Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trumpanini again

Keeping the Trump score. Man, I feel like I'm gonna be doing this daily till that boy is impeached. Why? Because every darned day something so stupid happens it makes my eyes roll. On Sunday, during the singing of the Anthem, his wife Melania had to nudge him visibly to put his hand over his heart. He probably thought he didn't need to do that because the song was being sung for him.
Then at the Easter Egg Roll, a kid asked him to sign his hat. President Trump obliged, then tossed the hat into the crowd, instead of giving it back to the kid.
This morning on Fox and Friends, (according to an article on Huffington Post) Trump said that both Clinton and Obama had been outplayed by "this gentleman," when referring to North Korea's dictatorial leader. "They've been talking with this gentleman for a long time. If you read Clinton's book, he said 'Oh, we made such a great peace deal,' and it was a joke.
"You look at different things over the years with President Obama. Everybody over the years has been outplayed, they've all been outplayed by this gentleman, and well see what happens."
Problem, of course, is that Kim Jong Un has been ruling North Korea (insanely) since the death of his father, Kim Jong II in 2011. Kim Jong II took over from his father in 1994. So Clinton dealt with the current NK dictator's grandfather and father, while Obama dealt with the both Kim Jong Un and his dad. All three of those men cannot be the same "this gentleman" that Trump referred to, leading to the suspicion that Trump, once again, has no clue as to what the heck he's talking about. I mean, given that he's threatening to start a nuclear war with NK--as is Kim Jong Un with us--you would think he at least knows the name of the person ruling the country you're threatening to bomb, wouldn't you? Tell you what: I'll bet Kim Jong Un at least knows that Donald Trump is the president of the US.
Dang, and you know there will be something else just as idiotic by noon.

Keeping up with Trump

Okay, so now not only did Trump step all over his feet not knowing what Easter represents yesterday, but the man just refused to release the visitor logs from the White House, claiming they were presidential papers, not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Then he immediately began to issue ethics waivers to people he's putting in positions of power in his administration--and you know that if you have to issue an ethics waiver there is probably an ethics problem there.
Plus, he damned near started WW 3 over the weekend and has VP Pence telling N Korea to back the heck down because you don't want to upset Trump.
How, how, how is any of this a benefit to you, your family, my family or anyone? It does not, and that is not okay. The president works for us, supposedly on our behalf. Trump does not even recognize that there is an "us" here, and he certainly does not recognize that he works for that "us". This needs addressing.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Madeleina's 20th

So my baby, Madeleina, turned 20 at about 3:09 AM on Sunday morning--yesterday. My it's been a long time, but only a second, really, since the doc had me help pull her out and she looked up at me with eyes wide open and made a sound that I swear I thought was "help, help", and all I could say was "It's too late to put you back inside, little one. You're going to have to finish coming out and live through it and we're going to do our best to make it a wonderful life."
   I don't think I actually said those words, but I know I thought them, so something like them. She was spirit who decided to try on a human body and was frightened at first feel of it. But there she was and once you make that decision and you come to term and come out into the world of physical beings, well, it's too late to change your mind.
   I have sometimes been a good dad, sometimes rotten. I've taught her some things and she's taught me a lot. When her mom and I broke up I screamed way too much; sometimes I still use the dad voice too quickly. There has always been enough money for good food on the table--even when we were flat the food was still good, if simple. But there has never been enough for some of the things she and her brothers would have liked. I've worked at home--whether in Peru where we had our bar/restaurant, or in New York when we came back from Peru, or here in Texas--for her whole life, and so I've been available more than most parents. But then I disappear down into Peru for three months or so annually, when I'm not available at all.
   I can say that I have loved her every second of her life, as has her mom, so that's a positive, if a given. But she has mostly been her own woman, even as a child. She is creative, fun, sometimes a fury, a hard worker, an independent spirit. I'd been my pleasure to know her all this time.
   Last night we had a small family party for her. I cooked sliders, a big roast pork, potato and egg salad, guacamole, regular salad--just good stuff. And when it was time for the cake, well, a nice evening turned real gorman, very fast. I was cleaning some dishes when I felt a chunk of cake hit me in the back of the neck. I turned: Chepa was arming herself with a second cake-bomb. The fight was on: Madeleina grabbed a piece and walloped Italo; Italo walloped his wife Sarah; Chepa got me again, then Madeleina got her. Sierra and Alexa were smearing cake on everyone's clothes. When we ran out of cake, the guacamole got into the mix. It was a beautiful mess of food and laughter, just the way we seem to like it around here.
   I'll clean up whatever didn't get cleaned last night later this morning.
   Happy Birthday, Madeleina! Have yourself a wonderful year!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Trump's Syrian Strike

