“President Putin”

December 11, 2016

wladimir-putin

“There are no nations. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.” –

Paddy Chayefsky – “Network” (1976)

“You’d better watch out” – Santa Claus (2016)

Barring unlikely divine intervention, it seems as though we may fall under the spell of a new President on January 20th.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born October 7, 1952 in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he obtained his law degree in 1975. Rising through the ranks of the KGB as a foreign intelligence officer, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1991 to enter politics. He became acting Russian President on December 31, 1999 upon the resignation of Boris Yeltsen. He has functionally run things in Russia ever since.

In 2007 Vladimir was chosen as Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” and was #1 on the Time’s “Most Influential People List” in 2013, 2014 and 2015, this last also being the year he was ranked first on Forbes Magazine’s “List of the World’s Most Powerful People.”

No wonder Donald John Trump, 2016’s Time’s “Person of the Year”, trembles with eager anticipation, swooning at the very thought of sharing the world stage with such a manly winner of enviable and desirable global distinction.

Guess what? Here’s breaking news of critical importance. Putin’s not a communist. The old socialistic Soviet Union was left on the trash heap of history long ago. The government of Russia has become an “oligarchy.” In this instance that simply means — rule by the rich.

Reviewing Trump’s announced cabinet choices to date, it appears “little guys” are in the cross hairs of the oncoming administration. Not only will blue collar Trump supporters soon discover cynical promises to “bring back jobs” and “invest a trillion dollars in infrastructure” were bold faced, undeliverable lies, but small businesses will similarly learn they’re not important enough to hang with the big boys. Please. Even today small business owners rarely get best parking spaces at the Country Club.

There seems to a pattern forming. According to NBC News, the personal wealth of combined key nominations so far in the emerging Trump government tops $14 billion dollars – more than 30 times greater than the crew under our most recent Republican President, George W. Bush.

It’s a burgeoning billion-dollar bullpen of pending appointees radiating major corporate interests.

Billionaire Betsy DeVos will be Trump’s new Secretary of Education. DeVos advocates schools of choice and is convinced “traditional public schools are failing” — primarily due to teacher’s unions.

Billionaire Linda McMahon is due to head up the Small Business Administrator. Linda and hubby, Vince, founded World Wrestling Entertainment — where faking means everything. This resonates like a tuning fork with Trump. He threw Vince to the ground in WrestleMania 2007.

Billionaire Wilbur Ross is waiting to become Commerce Secretary. Ross is best known as owner of West Virginia’s Sago Mine. It was there a dozen miners lost their lives in a 2006 explosion.

Billionaire Todd Ricketts will be Ross’s Deputy Commerce Secretary.

Then we have a bunch of mere multi-millionaires such as Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Junior and Hardy’s Restaurants. Andy is set to become Labor Secretary. He doesn’t believe in a minimum wage or universal health care and can’t wait for technology to replace human workers.

There’s Steve Mnuchin, former investment banker and hedge fund investor. He’s earmarked for Secretary of the Treasury. Mnuchin made much of his fortune foreclosing on thousands of homes while CEO of OneWestBank.

Elaine Chao is incoming Secretary of Transportation. Elaine’s worth around $22 million and it’s a good thing there’s a serious breadwinner in the family. Elaine’s husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, only hauls in a quarter of a million buck annually, but Mitch did come in handy back in September when he killed the idea of conducting an open investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Other multi-millionaires waiting in the wings for major jobs are radical right hero Steve Bannon (Chief Advisor), Senator Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Tom Price (Health and Human Services) and Dr. Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development).

ExxonMobil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State? Tillerson was accorded singular honors in 2012 when he received Russia’s coveted “Order of Friendship” medal – personally awarded by a very special friend — President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

Last Saturday a new Russian/Islamic agreement endorsed by Putin will place strict limits on oil production in both Russia and OPEC countries to drive up prices.

Better head for a pump and fill it up fast.

Our new President means nothing but big business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hamilton”

December 2, 2016

hamilton-v-trump

When Donald Trump said that President Obama destroyed jobs — he was lying. The 4.6% national unemployment rate reported last Friday (12/2/16) is the lowest recorded in the last nine years.

When the Trumpster claimed that Obama opened our borders to immigration without consequence — he was lying. Federal prosecutors have pursued more undocumented immigrants in the last eight years than under the previous two administrations combined.

