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, February 26, 2017

The Truth

Donny Uses His Words

Last week Dolt 45 visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture and saw some things he'd obviously never seen or thought about before.  It was a deeply moving experience for our Loutish Leader, and he summoned up all his eloquence and boundless empathy.

Observing a stone auction block once used to sell slaves, he said, "Boy, that is just not good.  That is not good."

While viewing a set of leg shackles, he commented, "That is really bad.  That is really bad."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cattle Call For Morons

I've often commented on CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), the annual wing-nut dick-measuring contest where chest-thumping conserva-tards try to out-crazy each other in a succession of hate-mongering speeches.  The 2017 Fourth Reich version in Maryland may be the worst ever.

But in the midst of all the "Seig heil!" nastiness and propaganda, there was a moment of levity, courtesy of a pair of merry pranksters who distributed Russian flags emblazoned with "Trump" and encouraged attendees to wave them during Prima Donald's speech.  There was no shortage of willing morons:

As mentioned before in these posts, the dear wife and I are acquainted with Dorothy, a Republican State Rep from the Marysville area.  She's there in Maryland and she posted on her Facebook page that she's "PROUD to be here at CPAC!"

Oh Dorothy, you poor girl!  Bless your heart.  You shouldn't be proud, you should be ashamed.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Nazis Are Coming! The Nazis Are Coming!

The mask was lifted and it was disturbingly dangerous.

Steve Bannon (the de facto president) spoke yesterday at CPAC.  He vowed the Trump adminstration will estblish "a new political order" which will "deconstruct" the federal government as we know it.  He acknowledged that the new Cabinet heads were chosen to help do just -- destroy the agencies they lead.  He spoke of a policy of "economic nationalism" (authoritarian newspeak for build a wall around everything).  He said Trump's war against the media is "going to get worse.  Every day is going to be a fight."
Today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer banned the New York Times, the BBC and CNN from attending a press briefing.

OK, that does it!  It is indeed gonna be a fight.  Game on, and let's rumble, you assholes! 

Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly refute stories from the NY Times and CNN about the Trump campaign's Russian contacts and connections, financial and other.  The FBI rejected the reject, then leaked the story to the media.  (Says something about the FBI's assessment of new administration.)

A.G. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has reversed federal LGBT protections and instituted the National Potty Police.  In other policy switches, his DOJ is promoting the idea of for-profit private prisons, and they're cracking down on recereational marijuana use.

Homeland Security/ICE has declared all Muslims, Mexicans and brown people to be terrorists and bad hombres, and is busily engaged in deporting any of them with an overdue library book.

My headline is wrong.  The Nazis aren't coming.  They're already here.


Unproductive Pat

After skipping a constituents town hall meeting on Wednesday, last night I saw Pat Tiberi on TV trying to defend his weak-ass decision to avoid any future town halls or other public meetings where anyone might give him some verbal grief.  He said such gatherings are "chaotic" and not a "productive use of [his] time."  He said he's "just not going to do that," ever, but he's always ready to meet "individually or with small groups of 3 or 4 constituents."  Right!  ("No, I'm sorry, the Congressman can't see you Thursday either.  How about never?  Does never work for you?")

I was compelled to write to him yet again, using the subject of "healthcare" on his drop-down menu.

I am a constituent who was in attendance last night at the town hall in Beechwold, organized by Indivisible.  Where were you, Pat?

You are a craven chickenshit, afraid to face any group of citizens who disagree with you, too scared to deal honestly with any protest against you and your harmful ideas.

Your assertion that meeting with you individually or in tiny groups is better and more "productive" is nonsense.  You have no intention of doing so, and  even if you were to meet with every person in last night's town hall, you'd do nothing else for the rest of your term.  That's not productive.  The truth is you refuse to meet with any non-Republican group, be it Indivisible or others.  You're a bubble-dweller.

I've sent you many calm, reasonable and well-thought out emails about the ACA, and your responses (staff responses, I understand) are always a disappointment -- just boilerplate regurgitations of your tired, old, partisan "repeal & replace" fetish.  How is that productive?  You politely but callously ignore my concern, not listening to it, thinking about it or caring about it.   You will not be moved.  So don't be surprised if a lot of folks like me are fed up and angry and somewhat less than polite.  We're pissed off now and you can't hide from all of us forever.

