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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Comment And Response To "WTF, Comey?"

Not all October "surprises" are equal, and even then they don't usually matter much.

  1. Such selective memory you dems have!
    1. On 10/30/92, a perjury indictment of former Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger revealed that Weinberger's 1986 notes proved that then-VP George H.W. Bush in fact knew about the illegal Iran arms-for-hostages deal after claiming he didn't. Weinberger's notes were direct evidence which came out during an on-going federal grand jury investigation of the Iran-Contra affair. The purpose and relevance of the disclosure to the open investigation was clear. Any harm to Bush 41's presidential reelection effort was beside the point -- just collateral damage of his own making.

      Comey's little note, on the other hand, is an ambiguous and vague whatever released in some relation (or not) to a closed, no-indictment investigation. Purpose? Relevance? Unlikely and unsaid.

      That said, the Weinberger disclosure four days before the vote did not cost Bush the '92 election. Bill Clinton had 5 million more popular votes and killed it in the electoral vote. Bush was doomed no matter what.

      Much the same for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Comey's shenanigans won't matter much. October "surprises" usually don't. 
    2. On his way out the door, Bush pardoned Weinberger.  Of course.
    3. BTW, your link is to the World Tribune -- a grandiose name for a less-than-credible website typically cited by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and Bill O'Reilly. Ick!
    4. Please consider the source.

The Candidates Visit The Buster Gammons Household

We were honored by a personal visit last night.  Note that both candidates are sporting Clinton-Kaine buttons.  When asked about this, Trump replied, "I'm actually voting for Hillary.  She's much more qualified than I am, believe me."

No, Trump And Hillary Are NOT The Same

When it comes to elections, especially this one, how often have you heard people say things like this?   "Our choice is the lesser of two evils."  "They're both bad."  "They deserve each other."  "I can't vote for either one."

You've heard it a lot, maybe even said it yourself.  Those who say things like that are engaging in a form of deceit (possibly self-deceit) known as false equivalency.  It's the Republicans only path to election victory.  They can't deny Trump is horrible.  It's on tape.  So they want voters to believe Hillary is just as bad.  

In pursuit of that, they have a very powerful ally -- lazy people, people who like to say "they're all bad" because when you say that, you don't have to do any homework.  Say "they're all the same" and you can sound justifiably jaded by the entire process when, really, you just don't know anything.

You say you're cynical about politics?  Don't flatter yourself.  "Cynical" comes when you know too much.  You, on the other hand, haven't bothered to learn anything.

(Excerpted and paraphrased from Bill Maher's latest "New Rule")

WTF, Comey?

At this late date, FBI Director James Comey has inexplicably injected himself into the election process.  In doing so, he's in defiance of Justice Department policy and procedure, not to mention common sense and propriety.

We found some Huma emails on Weiners computer so out of abundance of caution we gonna send ambiguous cryptic letter to Chaffetz. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is "pertinent"?  WTF?  Even the infamously paranoid old queen J. Edgar Hoover never did anything quite so bewildering. 

In just three short years, Comey has managed to politicize the FBI and piss off everybody on both the left and the right.  Can FBI Directors be fired?  It's uncommon, but the answer is yes.

Hope he enjoys his last few months on the job. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Is Not An Endorsement. Definitely Not. No Way.

From the editorial board at the Yale Record:

In its 144-year history, The Yale Record has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for president. In fact, we have never endorsed any candidate for president. This is, in part, due to our strong commitment to being a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, which mandates that we are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
This year’s presidential election is highly unusual, but ultimately no different: The Yale Record believes both candidates to be equally un-endorsable, due to our faithful compliance with the tax code.
In particular, we do not endorse Hillary Clinton’s exemplary leadership during her 30 years in the public eye. We do not support her impressive commitment to serving and improving this country—a commitment to which she has dedicated her entire professional career. 
Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history, nor do we encourage all citizens to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all by electing Secretary Clinton on November 8.

Hey Michelle, What Are You Doing In 2024?

Pretty much by accident, I happened to catch Michelle Obama's speech at Hillary's campaign event in Winston-Salem.  Did you?  I hope so, because it was strong!  Authentic, inspiring, I laughed, I cried.  A snippet:

I know Michelle has stated that she has no interest in elective office, but damn, girl!  If you change your mind, 2024 is just around the corner!

Still No There There

In a 5 year-old email stolen by WikiLeaks, Doug Band, an aide to Bill Clinton and president of Teneo Consulting, said he was instrumental in obtaining charitable donations from big corporations to the Clinton Foundation while simultaneously asking some of those donors to hire Bill for speaking and consulting work and for company board positions.  In the email, Mr. Brand claims his efforts provided Mr. Clinton with contracts worth $66 million in personal income in the period from 2011 to 2020, if said deals remain in force.

