Two views, a divided country

November 12, 2016

This is an open letter to President-elect Trump. I want you to know that America expects better of you as president than what it saw in the campaign you ran. You are now to be our president, and that brings new responsibilities. I hope you feel the call of history to live up to them.
That history calls on you to remember that America is a wonderfully diverse country. We are Christian and Jewish and Muslim and Hindu and none of the above. We are gay and straight. We are black, brown, white and innumerable combinations. We are young and old, female and male, with and without disabilities, urban and rural, and liberal and conservative. Every one of us is an equal American. Every one of us deserves a voice that our President will hear.
I am gravely concerned about climate change. You campaigned as blissfully unconcerned. As president, you will hear from our military and all our national labs and from NASA (the folks who put a rover on Mars and may know a little bit about real science) how deadly serious this is. Listen to them. There is a grown-up world of people beyond the creepy alt-right and the fossil fuel industry who actually know what they are talking about. You may go to any major university and confirm what they will tell you. You have responsibilities as president. Remember the full-page ad you signed in the New York Times in 2009 calling for strong climate action. “We support your effort,” your ad said to the Obama administration, “to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today. Please don’t postpone the earth. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” The signatories did not include just you, but your children, Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanka. Their future and their reputations are in your hands too.
More than anything else, I want you to know how you have scared people, particularly young women. I can’t tell you how many women and girls I’ve heard from, or heard about from their parents, in the first days after your election. Little girls who cried when they heard you had been elected. Students who wept together, comforted by their teachers. Mothers who cried, and hid their crying from their kids. I heard from friends, family, nieces, college students, mothers and grandmothers, and from old friends reporting about their spouses and daughters. I received a flood of texts and emails. Over and over, they spoke of tears and fear. Over and over they repeated the same words: “scared,” “frightened,” “terrified.” Of you. It has broken my heart to hear so much of this in the last few days, and to try to reassure them that it will somehow be okay. These youngsters are not faking it or making it up. This is heartfelt and widespread. You may not have intended it, but you came across as an ogre to them in this campaign. You frightened them. You frighten them now. This is real. You have a lot of damage to repair.
I don’t need to say what dark impulses you have stirred that Latino and African-American friends recognize. The dog whistle is not just heard by the racists. It is heard loud and clear by people for whom racism is a regular fact of their lives, people who grew up with different expectations and fears in their lives because of that racism, people who heard the Jim Crow stories from their parents and grandparents, people who now have to have “the talk” with their sons. They are Americans, too, and this experience is in their lives, at their hearts.
Finally, please also bear in mind that Secretary Clinton got more votes than you did. Without the Electoral College, she’d be president. If past presidential years are any guide, there were likely more votes cast nationwide for House Democratic candidates than for Republican candidates. In 2012, House Democrats won the national vote by over a million votes. Without REDMAP’s gerrymandering, Speaker Pelosi would have the gavel. It will take a while to know whether more votes were cast for Democratic candidates for the Senate in total than for the Republican candidates, but it’s possible that Democrats got more votes than Republicans across the board in both elected branches of the federal government. Either way, working together is the right thing to do, and will make you successful, not trying to drive a harsh, partisan agenda from a position of having lost the popular vote.
You will find that Democrats love America just as much as you do. We want to work with you. I believe that the role of president of the United States is vastly different from the role of candidate, and that the Donald Trump of the campaign will not succeed as president. The campaign is over, and real responsibilities lie ahead. For all our sakes, I wish you well.

This is another view:

I have not corrected spelling and grammar mistakes.

“My dear wife Janet has allowed me to comment about the election on her site. Unlike most of my family I vote as an Independent, not by party, I vote for the candidate I believe is best. America is governed by its Constitution, and laws created under the Constitution. Barrack O’bama and Hillary Clinton have broken these laws and ignored our Constitution to their benefit. Hillary Clinton is only going to be an extension of the Obama regime. I cannot as a God fearing, law abiding citizen, Patriotic citizen, and Constitutionalist vote for Hillary Lying Clinton.
We as U.S. Citizens are bound to our laws and principals, we must vote for candidates who have and will maintain these principals, Hillary is not that person. She has lied at every turn, the e-mail scandal on her behalf is so full of her lies even she can’t keep track. FBI Director Comey has shown us without any doubts her unlawful actions. Her husband Bill the,” impeached pervert of the White House“, met Atn. General Loretta Lynch on her plane and arranged to let Hillary off the hook. Hillary with the help of her henchman Bill arranged Pay For Play. They have illegally taken money from the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea’s wedding was paid for with Foundation funds. Hillary arranged for Goon squad to disrupt the Trump speeches, this was caught on tape. She has lied about the Benghazi deaths of four men. Her misdeed’s go on and on. Just politics and Republican lies, don’t you believe that, if she is innocent so is the Mafia. If Obama and Lynch were not protecting her she would already have been indicted as any criminal would. The Clinton”s have been in and out of so many scandals, doesn’t this sound the alarm, if it looks like a duck, quakes like a duck, waddles like a duck, it isn’t an honest politician. Trump isn’t perfect, but he is basically honest, what Hillary points to about Trump dishonesty doesn’t even make pee hole in a snow bank.
Simply said I will not vote for a crooked candidate.”

