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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Trump -- Not A "Real" Fascist? Does It Matter?

There is a momentary kerfuffle in some journalistic/academic circles about whether or not Donald Drumpf is a "real" fascist.  This little debate is the natural result of so many people (your humble correspondent included) using the word to describe Humpty Trumpty, and from his supporters taking offense.

What is fascism?  It is an authoritarian, nationalistic, right-wing form of government.  Fascist politics are marked by obsession with supposed national decline and victimhood, and a demonization of immigrants and "others."  Racism, intolerance and religious persecution are hallmarks of fascism, as is a contempt for the normal rules of democracy.  The extreme totalitarian nationalism of the Nazi party is generally considered to be a form of fascism.  (Nationalism is an excessive devotion to one's nation-state, with a conviction that independent action is preferable to cooperation --a perverse patriotism run amok.)

Infamous fascists and nationalists are Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Chiang Kai-shek.

Donald Trump has made many fascist-ish pronouncements and espoused several fascist-like policies:

  • Building a wall to keep out Mexican rapists and killers.
  • Banning all Muslims.
  • Deporting all Syrian refugees.
  • Suggesting Black Lives Matter protesters should be "roughed up."
  • Insisting we're in crisis, we're a laughingstock, we're weak, we're losing, and only a strongman (Trump) can save us.
  • Refusing to acknowledge that the strongman (him) could ever be wrong about anything, all facts to the contrary.
  • Not to mention the cheap, jingo "Make America Great Again" trucker cap.
The list could on and on, but it's true he hasn't (yet) created violent, uniformed youth groups, or engaged (much) in organized violence against his critics, or started wars by invading other countries.  So maybe he's not a classic, genuine fascist??  As his own daughter Ivanka put it, damning him with faint praise, "He's not Hitler."

Well, I suppose not, but so what?  Is he a "real" fascist?  A near-fascist?  A nationalist?  Does it matter?  Do you really want to find out how real The Donald is?

Donald Trump will say and do anything to appeal to the basest instincts of the American lowest common denominator.  Donald Trump is a fraud, a career bullshit artist, nothing more.

Friends don't let friends vote for Trump.  Don't do it.


Ya Gotta Laugh

In times like these, humor is always called for.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"R.I.P. GOP"

Excerpts from R.I.P. GOP, by Matt Taibbi in the 6/2/16 issue of Rolling Stone.  Taibbi is one of the best political journalists working today -- provocative, perceptive and funny.  He's a favorite, and always an entertaining read!

In an age when Donald Trump is a presidential nominee, what does "serious" even mean?

If this isn't the end for the Republican Party, it'll be a shame.  They dominated American political life for 50 years and were never anything but monsters.  They bred in their voters the incredible attitude that Republicans were the only people within our borders who raised their children, loved their country, died in battle or paid taxes.  They even sullied the word "American" by insisting they were the only real ones.  Their leaders, from Ralph Reed to Bill Frist to Tom DeLay to Rick Santorum to Mitt Romney to Paul Ryan, were an interminable assembly line of shrieking, witch-hunting celibates, all with the same haircut -- the kind of people who thought Iran-Contra was nothing, but would grind the affairs of state to a halt over a blow job or Terry Schiavo's feeding tube.

All those conservative intellectuals like George Will and David Brooks ever did for Middle America was cook up a sales pitch designed to get them to vote for politicians who would instantly betray them to business interests eager to ship their jobs off to China and India.  Their most successful trick was linking the corporate mantra of profit without responsibility to the concept of individual liberty.

Wave after wave of heartland politicians went off to Washington, each more strident and freedom-y than the last.  They arrived draped in the flag, spewing patriotic bromides about god, guns and small-town values.  But once in D.C., they did absolutely squat for their constituents.  They were excellent at securing corporate tax holidays and tax cuts for the rich, but did virtually nothing for their own voters.  Instead, these Republicans railed against an ever-increasing list of villains to blame:  communists, feminists, black "race hustlers," climate-change activists, Muslims, Hollywood, horned owls . . .

In recent years, the Koch brothers/Tea Party wing of the GOP had purged all moderates from the party.  Their expected endgame was to be the ascension of some far-right, anti-tax, anti-govenment radical like Scott Walker or Ted Cruz.  But their carefully cultivated "throw the bums out" vibe was gluttonously appropriated by Trump, who turned the anger against the entire Republican Party.

