Category Archives: Blog

Why All The Giant Eyelashes On TV?

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I may catch hell for this, but what’s up with so many women journalists on television wearing false eyelashes?   And not just small false eyelashes, eyelashes so long that they impact the local weather and threaten to knock small birds from the air when a correspondent blinks.

It’s bad enough that women are expected to look like beauty queens, spending untold hours on hair and makeup, but now, for some reason – maybe they’re being ordered to do it – they are wearing these goofy eyelashes.

Appearance on television is important, but come on folks, give the women a break.   Let them get rid of the giant eyelashes.  Give them a little more  time to focus on their journalism and  less time on hair and makeup, a luxury the men already enjoy.

The Solution To Surrogates – Don’t Put Them On The Air

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Prior to this current election cycle, the word “surrogate” was never applied to a paid professional political spokesperson.   It was normally used in relation to “surrogate mothers,” and not some paid hack sent out by the Trump campaign to use the outrageous and far less than civil technique of talking so loud and so non-stop that your opponent is forced to just sit there saying nothing.   In other words, beat your opponent over the head with non-stop noisey blather until he or she gives up.   They all do this, so they have obviously been trained in the technique, turning talk shows into a waste of time.

There is nothing collegial about this technique.   It has nothing do with an exchange of valid information in a search for the truth.  It is simply one more way to hide the truth behind a heavy veil of nonsense.  In our current tv-rich political environment, it is a despot’s best friend.   And  Donald Trump’s people, his various beauty queen  “surrogates,” are using it often and well, which is bad for anyone who is trying to figure out what’s really going on.

Imagine what David Brinkely or Sam Donaldson would have done when confronted by a “surrogate” defending birtherism or greed being good or the need for global warming or Mexican’s as rapists or closing the borders to all Muslims or Hillary’s emails after the issue had been settled by a lengthy congressional hearing and an FBI investigation.    Brinkely or Donaldson, would undoubtedly be incensed at being played for fools.  They wouldn’t put up with it.  I can imagine Mr. Brinkely saying, “You must think we’re all idiots if you expect us to sit here listening to this nonsense.”   God only knows what Sam might say.   But he wouldn’t just sit there accepting surrogate blather.   There might be a fistfight.

Sam is  retired and David is dead.  In their absence surrogates should not be allowed on any responsible political program on television.    They have nothing new to add, no interesting analysis, just the same old disingenuous rubbish the Trump campaign has been parroting all along.   The tv shows need to get back to the standard of bringing on people who have something thoughtful to contribute to the discussion.  People like journalists, scholars, and writers.    Naturally, legitimate spokespeople from the political camps will need to be heard, but the various show’s producers know who is likely to take part  in a serious discussion and those who are being paid to simply repeat nonsense that’s already been heard.    Somebody with some actual political credentials.  If they want to spout propaganda, then let them hold a news conference and face the questioning of journalists.   If the news conference is a total waste of time, as was Mr. Trump’s recent appearance outside his new hotel in DC, then the press will report it as such.

This works.   We did it for years.

The 7/24 newschannels might lose some viewers, so this bold idea of not letting people who have nothing to say on their air  would be more of a public service than a ratings booster, but hey, can’t they take this giant step because it is in the nation’s best interest to stop giving a national platform to liars who are knowingly telling lies because that’s what they are paid to do?

The simple solution to surrogates is to not put them on the air.   Most people get their news and information from television.   Banning surrogates will improve the value of our national discussion immeasurably.    It’s the right thing to do, so it probably won’t get done.   The Trump camp would scream bias.   They would shout out that their free speech rights were being violated.     Unless the  newschannel producers and other execs didn’t tell anybody what they were up to and instead had a silent understanding that surrogate hacks with no interest in taking part in a serious discussion of the issues  would  no longer be used on their talk shows.   That might work?  Too much to hope for?

Go ahead, try it.   Stop putting these surrogate hacks on your air.  It’s the patriotic thing to  do.

Police Union Endorses Gospel Of Bigotry, Fear And Hate

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It is disheartening to see that The Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, has endorsed Donald Trump.

Sometimes union leaders make very bad decisions.   This is one of those  times.   With a candidate as controversial and inflammatory as Trump, someone who has been labeled as being downright “dangerous,” by several of the world’s great newspapers, the blanket endorsement makes the union’s members appear uninformed and biased in favor of a candidate who preaches bigotry and comes across more like a a third-world strongman than a leader who exhibits thoughtful judgement through well-reasoned policies.   It also relects badly on unions in general.

