Archive for May, 2017

“Adios Mis Amigos”

May 28, 2017

Tim_Z_Hernandez

 “The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon…”

Woody Guthrie, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” (Deportee)” (1948)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeCstLTB0EI

Here’s a letter I wrote to Rychard Withers, General Manager of Fresno’s KFCF in late August of 2015:

Dear Rychard:

Last night I was leaving a “Town Hall Meeting” conducted by our regretfully conservative Fifth District Congressman Tom McClintock at the Yosemite Lakes Clubhouse — hidden way in the middle of Nowhere, California in the general vicinity of Coarsegold.

Suffice it to observe, the location was rabble free and safe from any madding crowd, particularly those perceived as dauntingly different. There was substantial audience feedback on “dangerous immigrants”, “Illegal foreigners” and “job stealing freeloaders” with special emphasis on the “Mexican threat” being so courageously outlined by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Cries of spirited affirmation filled the room. Trump! Trump! Trump!

Gasping for sanity as soon as I got in my car to head home with a dazzling, fiery red summer sunset blazing on the horizon, I dialed up 88.1 FM for a breath of fresh air. I was blown away by an explosive version of Woody Guthrie’s “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” (“Deportee”) by ?????. It turns out “La Raza Chronicles” was scheduled in that time slot, except that “Plane Wreck” selection was playing when I tuned in, but was followed by some sort of interview in Spanish joined in progress at the end of the song. In any event, that particular selection after that specific meeting couldn’t have been more perfect.

So — Do you have any idea what happened and who did that version? It featured a powerful Bruce Springsteen-like vocalist and wonderful slide guitar with someone softly speaking Spanish in the background. Maybe it was some sort of magical hallucination. I’ve had stranger things happen.

With best wishes,

Peter Cavanaugh

Executive Committee

Oakhurst Democratic Club

Rychard informed me that this marked an occasion of pure serendipity. It turned out that there was a software glitch in broadcasting “La Raza Chronicles” and the KFCF programming computer had filled the sudden dead air with “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” by Lance Canales and Tim Z. Hernandez as a matter of pure random chance. I don’t believe in coincidence.

Early this year, I discovered Dr. Ruben Casas’ excellent article on “All They Will Call You” in the February issue of Fresno’s “Community Alliance” along with rave reviews of this new book by Mr. Hernandez. It tells a remarkable story with precision and perseverance, presenting a brilliant, experience driven narrative with deeply personal compassion and powerfully persuasive insight.

I immediately tracked down Mr. Hernandez and asked him to visit Oakhurst. He said he would be pleased to do so.

The next monthly meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club will be this Saturday, June 3rd, at Denny’s on Highway 41 with breakfast starting at 8:30 AM and program beginning at 9:30.

Our featured speaker will be Tim Z. Hernandez, author of “All They Will Call You”, a history of the 1948 plane crash in Los Gatos Canyon that killed 28 migrant workers.

Recipient of numerous national book awards, Hernandez is an American writer, poet and performer. Tim was raised in the San Joaquin Valley, the son of migrant farm workers. In his adolescent years he became immersed in school plays and recitation, eventually studying poetry and performance at California State University in Long Beach.

Mr. Hernandez earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Writing and Literature from Naropa University — the first accredited Buddhist institute in the West. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Bennington College in Vermont and is currently an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Texas in El Paso.

His books and research have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Public Radio International and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

The general public is enthusiastically encouraged to attend.

Anne Driscoll of Branches Books & Gifts is celebrating the store’s Fourth Year Anniversary this weekend and has ordered copies of “All They Will Call You” — offering a special 20% discount to those mentioning Mr. Hernandez’ Oakhurst appearance. If you buy one, be sure to have it at the meeting for signing.

See you Saturday. Bring friends. It’s free!

 “This land is your land, this land is my land. 

From California to the New York island.

From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.

This land was made for you and me.”

