Thought for the day...

The Horror… the horror…

Well here we are again...    Why is it every four years Americans lose their shit and charge to the polls to elect complete nut cases to our highest public offices?  Unqualified people who know nothing of policy, foreign relations, but are very good at assigning blame and telling us what the other side is doing wrong?   

Are the Dems doing things “wrong”?   Of course they are – but nothing on the scale of a) Invasion of Iraq in 2003 – a move that effectively destabilized the middle east for generations to come and may lead to the final all-incinerating conflict that WWIII promises to be or b) deregulation of banks that lead to the fiscal crash of 2007; a crisis from which the entire world is still struggling to survive.  Just a reminder these two cataclysmic events are what happened the last time we threw the car keys to the GOP and let them drive for eight years.  (Oh yeah – and never mind about 9/11!)

So now in 2016 people are rallying behind a petty, tyrannical, sociopathic madman – a huckster whose single greatest appeal lies in his push to blame all our problems on savage brown hordes allegedly flooding our borders from the south… a scenario that simply is not borne out by facts.   What percentage of crimes in the US are perpetrated by Syrian refugees or “illegals” from Mexico?   Most immigrants don’t enter the country by scooting across the border – there’s already a fence there now (a border fence built by “W” Bush in 2006?  Hello? ).   Most of them they come through the established entries with legally granted VISA’s to work or attend school in the U.S.   After their VISA’s expire many of them don’t leave.   Many of them do pay into the system, however – which ostensibly helps strengthen the working class in the US – while being unable to receive those benefits themselves.    

How many of these people are rapists and murderers?  Not very many.   The tendency of immigrants whose VISA status is shaky is to not do anything to draw attention to themselves and this includes NOT COMMITTING CRIMES.  Even more interesting is the fact that a lot of the anger about “illegals” is coming from towns and cities all across the US that are mostly white and actually don’t have a big problem with illegal aliens.  Where is the hysteria coming from?

So why is all this rhetoric about savage illegal immigrants so popular?   Well it beats hell out of trying to solve the problems you really have, doesn’t it?    We could use better trade deals that’s true.   Is Trump the guy to renegotiate them?  The guy whose campaign gear is “made in China”?  Somehow I doubt it.

People – ordinarily rational, thinking people – are now recoil from voting for Hillary because “she 
lied”.  About what exactly?    She never ran a scam “university” that defrauded potential students.

And Hillary Clinton sure as hell was not responsible for the bombing of the embassy in Benghazi although, inexplicably, this seems to be what I’m expected to believe.

She also doesn’t invent (completely fictional) racially charged events to diddle angry crowds.  Remember all the “Muslims” Trump insisted were celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11?   Then when no evidence was found that this took place he actually defended his own lies by saying “Why wouldn’t it have taken place?”

Trump denies saying things – after he says them - but wants to take credit for the things he “never said” that were “right”.

But in all the fog of lies from the Right about all the bad things Hillary Clinton actually has NOT done is the important work she might be able to do once elected.  

Perhaps most important of all, Clinton has said she will appoint a Supreme Court judge who would help overturn “Citizen’s United” – one of the worst Supreme Court decisions since Dred Scott.  Dred Scott famously denied the human rights of African Americans and lead to the Civil War and “Citizens” pretty much guaranteed that only wealthy “elites”, friendly to corporate interests, could run for public office in the US.  (Ever wonder why we wound up with such a lame line-up for the election? Look no further.)   Money scraped together by grassroots groups are chump change compared to the billions filling the coffers of the super PACs – particularly those of GOP candidates.  If your campaign isn't funded by some billionaire like Sheldon Adelson, chances are no one's ever heard of you.

Trump has dodged the subject of “Citizen’s United” by simply stating he wants to nominate another justice like Scalia – one of the guys responsible for “Citizen’s United”.    Indeed the decision itself was pushed through by a cabal of justices appointed by Republican Presidents; Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.   Justices appointed by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama wrote the dissenting opinions.  How much clearer could the choice be?  

In the field where Trump is seen as the “fuck you” vote – the vote for people tired of the establishment – nothing could be more “establishment” than Trump himself; a rich man (spoiled son of another rich man) who wants to keep the power in the US restricted to wealthy “elites” like himself.    (A real protest vote would be for Jill Stein.)

