were blasted to kingdom come in the only two atomic explosions ever unleashed against our species, fate having chosen the Japanese people for this dubious distinction.

Doctor J. Robert Oppenheimer of UC Berkeley headed our government’s top secret “Manhattan Project,” a massive effort dedicated to designing an ultimate war weapon. The idea was to split atoms and unleash unimaginable energy generating thermonuclear heat of one hundred and fifty million degrees Fahrenheit, five times that of the sun’s fiery core. Witnessing the first successful test of his new “super bomb” on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert, Dr. Oppenheimer watched in awestruck terror, then gasped these words from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

 Oppenheimer felt enormous personal responsibility for bringing such exotic theoretical physics to deadly practical fruition. As Chairman of the General Advisory Committee of a newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission, he lobbied after the war for international control of nuclear power to avert dangerous proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. For these “Un-American” sentiments, he was removed as Committee Chairman, suffered complete revocation of security clearances, and was stripped of any meaningful political influence for the rest of his public life.

These were the “Joe McCarthy years” when the wild ravings of a drunken Wisconsin Senator took precedence over common sense and secured safety. There were “Commies” in the State Department, “Reds” way across town and “Pinkos” right up your block. Joe said he had solid names. He had only shameful notions. Edward R. Murrow nailed McCarthy coast to coast on CBS. Murrow’s closing words on the program come down to us through the years, perhaps particularly resonant today in the light of the seemingly inexplicable Trump phenomenon.

“The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

 On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67–22, making him one of few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. McCarthy died of alcoholism on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48.

So here we are, Bernie.


As your “birth brother” — you’ve made me proud.

You’ve awakened, enlightened and energized a whole new generation of dedicated young Americans, driven not by false memories of imagined yesterdays, but by the promising possibility of truer tomorrows.

Being a hero of our youth at 75 is no small achievement, Bernie.

I’m a hero to my cat, but only after a half can of “Puss ‘n Boots” and a healthy helping of Temptations “Savory Salmon” Classic Kitty Treats.

For purposes of full honest disclosure, Bernie, I should herein confess that I am actually a bit younger than you, having been delivered seven weeks prematurely by C-section. I spent my first two months outside the womb enclosed within the warm, comforting confines of a climate controlled hospital incubator, thus not having been born so much as hatched. Chirp. Chirp.

Thank you for resisting what must have been a powerful urge to launch a third party bid this election cycle despite enormous pressure to do so from highly inspired, hard fighting, true believing supporters. Yielding to this temptation might have split the Democratic Party in half and all but assured the election of Donald J. Trump.

You have saved us from collective catastrophe, international condemnation and universal scorn. And made more unlikely a sudden, blinding flash of brilliant white light.


August 28, 2016



This time it’s different.

Labor Day Weekend is straight ahead – a marker normally signaling the true start of an American Presidential campaign when typical citizens take a few minutes to actually notice their immediate environment.

This year it’s already over. Done. Finished. Gone.

Even as his national polling averages started their death spiral in late July, Donald Trump now calls Hillary Clinton a flat out “bigot” and predicts he will get 95% of the African American vote when he runs for reelection in 2020. And maybe deportation squads won’t boot out all 11.5 million “illegal immigrants” on Inauguration Day after all. Or possibly so. He’ll decide that when he needs to. Maybe. Could be.

Donald Trump has become a “Chuck Berry Existentialist.”

“Sometimes I will and again sometimes I won’t.

Sometimes I do and again sometimes I don’t.”

“Reelin’ & Rockin’” – Chuck Berry (1957)

Trump is understandably convinced by their addled adulation that his core supporters will endorse anything he does, says or thinks – everything he dreams, schemes or screams. This would appear tragically true.

After saying “You’re fired!” to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on June 20th, Trumpty-Dumpty just repeated the same thing to Paul Manafort on August 19th, then immediately appointed Steve Bannon as his new “Campaign Chief Executive Officer” – a title which has never existed before in the history of any party.

Bannon’s been running Breitbart, an extreme right-wing news and opinion website. A former Breitbart employee and mainstream conservative favorite, Ben Shapiro, has gone on record stating “Bannon is a nasty, vindictive figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies.”

Continuing his latest impetuous shakeup, Trump simultaneously appointed smiling, beguiling spin mistress Kellyanne Conway as his “Campaign Manager”. In admiration of Ms. Conway’s abilities to circumvent facts and cleverly cloud issues, legendary reporter Dan Rather told MSNBC: “This woman can talk the legs off a table.”

Even so, Ms. Conway found herself in a difficult position last Sunday when Chris Wallace asked her on FOX News whether Trump had acted properly in response to the horrid shooting death in Chicago of Nykea Aldridge, a mother of four and cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade. Learning of the travesty, Trump hastily tweeted: “Just what I’ve been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” Avoiding direct response, Kellyanne suggested we should all remember Trump did add his condolences in a new tweet a full four hours later.

And how will Campaign Manager Conway get along with CEO Bannon? Said Kelly to Chris: “Donald Trump chose me to run his campaign. I report directly to him.”


I still hold out hope that our Fourth District Congressional Representative, Tom McClintock, will finally ditch Donald. It seems Tom’s apparent certainty over gaining an easy fifth term in Congress running as a Republican in this crimson red district overshadows any need to be noble in the classic and classy sense of this word – i.e., “Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”

There is a determined David running against McClintock’s grinning Goliath.

