Tag Archives: Donald Trump

SAVING COAL

war-on-coal

For the past severl years there has been a huge outcry about the federal government’s war on coal. More precisely that cry began at 12:01 p.m. January 20, 2009. In searching for images to post the one I chose is one of the few that would not be criticized as NSFW.

The rhetoric charging this has been noticeably more vitriolic and sensational here in West Virgina though even representatives of the coal industry have occiasionally let slip that other factors are more responsible for any decline in coal demand and production than anything emanating from D.C.

But I’m not here to argue that issue. What I am doing is offering a way to boost the demand for West Virginia coal, however temporarily, so that our state’s miners can be assured of an income filled Christmas season.

A great Christmas tradition is to warn little children that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings if they have been naughty, instead of the goodies all the angelic little kiddies receive.

Let us instead deliver lumps of coal to the truly terrible children around the world who are invariably disguised as adults. I’ll give you some examples as to how this will work.

Hillary Clinton——Not necessarily her sole flaw but a lot of people consider her to be far too cozy with Wall Street bankers and the like. So to her we deliver a 500 pound bag of coal lumps, to be shared with the banker friends, likely to be used to fuel document burning fires.

Mike Huckabee——One lump of coal for each of his utterances that have belied his self–proclaimed Christianity. That could keep a dozen miners busy for weeks.

Walmart——A lump of coal for each underpaid employee or one who has been forced to work on Thanksgiving away from their family. The problem here is that Walmart will probably buy the coal more cheaply from China.

David A. Bowers——He’s the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia who issued a statement which has been interpreted by some as suggesting any Syrian refugees be held in detention camps such as were employed on our own Japanese-American citizens during World War II. He later walked that statement back, though this whole thing is so muddled that he may have simply called for the internment of Syrian refugees together with Japanese-Americans and members of the mainstream media who reported his original gaffe. I’d just as soon forget him but to Bowers for Christmas goes one 2 pound lump of coal which he can utilize to call meetings to order by hitting it with his gavel.

Vladimir Putin——Invader of Ukraine and idol of FOX News and fitness fanatics alike, will receive two large lumps of coal fashioned into ten pound dumbells which he can carry while riding his horse or used as handicaps to challenge him in his other physical activities (which challenge will undoubtedly be met. He is Vladimir Putin after all) And all this while displaying his wonderful pecs.

ISIS——Well known murderers, rapists, beheaders, and internet trollers deserving of the largest load of coal at all. The lumps they recieve will not be measured in pounds or tons but, as much as I abhor mountaintop mining, it may take the removal of one mountaintop chock full of coal to be delivered to ISIS…not in lumps but in one mass dropped from above.

Donald Trump——Where do I start? Does he merit a lump for each racist, xenophobic, misogynistic declaration? One for each unnamed source, the experts or producers of dubious or outright false claims he has made or advisers he has consulted? No, better to deliver lumps equal to the number of folks who have stated they will vote for him, each of whom deserves their own bituminous filled stocking. But we will use those lumps to replace the sand in the bunkers on his golf courses—one lump per each grain. Anything remaining will be shipped to the Board Room in Trump Tower. Thenre if he declares “You’re fired!” the coal will begin burning.

Bernie Sanders——Feeling the Bern won’t mean feeling the burn from coal. Sanders is no saint, yet his proposals for the country are spot on and achievable given the will to implement them So to Bernie goes a one ton pile of coal, but one that will be kept under pressure to change it into diamonds—with the assist of Superman, naturally. Once that occurs I’m betting we can trust Bernie to spread the wealth wherever needed.

Children——Are you kidding me? Kids have done nothing to be treated with lumps of coal. What they need and deserve in their stockings, even if they’ve never heard of Santa or Christmas, is to receive assurances they wil have food and shelter and most of all love so that they will not grow up becoming eligible for lumps of coal.

 

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FEARMONGER FEARMONGER MAKE ME A FEAR

match

I continually react in disgust to the fearmongering generated by Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz in the agglomeration of news of ISIS  and Syrian refugees and Mexican immigrants and government assisted health care, or anything government assisted, and taxes and any other phenomenon they paint as an existential threat to the United States

There are many other guilty parties and not all are Republicans but this is my blog and I can pick on whomever I want.