When Trumpty Dumpty bellowed that Obama ruined the economy – he was lying. America became great again under Barack Hussein Obama.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was a feeble 7,949 points when President Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. Last week it soared to new heights at 19,195, having grown 241.47% during his tenure. That’s an average annual increase exceeding 30 percent.

Compare this with the last eight years under a Republican President (George “Dubya”) when the market fell from 10,587 in January of 2001 to the 7,949 he left for his successor. Such was the legacy of Wall Street rule, woeful wars and supply side stupidity – these horrors now preparing for a rousing comeback.

Donald Trump’s latest frenetic tweets charged that two million “illegal” votes were cast in the recent election with California declared a primary culprit, suggested that flag burners spend a year in jail and lose their citizenship, and insisted that he won a “mandate” by a “landslide” despite the fact he lost the final national count by over two and a half million votes.

Let’s face it. Can there be any doubt in the mind of any rational person that our so called “President-elect” is not mentally unbalanced?

As a clear and present danger to our collective safety and national security, there is no way he should be allowed to assume any public office — let alone the highest in the land.

Hamilton may offer remedy.

“Hamilton” is one of the most successful theatrical presentations in the history of Broadway. The rap musical is pretty much sold-out through the end of next year at an average ticket price exceeding a thousand bucks a seat. It was “Hamilton” for which Mike “Poodle” Pence was sitting way down front when the cast politely expressed hope that the new administration would represent ALL Americans and it was “Hamilton” that Trump subsequently twinkingly twittered as being “overrated” with a “disgraceful” cast.

The real Alexander Hamilton, upon whose life the production is based, now strikes back from the grave.

It was Hamilton who authored much of the U. S. Constitution, particular designing The Electoral College as one final safeguard against unintended folly and popular whims – evaluating the fitness of candidates offered and casting votes accordingly.

Hamilton provides specific language toward this end in his Federalist Paper Number 68: “Talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State. But it will require a different kind of merit to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union.”

 With the wisdom of our founding fathers and focus on the future, Alexander Hamilton saw Trump coming!

Other than minor exceptions, those chosen as electors are NOT bound to vote for a specific candidate on December 19th, the designated date established by law, even though theoretically pledged to do so. If only 37 electors out of the 306 currently labeled as Trump supporters fail to vote for the Cheetos Chiseler, he’s through.

If this miracle should appear before our wondering eyes in perfect sync with the Christmas season, a lot of wild things could happen.

Although Hillary Clinton now leads Trump by two percent or so in final tabulations — ironically where she was actually placing in most advance polls – there’s no guarantee she would gain The White House. A final determination might even wind up in the House of Representatives with some sort of “Grand Compromise” as it did back in 1877 when Rutherford B. Hayes became our 19th President.

I’d take a fine true Republican over Trump any day of the week and twice on March 17th.

Although prematurely so designated by a media he despises, Donald J. Trump will not officially be “President-elect” until so chosen by The Electoral Collage.

Such ultimate honor would be crushingly dishonored until the end of time by his horrid selection.

Oremus et sperabunt.

Let’s hope and  pray.

 

 

“Bamboozlement”

November 27, 2016

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Happy December!

Our operative word for this month of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mawlid un Nabi (Muhammad’s Birthday), the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve is — “Bamboozlement”. As Oliver Hardy might say, “That’s what gotten us into this fine mess!” Who’s Oliver Hardy? Ask your grandparents. Or their grandparents.

Definition of Bamboozle (Merriam-Webster):

(1)  To deceive by underhanded methods: dupe, hoodwink.

(2) To confuse, frustrate or throw off thoroughly and completely.

Love him or hate him, any reasonably objective assessment of Donald Trump’s astounding victory in November concludes that it was due to unparalleled bamboozlement of the highest order, including a stunning realization that the liar was finally triumphant lying about his lying – successfully branding his opponent with such damning designation — even in the lack of any valid supporting evidence.

That’s right.

Benghazi? Emails? The Clinton Foundation?

Conservative talk show commentary to the contrary, there was never anything there upon which to truly hang Hillary or “lock her up”, but there was plenty of unfounded innuendo with which to hatchet her mercilessly. Secretary Clinton’s campaign died of a thousand cuts. This proves anew Adolf Hitler’s infamous observation in “Mein Kampf” that “A big lie must be so colossal that no one would believe someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

 Hitler’s chief Nazi propagandist, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, picked up on the theme. He wrote, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating, people will eventually come to believe it.” Goebbels thoughtfully added, “”The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all its powers to repress dissent.”