Nice work if you can get it!  And yet it's just another Clinton pseudo-scandal -- a Slick Willie finesse job that looks worse than it actually is.  Yes, Hillary was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.  During that time the Clinton Foundation still continued to perform actual charitable good works on a global scale.  There is still no evidence of influence peddling or any quid pro quo.  There's still no there there.  

It's certainly not, as Newt Gingrich called it, "the equivalent of organized crime."  Oh Newt, please!

And Trumpty Dumpty would be well-advised to avoid a comparison of his "charitable" foundation with the Clinton Foundation, and to steer clear of any I'm-more-ethical-than-thou contest with Hillary.

By the way, WikiLeaks has assisted Russia in an act of espionage, and steaming turd Julian Assange is Putin's puppet.

Don The Builder

Using a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank plus pie-in-the-sky income projections, in 2013 Donald Trump won a 60 year lease on the old post office/federal building on Pennsylvania Avenue, with government approval to turn it into a high-end "luxury" hotel.

Yesterday, at his hotel's grand opening, ribbon-cutting infomercial, Donald said his five-word theme of the day was "under budget and ahead of schedule."  (Six words, but that's Trump math.)

Under budget?  So says Honest Don, but he hasn't released any expense data, so who knows?

Ahead of schedule?  Trump initially promised the hotel would open at the end of 2015, then mid-2016, then September, and then finally October 26th.

Trump touted this project as an example of his unbelievable executive abilities and how he'd do things as president, saying the hotel was "a metaphor for what we can accomplish for the country, the same kind of thing."

Then he went down to Charlotte to proclaim his "New Deal for Black America."  Was he channeling FDR?  Uh, not so much.

In Donald's New Deal dream, he'd declare disaster areas in the "war zones" and "blighted neighborhoods" where people are "living in hell," raze everything, then rebuild all our inner cities with high-end luxury hotels -- gold leaf, crystal chandeliers, fresh linens every day, and a free continental breakfast for everyone!  The same kind of thing.  Make America great again.  LOL!

Don the Builder.  Builder of BS.

Monday, October 24, 2016

And Now, Another Moment With The Deplorables

Quoted in the Boston Globe, Steve Webb, 61, of Fairfield, Ohio says that on November 8th, he'll be an active albeit unofficial election observer on behalf of Trump:

"I'll look for . . . well, it's called racial profiling.  Mexicans.  Syrians.  People who can't speak American.  I'm gonna go right up behind 'em.  See if they're accountable.  I'm gonna make 'em a little bit nervous."

Thanks, Steve!  That was indeed truly deplorable.  And illegal.

Not Steve Webb, but close enough.

Gettysburg Address

Donald Trump was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania over the weekend to make a "major address."  I didn't listen to it, but from what I gather, it boiled down to this:

The Donald learns about Gettysburg for the very first time
from a federal employee whose job he will eliminate.
"First, I will sue all the lying nasty women, just like Abraham Lincoln did.

Then I will stop fraud and corruption with a hiring freeze on all federal employees because, as everyone knows, government employees are always, by their very nature, fraudulent and corrupt."

Some who were in attendance are saying that Honest Don's Gettysburg Address actually went like this:

"Fourscore and seven weeks ago I brought forth upon this continent a tremendous campaign, conceived as the most lucrative deal ever and dedicated to the self-evident proposition that nobody is my equal.
Now I am engaged in a rigged election, testing whether that nasty bitch is going to steal what is rightfully mine, or whether my campaign can lock her up where she belongs while I divert millions in donations into profit for my companies. I come here to dig up this sacred ground and lay the foundation for the greatest Trump Hotel ever, a luxurious resting place for scores of gorgeous models, whom I will date as soon as they turn 14. This I may with all my properties do.
But, in the making America great sense, after I inaugurate, I cannot allow anyone ever again to regulate or litigate against me or my enterprises. The corrupt media and party traitors who struggled to bar me from my goal I will subjugate. The world will deeply note, and forever remember, what I say here because I will order it engraved and covered in gold leaf on every building for 100 miles in every direction and memorized by every school child in the nation.
It is for me, the soon-to-be greatest president who ever was or will be, to obligate the nation to undertake the great task remaining ahead—that, from this day forward all shall be unwaveringly devoted to that cause for which I have dedicated myself, culminating in the birth of a government of me, by me, for me, to cherish forevermore." *
(* from Meteor Blades at dailykos.com)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Buster's Major Announcement

Today I, Buster Gammons, am making a major announcement.  I would like to promise and pledge to all of my readers and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic World Series -- if Cleveland wins.

