Author Archives: umoc193


Much has been made of the decision by the Georgia State Legislature to not pass a sales tax exemption on jet fuel purchases by airlines after the Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle, railed against the giant flying machine of Delta Airlines. Delta had announced that, after the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, that it was ending discounts offered to National Rifle Association (NRA) members.The NRA, of, of course, loves the idea of war weapons in every home like assault rifles, bazookas, and flame throwers, though the folks who’ve died by their use might have a slightly different opinion.

And Delta was only one of a number of corporations or organizations who had tie-ins with the NRA that have announced the termination of such relationships in the wake of the murders and an increased outcry over assault rifles such as were used in that incident and the demand for more federal controls over their sale, if not the outright prohibition of any future sales.

The Georgia legislative action—or really non-action, since the provision of the state tax bill was merely stricken—has done something all manner of persuasion has failed to do when it comes to corporations and taxes. And that is it has inspired liberals to be incensed about a corporation being denied a tax break.

Some silly law professor at Boston College, Kent Greenfield, even penned an op-ed decrying the Georgia lawmakers for violating the 1st Amendment free speech rights of Delta, adapting the theory of Corporate personhood from the Supreme Court’s granting of same in the infamous Citizens United case. (And just how often have you seen citizens united in a phrase or in actuality lately?)

All pish posh and applesauce. On whom? Well, pretty much everbody involved and 99% of the commenters from any side.

I admittedly originally felt my blood temperature rising when I first read Cagle’s “threat” to punish Delta, though it never reached the boiling point. Why? A little principle far too frequently absent from discussions or ignored by folks. FACTS

Let me offer some FACTS for your perusal and elucidation.

The jet fuel tax exemption at issue was only part of a larger tax bill under consideration in Georgia that is needed annually to comport to changes in federal tax law that may affect Georgia residents, individual or business. The fuel tax exemption would amount to about $50 million a year for ALL airlines operating in the state, not just Delta. It was thought to be a possible spark for Delta to route more international flights through Atlanta. (Its airport is already the world’s busiest and a huge hub for the airline. Because of that hub perhaps millions of people end up in Atlanta for a brief time while on their way from, say, St. Louis to Chicago. Or from Natchez to Mobile. Or from Memphis to St. Joe. The blues in the night.—Sorry, I digress)

And neighboring states have lower or no jet fuel taxes to begin with.–regional-govt–politics/governor-jet-fuel-tax-break-bill-moves-quickly-georgia-house/24DD0U5VeQMteohadtqZrN/

But this is not the first time Delta has raised the ire of Georgia lawmakers over the tax. In 2015 Delta was accused of it and/or its lobbyists using “thug tactics” to get the tax exemption renewed by suggesting gasoline sales tax on regular people be raised to make up any shortfall. You see, the tax exemption was initially passed in 2005 in order to HELP DELTA! And it was renewed several times only to finally expire in 2015.–regional-govt–politics/lawmaker-rips-delta-lobbyists/k7fycUZEDvOnOahG9WRsSO/

So you can’t have it both ways. You cannot on one hand bitch about tax breaks that benefit corporations—indeed in this case a tax break, though applicable to others, designed to assist a particular huge corporation and on the other hand bitch about that corporation being singled out as the justification for elimination of or failure to institute a tax break due to its actions or public pronouncements, person or not.

Now, what about that NRA discount that was available? That, too, is more smoke than fire.That discount was only recently initiated by Delta to encourage passenger traffic to Dallas for the 2018 NRA national convention. And to date only 13 NRA members had availed themselves of the discount.

So here’s the scenario I believe may have been at play. Discounts offered by airlines—or any businesses for that matter—to people with ties to certain organizations are meant for one purpose only. And that is to generate additonal customers for that business, in this case Delta Airlines. Since Delta’s NRA tie-in was for a specific time and event, and since any additional revenues would be miniscule based on the number of customers exercising the discount, and since other businesses with longer standing ties to the NRA were both announcing ending those relationships or were under great pressure to do so, Delta’s choice to join the horde looks less like an infusion of morality into what is otherwise a cutthroat industry than it looks like a public relations move made with that air of morality but at heart nothing more than a pragmatic, practical business decision.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina and don’t cry for Delta, anyone.



This began as an extended comment in reaction to an op-ed a friend posted on Facebook. In that piece Christopher Regan, a lawyer and former Vice Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party. It appeared in The State Journal, founded as a business service but since expanded into general news coverage for the state and having a conservative slant, though it was recently acquired by another media company and I was unable to find whether that company leans any way politically. The op-ed itself was published about a year ago but is even more apt today.

This is a link to the opinion page of The State Journal so you can judge for yourself if there is any constant slant one way or another.