Probably the worst failure of the Obama administration was not to go after the big banks after the crash of ’07 – or regulate Wall Street.   The people who created legal loopholes so mortgages could be sold for profit should never have been rewarded with jobs and buyouts.   Larry Summers should have gone to jail instead of DC.   Disappointingly, Clinton has a lot of the same friends – but then so does Trump.  Does anyone really believe Trump is interested in going after big banks?    In all his reckless hyperbolic attacks on “nasty women” has he said anything about this?

Trump claims Hillary wants to “attack” the Second Amendment.  Really?   Haven’t we been through this twice already with Barack Obama?   Did Barack Obama ever take any kind of action to attack or undermine our right to bear arms?  (Free answer: NO!)   But every time an election comes around the NRA raises this same tired mantra – and Americans run out and buy more guns (before it’s too late!) and maybe someone can try to regulate the ownership of assault rifles – which is about the level of gun control we’re looking at and what, after years of mass shootings, is exactly what we need.   Does anyone need an assault rifle to hunt deer?   Sadly they’re really handy taking down large numbers of people by lone gunmen.  

Trump also isn’t interested in doing anything to whip the healthcare industry into shape or improving on what Obama laid out.  He just wants to “repeal” Obamacare.  Then what?   “Obamacare” was a temporary solution to the healthcare crisis but a very clever one in that it opened the door to Medicaid expansion (and then Republican governors refused to accept the Medicaid money that their states were entitled to – but that’s a whole other story).    Obamacare also brought about some very badly needed regulations on the out of control health insurance industry – pre-existing conditions could no longer exclude you from coverage and women could not be charged more for healthcare.   But it wasn’t enough of course.  For all those millions of people who can’t afford to pay for health insurance – and whom the plans don’t want to insure anyway because they’re “too sick” and can’t afford the big premiums – a public option would have been best.  Now commercial managed plans complain that insuring all these poor people will make them go out of business.  So why block a public option that might be a real option for these folks in the first place?   

And then of course there’s Wikileaks (thanks so very much Julian Assange for waiting until Bernie Sanders was out of the picture before you started in on Clinton – good show!) disclosing private emails of John Podesta which prove that (gasp) politicians sometimes change their minds on policy and (double gasp) don’t always fill in the public on all their private thought processes.   Oh horrors!     As Clinton astutely pointed out in the second debate the movie “Lincoln” was less a bio-pic than a focused study on the shell-games one of our greatest Presidents played to get the 13th amendment passed and abolish slavery in the US.   If we had had Wikileaks revelations about the motives of our officials back in 1865 – would it have even happened?

And now the news is breaking – they have to look at Clinton’s “damn emails” again because the FBI needs to proceed in the (gasp) case against tweet happy Anthony Weiner; a former public official whose only link to Clinton is that his wife, Huma Abedin has worked for many years as Clinton’s aide.

Right now I want nothing more than anesthesia – Ether, Propofol, Morphine, something, anything to put me under until November 8th when I can finally vote.  Nothing can change my mind that Hillary Clinton, flawed as she may be, is the only rational choice for the Presidency.  This is not a drill, folks.  We need all hands on deck!   Trump is the most dangerous “protest vote” to come down the pike yet.    It’s not “fuck you” as much as “fuck me” and “fuck my life”.

Jan 2014: Whoredom, pillage and murder returns to NYC after Joe Lhota loses Mayoral bid

Michael Bloomberg warned New Yorkers repeatedly that if they failed to elect Republican Joe Lhota as Mayor of New York that the Big Apple would return to the “bad old days” of the 1970’s.   What no one knew was how fast it could happen – and how far the city could fall.  
No sooner had Democrat Bill de Blasio been sworn in at City Hall in January 2014 when a mood of reckless criminality swept through the famed metropolis sending residents and business owners fleeing for their lives.      

“Bad old days of the 1970’s??” exclaimed shop owner Rafael Diaz, dodging brick bats and machine gun fire after his 7-11 had been looted and burned.   “This is more like Chicago under Al Capone!!”   

A mere six months after Bill De Blasio was sworn in as the new Mayor of New York city, residents saw property values plummet, whole industries abandon ship and a crime wave sweep the city the like of which has not been seen since the era of “Five Points” and the infamous Draft Riots. 