 Woody Guthrie — “This Land” — (1940)

“Tripping With Trump”

May 21, 2017

Bow

Jared is scared.

Along with being the President’s son-in-law and Ivanka’s marginally honorable husband, Jared “The Kid” Kushner is or may soon be the “subject of interest” referenced late last week in the Washington Post.

Accordingly to the multi-sourced report, a “senior White House adviser close to the President” is under scrutiny in connection with the newly configured probe into certain Russian connections between the Trump organization and Donny’s pal, Putin.

The Kid and Ivanka are together personally worth around $700 million, so whatever Jared might have dared was undoubtedly prompted more by love than money. Overlooking this romantic aside, when Kushner sought top-secret security clearance in becoming his Liar-in-Law’s senior adviser, he was required to list in writing all encounters with senior government officials over the last seven years. This was tantamount to sworn testimony. It says right on FBI Standard Form 86, “Knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.” Whoops. The Kid left a few things out.

In what must have been a temporary burst of amicable amnesia, Kushner neglected to include dozens of dalliances, including a meeting only weeks before with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak (there he is again) and the head of Vnesheconombank, Russia’s state owned bank. That would be yet another Sergey, Sergey N. Gorkov, whose credentials include graduation with honors from Russia’s top spy school, Moscow’s Andropov Institute. It is said to achieve distinction at The Institute, one must learn to disappear in an empty room. Impressive.

Kushner’s assumedly apoplectic attorneys have since referenced these omissions as being “inadvertent” – brought about by a “premature submission.” There are certain things with which one must learn to take more time.

Whether or not Jared ever cared to update his data, there he was as usual — right down front in Riyadh at the beginning of Trump’s widely heralded first big trip overseas, dripping in golden opulence and staggering splendor in the court of King Salamander. Yes, things kicked off in Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca, Mohammed and 15 of the 19 terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11. This Memorial Day Weekend, we should not forget. Never.

Trump presented an amazingly subdued address to the assembled Muslim leaders, more than a few being despotic dictators, but what’s gruesome to some may be unrestrained guidance to others – surely nothing that forbids friendship.  This “Donald on Downers” was much more laid back than I’ve ever seen – appearing more embalmed than emboldened. Not a bad look.

While being lavishly entertained like the monarch he seeks to be, Trump was joined by his Secretary of Commerce, 79 year-old Wilbur Ross, Jr., prancing about like Flopsy and Mopsy during an official Saudi victory dance, ceremonial swords held high or, in Wilbur’s case, about halfway up. Speaking of which, Wilbur was there with his third wife, the blond and beautiful Hillary (ironic, eh?) Ross. Mrs. Ross III, is said to be a “fixture of Washington and Palm Beach” and a “Power Society Hostess.”

Wilbur is worth several billion bucks, much of which he earned investing in corporate takeovers costing thousands of American workers their jobs, staging career executions on cue – carving up assets and bleeding pension funds to the last penny. Wilbur offers a prime example of vulture capitalism at its worst — awful, but lawful. And our current Secretary of Commerce was only two short years ago Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus — generally recognized as being primarily created to launder dark Russian money with deep ties to Vlad the Bad. It is heavily rumored that, in many ways, as Vice-Chairman of the Bank, Ross reported directly to Putin.

There’s one thing certain about the parties in Saudi.  Everyone there had big money. Lots of it. Lots. That brings me to Netflix.

 ‘Get Me Roger Stone” just came on line for streaming. Watch it more than once. It pretty much explains everything we are experiencing in the hallucinogenic-like, mind-mauling horror of our 45th President as we continue tripping with Trump.

Accordingly to the Washington Times, Stone recently admitted that he has been in private communications with Russian-connected hackers into Democratic National Headquarters. Stone also boasts of having a “back channel” to Julian Assange — Wiki-leaker extraordinaire.

