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, September 30, 2016

Yes, Virginia, There Is An Asshole Gene

And guess who has one?

Watch Donnie Drumpf explain why he believes himself to be a member of the master race:

Jack Nicklaus Disappoints

Newspapers traditionally make political endorsements.  Famous athletes traditionally do not.

The sports world has long been a sanctuary from politics, an alternate reality of touchdowns and home-runs, three-pointers, putts and aces.  Especially during the non-stop noise of the election season, it's soothing to watch a ballgame or turn on SportsCenter.

So I note with great disappointment that Jack Nicklaus has once again decided to show his Republican ass.  In 2012, the Golden Bear publicly endorsed Mitt Romney and actually joined him on the campaign trail.

Now 2016, Nicklaus has unfortunately endorsed Donald Trump ("He's turned American upside down, and I'll be voting for him.").  Good gawd!  He's also endorsing Robbie Portman for Senate, and has even gone so far as to make a TV ad for him, praising Portman for "standing up for American manufacturing." 

(Jack is misinformed.  The U.S. Business Industry Council calls Portman a "dedicated outsourcer."  Robbie has a long history of negotiating and supporting trade deals which encourage businesses to send jobs to cheap-labor countries, yet he opposed the auto industry rescue bill, which saved 160,000 Ohio manufacturing jobs.  This is a stand-up guy?)

Nicklaus is a celebrated golfer whose public politicizing makes him something of an out-lier.  Did the late, great Arnold Palmer ever endorse candidates for office?  How about Jerry West?  Billie Jean King?  Jim Brown?  Willie Mays?  I don't think so.  (Babe Ruth did verge into the political once, acknowledging that while his salary in 1930 was higher than that of the president, he deserved it because he "had a better year than Hoover.")

Like all of us, Jack is certainly entitled to his views and can do whatever he likes politically.  He is, in that respect, similar to the currently-kneeling Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe.  The gestures of  Kaepernick, Rapinoe and others are honestly heartfelt, but they may be remembered as sports footnotes.

Jack Nicklaus is an icon, a legend.  He didn't need to do this.  After all, he's not taking a courageous position or making a moral stand.  He's just tarnishing his public image (among many) with cheap political hackery.  He would have been better off keeping his BS to himself and preserving the illusion of neutrality.

Will The Columbus Dispatch Follow Suit?

While it's debatable how influential newspaper endorsements are these days, they're still capable of being newsworthy in and of themselves.  We've had four examples in recent days.

The Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, saying, "There is only one serious candidate on the ballot," and "This election is no contest."  Donald Trump, they said, "exhibits a dangerous lack of judgment and impulse control, and an astounding absence of preparedness."  It's been 75 years since the Morning News backed a Democrat.

The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying, "It's time to elect the first female U.S. President, because she's hands-down the most qualified choice."  They called Trump "a clear and present danger."  The last time the Enquirer endorsed a Democrat was 1916.

The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying, "Clinton has the experience and temperament to be president.  Trump does not."  Trump, they said, was "beneath our national dignity."  In its 126 year history, the Republic has never before supported a Democrat.

From the start, USA Today, the 34-year old national daily, had a policy against making political endorsements.  Yesterday, they effectively broke from that tradition, not by backing Hillary Clinton by name, but by urging Americans not to vote for Trump.  They wrote, "Resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue who lacks temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty.  By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump."

All of these newspapers received angry messages and subscription cancellations from the Trump-nuts.  The Arizona Republic even received death threats!

The question is, will my own reliably conservative local fish-wrap, the Columbus Dispatch, show the same backbone and endorse Hillary?  I'm not betting on it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Public Service Announcement

Meme Me Up, Scotty! (Debate-Style)

Donnie And Rudy Threaten To "Get Rough"

"All Wives Matter"

Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are quite a pair, aren't they?  Two shining examples.  They're each thrice-married, proudly public philanderers who somehow believe they, of all people, are perfectly positioned to lecture Hillary Clinton about marriage and morality and how to treat women with respect (not to mention how charitable foundations are supposed to work).