I need affordable health insurance, and I personally need income-based premium subsidies.  I don't need any more of your policy papers, because your policies are WRONG, Pat.  Most Americans, even the majority in your gerrymandered 12th District, approve of the ACA and don't want to see it repealed.  You are standing against the majority; you're thwarting the will of the people. 

Your absence last night spoke volumes -- you're a true chickenshit, a clot in the artery of progress, and a failure as my elected official.  I'll do everything I can to unseat you.

Please don't bother to send me another pre-fab response.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tiberi Town Hall, or "Where You At, Pat?"

In the main meeting area.
The sign reads "Lives in Ohio.  Not getting paid to be here."
Tonight I attended a With-or-Without-You town hall meeting organized by constituents of my U.S. Congressman, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R).  Our purpose was to let Tiberi hear our views on his hateful commitment to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The meeting place was the Unitarian Church in Beechwold, and the place was jammed beyond capacity.  Organizers had said that over 1500 people made online commitments to attend.  That estimate may have been on the low side.  The main sanctuary was filled wall-to-wall.  It was SRO ten-deep around the perimeter and in the entry hall.  There was an overflow room with a video screen and people were packed in there like sardines.  Still more people spilled out the doors and stood outside.  The parking lot was full, and so were side streets and alleys.  The turnout was wonderfully encouraging, and I'm reasonably certain that none of us were paid to be there.  I know I wasn't.
Watching on video in the overflow room.

The Dispatch sent reporters and photographers.  Jerry Revish and a 10TV team showed up.  I rubbed elbows with State Rep. David Leland, and shook hands with Gov. Ted Strickland.

The only person not there was the safely gerrymandered Rep. Tiberi, who's a chickenshit weenie too scared to face the public and defend his indefensible positions.  He declined to attend.  In his stead, the organizers brought along a life-size cardboard cut-out of him -- Flat Pat.

Bad photo of "Flat Pat"

Regarding his absence, the lovely Mrs. Gammons made an excellent point:  In our jobs, most of us must occasionally deal with unhappy, complaining customers/clients/constituents.  It comes with the territory and there's no escaping it.  Unlike Pat, we cannot "decline to attend."

Paul Ryan Wants Me To Be Free -- Free Of Affordable Health Insurance

Freedom is the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need. Obamacare is Washington telling you what to buy regardless of your needs.

Milk Carton Kid

The New ICE Age

The forecast for America calls for cold-heartedness, cruelty, prejudice, racial profiling, disregard for basic human rights, and a steady downpour of lies and disinformation.

Long-range forecasting models predict a prolonged period of darkness and ugliness throughout the nation, for a duration of perhaps four years.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"States Rights"? Almost Always B.S.

Today I read that, regarding LGBT civil rights and the potty police, the 4th Reich administration will revoke some Obama rules and flip the whole thing back to the states.  That's because Baby Boy DT has "always believed" that such things should be left to the states.

Oh stop!  Setting aside the fact that Diaper Donny has held no beliefs about anything ever, please explain to me how this issue has anything to do with states rights.  Is it in any way different in, say, Rhode Island as opposed to New Mexico?  No, it is not.

"States rights" is usually bullshit, a rationale for doing nothing, for preserving prejudice and awful discrimination.  The most instructive example is, of course, slavery.  The non-existent "right" of South Carolina to use slave labor was no more defensible back then than the nebulous "right" of North Carolina to pass laws today about who pees where.  Is murder or theft or assault or fraud permissible some states but illegal in others?  Nope.  No "states rights" when it comes to those things.

Now, I'll acknowledge that states rights/home rule has some legitimate application.  Local taxation leaps to mind.  As does state/local legislation which treats federal law as the minimum requirement, then ups the ante.  Some state minimum wage and state EPA regs are good examples.  There are doubtless many others.  

But usually, when some politician cites states rights as a rationalization, you may be assured of two things:

1. Said politician is a conservative Republican, and  2. Said politician wants to screw somebody over.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Does That Make Me A Traitor?

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing NY Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

Thus tweeteth Trump.

Since that's how he sees it, then I gotta tell ya:  I'm with the enemy.

I suppose that makes me a traitor.

So, which news sources does the Cheeto Benito recommend?
1.  Himself
2.  Any which make "nice statements" about him
3.  Rush Limbaugh, who is "one of the greatest"

In case you don't recognize the Trump style of media villification, it's called fascism.