(Note. This was copied and pasted from another mode and it is next to impossible to get the usual spacing between paragraphs. Thanks for your patience.)

All West Virginia teachers went out on strike Thursday and Friday and it now seems that action will extend into next week. Locally the picket lines were well-manned even in a near relentless rain yesterday. That was duplicated across the state as hundreds of teachers also flocked to Charleston to protest and demand redress. A token raise has been offered, but at the same time teachers’ contributions for health coverage are being increased.

In this state basic pay for teachers is set statewide and then county school boards can supplement that pay. That means that, in relatively prosperous Monongalia County, home to me and WVU, the supplement can be respectable. In poor counties like Lincoln and Mingo, there ain’t a chance in hell of it being adequate
Despite being a war casualty (if you believe the rhetoric) the coal industry still controls the state legislature. Coal ain’t  coming back but its demise has been ongoing for decades and state government has done nothing to cultivate a non-coal focused economy. And now the gas industry, with some huge overlaps with coal, is being treated the same way.
The economy has always been closer to the bottom of the American heap than the top and we’ve often given thanks for the existence of Mississippi for preventing our fall to 50th place in quality of life categories. However, the now totally Republican controlled state government (both houses of the legislature and the turncoat governor, a coal billionaire who ran and won as a Democrat but who’d rather switch than fight, though still superior to his GOP opponent, a Tea Party favorite) is actively working to surpass Mississippi so as to be able to raise both hands with fingers extended five times and declare “We’re No. 50!”
Besides the tax cuts cited here they’ve stripped unions of power by making this another right-to-work-and be grossly underpaid state.
No wonder half the residents are addicted to opiates. At least it seems that way. The wonder is that not everyone suffering economically or health wise or due to underfunded education is addicted to opiates.
Our three representatives in Congress are all GOPers when not that long ago they were all Democrats (Not that the Dems were all saints but they weren’t so blatant in their contempt for their constituents). We do have both Republican and Democrat Senators. The Republican is the daughter of a former multi-term governor who was truly a man of his convictions. Well, only ONE conviction but it was a doozy and he just hadn’t been caught before. I’m not implying she is the same kind of crook but her dishonesty, while not criminal, hurts the state. And the Dem? More like a DINO but if you think he is bad you should have seen his opponents. Hell, you’d think he were the second coming of FDR by comparison.
And his seat is in play this year with several GOPers salivating at the chance to knock him off. One is Don Blankenship, the coal tycoon who spent over $3 million to buy himself a state Supreme Court Justice a while back and who managed to spend barely 12 days in jail for each of the 29 coal miners he killed. Another is the carpetbagging state AG who never met a political position that the utterly mis-named Freedom Caucus in Congress wouldn’t wholeheartedly embrace.
My personal life is only peripherally affected by this agglomerations of swine, though that could change due to in part to national abominations potentially being forced upon us and in part to the ongoing obscenity of state government.
Maybe I’ll move to a more progressive state. Wonder what housing costs are in Jackson, Mississippi?



My ongoing health care problems and doctors’ visits and procedures have provided fodder for my writing for a number of years now.

I have insurance coverage under both Medicare and Medicaid. The former I enrolled in in 2006 when I was awarded Social Security Disability benefits but am now qualified for that coverage since I have been officallly an old fart for over five years. The latter coverage was obtained in 2007 and continues to the present since my income falls within the guidelines for eligibility in the state of West Virginia.

Of course that is why I tout Medicare For All as the most practical solution for the nation’s health care coverage woes.

Yet the wheels of health care justice grind exceedingly slow.

My present tale entails my bout with bladder cancer in 2014. Towards the end of June I discovered blood in my urine one Sunday morning. The following day I saw my family doctor who sent me for tests while getting me an appointment with a urologist for a few weeks hence in July. None of the tests provided conclusive evidence of any cause but there were several possibilities. For the best possible diagnosis my urologist scheduled me for a biopsy on September 11, 2014, a Friday. The following Friday I met with him to learn the results and determine any future actions. At that time he revealed I did show a malignancy but one which he was able to cauterize for elimination at the same time. The recommended followup was to have a cystoscopy quarterly for two years, then semi-annually for another two. After that period, without further difficulty I will need to undergo one only every year.

If you’re not sure what a cystoscopy is, I’ll recall how my late older brother described it. “That’s where they stick a camera up your dick”. Crude, but accurate. So I have faithfully appeared as scheduled since then for the procedure in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia. No recurrence to date though bladder cancer does have a high rate of recurrence.  By the way, the blood in my urine was the only symptom I ever experienced. I had no pain, no intrusive treatments over an extended time, and no real agonizing about my potential fate. Sadly, the vast majority of cancer patients have things much worse.

