Archive for February, 2016

“The Nine Lives of Donald Trump”

February 21, 2016


“Now the cat was a terror and he thought that it was best –
to give it to a fella who was headin’ out west.
The train went around the corner and it hit a broken rail.
Not a soul aboard the train was alive to tell the tale.

But the cat came back. The cat came back.
I thought he was a goner, but the cat came back.
‘Cause he wouldn’t stay away.”

 “The Cat Came Back”

— Harry S. Miller (1893)

 Even his most ardent supporters suspected “The Donald” might finally have done himself in.

In two short days leading up to last Saturday’s South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary, Donald J. Trump told off The Pope and then technically defined our country’s last Republican President as a war criminal. Trump subsequently swept the field in weekend voting — grabbing top spot and almost all the delegates with double digit leads over runners up Ted “The Single Biggest Liar I Ever Met” Cruz and Marco “I’m Not Even Sure He’s Eligible To Run” Rubio.

As Pope Francis flew back to Rome on Wednesday after concluding a wildly successful visit to Cuba and Mexico, including Mass held at the very border between Mexico and the U.S.A. at Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, the Pontiff responded to a reporter’s question about Trump promising to build a giant wall between the two countries. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they might be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian”, said Francis. Hearing this, Trump characterized the remark as being “disgraceful,” fantasizing that the Holy Father should only hope President Trump is there “when ISIS invades The Vatican.”

On stage with fellow contenders Jeb Bush and John Kasich during that following night’s CNN “Town Hall Debate”, Donald proceeded to explode when Jeb again attempted to depict his brother, George W. Bush, as having “kept us safe after 9/11.”That happened during his reign”, bellowed Trump, adding that the Bush Administration had cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars – creating ISIS in the process by intentionally “lying about weapons of mass destruction.”

“W” was even called in from the paint shop for some rare appearances hither and yon in South Carolina in support of his younger brother’s candidacy. Our 43rd President, with a hairline having receded even faster than his popularity, seemed a sad site. Despite all, I can’t help but begrudgingly like the guy. “George The Conqueror” surely tried his level best during eight years in office – handicapped by limited reflection, awkward skills and avaricious advisors interested first and foremost in force-feeding an insatiable war machine. Dick Cheney’s not worth $100 million today for past good looks. But even “43” couldn’t help Jeb In his try to be “45.”

Jeb! Bush always did seem to be more a question mark than an exclamation point with his hesitate speech, slouched shoulders and hangdog smile. Seconds after the polls closed Saturday night and seeing only 8% support in his column, he finally and mercifully called it quits.

Donald Trump now seems ready to run the table all the way to a Republican Presidential Nomination in Cleveland come July. If so, our Fourth Congressional District Representative Tom McClintock can look forward to supporting all sorts of interesting ideas, including “bombing the hell out of ISIS”, instituting interrogational torture far past water boarding and other novel – if nasty — notions.

If John Gotti was “The Teflon Don”, here we have a genuine “Teflon Donald” with nothing sticking to him other than whatever keeps that thing on his head in place.

I’ve often written that Trump will never be President and repeat that again, but it surely looks more and more as though he just might become standard-bearer of his Party when all is said and dumb.









“Little Miss Sneaky”

February 14, 2016


Hillary & Bill


I am about to be politically incorrect.

As one can easily discern with the quickest of glances at the picture on this printed page, I am not an African-American.

In fact, I’m pleased to report that I can finally be somewhat more specific about ancestry. That’s thanks to my first cousin, Deanna Drake Denver, who just received results from DNA testing. She passed — scoring 50% Irish, 21% Europe West, 18% Scandinavian, 3% Iberian Peninsula, 3% West Asian (Caucasus) and 0% Scots Terrier. It’s probable I am similarly configured, perhaps a wee bit heavier with the Irish count, particularly next month on the 17th.

If you saw the Navy SEAL film, “Act of Valor” you’ve seen Deanna on the big screen — playing the part of “Lt. Rorke’s” mother. Naval Reserve Commander Rorke Denver is Deanna’s actual son. His new TV series, “American Grit”, premieres April 14th on FOX. That’s called sneaking in a plug.

But even though the first 78-rpm record I ever bought was “Hound Dog” by Mama Willie May Thornton (1952) (way before Elvis did it) and despite the fact I never missed James Brown when he came to town (7 shows through the years – right down front) and it’s also true “Parliament and Funkadelic” (led by the spectacularly outrageous George “Atomic Dog” Clinton) was my chosen headline act more than once during Michigan rock concert years, I suppose these things still give me no right to publicly criticize the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, but here I go.

