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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Brat Man In The Front Row At NATO

Not only were his words offensive -- "You Euro-losers don't pay enough!" -- so were his actions:

What. An. Asshole.

Thoughts On History From Two Eminent Thinkers

"American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it."
                                                      -- James Baldwin, author

"Surely our current situation as a country teaches us again the importance of history."
                                                      -- Sister Miriam Corcoran, SCN*

*Sister Miriam is the great aunt of my nephew's wife.  Her quote is taken from a lovely personal note she recently sent me.  My "little Sis" is a hell of a gal!  Am I allowed to say that about a nun?

Comment To Sen. Rob Portman

Dear Senator Rob,

As your constituent, I'm so glad to read that you oppose the Ryan/Trump House health "deform" plan, a.k.a. the ACHA.  It's a hideous and cruel joke, which would reward the wealthy and the healthy while punishing the poor and the sick.  Yesterday's CBO scoring confirms just how awful the ACHA would really be.

It's worth noting that I've been covered by a subsidized plan under the ACA/Obamacare for some time, and, at age 62, I recently received a surprise Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.  The ACA is keeping me alive.  The ACHA might very well kill me if enacted into law.

Happily, it's clear that it won't become law.  What's unclear is just what you GOP Senators are going to come up with, if anything.  Here is what you should do:

Keep the ACA/Obamacare and strengthen it to expand coverage, instead of shrink it.  There are still millions of Americans who lack health coverage.  As a nation, this fact should be an embarrassment to us and to you as an elected official who can do something about it.  Take care of everyone.

Reject the bogus idea that substandard, loophole-ridden, cheap policies are a valid means of expanding coverage.  Retain the ACA's required essential medical benefits.

Exert strong federal control over individual plans offered on the exchanges.  The current state-controlled system doesn't work. well.  By leaving it up to 50 different insurance departments in 50 different states, you potentially create 50 different sets of rates and rules for the same hypothetical person.  Require a sufficient minimum number of private insurers to participate in the exchanges.  The idea that huge (and hugely profitable) carriers like Aetna and United Health "can't afford" to offer competitive plans is absurd.  Impose federal premium/price controls when necessary.

Adhere to the group coverage philosophy.  Embrace the concept of strength in numbers, and keep the individual mandate.  The more people we have on the exchanges, in the "risk pool," the better we spread the risk and control/reduce costs for everyone.  Isolating the old, the sick, and those with pre-existing conditions does the exact opposite.  

Maintain income-based premium subsidies at their current levels.  The ACHA's age-based tax credit scheme would drastically cut premium support to millions, including me.  It's a really stupid idea -- people pay premiums with their income, not their age.

Resist the pressure from your far-right brethren to defund the ACA/Obamacare with unnecessary and unwise tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Lastly -- and this is the biggie -- offer a properly funded, government-run, Medicare-for-all public option on the exchanges, as a competitive alternative to the individual plans offered by private carriers.  It's an idea whose time has come, and you know it.  If such a public option would be the first step toward a genuine universal single-payer system (as exists in the rest of the world), then so be it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roadtrip Memories

Melania's Great Escape (Animated Video)

Can't seem to find the embed code for the video, so click the link to play.
Did you catch the inscription on the golden gates of Mar-A-Lago?


She Means It: "I Said, Off Me, Little Man!"

Another day, another don't touch me avoidance move.  "Gotta fix my hair now."  I'm starting to develop a smidgen of respect for Melania.

Notes At The Holocaust Memorial

Two presidents, two notes left at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel:
. vs. at Yad Vashem. Starkly different.

Obama's letter:
I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man's potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim 'never again.' And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.

It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends—so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!

Obama's note obviously took some thought, and it displayed the proper tone of respect and gravitas.