One was written by a United States Senator, the other by my step-father. You can guess which is which.

Today is the last blog I will write for a while, this election has devastated me in a very profound manner. I know a few others who feel the same way and I hope to return to it someday in the future. We have entered what a friend and fellow blogger termed a “dark age” in America and until we can fully live up to the term in the Pledge of Allegiance, “with liberty and justice for all,” I fear the coming months and years will not live up to those lofty ideals. Much like Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who wrote the first piece, I hope a President Trump lives up to the office. But then there are people like my step-father, a product of another time, who has warped views, shaped by Fox “News” and others, who think that Trump will do everything he promised. He won’t.

This country is divided as ever. It cannot survive as long as we talk at each other and not to each other. That, more than anything is why we are where we’re at today.


Edith Keeler Must Die

October 20, 2016

“Jim, Edith Keeler must die.” Spock (Leonard Nimoy) “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

(Mandatory video accompaniment

For the past 16 months and three days, we have seen history bent on its proverbial ear by a loud-mouth vulgar, bully of a man, a man so devoid of facts and knowledge that he revels in it. He’s a braggart, a con man, a pretend rich guy who panders to the worst instincts of America.  Donald Trump, the worst candidate ever in modern political history, has permanently damaged our country to the point where I may be dead before it recovers.

He will lose this election, perhaps by the biggest margin since Reagan beat Mondale. But to him, it won’t matter, because he’ll say it’s rigged and “Crooked Hillary” shouldn’t even be running. He’s already saying it, some of his supporters are talking about a revolution, some say they will kill Mrs. Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, in order to insure neither one becomes President.

“Jim, Edith Keeler must die.”

That episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” is considered to be the best “Star Trek” episode ever.  Written by the legendary science fiction writer Harlan Ellison, the story centers around the changing of history because of one small change. “The Butterfly Effect,” that, if played out, changed the outcome of World War II.  McCoy accidentally injects himself with the wrong drug and goes into a paranoid rage, beaming himself down to a planet barren except for a strange oracle known as the Guardian of Forever. (Years ago, I read the original script and while most made it into the episode, there were a few key elements cut) McCoy passes through the portal into the past and poof! the Enterprise is gone. Kirk and Spock go back in time to attempt to find the doctor and set history straight.

In so doing, they meet a social worker by the name of Edith Keeler (played by a  then-unknown Joan Collins), who runs a homeless mission during the Depression in New York City. They soon, through Spock’s ingenuity, realize that she is their focal point. That somehow Dr. McCoy, by saving her from dying in “some sort of traffic accident” as Spock tells Captain Kirk, changes the course of history, creates a pacifist movement, delaying the United States’ entry into World War II and allowing Germany to develop nuclear weapons and win the war.

Not knowing the exact time table for the pivotal moment to arrive, Kirk and Spock take odd jobs while Miss Keeler continues her work at the mission. She observes them and says “you two don’t belong here,” to which Spock retorts, “where do you think we belong?”

“You, by his side. Where you’ll always be.” And as prescient she looks at Kirk and says, you belong “in another time.” Kirk falls in love with Edith and is torn over love and duty.

McCoy shows up, still feeling the effects of the overdose and proceeds to rest up in the mission, unbeknownst to his shipmates.  McCoy believes its all a hallucination, but “I’ve determined you’re not,” he says to Miss Keeler. She then informs him that her “young man is taking me to a Clark Gable picture tonight.”* McCoy says “a what?”

The next scene, Kirk is escorting her to the show. After saying exactly the same thing about Clark Gable, she inadvertently says “you sound like Doctor McCoy.” Kirk after stopping in his tracks, runs across the street screaming “Spock!!!” McCoy appears and Edith begins to walk across the street, not looking to see an oncoming truck that hits her. Kirk stops McCoy and she dies. “I could have saved her!!!” McCoy says, “Do you know what you did?” To which Spock says, “he knows, Doctor. He knows.” Now, with history back in its proper place they return to the Guardian’s planet and a crestfallen Kirk says “let’s get the hell out of here.”

*Note: DeForrest Kelley, a veteran character actor who appeared in many Western’s in the 20 years prior to “Star Trek,” knew Gable very well.

The past 16 months have felt like Edith Keeler lived.  That somehow history was changed because this bully of a man, Benito Combover with a spray-on tan, was allowed to run over 16 challengers in the Republican primaries, calling Marco Rubio “little Marco,” accusing Ted Cruz’s father of being in on the Kennedy assassination, by mocking Jeb Bush and Carly Fiornia “look at that face. Do you want a face like that for a President?” Saying the Iowa caucuses were “rigged” and the Wisconsin primary.  Bragging that “I could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.”

And this man wants to be President?

I have never heard anything like this before in my life. And that’s just the tip of the dagger he’s thrown at the grand experiment called America. In his acceptance speech at the RNC Convention in Cleveland in July, he said “I alone” can fix America. Really?

I’m not going to run down the list of narcissistic bullshit he’s thrown out there, nor am I going to get into the minutia of all the offensive things he’s said, but last night’s comment “what a nasty woman,” directed at Hillary Clinton “who shouldn’t have even been allowed to run,” took the cake. From the moment he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower, it’s been all about him, not being President.

