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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Your Daily Donald WTF

Well, I guess I'm back to this, although we've escalated above simple WTF's.  What's the next Def-Con after WTF?  In any event, shit's gettin' real.  Our douchebag-elect has a Twitter account but still has no filters, no impulse control, and no clue. Recent examples:

  • Reiterated his vow to "tear up" the multi-national Iran nuclear arms prevention deal.  World leaders and experts immediately condemned his reckless and belligerent threat.  C.I.A. chief John Brennan said it would be "disastrous" and the "height of folly."  WTF Donald?
  • All alone in Dump Tower and feeling all spunky with Islamophobic 20-20 hindsight, he late-night tweeted that Abdul Artan, the OSU attacker, "should not have been in our country."  He was a refugee here legally with his mother and six siblings.  How would he be kept out, Donnie?  "A complete and total ban on all Muslims!  Extreme vetting!"  Wonderful.  WTF Donald?  
  • Tweeted that he will be "completely out" of his numerous business interests, "in total," because it is "visually important."  (Visually?)  He has previously said he'd put his business in a "blind trust" run by his kids (which would not be even come close to a blind trust).  He has not promised to divest himself, and he still has not released his tax returns.  His conflicts of interests are yuge, obvious, and potentially unconstitutional.  WTF Donald? 
  • Even though he hasn't yet begun, he told Newt Gingrich that "This is really a bigger job than I thought."  Well, duh!  What kind of moron underestimates the most critically important job in the entire friggin' world?  You know who.  WTF Donald? 

Revised Pledge

"I pledge no allegiance to the flag
of the Divided States of America,
and to the split Republic
for which it does not stand,
two nations, under Trump, torn apart,
with bigotry and injustice for all."

Romney Ought To Know

As an infamous Tweet-aholic might put it, "Sad."

I refer to the sight of Mitt Romney debasing himself, bowing and scraping before the tiny fingered tyrant.

Not long ago, Romney called Trump "a phony, a fraud."  And Mitt ought to know, because he's obviously one himself.

Mitt looks a little ill.  Must be the crow he's eating.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Horror, The Horror (Of Trump's Cabinet Picks)

These are troubling times, dear readers, and I fear we are about to be deeply screwed.

Much like he is for his buddy Vladi Putin, the thing-who-will-be-president is proving to be a useful idiot for the far-right Republican wingnuts.  With Steve Bannon in his ear, his Cabinet picks so far are a conservative's wet dream of inexperienced ideologues, loyalists, and patronage.

The horrifying nominees to date:

Jeff Sessions for Attorney General -- Pinhead Alabama Senator.  A racist, anti-immigrant, mean old SOB so prejudiced he could not win confirmation as a federal judge.  At dinner, will he put the napkin on his lap or cut eye-holes in it and wear it on his face?

Tom Price for Secretary of Health & Human Services -- Tea Bag Georgia Representative.  Former doctor and major hater of ObamaCare.  As Health Secretary, his only purpose will be to strip 20 million Americans of their health care.  How unhealthy, how inhumane, how cruel.

Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary -- Slimy ex-Goldman Sachs partner and hedge fund guru who personally profited from the housing meltdown.  Now a Hollywood mover-and-shaker.  "Let's do lunch and talk about how the Great Recession was great -- for me!"

Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary -- Billionaire donor, Amway wife, tan mom, and Calvinist religious nut.  Opponent of public education, and strong proponent of for-profit Christian charter schools.  Her husband Richard believes creationism should be taught in our schools.  Very educational.

Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary -- Fossilized billionaire and vulture capitalist.  Specialty is buying struggling companies for a song, ruthlessly downsizing and outsourcing, then selling the remnants for a profit.  Now that's what I call commerce!

Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary -- Well, she does have some governmental experience.  On the other hand, she's friggin' Mitch McConnell's wife, for cryin' out loud!  Mrs. Cecil.  Uh, yup.  And she's Asian too.  Look!  Diversity!

Unless a few Republican Senators grow a spine, all these backward-yearning nominees are assured of confirmation.  In 2013, frustrated by years of Republican obstruction of all of Obama's nominations to the federal judiciary, Democratic leader Harry Reid went for the "nuclear option" and passed a new Senate rule to allow judges (non-SCOTUS) and Cabinet appointments to be confirmed with a simple majority instead of the previous three-fifths majority.