None of those are threats…at least not in the way they are characterized.

Then we have the gun nuts, already armed to the teeth, rushing to acquire more firepower after the Paris attacks or any event they believe requires an armed response, even if the “threat” comes from people who are decidedly unarmed or thousands of miles away.

That has provoked in my mind the ear worm of the song from Fiddler On The Roof called Matchmaker Matchmaker. You can view a delightful version below. 

But my ear worm, while employing the instrumental part, has lyrics that are quite different.

And imagine the three pictured above as singing.

Fearmonger, Fearmonger
Make me a fear
Find me a villain
To attack this year
Fearmonger, Fearmonger
Look through your book
And find me a perfect fear

Fearmonger Fearmonger
I’ll bring the lies
You give me the name
Of whom to despise
Preferably brown
Bring me a cause for I’m longing to put
An innocent person down

For Carson
Make him like Darwin

For Ted Cruz
Make him want more taxing

For Trump well
He will not holler
If he were a loser at everything

Fearmonger, Fearmonger
Make me a fear
Find me a threat
Soon to appear
Night after night in the dark I’m alone
So find me a fear
Of my own

(Much dialogue between the three)

Fearmonger, Fearmonger
I have no brains
I’ve never learned
That playing with fears
Can get U.S. burned
So
Bring me a fear
Let me preach doom
If you don’t find
A threat this year
I will make up my own fear

With the deepest apologies to Fiddler lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

WHO’S THE BOSS?

fired

Of course we are not speaking of a TV series, a New Jersey Rocker, or an owner of a major league baseball franchise. That kind of leaves us with our star attraction, pictured above.

It is really so much simpler than what all of us have been working ourselves up over. “What is simpler?”, you ask? Why the appeal of Donald Trump to certain elements of the electorate.

Never mind the racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic undertones—or as some allege, overtones of Trump’s campaign for President. Never mind his long slate of accomplishments…three wives and four bankrupticies. No, what these voters are looking for is simply a boss. After all, as much as he has been criticized for actions independent of Congress (as have many of his predecessors) President Barack Obama lacks the absolute power over his realm that Trump exercises over his dominion.

But the image of Trump as a boss who gets things done seems to be very stromg with the public. The source of that image? Mostly Trunp himself, whose bluster in the campaign to date at heart consists of him telling people he will do what he says with no substance to how he hopes to accomplish this.

And, of course his legacy as host of a contrived and manipulative “reality” television series, The Apprentice, on which he was the contrivingest, manipulatingest element of all does nothing but enhance his boss image. After all, who would not want to pit several contestants against each other in rigged competitions so that, even if all performed admirably and the margin of difference between the teams was negligible, one of the team members would hear the dreaded, “You’re fired” at the end of each episode. Great televison, bad business practices.

(Full disclosure—I viewed pretty much all of the first season of The Apprentice, a few episodes of the second season, and have sporadically seen snippets of a few episodes since, especially as it morphed into The Celebrity Apprentice)

In these public endeavors Trump had no Board of Directors to contend with, let alone a recalcitrant Congress, only the sychophantic comments of long time associates/aides or adoring children.

The potential voters who have demonstrated a willingness to vote for someone perceived as a no-nonsense, accomplish at all costs boss are wallowing in self-delusion.

Deporting all illegal or undocumented immigrants is an impossible, budget busting no-go financially and as a matter of practicality in simply rounding up all the folks eligible for deportment and observing their lawfully guaranteed procedural rights, a pipe dream of the first magnitude.

And building the Mexican wall? Puh-lease!

In foreign affairs he would have the U.S. virtually bludgeon other nations to submit to our will. “ISIS, be gone!” “China, take your part of our National Debt and wipe it off your books to repay us for your financial sins against the U.S.”  And so on and so on.

Some people lie to themselves by rejoicing in Trump’s unilateral approach to politics. But upon his inauguration on January 21, at 12:01 p.m. a giant alarm clock (perhaps designed by Ahmed Mohamed?) will clang his supporters into the reality of the real political world, just as ordinary alarm clocks, on Monday morning awaken the working world from their weekend reveries.