 On Monday, November 21st, Donald Trump appeared at a meeting with several dozen media heads and primary network anchors, summoned to a boardroom at Trump Tower in hopes of establishing a more congenial relationship with the press. But Donald detonated, starting the meeting by directly addressing CNN President Jeff Zuker with these words: “I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and CNN is a network of liars!” Then things went way downhill. Trump has made several outright threats to “open up libel laws” and “take the press to court” when elected. Think about it.

It’s become disturbingly easy to discredit Trump by simply quoting his own words. I have also come to believe that Donald J. Trump functions almost exclusively by intuitive impulse, often sacrificing logic and reason in the process.

This is terrifying.

We are about to live under rule by whim. Donald shifts with the wind and appears powerless to do otherwise. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

Yet along with “bamboozlement”, there’s another big word starting to make the rounds. It’s right there in the U.S. Constitution plain as day – “Emolument.”

“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, Prince, or Foreign State.”

 Definition of Emolument (Merriam-Webster):

(1) A return arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites.

(2) Money you receive from working.

Trump has every intention of keeping business interests intact without restriction, stating: “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the President can’t have a conflict of interest.”

Trump’s projects, loans and business deals include such things as hundreds of millions owed to Deutsche Bank in Germany, an institution from which Federal regulators are now seeking a $14 billion dollar fine for issuing toxic loans during the 2008 housing crisis.

Trump companies are also hundreds of millions in debt to the Bank of China, owned by the government of China – a nation directly competing with us for worldwide influence. These are just two highlights from extensive holdings all over the planet.

Will the new Republican Congress provide the consent Constitutionally required for Donald to do as he will? I’m herein asking our newly re-elected Fourth District Representative, Tom McClintock, for his take in this matter. I trust you’ll do likewise.

I also hope I see you this Saturday morning at Denny’s for “Homeless for The Holidays: 2016”. That’s the theme for our December meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club. Mike Rhodes, noted progressive journalist and former editor of Fresno’s “Community Alliance” newspaper, will join us for a discussion of his book, “Dispatches from the War Zone.” We’ll also be reviewing election results and wondering — where do we go from here?

As we – Rock On.

“Still lookin’ for that blue jean, baby queen.

Prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.

See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean.”

 David Essex – “Rock On” (1973)

 

 

 

“Goodbye Medicare”

November 20, 2016

medicare-sign

At the risk of appearing unduly self-aggrandizing, perhaps even petulantly annoying, please allow me to repeat an observation originally expressed on April 2nd, 2015.

“Now – only one man stands in their way. No matter whom you voted for or how much it’s become fashionable to publicly despise his name in certain circles as a sign of fraternal conviviality, without Barack Obama — you can kiss Medicare, as we know it, goodbye.”

 I was writing about how Barack Obama alone could be counted on to block any efforts by a new Republican Congress to gut Medicare.

Obviously, this will no longer be true after January 20, 2017.

Ominously, the writing’s on the wall.

President-Elect Trump is now stating that he is about to “modernize” Medicare with the help of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Ryan’s been trying to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance for several years. It will be based on a voucher system. Everyone will get a certain amount of money from the government to buy the best policies available on a free market, “free” in this instance potentially meaning unregulated – and expensive. If your voucher won’t cover the cost of adequate protection, maybe that serves you right for not setting aside enough retirement money back when you could. It’s really your own fault. Don’t blame the Speaker of the House. He hopes you’ve learned your lesson.

Mr. Ryan will finally enjoy a unified Republican government under Trump’s leadership or lack thereof and has signaled he will rush things along to realize his goal of establishing a “patient-centered health system” – whatever that might be — other than warm and fuzzy words that suggest everything and promise nothing.

But wait. Trump has guaranteed he wouldn’t touch Medicare.

Oops. Looks like the joke’s on us.

The Trump transition team has now gone on record unequivocally stating that the boss should certainly not be taken “literally” for “things he says in public.” Those are just words. Such clarification was presented to representatives of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before Abe’s hastily arranged meeting with Donald last Thursday. Shinzo was trusting that perhaps Tokyo won’t have to built their own nuclear weapons after all. Are there kits for that sort of thing?

They got together at Trump Tower, now informally designated as a new “White House North” – where President Trump apparently will be spending most weekends back in the glitter and gold of his mighty erection — away from the depressing slums of our nation’s capitol city, including a certain decrepit old building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It doesn’t have escalators. Call in the bulldozers.