Donnie, Rudy!  Get a dictionary and look up the word "incredible."

It's All A Pageant

In Donald's philosophy, life is a beauty contest and every woman alive is a participant, whether she wants to be or not. -- Trevor Noah

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Seven Words In Trump's Brain

Seth Myers says Donald Trump's brain holds seven words.  They are:

LOL, but Myers may have missed a couple more:

-- Believe me

-- Unbelievable

-- Disaster

That will put Donnie into double-digits.  Ooh!

The Daily Donald WTF

Today's WTF list:

  • Blamed his poor debate performance on a bad microphone.  WTF?
  • Blamed his poor debate performance on Lester Holt asking him "very unfair questions."  WTF?
  • Claimed he won the debate "big league."  WTF?
  • Said that paying no income taxes "makes me smart," rooting for the financial crisis and the housing crash "is called business," refusing to pay contractors is OK, and if people don't like his multiple bankruptcies they should "change the laws."  4 X WTF?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debate Assessment: Trump's A Chump, But Fellow Chumps Still Love Him

Well, I watched the whole thing and managed to keep my dinner down, but it wasn't easy.  Ninety minutes straight of Donald Trump is about my limit.  Bourbon was helpful.

Trumpty Dumpty was certainly himself, the person we've come to know and loathe -- boastful, buffoonish, inarticulate, incoherent, dreadfully unprepared, and altogether unfit for the presidency.

By comparison, Hillary Clinton was -- wait, there's really no comparison, just stark contrast.  Hillary was A-OK, just fine, and Trump was historically awful.  Two short examples (so many to choose from):

  • Asked by Lester Holt how he would bring back American jobs that have been relocated to other countries, as he has often promised to do, Trump's answered, "I wouldn't let 'em go."  Holt persisted (he was much better than Matt Lauer), asking again, "Yes, but how would you bring back those jobs?"  Trump stuck with, "I wouldn't let them go in the first place."
  • Responding to Hillary's reminder that Trump and his daddy were successfully sued twice in the 1970's for racial discrimination in their rental practices, Donald said that, essentially, everybody was doing that red-lining thing back in those days, and both of those lawsuits were settled (i.e. he paid hefty penalties and damages) "with no admission of guilt on our part."  So there!  The he added that he built more apartments after that and nobody sued him for racial discrimination since.  So there again!

I liked Van Jones comment:  "He shouldn't take credit for being the most improved bigot." 

No surprise, but as the debate wore on Trump found it increasingly hard to control his impulses.  He became a Manterrupter -- a  loudmouth male who rudely interrupts a woman who has the floor as she tries to speak.  That so many of Trump's manterruptions were blatant lies only added to the fun.  "I never said that."  (Yes, you did.)  "Never happened."  (Yes, it did.)  "Wrong."  (No, it's correct.)

After last night, it's obvious Trump is unqualified and is dangerously in over his head.  But this was just as obvious 15 months ago.  His supporters have never cared that he's unqualified -- they actually like it!  They are stubbornly, willfully ignorant, they cannot be reasoned with, and there are a lot more of 'em than I ever thought possible.  It's a sad commentary on our country.

After the debate, two Trump supporters were interviewed at a bar here in Columbus.   One said that although Trump had "embarrassed himself" in the debate, as a Republican, he'll still be voting for him.  The other said she was a "true conservative," and that meant that "whatever jackass they picked to lead this mule train," that's who she'll be voting for.  Well, isn't that a special kind of stupid?

Ordinarily, Hillary would get a nice bounce in the polls after her debate performance.  I certainly hope she does.  But nothing is ordinary anymore.  We shall see.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Debate (I'll Be Ready)

Like a jillion others, I'll watch the damn thing tonight.  Donald Trump makes me puke, but I'll be ready.

We Have To Watch These Bastards Every Second

I was encouraged by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recent ruling against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's attempted illegal purge of Ohio's registered voter rolls.  If you hadn't voted in 6 years, Husted assumed you were dead or had moved, so he just deleted you, and maybe others as well with names similar to yours.