Now my urologist’s office was on the campus of one of our local hospitals, but apart from the main facility and with its own entrance, and he was independent of that ever growing conglomerate. But in 2016 for whatever reason he and his partner sold their practice to the hospital. I have continued as before with no change whatsoever. Because of my coverage I never even saw a bill from him or the hospital. That is until last week.

My last previous cystoscopy was Sept. 28 of 2017. I received a bill showing total charges of $1257.00. After payments and adjustments the total demanded of me was $1019.00.

Other than receiving any bill whatsoever what disturbed me was the area set aside for “Account Summary”. It listed my primary coverage as “Medicare Non-Patient” and my secondary coverage as “Private Pay” What “Medicare Non-patient” even means is beyond my pay grade.

One other thing of note on the bill is something that effects many Medicare patients. One of the charges was $894 for “Operating Room Services.” Funny, I didn’t recall going into an operating room within the hospital, though I admit I am far more familiar with them at this hospital than I care to think about. Indeed, last May I had outpatient surgery in one of them to correct a deviated septum. (No, other deviancies of mine were not addressed simultaneously.) As part of the check-in protocol I provided both my Medicare and Medicaid enrollment cards.

That type of charge I have learned prior to my personal adventure is perfectly legitimate. If a hospital owns a physician’s practice, no matter how remote from the hospital itself, if the doctor performs certain procedures or minor surgeries there the hospital can legitimately bill as if you had physically been on their premises.

I have also used that hospital’s services on different sites away from the main building on other occasions. Subsequent to my 2013 toe amputation I had follow up treatment at the hospital’s Wound Healing Center in rented space about two miles away. About a year ago it moved to a new building on the campus and in both June and October I visited weekly 3-5 times for treatment. One visit, and only one of the 3 in October brought a bill for about half the overall charge of nearly $400. At that time the Account Summary showed “Private Pay” for both primary and secondary coverage. I called the business office demanding, in a nice way that they update their information which was already on file. I never received another bill.

On Monday, with the current bill I called for assistance, explaining the situation and voicing my concerns. The representative saw that I was right and responded that she would make the needed corrections. I needed no more than perhaps a dozen or so cusswords to accomplish this. Yesterday another bill came in the mail. It was dated Monday so it very likely was in the works prior to me talking to Tina on Monday. It was quite different. It still had “Medicare Non-Patient” as primary coverage but now with Medicare Part B as secondary. It also showed different amounts for both payments and adjustments. Whatever Tina had done Monday could not have resulted in this. It also displayed a total due of $99.32, a great improvement, of course, but still not the zero amount I expected and which I have faced for all prior procedures.

So I called back. I got a different rep and when I explained I had spoken to someone just the day before she told me she would be transferring me to a “specialist”. (Aren’t hit men considered specialists?) Anyways after a brief time on hold a woman picked up. Within 30 seconds the call abruptly ended. I redialed immediately and I asked the person who answered to reconnect me with the specialist. Her line was busy so I left a message. When by 3 p.m. today my call had not been returned I called again. After a fairly short time on hold (Have you ever noticed that the music you so often hear on “hold” sounds distinctly like a bad ’70’s porn soundtrack? Not that the porn was bad, though it could have been, but the music used was nearly universally atrocious. At least that’s what my friends tell me.)

Lo and behold the same woman finally answered whom I was cut off from yesterday. We had a long conversation. Rather I spoke at length voicing my concerns in a number of areas of the bill I had received as well as complaining about the Andrew McCutcheon trade, the escalating price of groceries, and how my parents had sent me to live with a pack of wolves when I was 7. Every so often  she made these noises suspiciously similar to sobbing.

Bottom line is that the corrections may take 30-45 days to completely process so I may still see another uncorrected bill before then

The bright spot is that I have another cystoscopy slated for late March. Maybe Allen Funt will be there for a new episode of Candid Camera.



The Twit-in-Chief has struck again. His hail of lying, insulting, and threatening inanities gives one the impression he has a bump stock attached to his Notsoverysmart Phone.

This is one of his latest, hence the meme quoting Andy Borowitz;

With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!

This tweet is offensive on many levels. First of all, NBC itself is not licensed by the government. Only TV and radio stations using public airwaves are subject to federal law and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But his ignorance extends far beyond lack of knowledge about a major independent agency within the United States government.

There is also a little thing within the United States Constitution called the First Amendment which reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That great document also has this provision in Article II, Section 1 requiring that the President when assuming office, take this oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States

His threats on this and other issues are in direct violation of the oath he took January 20, 2017.

As Jordan Weissman explains here the threat against NBC is utterly empty so far as the power of the Twit or the govenment goes, but is still frightening nonetheless.

