Archive for March, 2016

“Both Sides Now”

March 20, 2016



Politico scores him at one major new lie for every five minutes he speaks.

PolitiFact reports that more than three-quarters of his formal pronouncements are “mostly or totally false.”

 FactCheck says he “tramples the truth.”

Donald Trump repeatedly lies about so many things at every turn, often contradicting himself several times in the same breath. Any attempt to discern lucidity in his rambling diatribes is doomed to failure. One might as well attempt to adequately describe the color of air.

The man is an utter fraud. The fact he is capturing such a loyal, fanatical following should bring deep pause and sleepless nights to all but the badly bewildered. Disregarding this danger is unpatriotic and un-American.

To his credit, our own 4th Congressional District Representative Tom McClintock has not succumbed to the trumpeting call of deceitfully deranged Donald. Tom is supporting Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during these final primary days. For resigning from the House Freedom Caucus last September and observing that this ultra right-wing group had displayed “hardball tactics that undermines conservative goals”, Mr. McClintock should also receive congratulatory recognition – herein extended.

Things are coming to a head on both sides of the political spectrum.

Recognizing that Senator Bernie Sanders may be nearing the end of his long sought, valiantly fought, immeasurably impressive presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton could well make history as our first female President. If that’s so, why not double our pleasure and double our fun by choosing Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as her running mate?

I was first introduced to Senator Warren in Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

At the time, she was chair of a Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the U.S. banking bailout that involved hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. When Michael asked her in the film where the money went, she candidly replied with genuine frustration and refreshing candor, “I don’t know” — a question that remains largely unanswered to this day.

A seemingly perfect choice to develop and oversee a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren was named as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama on September 17, 2010, then went on to earn her nickname “Sheriff of Wall Street” — ruffling more than a few feathers outside and inside the Obama Administration.

Five years ago while testifying before a congressional panel, Warren questioned the scope of state and federal investigations into alleged mortgage abuses and illegal foreclosures perpetrated by the nation’s largest mortgage companies, marking the very first time a senior White House official publicly broke ranks with the President over the issue and raising fresh questions about the wisdom of the government’s rush to settle with the firms.

She testified that government agencies might not have sufficiently investigated claims that banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial illegally seized borrowers’ homes.

Four days later, bowing to heavy political pressure, President Obama announced Warren was being passed over as his choice to become permanent Director of the very organization she had created, instead choosing to nominate Warren’s second-in-command, thus caving in to those who decided Elizabeth Warren was being far, far too serious in her quest for meaningful banking regulations and reform.

Since she couldn’t beat the boys in the Senate, this former Harvard Law Professor decided to join them. Running for office against heavy odds and big money thrown against her, Senator Warren was elected to replace Scott Brown in November of 2012. Elizabeth Warren is now Senior Senator from Massachusetts — offering impeccable credentials — having consistently proven herself these last few years as an unwavering voice of progressive thought.

Senator Warren offers the Democratic ticket a perfect answer to those concerned about maintaining the allegiance and passion of youth this critical election cycle — without which victory cannot be assured.


Clinton/Warren in 2016!

It’s a Tennessee mountain point of view.

“If you’re gonna have one — might as well have two!” – Miranda Lambert & The Pistol Annies (2011)





“The View from Killarney”

March 16, 2016



Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2016.

When the time came to write this week’s column – due to being published on the blessed day itself – I decided to ask an old friend in Killarney if he might provide me with his own insights into this year’s American presidential primary season.

Finbarr Slattery is a legend in County Kerry. We became acquainted when Eileen and I were visiting Killarney on our first trip to Ireland in 1992. For many years, Mr. Slattery wrote a brilliant weekly column in The Kingdom newspaper and has been published around the world, including Time Magazine. We kept in touch for quite some time.

Alas, I have just learned that Finbarr, housebound and well into his 90s, has become extremely frail, but his former editor at The Kingdom, which sadly ceased publication in January of 2011, now comes to our rescue.