That was understandable and OK, but what goes around comes around, and now -- the Senate is 52 R - 48 D -- there's no way to stop these deplorables unless three or more Republican Senators find their long-lost conscience and vote against these abominations.  (Chao is OK, but the rest are most definitely not.)

Any suggestions on how to cope with this madness, please let me know.  Please.

Welcome to the Divided States of America.
Four Years of Fight!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Twitterverse Reactions To The Lyin' King

The President-Elect's Ideal New York Times


It's beyond talking points, beyond spin, beyond Fox News, and beyond fake news.  The thing-which-will-soon-become-president is a Twitter addict, and he refuses to seek help for his habit because he prefers to "communicate directly" to his millions of Twitter followers, i.e. lie to them directly.

Example:  He's upset that recounts may occur in a couple states, and he's embarrassed that Hillary Clinton received 2 million more popular votes than he did.  (Nothing bugs him more than "losing.")  So he tweeted out that of course he would have had way more popular votes than her if not for "millions of people who voted illegally," and he claimed that California, Virginia and New Hampshire all had "serious voter fraud."

There is not a shred of truth to his assertions.  None.  And his followers simply don't care.

It has come to this:  Our next president is the most brazen disseminator of  lies and disinformation we've ever known.  With his phone in his tiny little hands, he simply makes shit up to make himself feel better and tweets out his falsehoods to Idiot Nation, who lap it up.

He is beyond the Drudge Report, Breitbart.com and InfoWars.  He is his own Joseph Goebbels.

Get ready for four years of Trumpaganda.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This Is Not Normal

Idiot Nation (a.k.a. Trump voters) is certain that The Donald is their kind of "normal."   Too many mainstream Republicans have already swallowed their pride, dignity and brains so as to "normalize" their man.  To their everlasting shame, the greedy corporate media treated him like a "normal" candidate for the sake of ratings and revenue.

Yet some things need to be abnormalized.

We must not normalize his racial dog-whistle rhetoric, his preposterous lies, his ignorance and absence of experience, his preening narcissism, his greed, his sexism, his bigotry, his incitements to violence, his childish Twitter tantrums, his endless scandals and conflicts of interest, his multiple bankruptcies, his too-cozy friendship with Putin and Russia's influence on the election, his bullying threats, etc.

All this is quite normal for Trump.  That's why he needs to be abnormalized.

He's a manipulator and a media invention, not a real president.  He's just a ball-grabbing, feces-flinging circus monkey -- amusing at first, repulsive thereafter.  

America made a big mistake.  We must now pay close attention, diligently resist, and call bullshit on the Trump agenda and whatever else the Republicans try to get away with.  This is not normal.

Good column from Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune:

Coach Crybaby

Wacky Khaki, the coach of the TUN, had a post-game meltdown.  He was "bitterly disappointed with the officiating," especially the "outrageous call that blatantly ended the game."  He was referring to J.T. Barrett's do-or-die run on 4th and one in the second overtime period.  It was in fact very close, but Barrett gained the yard and the first down to keep the Buckeyes alive.

In real time it looked to me that he made it, the refs signaled a first down, and video replay confirmed it, but Harbaugh refused to see it that way and insisted that Barrett was stopped a foot short.  Maybe he ought to check the prescription on those ugly-ass glasses he wears!

From OSU receivers coach Zach Smith:

Wait... How short was ?? 🅾️

And note to Coach Wacky Khaki:  The referee's call on Barrett's run did not end the game.  It ended with Curtis Samuel's 15 yard TD run on the next play.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

My favorite holiday!

The instructions said, "After rinsing the turkey,
let it rest in the sink."

a.k.a. Rockwell Rolls Over

When The Phone Don't Ring, It'll Be Me

That's the clever title of an old George Jones country song.  But I'm updating the title to this:

"When the Phone Don't Ring, It'll Be the Democrats."  Let me explain.

Last week, I received an email with a "special, personal invitation" from Sen. Sherrod Brown to join him on a conference call with supporters to do a post mortem on the election and to share ideas on the path forward.  (Although I'm acquainted with Sherrod a little bit, the invitation was neither special nor personal.  I just happen to be on a list.)