And just as commuters find that road construction has persuaded everybody to take the usualy less-traveled shortcuts that are now clogged, so wil Trump believers find the shorcuts their idol has promised them are also clogged, but in this case due to Trump closing the main arteries that usually serve so well.

Neither Congress, the Supreme Court, nor other world leaders are “at will” employees dispatched on a whim. They will not be Apprentice applicants cowering before him, but rather strong leaders with their own power bases and paychecks not signed by The Donald. Gary Busey they ain’t.

HOMES OF THE MAYBE RICH AND WANNA BE FAMOUS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We are rapidly, or maybe not rapidly enough, moving towards the 2016 Presidential election. The house pictured above is the residence the announced candidates aspire to inhabit. But what about their current residences? How do they compare?

We are blessed by this article which gives us pretty pictures of the house or houses owned by some of the candidates, but limited to only Trump, Bush, Clinton, and Sanders.

http://www.homes.com/blog/2015/09/presidential-candidate-homes/

I have not been able to obtain photographs, but I am assured by reliable sources that the following descriptions are accurate depictions of their living spaces for some of the other candidates.

Mike Huckabee—a little warren within some evangelical church, away from the riff-raff whom he has time for only to deliver his latest irrational screed. Inside his personal area the walls are plastered with pictures of various acts of sado-masochism performed by him with waitresses from Hooters. Oh, and a portrait of Soupy Sales.

Rick Perry—His house is built to emulate the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas which contains the state’s Death Row. Inside, Perry’s great room contains plenty of loungers with wrist, waist, and ankle straps and IV poles ready to deliver his guests’ beverage of choice.

Scott Walker—-Surprisingly he lives a very ascetic life in a bare bones home. After all, even in these times it’s difficult to fully furnish and decorate a house without objects that were union made. Obviously he has no car.

Rand PaulDesigned by renowned architect Howard Roark Paul’s home has a small but comfortable library which holds only the works of Ayn Rand…oh…and the Gideon Bible he brought home from his last national Ophthalmology Convention, aiming to use it for guidance when advising Kentucky County Clerks on their job duties.

Ben Carson—A comfortable but not ostentatious home in which his favorite room is the one where he displays mementoes of his life. Among thse are a brain preserved in formaldehyde complete with electric stimulators he can operate for old times’ sake, a sonogram of the pre-aborted fetus he later used for stem cell research, and an unused booklet of Food Stamps from his childhood.

Martin O’Malley—He lives in a house that formerly housed one of those crab shacks like you find dotting the Maryland shore. He maintains a supply of wooden mallets, a stack of old newspapers (each containing a report of one of his speeches) used to cover the wooden picnic table where his family dines, and a to-the-ceiling pile of O’Malley For President bumper stickers that no one has accessed his web site to request.

Rick Santorum—Since his unpublicized divorce and remarriage, he had to move into his new spouse’s dog house.

Chris Christie—Has houses all over the country. You can recognize them by the Dunkin Donuts logo outside.

Carly Fiorina—Her house is an nondescript suburban block and brick building, miles from public transit, part of which she leases to the local unemployment office serving laid off tech workers.

Jim Webb—A 3476 sq ft Virginia Colonial, indistinguishable from most of his neighbors save for the electric message sign in front displaying a continuous loop reading “I AM NOT THE JIM WEBB WHO WROTE THAT ATROCIOUS SONG MACARTHUR PARK. There is currently a class action by his neighbors pending in which they seek damages for the ear worm they cannot get rid of.

Jeff Boss, Harry Braun, Lawrence Lessig, Robby Wells and Willie Nelson (not the singer) , a bunch of unknowns seeking the Democratic nomination, who reside jointly in a suite at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia.

Bobby Jindal–He used to live in a home resembling the Taj Mahal, but Trump evicted him for nonpayment of rent after he gambled all his money away in the building’s casino.

Ted Cruz—Rumored to reside just outside Winnipeg.

Marco Rubio—Lives very modestly in the rear of a Cuban sandwich shop in Miami’s Little Havana.

John Kasich—Currently living in the Ohio Governor’s mansion in Columbus, but preparing to move to a mountainside cabin on Denali. when his term expires.