John O’Mahony is editor and publisher of, a daily online news, sports and current affairs service in Killarney, Co Kerry – Ireland’s best known tourism town. Thousands of miles away from the relentless political pounding we receive around the clock, here’s a March 17th perspective provided at a discerning distance from the land of saints and shamrocks, courtesy of the graciously accommodating Mr. O’Mahony.

“Ireland’s slow to play the Trump card”

THERE’S a rousing ballad penned specifically for the 1971 film adaptation of Walter Macken’s wonderful children’s book, Flight of the Doves, in which the chorus cheerfully proclaims, you don’t have to be Irish to be Irish.

And that certainly rings true if one’s association with the Emerald Isle can be mutually beneficial in terms of commercial considerations or promotional opportunities; a sort of you scratch our back and we’ll return the compliment arrangement.

It also highlights the traditional Irish hospitality, famous the world over and, almost without exception, genuine, warm and wonderful.

The President of the United States of America, whoever holds that office at any given time, has always been well within the promotional radar of those charged with the responsibility of boosting Irish tourism and finding reason – any reason – to throw a party. If there was a VIP guest list, 1600 Penn would be at the very summit.

It started with JFK in June 1963 when he sipped tea from the best bone China cup that could be found in the village at his ancestral home in Dunganstown, County Wexford. That’s a visit that remains one of the most important, groundbreaking, celebrated and poignant occasions in Irish history, right up there alongside the arrival of Pope John Paul II in 1979 in terms of landmark moments in time.

But it didn’t end there. If the sunny south east could claim Jack Kennedy, then the land of the little potato in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary could do likewise with President Reagan after he came calling to the land of his roots in 1984.

The sleepy County Offaly village of Moneygall has built a busy plaza and museum dedicated to President Obama following his all too brief visit, in May 2011, to the little rural hamlet where his great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side once walked the land and where his eighth cousin, Henry Healy, affectionately known locally as Henry VIII, occasionally waits on tables at the in-house diner.

President Bush, senior and junior, both came calling as did President Nixon when he visited his own ancestors’ graves in County Kildare in October 1970. But, of course, the charismatic President Clinton, the only American President that came anywhere close to JFK in terms of respect and admiration in the eyes of the Irish people, spent so much time in Ireland, between 1995 and 2000, that he ran the risk of developing freckles and a fondness for creamy porter.

So admired was President Clinton that the locals even erected a larger-than-life statue of the great man in the heart of the seaside town of Ballybunion, County Kerry where he played golf with former Irish Labour Party leader and foreign affairs minister Dick Spring.

Despite the great history between American presidents and the Irish people, strangely, or perhaps not strangely at all, it would appear that there is no great clamor to fast-track an invitation to the man who now wants to be president to visit the land of saints and scholars.

Besides, Donald Trump doesn’t need to avail of Irish hospitality as he already has a pretty impressive place to lay his head following his purchase of the stunning Doonbeg Resort and Country Club out of bankruptcy in February 2014. It is set on 400 acres in County Clare, has a 25-mile coastline and world class golf club. How could Ballyporeen or Ballybunion compete with that?

Truth be told, even despite his barnstorming, electrifying successes in the Primary season, few people in Ireland are still taking the Trump campaign very seriously. They should do so, but they refuse to.

That he is likely to secure the Republican nomination is greeted with sheer disbelief and, quite honestly, loud bar stool guffaws. Ireland simply refuses to play the Trump card.

The Donald’s take on immigration has greatly irritated the Irish people who watched, helplessly and tearfully, for generations as their young, and not so young, were forced to flee the land to salvage some dignity and to try to earn enough dollars to stuff in an envelope to put bread on the table and medicine in the cupboards back home.

His stance on foreign policy is, well, frankly, pretty scary. Building walls when the rest of the word is knocking them down defies logic. His bullish nature and brash swagger is not going down well in a country where people like those in power and with power to remain modest and unassuming from whatever lofty perch they stand on.

Sanders, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich are largely unknown in Ireland to anyone other than total political anoraks and when it comes to their chances of kicking off their slippers under the White House bed, the view here is that there is more of a possibility of spotting a snake slithering down O’Connell Street on St Patrick’s Day.

