Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Friday, July 13, 2018

Circus Here, Circus There

Yesterday, FBI agent Peter Strzok endured endless hours of badgering from the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee about his 2016 texts.  The waste-of-time show trial was nothing more than an opportunity for Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan and other Repuglicans to give their best impressions of rude, ball-grabbing circus monkeys.  It was a Strzok Fest, and it was digusting.

I've said it before.  The FBI has 35,000 employees.  Some may love Trump, but you better believe a lot of them hate his orange guts.  Their opinions do not impact their ability to do their jobs.  To expect all government employees to apolitical, willfully ignorant robots is just absurd.  Strzok's texts were totally inconsequential.

Across the pond, the Baby Blimp granted an interview to the Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun in which he trashed the PM's Brexit proposals, suggested the U.S. may pull out of all trade deals with England, made racist anti-immigrant comments, and insulted the mayor of London, Saddiq Khan.  Then at this morning's joint press conference with Theresa May, he took it all back (sort of) and called The Sun fake news.

What a diplomat!  What a charming guest!

Tens of thousands protest Trump in London

Comment and Response to the Jim Jordan Wrestlegate Post, Part 2

Appreciate your prompt retort Buster, but you're stretching this one. You could've been even 60/40 & Mr/Mrs Anomynous wouldnt have commented.
You believe accusers who are a convicted felon & a jilted OSU merchandiser with axes to grind? That's not equally credible compared to the many more people who have vouched for Jordan.
We agree not to like Jordan's politics. He stands on his bully pulpit & spews troubling shit, but too many others should be the ones in focus. At least 13 sport's athletes besides wrestling have claimed Strauss 'played' with them. Have you heard of other coaches or administrators being identified? No you havent, only Jordan. You admit the attack is simply politically motivated. He's the big target on the carnival balloon dart board simply because he is a national figure. That's not right. If there's fish to be fried he's might be the tastiest, but likely there're others who are bigger, more involved, in any net of non-reporting. Just because he's on a national political stage shouldn't condemn him as you've done.
Come on Strauss, your identified target, has been dead 12 or 13 years. What're they going to do to him, send his ashes to prison? These guys, mentioned above, want money from OSU, and Jordan shouldn't be the scapegoat for this neferious character.
I 'think'(because I don't know & neither do you) that Jordan didn't know abuse definately occured.
You've overly politically bashed on this one. Jordan offers lots of stuff to pick on. Pick on something more reliable, at least until the dust settles. Then, IF he's culpable, you can roast him on a BBQ spit as he would deserve.

Yes, I'm politically biased.  Not overly.  Just about right, IMHO! 

We agree Jordan's a douchebag deluxe.  If this white-hot spotlight takes him down a peg or makes him quit, I'm all for it.  Politics can be nasty business, it's tough shit and all is fair.  Jordan is not immune just because you think it's "not right", i.e. unfair.  Little Jimmy's gonna have to buck up.

That some people have vouched for him -- "He's a good guy." -- is not the issue.  Jordan was asked if he knew about Dr. Strauss's sexual abuses, and he flatly denied all knowledge of it.  The issue is this:  Is Jordan's denial the truth or a lie? 

I believe he's lying.  (We've seen this movie before -- they always lie first.)  You say he's not, because he "didn't know abuse definitely occurred."  (Did it occur indefinitely?)

We're now up to 8 former wrestlers who say Jordan definitely knew of Strauss's misdeeds.  They say they spoke to him about it definitely and directly.  They're definitely not all criminals or sports merchandisers with axes to grind.  They seem credible to me.  Why would they lie about this?

You suggest it's to get money from OSU.  Well, yeah.  But it's not about merchandising rights now.  These guys are asking for compensation for themselves and for others for sexual assault endured at the hands of Dr. Strauss.  The first accusers may not get everything they want, when they want it, but eventually they'll get something, because OSU will sooner or later be paying a lot of money to a lot of people to settle this thing.

To their credit, the university (my alma mater) has been investigating this matter since April, and their probe continues.  They know what Richard Strauss did, and they know that other coaches and administrators knew about it for a long time.  Ultimately, some will admit their knowledge and others, like Jordan, will deny it.  Jordan is not the scapegoat for all the sins of the long-dead doctor.  He's just the very public face of the cover-up. 

For now, I'm done.  You may have the last word if you wish.  I promise I'll post it.  (I've given the the last word to the lovely Mrs. Gammons for over 30 years, a habit which has made me the broke-down piece of man I am today!  JK!)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

NATO Family Values: Be Tolerant Of Screaming Babies

"I did it!  It was all me!  I got all these NATO freeloaders to agree to nothing more than the same thing they'd already agreed to back in 2006.  What a win for me!  Things were very UNFAIR before.  But now they're not.  I fixed all the problems overnight!  Everybody thanked me!  Everybody loves me!  Did I mention I got 306* electoral college votes?  Argle-bargle!  Argle-bargle!"

(Not true.  It was 304.)

Comment and Response to the Jim Jordan Wrestlegate Post

Received the following comment on my Jim Jordan post of 7/10/18:

Don't like Jordan either, but your story is too one-sided. Of course, I understand that's your MO. While this likely won't end well for Ohio State, you have failed to even acknowledge that at least 15 wrestlers and several coaches say Jordan is clean in this whole mess. Nor do you address why Jordan is the target when so many athletes from other teams have leveled complaints. What about their coaches and the administrators. Why is Jordan taking all the suspicion and not others who may have been aware? I hope Jordan doesn't get a sniff at the House Speaker position, but his involvement in this case isn't clear yet. You needn't present as if it is.