An element of the cause for alarm is that, given other statements in the past and ongoing wars with media and media/entertainment personalities, it is clear he BELIEVES he has this power. And when he fails to exercise it he will brag of course about how wonderful and considerate and sparing he is.

Which brings us to other examples of his ignorance. And the ignorance is palpable leaving one to speculate whether he really is that stupid or is being willfully so just to further whatever demented agenda he has. Here are a few:

Not knowing anything about the nation’s nuclear arsenal and why it is the size it is.

Inferring the rising stock market somehow ammeliorates part of the National Debt.

His utter lies on the effects of the estate tax, declaring erroneously how it burdens small business owners and farmers

That is just one of SEVENTY Pants on Fire ratings he has received from Politifact

And that was a lie he repeated just last night in Harrisburg:

His Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson allegedly and probably and logically and accurately called him a “fucking moron”. The response was to challenge Tillerson to a test of IQ’s. Twit against Tillerson in an IQ contest is like me against an eagle in a flying contest.

I could cite so many more instances of this ignorance, this lack of knowledge about or even interest in the powers and mechanisms of our government and our laws, but I can’t write the equivalent of Moby Dick or War And Peace in this space.

There is a popular term millennials are now using to describe someone who is aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice) amd that term is woke, a brand new use of an extremely old word.

Would that Twit was woke.

In the meantime I wish I could be woke  from this nightmare.




What is taking place in this photgraph?

  1. Kim Jong-Un exhorting his troops to destroy the “American bastards” as he called us after a missile launch on the Fourth of July?
  2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who’s your daddy?) leading ISIS fighters in Muslim prayers before launching their latest Jihadist mission?
  3. Osama bin Laden (you don’t think that fool Obama really killed him do you?) preparing all his remaining followers to meet virgins while making al-Qaeda Great Again?

No, you silly people, none of the above. That’s one of thousands of photographs of troops from the various services taken just prior to the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.

Our government keeps warning the public of how these countries or groups present an existential danger to the United States and we must commit hundreds of thousands of our military personnel and hand over trillions of dollars to our Military-Industrial-Terrorist Complex in order to protect the 320 million people within our borders from a horrible end.

The thing is, none of these entities is capable of destroying us or destroying our way of life. Let’s face it. The United States of America is pretty damned impenetrable.

Oh, sure, North Korea might be able to launch a nuclear armed ICBM that reaches our West Coast but is that necessarily a bad thing? Let’s say it lands in Seattle. Whatever numbers of people it kills can it exceed the numbers posted by the multiple serial murderers spawned in that area? Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway the Green River Killer, John Allen Muhammed the D.C. Sniper, Robert Yates, Jr the former national Guard helicopter pilot convicted of 15 murders may just be the tip of the iceburg.

Let’s say it hits Portland.The worst fallout there would be the hair from the prolific amount of man buns which will eventually lead to clogging of the water supply. Will self-absorbed Portlandians even notice?

But if North Korea wants to invade, it faces substantial obstacles. Indeed, it might invade South Korea first hoping to provoke  U.S. retaliation. But geez, once those troops pass the 38th parallel heading to Seoul they will be distracted by a plethora of Samsung products that will make their lives easier and if they get hold of some Galaxy cell phones they will be rapt on sharing selfies with their loved ones back home and possibly trip over their own weapons that kill them as they text with their eyes down not paying attention.  If those phones are the S7 model they could die from their use, saving the efforts of ROK troops.

Too, they will have access to the first decent kimchi they have ever had. Hell, they’ll have access to real food for the first time.

If they want more direct access to North America they’ll need to come across the Siberian Peninsula, just as did the original Native Americans thousands of years ago. And we know what happened to THEM on our soil. Besides, do you think Putin will give them a right-of-way through Siberia? Hell, NO, he’s invested too much time and money into his sock puppet Drumpf to put his reign of terror at risk.

At least North Korea has an army, an air force, and a navy, the latter putting the SS Minnow to shame. ISIS? They’ve got pickup trucks. Maybe pickup trucks with machine guns, but even those are not nearly as well armed as the ones owned by the 3,400,768 active militias on our shores. However, let’s say ISIS was able to commandeer a fleet of seaworthy kayaks to voyage across the Atlantic. Chances are they’ll end up on our East Coast at a place like Myrtle Beach. With the plentiful family attractions there, those brave fighters will immediately regret having left the wives and kids at home when they could be sharing the experience and the windmills on the mini-golf courses will befuddle them. They very well could waste all their ammunition attempting to silence them.

Then, while camped, in the evenings they will wander into the bars and become dazzled by all the lovely young women competeing in wet burqa contests.

If they land much farther south at Miami Beach they will soon realize that they are overmatched in number by the Jews there. They will face the threat of being nagged to death by Jewish mothers. Or else, since Miami Beach has also been a favorite playground of the Mafia, these ISIS fools could find themselves swimming with the fishes.