Friday, February 17, 2017

EPA: The "P" Used To Stand For "Protection"

Now it looks like it'll stand for "pillaging."

Scott Pruit is the new director of the EPA.  He's a ringer for the oil and gas industry who's been a career-long opponent of the agency he now leads.  It's hard to imagine a worse choice.

Pruitt has sued the EPA many times and calls it an "activist" agency.  He prefers the inactive approach, which means the federal government takes a nap, because . . . states rights!  In his view, the states have the right to shit where they live, and pollution magically stops at the state line.  West Virginia can pump CO2 into the atmoshpere and dump coal sludge in the rivers, and all that poison just comes to a screeching halt at the border.

What an idiot!

America is an ugly country right now and things look bleak.  Many years of progress are being rolled back -- it's hard to watch, knowing that not much that can be done to stop it for now.  But keep the faith.  Each state has its own EPA and it's possible that some sensible states will retain environmental regulations superior to and more effective than what Pruitt plans at the federal level.  But it's more likely that many states will happily abuse the new lax rules and exploit the land, air and water in the name of making a buck.

As hard as it is to see progress being reversed, remember that our turn will come again and we'll have our chance to move forward and restore some sanity to our society.  I hope we get the chance before it's too late.


What's Uranium?

Let Mr. Wizard 'splain it:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump's Presser Was Weapons-Grade Crazy

Did you happen to catch any of today's press conference with Mr. Mousehands?  Wow!  It was a real tour de farce.

Ostensibly held to introduce his new Labor Secretary pick (the guy wasn't even there), it quickly veered into Terra Incognita.  A presidential press briefing like none other -- rambling, bitter, accusatory, and crazier than a shit-house rat!

Trump wouldn't discuss firing Mike Flynn and the growing concern about the Russia scandal.  No no, he was there instead to fling shiny objects into the air; he was there to deflect, distract, lie and change the subject.

He took his Twitter tantrum of yesterday and cranked it up to eleven: 

  • An hour-long, all-out attack on the press -- "The press is so dishonest, out of control.  They won't tell you the truth."
  • An insistence that possible collaboration with Russia doesn't matter, but the leaks about it do.  "The leaks are real.  The news is fake."  He called it "false, horrible, fake reporting."
  • A return to his pre-occupation with size.  He bragged once again, and apropos of nothing, about his electoral college victory, claiming it was the largest since Reagan.  It wasn't.  (And he's the one trying to make an issue of fake news.)
Trumpistopheles is looking sweaty and desperate.  It's reminiscent of Watergate, don't you think?  Recall that it was Nixon's anger over leaks that led to his ultimate undoing.  Nixon hated the press, Trump hates the press.  Both hoped that constant media-bashing would buy some public goodwill and distract from the real issues at hand.

It didn't work for Nixon.  If the media continues to do its job and sticks its guns, it won't work for Trump either.  Keep the pressure on!

A couple final thoughts:

If you really believe that Breitbart.com is honest and credible and the New York Times is not, you are stuck on stupid, and there's no hope for you.

Some notes on size, for the benefit of Donnie Daintyfingers:

  • 54% of voters did not for you.
  • Of all eligible voters, only 27% voted for you.  (Yes, that means too many people stayed home.)
  • Mitt Romney had more votes losing Wisconsin in 2012 than you did winning it in 2016.


My Good-For-Nothing Senator

"Please support a bipartisan and independent investigation into the unseemly relationship between the Trump administration and the Russian government."

Yesterday, I sent that single-sentence email request to my U.S. Senators and my Representative.  I've sent many things in recent years, and I seem to be picking up the pace these days.  While Sherrod Brown's office always responds specifically on-topic to my missives, replies from Republicans Robbie Portman and Pat Tiberi are marvels of deflection and bullshit bafflement.

Portman's office responded today.  It usually takes them a couple weeks.  Perhaps the speed of the reply indicates that many constituents are asking for the same thing.  I don't know, but the response was classic Portman boilerplate:

It began by thanking me for my "concern regarding election interference" (I didn't say that) then went on at great length to rehash what's already common knowledge about Russia's meddling in our election.  Portman's office took 7 paragraphs and over 800 words to utterly ignore my concern.  There was not one word which addressed my call to investigate Trump's Russian connections.  It was a non-response, a waste of everyone's time.