Roger Stone goes back to Goldwater. He is a colorful cockroach of a character – delightfully diabolical. You can’t help but marvel at his manipulative genius, while sadly recalling the immortal words of P.T. Barnum, “You will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

Die-hard Trump fans?

You’ve been played.

 

 

 

 

“Downward Donald”

May 14, 2017

Downward

Allegiance is shifting.

Self-survival requires nothing less.

Tipping point reached, balance lost, we now witness rapid acceleration of a plunging decline to eventual abandonment as former Trump supporters, shocked and silenced by behavior as bewildering as his broken promises, firmly and finally withdraw open endorsement.

NBC’s “Face the Nation” resounded Sunday with honest Republican reevaluation.

“A Presidency without guardrails.”

 “Richard Nixon on steroids.”

 “This guy scares me.”

 Not much time is left for those who wish to remain on the right side of history.

Consider the astounding enormity of Drumpf’s (original German spelling of Trump’s family name) latest miscalculation in foolishly fantasizing that Democrats would delight in the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Parenthetically, HBO’s John Oliver defines the word “Drumpf” as meaning either “a serial liar” or “the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy store.”

I just read that. It’s too good to leave out.

While many Democrats do believe Comey’s handling of the Hillary email probe was less than stellar (including Mrs. Clinton) – virtually everyone still agrees that Comey nevertheless was and remained valiantly virtuous by almost every other measure during his long and dedicated years of government service. For such extended devotion to honor and duty he was abruptly dismissed without fair warning or the slightest pretense of proper protocol – ignominiously fired before millions on cable TV.

Effortlessly tossing some of his closest surrogates (including Poodle Pence) under the Lester Holt “NBC Nightly News” bus that following day in a live interview and introducing a brand new set of alternate facts in the process, President Pigeon kept insisting that he personally was not being investigated. That came down as item #1. He even made up some fresh fibs — straight from the oven steaming hot. Sniff the snit. Everyone else? The campaign? Those Russian guys taking pictures in the Oval office? Who knows?

After every new “worst week” comes another.

Now he’s about to represent us in his first overseas mission since being inaugurated. Saudi Arabia. Israel. The Vatican. Then comes the NATO Summit in Brussels followed by a G7 Meeting in Sicily. What can possibly go wrong? Everything.

Horrid organizer. Pathetic planner. Destructive delegator. Move over, Miley. Donald J. Trump is the ultimate wrecking ball. It’s quite conceivable he can unite the world by making everyone on the planet hate us all at once. But it won’t be his fault. Nothing bad ever is.

Donald feels his good things include Pee Wee.

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the 3rd, whose middle name may soon disappear in the middle of the night along with the rest of him, didn’t tell the truth on January 10th when he told Senate peers under oath he hadn’t meet with any recent Russians.

Oh, wait! That “Sergey Kislyak?” Him? Isn’t he a tailor or something? Sessions later allowed that he had met with the Russian Ambassador twice in 2016, but not as part of the Trump campaign. And Pee Wee didn’t buy any suits.

To alleviate any consequential concerns about his lasting love of law and order, Jefferson the Third has just ordered that federal prosecutors should “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in drug cases, even when that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing. This would bring back pre-Obama era incarceration policies that led to the United States – representing 5% of the globe’s population, housing 25% of its prisoners.

Mandatory sentencing for drug users has been controversial of late with significant bipartisan support building for review and revision.

Many reflective Republicans now oppose the concept as proven to be unfair, ineffective and far too costly. Not Sessions. Pee Wee likes the P.R. – characteristically treasuring form over substance.

 Most of Trump’s cabinet appointees are moving in predictable directions, even though much of his new administration is alarmingly understaffed, particularly the State Department. That should work out well on this weekend’s trip.

Obstruction of justice was one of the first charges outlined in the proposed impeachment of Richard M. Nixon on July 27, 1974. When the investigated (Donald) dismisses his primary investigator (James), this would seem to offer a classic definition of such obstruction.