Trump scribbled a quick Twitter-style note, which is the sad limit of his vocabulary and attention span.  "All of my friends"?!  At the Holocaust museum?  WTF?  The man is an idiot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Satan's Budget Explained

Trumpistopheles is proposinging his very first big boy budget, and he proposes to cut $3.6 trillion from the federal budget.  That's trillion, with a "t."  To paraphrase the late conservative curmudgeon Sen. Everett Dirksen, "A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

Federal budgets are very complex and sophisticated things, difficult for anyone to understand.  So please allow me to me offer this very simple explanation of the Trump budget:
  • Are you part of the military-industrial complex?  Relax, you're fine.  You get even more money than before.
  • Are you wealthy, and want for nothing?  Congratulations!  You get some sweet tax cuts.
  • Are you not wealthy and getting some federal assistance or protection?  Fuck you, you're not getting it anymore.
This malevolent budget from hell is a Tea Bagger's wet dream.  It has no chance of being approved by Congress.  Try again, Diablo.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unfair To Children

The analogy is pervasive among his critics:  Donald Trump is like a child.  Making him the president was like making a 4-year-old the leader of the free world.

But the analogy is profoundly wrong, and it's unfair to children.

Four-year olds care deeply about the truth.
Four-year olds are insatiably curious.
Four-year olds can pay attention.
Four-year olds understand the difference between fantasy and reality.
Four-year olds have an understanding of their own minds and those of others.
Four-year olds are not egocentric or self-centered, and they care about how other people feel and think.
Four-year olds have a strong moral sense.
Four-year olds are sensitive to social norms and think that they and others should obey them.

We'd all be better off if Mr. Trump were more like that.

"Shut up!  My coloring book is the best!"

From a 5/21/17 NY Times op-ed by Alison Gopnik, 
psychology professor at UC Berkeley 

What He Never Said

While visiting Israel, Comrade Trumpski clarified his recent Oval Office spill-fest with his Russian BFF's:

"Never said it, OK?"
"Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word 'Israel.'  Never mentioned it.  Oh, I may have said Zion, or the Jewish State, or the Hebrew Nation, or Bibi's Playhouse, or Klub Kibbutz, but I definitely never said Israel.  So I'm in the clear, and all of you are just wrong wrong wrong!"  

"Off Me, Little Man!"

Melania:  "I don't care where we are, you pin-dicked bug-fucker!  Get your tiny hands off me!"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

No Coincidence Here! Nope, None At All

  • While in Saudi Arabia, President Yam Face agreed to a $110 billion arms sale to his hosts.  The Saudis are buying a bunch of new planes, ships, tanks and a missile defense system from us.  Because sometimes, lopping off heads and hands and stoning women to death is just not enough.
  • Simultaneously, the Saudis and the U.A.E. agreed to donate $100 million to Ivanka's "charitable" foundation for women in business.  So many of those in Saudi Arabia!

These two things happened on the same weekend!  With Ivanka accompanying Daddy Dearest to the Middle East in her official capacity as "Assistant to the President."  No coincidence here!  Shit just happens.

Remember when the Disagreeable Don called the Clinton Foundation a "criminal enterprise" and bitched about how those cruel Saudis donated $25 million to her awful foundation?  But now the Saudi donation of $100 million to Ivanka is just fine.

How many times will this sleazy, corrupt family violate the Foreign Emoluments Clause before we toss them out of the White House?  

Here's a nice snarky tweet from a WaPo reporter:
Drew HarwellVerified account @drewharwell  4 hours ago
Ivanka gives Saudi speech on female empowerment. Female reporters were kicked out, but were told later it was great!

And one from the Terrible Tweeter himself from 2015:


My First Big Boy Trip

From Slate.com

My First Big Boy Trip

By Donald J. Trump.