Under Husted, Ohio joined with twenty-seven other states in using a "system" called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, developed by Kris Kobach, arch-conservative Kansas Secretary of State.  The states share their voter lists and Crosscheck's database searches for voters registered in multiple states.  It compares first, middle and last names, dates of birth, and the last four digits of SSN's.  All this is done in the name of the Great Republican Myth:  preventing "voter fraud."

Crosscheck has flagged an unbelievable 7.2 million suspected names!  Wow!  That's a lot of double voters!  Of course, a grand total of only four people have so far been charged with voting twice or intentionally registering to vote in more than one state.  Four out of seven million.  But what the hell.  Crosscheck dutifully sends it lists of potential duplicate voters to the states, for them to do what they will with them (like purge them from the lists of voters).

The reality is that Crosscheck's program is deeply flawed and their data is bogus -- middle names, birthdates, SSN's, Jr.'s and Sr.'s are ignored or not even provided.  Mark Swedlund, a database expert from eBay and American Express, called Crosscheck's methodology "childish" and said, "God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name is Joseph or Jose.  You're probably suspected of voting in 27 states." 

Essentially, all Crosscheck does is spew out a bunch of common names -- Jones, Washington, Hernandez, Kim.  "I can't tell you what the intent was," says Swedlund.  "I can only tell you the outcome.  And the outcome is discriminatory against minorities."

In Ohio, Husted has used Crosscheck to flag almost half a million voters.  One of them is Donald Webster, an African American from Dayton.  Crosscheck shows him registered in Ohio as Donald Alexander Webster Jr., and registered a second time as Donald Eugene Webster (no "Jr.") in Charlottesville, VA.  Webster says he's never been a "Eugene" and has never been to Charlottesville.  Even so, both Dayton Donald and his Virginia "twin" are in danger of losing their right to vote.

Ohio voting-rights attorney Bob Fitrakis puts it bluntly:  "Husted doesn't want to match middle names because he doesn't want real matches.  They're targeting people with clearly defined ethnic names that typically vote for the Democratic Party.  Husted wants to win Ohio the only way he knows how -- by taking away the rights of citizens to vote."


Source:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890

It Won't Wash

The Charlotte police changed their minds and released some of the body com/dash cam video of Keith Scott being killed.  Just the "relevant" portions, as determined by those who did the shooting.  The whole thing stinks!

The cops were there to serve an arrest warrant on someone else!  "Wrong guy, but while we're in the neighborhood . . . "

The video doesn't show much -- just a small army of frenzied cops pointing their guns at Mr. Scott's car, screaming at him to drop his gun.  The video doesn't show Mr. Scott holding or brandishing a gun at all.  It does show him slowly backing away from his car.  Then it shows him shot dead.  For what?

The real issue in this instance and in all the others just like it is cops lacking in self-control, cops too eager to draw their weapons and fire them, cops who use lethal force unnecessarily and then excuse themselves with "evidence" and stories of feeling scared.

It won't wash.

It doesn't matter if he had a joint in his car, or if he looked like a "bad dude."  It doesn't matter if he was in possession of a gun (especially in an open-carry state like North Carolina).  It doesn't matter that he didn't immediately "obey orders."  And it certainly doesn't matter to discover after the fact that he had an arrest record.  We don't shoot people for those reasons! 

The cops nabbed the wrong guy.  The cops compounded their error with an unnecessary show of force.  Then they killed Keith Scott for no apparent reason.

The cops fucked up.  They do it too often.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

And This Is A Fact!

The Daily Donald WTF

Today's WTF List:

  • Donald says he'll invite Gennifer Flowers to attend tomorrow's debate.   Mark Cuban said he'd attend in support of Hillary.  This is Donnie's payback -- he'll have the gold-digging professional mistress who once gave Bubba a knob-job in his corner.  WTF?
  • Donald and his campaign handlers are unhappy that many are asking the debate moderators to point out any of Donald's lies. They insist that their candidate has the right to unlimited, unchallenged lying because everybody knows facts are unfair.  WTF?  