Al Qaeda faces similar difficulties. Again no navy or air force and even if its operatives got their hands on some planes, there is no guarantee they could land safely to dispatch an invasion force without additional training. But let’s say they did manage to successfully breech our borders and began to move stealthily inland. Assunimg they came in on the East Coast means they will soon encounter Appalachia. Once in that territory getting to see first hand how that part of the country lives back in the hollers and in mostly abandoned coal camps, they will realize that this is no America worth destroying.

After all, these folks  have barely advanced beyond the 14th century. Al Qaeda will feel right at home.


Rest easy my friends.




Sgt. Joe Friday, played on TV’s Dragnet by noted former wooden Indian Jack Webb, was a straight shooting Los Angeles Police Department detective who frerquently admonished witnesses to crimes that what he wanted was

Just The Facts, Ma’am

If only that were the case with our present Presidential administration, from top to bottom.

In the aftermath of The Charlottesville race disturbances, culminating in the death of a young counter-protesting woman by a vehicle driven at ramming speed, Drumpf delivered some conflicting messages.

His first statement, issued Saturday was this:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Drumpf, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time…

He did NOT call out the Nazi’s and KKKers or other white supremacist groups by name, and stated quite clearly that the demonstrators who came to oppose the fascist racists were also to blame for the violence.

Reports have indicated his own aides urged him to make a stronger statement and on Monday he did. The perttinent part:

…Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. …

The full text can be found here:

Full text: Donald Trump says “racism is evil” in his latest statement on Charlottesville

Okay. Much criticism from some that it was far too late and from others that his lack of sincerity was obvious. That criticism can be dismissed, for our purposes, as quibbling.

But on Tuesday all hell broke loose as the Apologist For White Supremacists In Chief exploded in vitriol at a press conference that was not even meant to be about Charlottesville. He defended his Saturday remarks and seemed to walk back his critcism of racists on Monday:

I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts,” Drumpf said Tuesday. “It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. It is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.

The absurdity of that claim is patent. Case in point on Thursday, reacting to an apparent terroist attack in Barcelona he told a tale about how General Pershing once too care of Islamic terrorists. He had captured fifty of them and had his men dip the same amount of bullets in pig’s blood, the well known antidote to murderous attacks by Muslims. Lining the 50 Muslims up 49 were shot and the 50th was released to go back and warn his fellow Muslims that was what happened to their ilk.

Of course that never happened.

What else never happened? Well, over 3 million illegal votes in the 2016 election for one. There is simply no evidence that non-citizens vote in large numbers or that even citizens entitled to vote do so multiple times. Yet Drumpf, embarrassed by the fact Hillary Clinton outpolled him in the popular vote by about 3 million tries to make it look as if that margin was entirely due to illegal votes. But he shoots off his mouth about this to Congressional leaders a few days after inauguration without any…you know…FACTS.

In November Drumpf asserted, in a play to his racist base, that 81% of white homicide victims were killed by blacks. He added some other numbers that were fiction and cited a non-existent agency as his source. That happens to be one of his many “Pants On Fire” ratings from Politifact.

Indeed, Politifact has six different ratings:

  • True
  • Mostly True
  • Half True
  • Mostly False
  • False
  • Pants on Fire…That means the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

To date Politifact has examined and fact-checked 442 statements and claims made by Drumpf. A full 69% fall into one of the three false categories with 16% (69) Pants on Fire.

FYI: Barack Obama has more fact chgecks than anyone else with 76% in one of the true categories and only 2% Pants on Fire. Hillary Clinton has 73% in the true categories and only 2% Pants on Fire.

So Drumpf has about as much connection with fact as oatmeal does to ingredients for thermonuclear weapons.

Drumpf’s father’s real name was NOT Fred, as is commonly believed. It was Geppetto.


UPDATE NOTE: I originally wrote that “on Wednesday all hell broke loose” though Drumpf had spoken on Tuesday. My intent was to note the clamor that really went fullblast the next day, though in our internet world the outbursts were almost immediate. I edited Wednesday to Tuesday for greater clarity in that regard.