Portman is useless -- he doesn't care, doesn't share my values, doesn't work for my benefit.  Whether you call or write, communicating with him is always an exercise in frustration and spin.  Yet it must be done.  It's one way we can burst Robbie's bubble of conceit and show organized opposition to the awful Trump/GOP agenda.

He Knows So Few Words, And Misspells Most Of Them

His words may be "the best," but his ability to spell them is the worst.

As widely reported, and duplicated here for the sheer WTF fun of it, selected spellings from the Terrible Tiny Twitterfingers of Donald J. Trump:

attakers  (attackers)
honer/honered  (honor/honored)
Denmakr  (Denmark)
Columbia  (Colombia)
non-sense  (nonsense)
unpresidented (unprecedented)
leightweight chocker  (lightweight choker)
lyen  (lyin')
dummer  (dumber)
Barrack  (Barack)
Bobby Night  (Bobby Knight)
Phoneix  (Phoenix)

Born-Again Baloney From Pious Pence

"A lie is just a truth that hasn't gone through conversion therapy yet." -- Mike Pence*

* Not an actual Mike Pence quote, although it might as well be.

 "I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order." -- Mike Pence**

"Do I believe in evolution?  Um . . . I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas, and all that's in them." -- Mike Pence**

"We in Indiana are following the message of scripture.  Jesus would never have welcomed a sinner into his workplace." -- Mike Pence**

** Actual Mike Pence quotes

I'm not a religious person, but to borrow a phrase, God help us!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

We Have Underestimated

I think we've underestimated the depth of this man's mental illness.

The "real" scandal is not him and his ties to Russia, no, never.  It's security leaks, it's newspapers and TV shows, it's Hillary, it's Obama, yada yada yada.  Donny is Cleopatra -- the Queen of Denial.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Another Presidential Moment


Flynn Is Out, And The Plot Thickens

In a non-surprise, career crackpot and dangerous security risk Gen. Michael Flynn has "resigned" as national security adviser.  Notwithstanding his conveniently faulty memory of the events, it seems that Flynn did indeed discuss lifting sanctions (and who knows what else) with Russia while Obama was still in office.  What's a little sedition here and there?

Flynn is just a sacrificial lamb.  His obvious and clumsy involvement with the Russian government is just the tip of the iceberg.  The Trump-Russia connection cries out for more investigation!  There should be no hesitation in launching a Congressional investigation, or even better, an independent investigation with a special counsel.

But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who heads the Congressional oversight committee, has delivered the Republican party line by saying he will not invesitigate anything because "it's taking care of itself."

No, No, No!!  Nothing "takes care of itself," especially this.  It's a critically important issue with potentially vast implications, and we deserve answers.  What did Trump know, and when?  Don't let the GOP sweep this under the rug!  Contact your congressional representatives and demand investigations now.

Here's a good article touching on some of the many questions and conflicts posed by Trump's Russian connection:


Excerpt from the linked article:

The bottom line is that Putin is far shrewder than Trump and capable of playing him like a balalaika. And despite the departure of security risk Michael Flynn, with the likes of the foolhardy Steve Bannon, the dangerous professional twerp/presidential advisor Stephen Miller and others still egging Trump on — obsessed with a nightmarish hallucination about America and the world’s future — we live at one of the most dangerous moment in our republic’s history.
Unlike those days 50 years ago when Russia posed a different kind of ideological threat, one that had us building fallout shelters and teaching kids to duck and cover, this is not a drill.

Trump's Presidency Finalizes Our National Divorce

I thought this was an interesting analogy for the current state of American political society:  No more counseling, no more false hopes of reconciliation.  Trump is the last straw -- it's divorce, with a custody battle.


Excerpts from the article by Aaron Loeb.

Politically, our country has been undergoing a trial separation for the past 20-30 years.  At some point, I realized the other side was in it just to win and had thrown all propriety, all history, all common bond out the window.  I realized the other side considered me the enemy.

So for decades, we've spent less and less time together.  But we agreed on one thing:  we loved the kid.  We have maintained some bond of contact because we love this country.

And now, why is everyone I know so sad?  Because we still loved you, you jerks!  We still wanted to share this country with you, in all of its abundance and glory.  And 2016 has killed that ember of hope.  We now understand that this trial separation was never a trial for you.  You hate us, you don't want to be with us anymore and you will do anything to keep the kid all to yourselves.  The realization is painful.