I commend Mr. or Ms. Anonymous for not liking Jordan and not wanting him to become Speaker of the House, but my "M.O." and I will quibble with rest.

"Too one-sided"?  Not every issue is a 50/50 proposition.  Sometimes the sides are not equivalent, not equally credible.

I "fail to acknowledge" that other wrestlers and coaches say "Jordan is clean"?  There's too much evidence which says otherwise, and I simply don't believe those people.  So what if I didn't mention them?  They're in standard denial mode, predictably circling the wagons to protect themselves.  (See Penn State and Michigan State for examples of the same thing.)

"Why is Jordan the target?"  Why is he "taking all the suspicion"?  Bearing in mind that the real target, Dr. Strauss, has been dead for over a decade, Jordan is in the hot seat because of who he is and how he conducts himself.  He's an ambitious, high-profile politician who's a combative, sanctimonious, family-values right-winger.  His involvement in this scandal stands in stark contrast to his carefully crafted conservative Christian political persona.  Of course that will draw attention.  That's politics, and all's fair.

No, he's not "taking all the suspicion."  No one has suggested Jordan is the only one to blame.  Far from it.  Clearly, many others were also aware, including those who bore more direct responsibility than did Jordan. But they're not so well known and they've been mum.  Jordan is on the national stage and he's been his usual outspoken, confrontational self, immediately hiring a PR firm and going on national TV to attack and belittle his accusers.  He could have chosen a different approach to this problem.

"His involvement in this case isn't clear yet"?  I see it differently.  Clearly, a lot of people knew about the problems with Dr. Strauss.  (How could they not?)  Clearly, Jordan knew.  And clearly he did nothing about it, even when asked to do so.

I hope he regrets his inaction.  A quick and forthright acknowledgment and a contrite apology would have served him better than his snarling pit bull routine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

PPPPPP -- Why Don't Democrats Do This?

The new Supreme Court nominee was chosen from a list prepared by the Federalist Society, a deeply conservative Republican organization dedicated to packing every level of the judiciary with the most right-wing judges possible.  They begin to identify and cultivate their candidates as early as law school.

The Trump Administration has been staffed almost entirely by individuals recommended by the Heritage Foundation, a deeply conservative Republican PAC/advocacy group.  Heritage is led by Jim DeMint, former Tea Bag Senator from South Carolina.  When he quit the Senate a few years ago, he said he felt he could be more influential in the Heritage Group.  The Swamp Creature Cabinet proves that DeMint was right.

Virtually every bill introduced by the GOP at the state level can trace its origin to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.  This deeply conservative Republican group, funded by the Koch brothers, generates an endless stream of what they call "model legislation" -- would-be state laws that push all the right wing's hot buttons.  Local lawmakers merely tweak the language a little bit, or maybe not at all, and voila! -- it's a new anti-abortion bill in Iowa, or a new open-carry gun law in Florida, or what have you. 

And of course, Republicans have no equal when it comes to gerrymandering.  Democrats gerrymander too, but not with the gleeful, shameless abandon of the GOP.  Their redistricting approach after the 2010 census was so blatant, so racist, so vote-suppressive, that their maps have been repeatedly overturned upon legal appeal.  But they simply don't give a shit, even after they get sued.  They will exert their will now and deal with consequences later.

PPPPPP is an old acronym for Proper Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.   And clearly, Republicans take this to heart and are properly prepared to take advantage of every opportunity, and they do so without conscience.

Why don't Democrats do the same thing?  Why don't we plan and why aren't we as prepared as the R's?
  • As the big-tent party, Democrats accept, even encourage, a range of opinions and will tolerate a degree of dissent.  Republicans robotically toe the line and stick to their prescribed talking points.
  • Democrats find so much of what the Republicans try to get away with to be, well, undemocratic, and hence unpalatable.  Republicans have no such dietary restrictions.
  • But the biggest reason why the D's don't do the same long-term planning is, quite simply, we've never really tried.
I suggest it's time we try.

(Inspired by a faithful reader and driveway conversationalist.)

He Came In Like A Wrecking Ball (And Now I Owe My Neighbor $5)

America First.  America Alone.  Trump Alone.

From the jump, Demolition Don has had no interest in preserving our long-standing Western alliances and multi-national agreements.  Quite the opposite, he's been intent on their destruction, whether it's the UN, NATO, the G-7, NAFTA, TPP, the WTO, the Iran nuclear deal, or what have you.  Bannon must be proud.

A couple weeks ago, a friend, neighbor and regular reader emailed to ask me, "What do you bet Trump trashes NATO before he goes off to play kissy-face with Putin?"  I replied that even though I thought that would be extremely likely, I was still willing to risk $5 on the slim chance the fake prez would behave like an adult rather than a childish provocateur.

"No, Mr. Trump.  You may not have all the bacon."
Looks like I'll need to pay up.  As he departed for Europe, Dolt 45 fired off a couple anti-NATO tweets and said that among his visits with NATO, the UK, and Dear Vladi, "Putin may be the easiest."  Once in Brussels, he used a breakfast meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for a cringe-inducing attack on Germany for being "a captive of Russia, totally controlled by Russia."  Germany gets natural gas from Russia.  Our Thug-In-Chief says that's "unfair" since "we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting everybody."  (Where Donnie comes from, you gotta pay for protection.)

Oh my.  Until 2017, America was the shining star at NATO meetings, a founder, the belle of the ball.  Now we're just the rude bumpkin who makes a big stink and refuses to play nice with others. 

Up next, more NATO antagonism followed by a trip to Helsinki to give blow-jobs to a grateful Vladimir Putin.  Tom-O, your $5 is ready!