This man, a shallow, mean, hell-bent-on-revenge for a lifetime of being not taken seriously, the ultimate caricature of a bully, a member, as a friend of mine who knows him (the poor bastard), refers to him as “a member of the ‘lucky sperm club,” wants to blow up Washington and America in the process and he’s going to try and do take it down any way he can.

“Jim, Edith Keeler must die.”

Now, he is talking about not honoring the results of the election. That is not the way it’s done, dammit. Stephen Douglas and Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, Samuel J. Tilden, Al Gore all had legitimate reason’s to contest their elections. Nixon, in 1960, knew that the Chicago vote, which gave Illinois to Kennedy, was littered with dead people voting, still conceded the election. Tilden, in 1876, lost a even more disputed election than Gore did in 2000.

All of these people conceded once the results were settled. Even Gore, who ended up losing the election by fiat on a Supreme Court decision, conceded.  So, in 18 days, when America votes, and Hillary Clinton is elected by a clear majority, will Trump be a gracious loser, or will he be a petulant eight-year old? My guess is the later.

“I could have saved her. Do you know what you just did?”

“He knows, Doctor. He knows.”

Trump’s last stand

October 10, 2016

“Rules? There are no rules in a knife fight.” Harvey Logan (Ted Cassidy, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”).

If last night’s debate debacle didn’t seal the deal, then I have no idea what will. After everything else he’s done, Donald J. Trump, faux billionaire, a total fraud of a business man, con artist and vulgar misogynist with no ideas whatsoever, ignorant of everything but his own ego, went there.

Before the debate, he brought out, like the empty suit that he is, four women, including Paula Jones, who claim to have been victimized by Bill Clinton. It was yet another circus act by the 21st Century version of P.T. Barnum, another way to victimize himself in this “rigged” election. True to Harvey Logan’s quote, in his world, there are no rules.

So, he went there.

We always knew it was going to come down to this. Bill. Not Hillary or policy differences or personality. It was going to always be about William Jefferson Clinton, Forty-Second President of the United States. This is, and always was the plan against Mrs. HRC. When you alienate 60% of the country just by opening your trap about health care, abortion, minorities, religion, immigration and taxes, you have to have a fall-back position. In order to prevent a second Clinton Presidency, you have to dig up the first. It is the opening line of the final act of this endless campaign, by a campaign that will be lucky to get 40% of the vote.

That Bill Clinton was impeached because he got a blow-job from a 21-year-old woman (which had nothing to do with the Oath of Office or the duties of the Presidency) by a Republican Congress hell-bent on destroying him, but instead damaged themselves in the process. This Hail Mary attempt to revive the days of Ken Starr, Whitewater, Linda Tripp, the Professor and Mary-Ann will fail because Donald Trump is the most undeserving, undisciplined, uncouth, unworthy candidate in the history of this country, yet might end up with roughly the same electoral votes as Mitt Romney in 2012 because forty percent of this country can never vote for a Democrat because “freedom” and “guns.” Also, FOX News and Hate Radio.

The facts are that Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wyoming, the Dakota’s, Kansas, Idaho and Alaska, since 1964, have voted for the Republican nominee every election.  The last time a Democrat won a county in Oklahoma was in 1992. Texas last voted for a Democratic nominee in 1976. Conversely, every other state except Minnesota have flipped around since Nixon’s 1972 blow out of George McGovern.

The Republicans knew this was a disaster going in and now they’re running away as fast as they can.  John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, among a growing list, have un-endorsed Trump since Friday.  Even Paul Ryan has stopped defending him and told fellow GOP House members, per the Huffington Post, “on a conference call Monday that they “all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” according to someone on the call. Ryan said he wouldn’t campaign with Trump for the rest of the election, but added that he wouldn’t withdraw his endorsement of the GOP nominee.

“He made clear to members that his decisions are being driven by what is best for his members, not himself,” the source on the call said. “He is willing to endure political pressure to help protect our majority.”

Lovely, just lovely. So, in other words, jump ship, but make sure to remind everyone that we didn’t want him in the first place.

As has been pointed out since the “I can get away with being crude to women because I’m Donald Trump. And you’re not,” audio surfaced on Friday (which brings to mind Jack McCoy’s infamous line “What ‘Special Laws’ for rich people?”) it is too late to get Trump off the ticket and he has no intention of resigning. Good. I hope he stays on for the next 28 days and goes down in flames. This is the worst election in my memory, save maybe 1968, when Nixon tricked his way into office.

Hillary Clinton was never the target. It was always her husband and the revenge of 1998. But the GOP had best heed the words of Confucius (or James Bond, take your pick) “When plotting revenge, it’s best to dig two graves.”

For Your semi-amusement

September 29, 2016

Is it Trump or is it not?