Okay, just the way my mind works. I've spent a couple of hours reading dozens of reports of the US strike--read: Trump's strike--on a Syrian airfield last night in retaliation for Assad's using poison gas on his own people a couple of days ago. Now Russia, aligned with Assad and Syria, is supposedly upset with us, with Putin saying that the strike seriously affects US-Russian relations. Trump supporters have run out the line that this affront to Russia via Syria, proves that Trump and Putin are not aligned, in cahoots or otherwise on the same page. Some Trump haters have decided that this was a good move and makes him look presidential, finally.
    My take is a bit more skeptical. I think this was a very cynical move on Trump's part, done with the A-Okay of Putin. Here's the deal, from where I sit: Trump needs to do something presidential, and the US citizenry always finds war things presidential. Trump is forced, by public opinion, to respond to Assad's slaughtering of dissidents, including children, by gassing them, and then having his planes bomb the hospital that was treating the survivors. So Trump and his inner circle decide that an airstrike on the airbase allegedly used to deliver the poison gas will be an appropriate response.
    But then Trump contacts Putin, or someone in Trump's circle contacts someone in Putin's circle to announce the airstrike on the airbase, giving Putin fair warning to get any military or civilians and any Russian equipment out of there. Putin, in turn, relays the message of the upcoming airstrike to Assad's people, who move all aircraft and anything else of value, off the site and out of harm's way. Then the US fires off 59 Tomahawk missiles in the direction of the airbase. At the moment, the dead count is seven, and I have not yet read if those are civilians or military or both. But apparently no planes were hit, nothing of value destroyed, no message sent....
   Except the message to the American people that Trump is not Putin's patsy, which is a wonderful thing considering Trump and his people are being investigated right now for colluding with Putin and the Russians to fix the election that brought Trump to the presidency. After all, if Trump is willing to confront Putin and risk his wrath--which you would imagine would include releasing anything harmful he has on Trump--it almost proves that there could not have been any collusion in the election here in the US. Except for the fact that Putin was given a heads-up about the missile strike, which allowed him to warn Assad, which allowed him to get rid of anything of value.
   So Trump gets to look presidential, USA gets to bomb a vile Assad, Trump looks like he's standing up for dead children and standing up to Putin, and Trump, Putin and Assad all get to have a good laugh together at how well the publicity stunt went off. The seven dead? That's nothing for Assad to concern himself with: He killed many more than that just days earlier.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

On the Ropes...

I will admit, I am having a hard time. I am an investigative journalist. I've got chops that go back 30 years, and while I/ve made an occasional small error, I have worked hard to be fair, decent, open-minded. Reagan blew my mind with Contragate; Nixon blew my mind with Watergate; Clinton blew my mind with his hard-right stance on the war on drugs; Bush blew my mind with putting little Dick Cheney in charge of the nation and outright lying us into the Iraq war. Obama blew my mind when it turned out he was a right-of-center president on half of the issues, and only a left-of-center president on social issues (including climate change, finally). But the current administration is blowing my mind daily. I have not heard a single true word spoken by anyone associated with President Trump, ever. Not a single word of honesty, decency, equality, fairness, truthfulness. That really has me reeling on the ropes. I got to get a breather, wait for the bell and get some ammonia salts into my nose to wake up so that I can fight this extreme evil with full force. I mean, these people are so bad, so very bad, that I feel I've taken a couple of body shots to my soul. We cannot allow this to continue. He's not just a reprobate, he's a man full of hate, so angry that the graceful President Obama shamed him at the correspondent's dinner several years ago that he will not rest until he has undone every single thing Obama accomplished. And in my local stores people praise him. What are they thinking? That Jesus rode with dinosaurs 2,000 years ago? That climate change is cool? That stripping away protections against polluting our air and waterways is a big advancement ? For whom? Asthma and neurological docs, who will see their business boom? Just today Trump stripped money away from the UN group that works to stop female genital mutilation and child marriages and promotes healthy birth practices. What the freak? Why? Why? Why? My head spins. I want to find a rationale, no matter how crazy, but there is none. There is none. And that is the real problem. We have a rabid hydra reaching out to bite and tear into everything good about us, and we are not stopping it. I need those ammonia salts, quick. It is going to take a lot of us coming up with smart ideas to stop this awful trajectory of our nation into worthlessness. I was raised to think that the USA was a great nation because we cared about people. We helped stop Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito. We were righteous and strong and fought for the little guy who was not strong enough to fight for him/her self. Now we just fight each other while the billionaires pull our puppet strings with lies, disinformation, more lies, more disinformation. We need to stand up, stand up strong and say, that's enough. That's enough and no more. I am ready to enlist in this fight. Tell me where to sign up.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Why Not Just Give Peace a Chance?