Trump's solutions are preposterous, logistically impossible and ideologically vicious, but he's peddling his version of hope, mixed with lots of anger.

Trump has turned the new Republican Party into high school -- call it "Nationalist High."  It will be cruel and clique-y and ruled by insult kings like himself and Ann Coulter.

With his 10 million tweets, Trump's GOP is now mainly defined by whatever is going through his head at any given moment.  The new GOP seems doomed to swing back and forth between its nationalist message and its leader's tubercular psyche.  It isn't a party, it's a mood.

So in August, Trump the Triumphant will head to Cleveland for what's sure to be the yuugest, most obscene, most joyfully tacky tribute to a single person ever seen in the television age.  Trump will bask in voluble self-admiration as his heavily-made-up, Robert Palmer-chicks collection of wives and daughters twist faintly in a deadpan chorus behind him.

If the convention isn't Liberace meets Stalin meets Vince McMahon, it'll be a massive disappointment!


Friday, May 27, 2016

He's Not A Presidential Candidate, He's A Bond Villain!

How did I not think of this sooner?  It's so obvious.

Dr. No


Ernst Stavro Blofeld


"Trumpfinger, he's the man, the man with the bankrupt touch, his hair's too much!"

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Many Disqualifiers Can He Get Away With?

He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.  He threatened convention riots if he didn't get the nomination.  Torture-wise, he wants to "go much tougher" than waterboarding.  He wants to punish women for having abortions.  He refuses to disavow David Duke and the KKK.  He won't release his tax returns.

In any "normal" election, any one of these fucked-up positions would've sunk Donald Trump like a stone.  But some Americans are into abnormal.  They're "entertained" by reality TV freak-shows.  Spoiled brat Donnie Drumpf doesn't offend these fine American idiots, so he's not sunk, and they've actually made him the Republican presidential nominee.

Perhaps he finally went too far today and had his 47% moment when he uttered these memorable words in a North Dakota speech:

"You have to be wealthy in order to be great, I'm sorry to say." 

[i.e. "Wealth is all that matters.  And I'm really wealthy, so I'm really great!"]

Will this disqualify him at long last?  It ought to.  Elizabeth Warren is absolutely correct -- Donald Trump is just a small, frightened man who covers his insecurities with gross braggadocio about money, sex and possessions.

But he'll survive, because whenever Trump says something god-awful, the dimwits may recoil at first but then they'll say to themselves, "Wait!  I like that!  I'll vote for that!  I am entertained!"

The damn fools.

Like Flies On Sh*t

"Great security, great borders, a great wall, a great endorsement from Joe Arpaio, and a fly stuck in my hairspray!"

Flies know where to go, don't they?

You know you want to watch it!  Click it.


Socks That Suck

Don't let me catch you wearing these.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Buster On The Bathroom Wars

The Donald In The Movies

"The Twilight Zone"

"The Shining"

"They Live!"

The Cat In The Hat On Donald

I Am Speechless

Maybe not completely.  But . . . butt . . . butt floss.  Here is potential first lady Melanija Knavs Trump, posing on the wing of the Trump private jet, in a string thing, with a gun!  Ooh, shoot 'em up, bang bang!  WT entire F!???  And what the hell is on her feet?  Open-heeled boots??  It's difficult to imagine anything more trashy, tasteless and tacky.  It's Trump-World!  But this is what gives The Donald a tiny stiffie that he can fondle with his tiny, tiny hands.

Meanwhile, Slovenian sell-out Melanija has a sugar daddy and a U.S. citizenship.

And I thought Mitt Romney was ridiculous!

Imaginary Friends: Calvin & Hobbes, Donald & John

Friday, May 20, 2016

Three Things Bernie Should Do

We all felt the Bern.  Bernie Sanders has fought the good fight and made many compelling points in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he's just prolonging the agony at this point.  He should do two things, soon:  1.  Quit the race (or in modern parlance, "suspend his campaign"), and 2.  Strongly urge his supporters to to get behind Hillary Clinton for the good of the nation.  Yes, Trump is a terrible joke, but he must be taken seriously.  If Sanders' people struggle to be for Hillary, they can at least be unified against Trump.

For both parties, the primary process is not democracy at its best.  It's a convoluted, arcane game, but in this game just like any other, rules are rules.  What we don't need is a recurrence of last week's Nevada Democratic Convention.