Natalie Matthews-Ramo
Natalie Matthews-Ramo
I’m getting ready for my big foreign trip.
I will be strongly protecting American interests—that’s what I like to do!
The airplane ride is hours and hours. I get lots of screen time! No one wants to give me my phone, but I shout and shout until they say OK.
On the plane, the pilot pins shiny wings to my jacket. Yay! I like planes as much as I like trucks!
Our first stop is Saudi Arabia. Jared says it is like a beach, big and hot and full of sand. No girls are allowed on the beach.
They eat crazy food in Saudi Arabia, like hummus! But I get to order a steak with ketchup, just the way I like it.
Mr. Steve tells me Muslims are the bad guys, but General Jim says I have to be nice to them. It’s confusing!
I wish General Mike was here. I’m not allowed to play with him anymore.
After Saudi Arabia we go to Israel, where the best Jews live. My friend Bibi sneaks into my room after dark and tells me scary stories about the bad ISIS men. I can’t wait to go home and tell my friends Sergey and Sergey.
I don’t want to go to the sad museum.
In Italy, they call pizza PIZZA! My teachers tell me that if I sit by myself and think about the long-term economic and security benefits of our multilateral North Atlantic defense regime, I can have pepperoni.
I get to meet the “pope”!
Don’t tell anyone, but before I left I was a little bit scared about my trip.
What if the other leaders laughed at me?
What if I had to touch Melania?
What if I had an accident?
But Ivanka said I should be brave. “Who’s my big brave boy?” Ivanka asked me.
“I am,” I said. “I’m a big brave boy.”
It’s been an exciting trip, but when it’s over, I’ll be glad to be home at Mar-a-Lago, where I get as much ice cream as I want.

Shootin' The Curl

Cowanbunga, dude!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Wanna Get Away?

Are you caught in a shit storm for impulsively firing the FBI director, for getting caught sharing classified intelligence with Russian diplomats, and for having a special prosecutor appointed to investigate you?

Do you suffer from historically low approval ratings because two-thirds of America has figured out you're a narcissistic, incompetent, lying sack of monkey crap?

Are you tired of it all?  Wanna get away?

Then by all means you should leave the country and go spend time with all your great Muslim friends in Saudi Arabia!  Because they really love you over there, and I'm sure the entire Islamic world is just thrilled at the prospect of your visit.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S."

"I think Islam hates us."

"I'd certainly implement a Muslim database base.  Absolutely."

"I call it extreme vetting.  Extreme vetting."

"People coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, if I win, they're going back."

Treated More Unfairly Than Any Politician In History

Swiped from the FB page of the lovely Mrs. Gammons.  Thank you, dear!

Trump Names Dr. Jack Kevorkian New Secretary of Trumpcare

By Manny Schewitz (almost certainly not his real name), for TheRedSchtick.com

After the House of Representatives passed its repeal of Obamacare, there was plenty of speculation about the replacement plan, which likely will be known as Trumpcare. Many questions abounded, including who would oversee the transition, which President Donald Trump moved quickly to address.
Speaking from the 15th bunker at Mar-a-Lago — which had been scanned by the Secret Service for any potential Sand People — The Donald proudly announced his new Secretary of Trumpcare, after proclaiming his triple bogey a win over obstructionist Democrats.
“The liberal media has unfairly reported Trumpcare as unfair to people with pre-existing conditions,” Trump said. “They have criticized my tremendous appointees as being unqualified or beholden to corporate interests. Sad!”
Following copious struggles through the 18th green, Trump announced his 30-over-par round as a huge success and prepared to introduce his new health care czar, who died in 2011.
“Dr. Kevorkian is well-known for his amazing work, and we haven’t seen a nominee as qualified for this job since Josef Mengele.”
“For far too long, millions of Americans have dealt with costly end-of-life expenses and needless medical costs for pre-existing conditions, like being a woman. It is unfair for these individuals to weigh down our tremendous health care system, which is the best in the world. Believe me.
“After consulting with Paul Ryan, we have decided the best way for us to reduce medical premiums and waste is to appoint Dr. Jack Kevorkian as our new Secretary of Trumpcare. Dr. Kevorkian is well-known for his amazing work, and we haven’t seen a nominee as qualified for this job since Josef Mengele.
“We have reviewed his record, and he has an amazing track record in treating patients and saving unnecessary costs. In fact, not one of his clients has ever issued a complaint after completing treatment.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Russian Transcript Of Trump-Lavrov-Kislyak Meeting

To prove that there was nothing suspicious about the recent Oval Office meeting between Dear Leader and two Russian diplomats, Vladimir Putin graciously offered to provide a written transcript of the proceedings.  Buster has obtained a copy.  Here it is:
Satirical transcript of Trump and Lavrov
As you can see, Putin was right.  Nothing to worry about. 