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Daily Donald WTF

Today's WTF list:

  • Donald blames Hillary Clinton for the protests and unrest in Charlotte and elsewhere.  WTF?
  • Omarosa Manigault, his "director of African-American Outreach" (reaching out to Trump's 3 or 4 black supporters), said that soon The Donald will get "the ultimate revenge" as "every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump."  LMFAO! and WTF?
  • According to a RAND Corporation analysis, Donald's health care proposal to repeal Obamacare and replace it with an income tax deduction, and to turn Medicaid into a block grant program would cause 20 million Americans to lose coverage.  WTF?

Charlotte, Tulsa, et al

Type the word "cops" into the Buster's Blog search window at top left (desktop version, not mobile) and see how many posts are found.  Way too many.

"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots.  It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without at the same time condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.  These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention.  And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."

Immediately, if not sooner:
  • Across the nation, throw out "the book" on policing practices, because the book sucks.  We need a new and improved book, emphasizing de-escalation techniques and options other than lethal force.
  • All law enforcement personnel are subject to thorough psychological testing.  We need to weed out the unfit, and we need to be ruthless about it.
  • All cops everywhere must wear and use body cameras, as well as dash cams.  No excuses.  If cameras are not worn, not working, not turned on, the police and city will face penalties and fines, and police testimony in such instances will be inadmissible in court.
  • Body cam/dash cam videos will be turned over to independent authorities for review, and the videos will be released to the public promptly.
  • No more internal investigations, no more police chiefs deciding how things will play out, no more delays of  months and years while everybody gets their story straight, no more laws prohibiting the release of body cam/dash cam videos.
Stephen Colbert on the topic:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Comment on the "Trump Releases His Tax Returns" Post

A faithful reader comments.  Thanks, faithful reader!  Great insight!

The "Trump Releases His Tax Return" clip is a perfect example of "confirmation bias".  As soon as they hear the word "Trump" they shut down whatever they are hearing and say that its "OK".  Omit Trump's name and substitute Hillary's name, and you'll get an entirely different answer.  "Pavlovian" comes to mind when I witness what is happening. This is why dirt farmers fought a Civil War to protect the very filthy rich, and were willing to die "knowing" that they were better than those slaves. 

Quick History Reminder

Our fathers fought in World War II against men who spoke just like Donald Trump.

Now you're going to vote for him?


The Daily Donald WTF

The Daily WTF list:

  • Regarding his remarkable about-face on being a birther, an Ohio reporter asked Donald, "What changed?"  His answer was, "I just wanted to get on with the campaign."  Got it.  He hasn't really changed his mind, he just wants to change the subject.  WTF?
  • According to the non-partisan Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget, Donald's economic "plan" of big tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals plus more defense spending would increase the federal deficit by $5.3 trillion (with a "t") over the next ten years.   WTF?
  • Donald's Mahoning County, Ohio campaign chairperson resigned after making stupid, racist comments, to wit:  "There wasn't any racism until Obama got elected."  "Guns, shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens is the philosophy Obama has perpetuated in America."  "If you're black and you haven't been successful in the last fifty years, it's your own fault."  WTF?


Don't Be "An Energy Voter"

At least the sort of energy voter the American Petroleum Institute would like you to be.  They're the ones behind the slick and slimy "I'm An Energy Voter" p.r. ad campaign.  The API is all about oil drilling and exploration anywhere, at any cost, and prolonging the use of fossil fuel as long possible.  They want us to vote for conservative legislators who suck up to Big Oil/Gas/Coal.

A real energy voter, while acknowledging fossil fuels will not disappear soon or entirely, will nevertheless vote for progressive candidates who understand the folly of trying to extract every last oily drop before thinking about anything else.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump Finally Releases His Tax Returns. Supporters React.

The Daily Donald WTF?

I think I'll go with this the rest of the way.

Donald Trump throws so much crap at the wall every day, you can't keep track of it.  It's his technique for scandal management -- have so many, no one can possibly remember them all.

Nevertheless, I shall endeavor for the rest of the campaign to list some of Donald's daily transgressions, crimes, outrages, falsehoods, and other deplorable activities.  Just to keep a record of them.  Let's call it "The Daily Donald WTF?"  If I miss a few here and there, forgive me.  The Donald deals in volume.