Ireland loves a Clinton. For all his faults Bill remains a national hero for his commitment to the long and complex campaign to bring peace to Northern Ireland. He treated the Irish people with respect, with dignity, with compassion and with a glint in his eye that went down a treat. That was appreciated. And it won’t be forgotten,

Forging another link between Ireland and the US of A, Chelsea Clinton penned a highly regarded and valued 150-page thesis on the Northern Ireland and she even spent a vacation in Killarney, County Kerry, departing just before she qualified to have a statue of her own cast in bronze.

As for, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, well, she’s the campaigner Ireland is rooting for. She doesn’t possess her husband’s charisma. She’s prone to more than an occasional foul up bleep and blunder and she often comes across as having a tendency to be single-minded, calculating and divisive.

But, hey, she’s a Clinton. And if Hillary is good enough for America then she is most welcome into the Irish parlour, where there will be a welcome on the mat, a kettle on the boil and the best bone china in the village awaiting.

Just as long as she brings himself with her.

John O’Mahony

Killarney, Ireland


“It Ain’t Over”

March 8, 2016



“It ain’t over till it’s over!” – Yogi Berra (1973)

“Super Tuesday” is now dangerously behind us.

This runaway train known as the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle is charging down the tracks with Donald J. Trump evidently all but done savaging Republican opponents, even as Hillary Clinton seems to be suddenly steamrolling over Bernie Sanders squishity-squish-squish.

Not so fast.

It’s all too crazy to not get crazier.

I find it impossible to believe that the Republican Party will allow itself to be terminally and permanently debased by a raging fool. Similarly, it may be unlikely that Hillary Clinton can gain the White House without continued opposition from disgruntled Sanders supporters led by militant millennials who just don’t buy her act.

What if Trump wins the Republican nomination and the party shatters in two with John Kasich as presidential nominee of a newly revitalized GOP under some other name? He appears to be the single current Trump competitor not completely unhinged and surely deserves growing recognition as “the only adult in the room” among debate participants.

The governor of Ohio brilliantly demonstrated that last Thursday night as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tag teamed against Trump in a heated match that reached epic proportions in an exchange of vile invectives and loutish language – in the process insulting the intelligence of any viewer over the age of 6.

On the Democratic side, forget any problems with “Benghazi.” Mrs. Clinton took care of that herself for eleven-and-a-half hours under oath last October, enduring vicious grilling before a Republican Select Committee dedicated to her destruction. But suppose Hillary ultimately faces federal charges of who knows what springing forth from that current “email investigation?”

Although highly unlikely, this could provide an immediate game changer, as would be any major negative revelation about the millions of dollars flowing into the Clinton Foundation during her tenure as secretary of state and/or her own “speaking fees” through the years.

Quick. Elizabeth Warren? Now you have no choice. Joe Biden? Get back in there. Oprah?

Then we have former Mayor of New York and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg waiting in the wings for someone to seriously falter. There’s always Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal wondering if they might not have given things up and pulled out too soon. That happens. And there’s even Mitt Romney, only days ago pathetically attempting to regain relevance by strangely and uncharacteristically tweeting wild allegations of a “bombshell” hiding in Donald Trump’s tax returns.

How about a four way race on Nov. 8? Donald Trump for President on the Republican ballot vs. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton vs. John Kasich on a “We’re All Not That Nuts” ticket vs. Bernie Sanders as head of a new, insurgent “Let Me Be Even Clearer” movement.

Why stop there?

Let’s add Kim Kardashian and run her for queen, or have Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio joyfully join forces in an energetic “Co-Presidents Can Be Go-Presidents” campaign or watch Dr. Ben Carson sleeping to a win with his “I Can’t Believe No One Ever Notices I’m Always Stoned” Party?

Perhaps instead of Congress, we should have a Parliament with dozens of parties representing views of all hues?

Or have bare-knuckle fist fights on pay-per-view TV to pay down the debt and have the last two standing simply draw straws?

We’ll explore these options and even more this Saturday as the Oakhurst Democratic Club holds its March Meeting at Denny’s with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and a program beginning at 9:30 featuring Public Information Officer Kaci Lutz of the California Highway Patrol. She’ll be speaking on “Cool New Things With The CHP.”

