Archive for March, 2017

“Fool!”

March 26, 2017

 Donald-Trump-the-Sloth--109362

“I guess I’m here, what? 64 days? I never said, “Repeal and replace Obamacare” You’ve all heard my speeches. I never said, “repeal it and replace it within 64 days.” — President Donald J. Trump late Friday afternoon after “Trumpcare” was pronounced D.O.A. and laid to rest by imperial decree.

Trump was at last truthful in this fumbling, stumbling, bumbling utterance. He never did use those exact words. What he said instead over and over again dozens of times was that “repeal and replace Obamacare“ would be virtually immediate (on his “first day in office”) and easy (“no problem for me”) and universally beneficial without exception (“giving everyone big league coverage in every state at much lower premium cost.”)

The walls are tumbling down.

Recent days have revealed cascading consequences of a White House in full disarray, displaying chronic chaos, staggering ineptitude and rampant presidential paranoia at seemingly every turn.

Begorrah! Hope you had your bets down March 17th! We were treated to a world class Trifecta during Trump’s Saint Patrick’s Day meeting with visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel when he managed to insult three major global powers all at once in the same Press Conference.

Claiming Germany owes the U.S. money for NATO, hallucinating England wiretapped Trump for Obama and castigating a trade-cheating China, pompous posturing hit a new milestone in disingenuous diplomacy.

FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers have now testified under oath that no proof exists to support Trump’s claim that he had been “wiretapped” in any way by President Obama. Comey has also publicly announced that the Bureau IS currently investigating the possibility of criminal connections between Russian operatives and members of the Trump team.

On the crippled legislative front, “Trumpcare” had proposed to work its worst on the elderly, sick and poor as an $880 million dollar cut to Medicare over ten years would have produced a virtually equal tax reduction targeted to the super rich.

In late hours of mindless panic the night before failure was final, Trump agreed it might be a fine idea to win ultra conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus to his increasingly more caustic campaign by proposing the option of doing away with specific “essential elements” guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. These would include such things as ambulatory patient and emergency services, basic hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services laboratory work, chronic disease management and pediatric offerings.

Undoubtedly, all of this would deliver cheaper insurance (“lower premiums”), but with almost nothing of meaningful consequence properly covered, accompanied by sky-high deductibles.

For spurning this generous Trumpian offer of legislative leniency and not “giving him a win” (Donald’s single thought clearly expressed in anemic efforts at persuasive dialogue according to all testimony) members of the House Freedom Caucus experienced heavy incoming tweet fire early Sunday as an enraged chief executive twittered away, blaming the entire right wing of his party for “saving Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.” This sentiment was immediately echoed on Sunday morning talk shows by White House Chief-of-Staff and Guy With Space Alien Name, Reince Priebus.

With Trumpcare dead as Donald’s diet, it seems “tax cuts” are next on the agenda for financial wheeling and dealing, dicing and slicing, cutting and gutting.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s initial proposals for the 2018 fiscal year are obscene with massive increases in military expenditures, outrageous slashing of social spending and nothing at all for climate change — an item Mulvaney has relegated to mythological status.

But Trump still has his troops.

“Lock her up!” yet rings from the rafters.

In November absence at the polls of an educated electorate — our slowest learners often select their fastest talkers.

Batten down the hatches. It’s full greed ahead.

But will The E.P.A. Go Away? Can Spicer Be Nicer? Dump Trump?

This Saturday, April First, the Oakhurst Democratic Club presents: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” — An April Fools’ Day 2017 Special — An Uncensored Open Discussion – A Free-For-All Forum in which everyone who wishes to speak about anything gets a chance to talk.

It all happens at Denny’s on Highway 41 with breakfast served at 8:30 AM and our presentation beginning at 9:30.

The public is cordially encouraged to attend regardless of party affiliation.

Coming in May, the Oakhurst Democratic Club will feature, “Today’s ACLU” — in June, Award Winning Author Tim Hernandez and “All They Will Call You” and in August, KVPR Director of Program Content, Joe Moore and KVPR President & General Manager Mariam Stepanian discussing, “Valley Public Radio and Freedom of The Press.”

 It’s time to leave the sidelines!

 

 

“Chuck Berry” (1926 – 2017)

March 19, 2017

Chuck Berry 352635
 

The following are excerpts from “Local DJ” – an extended memoir recalling many decades in Rock & Roll Radio.

 “Chuck Berry played Flint in early fall of 1967, appearing with the Beach Boys. After the performance, a few of us took him to The Stardust Lounge – a major station hang out. I got to carry Chuck’s guitar case and diligently guard it when he jumped on stage to join a few local musicians play his songs.

Mr. Berry was a soft-spoken gentleman, but had prison-hardened eyes from time served and bitter experiences with authorities of the late ‘50’s who hated “that music.” Certain suspicions and cynicisms remained. Chuck Berry had been horribly mistreated more than once. It showed. Many stars carry scars.