“I was treated very not nice tonight, very badly in fact. Lester Holt, as I predicted, was terrible, a Democrat–I was very proud of myself for calling him a Democrat, even though he says he’s a Republican–he’s a Democrat, trust me, folks, even if he registers some other way. That’s why I say the election is rigged when that can happen. How many African Americans are all of sudden Republican? I mean, c’mon, I have one or two, but not many. The Democrats have brainwashed them into thinking things are good, Kumbaya, whatever–but they’re not good. It’s tough being black in the country. Very tough. Many, many people have told me that. Anyway, Lester kept asking questions about topics that, you know, I don’t know, what was the point? The president was born here, he wasn’t, I don’t care. Make America Great is the only thing on my mind–that’s why I made the hats that way. But notice how she called me ‘Donald’ and I called her ‘Madam Secretary’ or ‘Mrs. Clinton,’ even though I wonder what kind of marriage she has with her husband’s infidelities and other things we don’t know about, which I won’t share because I’m nice, a gentlemen. Anyway, I thought it was totally unfair tonight, totally, and I don’t know if you noticed–I mean, the cameras didn’t show it–but she was drinking water, too. She didn’t look well, I’m being very serious–pale and without color. So, I don’t know about the next debates. I’ll have to think about it before I agree to do them with her. There will have to be major changes if I do, major ones, like significant things that will make them fairer and treat me better–they’ll have to treat me better. I’ll need a guarantee. We’re in a mess in this country, folks, a mess and I don’t have to do this, running, though a lot of people are supporting me–many. A lot. I could make a lot of money–a lot, more than most of you–doing other things. What can she do?”

A measured response:

“What can she do?”

Oh lets see. Is it McAvoy or is it not?

“Run the country. Make sure our civil rights aren’t taken away. Undue “trickle-down,” and other policies that have put us in this mess. Ensure voting rights for everyone. Not make the world terrified of us. We’re not a ‘third-world country,’ Donald. But we treat 80% of our population like it. Since Roger Smith and Ronald Reagan came along, the word ‘Union’ has become a bad word. Ford isn’t shutting down plants to move to Mexico, not one job will be lost. I know, I live in Michigan. And you, yes, Millennials and Gen-X-ers. Yes, you. Who’s ruined Star Trek and Star Wars and still live in your parent’s basement, who wouldn’t know what Aleppo is, let alone Syria, except on your X-Box. You are the worst. Period. Generation. Period. And Donald Trump is the Worst. Candidate. In. The. History. Of. This. Great. Nation. Period. So, when you talk about Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, You’re just showing your ignorance.”

Now those were facetious statement put out by Barry Friedman, columnist at-large for The Tulsa Voice. The response, was done by the blog’s author, in the voice of “Will McAvoy” protrayed by Jeff Daniels on the HBO show, “The Newsroom.”

Now, here’s something from Evan Weiner, awarding winning writer who’s covered Donald Trump for 33 years:

“Here is my take on Trump. He IS a moron. I have dealt with him since 1983. I am of the opinion Fred paid to get him into Wharton. He did get out of Wharton but I am of the opinion whatever grades he got were paid for. He was doing okay until Mark Grossinger Etess was killed in that copter crash along with two other key Trump aides. Which begs the question. As a CEO, how in the hell do you put your three best aides in a helicopter together? As far as Ivana, she was smarter than him but the Plaza debacle, he blamed Ivana for mismanagement when he overpaid for a useless property. There are so many failures, the air shuttle, Alexanders, the USFL, Atlantic City. But what has always got me is that the smarter, richer guys in the USFL actually paid attention except for John Bassett who loaded with drugs to try to get over his cancer challenged him to a fight, it was a good thing Bassett kept his co-owner Burt Reynolds from carrying out John’s wish to punch Donald’s in the face. John was a smart, smart guy. He died right after threatening to rearrange Donald’s face. But my failing as a reporter back then was not finding out why the richer, smarter and more successful guy like Alfred Taubman, Billy Dunavant actually listened to him with the USFL. The real moneyed people have no use for him and dismiss him as an empty suit. I dealt with Taubman, Dunavant and should have asked, instead it was the late Harry Usher who ran the USFL after being really successful at the LA Olympics as the number 2 guy. Harry gave me an earful about Donald. I guess from my view, dealing with Trump with the USFL, with boxing, and as recently as eight years ago with ultimate fighting, I find him amusing, his love of borscht belt comics, but really stupid no matter what he says. Guess we kind of feel that way here in the New York media corp. At Charlie Osgood’s retirement party at the New York Press Club in January, we sat around comparing our Trump stories and how shallow Trump really is. I was once with Marla’s father Stan, they were lovely people actually, and Stan Maples just said to me out of the blue in that Georgia drawl, you know we are in over our heads here and my response to Stan, you certainly are Stan, you certainly are. By the way it was Fred Trump who put the finishing touches to destroying Coney Island tearing up the Steeplechase with scantily clad models taking axes to the ride.”

“And I am the Tsar of all the Russians.”

Rio, Chicago and Reality

August 4, 2016

The Olympics start Friday.  But this isn’t about the Games looming disaster-in-the-making, the venues that aren’t ready, the lack of security or the Zika outbreak. Of course, seven years ago, it was a different story.

Lets take a trip in the Wayback Machine, Sherman, to October 2009 and the International Organization of Criminals, er, I mean the International Olympic Committee’s awarding of the 2016 Games. The vote was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, with four cities bidding for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

The field had been narrowed to four – Madrid, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago – with Tokyo, Chicago and Rio the strongest of the three. Now, lets not kid ourselves here, the IOC is right up there with FIFA as far as transparency goes. The bidding process is more like an alternate universe, Spock-with-a-beard world where anything and everything, especially money, (as we found out with FIFA) goes.