On Saturday, August 12, 2017, white supremecists held a rally in Charlottesville, Va., ostensibly to protest the proposed removal of a statue of known traitor to America Robert E. Lee from a public park. The rally turned violent as the rallyers attacked counter-protesters opposed to their racist views, beating several up and using pepper spray on others. It culminated in one of their evil ilk ramming a group of the moral counter-demonstrators with his souped up car, killing one woman and injuring more. The young fucker arrested is only twenty years old.
How the hell could such a young person develop hatred for non-whites and Jews and others who cannot lay claim to being white males?
Now the term often applied to these racist monsters who believe the color of their skin is superior to all others is white supremacy. That designation is meant to distinguish these ignorant bastards from the standard right-leaning conservatives, assuming any really still exist. However, white supremacy is a misnomer since the movement is actually ALL WRONG.
Its adherents spuriously allege white males are discriminated against and oppressed because other people who not share that description seek to ensure they have the same rights and opportunities that white males are always privileged to enjoy.
I myself am a white male with 70 years experience…and counting…and I have never experienced discrimination or oppression as a consequence of my gender and complexion.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
The great Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific was based on Michener’s collection of tales about World War II stories he heard about the South Pacific, most especially one involving racism. An American Navy officer falls in love with a native girl but, fearing she would not fit in with his upper class WHITE Philadelphia mainline family, he does not marry her and is then killed in action.
Looking at his own prejudices he sings “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” which highlights the fact that people are not born with racial hate in their hearts.
Complete lyrics.
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught
That seems a logical place to look for the source of the young driver’s actions, both in attending the rally in the first place then in his wanton, terroristic attack. Great numbers of his cohorts are also young men.
But a prime example of this principle is Dear Leader Drumpf. His father Fred was a known racist long before asshole son hit the scene, though there is no known proof he was a KKK member despite numerous memes I’ve seen.
However, legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie lived in one of Fred, Drumpf’s aprtment complexes, Beach Haven, for a couple of years beginning in December 1950. “Bitch Havens” was what Woody Guthrie called the Drumpf complex he moved into, and was horrified by this exclusively white “JimCrow town.”
So upset was Guthrie that he wrote a poem:
“I suppose/Old Man Drumpf knows/Just how much/Racial Hate/he stirred up/In the bloodpot of human hearts/When he drawed/That color line/Here at his/1800 family project.”
Years later those words were put to music.
When the DOJ sued Fred and son for violating the Fair Housing Act by racial profiling, Beach Haven was one of the properties cited. At the time The Donald declared the suit was “reverse discrimination” (Sound familiar, Charlottesville Nazis?)
Of course Drumpf, ever the fighter, signed a consent decree with DOJ. Didn’t stop him. In 1982 class action suits were instituted against other of his properties (though Fred was the only one sued by name)
Again that case was settled with damages paid to the discriminated against potential tenants (Other companies were defendants, too. It was a group settlement.).
“Workers at Drumpf’s casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, have accused him of racism over the years. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission fined the Drumpf Plaza Hotel and Casino $200,000 in 1992 because managers would remove African-American card dealers at the request of a certain big-spending gambler. A state appeals court upheld the fine.”
That article also describes other instances demonstrating Drumpf’s racism including his appointment of racist swamp creatuers such as Steve Bannon to his administration.
How on earth did Drumpf become such a racist who supports white supremecists who love him?
He was carfeully taught.
Thanks, Fred.


The man—and I use that word only in its most general sense—pictured above has proven to be startlingly incompetent throughout his life. Yet he constantly brags about his superiority in all manner of things. Sad.

Actor Stephen Fry (yes, I, too, have barely heard of him) was voted the most intelligent person on TV in the U.K according to this article in HuffPo wherein he provides an explanation of why the man pictured above has so many supporters who believe everything he says, even when it is obviously pure twaddle and outright lies.

Fry believes a psychological lesson helps explain this effect.


For example, researchers found students who were least proficient often overestimated their own abilities.

“The skills they lacked were the same skills required to recognize their incompetence,” Fry said. “The incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

That’s now known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect was developed by psychologists at Cornell. It considers that incompetent people

fail to recognize their own lack of skill

fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy

fail to accurately gauge skill in others

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

Both Fry and Wikipedia offer oversimplifications of Dunning-Kruger, but the entire Dunning-Kruger paper can be found here:

We focus on the metacognitive skills of the incompetent to explain, in part, the fact that people seem to be so imperfect in appraising themselves and their abilities.1 Perhaps the best illustration of this tendency is the “above-average effect,” or the tendency of the average person to believe he or she is above average…

That, the man pictured does to the max. Indeed, the Washington Post compiled a litany of such claims last October. Among them

“I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,”

“I think nobody knows the system better than I do.” (on government)

“Nobody knows more about trade than me.”

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”

“So a general gets on, sent obviously by Obama, and he said, ‘Mr. Drumpf doesn’t understand. He knows nothing about defense.’ I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.”

“Because nobody knows the system better than me. I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.”

And, of course, there is his constant bragging about his negotiating skills.

He understands the tax laws but insists he can’t release his tax returns because he is under IRS audit. The IRS tells him he can, though whether he is under audit is a private matter.

He “knows the system” but yet many appointed positions remain unfilled that are vital to the workings even he wishes to occur.