I replied and said I'd be part of the call, which would begin at 5:30 on Tuesday (yesterday).  All I had to do was enter my phone number and a staffer would call me at that time, then I could listen in and maybe even chime in with my two cents worth, to wit:

"From now on, Democrats must not give an inch.  We'll need to fight like hell to protect Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, voting rights, human rights, labor rights, the EPA, et al.  Senate Democrats must stand as a firewall against any regressive legislation and any turn-the-clock-back Cabinet and Supreme Court nominations.  Give the R's a big taste of their own hyper-partisan obstructionist medicine.  We need progressive politicians and public figures to continue to campaign against Trump as if the election never happened.  We must continue to speak out and demonstrate and protest against all his bigotry and hate and BS."

"Hello, Buster?  Are you on the call?  Is Buster Gammons
out there somewhere?  Hello?  No Buster?  Oh well."
Yessir, that's what I was going to say but I didn't get a chance because the phone didn't ring.  At all.  Nobody called at 5:30.  Nobody called all night.  I just sat there.  And the "special" invitation had no way to call them.  So . . .  pfft!

Was the conference call cancelled or rescheduled?  Or did they just not call me?  Who knows?  But it struck me as typical of Democratic politics -- really good ideas hampered by disorganization and lack of follow-through.

We gonna need to do better than that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

For November 22nd, A Re-Post

To commemorate today's date:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Nine-Year-Old's Memories of 11/22/63

You don't need me to tell you that tomorrow it will be 50 years since JFK was shot dead.  The media have been all over over it for weeks, which is as it should be.  It was such an important, dark day in our American heritage.  So many people of a certain age vividly remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  Yet the inevitable trend is that more and more have no memory of it. 

Given all the anniversary commemoration -- all the rehashing of historical perspectives and the conspiracy theories, the Dallas-bashing, the assassination porn, etc. -- you don't need any more of that from Buster.  Instead, and mainly for those who weren't around then, I thought I'd share what I personally recall from that time, and why, like so many, I'll never forget it.  (You don't need that either, and it's not unique, but for whatever it's worth I'm gonna do it anyway.) 

In November 1963 I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade at Woodland Elementary in Mansfield, Ohio.  My little world was pretty much Beaver Cleaver Land.  I knew nothing of politics, of course, but I knew for sure I lived in the greatest nation on earth, from sea to shining sea, and all that good stuff.

I certainly knew who the President of the United States was.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his beautiful wife Jacqueline were young, charismatic, photogenic, and witty.  They were approximately the age of my parents.  Their daughter Caroline was same age as my sister.  In my young logic, I figured their family was probably just like my own.

I had other reasons to like JFK.  Going back to 1960, I was vaguely aware that Eisenhower was the outgoing President.  And I knew that his Vice President, Richard Nixon, was running to be the next President.  How could I forget, after my lifelong-Republican mother dragged me to the high school football stadium to hear Nixon speak under a scorching September sun?  I was only six, bored to tears, and sun burnt.  I became a JFK fan on the spot.

The first-ever televised debates solidified my first-grader opinion.  My parents encouraged me to watch this moment of history, and I tried, for a while.  This show had no plot to speak of, and I didn't understand what the characters were talking about, but as a kid raised on The Lone Ranger, Superman and Gunsmoke, I had no trouble telling the good guy from the bad guy.  In the first national election which I can remember, as far as I was concerned, the good guy won.

Once in office, Kennedy continued to win people over (even my mother, I believe) with his wit and humor, shown regularly on the evening news and displayed in his innovative televised press conferences.  Vaughn Meader put out a classic comedy album, "The First Family", in which he impersonated JFK and an ensemble cast mimicked other political figures of the early 1960's.  My parents bought the album and played it often.  It made them laugh, so I laughed too.  (Kids love to laugh with their parents.)  I still have that piece of vinyl to this day.

Around that time, someone gave me a hardcover copy of the book "PT 109 - John F. Kennedy in WW II", which I think I still have somewhere.  I also had a paperback copy of "Profiles in Courage", which I lost long ago.  Add to that the fact that the Kennedys seemed to be in Life magazine every week doing something appealing, and it's pretty clear that long-ago young Buster was worshipping at the altar of JFK.