Today's WTF list:
  • His "charitable" foundation uses its contributors' money to make political donations and pay off Trump's own legal bills.  This is -- what's the word? -- illegal!  WTF?
  • At meeting he called to address "African-American concerns" (and attended by 99% white people), Trump said police should "be more careful" when shooting unarmed black people.  Later, he called for nationwide stop-and-frisk policing, which has been ruled unconstitutional.  WTF?
  • In August, Trump used $500,000 of his campaign funds (other people's money) to pay his own companies for campaign "expenses."  He reimbursed himself for using his own private jet and for office space at Trump Tower.  WTF?   

Too Late For Ted Strickland?

Yeah, probably.

The former Ohio governor is trailing in his fight to unseat the incumbent Republican Senator and corporate tool Robbie Portman.  Strickland had an early lead, but constant big-money attack ads from the Koch brothers, the Lindners, the Castellinis, the GOP Senatorial PAC, the NRA, and the Portman campaign itself have taken their toll.  My own $5 and $10 contributions to Ted have been no match, and the Democratic Party machinery has pulled millions of dollars in planned ad support for Strickland.  They've bailed.

It's a shame because Ted is as genuine as Robbie is fake.  And all of Robbie's attack ads are fake too.  Pretty much a fact-free zone, a land of lies.

The main thrust of all the ads, regardless of source, is to blame Ted Strickland as governor for every last economic problem Ohio endured during the Great Recession.  It was all his fault.

Well, no it wasn't, of course.  And while Ted was dealing with a real live shit-storm, what was Robbie doing about the financial crisis?  Nothing.  Zero.  From 2007 through 2010, he did nothing but raise money for his own Senate campaign.

It's Quixotic of me, but I'd just like to remind anyone reading this that, no matter what the attack ads say,  as governor Ted Strickland did not cause the Recession, did not cause Ohio to lose jobs, did not wastefully drain the state's rainy-day fund, and did not raise taxes.  He is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, but the ACA does not cut individual Medicare benefits by $700 billion.  He has not done anything to put individual Social Security benefits at risk.  It's all a pack of lies.

Portman is just a party apparatchik, a reliable vote for the Chamber of Commerce and the NRA.  He's voted consistently to protect American business outsourcing and off-shoring.  How the Teamsters were persuaded to endorse him is beyond me.  Must have been a really big check.  The Teamsters disagree with him on so much, except for the fact that Robbie's trying to help them keep their pension solvent.  So is Sherrod Brown.  So would Ted Strickland.

Ted's a good man.  I'll vote for him.  Robbie Portman, on the other hand, endorses Donald Effin' Trump.  Eeew!  Gross!!  And despite that, somehow Robbie leads comfortably in the polls.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.  -- George Carlin

Save The Day. Vote!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton Was Wrong About "The Deplorables"

Wonderfully explained by the great Keith Olbermann  (text followed by video link).  I know a few people who really need to take these words to heart.

"Secretary Clinton originally postulated that half of Trump's supporters were not deplorable.  And that's where she screwed up.  Because if you support Trump, if you think he should be president regardless of how much he and his advocates hate, and mock, and punch old women with oxygen cannisters; if you're not condemning this madness and repudiating these deplorable people, and you're not racist, not sexist, not homophobic, not xenophobic, or not Islamophobic; if you're supporting him not for those things but in spite of them, you are even more deplorable!  The correct number, Secretary Clinton, is not fifty percent, it's a hundred."


They're People, Not Candy

Poor Donald Trump, Jr.  Dumb as a stump and addicted to Twitter just like Big Don.

Little Donnie has shown a penchant for tweeting out images with coded appeal to the alt right, white nationalist crowd.  Here's his most recent example:  

This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first.

Little Donnie's rhetorical technique is often called "The Poisonous M&M's" and it's a false analogy used to prop up indefensible stereotypes in order to make flawed generalizations.  "Not all [    ] are bad, but . . . "  It's a favorite technique of white supremacists.  From the Stormtrooper website:

"So let me state again that not all blacks are criminals, but they are more prone to criminal behavior than any other race."