Lindsey Graham—Once his objective of attacking Iran to end its nuclear program is acheived, he is going to retire from the Senate, and move into the penthouse condo he has already purchased overlooking the grandest boulevard in downtown Tehran.

Considering our options, would it be possible to change the locks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. before January, 20, 2017?

 

UPDATE. The original version mis-stated Martin O’Malley’s first name as Michael. The text now reads as corrected.

THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN

globe

The past few years a number of media pundits have come to refer to members of The Republican Party, especially those seemingly with Presidential aspirations, collectively as a clown car. Mostly because so many of them make clownish statements or have clownish rhetoric that is very difficult to take seriously.

As of now the list of possible candidates has grown to the extent that not even a clown car could hold them all. Thus, I have come to rename that as the Clown C-17 Globemaster III, itself with barely the capacity to transport them all to the inevitable debates.

Last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa Congressman Steve King hosted the Iowa Freedom Summit which some pundits consider to be a precursor to the race for the Republican nomination for President for 2016.

As such the nationally known Republicans who attended and took advantage of an opportunity to speak to what they see as important issues for our nation gave us this roster.

  • Chris Christie——-The New Jersey Governor was late due to traffic jams on bridges as he wended his way Westward, WHOA!
  • Scott Walker——–The Wisconsin Governor likewise met delays, in this case due to his own intransigence. It seems not only were the employees of the airline he flew unionized, but they also earn more than the minimum wage. He refused to board until the flight attendants promised not to perform “Look For The Union Label”  as part of their pre-flight routine.
  • Carly Fiorina——-The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard is perhaps best known for her forced ouster from that post, at least partly due to the somewhat contentious merger of H-P and Compaq (one of which computers is processing this for your viewing pleasure). Her political experience consists of working for the campaign of John McCain in 2008, receiving the endorsement of Sarah Palin, during her primary run for the GOP nomination for Senator in California in 2010, and her subsequent election loss to Barbara Boxer by ten percentage points. If, by some chance she could get elected as President, expect her to emulate her idol end endorser and resign in 2018.
  • Mike Huckabee——The former Governor of Arkansas resigned from FOX (hey, if the White House won’t put news with their name, neither will I) to test the Presidential waters. He made headlines by calling Eastern/New York women “trashy” due to their constant cursing, among other faults. Were he to become the candidate and have to face a national audience of women, in light of his positions on many women’s issues, the resultant cursing from every corner of America will be deafening.
  • Rick Perry———-The former Governor of Texas is a repeat visitor to this lineup but essentially doomed his own campaign in 2012 when during one debate he forgot one-third of his platform for reorganizing the federal government. But were he to be elected, Perry may not be happy in office as he would have very few opportunities to sign death warrants for convicted felons.
  • Ted Cruz-———–The current Senator from Texas, as wild and crazy as he can be at times, may be the sanest member of his family if you look at him alongside his father. If elected one would fervently pray that the trickle down theory will not suddenly manifest itself by his father’s ravings trickling down to him.
  • Rick Santorum—–The former Senator from Pennsylvania might better represent his true self if he would don either the starched prim garb of a Puritan or the formal religious regalia of Torquemada with the appropriate tonsured head.
  • Ben Carson——-The renowned retired neurosurgeon to date has exhibited an extraordinary lack of understanding of Americans and what the country needs as well as characterizing what he finds wrong with our nation (and in some cases he has a point) as the most extreme and pointless and offensive analogies possible. Perhaps his own brain has suffered some damage in which case I would offer this admonition, “Physician, heal thyself.”
  • Donald Trump—–The renowned mogul…just ask him…( and is he a mogul as businessman or a mogul as in a series of bumps on a skiing trail, which merely delays a downhill trip?) keeps threatening to toss his wig in the ring. TV comedians are breathless with anticipation with the wealth of material his candidacy would provide.
  • Mitt Romney——The former (take your pick——money grubbing venture capitalist; job destroyer; promoter of a socialist health insurance plan; chauffeur of rooftop dog carriers on family cars) did not appear in Des Moines and has since announced that, coincidentally, he has realized that the percentage of Americans he excoriates equals the percentage of votes he received in 2012 and will not be running.
  • Jeb Bush——–The former Florida governor was another no-show, biding his time to announce until he has a firm rationale in place to uphold the Bush family legacy to justify an invasion of Iraq.
  • Sarah Palin—–The indescribable (at least in a blog intended for family reading) Palin did speak…sort of. One would assume she now knows how misplaced it was for her to mock President Obama’s use of a teleprompter. That assumption is almost itself certainly misplaced.