November 22nd was a Friday, like any other Friday -- anxious for the school week to be over and the weekend to begin.  Mid-afternoon, we were all outside on the school's west playground.  Was it a scheduled recess, or did the grown-ups already know what was up and feel the need to shove us all outdoors while they puzzled out what to do with us?  I'm guessing the latter.

Teachers stood together in clumps and whispered earnestly and completely ignored their young charges.  Passing cars stopped in the middle of road.  Drivers rolled down their windows and conversed with the teachers in the most serious manner.  Some of them appeared distraught.  This was clearly not our usual recess, but we were clueless.

After some time, we were herded together and marched back inside to our classrooms.  My 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Egner, a no-nonsense, farm-raised disciplinarian who had no qualms about hurting your feelings or your body, as the case may be.  (Even so, she was a good teacher for her time.)  After we took our seats and grew quiet, Mrs. Egner stood up from her desk and said curtly, "I suppose you know by now that our President is dead.  We're dismissing early.  Everyone go straight home to your parents now."

Shocked, stunned, dumbstruck -- all put it mildly.  No, ma'am, I did not know!  How could I know?  What are you saying?  What happened?  Mrs. Egner would not elaborate, she just shooed us out the door and said our parents would explain it to us.

I have no memory of the short walk home.  I was in a fog of disbelief.  This had to be some sort of mistake.  My sister was in kindergarten at the time.  Did she walk home with me?  I'm blank.

Mom was at the kitchen door and I immediately demanded answers.  She gave them, as calmly and gently as she could.  President Kennedy was dead.  He'd been shot and killed while visiting Texas.  He's really dead?  Yes, I'm afraid so.  It's terribly sad.  Why would somebody kill him?  I don't know.  Who did it?  Nobody knows yet.  What will happen now?  Vice President Johnson will be our new President.  Everything will be OK.

I could feel the tears beginning to well up.  I ran to the living room couch, buried my face in a pillow and began to cry like a . . . well, like a little boy.  Hot bitter tears of anger and grief and confusion.  No, things will not be OK!  I remember my sister asked, "What's wrong with him?"  He's very sad because the president is dead, Mom explained.

It was a surreal weekend.  There was none of the usual playing with friends, just a steady stream of assassination news updates as most families kept to themselves and tried to comprehend the awful state of affairs.  (It didn't dawn on me until years later that this was a first not only for me but also for my parents generation -- the "Greatest Generation."  They had experienced the death of FDR, but this was clearly something different.  In their way, they had to be as shaken as I was.)

TV and radio were devoted to constant JFK coverage.  They caught the guy who did it.  They said he killed a cop too before he was captured and taken to jail.  He said he didn't do anything.  Saturday morning cartoons were cancelled.  I'm not sure, but I think all the college football games that Saturday were cancelled as well.  The NFL considered doing the same, but decided to go ahead and play their Sunday games as scheduled.  Sounded good to me.  I could do with a break from ugly, depressing realities.

Around noon on Sunday the 24th, I turned on the TV hoping for a little football pre-game stuff.  Nope.  Still rolling with JFK coverage right up to kick-off.  So I sat there and watched NBC's live coverage from Dallas.  Tom Pettit was the reporter on the scene, explaining that the accused assassin was to be transferred to the county jailhouse, and the police were going to parade his sorry ass right through this hallway and we would all get a good look at him here in just a few minutes.

And as they marched Lee Harvey Oswald through a gauntlet of press and on-lookers, some guy stepped out of the crowd and shot Oswald at point-blank range, right there in front of my little 9-year-old eyes.  The shooter was overtaken instantly in a madhouse scrum.  "Oswald has been shot!  Oswald has been shot!" Pettit kept saying.  I hollered for my parents to come see this.  Holy shit!  What is going on here?  Is this the way things work in the greatest nation on earth?  It was unbelievable, just too much.

We all watched in stunned silence as, in a matter of minutes, an ambulance arrived and hauled Oswald's carcass away.  A good chunk of my childish faith and innocence was hauled away too, and an unforgettable series of events was seared into my mind.

(Please leave a comment to share your own memory of 11/22/63.  This isn't Twitter -- no character limit.  Say as much as you like.  I always do.)