Still, going into the last round of voting, hopes were high the bid would go to Chicago. After all, New York City had put in a strong bid for the 2012 Games, which went to London. In 2005, when the Games went to London, the New York delegation was disappointed but nobody blamed or mocked President Bush for failing to secure the Games.

Flash forward four years and the United States had a new President, Barack Obama, who was from Chicago. Or rather, his critics and skeptics asserted, lived in Chicago, where was he really from?  More on that in a bit.

The IOC, in its modern incarnation, resembles the mob more than an egalitarian sporting organization. Henry Hill and Michael Corleone would feel right at home in this world. The IOC is one of three entities which have “permanent observer” status at the United Nations. The other two are The Vatican and the Palestinian Authority. So, in a way, the IOC sees itself as a country. But a country without any boarders, rules or regulations (or taxes).

The bid cities each pay $500 million to submit their presentations. For the four cities bidding on this year’s games, that’s two billion dollars, tax free. The costs of these games were to be estimated at $700 million, the actual costs are much higher. The 2004 Athens games, which still are being paid off, is partially to blame for the Greek economic problems 12 years later. Venues are built and then never used again. Does the IOC reimburse these countries that host the Games? You must be joking!!! Much like FIFA, all revenues generated from the Olympics go to them. Montreal, which hosted the 1976 Games, finally paid their bills 30 years later.

So, in 2009, the stage was set for yet another “vote.” Except this was a star-laden affair with such luminaries as Pele and Oprah accompanying their delegations. Also, the newly-minted President Obama made an unprecedented appearance at the meeting, raising hopes that Chicago would prevail.

It didn’t. The Windy City was eliminated in the first round of balloting. Unlike four years earlier when New York lost, President Obama got skewered at home. Rush Limbaugh and Bill Kristol (of the Weekly Standard), among others, were over the moon about the perceived loss by the President.

LIMBAUGH: “For those of you on the other side of the aisle listening in who are upset that I sound gleeful — I am. I don’t deny it. I’m happy. Anything that gets in the way of Barack Obama accomplishing his domestic agenda is fine with me.”

OK Rush, we’re still waiting for you to move to Costa Rica.

And, the Weekly Standard had an equally magnanimous reaction: “Soon after news broke that the International Olympic Committee had rejected Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics, which President Obama had personally lobbied for, Weekly Standard blogger John McCormack published a celebratory post on the magazine’s blog, titled “Chicago Loses! Chicago Loses!.” McCormack wrote that “Cheers erupt at WEEKLY STANDARD world headquarters”

Others, like Lonesome Rhodes Glenn Beck and Fox News were cheering the fact that Obama had lost. But that wasn’t the reality. Of course, they never cared about reality much in terms of this President.

Here’s the reality: Chicago’s bid for the Summer Games lost because the IOC, as an institution, has a very long memory. They remember Atlanta in 1996, the half-done facilities, the logistical nightmare of trying to get into a city you can’t get into and the Olympic Park bombing. Plus, the revolving door at the head of the United States Olympic Committee. No one knew from one minute to the next who was in charge. Peter Ueberoth, credited with helping “save” the Olympics in 1984, was replaced in 2008. Had he been the head of the USOC instead of Larry Probst, Chicago might have won. The Europeans who run the show aren’t too fond of America and the last two defeats for both NYC and Chi-town prove that no matter who’s President, the IOC doesn’t want the Olympics here.

But, of course, never let the truth get in the way of a narrative.

The Improbable Donald Trump*

July 17, 2016

A year ago, it was unthinkable, six months ago, improbable. But on Thursday night, Donald J. Trump will be, barring a riot of Chicago-style proportions, the Republican nominee for President.

That the emptiest suit in America, a bullying braggart of a man, a man with enough baggage to weigh down an ordinary candidate, but in this, the year of the angry and fearful, it seems that all the old rules don’t apply here.

Fourteen months ago, Trump was an employee of Mark Burnett, the “reality-show” TV producer of such fare as “Survivor,” “The Voice” and the Trump-led “Celebrity Apprentice.” Then, a month after NBC cancelled his show, he rode down the golden escalator at the building with his name on it, he announced he was running for President. Of the United States. Of America.

People, at first, thought it was a joke. After all, he was a man with no political experience, never ran for anything, never did anything besides brag about his “deals.” His opponents all looked at him as a novelty candidate, one that would fade quickly, especially after his comments about Mexicans, women, the disabled and anyone who dared cross him.

Plus, he was running against 15 others who wanted the nomination as well. At the first GOP debate, he accused Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly of having a vendetta against him after asking him about comments he had made about women in the past. Quickly, the field started to thin, from 15 down to 12, then 10 by the time the first caucuses and primaries rolled around. Trump continued to make outrageous comments about anyone. He incited violence at his rallies. “Stop Donald” movements sprung up in pockets, but it was too little, too late. He eventually vanquished all of them, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

His rhetoric has touched a nerve with people who both will and won’t vote for him.  He revoked the Washington Post’s credentials. The Detroit News ran a Sunday editorial “Dump Trump,” begging the RNC to unbound the delegates on the first ballot so they could “vote their conscience.” Nothing worked.