As to the military and the generals, he also promised to have a plan to defeat ISIS “within 30 days” Still not done.

And when the Seals mission in Yemen went awry did he take responsibility because he knows the military? Hell no.

On Visas he knows more than anybody? Several federal judges have told him he does not. And that is compounded by his utter lack of understanding of how the federal courts work—or else it reveals that he doesn’t care that federal courts exist, he wants to be a dictator.

On trade he’s an expert? He’s gone from totalling condemning NAFTA to a willingness to renegotiate with Canada and Mexico on some of its terms. All the while he ignores mountains of evidence that NAFTA is not a disaster, but at worst only a lukewarm success for the United States

And negotiating skills? Gee, where were those demonstrated when Republicans were forced to give up ACA repeal and all the program cuts he wanted in order to keep the government financed for the remainder of this fiscal year? He got NOTHING he wanted.

This piece provides a more recent perspective on Dunning-Kruger.

Unfortunately, in those places ruled by the smug and complacent, a classic paper has become a weapon. The findings of Dunning and Kruger are being reduced to “Stupid people are so stupid that they don’t know they are stupid.” Rather bluntly, Dunning himself said, “The presence of the Dunning-Kruger effect, as it’s been come to be called, is that one should pause to worry about one’s own certainty, not the certainty of others.” And that humorously suggests the Dunning-Kruger effect is now a candidate to become a second Godwin’s law.

Like Dunning, I do not take such a dim view of humanity. In fact, Dunning-Kruger and follow-up papers give us cause for hope. They show that people are not usually irredeemably stupid. You can teach people to accurately self-evaluate—though, in their specific examples, this also involved teaching them the very skill they were trying to evaluate.

(Godwin’s law, incidentally, is the proposition that in any comment thread, if long enough, some comparison to Hitler will emerge.)

But remember the fourth point of D-K

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

While that may be true, that presupposes that the person demonstrates a desire to cure their lack of skill. In our present case, do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

What, ME worry? Damned right I worry.




Wharton Follies is an annual Spring comedy show written, produced, and performed by Wharton MBA students. A certain graduate of Wharton…from its undergraduate school, not its MBA program…has brought this follies idea onto the national stage and it is a 24 hour a day 7 days a week production with only occasional unscheduled but very brief intermissions. It is, of course, headquartered at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washngton, D.C. which provides the primary stage but its road companies are legion and come in a variety of packages for your entertainment.

They may be presented as a political rally before a decidedly less than capacity Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena which somehow was “record attendance” or at Town Halls across the country where the legislative provocateurs who kowtow to that certain graduate have been drawing nearly uniformly panning reviews, to even the bushes at the White House where the chief spokesman for that certan graduate took to hiding from reporters seeking an explanation of that day’s performance.

Now, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has a mostly deserved reputation for churning out top business leaders. But this certain graduate, one could conclude, is the exception that proves the rule. For his economic beliefs and ideas are decidely a bunch of hogwash. They defy facts, logic, and a rational thought process.

In his personal life he has demonstrated that a teeny tiny loan of just $1,000,000 from his father, and the use of that same father’s name and connections and  loan guarantees and the provision of other financing, as well as that certain graduate’s ultimate inheritance of possibly as much as $200 million from his by then dead father can be built into an empire worth much less than if it had been invested in an index fund and he could have avoided the ignonimy of six bankruptcies, a failed football franchise, a failed airline, a university that was both a fraud and a failure, and at least one year—1995—in which he lost over NINE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS from all his multiple enterprises.

Along the way he excoriates NAFTA and any notion of international trade that takes jobs away from the United States to foreign climes while simultaneously shipping production of his own line of clothing overseas and purchasing steel from China to build at least his Las Vegas hotel if not other of his edifices. (And his daughter is equally adept at these same business maneuvers.)

And the hell of it all is that his Follies play to an audience that gets no bang for their bucks.

Nevertheless he persists. In an interview with The Economist, partially recounted here

that certain graduate inexplicably lays claim to coining the phrase “priming the pump” as a metaphor for cutting taxes to stimulate the economy.

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

The phrase itself dates to at least as early as 1840 in reference to pumping water from the ground but economist John Maynard Keynes used the term beginning almost a century ago when describing how government spending, in times of economic distress, could put money in people’s hands so that the economy would improve. Of course this certain graduate perverts the term in the sense that he speaks of tax cuts for the already rich, not the expansion of government spending that will “prime the pump”. So not only did he NOT coin the phrase, he does not even understand its meaning.
If you can stomach the entire desultory interview have at it.