How can the FOP possibly endorse a candidate  who suggests that the way to  deal with someone who disagrees with you is to “punch him in the face?”   A man who says that in the old days, protesters would have been “carried out on stretchers?”  A candidate who wonders outloud what might happen to Hillary Clinton, if her security guards had no guns, or suggests that the “Second Amendment people” might be able to do something about Mrs. Clinton, should she be elected?

Note to the FOP leadership:  Your endorsement indicates approval of all that Mr. Trump has said in the past, including what appears to be the suggestion of a possible assassination attempt on a future President of the United States.

Second note to the FOP leadership:   Your officers already have an image problem with regard to their relationship with America’s minority communities.   Do you really think that supporting a candidate who has almost no support among African-Americans and who wants to  build a wall between the US and Mexico will help street cops win the hearts and minds of the communities they police?   Shouldn’t you be more interested in mending fences than in further dividing your officers from the communities they serve?  Or would you prefer turning our inner-cities into even bigger war zones, putting even more police and civilians at risk in a country that leads the world in the number of people under incarceration.

The  following is an exerpt from a lengthy and insightful article entitled “Donald Trump Is The World’s Most Dangerous Man” in the widely-read German newsmagazine “Der Spiegel.”   The FOP leadership needs to read it .   And then, after becoming better educated, they need to rescind their endorsement of Mr. Trump, post haste.   You can read the entire piece by clicking on the hotlink at the end of the quote.

“If the most powerful office in the world wasn’t at stake, all this wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous. Germany has been too busy dealing with the supposed threat posed by refugees in recent months to appreciate what’s really been going on across the Atlantic. Despite their differences, the US and Germany share an unshakeable faith in democracy and freedom. But nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if Donald Trump were to be elected president. Compared to that, the America of George W. Bush would seem like a land of logic and reason in retrospect.”Der Spiegel

 

(trump photo courtesy michael vadon/wiki commons)

We Need A Wall Alright – But Not On The Border

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I know I said I was getting off the bus until November, but hey,   I’m gonna hop back on for just a minute or  two.   Have to, or my head might explode.  And it’s Trump’s fault, with his latest nonsensical attack on Hillary Clinton.

It’s bad enough that she’s worked herself into a state of falling prey to pneumonia, but now Donald’s people are firing up the Republican Party’s favorite old campgian trail technique (other than telling outright lies), and charging Mrs. Clinton with doing what Donald’s been doing all along.  Preacing the politics of hate.  In other words, he’s accusing his opposition of doing what he originally did.  It’s verbal misdirection.  Politicial trolls used it successfully in both Bush campaigns and now they’re using it again.

It is a bit confusing, so here’s an example.  You go  out and say something totally outrageous and hateful,  like implying that all Latinos or Blacks are poor and living in the inner-cities or refusing to denounce a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.   Or making the claim that the first black President of the United States, wasn’t born on U.S. soil.  You then charge your opponent with spreading the politics of hate.   Actually, you were the one who was spreading hate but by saying your opponent did it (misdirecting it), you are forcing her to defend against something she did not do.  In the process the truth becomes lost in all the smoke, at least partially taking the onus of racial hatred away from your campaign.   Republicans love it, they’ve been using it for years.   Apart from outright lies, like implying John Kerry was self-serving for being awarded three purple hearts in Vietnam.    Stuff like that.   Stuff that is so outrageous as to be nearly insane.   Statements that leave pundits and reporters alike sitting there wide-eyed and slack-jawed, mouths hanging open, unable to respond from lies so big and bold and nonsensical that no adult would believe they are coming from the mouth of someone chosen by his party to run for the presidency.

Some people willingly buy into lies.  For others, just making an implication is all it takes.  They heard their guy say it at a rally or on tv, so for them it becomes the truth.    Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump is running a “hate-filled” campaign.   Not really.   That’s what Donald said, but it’s actually the other way around.   Now that you know how the technique of verbal misdirection works, you can get past it and seek out the truth.  Unless you don’t really care.   Unless you are one of Trump’s followers who will buy into anything the man says.   But why?

In The Washington Post, Dana Milbank writes, “In June, the Pew Research Center found that 79 percent of Clinton voters believe the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities is an important issue, while only 42 percent of Trump supporters feel that way. As I wrote previously, earlier Pew research found that Trump supporters were significantly less likely than other Americans (and supporters of other Republican presidential candidates) to think that racial and ethnic diversity improves the United States. ” 

Racism by any other name is racism.   While Milbank argues that half of Trump’s supporters have proven their bona fides as being racist, there are those who are not racist but are supporting Donald Trump simply because they can’t stand Hillary Clinton, who, many of them say,  represents “more of the same.”