As this circus moves from town to town I just hope the Koch brothers can afford the jet fuel expended.

IT IS TIME TO SHUN THE TROLLS

Rarely have I led by example in my life but at the age of 66 I believe I have come upon one way I can still be the leader.

In writing my blog and commenting in other forums I have had a weakness for responding to other comments that are nothing more than the lunatic ravings of trolls. I have finally ceased responding to one notorious nemesis.

On the national scene our media inexplicably repeat ad nauseum the similar nonsense uttered by politicians, flapping jaw show hosts and panel members, and any manner of public figures down to the 3rd ward dogcatcher in Florence, South Carolina whose utterances are far too often, ugly, demeaning, cruel, and stupid.

Though the ostensible motivation behind these (in)articulations is an expression of political belief or even an overlying philosophy, while they differ in degree of shock and the precise target of the speaker’s opprobrium,  their overarching ultimate purpose is quite simple. These people are nothing more than attention seekers.

The sad fact is that a lot of these trolls have an outlet for their bilge drawing a paycheck from the public fisc often while, ironically, attacking the very government entities they are an integral part of. Others are given a voice by giant corporations and are ubiquitous on our television screens, across our radio dials, and in print that appears on our doorsteps each morning or feeds the insatiable hunger of that interwebby thingamajig.

I am not starting a petition.to eliminate these trolls..though you are welcome to do so if you must…nor am I disputing their 1st through 756th Amendment rights to so blatantly demonstrate their ignorance before the world.

I am pleading for you to join me in restraint—but probably not in total eschewal—of citing or responding to the reprehensible halflings amongst us.

Let us treat the trolls as the expletives they are.

S***H P***N

D****D T***P

P**L R**N

M*****E B******N

T*D C**Z

R**K P***Y

D*N I**A

B**L O’*****Y

S**N H*****Y

R**H L******H

L***E G*****T

I would add more but my supply of asterisks has dried up.

 

 

 

 

AUGUSTA—NOT SO AUGUST

Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters Golf Tournament, was first settled by representatives of James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony. He was a member of the British Parliament and, in 1735, after establishing Savannah, he directed his men to build a fort for defense and that became Augusta. It was named for Princess Augusta,  the mother of the future King George III, the scourge of our founding fathers.

August, among other things, means marked by majestic dignity or grandeur.

Given its humble origins and its titular source, one would not associate the adjective with the town. yet, during the annual Masters Tournament, CBS and related sports media. attempt to  attach that cachet to the event.

In Salon.com writer Thomas Hackett offers his opinion that this reverence for the event and for the course on which it is played, is entirely unjustified. http://www.salon.com/2013/04/11/the_masters_presents_a_phony_sanitized_south/

“A tradition unlike any other” goes the tiresome CBS tag line for the club’s annual invitational. But it is a tradition of privilege and exclusion.

Legendary golfer Bobby Jones, who remained an amateur during his playing days, established both the Augusta National Club and the tournament now held annually early in April amidst blooming azaleas and the absence of the overt blatant commercialism rampant in all our major…and minor…sports today.

The announcers speak in hushed terms and stand to lose their jobs should they treat the tournament with other than utmost respect or inject any negativism on any topic into their commentary.

Hackett traces the event’s origins, indeed the origins of the course itself, constructed in 76 days with black laborers earning 10 cents an hour, ten hours a day, six days a week, during the middle of the Depression.

He also explores the elitist, racist history of both the course and the tournament in a rather scathing enumeration.

Yet there’s just no getting around it: Jones presided over a racist golf club. The financial legerdemain is complicated and ultimately incidental, the bigotry is not.