Harvard Law Professor and leading constitutional authority Lawrence Tribe now categorically states, “Trump’s impeachment is an imperative.”

Professor Tribe adds, “Impeachable offenses could theoretically have been charged from the outset of this presidency. Political reality made impeachment seem premature. No longer. To wait for the results of multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation’s fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader.”

 Preach impeach.

 Tom McClintock — (916) 786-5560 or (202) 225-2511

They count every call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Zombie Trumpcare”

May 7, 2017

night-of-the-walking-dead-movie-poster-1977-1020227960

Horror stalks the land.

Spawned once again in the darkest part of night, the monster rose anew. Like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.”

Its putrid essence wafting olfactory insult as it passes, the vile villain now slithers toward The Senate on a mission to maim millions – hacking healthcare to reward the rich with a trillion dollar tax cut over the next ten years. The have-it-alls get more. It’s the least we can do for our betters.

Frankensteins by the dozen celebrated their vivisection resurrection with beer by the barrel on White House steps, led by President Pretense and his precious Prince Pence. Pass the pretzels, Poodle.

Victory was staggering. 216 votes were needed for success. 217 were scored. It was another historic, off the charts, big league landslide. Really special. Tremendous. Incredible.

Here’s a quick rundown.

Most Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act of 2010 because someone named it “Obamacare” and that somehow stuck. Even President Obama started calling it “Obamacare.” Year after year, survey upon survey has conclusively proven beyond any doubt that a significant majority of Americans like what’s in ACA when you break it down. That’s become especially true these last few months. Check out those Town Hall Meetings from coast to coast if you can get in the door anywhere.

The cost of medical coverage has been increasing by leaps and bounds in our lifetime DESPITE “Obamacare”, not BECAUSE of it. This is statistically indisputable. Ask anyone in the insurance business, not Donald J. “Truth Trasher” Trump. The brakes were hit in 2014 when the provisions of the Act were fully in place.

Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan) came up with a scheme at the last minute adding eight billion dollars to the beast for theoretical assistance to those negatively impacted by having a “pre-existing condition” — such as – gender. Anyone shoved head first into a high-risk pool might be able to draw upon this fund for assistance. According to every reasonable estimate, there’s enough there to take you from being ten feet underwater in the pool to being only eight feet beneath the surface. But there’s less pressure, assuming you can hold your breath long enough to tell the difference. Glub – Glub. Gulp. Gone.

Taking cowardly cover from this cynical last minute cosmetic, enough earlier wobblers came on board to breath life into the creature. This included our own Tom McClintock.

Tom!

How can you kiss your wife with those lips?

Rachel Maddow put our guy under a bright MSNBC spotlight after the vote came down, prominently featuring several area constituents loudly labeling him, “Tom McTRUMP.” As of last count, four (4) ladies have lined up to run against McTrump next year, recent Democratic contender Dr. Bob Derlet having decided to sit this one out. You’ll have the chance to meet them all in the near future. They have lots to say.

Zombie Trumpcare elevates and celebrates the worst instincts of self-serving economic privilege. It momentarily pacifies the young, outrageously services the wealthy and permanently injures the old, sick and poor. Zombie Trumpcare is the Sermon on the Mount upside down. Zombie Trumpcare sucks.

Although he and I share little concurrence in specific political outlook, I have always admired conservative pundit George Will for his diligent pursuit of truth, intellectual prowess and mastery of language. And I also love baseball, as does George.

Internalizing the accidental election of Trump far past the point of such silly concepts as “mild nausea” (which must be somewhat akin to “partial pregnancy”) – I find myself constantly struggling each week to find adequate words to express my ever increasing discomfort. Pejoratives offer nothing more than a partial panacea at best and overt overkill at worst.

A single column by George Will was the talk of Washington last week. I found it brilliantly inspirational and utterly fascinating. I close this column with his words.

It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination, but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence. The dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something. It is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man…”

 Tom?