Little Miss Sneaky strikes again.

Last Thursday’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders by the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee was rushed by Hillary, her campaign and the 20 member PAC board after Clinton’s 22 point loss to Senator Sanders earlier in the week. The next big test comes this Saturday in South Carolina, where African Americans represent a 55% majority of registered Democrats. But wait. The Black Caucus Political Action Committee is not the same as the 46-member Congressional Black Caucus. That group features only actual members of Congress, including one Republican. And a sharp review of the PAC reveals that the 20 Committee members include 11 lobbyists, many of who have clients in industries that have been vigorously attacked by Sanders during his campaign and, intriguingly, have significantly contributed to Hillary in hers.

As Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) properly pointed out, the actual Black Congressional Caucus, to which he belongs, has not yet endorsed anyone, adding, “Endorsements should be the product of a fair, open process. That didn’t happen.”

Bernie Sanders record on the fight for civil rights and his consistent struggle for fairness, equality and equity stands the test of time.

Way back in the ‘60’s, as a student at the University of Chicago, Sanders was active in both the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1962, he was handcuffed and arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago Public Schools and for distributing flyers throughout the city detailing police brutality to blacks.

As tension builds, we watch Secretary Clinton keeping a straight face in debate as she insists she wants to “avoid another contentious fight with Republicans” by “keeping The Affordable Care Act.” Hillary is against moving on to a single payer system and “Medicare for All.” What?

The first Republican controlled House vote after Paul Ryan became Speaker early last month was to kill The Affordable Care Act by a margin of 240 to 181. With Senate concurrence (52 – 47), only President Obama’s immediate veto saved the five year-old law.

There’s going to be plenty of “contentiousness’” with Republicans over health care no matter what, Hillary. Let’s go for the gold!

Or would that upset donors?



“Taking The Cannoli”

February 6, 2016


 “Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this gift.” – Don Corleone – “The Godfather” (1972)

Those words ricocheted through my mind last Thursday night during the first “one on one” debate between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders prior to New Hampshire primary voting Tuesday.

Hillary was challenging Sanders to provide a specific example proving she was being “paid off” to provide certain services in return for campaign contributions. The subject had come earlier when Anderson Cooper of CNN asked Mrs. Clinton about a payment of $675,000 she received from Goldman Sachs for three speaking engagements. When Cooper questioned the amount, Hillary breezily replied, “Well, that’s what they offered.” Oh.

This is the same Goldman Sachs that agreed just last month to pay a civil settlement of up to $5 billion with federal prosecutors in order to take care of claims arising from the marketing and selling of faulty mortgage securities to investors. Believe it or not, this was a good deal.

Goldman’s Chairman and Chief Executive Office, Lloyd C. Blankfein, went on record stating, “We are pleased to have reached agreement in principle to resolve these matters.” You bet. In 2014, Bank of America paid over $16.6 billion in a similar deal with governmental agencies, even as JP Morgan was good for another $13 billion in “we’re sorry” money the prior year.

Here’s what Chairman/CEO Blankfein said on CNBC last Wednesday about Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President. “It has the potential to be a dangerous moment.” I hope so.

For thousands of careers destroyed, trillions of dollars lost and countless lives ruined in 2008’s Wall Street debacle, hardly a single soul has spent a second in the slammer or faced serious criminal charges. Madoff went down big, but had gotten away with his outrageous Ponzi game for decades.

For the third quarter of 2015, Goldman Sachs reported a profit of $1.3 billion. During one 16-month period after leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton together received 25 million in fees and professional stipends.

Hillary’s main defense when pressed on campaign contributions is that “everybody does it. Even Barack Obama.” And she’s right. The average member of Congress spends have of his or her time soliciting funds for the next election cycle. That’s half their time – all the time.

I was particularly struck near the very end of Thursday’s debate when moderator Chuck Todd asked both participants how they would prioritize issues, specifically citing immigration reform, gun control and climate change. Senator Sanders emphatically stated that every subject itemized was functionally secondary to an overriding and unavoidable truth — nothing meaningful can ever be accomplished, “So long as big money interests control the United States Congress.”

This is not a wild, radical, off-the-wall, “revolutionary” idea. It’s a plain, simple, challenging call to duty.

Here we go.