Go Tribe!  
Party at Napoli's!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Third Debate, a.k.a. The Sh*t Show

The Shit Show.  That's what young son Buster Jr. called it, and I'd say that's an accurate description.  The third and final presidential debate (or whatever it was) is over.  Hallelujah!  Some of the best/worst WTF moments:

"Will you accept the result?"
"I'll look at it at that time.  I'll keep you in suspense." 
There's no suspense here, Donald.  You lose.  Bigly!

"We have some bad hombres here and we're gonna get them out."
Wow!  Who knew Donald could speak Spanish?

"No puppet!  You're the puppet!  You're the puppet!"
C'mon, I said it twice!

"Such a nasty woman."
That's President Nasty to you, Donnie.

"They rip the baby out of the mother in the ninth month."
OK, Dr. Trump.  Does the procedure begin when you grab her by the pussy?

Hey ESPN! Where Are The Indians Game Highlights?

As I hope you know, yesterday the Cleveland Indians moved on to the 2016 World Series by eliminating the Toronto Blue Jays four games to one.  Kind of a big deal, a big sports story.

So at 9 this morning I turned on ESPN's SportsCenter to see some game highlights and coverage of the Tribe's ALCS victory.  The 9:00 a.m. live edition of SportsCenter is (or used to be) the official start-of-the-day telecast for ESPN, and the Indians had to be the lead story.

Or not.  ESPN opened with highlights of the Cubs win over the Dodgers to even the NLCS at 2 games each.  Next was a discussion of what's wrong with Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, followed a piece on a New York Giants wife-beating asshole.  Then a segment on Alabama football.  Jeez!

At 9:18, they finally got around to the Indians.  ESPN anchor Jay Crawford showed some of his old Tribe swag from his childhood.  The two-champions-in-one-year dream scenario was debated, as was Jose Bautista's "shaking in his boots" bulletin board comment.  But still no game highlights!

What's going on?  Did ESPN change the rules and forget to tell me?  I switched the channel to the MLB Network.  Better.  All baseball, all the time.  Shoulda started there in the first place.

Go Tribe!  Party at Napoli's!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm Against Term Limits (And Anything Else Trump Says At This Late Date)

Donald Trump has finally decided to announce a pair of policy positions.  Ooh, how presidential!

First, he has issued an "Ethics Reform" statement.  Puh-leeeze!  The thought of Donald Trump lecturing the nation on ethics should result in either of two reflex reactions on your part -- convulsive laughter, or throwing up in your mouth a little bit.

Second, he has come out in favor of term limits.  Says he wants to "drain the swamp in D.C."  Not long ago, Trump was opposed to term limits, but whatever.  Term limits are like libertarianism -- sounds kinda good until you take a closer look and really think about it.  Won't happen, since it takes a Constitutional amendment, but thanks anyway, Donald, for blowing it out your ass.

As a general rule, term limits are a bad idea.

Fans of term limits talk about bringing in fresh faces and new ideas, fighting corruption in politics, and reducing the influence of money and lobbyists.

Politicians, both incumbents and wanna-be's, are engaged in public service.  Some politicians are better public servants than others, and many are individually well-off to begin with (campaigns take money), but nobody runs for city council or Congress or the White House just for the salary.

If you're a fresh face and if your new-trick ideas are really that much better than your old-dog opponent, then you have a fair and square chance of being elected.  Will you need connections, a good campaign staff, and sufficient funding?  Of course you will.  This is politics, Pollyanna.

Corruption can and does occur in politics, and in business, and in virtually every field of endeavor, but it is certainly not a given in any of them.  Does mere length of political service really increase the chance of corruption in an individual?  I don't think so.  There are many Reps and Senators who've accomplished things and served for decades without a whiff of stink.  Don't underestimate the value of experience and institutional knowledge.  That's why a lot of the old dogs get re-elected.  

The real problem with term limits is that the concept does nothing to reduce the influence of money and lobbyists.  In fact, term limits would increase that influence.  Term limits create an unwise revolving door -- current good politicians, old pros who know a thing or two, would be arbitrarily forced out.  And their replacements would not be legally allowed to stick around for very long.

What would stick around?  All the money, all the lobbyists, all the K Street crowd.  They wouldn't go anywhere, and they'd be only to happy to "educate" the endless stream of rookies promoted the big leagues.

As the great Charlie Pierce puts it, "The lobbyists would be the only ones left who know where the bathrooms are."  