 In January of 1971, I received a call from a Detroit booking agent informing me that Chuck was spending several weeks in Lansing, recording a new album with a young Michigan group called “The Woolies.” They had constructed a makeshift recording studio in a garage annex next to their house.

After his incredible success in the mid to late ’50s and a period of incarceration brought about more by his choice of skin complexion and unparalleled popularity among white youth than overt acts of felonious illegality, Mr. Berry had fallen on marginal times. He had never been the primary beneficiary of his earlier triumphs. As a black artist, he was not unique in this distinction, but his experience was singular in terms of magnitude.

As a consequence, Chuck Berry had become a lone rider on the Rock & Roll Range. He was his own manager now and all he carried on the road was a guitar. His contract specified simple amplifier requirements and local support musicians of acceptable ability.

Whenever Berry was booked in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio — The Woolies were his first choice. Promoters were instructed accordingly. Chuck was also without a recording contract. When The Woolies offered him use of their humble facilities at extremely favorable terms, Mr. Berry was most pleased. He had set aside much of January for the project.

Chuck had also reflected upon the possibility of generating a few dollars in the immediate vicinity during his stay in Lansing. Learning of his proximity, I agreed instantly to promote a Flint appearance.

Backstage we had gone through a ritual prior to performance — standard when dealing with Chuck Berry. He had carefully reviewed the ticket count and then audited the money given him. He had gone into percentage and was thus entitled to $1,770.00 for the night. This amount was presented in cash, mainly in one and five dollar bills. Mr. Berry carefully counted each and every dollar. It took approximately ten minutes. Satisfied that all was in order, a giant, tooth-filled grin crossed the showman’s face. With the word “mellow”, he signified his satisfaction. One would not wish to see Chuck Berry frown.

During one of several encores, he introduced a novelty tune about a little boy and his bell. Crowd participation was requested and given. A studio version performed with The Woolies was later discarded in favor of a live recording made during an appearance the following winter at the Lanchester Polytechnic College Arts Festival in Coventry, England. The BBC resisted severe pressure to ban the song after being accused of being “a vehicle for mass child molestation” by self-styled protector of British morals, Mary Whitehouse. “My Ding-A-Ling” sold over two million copies around the world.

September First of 1971 was our last major outdoor concert of the season at Sherwood Forest. Chuck Berry closed the show with his famous “Duck Walk”. Later, we proceeded to a friend’s house with several close acquaintances and partied through the night. I just listened to his stories. We were on the air over WTAC at 5 AM as he co-hosted the first hour. He made it to the Flint airport for a 6:20 flight.”

Working with Chuck Berry was a major highlight of my life, both professionally and personally.

He was kind enough to allow me to use his lyrics without charge from “Roll Over Beethoven” in a book I was writing.

I have his permission signed by attorney on file here in my office, allowing me to start my life story with Chuck Berry’s own words:

“I’m gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my “Local DJ.”

It’s a jumpin’ little record I want my jockey to play.”

 Chuck Berry – (1956)

Long live Rock & Roll!

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Local DJ---Front Cover

 

 

“The View from Killarney”

March 12, 2017

With Saint Patrick’s Day but a day away, our friend John O’Mahony, Editor of “Killarney Today” brings us a 2017 update – as we now tarry in today’s County Kerry.

Killarney-Amazing

“The View from Killarney”

There is a seldom a stampede to the doors of busy newsrooms when the shout goes up for volunteers to cover events, as they happen, at monthly meetings of Kerry County Council, the 33-member local authority for the county of Kerry.

Few opportunities are featured on the dour and mundane but lengthy agendas that might provide opportunity for an eventual Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Politically, the bill of fair is more side street café table d’hôte than Michelin star a la carte: Potholes that need filling, bends that need straightening, flower beds that need watering, grass that needs trimming and traffic lights that need fixing.

Occasionally, excitement can reach fever pitch when, for example, a row over the location for a new cemetery is being discussed, offering the possibility of a ‘Kerry’s grave dilemma’ headline.

But along comes big Donald Trump and, suddenly, heads pop up and the mere possibility of a mention of America’s new first citizen at a council meeting had reporters, some seasoned, many novice, frantically competing for a seat on the press bench before the ‘No room at the Inn’ sign was exhibited for the first time in a long time.

There was an occasion when a President in Washington and a Pope in Rome competed for attention as any wall space became available in family homes in the Emerald Isle. JFK and Pope Paul VI were the pin-ups of the day. Now, in the County of Kerry at least, President Trump and Pope Francis are back in big demand when it comes to topping the invitation list to visit a rapidly changed Mother Ireland.

It all started with a proposal from Councillor Bobby O’Connell – a member of the governing Fine Gael party – who suggested Pope Francis be issued with an official invitation to Kerry where, despite an alarming fall-off in the numbers attending Mass, there should still be sufficient support to fill a football field with devout, faithful followers.

But, not to be outdone, Councillor Tom McEllistrim, a member of main opposition party, Fianna Fail, suggested that an invitation should also be sent to The Donald, who would surely enjoy playing around – sorry, playing a round – on one of the fabulous local golf courses.