Except this: Benghazi! Benghazi!! Benghazi!!! And emails. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will be nominated next week, was the target of eight investigations, each clearing her of wrongdoing in the death’s of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. However, the email probe stretched into the FBI and gave the “Industrial Investigation Complex” more sauce for the goose.

And just so people don’t forget, here’s a list of some of the outrageous statements made by the yammering yam.

■ “[Ted Cruz’s] father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up.” [Trump was right on one point: the whole thing is ridiculous.]
■ “An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud”
■ “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”
■ “Oh, look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?”
■ “I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.”
■ “NBC News just called it ‘The Great Freeze’—coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the global warming hoax?”
■ A farmer told me “‘There is no drought [in California], they turn the water out into the ocean.’ And I said I’ve been hearing it. … There’s plenty of water.”
■ In the Philippines more than a century ago, Gen. John Pershing “took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood,” and shot 49 Muslim rebels. “The 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.”
■ “Throughout the Middle East, they’re chopping off heads of Christians; they’re chopping off heads of anybody who gets in the way; ; they’re drowning thirty, forty people at a time in heavy steel cages. As far as I’m concerned, waterboarding is absolutely fine, but we should go much further.” “We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game.”
■ The Trans-Pacific Partnership “was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.” [In fact, China is not a part of TTP.]
■ “Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [“Little Marco”] referred to my hands: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”
■ “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
■ “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
■ “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”
■ “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
■ “I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. … They love me.”
■ “He [John McCain]’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
■ “Nobody respects women more than Donald Trump.” he says. “I cherish women.” But he has said, “You have to treat [women] like shit.” And he refers to women as “bimbos,” “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals.” And: “A woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”
■ “My favorite part [of Pulp Fiction] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. ‘Tell that bitch to be cool. Say: “Bitch be cool.”‘ I love those lines.”
■ When columnist Gail Collins called Trump a “financially embattled thousandaire,” he sent her a copy of the column with her picture circled and “The Face of a Dog!” written over it.”
■ “You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write [about you] as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
■ “Look at that face [referring to Carly Fiorina]! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
■ “She [Megyn Kelly] gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her—wherever.”
■ “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion. Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no — there’s nothing out there.”
■ “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” “It did happen. I saw it.”
■ “Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy [reporter Serge Kovaleski, who is afflicted with a disease that limits the mobility of his limbs and causes his joints to lock].” Trump contorted his arm into a crooked pose and made a contorted face. “‘Uh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, “I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’”
■ “George Will and Charles Krauthammer [both of whom have been for decades very prominent conservative Republicans] are “losers, just losers … Krauthammer is a jerk.” I get called by a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?” (Mr. Krauthammer is paralyzed from the waist down.)
■ It “is Hillary Clinton’s agenda” to “release the violent criminals from jail. She wants them all released.”
■ He termed right-wing conspiracy theories about the Clintons having murdered former White House aide Vince Foster “very serious” and said the circumstances of Foster’s death are “very fishy.” “I don’t bring up [Foster’s death],” he said while bringing it up, “because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.” [Multiple investigations, including one lasting years by Clinton-hater Ken Starr concluded that Foster’s death was a suicide.]
■ “The point is, you can never be too greedy.”
■ “The last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product … was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.”
■ “My IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”
■ “I know words, I have the best words.”
■ “I’m the most successful person to ever run for the presidency, by far.”
■ “[Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements … her mind is shot – resign!”
■ And, of course, there is all the bullying and grade-school playground name-calling: “Little Marco,” “Low-energy Jeb,” “Lying Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Pocahontas” …
And, finally:
■ “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.”

Those are just some of what he has said.  But people say, “he speaks what I think.” Yeah, well, if he does, then America is doomed.


Just a reminder

May 18, 2016

Just a reminder for those who think they have it so damn much better…You don’t.

I am not old.

I am not irrelevant.

I have learned lessons most of you never could understand.

I am tired of being mocked, dismissed and being played the fool.

I am not perfect and neither is anyone else.

I am not here to be dismissed or made fun of.

I have beliefs and they are mine. So are my prejudices. I own them and they are what shape my worldview. Forgive me for not sharing yours.

Life is too short to be ignored or used and I refuse to be either anymore.

I am not “young,” but I am far from old.


Richard Nixon, Jackie Robinson and Donald Trump

April 13, 2016

Sometimes, the history, it smacks you right in the gob. When it does, we have to ask, why is this man still laughing?a_nixon-laughing-108329929978

Yes, History’s Yard Waste, old Tanned, Rested and Ready, Richard Nixon, is still relevant today. How does he, Jack Roosevelt Robinson and the Libidinous Visitor connect. Interestingly, in a straight line.

Last night, in part two of “Jackie Robinson” on PBS, (another fine Ken Burns documentary) Robinson’s activism was highlighted. In the 15 years he lived following his retirement in 1957, after his Hall of Fame career ended in 1956, he helped in business, politics and, even though baseball thought they were done with him, baseball itself. In business, he helped Chock Full o’Nuts raise their wages, created Freedom National Bank, once the largest minority-owned bank in America and did commentary for Major League Baseball telecasts on ABC.