  • Not until 1975 were African-Americans allowed to compete in the Masters. Ostensibly, the tournament is an “invitational.” However, it had established well-known protocols for who got invited. If a player won a PGA event in the preceding year or if he finished the year among the top 25 money winners, he received an invitation. The African-American Charlie Sifford had won the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open, and was among the top money winners in the late 1960s. Yet “Sifford didn’t meet the qualifications,” the tournament committee insisted. In his book “Just Let Me Play,” Sifford writes that word came back that the club’s autocratic chairman, Clifford Roberts, said that “As long as I live, there will be nothing at the Masters besides black caddies and white players.” (For his part, Jones sent Sifford a letter demanding that he stop casting aspersions against the club. And while the quote is often-repeated, many golf historians don’t think it sounds like something Roberts would actually say, even if he believed it.)
  • Not until 1983 were players permitted to hire a caddie who wasn’t black. Some claimed this was a matter of well-meant racial beneficence. To others, the policy was about maintaining comforting racial hierarchies. “A Martian skimming overhead in his saucer would have to conclude that white Earthlings hit the ball and black Earthlings fetch it, that white men swing sticks and black men carry them” is how John Updike described the tournament in 1979.
  • Not until 1991 – nearly 60 years after the club opened – did Augusta National admit a single black member.
  • Not until last year did the club accept women members. Condoleezza Rice, one of the two women admitted, recently said that she has “long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf.” (Of course, we should expect that Rice would overlook the club’s history of blatant class, race and gender hierarchies: She ignored far more egregious things working for George W. Bush.)

Unlike Hackett, I’m not a big fan of golf. I’ve played regular, grown-up golf about half a dozen times and really only followed the game fairly closely when local hero Arnold Palmer was at his peak and there were far fewer options available for TV viewing.

I know who Tiger and Phil are but Rory? Wasn’t he a 50’s action movie star? I do miss seeing Tommy Bolt wrap a 7 iron around a tree after an errant shot but the only golfer I’ve ever been able to identify with was John Daly, and about the only things WE have in common are a prominent girth and a “fuck you” attitude, me without the attendant substance abuse problems that have been the bane of Daly’s career.

I don’t know if Hackett is accurate in his depiction of Augusta’s foibles, but I can agree that the tournament is, in substance, not distinguishable from its counterparts played on the verdant courses which seem to be increasingly owned by the utterly crass and classless The Donald.

The participants are no longer the equivalent of itinerant peddlers but instead willingly sell themselves to the highest bidder for all their equipment and clothing needs and probably even for the toilet paper they wipe themselves with. (And I’m certain their shit…even at Augusta…does stink)

Enjoy the golf but don’t delude yourself that Augusta’s grass is any greener than the lawn across the street.

TODAY’S LINKS—11-18-2012

I haven’t presented an entry like this for some time, but occasionally I find some interesting reading that I can’t expand into a full article myself but is worthwhile sharing.

First I note that, while entering the date, It reminded me that my parents were married on this day in 1935. Both are long passed. Coincidentally writer Sue Grafton’s fictional detective, Kinsey Millhone, once speaking of her parents, killed in a car crash leaving Millhone an orphan, revealed that they, too, were married on that date.

Now for the real stuff.

Penn Jillette is famous as the talking half of the magician team Penn and Teller. Their magic act is nothing like what my father performed  https://umoc193.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/its-magic/  but very entertaining with a cynical touch uncommon to the genre.

He was a contestant on Donald Trump’s egofest Celebrity Apprentice (one must be specific about The Donald’s egofests..there are so many of them). Jilette now has a book out Every Day is an Atheist Holiday from which an account of his appearance on that show is recounted. http://www.salon.com/2012/11/17/penn_jillettes_secrets_of_celebrity_apprentice_donald_trump_is_a_whackjob/

He compares the tasks involved to junior high, both being incredibly easy. He declares Trump’s hair as being real but resembling “cotton candy made of piss”.

He confesses his own “sucking up” to Trump. No excuses.

Now for another review of the recent election.

This was the first class warfare election of the new Gilded Age — and the middle class won big.

So says Robert Borosage is this article reprinted from Alternet. http://www.salon.com/2012/11/17/americas_first_class_warfare_election/

While these thoughts merit broader expostion on my part, I’ll share this now until I have more time to explore. More particularly I’m not certain the purported middle class victory is secure. There are hints that Obama may be willing to yield ground on Social Security and Medicare in efforts to trim the deficit and avoid the “fiscal cliff”. So any middle class triumph may be Pyrrhic.