I note that, as usual, the certain graduate is either grossly misinformed or outright lying in his statements on a regular basis. I would have fact-checked but my time is limited. I’m preparing for my 100th birthday in thirty years and have not the time to spare.
However, some real facts about our trade with Mexico provide some enlightenment. There is no denying that we run a deficit in our trade with Mexico. For instance in 2016 that deficit was just over $63 Billion. We exported $231 Bn and imported $294 Bn worth of goods. But, predating NAFTA, in 1985 that deficit was $5.5 Bn but with a total of slightly less than $33 Bn in total trade between the two. In other words the total volume of trade between the U.S. and Mexico in 31 years increased 16 times while the deficit in trade increased only 12 times. Of course there are differences from year-to-year but the U.S. Census Bureau provides this handy chart to trace the history of such trade.
Trade with Canada in the same period has been more of a roller coaster ride. From a deficit of $21 Bn in 1985 to just over $11 Bn in 2016 seems like a huge improvement under NAFTA with a four-fold increase in volume but, beginning in 2000 through 2008 that deficit ranged from $48 Bn to $78 Bn. However, since 2009 it has never been more than roughly $36 Bn. Hmmm, what do those years coincide with?
With regards to Mexico, furthermore, experts like to point out a key fact: 40% of the parts in a typical Mexican product originate in the United States, according to the Commerce Department. And that’s a key reason why 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade just with Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Can we thus assume that this certain graduate was not exposed to an examination of facts during his Wharton years that would have led him to contrary approaches to economics than he now espouses? Or can we thus assume this certain graduate is simply fact averse under any and all circumstances.
What is clear is that the value of a Wharton education is bigly lost on some of its graduates.



#7, above, is Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers during the playing of the National Anthem prior to its exhibition game vs the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1, 2012.

Note he is kneeling and does not have his hand over his heart as all the civilians around him seem to be doing. This was also his appearance during the National Anthem at the three previous exhibition games on August 26, August 20, and Augiust 14. No complaints were registered until after the August 26 game.

But, oh, how those complaints have come in.

Kaepernick, in one interview, explained his rationale

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder

One objection to Kaepernick took this form:

Martin Halloran, the San Francisco Police Officers Association president, sent a letter Monday to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers CEO Jed York denouncing Kaepernick’s “ill-advised” statements and a “naivete” and “total lack of sensitivity” toward police, along with an “incredible lack of knowledge” about officer-involved shootings.

The police union invited Kaepernick or anyone else from the league to visit the San Francisco police academy to build communication and understanding about the profession.

“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter,” Halloran wrote. “Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”

There are several problems with that narrative, not the least of which is that Kaepernick did not reference the San Francisco Police for misbehavior, but he well could have. The S.F.P.D. has been involved in  95 officer involved shootings in the past 15 years with 40 deaths. 18 of those shot had only knives on them and 11 were not armed at all. And since there were multiple officers with more than one shooting I’d say the emotional trauma of shooting a civilian must not be that great since there are repeat offenders and other officers do not seem to learn from the mistakes of their brethren. So spare me the sob story.

Too, Kaepernick is not the one embarrassing himself, nor should he be embarrassed but Halloran should be utterly ashamed of himself. As to “a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.” Halloran must be playing see no evil and hear no evil all by his lonesome but he forgot the speak no evil part—because his accusation that Kaepernick operates from a false narrative and nonfactual information is so obviously itself a lie.

But one phenomenon is quite apparent in the criticism. The quarterback is accused of demeaning America and denying its greatness. But so so many of the people voicing that criticism are preparing to vote for a large incandescent yam whose very campaign slogan tells Americans their country is not great.

As an interesting aside and a corollary to the Kaepernick story, read this tale by a reporter who once protested in favor of the National Anthem by sitting down for it. Same action, different rationale.

Another curious twist is that part of  Kaepernick’s position is in total alliance with BlackLivesMatter. Protests and demonstrations have come to many cities across the country. Most have been extraordinarily peaceful but on the uncommon occasions with some violence the cry has been heard, “Hey, you black folks! You can protest better by sitting down and shutting up” So a black man decides to protest by sitting down and shutting up and that still is not good enough.

Colin Kaepernick is in excellent company.

Rosa Parks stood up against segregated buses while sitting down and her action has been immortalized as a linchpin of the Civil Rights Movement.

Ezell Blair, Jr. Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond stood up against discrimination in public accommodations by sitting down on four stools at a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter.

In 1776 fifty-six men stood up against the tyranny of King Goerge III by sitting down to debate and adopt the Declaration Of Independence.

Will Kaepernick’s protest eventually carry the same import? Probably not but it is very much in the spirit of the aforesaid protests.

Colin, in my apartment I have a very comfy La-Z-Boy recliner. Stop over to watch some games, any games, and feel free to fully enjoy the recliner during the National Anthem. You’ll hear not one peep out of me if you fail to stand.