  1. (Comment rec'd. by a faithful reader & posted by Buster)

    I was a very young first year teacher, teaching 30 sixth grade children at a local elementary school. The "little kids" were having their afternoon recess, and the "big kids" in my room were busy with Social Studies. The principal came to me and "gave me the news".

    Told the kids that something terrible had happened, and the President had been shot in Dallas. I quickly grabbed one of the TV's and rolled it into the room for the kids to watch. The kids were shocked, scared, in tears, hurt, angry. They were experiencing the same range of emotion that their teachers were experiencing. The classroom had an eerie silence about it, completely void of the "busy hum" always noticeable with an engaged group of students.

    We took time to talk and express our "worrys and feelings". We all asked a lot of questions and didn't have a lot of very good answers. At one point, I recall the principal being nearby when a sixth grade boy, I can't remember whose class, expressed his satisfaction with the assassination by saying "Good!" Someone told the principal, (also in her first year at the school and her first year as principal of a school) and she went after that kid, dragged him into a very wide hallway, and went at him like nothing I have seen since Sister Julie Alouise tore into one of the 7th graders when he took a Communion out of his mouth and was proudly displaying it to the girls back in the classroom after Mass.

    Dallas was, and remains, a hotbed of hatred and bigotry. H. Lamar Hunt was spending his millions to spread lies and hatred across the United States. The only difference was these bigots and hate mongers were Democrats at the time. Today they are Tea Party Republicans, and regardless of label, nothing has changed. The DNA remains unaltered, and is being used by a political party who bears little or no shame, as long as they win.
  2. (Comment by Buster's sister, posted by Buster)

    Thank you Buster, very interesting....I never thought to ask you what your perspective was about 11/22/63. I was 5, on the cusp of turning 6. The first thing I recall is you storming into the house in tears. I was completely unaware of the big news of the day, and just thought it was weird that you were home early on a Friday, and were unhappy about it. We must have had 1/2 day kindergarten then, because I was definitely at home when you came in.

    I remember that you (I thought it was you and Dad together) got to see some guy get shot right on TV. I was sort of jealous, because you had a cool story to tell. I also remember being called in to watch segments of the funeral....none of which I understood. I just liked the horses.

    So glad you're older than me, and can explain what happened in my life in my first 10 years...my memories are fuzzy.

    My son Joe was born on the 25th anniversary of JFK’s death. Since it was a planned C-section, there was a chatty atmosphere in the delivery room. We all went around the table (doctors, nurses, and the pregnant patient) and recalled what we'd been doing 25 years ago. 

Harlan County USA Revisited

Last night, I watched a great old documentary, Harlan County USA.  I'd seen it a couple times before, but it's always worth another viewing.  The film explores a protracted strike by coal miners in 1973-1974, and its impact on the miners and their families in Harlan County, deep in southeastern Kentucky.  People there were poor and uneducated, and for generations coal mining was the only game in town -- the only thing they'd ever known.  For decades, they also knew plenty about going out on strike -- blood-spilling, life-threatening, existential job actions -- to obtain even the smallest concessions from their employers.

In this 1973-1974 case, the striking miners eventually won the labor contract they sought, but once again not without financial hardship and violence.  The strike lasted over a year.  At one point, the state police set up mounted machine guns pointed at the picket lines.  Management thugs constantly intimidated picketing workers with gunfire.  One Harlan County miner was shot dead, and many others were injured.

Coal has been in decline for decades.  Burning coal for power is unhealthy, filthy, and a major contributor to CO2 emissions and global warming.  Since the time of Harlan County USA, appropriate EPA regulations have steadily cut coal consumption, and will continue to do so.  (Didn't begin with Obama and won't end with him.)  At the same time cheaper, cleaner fuels like natural gas, nuclear, solar, and wind have emerged to fill the power bill with no real impact on consumer cost.  (OK, you're right -- fracking sucks, and nat gas is a CO2-producing petrochemical, just not quite as bad as coal.)

It was inevitable.  Time marches on and change happens.  Hillary's inartful words were sound-bitten out of context, but she's right -- coal is the past.  Production continues to fall, many mines have closed, more will follow, and the UMW is pretty much a paper tiger.  But in Harlan County, many things are unchanged -- they're still poor, still uneducated, and they still believe coal mining is their birthright and their meal ticket.