However, there is no doubt that class warfare was being waged. Who were the initiators, causes and combatants depended on one’s perspective.

Borosage himself does not look upon 2012 bringing final victory.

More and more of our elections going forward will feature class warfare — only this time with the middle class fighting back. And candidates are going to have to be clear about which side they are on. Politicians in both parties are now hearing CEOs telling them that it is time for a deal that cuts Medicare and Social Security benefits in exchange for tax reform that lowers rates and closes loopholes. Before they take that advice, they might just want to look over their shoulders at what will be coming at them.

Only time will tell (Okay, not very original)

This last link is to a Salon interview with Jon Meacham, author of a new book Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.

To most Americans Thomas Jefferson is a hero so some readers of this book my be repelled by some of its revelations. Chief among the arguments against Jefferson over the years has been his links to slavery, as much in his public policy as in his private life with his own slaves including a mistress.

Meacham, however, a Pulitzer winner for his biography of Andrew Jackson, argues that perfection cannot be the standard by which presidents and politicians are judged. He suggests our best leaders must “transcend (their) constraints and overcome those faults in order to leave the nation a better, more just place than they found it.” Jefferson, he writes, “did his best … and his best left the world a definition, if not a realization, of human liberty that has endured, and gave America the means to ascend to global power.”

And I believe that. Too often we judge our politicians’ (and other putative heroes) personal pecadilloes by standards we would never apply to ourselves. Thus, for instance, the extreme hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich persecuting Bill Clinton for his illicit White House liaisons.

Of course Jefferson is larger than life and one of the most seminal figures in the establishment of our nation. His brilliance in so many areas once led JFK to exclaim at a dinner for Nobel Prize winners:

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone

Meacham has been making the rounds of various talk shows promoting his book and it looks like it will be a fascinating read.

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY—TAMPA EDITION

The Republican National Convention has ended leaving Romney/Ryan as the Party’s 2012 ticket, hundreds of strippers flush with cash, and the impression that Clint Eastwood may be beginning to show his age.

I will be very candid with you. I did not watch one iota of the “action”. Thus I am uniquely qualified to comment. Action at a politcal party convention these days is more reminiscent of a Sergio Leone film. The look is stark with bursts of violence but little talk. What talk there is comes from characters ill-suited to mouth it.

THE GOOD?

Well Hurricane Isaac shortened it by a day and that had two redeeming features. Delegates had more time to stimulate the local economy and a planned appearance by Donald Trump was cancelled.

THE BAD?

A succession of speeches presented a very misleading view as to what the GOP…and this year’s nominees…are all about. Distortions and misrepresentations abounded, but I guess such are to be expected in partisan venues. The Democrats have their shot next week.

But many of these misrepresentations and distortions morphed into lies due to the fact that the folks promulgating them had already been challenged by a plethora of fact checkers and the semi-official Romney campaign position was, in essence, fuck the fact checkers, we’ll say anything we want.

(A little aside. One of the leading fact checkers is Politifact, which the right is always slamming for its “liberal bias”. Politifact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. The convention was held in the Tampa Bay Times forum, named for the newspaper.)

Paul Ryan’s speech was such an egregious example that even a commentator on FoxNews called him out about it.

And poor Ann Romney. Not only has she had to ride in a car with the candidate while dogshit and barf were dripping down from the roof, she’s had to live with him thirty-eight years believing his tale of bravado in establishing Bain Capital and relaying her admiration for him doing so onto the convention goers and a national TV audience.

Alas, just as it’s always the wife being the last to know her husband’s been out of a job for 8 months while leaving at the same time each morning as when he was working, it’s revealed that the Mittster had an agreement with Bill Bain to take him back into Bain & Co.and protect both his salary and reputation if Bain Capital should fail.

That’s hardly emblematic of the pioneer and entrepreneurial spirit Romney wants to project that he possesses.

And now we come to Clint. I would not call myself an unmitigated fan of Mr. Eastwood, but I’ve generally liked his movies, especially after he moved past the Spaghetti Western phase of his career. And I don’t give a rat’s ass about his politics. Paul Newman was a liberal but I never went to see his flicks due to that.