The Nevada shindig ended early when Sanders supporters caused a ruckus over party rules they believe to be "rigged" against them.  Some of the Sanders people shouted curses and insults at speakers on the dais, and became physical with others on the floor.  State party leader Roberta Lange had security clear the hall and adjourned the meeting.  She later received a number of death threats.

And therefore, Bernie should add one more thing to his to-do list:  3.  Strongly denounce the behavior displayed in Nevada.  F-bombs, violence and death threats are not the sorts of conduct normally associated with peace-loving, kale-eating progressives.  It's the type of anti-social behavior one might expect from the Trumpists.   

Hey, wait a minute!  What if that's exactly who they were?   Not Sanders people at all, but plants from the Trump campaign sent to Nevada to wreak havoc and disruption and make the D's look bad.  Trump's campaign is being run by graduates of Nixon's School of Dirty Tricks.  The thuggery displayed in Nevada is right out of their playbook, and they'd love to see a repeat at the Philadelphia national convention.

Just a little theory without proof from the corner of my brain that thinks conspiratorial thoughts.  Couldn't be true, could it?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Buster's Wine Club

Does The Donald drive you to drink?  Do you watch the evening news with barely-controlled rage?  Do political ads make you want to stick your head in the oven?

Here at Buster's Blog we feel your pain and we have the answer -- a membership in Buster's Wine Club, and your choice from our 2016 Campaign Collection.  We'll ship you enough wine -- daily if necessary -- to calm your nerves and soothe your soul.  Because nothing puts it all in perspective like a glass or three of wine.  Maybe four.

Our Top Sellers!

Trump's Temper Tantrum Tempranillo.  This cheap wine looks bad, smells awful, tastes even worse, and makes horrible loud noises when uncorked.  Definitely not for everybody, but we're selling some of it, mostly to under-educated white men angry about something they can't quite explain.  Each bottle contains a lock of luxurious orange hair.  Quality!

Sander's Socialist Sauvignon Blanc.  This dry old white is direct, honest and refreshing.  It is truth in a bottle, and is popular with younger wine drinkers.  The taste is bold and progressive, although after the initial exhilaration, the finish is a bit weak.  We will ship you this wine for free, but we'll need to double your income taxes.

Clinton's Calculating Cabernet.  Our best-selling selection so far this season!  Much more than a chick wine, it's a complex, experienced vintage with notes of liberalism and hints of Big Banking, with a heady nose of pragmatism.  This well-balanced wine tries to offer a bit of everything for everybody -- not sweet, but not too dry, just right in the middle.  It's a worldly selection from old vines with well-known heritage, but some critics find it stiff, institutional and formulaic.  Purchase of any bottle comes with two additional Super-Bottles at no extra charge.  And for a limited time only, we'll also throw in a free pants suit.  A guaranteed winner!

Deep Discount Labels!  Discontinued Vintages!

Cruz's Crack-Pot Christian Chianti.  Great deals available on this discontinued vintage.  We sold a fair amount of it, then the bottom dropped out, possibly due to this wine's disturbingly oily mouth-feel.  Remaining bottles are deeply discounted and each comes with a Bible, an anti-abortion pamphlet, an NRA membership application, and a how-to-shut-down-the-government instruction manual.

Jawhnny Kasich's McKeesport Merlot.  We carried this one for a long time and we're not sure why.  It wasn't popular and we sold very few.  You can pick up this one for pennies on the dollar.  Be forewarned, though -- it's not really Merlot, it's just a six-pack of Iron City Light.

Rubio's Thirsty Man Rose.  Just a few left.  This one stopped production before Kasich's Merlot even though it sold slightly better.  Which is not saying much.  The Rubio label suffered from deceptive marketing -- it was actually just bottled water.

Luckily, here at Buster's Wine Club, we didn't get a chance to stock up on all the early labels -- Christie's Cantankerous Claret, Santorum's Sweater-Vest Sangiovese, Chaffee's Cheap-Ass Chardonnay, Fiorina's Fractious Frontenac, et al.  Most of those start-up brands fail so quickly.

But, unfortunately for us, we did make a big-time buy on another discontinued label, Jeb Bush's Bland Barbera.  This once-popular grape has fallen from favor because it lacks any distinctive flavor.  We really thought this one would be a big seller, and now we have a boatload of it on our hands.  We'll send you all you want for free, but since we spent over $100 million on our stock of Bush's Bland, we'd greatly appreciate any donation you'd care to send our way.

Odds And Ends. Mostly Odd.