I will say that I'm in favor of selective term limits, especially if I get to do the selecting.  Off the top of my head, I'd term-limit Robbie Portman, Pat Tiberi, and Mitch McConnell for starters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Trump Goes Low, Kathy Griffin Goes Lower

Profane, but perfect!

Buster's Special Voting Suggestion

As Donald Trump has been kind enough to point out, the upcoming election is rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.  It's been rigged by the New York Times, CNN (the Clinton News Network) and the rest of the liberal lame-stream media.  It's been rigged by widespread voter fraud -- individuals in Philadelphia and Chicago are voting ten times, and 1.8 million dead people are voting all over the country.  The fix is in and Rudy Giuliani says if you don't believe it, you're a moron.

So, for my conservative readers, here's my special voting suggestion for you:

Don't.  That's right, don't vote.  I mean, really, why bother?  The whole thing is a set up.  Donald says so.

Show your special sense of patriotism by refusing to participate in such an obvious sham.

Dissing The Donald In Dearborn

A snarky billboard in Dearborn, Michigan:


"Donald Trump can't read this, but he's scared of it anyway!"

Monday, October 17, 2016

And Now For The Local Yokels

It's finally time for some of our local candidates to run their little ads.  Two of my "favorites" from today:

U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R) was once my Congressman until both he and my current Rep. Pat Tiberi were gerrymandered into the GOP's perpetual protection program.  Both are as useless as a rudder on a duck's ass, but it was Stiver's ad that got my attention.

Stevie wants us to know that "when government gets too big, entrepreneurs suffer."  This is standard conservative dogma, repeated ad nauseum for 40 years without a shred of evidence.  Clearly, Stivers holds the Norquistian view that any government is always too big.  Please explain, Stevie, exactly how small government must be.  Then explain how entrepreneurs have been suffering under the boot heel of huge government.  Stivers' ad is without merit.  Naturally, it ends with images of the archetypal symbol of entrepreneurship, kids with a lemonade stand.

Then we have thing-that-wouldn't-leave Jim Hughes (R), former State Rep, former State Senator, now running to become State Rep once again.  To my knowledge, the major legislative accomplishment of his career has been his anti-piss-drinking bill.  (Seriously.  Check the link.)  http://bustergammons.blogspot.com/2010/02/piss-drinker-2009.html

Jim's current campaign ad touts his credentials as "a husband and father."  Not exactly unique, Jimbo, but good job on the vows and the sperm donation!

Neither of these hacks will break a sweat getting elected.  Pity.

Big "Quid Pro Quo" Story? Not So Much.

Donald insists the media are out to get him.  Bullshit!  The media are out for a story, they're out for themselves and their own ratings, period.  As CBS Chairman Les Moonves put it back in June, "Covering Trump may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS."

Today's "big story" illustrates the point.  Trump calls it "evidence of corruption at the highest level."  It's not.  Not even close.  Yet every major media outlet went bonkers over it for about five minutes.  For the benefit of my less-than-high-info readers, here's the scoop:

The FBI released another batch of one hundred of Hillary's private server emails.  One of these emails -- one -- suggested a possible quid pro quo, according to some.  A State Dept. official asked an FBI official to declassify a 2012 email about possible arrests in the Benghazi attacks. In exchange, the FBI guy asked the State guy for the OK to station more FBI agents in Iraq (something the FBI desired).

Both the State Dept. and the FBI have categorically denied any sort of mutual back-scratch.  The FBI refused to declassify the email.  And FBI staffing in Iraq was unchanged.  Nothing happened -- no harm, no nothing.  End of non-story.

"There is no there there." -- Gertrude Stein

P.S.  Please remember that a whole bunch of stuff is initially "classified" material.  Nothing gives a young FBI staffer a greater sense of importance than liberal use of the classified stamp.  The majority of all classified material is soon declassified.  "Classified" is not the same as "Top Secret."  Not in the same ballpark.


The Quotable Asshole

Just for fun!  From "The Quotable Asshole" by Sellers Publishing Inc.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. -- Steven Wright

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. -- Dorothy Parker

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography. -- Ambrose Bierce

The Semi-Daily Donald WTF

The WTF List:

  • Donald says Hillary must be using drugs and called for her to be drug-tested before the next debate.  WTF, Mr. Sniffy?
  • Donald is repeatedly claiming that the election is rigged against him by the "dishonest" media and by rampant yet undocumented voter fraud.  Because losing!  WTF, Donald?
  • A local GOP office in Hillsborough, NC was firebombed and vandalized.  Donald blames Hillary and says it was obviously done by "animals" (code?) representing her.  WTF, Donald?
  • Did you hear the one about the drunk at the end of the bar hollering about how Hillary is part of a secret global conspiracy of international bankers plotting to destroy American sovereignty?  No, wait, that was Donald Trump.  Donald, you sure do put the "con" in conspiracy theory!  WTF?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blue Collar

Another Small Sample, Same Result

Signs o' the times.