By electing Donald J. Trump, you have asked us for a divorce.  Really, you've demanded it.

We could have had a divorce with shared custody.  Not anymore.  We're going to hire the nastiest, toughest, smartest, leg-breaking-est lawyers in the country.  We're taking you to court.  And we're taking the kid.

If you think we're snowflakes, you better prepare for the blizzard coming your way.

Monday, February 13, 2017

"It Sounded Better In The Original German"*

*  Jeff Greenfield

Stephen Miller, speaking on one of the Sunday morning political interview shows.  Miller is one the foremost assholes in the new administration.  He wrote Trump's now-blocked travel ban.

Of course, Trump agreed with Miller's aggressively authoritarian stance, and tweeted all his love:  "Congratulations, Stephen Miller.  Great job!"

Jawohl, mein Kommandant!

No More Mr. Nice Guy! NO to Judge Gorsuch!

I saw it today for the first time -- a 30-second TV ad touting Trump's SCOTUS pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch.  I can't believe we've sunk so low.

The ad is paid for by the Judicial Crisis Network (nice name!), a purely partisan 501(c)(4) devoted to promoting ideologically conservative judges.

In the ad, "Jane" is a former Gorsuch clerk who worked in the Obama adminsistration and she wants us to know that Judge Gorsuch is a just wonderful human being.  No worries!

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!  I don't believe you, Jane, and I don't care!  It's time for a little turnabout-is-fair-play.  No more Mr. Nice Guy!  It's time to fight fire with fire and show the Republicans all the same courtesy and consideration with Gorsuch that they extended to Judge Merrick Garland -- which is to say none at all!     

Gorsuch can't get Senate confirmation without 8 or more Democrats, and that's just not gonna happen.  No way.  So he's a no-go, it's a stand-off and the open seat will remain unfilled.

Unless ol' Turtle Face changes the rules and takes the easy way, the "nuclear option," and allows confirmation by a simple majority.  And that's almost certainly what McConnell will do, because it's all he can do.

But just remember, Mitch, what goes around comes around.  Watch out for next time!

And Other Things Abraham Lincoln Never Said

The GOP is nothing if not relentlessly, stubbornly, and proudly ignorant.

To commemorate Abe Lincoln's birthday, the Republican National Committee shared a photo of the Lincoln Memorial along with a famous quote from our 16th president.  Just one problem -- Lincoln never said it!

The Twitterverse erupted in hilarity, posting other famous Lincoln non-quotes.  Some of the best:

View image on Twitter

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Bear In The Room

American intelligence agencies agree that Russia, as ordered by Putin, conducted a covert operation to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, for Trump's benefit.  This cyber-espionage included hacking Democratic Party targets and publishing stolen emails via WikiLeaks.

On the long, long list of things about this deserving more scrutiny, more coverage and more sunlight :
  • Campaign manager Paul Manafort worked directly for Russia to subvert the Ukranian government and was paid millions for it.
  • Russian officials have acknowledged they were in regular contact with the Trump campaign.
  • Trump personally and publicly asked Russia to commit a crime on his behalf -- to hack U.S.data servers and find Hillary's "missing" emails.
  • Trump has been financially bailed out -- bigly! -- by Russian oligarchs and owes them untold millions.
  • Pro-Kremlin commentators called Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "a Christmas gift from America to the Russian people."
  • National Security Advisor Michael Flynn phoned the Russian ambassador in December to discuss and undermine Obama's sanctions against Russia for the election interference.  According to multiple sources, Flynn's message was, "Don't worry about the sanctions.  Trump will take care of it."  Flynn then lied about it.  Flynn is this generation's Ollie North.
  • Flynn has appeared on Russian state TV, sat beside Putin at a Russian state dinner, and has a lobbying firm which is being paid by the Turkish government as we sit here.
The obvious Trump-Russia connection is the big old bear in the room.  It's even bigger than we know, and not enough is being said or done.  Although it's easy to get distracted by all of Trump's shit-flinging, ball-grabbing circus monkey antics, the media must not drop the ball on this one -- stay on it, keep asking, keep digging, keep the pressure on!

This is the big one, and when the whole truth comes out, it won't be pretty.