With  sixty-percent of Americans having a hard time paying their rent each month and fifty-three percent worried they might not be able to pay their mortgage, “more of the same” is not good  enough, creating a huge desperation factor that’s playing to Donald Trump’s favor.

History teaches that desperate people will turn to a strongman who promotes himself as prophet and savior while using those who are too weak or too poor to fight back as a scapegoat.

In a brilliant piece in The Guardian, Bill Moyers reports that the gap between rich and poor Americans is the widest it’s ever been, as “the top 10% now hold more than three-quarters of the country’s total family wealth.”

Hillary Clinton, needs to hit the wealth gap issue hard and to keep hitting it once she is rested and ready to go.   She has to convince Trump supporters that she’s actually going to do something about it.  She also has to keep hammering away on Trump’s failure to produce substantial medical and tax records.

Forget Hillary’s pneumonia.   With some rest and antibiotics she’ll get over it.   As for her medical history, she’s been around long enough to have provided a pretty clear picture of any condition she might have as well as having her doctor produce a substantial breakdown on her health.   Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has left American voters in the dark, issuing reality talk show generalities about his health but no real numbers.    Donald needs to report into the Mayo Clinic for a complete physical with the understanding that the Clinic will release the results to the press.

Those three issues, the great American wealth gap and Donald’s health and tax records might swing the election for Mrs. Clinton, provided the electorate and the media can get past all the lies and verbal misdirection, building a big, beautiful, BS-proof wall that Mexico won’t have to pay for.

Lochte Apologizes! Naked Trump Statues! Kellyanne Steps Up!

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Flash!  The big story of the day is about to come to an end.  Brian Lochte, has apologized to Brazil!  Great.  Four young headstrong athletes, out on the town allegedly do some minor damage to a gas station bathroom only to have the near non-event blown up into an international incident by 24-hour newschannels in need of something, anything to report,  making the swimmers look more like serial killers than four athletes who made a mistake as pundits bleat like sheep, “Ugggghhhhly Ameeericans…. Ugggghhhhly Ameeericans….Whhhhaaaaa….they are sooooo Ugggghhhhly.”

Get over it.  All four athletes have apologized.   Somebody made an $11,000 donation to a judo academy in Brazil, which apparently was enough to un-ruffle the Brazilian’s ruffled feathers.   The gas station presumably has a new soap dispenser or toilet paper dispenser or whatever was allegedly damaged and can now charge tourists ten-bucks a head to view the horrible “crime scene.”  Presumably it has been released by the police department’s crack forensic investigators sent out to determine whether anyone had peed on the wall.

It’s done.  Let it go and focus on the next horse not yet dead but ready for kicking, speculation on how long Kellyanne Conway will last now that suspected Putin operative Paul Manafort has been sent packing?   How long was he there?  Weeks?  A month?

My bet is that Kellyanne won’t make it to November.  No way.  She’ll be around until the Trumpster’s next big temper tantrum and that’ll be that.  See ya, Kellyanne, “Your’re Fired!”  Not to worry though.   CNN and MSNBC can always use another former campaign official to help bump up their objective approach to “news” coverage.   Makes me yearn for the days when there was still a line between actual news coverage and commentary.

Can’t wait to see what they’ll do with the naked statues of the Donald with a  tiny male appendage popping up at various locations from New York to Los Angeles.  Can’t wait to see that.   Wonder if they’ll be able to squeeze it in,  while continuing to kick around Hillary’s email server, which should have been dead and gone months ago along with the confluence of unfreezing Iranian money and the release of four American hostages – another smelly, stinking, rotten corpse of a story.   Like Whitewater and Vince Foster.

So much news, so little time.   Gotta find something that’ll drive the ratings now that the Donald has finally managed to grit his teeth, swallow hard and perform his much-anticpated “pivot.”   Another huge story for an intellectually malnourished nation.

Trump Arrives In Louisiana, But Why?

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Can we get something straight, beyond all the talkshow blather? The Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, has appeared on television saying there is no reason for President Obama to pay his flood-ravaged state a visit right now. He would prefer, he said, for Mr. Obama to wait ten days or so, because the President flying in at this time, along with his entourage and traveling press corps, would just get in the way of flood recovery. Beyond that, he says FEMA people are already in the state, providing all the federal assistance they can.

In short, Mr. Obama arriving in Louisiana right now would be more of a hindrance than a help, even while the Republicans continue to cloud reality with their accusations that Obama should leave his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and travel as quickly as possible, to Louisiana, where he could see flooded streets he’s already seen, make a quick comment to the press and then leave.