Dr. Robert Derlet grew up in a working class Los Angeles neighborhood, selling newspapers to traffic at Santa Monica & Vine in Hollywood when he was eight. School and summer work continued through college with Bob handling jobs ranging from construction to cattle ranching and working in a merchant ship boiler room. He can handle the heat.

He eventually graduated with highest honors from John Marshall High School and the University of California in Santa Cruz, being the first in his family to attend a four-year college. After completing medical studies, Dr. Derlet spent his career as a Professor and Chief of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, serving two terms as Chief of Staff.

Contemplating retirement and wanting to live year-round near the Sierra Nevada, Dr. Derlet moved to Twain Harte five years ago and became a front-line primary care physician at a Rural Health Clinic in Tuolumne City. Listening to the struggles of patients trying to navigate a complex health care system while staying economically afloat galvanized him to run for Congress as our Democratic candidate in the Fourth District.

Dr. Derlet will be speaking this Saturday in a special Labor Day Weekend Meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club at Denny’s on Highway 41 with breakfast at 8:30 and our program at 9:30.

Along with Bob Derlet will be another Bob – Robert Carabas – running for the Fifth California District Assembly seat currently occupied by Frank Bigelow.

Carabas, a graduate of UC Berkley with a degree in English, is the father of two and grandfather of five. A retired corporate credit manager from Sonora, this Bob’s particular area of concern is Global Warming.

See you Saturday!

“Expression Suppression”

August 21, 2016

Hillary Prison

Hillary Sign -- Back

Frances Hagen is an 84 year-old former schoolteacher and Gold Star Parent who lost a son in Viet Nam. Mrs. Hagen lives near the top of 425A (Stagecoach Road) in Oakhurst, where she has resided for more than forty years.

Frances’ father, legendary baseball great Bob “Dusty” Rhoads, threw a no-hitter pitching for Cleveland against the Boston Red Sox on September 18, 1908, becoming the first in team history to do so.

Her son, Eric Hagen, is Principal of Glacier High School and Mountain Home School Charter here in Oakhurst.

Mrs. Hagen has been active in our community for many decades and was a founding member of the Oakhurst Democratic Club.

She placed a “Hillary for President” sign at her driveway entrance last week. A few days later — hidden by the dark of night — in a cowardly effort to frighten and intimidate Frances — the sign was alarmingly defaced with the word “Prison” substituted for “President” on the front and filled with vile hate language on the reverse.

It was a message addressed to the “Nigga” who was so uppity as to have placed the sign — implying increased reprisals from the “Trump Gang” might be forthcoming for any future efforts expended in support of Secretary Clinton.

Thankfully, Mrs. Hagen’s life is filled with nearby friends who have made no secret of expressing their absolute disgust at this violation of property and propriety.

A neighborhood watch group on Facebook (“425A – Stagecoach Road”) has been unanimous in expressing their strong support for Frances and in vigorously condemning the incident with such observations as “To turn on each other is the last thing we need to do”, “I am not for Hillary, but I would never allow anyone to do that” and “Although I’m on the other side, one does need to respect the view of others.”

Upon being informed of the vandalism, Sheriff Jay Varney immediately initiated appropriate action and launched a formal investigation. Similarly, District Attorney David Linn personally called Mrs. Hagen to assure her that his office would do all it could in addressing the situation and protecting her against any further concerns of a threatening nature. These days you don’t mess with a Gold Star Mom in Madera County.

Mrs. Hagen’s disappointing discovery presents new evidence that this particular election cycle has reached a level of contentiousness previously unknown, extending even up here into the Sierra foothills.

In 2008 and 2012, Mrs. Hagen’s pro-Obama/Biden signage was left completely untouched when placed in exactly that same spot at the side of the road. This local escalation of angry, ugly, thuggish behavior has assuredly been directly generated by Donald Trump’s unprecedented plunge into his poisonous pursuit of the presidency.

Last week I offered our visiting Fourth District Congressional Representative Tom McClintock several promising alternatives to replace his unfortunate endorsement of the current, doomed-to-fail Republican candidate. I did this both in print and in person. Alas, I was scorned, although civilly so. During his Town Hall Meeting in North Fork, Tom passed on an opportunity to courageously scrape Donald Trump from the bottom of his boot. He then publicly called me a “Mother.”

Although mightily tempted to end my North Fork testimony right there and move on, fairness and decorum demand an explanation.

After earlier dismissing my brilliant suggestion to support Libertarian Gary Johnson and his efforts to reach a 15% polling average and consequential admission to the forthcoming “Great Debates” featuring Donald (in the huge orange trunks) and Hillary (in the true blue pantsuit), McClintock asked those attending if anyone knew what the “Mother Rule” might be. This was something to be invoked if “Mother baked a pie and her two sons had to decide how to divide it between them.” “Yes!” I gleefully exclaimed from my front row seat. “One cuts, the other chooses!” “That’s right!” said Tom, adding, “Thank you” — (pause for comedic effect) – Mother!”

Everyone laughed, including me. He really did that well. Touché!

It was a lovely, light-hearted moment in an otherwise sullen, somber election season.

Now if we can just punch up local business for the rest of the summer with one of those uniquely new, tourist attracting, excitingly different “Naked Donald” statues in the parking lot at Von’s.

They’re made of foam.

From right out of his mouth.