Donnie Jr. has merely substituted Syrian refugees for black people, and switched from M&M's to Skittles.

I love this guy's clever response:  

 In reply to 

Some say the switch to Skittles was deliberate -- a dog whistle to those alt right crazies who idolize racist killer George Zimmerman and love to mock his victim Trayvon Martin.  Having just bought an Arizona Iced Tea and some Skittles, Martin was returning to his dad's condo when Zimmerman killed him.  

If you doubt that Skittles can be a racist code, check out this tweet from some fuck-wit named Holly Hammersmith.  She's trolling @Green_Footballs, a.k.a. Charles Johnson, a Twitter user in the Gabe Ortiz-Buster Gammons mold.  Holly, on the other hand, is one seriously hateful little girl.  Her Twitter page lists her "hearts" (loves) as #AltRight, #StopWhiteGenocide, #TrumpRepublican, #FeminismIsCancer, and of course, #Christian.

These are Trump's people.  Donnie Jr. knows exactly who he's speaking to. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cartoon Monday!

The "Basket of Deplorables" -- my favorite appetizer at Chili's

Donald Trump Receives Gift Of Terrorism

Some idiot from New Jersey just gave Donald Trump a gift -- the shiny-object gift of terrorism.

Ahman Khan Ramani, a U. S. citizen of Elizabeth, N.J., placed a couple of IED's around New York City yesterday.  One exploded, injuring 29 people.

Donald Trump wasted no time in taking a victory lap over the violence, claiming he "called it," and it was time "to get very tough, extremely tough" because "our country is weak and our leaders are stupid."  

Trump, who has previously called for "extreme vetting," a registry of all Muslims in the U.S., a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., and "closing up" parts of the internet, went on to falsely claim that illegal immigrants are "pouring into the country," that President Obama has promised to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees and that Hillary Clinton wants to increase that number by 550%, or 650,000 Syrians.  All are stupendous lies.* 

Time out for some fact-checking and truth-telling!

The American public's perceived threat of terrorism is greatly exaggerated.  Your chance of dying in a car crash is 1 in 19,000; drowning in your bathtub 1 in 800,000, being struck by lightning 1 in 5.5 million; of dying in a terrorist attack 1 in 20 million.

Terrorism generates unreasonable fear.  Fear can lead to poor decisions, irrational behavior and dangerous overreaction.  We remove our shoes at the airport, we don't carry nail clippers or shampoo bottles.  And some people listen to Donald Trump.

America has never seen a fear monger like Donald Trump.  Fear preys upon the ignorant and the uninformed.  And The Donald targets those folks relentlessly and shamelessly -- he wants them to be afraid of radical Islamic terrorism.  He needs them to be afraid!  He'll pull all the alarms to remind the frightened people that the sky is falling!

Trump will use Ramani's shiny object -- terrorism! -- to distract us from anything meaningful for as long as possible.

Donald is truly deplorable, because his act is 100% bullshit.  That there's such a large market for it is equally deplorable.

*Lie-busters (a small amount of arithmetic is required):

Illegal immigrants are not pouring into our country, despite what Trump says.  The total number of unauthorized immigrants is down about 1 million since 2007.  Net Mexican immigration (Trump says they're "flooding across the southern border") is negative.  More going back than coming in.

Obama did not promise to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees.  Every fiscal year, the president sets the maximum total number of refugees the U.S. will take in that year.  (This is not an executive order, it's a legally required presidential duty.)  Over the past couple decades, the standard was to take in about 70,000 total per year.

In 2015, John Kerry announced that the 2016 limit would go up to 85,000, then in 2017 it would be 100,000.  Of the 2016 total, Obama pledged that slightly more than 10,000 would be the legal limit for Syrians in that year.  So far in 2016, we've accepted about 6700 Syrians, half of them children, a quarter of them age 60 or more.

The makeup of the 100,000 immigrants for 2017 has yet to be determined, but even if all the additional 15,000 allowable immigrants came from Syria (which won't happen), that'd be 25,000 total, not 100,000.