Then we have Donald Trump and Mike Pence.  They have just arrived in Louisiana, with Trump, fresh off his big “pivot,” admitting he has regrets about some of what he has said,  along with their entourage and traveling press corps. The Governor of Louisiana has said they are welcome, but not for a photo op. They will be welcome, he says, if they are ready to volunteer or to make a significant donation for flood relief.

Got it? Obama, is doing all he can by cooperating with the state’s governor,  while Trump and Pence are doing all they can to get in the way of an already suffering people for the sake of a campaign photo-op – even if he’s there to write a check for recovery relief, which he could have done from anywhere without getting in the way. Unless, of course, the Donald and his kids pland on spending the next week or so wearing waders while filling sandbags and clearing away muddy flood debris.

Rio Continues To Be A Dangerous Place For Olympic Athletes

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Olympians being robbed at gunpoint, knifepoint and even snatched off an airliner by the police as they try and get out of the country after being mugged.  What?   Feels like every day someone new has been accosted in Rio.

You may have  read about the two Australian rowing coaches who were robbed at knifepoint near Ipanema Beach.    This is in addition to a member of the British olympic team being robbed at gunpoint while “enjoying a night out on the town.”   The Guardian, reports that British olympians are being advised to stay within the confines of the olympic village, and to wear nothing that identifies them as olympians if they do leave the safety of the olympic compound and to not risk riding in taxis.

The report of the British incident follows earlier reports of two American swimmers who were trying to get out of the country after being mugged while out on the town with teammate Brian Lochte.   Or so they said.   Lochte, got out of the country, and his two teammates were trying to do the same, when they were pulled off their plane and forced to turn over their passports to the Brazilian authorities.   The Brazilians, apparently, are alleging that the mugging did not happen as the Americans say it  did.

Regardless of what may have happened, even if they might have provided conflicting stories to the police (which isn’t uncommon when people are under pressure), if no one was injured is it really worth it for Brazil to turn even more bad PR into an ongoing international incident with the United States?   Really?  Are they kidding?   Some are probably still having a diffcult time forgetting the man who was shot to death outside Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremonies.

Welcome to Rio, where athletes and coaches are mugged, robbed and then maybe even forced to stay in the country against their will.  A city where  raw sewage flows in the streets and out into the ocean and even the sand on those beautiful beaches may be infected.   A really bad place it turns out, to hold the Olympic Games and a tesimonial to the idiocy of moving the games to a different country every four years simply to make more money for the IOC, which bleeds off millions from emerging nations like Brazil, which can’t even afford to set up a decent sewage system for its poverty-stricken citizens.   Oh, did I mention the Zika Virus?   There is  of course, that too.   So even if you do get the hell out of there without being robbed, shot or detained by the authorities, you still risk bringing home a bug.

The California Drought Is Not A 5-Year Problem

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 To some but not all network reporters, please stop talking aout the “5 year drought” in California.  I lived there for more than 30 years and can attest to the fact that the drought you keep talking about has been ongoing for more than 5 years.  But don’t believe me. Believe the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tells us, “The most populated state in the country is facing what may be its worst drought in a century of record-keeping.”
 
So that would be the worst drought since weather watchers started keeping records.  Maybe the worst drought in one-hundred years.  Maybe longer.
 
NOAA, goes on to report that “On January 20 (2014), the governor of California declared a state of emergency, urging everyone to begin conserving water. Water levels in all but a few reservoirs in the state are less than 50% of capacity, mountains are nearly bare of snow except at the highest elevations, and the fire risk is extreme. In Nevada, the situation is much the same.”  True, northern and central California got some rain in March of this year, but as was widely reported, it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the ongoing drought.
 

 