And it’s looking like a complete sell-out this Saturday night at Yosemite High School for the eighth annual “Nite on The Town” – the largest fundraiser of the year for the Yosemite High Music Department. With 100 students performing 30 memorable pieces, I will be assisting Oakhurst’s own Kent Byers in performing Master of Ceremonies duties and look forward to the “Nite” with great enthusiasm, and more than a slight measure of appropriate trepidation at being asked to take part in such a classy affair.

“Stress Test”

March 7, 2016

Viking Funeral


I no longer smoke tobacco. After two and a-half packs a day for forty years, I stopped while living in Youngstown when I almost stopped living in Youngstown. It was a Saturday night – May 16th, 1998. Something felt catchy in the middle of my chest.

There was an Irish anesthesiologist from Killarney with whom I was happily chatting until he whispered, “Here’s a little magic” and applied his craft, instantly initiating extensive orgasmic bliss. I thoroughly enjoyed my quadruple bypass.

In the almost eighteen years and five subsequent stents since, I have become remarkably consistent following doctors’ orders — more or less – faithfully losing fifty pounds of waddling weight in my daily walks up 425A and avoiding such former practices as ordering triple cheese pizzas with extra cheese, downing a full bag of barbeque chips with dip watching a single episode of “Cops” and drinking beer by the barrel.

I was heading for my annual stress test with Dr. Gen in Fresno on Leap Year Day when our 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra burst into flames heading up Deadwood, blocking traffic on Highway 41 for an hour or so and making it unnecessary we travel any farther for stress. Eileen and I escaped without a scratch. The Buick did not – concluding its earthly responsibilities in a spectacular, albeit self-inflicted Viking funeral.

I cannot adequately express our deep appreciation and heart felt gratitude for the extraordinary efforts extended on our behalf by Cal Fire Engine 4254, Madera County Engine 12, Madera County Sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and total strangers who pitched in to help. We’re so glad we live where we do. Walt Disney was right. It’s a small world after all, especially in Oakhurst.

CHP Officer Chris Lutz was there on the scene helping to sort things out, direct traffic and make us feel safe on Deadwood, and it was CHP Public Information Officer Kaci Lutz who addressed a jam-packed, spellbound audience last Saturday at Denny’s for our March Meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club. We had to squeeze in extra chairs.

When Lt. Jason Daughrity became CHP Commander in Oakhurst in January of last year, a high priority item on his agenda was public outreach. Chris married Kaci after they met serving our country in the military. Lt. Daughrity chose Kaci to head up his community campaign. Both are to be congratulated on having made a brilliant decision.

As I mentioned to Kaci after I saw her address the crowd at Tom Wheeler’s Oakhurst Town Hall Meeting in January, if I was still running a radio group, she could write her own ticket in Sales. Residents of Eastern Madera County are most fortunate. Deciding to serve the public and write tickets for the CHP instead, Kaci is providing us with the services of an extraordinarily talented, highly dedicated professional. Her topic Saturday was “Cool New Things with the CHP!” Democratic Club members would put Kaci at the top of the list. And they’re a tough bunch to please. Trust me.

Kent Byers graduated from Yosemite High in 1981 and has since gone on to a remarkable career producing world class events involving decades of experience, including the presentation of halftime Super Bowl shows, the Golden Gate 50th Anniversary Celebration and Opening Ceremonies for the 1984 Olympic Games.

As Founder and CEO of “Events by Kent” headquartered here in Oakhurst, Kent enjoys a sterling national reputation for his expertise in staging projects big and small for clients such as United Airlines, Sony PlayStation, Nestle USA and the Seagram Company.

And he’s a fabulous Master of Ceremonies, so it was a particular honor working with him Saturday night at the Eighth Annual Yosemite High School “Nite on the Town.”

Yosemite High School Choir Director Christel Biasell and YHS Music Director Francisco Marquez are to be congratulated on staging a truly extraordinary event, as are the 100 students who directly participated, as well as their family and friends.

Paraphrasing The Beatles, although the rain came — no one minded. In fact — at YHS Saturday night — the musical weather was particularly fine.