Then along comes the Big Charlatan, lying his ass off and promising to bring back all the coal mining jobs and Make America Greatly Polluted Again.  

Harlan County -- Bloody Harlan, Union Harlan, Democratic Harlan. The black-lung fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers of today's residents had to fight for everything they got.  They risked it all for what was right, to stand up to the Trump-style anti-labor oligarchs of that day. And their sacrifices have been largely forgotten by their descendants.

Donald Trump is a liar.  He won't magically bring the coal industry back to life.  He can't, and he shouldn't.  The greater good will prevail.  But he found an eagerly susceptible audience in Harlan County, where 85% of voters went for him.  He sold 'em the old okey-doke.

Back in the day in Harlan County, Grandpa was cheated, beaten and shot by people like Trump.  Today, grandson votes for Trump.  Feel the breeze?  Grandpa is spinning in his grave.  


President P***y-Grabber Just Can't Take It

A yuge yet fragile ego covered in a very thin skin.  The tiny-fingered tyrant-elect takes offense at the slightest thing and keeps an ever-lengthening enemies list.  And when his little feelings get hurt, what does the Spoiled Brat-In-Chief do?  He launches a Twitter tantrum.  Of course.  Now that's what I call leadership!

Saturday Night Live is "unfair, biased, and unfunny," and ought to provide him "equal time."

The cast members of the Broadway smash Hamilton were "rude and insulting" to Mike Pence and "owe us an apology."

And the New York Times is "failing, nasty and inaccurate."

Sure seems like the infamous Pussy-Grabber is nothing but a pussy himself.  He can dish it out, but he sure can't take it.

Surviving A Republican Thanksgiving

I won't need this, but in case you do . . .

Friday, November 18, 2016

Monsters Ball, Plus Keith Olbermann On Giving Trump A Chance

After choosing Steve Bannon as his chief "strategist," you still wanted to "give Trump a chance?"  Knowing Deplorable Donald for what he really, truly is, you thought maybe he just might somehow pick some reasonable, moderate, qualified people to actually run his administration for him?  Boy, are you a sucker!

Trump is surrounding himself with the daily guest list on Fox News -- dangerous screamers, bigots, and ideological regressives.  It's a Monsters Ball, and he's just getting started.

For Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala).  That's Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, named for two Confederate "heroes."  A lifelong racist to such a degree he could not be confirmed as a federal judge.  An immigration hardliner, Sessions supports a ban on Muslims and opposes civil rights for all as "un-American."

For National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.  Paranoid Islamophobic extremist.  Supports a Muslim ban, supports waterboarding and other torture tactics.  Has worked for Russian state TV.  Has been a paid consultant for both Russia and Turkey.  Was dismissed from President Obama's Defense Intelligence Agency for being an insubordinate crazoid.

For CIA Director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan).  Inexperienced Tea Bagger.  Major loudmouth blowhard on the Benghazi committee.  A terrorism fear monger, Islamophobe, and a big supporter of torture.  Opposed the Iran nuclear deal.

For EPA "transition" adviser, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  Ebell is a professional climate-change denier.  He directs the right-wing think tank's environmental section, which insists that pesticides are good for you.

Under consideration for some sort of position:

Kris Kobach, Kansas AG, who helped draft unconstitutional anti-immigration laws in both Kanasas and Arizona.
John Bolton, former UN Ambassador under George W. Bush.  Ultra-conservative who opposes the existence of the UN and NATO, and recently called for a U.S. invasion of Iran for "regime change."
Rudy Giuliani, former NYC mayor and all-purpose conspiracy theory ghoul.

These short-sighted reactionaries will turn the clock back and destroy every bit of progress made in the last 60-70 years, if we let them.

The legendary Keith Olbermann has something to say about giving Trump and his sycophantic sidekicks "a chance":

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Real Friends Don't Let Other Friends Read Facebook

Excerpted from a column by Froma Harrop, Creators Syndicate.

Dear Facebook Friends,

If you don't see me gushing over the pix of your Thanksgiving pies, take no offense.  It's not that your pie is a bore (though, frankly, it is).  And it's not because I unfriended you.  It's because Facebook has become a platform for the sort of fake news stories that helped elect Donald Trump.  In doing so, Facebook undermines our civic culture -- its creepy smile floating overhead.