Don’t Expect An Apology

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A lot of people are wondering, I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true, right?   A lot of people are wondering if Donald Trump’s mentor really was the vile genius Roy Cohn.  You know, the lawyer who advised Senator Joe McCarthy,  as he destroyed so many lives with his Communist witch hunts in the 50’s?   That angry closeted gay man who pretended to be sraight while he lobbied against gay rights?  Same guy?  Must be.  Saw it on the Web.  And how about that Donald Trump?   Collecting millions and millions in campaign donations but not spending much of it at all.  Must be true.   Saw it on the news.  Not the gossip channels either.   The real network news.  What’s he gonna do with all that money?  Keep it and build a new tower?  Don’t know.  Nobody’s talking about it.   Except Trump who bragged in December, “I have spent almost nothing on my run for president…”   Well, there are those millions in loans he made to his own campaign and jobs going out to Trump-owned companies and direct payments to family members .   Will those loans be payed back to Trump, personally?  With interest?  How much interest will he charge?  Have to wonder folks.   What’s this Trump guy all about?   He’s a smart, smart businessman.   You can believe it folks, you can believe it.   And you can be sure he will never apologize for anything.  Not one thing.  Right out of the Roy Cohn playbook.    That’s what they’re saying.  Many, many people are saying it.  Many people.  Cohn, worked for Joe McCarthy.   Beautiful man.   Never admitted a mistake.  Just tore his enemies to pieces, folks.  A real winner.   Just like Trump.   Gonna come out of the other end of this tunnel sitting on a pile of fabulous new money.    Right?   Has to.  Where’s all that lovely, beautiful money going?   He can keep it, can’t he?   ABC News says he can.  Seems like it, anyway.  Kind of a gray area, if he just funnels some of  it into a PAC.    Senators and representatives can do it, so why not a candidate for president?  Right into a PAC.  All that beautiful money.   All perfectly legal.  It’s called a “loophole” folks.   The kinda thing that makes America the beautiful country that it is.   Anyway, it’s his money, right?   Worked his ass off for it, didn’t he?  Beautiful man, Donald Trump.  Great American.  Smart, smart businessman.  A real winner.  Wonderful human being.   Gotta love the guy.   And there’s so much money coming in.   $80 million in July, alone.  Have to wonder if he’ll be able to keep any of it, don’t you?  Maybe not, I’m not sure.   What do I know?   But if  he loses the election and keeps the money it’ll be beautiful, won’t it?  What a winner.  Just don’t expect an apology.

America, Save Yourself

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The daily dump of dumbeth commeth again as another intellectual cluster bomb explodes, fragmenting fear across the land with disinformation and half-truths annihilating reasonable thinking and rational behavior.

Don’t worry, it’s only politics, shattering the very last remnants of decency, which was, after all, never anything more than an idea  someone once had.

Donald Trump needs to pivot and get out of his wheelhouse with a full-throated appeal reaching beyond his base. Pivot Donald, pivot! Are we supposed to take any of this seriously? Journalism by catchphrase?  What the hell is a “wheelhouse,” and why, suddenly, is everybody talking about it here on the ground?

Should we continue ignoring this potential threat, the death of critical thinking, treating our condition as an aberration, even while it brings the potential for the same kind of jackbooted nationalist ferver that has carried nations headlong into fascism?

Can’t happen here, can it?

Just tell me what to do, who to hate, who to fear, but for God’s sake don’t ask me to think it through, drawing rational conclusions from a given set of facts enabling me to make the right choice.   Above all, don’t ask me to read anything.   Just give it to me in tasty snippets of video and phrases of text.  It’s all I’ve been conditioned to have time for.

How far are we from the next beer hall putsch, our primitive  love for bigotry and fear crowding out reason, striking terror into the hearts of reporters too filled with anxiety to tell the whole truth to those who have ears but refuse to hear?  Another’s purple heart mistakenly presented to a phony patriot, a refusal to release tax records potentially taking us down as we willingly  fall victim to another clever phrase masking demonic political blasphemy?   The game becomes reality and reality the game.  It’s only politics, after all.   Somehow we’ll get through it.  That other thing can’t happen here.

Who are these people who buy into this horror? Are we so dumbed down that we cannot separate out base authoritarianism sprinkled liberally with disinformation and lies from the better angels of who and what we are?   Can this really be happening?

Don’t worry, it’s only politics.   Anyway, that old guy who used to hand out smart pills to all the kids died years ago somewhere out on the rim of the world.   Fell out of his wheelhouse, they said.   Horrible way to  go.

The “Amazing” Republican Convention

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Donald Trump, is  now  saying the Republican Convention was “amazing.”   Perhaps it was.   Amazing for its self-centered, self-aggrandizing, arrogance, deception and conceit.

Stealing Michelle Obama’s words was minor in comparison to  Mr. Trump’s promise of curing all the country’s ills while cutting taxes with no real plan for getting any of it done.   His proposal is insane.

This is no longer the Republican Party, it is the Party of Trump, the party of bluster, braggadocio and fantasy.  It is of, by and for Donald Trump.  It is authoritarian and driven by fear and prejudice.   It’s an act the world has witnessed before, with devastating consequences.

I, for one, am very afraid.   Trump, may be deeply in debt and on the verge of his next bankruptcy.   We don’t know because he won’t release his tax records.   He has no history in public office, so we have no idea as to how he really feels about  anything, except that he wants to be the most powerful man in the world and that he will apparently say anything to get what he wants.  And what will he do once he gets there?   We really have no idea at all.

Was there ever a demagogue who didn’t get started by stirring the very worst primitive emotions in a segment of the population while good people stood by doing nothing, thinking “this can’t be happening here?”

Well, it is.