Roger Ailes Is Dead

On occasions such as this, the old Mark Twain quote is always called for:

"I won't attend the funeral, but I'll send a nice note saying I'm in favor of it."

If The Witch Hat Fits, . . .

I Will Not "Thank Paul Ryan"

Yes, I'm fond of slamming slimy, misleading "issue" ads -- the kind paid for by shadowy, dark money sources and usually ending with a command to "thank" some lawmaker who has done their bidding.

Well, I'm gonna do it again.  Forgive my repetition, but I can't help myself.  Because this one is a record-setting dung heap, literally fact-free:  

It's 30 seconds of delusion and self-congratulation for the ACHA, the Republican House plan to kick 24 million people off health insurance, throw sick and old people under the bus, and give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  Yeah, that one -- roundly panned, hugely unpopular, and DOA in the Senate.  Congratulations are not in order.

The spot is from the American Action Network, a conservative 501 (c) (4) with a history of deceptive political advertising.

Paul Ryan's fabulous health care plan may very well kill me.  I will not be thanking him for anything, short of jumping off a goddam cliff. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lawful, But Awful

So it turns out that after firing James Comey for his ongoing investigation into the Russian connection, Comrade Trumpski immediately met with Russian diplomats and blabbed highly classified intelligence information to them.  You can't make this stuff up.

Putin is happy, but the rest of the world is aghast.  Trump's ego-driven, bragadocious, big, fat, repulsive mouth has endangered both our allies and our own intelligence agents.  Naturally, Donnie Distemper threw a twitter tantrum, basically saying, "So f'ing what?  I was within my rights.  It was legal.  Kiss my orange ass!"
Like so many spoiled children and selfish, ignorant adults, Trump's feeble defense misses the larger point:  There is often a critical difference between being within one's rights and doing what is right.

Donald Trump is hopelessly inept and unfit for his office.  He's a clear and present danger to the nation and the world.  His "base" may disagree, but to hell with them -- they're idiots.  It's time for all right-thinking Republicans to come to the aid of their country and join the rest of us in resolving to boot this bozo ASAP. 

The latest funny "headline" from the New Yorker's Andy Borowitz:

"Three Russian Spies Meet in Oval Office!"

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dinner With The Two-Scoop Kid

As you may know, Dolt 45 recently invited three Time magazine correspondents for a highly-choreographed photo-op tour of the White House, followed by a four-course dinner in the Blue Room.  The tour was standard spin, but the dinner was revealing.  As Time reported on May 11th:

"As he settles down, they bring him a diet Coke, while the rest of us are served water.  For the salad course, Trump is served what appears to be Thousand Island dressing instead of the creamy vinaigrette for his guests.  When the chicken arrives, he is the only one given an extra dish of sauce.  At the dessert course, he gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, instead of the single scoop for everyone else."

He's living every little kid's dream -- more ice cream.

Now let's turn to Frank Bruni's May 14th column in the New York Times:

"By the magazine's account, there was no explanation.  None was needed.  He's the president and you're not.

"One scoop of imperiousness.  Another of insecurity.  Top generously with impulsiveness.  That's Trump -- a raging, pouting child.

"He's our youngest president ever.  When I picture him at that Time magazine dinner, with a portion bigger than anybody else's, I don't see him on a throne, I see him on a highchair, keeping his audience guessing about just how much ice cream he'll fling against the wall."

Doesn't Everyone Have A Golden Bed?

Ivanka's shit-for-brains Mother's Day tweet.  Stone-cold, tone-deaf, and impossibly out of touch with reality.  When it comes to common sense, the "First" Family is dead last.

Happy Mother's Day to my incredible mom, Ivana. And to my children, thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood. You are my inspiration!