It’s even ironic that Clint should have been afforded such a spotlight given the frequent GOP rhetoric against “Hollywood elites”. Is there anyone in Hollywood more elite than Clint Eastwood?

Anyways Clint spoke…unscripted…to an empty chair supposed to represent President Obama. Word is that he rambled on to the extent that the media air was atwitter afterwards with even conservative commentators viewing his speech as weird. You can find a sampling here.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/80501.html

THE UGLY

Two features come to mind and oddly neither was under the control of the Republican Party or any of its representatives nor of the delegates en masse.

The first was the disgusting incident.

“Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, ‘This is how we feed animals.’

“Multiple witnesses observed the exchange and RNC security and police immediately removed the two people from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.”

I do not suggest or imply that this action is indicative of a general Republican mindset. And party officials were quick to both condemn the action and work with arena people to deal with it. The camerawoman herself expressed that this was not unexpected in the deep South, but that no partisan hay should be made from it.

This last item again is not the fault of the GOP, at least so far as its’ handling of the convention. But the 105 workers cleaning the arena are paid minimum wage for Florida—$7.67 an hour. That comes to just under $16,000 a year gross, before any taxes are taken out. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/rnc-convention-workers-minimum-wage_n_1844836.html

One of the workers reported his rent is $575 a month which would be more than half of his take home pay.

 Their employer, Cleanevent, contracts for these services.

This is a prime example of the income and wealth disparity in this country. If all these 105 employees work forty hours per week for a full year, their total pay would be $1,680,000. In contrast Mitt Romney made roughly $20 million each of the past two years by not having to work at all, let alone forty hours per week.

Collectively those folks would have to toil for over eleven years to equal one year of Romney’s earnings.

What is wrong with this picture?

For these workers and the camerawoman another movie title comes to mind, Heaven Can Wait

SHORT TAKES ON GOP RACISM AND OTHER BS

You may have heard that President Barack Obama has come under fire for ending work requirements under TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, that replaced what was formerly known as welfare. You may also have heard that the claim is an utter lie as almost every major news organization and fact checking entity has determined.

What he actually did was to request that states be given the choice to seek waivers from the particulars of the work requirement in that law so they can  develop programs in their states that will allow them to more effectively achieve this work goal.

In fact, in 2005 when he was governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was one of 29 Republican governors signing a letter to Congress making a similar request for such leeway.

But today Romney himself is running ads condemning Obama for his initiative and openly lying that Obama has ended any work mandate under TANF.

He continues this baseless attack even as a reporter questioning him points out this fallacy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/27/mitt-romney-welfare-waivers_n_1832871.html

As Romney says Obama’s action (which is false to begin with) plays to his base, he is not being overtly racist. Nor are the GOP minions backing him up and refusing to acknowledge the main claim is false such as John Boehner, Michael Steeles and Newt Gingrich. (The latter two I just heard on Hardball)

However, a large part of the Republican base may automatically assume welfare recipient=ethnic minority. Thus this ploy by Romney, et al is a cynical appeal to the lowest denominator.

That strategy is part and parcel of the odor remaining among many on the right that Obama himself was born in Kenya, is a Muslim, and has anti-American views. Most of the main GOP spokesmen have bypassed any opportunity to make a strong statement refuting these allegations when some supporter has made them.

To his credit John McCain was quick to slap people down who posed these ridiculous charges against Obama in the 2008 campaign. The party would be lucky to have such moral leadership today.

The other BS is the near arrival on the Tampa convention stage of the Birther-in-Chief, one The Donald Trump. He was supposed to be presenting a “surprise” Monday night. Rampant speculation was that this surprise would be merely a scene of him saying to Obama, “You’re fired”, with his inimitable flair for the dramatic, not to mention his unsurpassed propensity for trite, meaningless rhetoric that only serves to blow his own horn.

Alas, the effects of Hurricane Isaac on the convention’s schedule resulted in this scenario being scrubbed. However, the Sarasota, Fla. GOP still has plans to award Trump its Statesman of the Year honor. Isn’t that like giving Michael Vick an award from the Humane Society?

These Republican Charlatans have no shame.