I've lived in my Columbus subdivision for almost 30 years, through many a political season.  Although the city as a whole is reliably blue, I'm sure a majority of our 307 property owners would self-identify as conservative.

Although most residents do not display candidate or issue yard signs during an election cycle, some do.  And over the years I've noticed that, in this neighborhood, Republican signs tend to outnumber Democratic signs.  (Based solely on yard signs in our 'hood, you would have predicted a Mitt Romney victory in 2012.)

It's different this year.  A lot different.  As of today, seventeen of our homes are representing with yard signs for Clinton-Kaine, just two for Trump-Pence.  Interestingly, a week ago we had five Trump signs.  Three owners have grown disgusted/embarrassed enough to pull their signs.  Will they still vote for the unqualified douchebag?  Does it even matter?

Sign-counting is not a scientific method, and my neighborhood is not an accurate barometer for political predictions, but using the small sample size of yard signs, we have it Clinton 17-Trump 2 (or 17- 5).  Either way, a clear and satisfying statement from our sign-posting residents.

Party Girl

The lovely Mrs. Gammons and I are acquainted (not closely) with one of our state legislators.  She's a Republican representing an area northwest of Columbus.  She and her husband are fine people, good company in social settings.  Legislatively, she's not a rabid right-winger -- she focuses on small, local issues with guaranteed bipartisan support, which is fine.  Still, it's obvious she has drunk deeply from the Kool-Aid bucket of conservative orthodoxy.

She's a birther, once telling us how embarrassed we'd all be when it would inevitably be proved that President Obama was not a "real" American.  And on her Facebook page (Mrs. Gammons is her FB buddy, not I), she poses proudly with a pink rifle, given to her by the NRA for her unwavering support.

Recently, she posted this on her Facebook page:

"For the record:
I am a Republican.  I vote Republican."

I guess that's her way of telling us that she's a Party Girl, always loyal to her party no matter what.

The question is, especially these days:  What the hell does that mean?

  • Does her loyalty mean she supports all her party's candidates, including the deplorable Donald Trump?  Does it mean she is voting for Trump?
  • Or does it mean she defines herself as a "real" Republican, an old-school never-Trump Republican?

Her inscrutable post leaves it to her followers to figure it out for themselves.  I suspect it's probably the latter, but she's just not willing to say so.  Who knows?  She's safe enough in her district regardless, but her party may not be.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Not Hope, Just . . .

Small Sample Size, But Satisfying

Yesterday afternoon, I was on a mission to obtain a Hillary Clinton yard sign.  I figured the most logical place to get one would be the Ohio Democratic Party offices in downtown Columbus.  But I was hungry, so my first stop was a fast-food place close to my home on the red-leaning northwest side.

As I sat down with my lunch tray, I noticed the restaurant's TV was showing Fox News and Donald Trump was on screen, yammering away at some campaign stop.  Mercifully, the volume was muted, but staring up at the TV were two "old guys" (I use the term advisedly!) and one of them was wearing a cheap, white trucker cap.  When he turned my way, I was sure I'd see "Make America Great Again" emblazoned on the front, but no, it was just an innocuous "Champion" brand sportswear hat.  Then I overheard him say, "I think Trump's actually insane."  His buddy replied, "Oh yeah, he's got real mental problems."

Done eating, I headed downtown to the state Democratic office.  To my surprise, they were completely out of Hillary yard signs.  All gone!  A nice young man working there told they'd get more, but he wasn't sure when, so he suggested I go to a Hillary campaign office on Parsons Avenue.  Although I didn't get what I came for, I was gratified by the fact that the state HQ was totally out of Hillary signs.  I left with a Ted Strickland sign. (Plenty of those available.  Damn!)

Moving on down the road to the south side, I found the Hillary office on Parsons and snagged a couple of signs.  Yay!  The good folks at that office lectured me a bit about the importance of getting out the vote.  (They were preaching to the choir.)  I walked outside to my car with my Clinton-Kaine signs in hand, and within ten seconds two different black guys driving by honked at me, waved and yelled pro-Hillary sentiments.

Let's recap:

  • Two "old" white guys on the conservative northwest side understand that Trump is bat-shit crazy.
  • The state Democratic headquarters is out of stock on Hillary signs.
  • Two random black motorists shout encouragement at random-old-white-guy me as I tote my Hillary signs to my car.  
Admittedly a small sample size, but I drove home happy.