Melania has already announced that she and Barron won’t be moving to Washington. Unfashionable.

The only horrible thing about New York to Trump & Company is that residents of Manhattan insolently voted for Hillary Clinton over the Trump/Pence ticket 86.4% to 9.9%. That’s not a typo. But that’s why Vice President-Elect Mike “Poodle” Pence shouldn’t have been particularly surprised when he encountered considerable booing Friday night when he sat way down front at the Richard Rogers Theater. He wanted up close enjoyment of the red-hot Broadway hit, “Hamilton”. Poodle got more than he came for.

At the conclusion of the musical, Brandon Victor Dixon (in the major role of Aaron Burr) acknowledged that Pence was in attendance, thanked him for being there and added an appeal to “uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” The audience broke out in applause and cheers. Not the Trumpster.

In yet another dazzling display of tenuous temperament and shrieking insecurities, Trump tweeted from the Tower, “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of “Hamilton”. This should not happen. Apologize!” Sunday morning he upped the ante. “The cast and producers of “Hamilton” which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.”

 Sunday’s thin-skinned twitter fest also took another shot at NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”. Tweeted Trump, “I watched parts of “Saturday Night Live” last night. It is a totally one-sided, biased show – nothing funny at all.”

 Here’s what’s not funny. Donald John Trump has not received any sort of meaningful mandate, nor does he reflect the majority will of the American people. He is President-Elect only due to an antiquated, archaic legal technicality known as The Electoral College, having lost popular support by well over a million and a half votes. His transition team shows every sign of backward motion at blinding speed. We are being shattered.

Here comes the night.

“The long and lonely night” – Van Morrison (1965)

“Free Fall”

November 13, 2016

Donald Trump

It was the greatest political upset in American history.

We are in free fall.

I’m still reeling from the shock. As national returns starting scrawling across the screen, it was like being nailed with a 2′ by 4′ right between my eyes, again and again. Even if I enjoyed that sort of thing, Election Night 2016 wasn’t any fun.

No one knows what Donald J. Trump is going to do, particularly Donald J. Trump. They say a chimp on a computer keyboard, given enough time and random opportunities, will eventually write “Romeo and Juliet” — word for word. So the Trumpster DOES have a chance to make America White Again. I mean Right. I mean Great.

In fact, I have one desperate fantasy. There does seem to be potentially persuasive evidence suggesting that Donald Trump is a savant.

The word savant is derived from the Latin “sapere,” meaning, “to be wise.” “Savant syndrome” is defined as a condition in which a person with a developmental disability, such as autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound capabilities far in access of that which could be considered normal. Savants often exhibit highly functioning behavior combined with obsessive compulsions, simultaneously displaying pronounced deficits in social and language skills. I’m not making this up.

John Pero is my favorite local Tea Party person. He and I were congenially discussing the pending Trump presidency last Thursday night at Tom Wheeler’s Town Hall Meeting. I pointed out to John that I would have preferred Ted Cruz or any other clearly Conservative leader to Trump purely for purposes of predictive clarity. I know where they stand. Trump?

The Donald’s past pronouncements on certain progressive issues sure sound like Bernie Sanders. Rebuilding our crumbing infrastructure? Expanding Social Security? Reforming an economic system that enables billionaires to not pay a penny in federal income tax? Retaining critical aspects of The Affordable Health Care Act? Renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals unfairly balanced against U.S. interests? Ending any further pursuit of a Trans-Pacific Partnership? Count me in.

But then there are such items as lifting restrictions on fossil fuel production, cancelling millions of dollars in payments for U.N. climate change programs, appointing new justices to the Supreme Court pledged to reverse Roe vs. Wade, deporting millions of “illegals”, banning Muslims from our shores, ignoring the plight of Syrian refugees victimized by terrorism, opening the door to Iranian nuclear weapons acquisition, repeatedly offering horrid examples of appropriate adult conduct to impressionable children and so on. Count me out.

Two old friends from Michigan were back in the news right before the election.

Far right Ted Nugent, with whom I worked dozens of times through the ‘60’s and ‘70’s as a rock concert promoter, introduced the Trumpster before a cheering throng of blue collar workers in Grand Rapids on the last night of the campaign. I watched incredulously as Trump wildly promised he would bring the auto industry back from overseas – or wherever — with “big league pay.” The crowd went wild.