Hillary Clinton did not say she'd take in 650,000 Syrians.  She said she'd like to see Obama's number of 10,000 increased to 65,000.  That would in fact be a 550% increase, but still nowhere near Trump's imaginary numbers.

For the record, there are currently 4.8 million Syrian refugees outside of Syria, and another 6.6 million "internally displaced" still within the country.

The bombing suspect who prompted all of Trump's verbal diarrhea over Syrian immigrants is a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent.  Far, far away from Syria any way you slice it.

No, He Didn't "Deserve It"

Like so many other cities and towns, my hometown of Columbus has its statistically-higher-than-expected share of black citizens shot and killed by police.  Last Wednesday, in a widely-reported case, 13 year-old Tyre King was shot dead as he was chased by a Columbus police officer.

Shortly after, a good friend mentioned the incident and told me "The kid got what he deserved.  He was doing bad shit, hanging with a bad crowd and robbing people."

There can be no doubt that Tyre King was doing bad things Wednesday night.  But I will respectfully disagree that he deserved to be killed for it.

King had a plastic BB gun, a pistol which was remarkably similar to the real thing in appearance and size.  He showed the BB gun to a three of his teenage friends and told them he wanted to use it to rob someone for money.  The group held up a man and took $10 from him.  The man called 911 to report the crime and said one of the robbers had a pistol.

Police responded quickly and the boys had not gone far.  The officers descended on the group.  King and another boy fled, but the officers caught them and ordered them to get down on the ground.  Both boys complied, but then Tyre King got up and ran again.  An officer gave chase and fired three to five shots, killing King on the spot.

Police say King had removed his BB gun from his waistband as he ran away.  There is no indication that King pointed his toy gun at anyone or even raised it.  There were no body cameras in use by the officers involved.

The officer who killed him, Bryan Mason, has a history of discharging his weapon.  King is the fourth person Mason has shot in nine years with the CPD, and the second person he has killed.

Tyre King and his friends did some really stupid stuff.  Armed robbery is a crime, but it's not punishable by death.  Possession of the realistic BB gun may have been a crime, but not one punishable by death.  Fleeing the police and resisting arrest may be crimes, but are not punishable by death.  Tyre King was a kid, just 13, an 8th-grader.

Tyre King did his stupid stuff in the wrong part of town, where the cops assume the worst and where some of the cops, like Bryan Mason, shoot first and ask questions later.  Among all the options available to Officer Mason in this case of a $10 robbery, he chose the lethal one -- and in this instance, he chose it three, four or five times in a row.

Tyre King may have deserved many things, but he didn't deserve to be shot and killed. 

American police departments are in need of immediate retraining, and they refuse to admit it. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump: "Please Ignore My Five Years Of Promoting A Wacko Conspiracy Theory."

After five or six years of pounding the birther drum by repeatedly saying, tweeting, suggesting, and implying that President Barack Obama was not born in the USA, today Donald Trump announced that he, The Donald, was finally ready to decree that Obama was in fact an American citizen born in this country.  "Barack Obama was born in America, period."

Well, no shit, Sherlock!

This was a cheap, shabby, little quickie of a press conference at a new Trump hotel.  The media sheep were giddy in anticipation.  It was designed for one thing:  to give Trump an out, to get him on record saying Obama was born in the U.S., in hopes that now all those unfair and rigged debate moderators won't ask him about it so much.  "You can't ask me that, Lester!  I've said many times -- OK, once -- that Obama was born in the U.S.  So you can't ask me that!"

Screw him, Lester!  Ask him anyway.  Ask him again and again.

After almost single-handedly keeping the birther nonsense alive for all these years, Trump capped his snake oil pitch by claiming that it was actually Hillary Clinton who first brought it up in 2008!  Which is a complete and total lie, but when has Trump ever felt constrained about lying?

He ended with a classic school-yard bully's taunt:  "She started it, but I finished it!"

What adult talks like that?

Donald Trump is an obvious fraud, a carnival barker.  If you vote for him you're a fool, a sucker.