Seemingly overnight, Disney pulled its franchises from Times Square leaving the Great White Way to be prowled by drug addicted hookers, pimps, drunks and psychotic cabbies like Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”.  

“We thought we could raise our triplets in a bastion of culture and urban sophistication.”  sobbed Jim and Joy Archer who can now only afford a ramshackle hut in Jersey City after losing their million dollar brownstone on West 79th Street. “What were we thinking??”

In failing to elect Joe Lhota, pundits ascertained that NYC voters clearly underestimated the fearful shadow cast by dimunitive ex-Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the criminal underworld.
“First he banned smoking in bars.   Then you couldn’t smoke in parks.  Then he arrested people for walking down the street in 2004 during the RNC.” Explained former underworld figure Lance “the Crimp” Washington.   “Then he started going after people with 32 oz sodas.   You never knew what the fucker was goin’ to do next.”   

Washington smiled when asked about life under the new mayor, and his new post as Deputy Police commissioner.   “De Blasio?  He’s a mellow kind of dude.  He won’t mind if we pop some tourists and knock over some convenience stores.   Long as we remember to kick some back upstairs, ya know what I’m  sayin’?”  

The mayhem began on the eve of de Blasio’s inauguration when a newly formed gang hurled a cinder block through the window of Dean and DeLuca’s in Soho and ransacked the store, stuffing themselves with smoked salmon, chocolate dipped fig cakes, and polenta.   Armed with jars of Black Truffle honey and Peach Chutney they stormed through Nolita and the Lower East side smashing windows at Uniqlo and beating up tourists asking for directions.

The young, untested police force was slow to respond.   “Policing during the Bloomberg years meant breaking up kids fist fights and giving out tickets for dog shit!” cried Donal Lonerghan, the lazy, drunken and ineffectual police commissioner who had replaced veteran Ray Kelly. 

“There was just no way for our boys to prepare themselves for this!!”  he added looking like Scottie from the original Star Trek when he was letting down Captain Kirk by not fixing the Enterprise in 5 minutes.  No way!!”

There was little to prepare New Yorkers for the departure of their moneyed tax base either.   Seemingly overnight whole industries and resident millionaires fled the city, disdaining the higher taxes mandated by the new Democratic Mayor.

“I’ll have to fly in to make the dedication of the new wing at MOMA.” sniffed socialite Georgette Crum  del Valle from her new mansion in downtown  Detroit.  “But it sure beats having to pay all those extra taxes!   People like us always pinch pennies when it comes to things like that.  How do you think we stay rich?”  

Former Simon and Shuster intern Courtney Bledsoe was forced to survive by selling her body for sex after the iconic publishing firm relocated to faraway Iowa.   From the dumpster under West side highway, where she plies her trade, the once perky but now careworn Ms Bledsoe related her sorry comedown between swigs from a pint of Night Train Express.

“Sure I was an intern.  Sure my parents paid for everything.”  She explained, pausing to spit out a bicuspid and smooth back her greasy, unwashed hair.  “But the security deposit on my new apartment on the upper west side broke them. Then my five roommates left and there was no way to make $7,000 a month for a duplex.   And there’s my smack habit to keep up with.  So here I am!!  All thanks to Bill de Blasio!!”

Not everyone was saddened by these catastrophic changes however.    Retired dock worker Fiorello Gravanese says he’s happy for the relative peace and quiet.   “All those damn kids and hedge fund managers left the building and my landlord’s actually grateful to get my $700 a month rent.” He says.   

“Families are moving back in the area and there’s a girlie show moving into the abandoned Applebee’s next door.   Say what you will about the bad ole days in New York but they were a helluva lot more interesting than life under Bloomberg.”

Election 2012: Lurching Towards Infamy

It’s that special time of year – that season that happens every four years in the US – when ordinary citizens thrashed into a state of hysteria, a near madness brought on by two long years of endless campaigning and speculation by an audience-hungry mega-media, (“Just look what this dickwad did!   Aren’t you shocked?  You didn’t see it?  How about if we play it 20 more times??!), finally lurch into the voting booths to elect our next President.    

The scariest part?  We are actually so crazed and strung out that a lot of otherwise sensible, normal human beings are actually planning on voting for Mitt Romney.   Yes folks – people are seriously considering electing a President who wants to resume the policies of George W Bush – the guy who brought us the global financial crash and the great Depression of 2008!!    Somehow, an attack on the US embassy in Libya “proves” Obama is incompetent and untrustworthy - yet 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on American soil, made “W” Bush a hero?  How is that exactly? 