Far left Michael Moore, whom I introduced to an unsuspecting public on WTAC’s “Radio Free Flint”, predicted Trump would win way back in August and vaulted to top spot in iTunes sales that same evening with “Trumpland” – a film he tossed together at the last minute. Mike’s been back on all the network talk shows ever since. He says the Democratic Party and Hillary took far too much for granted — believing working class support for Secretary Clinton would be inherently automatic. This turned out to be a fatal miscalculation.

Even FBI Director James Comey’s unforgettable, unforgiveable, blundering, thundering, utterly witless impact on the election would not have proved the fatal tipping point it was — were it not for deep seeds of discontent previously sown and inarticulately addressed.

Descend we now to a future uncertain and unforeseeable.

Consider the first two schizophrenic twitter tweets of our President Elect less than 48 hours after the polls closed as he watched thousands upon thousands of protestors march spontaneously in dozens of cities against his ascension to prominence:

6:19 PM – “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!

3:14 AM – “Love the fact that the small group of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud.”

In the immortal words of the late Jackie Gleason, “Away we go!”

 How optimistic ring the words of The Rolling Stones in their classic anthem with which Trump closed his victory speech early Wednesday morning:

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes — you just might find –you get what you need.”

A trying time has begun.

“Snow On The Water”

November 8, 2016

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 I wish Charlie were here.

 Charlie Speights was one of my oldest and dearest friends for more than half a century. He passed away in June at the age of 88.

 He’s exactly the guy I’d go to for insightful commentary during crazy times such as these, although we did have several occasions to discuss the whole Donald Trump deal before he departed. Charlie couldn’t believe such a thing as Trump was happening. Not in America.

 I first met Charlie in January of 1964 when I arrived in Flint for my 7-Midnight DJ shift on WTAC. He had played trumpet as a young man with a horn back in the late ‘40’s when he was still in his early 20’s, working with such notables with Ray Anthony, Claude Thornhill, and Jimmy Dorsey. After he married and settled down in Flint, Charlie looked for “the next best thing to a real job” — deciding a radio career perfectly fit the bill.

 Charlie was WTAC’s Vice President & General Manager when I arrived on the scene, but was always much more coach than boss. I never heard him raise his voice in anger. He was very active expressing progressive thinking, sharing his perspectives with weekly editorials over WTAC’s powerful signal throughout much of Michigan and surrounding states. When George McGovern visited Flint in 1972 as he ran for President, it was Charlie who introduced Senator McGovern before a cheering crowd of autoworkers – at that time enjoying the enviable distinction of being highest paid factory workers in the history of the world.

When I wanted to introduce “Radio Free Flint” with locally controversial Michael Moore into WTAC’s Sunday morning programming, Charlie not only provided permission, but happily and expertly ran extended interference for us against more conservative elements in the community, particularly General Motors. He left broadcasting in 1974 and headed for Las Vegas, where he paid his union hall dues and returned to show business, spending a number of years back on trumpet, playing behind all sorts of major stars at all the big casinos.

 Charlie is very much on my mind as I write this column early Saturday afternoon. Election 2016 is still three days away, but I’m taking a break and heading down to Palm Desert. There’s a special “Remembrance Celebration of Life” being held in Charlie’s memory on Sunday, put on by his friends at Desert Falls Country Club, where they’ve already installed a permanent commemorative plaque in his honor. He was that rare sort of a guy — earning that kind of lasting respect without even trying. I wouldn’t miss Charlie’s party for all the tea in the Tea Party.

 When this week’s paper is published, November 10th, it will be ten years to the day since Eileen and I arrived in Oakhurst.

 We drove across the country from Michigan to California in a twenty-two-foot Penske Rental Truck containing all of our earthly belongings, including two cats and a cockatiel named Clancy. Every few hours Charlie would call from his condo in Palm Desert as he tracked our journey West with pins on a map. He was glad we were finally moving closer.

 We visited Charlie and his wonderful wife, Toby Meyers Speights, a number of times in subsequent years, including an extended stay with them at Incline Village on Lake Tahoe, where Charlie and Toby had rented a house over the 4th of July Weekend in 2008. Charlie was in his 80th year, but was still running all over the place. I could barely keep up. We bought this cool German Shepherd named “Captain Mike” several beers at a cowboy hang out in Truckee. “Captain Mike” put his great big doggie feet right up on the bar and lapped those suds out of a giant glass ashtray filled to the brim with bubbly Bud Light. It was cool.