I'm so out of there.  I've wanted to quit for a long time, having wearied of my friends' pictorials of their idyllic family and personal lives.  I know for a fact that some of the most glowing portrayals come from (mostly) women who couldn't make it to noon without a fistful of meds.  I still love them, and if they wish to connect, they have my number.

Though hyper-partisan fake news stories have come from both the left and the right, Facebook entrepreneurs know that the money is in plowing the Trumpian fields.

Zuckerberg says he doesn't want Facebook making judgments about what "news" is acceptable for its site.  Funny, Facebook bans pictures of female breasts in the name of decency but sees nothing indecent about putting lies into the mouth of Pope Francis.

I'm leaving Facebook.  Follow me!


"We're Dealin'!" Why Donald Trump Is Like Fred Ricart

Please forgive my provincial angle on this one.

Fred Ricart is co-owner with his younger brother Rhett of Ricart Ford, a very large and successful auto dealership here in Columbus.  They are one of the highest-volume dealerships in America, delivering approximately 1000 vehicles per month.  The average dealership does about 100.

The two brothers took over their father's small country store in the mid-1980's, and quickly turned it into a behemoth.  They accomplished this amazing growth with a strong commitment to advertising -- huge amounts of advertising.  Ricart Ford ads were suddenly everywhere -- TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, mailers, phone books, bus stop benches, etc.  They spent tons on advertising, which meant they needed to sell tons of cars.  And they did.

Along the way they developed a well-deserved reputation for greed, sloppiness and dishonesty.  They were devoted to selling cars and making money, and they didn't much care how they did it or who got hurt along the way.  The brothers had a consuming desire to be the biggest, and in the car business, size matters.  Size buys influence and a certain degree of leeway.  And despite being subject to many lawsuits and fines, their approach has proven successful, if not always ethical or pleasant.

Of the two, Rhett had a nose for business and he was the one who actually ran the operation.  (Way back when, Rhett and I were in a couple of the same business classes at Ohio State, and he was -- how shall I put this? -- a dick.)  Fred didn't have a lot of interest in the actual car business -- he was more into car racing, partying, and most of all, music.  Fred is truly a talented guitar player.  From childhood, he really worked at it.

To this day in central Ohio, nobody knows who Rhett Ricart is, but almost everybody knows Fred Ricart.  That's because, early on, Fred and his guitar became the advertising icon of Ricart Ford -- every ad featured Fred and his guitar.  His guitar was slung over his shoulder in print ads.  In his TV and radio spots, he mugged and sang and played his six-string on take-offs of Top 40 hits and TV shows, always ending with his grinning catch-phrase, "We're dealin'!"

It was memorable and effective advertising, to say the least, and Fred became a local celebrity.  But reality was that little brother Rhett was doing all the heavy lifting.  Fred was just the front man, the carnival barker.

Donald Trump reminds me of Fred Ricart -- a front man; an image rather than a reality.

"I'm president!  Top of the world, ma!"
Idiot Nation has made Trump president-elect, but Trump has no interest in governing, in doing the job.  He doesn't know how and doesn't care to learn.  For him, winning was the end-all, be-all.  His "brand" positioning has been maximized.

He'll pop into the White House from time to time and make an occasional Chairman-style decision -- "Ivanka, I need you to summarize all the Middle East issues for me in a one-paragraph memo, double-spaced, yuge margins" -- but he'll spend most of his time in Manhattan or at one of his golf courses or horseback-riding in Russia with his pal Putin.

He'll be just like Fred Ricart -- a cardboard cutout, talking logo detached from the nitty-gritty, floating above it all and distracting us while others run the store.

We'll need to keep a close eye on those "others."


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trying To Find Some Humor In Our National Nightmare

And, dear readers, it's difficult right now.  Very difficult.  We've shifted into reverse and things are likely to get much worse before they get better.  Nevertheless, for a moment, maybe a chuckle or two will help.  (Unless you're a deplorable.  Nothing will help you.)

"You're shittin' me, Lesley!  You're saying your family does not have gold thrones for everyone to sit on?"