Only two candidates competing for our nation’s highest office are turning down big money – Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders hasn’t been begging for bucks because he’s raised over $53.6 million in the last four months alone from 1.3 million separate contributors who have each donated an average grand total of $27 apiece. And Donald Trump hasn’t had to grovel for money by the shovel because – “The Donald” IS big money.

A new national Quinnipiac poll released late Friday shows Senator Sanders, who was twenty points behind Secretary Clinton just a month ago, now trailing Hillary 44% to 42% — a statistical tie.


Hear the excitement? See the crowds? Feel “The Bern?”

The lady and gentleman have started their engines.

Here’s a real race!



“Thump Goes Trump”

February 2, 2016



He’s a loser.

 “Unless I win, I would consider this a big, fat, beautiful—and, by the way, a very expensive—waste of time” — Donald Trump — Sunday afternoon in Iowa.

Of all the thundering headlines following Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, none echoed louder than news that “The Donald” not only lost his first true test as a presidential candidate, but had almost thumped to third place in the process.

Trump’s 24.3% performance represented a crushing decline from his Iowa polling averages in recent months, suggesting massive crowd turnouts were probably more due to celebrity appeal than meaningful message.

Marco Rubio was nipping right behind Donald’s big behind with 23.1% of the voting – a dramatic upsurge for the youngest GOP hopeful – ever more thirsty in his frenetic bid for the White House.

Winning first place in the hearts and minds and tractors and plows of Iowa Republicans was Ted Cruz at 27.7%, pretty much performing as predicted. Cruz rewarded his followers with an interminable, three-quarters of an hour victory speech. Even FOX TV bailed well before it ended.

There’s something visually unsettling about Senator Cruz. Perhaps when little angel Teddy Cruz passed through Heaven heading here, another little angel stepped on his head. This would account for more than mere appearance.

Then there’s that Canadian question, eh?

With Ben Carson in single digits (9.3%) heading back to Florida for “fresh clothes”, his continuation in competition seems unlikely.

Rand Paul (4.5%) did a bit better than expected, but Jeb Bush demonstrated irrefutable evidence that when $14.1 million spent in Iowa buys but 2.8% of the final vote (approximately $2,800 for each vote received) – denying the inevitable has become clearly indefensible.

That’s 18 times as much per ballot as winner Cruz, 10 times as much as Marco and 34 times as much as silver medal winner Trump — no investment chump.

Jeb? Perhaps it’s time to throw in your monogrammed towel.

Everyone below Jeb (Fiorini, Kasich, Huckabee, Christie and Santorum) ended up with less than 2.0%, while former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore came in with a total of twelve (12) votes, putting him in very last place behind “Other”, who attracted 119 fans.

Huckabee has announced he is “suspending his campaign”, although not “ending” it, since that would cost money.

What’s left? Pun intended, Monday night’s other big story was obviously Bernie Sanders meteoric rise from relative obscurity to tie Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of things, even as Hillary’s campaign prematurely and ungraciously announced with much of the vote yet uncounted that she had won. In July of 2015 polling, Sanders was behind Hillary Clinton 52% to 33% after initially scoring only single digits when he announced his candidacy. Bernie is a man on the move.

While final tabulation Tuesday morning projected a Hillary win by the narrowest of margins (49.9% to 49.6%) – such proximity would normally require a recount under usual circumstances – but probably won’t. The difference in this instance is fundamentally of no consequence. Hillary was landing 22 delegates to the national convention, while Bernie nailed 21 with one still contested. It will take 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in Philadelphia (July 25 – 28), one week after the Republicans choose their nominee in Cleveland. Iowa was the starting gate on a race really just underway.

And Democrat Martin O’Malley has joined Mike Huckabee — riding off the track on separate happy trails into similar sunsets.

My head is spinning from all these numbers, making all the more amazing to me how Todd Miller could have so marvelously pulled things together on such short notice and in such a brief period of time.

Our first 2016 meeting of The Oakhurst Democratic Club will be held at Denny’s this Saturday with Madera County Auditor/Controller Todd Miller and a presentation entitled: “County Money: Where It Comes From and Where It Goes.”

Since becoming Auditor/Controller in June of 2014, having been forced to leap to the rescue by unanticipated circumstance when his predecessor succumbed to a curious case of premature retirement, Mr. Miller has seen his office complete the county’s annual audit by its March 31st deadline for the first time in 17 years. This achievement brought about an A1 credit rating from Standard & Poors in July and a $500,000 yearly savings in interest payments alone.

And there’s lots more good news too.

See you Saturday!