Who's An Animal?
I mentioned in a post from last month that while in Florida, I'd noticed some obnoxious TV ads from someone named Carlos Beruff, a real estate developer with no elective experience who thinks he should be a U.S. Senator.  He's a belligerent, loudmouth dumbass, just like another real estate developer we know.  Beruff  recently made national news by expressing the following charming sentiment:  "This animal we call president -- because he's an animal, OK? -- has destroyed this country and dismantled the military."  I  think Carlos just destroyed and dismantled his own campaign hopes.

The Supremes issued a "no ruling/no comment" punt on a case challenging the ACA's mandate that health insurance must cover contraceptives.  This means the requirement stands, which is good.  The suit was brought by "faith-based" groups who claimed that employee insurance including birth control violated their religious beliefs.  Puh-leeze!  This sort of lame-ass excuse is why I have no particular faith in anything faith-based.  WWJSABC?  What would Jesus say about birth control?  Absolutely nothing, that's what!

No Room To Lecture.
So, Donald Trump says he will attack Hillary for Bill's infidelities in the 1990's.  And what was the Great Trumpkin doing back then?  Groping young women, asking them to change into bikinis, offering public comments on their bodies, and talking to Howard Stern about his many conquests of "pieces of ass."  Donald holds the same moral high ground as Bill Cosby!

Rich Little and Frank Caliendo, Eat Your Hearts Out!
"John Miller"
These three guys do great impressions of each other!
"John Barron"
Donald Trump

Not Mensa Material.
Another of those concealed-carry gun nuts illegally brought his handgun to a Kansas high school graduation.  He had it tucked in his sock.  It was uncomfortable so he adjusted it and the gun went off.  He shot himself in the foot, then the bullet ricocheted and hit a woman in the leg.  What the entire fuck?  Who brings a gun to graduation?  I know the NRA cold-dead-fingers crowd hates background checks, but c'mon!  Let's at least agree on mandatory brain scans for gun buyers, because I'm sure this dipshit's brain scan would've revealed nothing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Quotable A-Hole

Just for fun!  From the Quotable Asshole, Sellers Publishing Inc.

Don't look now, but there's one too many in this room, and I think it's you.
-- Groucho Marx

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
-- Oscar Wilde

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk.  That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
-- Ernest Hemingway

You take care and I hope I'll run into you -- when I'm driving.
-- Rodney Dangerfield

Trump And The Rise And Fall Of The New Religious Right

Watch Samantha Bee explain how evangelicals morphed from dogmatic Christians into dogmatic Republicans, and why the religious right will happily vote for the non-religious "thrice-married, foul-mouthed tit judge." 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trump Is My Fault

There's a dubious talking point making the rounds in conservative circles:  Donald Trump's candidacy is actually a liberal creation, a predictable response caused by years of progressive tyranny and bigotry.  If only we'd allowed the right to have it all their way, they wouldn't have felt the need to inflict Trump upon us.  But we were just too damn PC, and it's our own fault.

Bill Maher does a great couple of minutes and has some fun taking apart this bit of crapola with a New Rule: Don't Blame Liberals For Trump.

"It hurts their feelings when we insult their values with our facts."  

Policies? Positions? Nah, Just Suggestions.

Donald Trump phoned in to Fox & Friends on May 13th and was asked if his call to ban all Muslims from the U.S. was "just a suggestion."

"Yeah.  It was just a suggestion.  Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the president.  Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it's just a suggestion."

Got it, Don.  Straight bullshit while campaigning, but a very slim chance of honesty if elected.  What a trustworthy person you are!  Who wouldn't vote for that?

Here's a suggestion for you, Donnie -- do something with that friggin' hair and shut up!

Commencement Address At Drew University

"Somewhere along the line, financial independence got interpreted as fabulous wealth.  Today, that warped concept of the American Dream is embodied by the Kim Kardashian phenomenon:  fame and fortune heaped upon someone who offers no particular talent other than self-promotion.  She has 40 million followers on Twitter, but her insights are the Styrofoam peanuts of popular culture.  Money for nothing indeed!"

"While I applaud your courage and intelligence in redefining the American Dream to fit your personal vision of the future, it's important that . . . commitment to championing the values of the U.S. Constitution be included, particularly the parts that condemn racism, sexism, homophobia and exploitation of the poor."

"That is an American Dream worth dreaming."

-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, commencement address, Drew University, 5/14/16

Jabbar has always been so much more than a great basketball player.