Without Robinson, there is no Rosa Parks, desegregation, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X or Barack Obama. Without Robinson, there is no Hank Aaron. Without Robinson, there is no Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson or Redd Foxx.  Without Robinson, there might not even be Rock and Roll. He paved the way for so many things in our modern world that we take for granted.

But once again, it all comes back to Nixon.  In 1960, Robinson, three years removed from baseball, endorsed then Vice-President Nixon in his race for the White House.  He wasn’t impressed by John Kennedy and had known Nixon for many years.  Kennedy “wouldn’t look me in the eye,” he recalled. King had also endorsed Nixon. After all, as Burns documentary pointed out, the Republican Party was “the Party of Lincoln,” the man who gave them their freedom.

But, when MLK, Jr. was sentenced to jail and four months on a chain-gang in October, 1960, Robinson was appalled when Nixon didn’t step in and use his influence to get King freed. Kennedy did. Robinson did vote for Nixon in 1960, but never supported him again, especially after 1964, when the GOP nominated Barry Goldwater and renounced President Johnson’s Civil Rights Act, which was initiated after the March on Washington in 1963 by Kennedy, where King’s “I have a dream” speech was delivered   and still resonates today. Robinson was also there and spoke as well.

Earlier that summer, he spoke out after Bull Connor used attack dogs and fire hydrants on protesters in Birmingham, Alabama. “It amazes me that white Americans are allowing Bull Connor to be their spokesman.” Sound familiar? More on that in a bit.

In 1964, following the assassination of President Kennedy, Robinson backed Nelson Rockefeller for the GOP nomination. After Goldwater became the GOP nominee, Robinson backed Johnson, who got 94% of the black vote in his landslide election.

In 1968, Nixon re-emerged. He spoke to the “silent majority” and wanted “law and order” (mandatory musical requirement here: restored in America. He had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam and vowed to end it within the first 60 days of his administration.  Robinson, who eight years earlier supported him said that, for white Americans, “law and order meant keeping the black man down.”

Which of course, brings us to the current state of our political mess. Donald Trump, a man who, combines both Goldwater and Nixon (hard to do, because those two men despised each other) in both tone and rhetoric, is once again appealing to our darker instincts. Taking extreme positions on everything from immigration to trade.  He speaks to the “silent majority” and of “making America great again.” Yet not many have called him out on his positions or his ignorance. For all of their failings, Goldwater and the perpetual 5-o’clock shadow weren’t ignorant. That’s the biggest difference. Plus, whenever you point out the outrageous statements Trump makes to his supporters, they double down.  In the words of Dave Anderson, (no relation) the great sportswriter and columnist, when referring to someone complaining about being mistreated, “they know. And they don’t care.” Facts, when it come to Trump, don’t matter. They didn’t matter much to Nixon, either (which begs the question, what if Nixon called and had Martin Luther King, Jr. out on bond instead of Kennedy? Would he of become President in 1960? One of history’s mysteries).

But they mattered for Jackie Robinson, who, through his actions and deeds, paved the way for so many people, black, white, Hispanic, women and the disabled, died in 1972 at the age of 53. In his last public appearance, at game two of the 1972 World Series, where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, he continued his activism, saying, “I’m going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball.” It would be another two years before fellow Hall of Famer Frank Robinson would accomplish that milestone.

Also, he didn’t live to see the Trickster crush McGovern in 1972 and then resign in disgrace in 1974. He never saw the rise of Reagan and the religious wrong and the stealing of the 2000 election. He never saw the triumph of Barack Obama in 2008, becoming our first black President. But were he alive today, he would recognize the same problems that faced America in his lifetime, unequal justice, voting rights, discrimination, inequality, segregation, wage stagnation, profiling and the lack of opportunity for so many, that he’d be fighting just as hard.

Six years, seems like yesterday

March 31, 2016

Six years ago, March 31, 2010, I started this blog.  I was reminded of that this morning on Facebook.  After writing an introduction to my blog and who I was and what this blog was to be about, I have written on a number of subjects. But let’s revisit 2010, shall we?

This inspiration for me to start a blog came from an old high school friend who was doing a late-night blog about being unemployed at nearly 50 and facing uncertainty in an economic downturn that none of us had ever experienced in our lifetimes. He would write about how he would go on interview after interview and seemingly be on the verge of that elusive job, but he would come up short.

Well, I’m relieved to say he found a job a few months later and his daughter is in college now.  He stopped writing as frequently as he was and is doing well.

Others, well, I’m not sure about. I’ve reconnected with friends who seem to come and go, the ones who’ve stayed with me, I am grateful for, the ones who aren’t in my sphere of influence anymore, they’re ok, I presume.

Over the last six years, I have written about many things, mostly the way I see the world.  Six years ago, I was 51. I am now 57. I am still very passionate about the things that matter to me. My family, my friends, my beliefs, my causes, disappointments and small victories.  In these last six years, I have become a surrogate father to a friend’s daughter. She is going to be 17 a week from Saturday and I am proud of her. My niece had three kids, now she has four. My nephew was deployed in Afghanistan back then, he now has two kids of his own, plus a step-son. My youngest niece, 17, is a good kid.