Councillor McEllistrim said he believed such a visit would do for Kerry what John F. Kennedy’s visit did for New Ross, what Ronald Regan did for Ballyporeen and what Barrack Obama’s visit to Moneygall did for the County Offaly town.

He insisted: “The publicity it would get would put Kerry on the map and also from a tourism point of view, it would enhance our tourist numbers.”

Councillor McEllistrim added: “The priority is Kerry and it’s from a Kerry perspective I’m putting down the motion and I think it would be good for business, jobs and tourism and it would also be good for the undocumented Irish in America.”

 But the Trump invitation left some elected members horrified and bamboozled and while many maintained a dignified silence – not forgetting that Kerry is a tourism county that relies on American visitors – at least one voiced vehement opposition, citing Trump’s attitude to women as disgraceful.

County Councillor eventually, albeit reluctantly, backed a proposal to invite Trump to Kerry, but added an amendment calling for correct protocol to be adhered to and insisted the matter should first be referred to the new U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

The amendment also asked that the council first ascertained Mr. Trump’s policy towards the undocumented Irish – an emotive matter that affects thousands of families in this country.

Mayor of Kerry, Michael O’Shea – who is currently on an official visit to New York and Boston for St Patrick’s Day – raised a chuckle when he observed: “Between Donald Trump and the Pope, we are going to have our hands full.”

 Incidentally, one of President Trump’s senior management team in his hotel chain just happens to be from Ireland’s premier tourist town of Killarney. He is on record as saying that if his boss does lay his considerable head on a Kerry pillow, it will be after a feed of bacon and cabbage cooked by his mother in Kerry.

John O’Mahony

Editor – “Kerry Today”

John O'Mahoney

http://www.killarneytoday.com/

“Fire Trump”

March 5, 2017

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Enough!

I suggest Donald J. Trump’s insane assertion that Barack Obama personally authorized electronic surveillance of Trump headquarters prior to the November election offers final proof of his mental imbalance, emotional instability, and incapability to serve. Moreover, his continuation in office presents an immediate clear and present danger to our national security and continued existence as a free state.

We need not wait four more years.

25th Amendment to the Constitution – Section Four

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The Amendment goes on to provide further mechanics in the process of Presidential removal, ultimately concluding with finalization by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate.

I trust that enough of our Republican brethren in Congress will soon place patriotism over party, particularly since true conservative goals under a Pence administration could be more realistically reached without a maniac in charge.

Let’s face it. Donald J. Trump has proven himself time and time again utterly unworthy of trust.

And it’s time for forgetting — “Extreme Vetting.”

This hysterical phrase has never meant anything of merit other than to those stuck on stupid.

As an extensive “60 Minutes” segment recently outlined, Middle East refugees are already formally “vetted” by various governmental agencies for up to two or more years before being conditionally approved. More the 99% of all applicants fail to make the cut.

Included in the process are United Nations screenings, a State Department examination, several background checks, three levels of fingerprint analysis, an extensive interview by Homeland Security, cultural orientation and a multi-agency security review. The whole process is as tight as a tick on tequila.

Then came official word from Homeland Security, the State Department, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Executive U.S. Citizenship and Terrorist Service that our Republican President’s aborted attempt to ban travel from certain “Muslim States” was dangerously dumb, as would be any attempt to resuscitate it. Not admitting error has become a bullheaded bulkhead rapidly emerging as a Trump hallmark.

This combined report by multiple agencies concluded: “We access that most foreign born US based violent extremists are likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”

 Bottom line? Homeland Security believes Trump’s court-condemned, world reproved, temporarily abandoned ban would have accomplished nothing other than fueling radicalization, making America much less safe. Impatient to make an impressive macho move only days in office, Trump couldn’t help but just rush in.

Speaking of Russians, the number of Trump-connected individuals who made meaningful contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was inaugurated jumped from zero to five last week, but not one remembers what might have been discussed in an amazing demonstration of virtually total amnesia, protectively collective as well as politically convenient.

Prior to his breathtaking Saturday backslide, last week also witnessed a temporarily dialed-down-Donald, addressing Congress Tuesday night and sticking to his teleprompter like that thing hanging on his head, offering plenty of platitudes, but sparse on specifics.

Many raved about his trimmed tone, briefly thankful that our new occupant of the now Awful Office had successfully completed what must have been an exhausting exercise holding back characteristically torrid twitters, tasty taunts and tantrum tweets. Even unfriendly fact checkers later reluctantly admitted that he only blatantly lied outright no more than several dozen times in his speech.

Alas, our new Mr. Nice lasted less the life span of a Mayfly – approximately 24 hours.

Hopefully, Trump’s tenure in office will shortly offer relatively similar brevity.

He’s gone over the edge.

Let’s not follow.

Instead, let’s get ready for our annual Saint Patrick’s Day column next week with John O’ Mahony — Editor of “Killarney Today” – offering Sierra Star readers an exclusive Irish perspective on today’s America from a bar five thousand miles afar.

First round’s on me.