The only explanation that makes any sense is that people have actually lost their minds.  We are actually whipped into such an irrational frenzy that no one is actually considering how President Romney will be able to stack the Supreme Court – so Citizen’s United – remember the decision handed us by the Bush Supreme Court which allows for Corporations and wealthy individuals to dump unlimited funds into campaigns? - will not only remain the law of the land but no doubt be reinforced with other anti-Democratic laws both equally heinous and way worse.  (Ladies, how about being convicted for murder after terminating an unwanted pregnancy?   Under Romney/Ryan this is a real scenario.)

As I write this we are hunkered down at home, bracing ourselves for the juggernaut “Hurricane Sandy” a Category 1 hurricane /winter storm guaranteed to wreak havoc on NY and Long Island unknown since the Hurricane of 1938.    We are both stressed and unwell but the impending storm has little to do with this.  Neither one of us can sleep at night and I am coming down with what looks like a case of Shingles.
Obama does NOT approve of the Citizen’s United decision.  If elected to a second term he would work to replace some of the worst Justices on the court and reverse this decision so our next election isn’t co-opted and held hostage by billionaire clowns like Sheldon Adelson and Charles and David Koch.  

Because of the Bush tax cuts these wealthiest 1% now have more money at their disposal than they probably ever had.   More money than could ever be spent in multiple lifetimes.  They’re certainly rich enough to “create” enough jobs to put the entire world back to work.  But they haven’t done it.   Why? How much longer do we have to wait?    Are they punishing us for electing a Democratic President?  Why should these people have so much power in the first place?    How about bringing all that money back into circulation through TAXES – you know – so it actually gets spent here in the US instead of being hoarded in the Cayman Islands??

Why do Americans do this?  Why do we continually elect Presidents who will NOT act in our best interests – only in the interests of their rich buddies?   We vote for Presidents like “W” Bush – or don’t bother to vote at all - and then when things get worse and worse we mutter about how we need some kind of bloody “revolution” to change things – when all we had to do was think about what we were doing before voting!    When you challenge people on this they come up with ultimate cop-out “oh they’re all crooks.”  “Why bother?” they say which is code language for “I hate having to actually think or take any kind responsibility for the world we live in” - as if it’s just a matter of who to blame.  And if they’re “all” crooks why not vote for the guy who’ll at least get you affordable healthcare and a break on your taxes (Obama) instead of the guy who wants to privatize everything (Mitt) and f*ck you 6 ways til Sunday???

How Paul Ryan can run on a platform of fiscal responsibility is a complete mystery.  Ryan has already served in Congress for THIRTEEN YEARS – in which he okay’d two disastrous wars, two huge tax cuts, and a prescription drug entitlement that created the bulk of our current (massive) deficit.  At the time, under “W” Bush’s presidency, Ryan said the spending was needed to stimulate the economy – then proceeded to blame Obama for the mess he helped create (and still having the nerve to request $20 million in stimulus funding for his district.)

The rest of the world is watching in horror.  A Romney/Ryan administration will no doubt mean starting more wars – possible even a disastrous confrontation in Iran – all in the service of enriching war profiteers and starving our already bled-out system and using it for currency to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – which is what the GOP has wanted all along.  Since FDR first implemented the social safety nets in the 1930’s – since Lyndon Johnson brought us Medicare - their biggest wet dream is to be rid of these simple things that have kept so many people from starving and dying in the street.  Because they do not care.  The Koch brothers, the Bushes, the Romneys – these people will roll up the iron gates and hire security guards with guns and retreat into their luxurious caves - and as for us – well we can all go f*ck ourselves.    They will drive over our broken bodies in the street.   Because with Medicare replaced by “vouchers” worth $6,000 per year that’s exactly where most of us will be.

Why do we root for scrappy underdog heroes like Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter and George Bailey at the movies and then elect Darth Vader, Sauron, Valdemort and Mr Potter to run everything in our real lives??  Don’t let it happen this time!  Elect the guy who really did come up from “nothing”, the man whose had to work all his life, the man who helped people as a community Organizer, Vote to Re-Elect Barack Obama!!