My dad, already in the throes of dementia in 2010, is now in full Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home.  My mother is still around, she is getting up there in years as well.  As someone told me recently, getting old isn’t for wimps.

All in all, I have a good life. I live in the same place I have for the past 10 years, in the same development for 12.  I am mostly retired from sport, although I keep a keen eye on the goings on. I contribute to society in small (and sometimes big) ways. I contribute to the Michigan Humane Society, Amnesty International, support my local public broadcasting station and would do more, but hey…

I am never bored, but do get lonely. I have led a solitary life for most of my time on this planet, so I’m used to it. I will never forget the heartaches I have endured, though. I am still angry and disappointed at what happened to me many years ago, even decades. Yet somehow, I don’t feel bitterness anymore, I feel sad for the people and institutions that let me down.  I get angry sometimes, but the passage of time has made me realize that I put myself in those situations and allowed others to dictate terms.  I have walked away from so many things in my life and allowed others to be “happy” at my expense. But in the end, that’s their loss, not mine. I just go on my way and survive.

In short, I have had a mostly fun experience doing this.  For those people who read my blogs, thank you. I hope that I have given you a fresh perspective and insight into my life and the challenges we all face at some point in time. Looking forward to many more years.

Donald Trump, seriously

February 25, 2016

A few weeks ago, I was out to lunch with a friend of mine. He told me of his 93-year-old rich Aunt (hey, everyone should have one of those) who lives in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. She has met the Libidinous yammering yam known as Donald J. Trump. He relayed the story she told him to me “She said ‘his children are smart, polite and well-mannered. He is a boorish, mean egotist.'” He then said something that sent proverbial shivers down my spine. “He’s not in this to play the game. He’s in it to win.”

Yes, apparently, he is.  Which of course, many of us have known for quite some time. He talks about “Making America Great Again.” One guy at a rally actually said, “He’s going to make America great again, it’s on his hat.” Of course, that brings to mind this:

Which of course comes after winning the first three primaries and taking a sizeable lead in delegates in the process, is now scaring the living shit out of the GOP big wigs, including the obvious anagram himself, Reince Priebus, stammering on one of the Sunday bullshit shows “I think that if you look at all these exit polls on both sides of the aisle, I think people are just sick and tired of—of politics in general, sick and tired of Washington, DC, and I think just actually sick and tired of—of all the—both parties. So I mean I—I think it’s just a general feeling out there that’s real. I wouldn’t deny it. But, obviously, all these, uh, folks are fighting to be the nominee and spokesperson of our party, um, and we’re going to be there to support whoever that nominee is.”

No, Reince, people are sick and tired of being fed the same slop every two years (yes, every two, because you will have Governor’s races in 2018, along with your friendly Congressman or woman and even though everybody hates Congress, they’ll vote them back in, just like they always do). People are sick and tired of being tossed aside in an economy that’s been rigged against them for the past 35 years. In short, they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So, along comes this bombastic jerk who pumps into the zeitgeist of 2016 and makes fun of everyone and everything. Bernie Sanders is trying his best to run on that same theme, but as Charles Pierce at put it the other day, Sanders “has failed the most superficial test of American “populism”—its targets are “Wall Street” and “billionaires,” vague categories of people with whom most Americans have little or no contact. This is opposed to He, Trump, who tells his audience that the problem is “Mexicans” and “Muslims.” People may not know who’s on the board of Citigroup, but they know they have to hit “1” for English. They may not know a billionaire, but they see women in hijabs at the mall. The Sanders campaign gives them targets for their anger. The Trump campaign gives them enemies, and that makes all the difference. ”

Yes, apparently, it does.  Here is man who has never held public office, never sat in on a policy meeting, yet is the overwhelming choice of the GOP to be their nominee for President of the United States. Of America. At least Reagan was a governor and understood the way government works. Whenever he’s pressed on an issue, he makes an insult or says, “we have people working on that.”

“Enemies.” America has always needed an enemy.  From King George VI, to the Mexicans to the Native Americans to the Germans, Japanese, Chinese, North Koreans, Vietnamese and the USSR, to faceless ones like Al Qaeda and ISIL, we have always needed enemies. But the Trump candacity has internalized it. Oh sure, there are threats looming, but don’t worry, The Donald will take care of that. A Wall along the southern border, that Mexico will pay for? Kicking out 11 million illegals? When the current President has deported more than the last five Presidents combined? Making fun of disabled people? Hey, everyone does it, right?  Kicking out Muslims? Really? Most just live their lives, go about their daily lives. They’re not terrorists. Yet we don’t call the Bundy’s terrorists, which is exactly what they are. Just like the kid who shot up Sandy Hook or Timothy McVeigh.

Last July, I wrote how Trump was irrelevant. But he has turned out to be very relevant. Jeb! (who still a Bush) said “you can’t insult your way to the Presidency, Donald.” Well, apparently you can. At least in 2016.

Here’s the truth: Donald Trump could win the Presidency. Then, we’d be the laughingstock of the world. But his campaign has shown America at its’ worst. A Xenophobic, racist, untoward, nonplussed country that couldn’t tell you what the Bill of Rights are, but knows what Kanye West and Taylor Swift are fighting about. It has show us that a petty, small man could become President in 270 days, because a Black man put his hand on the Bible.