 Charlie always said he really didn’t miss radio at all. He felt the whole business and, in fact, much of what seems important in life at any given point is ultimately just “snow on the water.” He always felt everyone should just slow down, relax and enjoy the ride. He’d say, “What, me hurry?”

 There’s no doubt in my mind that “snow on the water” is how Charlie would summarize this last year and a half of national political insanity.

 The phrase is from an Incredible String Band song called “Big Ted”.

 “Big Ted’s dead and gone.

  Gone like snow on the water.

  Goodbye.”

 Election 2016?

 Goodbye.

 More on Charlie?

 https://petercavanaugh.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/charlie/

 

“Life on Pluto”

October 30, 2016

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He unraveled.

Back in the day, folks would say he had a “nervous breakdown.”

Yet it is difficult not characterizing FBI Director James Comey as being other than a self-righteous, supercilious, sanctimonious fool — in plain English — dismissing him as a selfish jerk.

Such designation is seemingly warranted for displaying such a deluded, distorted sense of purist personal integrity at the expense of an overriding national interest in our collective security.

Comey tossed a live grenade into the final days of Election 2016 on Friday in the form of an inexplicably terse, extraordinarily ill advised and possibly illegal announcement that the Bureau had suddenly stumbled upon certain emails that appeared “to be pertinent” to Comey’s testimony under oath before members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

While Comey had agreed to keep the Committee informed of any substantial new developments in the case of Clinton’s emails, it didn’t take much time before it became evident that that Comey, acting alone and against the advice of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other top Justice Department officials, didn’t have any idea what he was declaring — the word “clueless” coming to mind both literally and figuratively. There didn’t seem to be much substance in the “substantial development” after all.

This new possibly “pertinent” material had been found on a laptop computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, husband of Huma Abedin, long time assistant to Hillary Clinton. Weiner is under FBI investigation for prurient activities involving his surname — otherwise defined and immodestly transmitted.

When the ship hit the sand in a megaton media explosion rivaling the discovery of life on Pluto, Comey hurriedly sent out a staff memo that sheepishly confessed, “Given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.” He added, “In the middle of an election cycle, there is a significant risk of being misunderstood.”

Yep. He nailed it there.

Here’s Donald Trump bellowing onstage only moments after word got out: “This is bigger than Watergate!” – to which his characteristically menacing mob, red hats stylishly substituting for the more traditional brown shirts, screamed at the top of their tobacco encrusted lungs, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

 Just down the road, 22nd District Congressman Devin Nunes, in a typical break from reality, told Fox News on Sunday, “I just don’t see Director Comey opening this case back up 11 days before the election unless it is quite serious.” Representative Nunes is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. This thought alone dramatically demonstrates the desirability of electing a Democratic House majority come Tuesday.

 Although I hate being redundant let alone repeat myself, here’s what was observed in this column way back on July 21st:

 “James Comey is the straightest man I’ve ever seen on national TV – the ultimate Boy Scout — as tight as a mouse’s rear stretched over a barrel. He is extraordinarily conscientious, perhaps even perilously proper to extremes. When he scratches an itch, he thinks it’s sex.”

This was written in the context of trying to figure out why Comey had felt compelled to add the word “extremely” to his assessment of Hillary Clinton being “careless” with her email handling, although he also had testified that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t the first Secretary of State to use a private server. Far from it. Such judgment didn’t seem to fit with Comey’s more important bottom line evaluation that Hillary hadn’t done anything remotely approaching criminal behavior, nor had those with whom she worked. He later said this decision wasn’t even a close call. I surmised that “extremely” was unfortunately incorporated into the Director’s presentation in a doomed effort to placate former Republican friends hating Hillary and dedicated to her destruction.

After weeks of being referenced in the alt right press as a moral moron, legal loser and hack for Hillary, Comey panicked at news of the Weiner revelation and yielded to irresponsible self-interest in fear of further infuriating conservative sensitivities.

In detonating his bombshell, James Comey sought to present us with a dutifully delivered exclamation point, but instead produced a divisive, highly prejudicial question mark.

Here is a man thought above reproach falling far below the most minimal standards of dutiful responsibility.

Appropriate resolution? Immediate expression of regret, followed by eventual resignation.

Uncertainty is ubiquitous. Few things are absolute. Blurred lines abound.

Loosen up, Jimmy.

Confidence born of constricted consciousness muddles minds and limits life.

Those who dwell in a black and white world never see rainbows.

“Lady and The Trump”

October 24, 2016

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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.

“Jumpers”

October 16, 2016

devils-harvest

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

th

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.