I've done a post like this once or twice before, but I think it is worth revisiting now and then. I just checked my daily stats to see if anyone is reading my blog. I've got 238 hits today, on pace for about 300, normal range. But the audience is what attracts me. Not only because I am still waiting for my first hit ever from Togo--which my daughter Madeleina made clear some time ago, was the only important thing: "Dad, until someone from Togo is reading your blog, your blog is nothing. Nothing!--but because sometimes the makeup of the countries that have visited the blog in a 24-hour period are pretty fascinating. Today, I've had readers from the US, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, China, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
   Imagine the Ukraine, Russia, China, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the US having citizens who are all on the same page, so to speak, meaning my page. Now, if those people could arrive at the same place at the same time, why can't all of our countries come together the same way? I know I'm dreaming, but boy, I sure would like to see the world say, "Fuck it, this war thing ain't working, and it hasn't been working for the last several thousand years, so let's try getting along and see if that works any better." I'll bet it would work a lot better. We just need to be willing to share, give up out-sized egos, and turn the machines of war into ploughshares. Does not sound hard to me to give peace a chance. What have we got to lose, right?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For Those Keeping Score on Trump's Evil Deeds...

For those keeping score on President Trump's idiotic moves meant to hurt people, let's see:
In the last couple of weeks, he's proposed cutting administrative funds for Meals on Wheels, which would kill the program that brings hot meals to old and infirm people who would not otherwise have them;
He's proposed cutting back on public school funding;
An appointment of his has suggested cutting funding for school lunches, calling them unnecessary and saying there is no evidence that kids who eat well do better in school;
He's repealed legislation protecting federal workers from wage theft and dangerous working conditions;
He's in the process of rolling back the Climate Change-fighting regulations the Obama administration put into place;
He's calling for opening US protected lands for gas and oil drilling and coal mining;
He's given the green light to the Keystone Pipeline, which will bring Canadian tar sands through the US to the Texas tax free Port Arthur, where it will be shipped overseas (by existing contracts), meaning there will be no taxed paid on it, and about 1,000 temporary jobs--up to two months each, most shorter than that--with the 40 permanent jobs going to Canadians who work for the pipeline company-- a giveaway to the Koch brothers, who own much of the contested tar sands, to try to get them into his corner;
He's willing to go along with internet companies selling your private information and browsing history;
He's put into place the least competent people ever assembled for a cabinet;
He's reauthorized the use of private prisons for federal prisoners, which Obama had disallowed several months ago, leading to a huge increase in GEO Group's stock price, enough that they are about to do a stock split;
He's cost $16 million thus far for vacation travel and protection for his adult kids while they fly around the world on our dime doing his business, as well as protecting his wife and child in New York;
Oh, and he tried to take healthcare away, okayed a Navy Seal mission that cost the life of a Seal, a US plane and between 20-30 innocent women and children;
Then he's tried to stop the investigation into his team's possible collusion with Russia during and prior to the election that made him president;
For a cherry on top, he put his son-in-law in charge of revamping the United States federal operations.
Talk about a busy first 65 days or so! Wow! He's been at it, alright, if you want to see the country disappear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not the Best Mom in the World

Every now and then I am reminded by stark reality that I am not the best mom and dad in the world. Today is one of those reminder days. Chepa came over for coffee early, and noticed that my daughter and her boyfriend were in the same bedroom. They had come home from college last night about 2 AM to take care of their dog, Seven, who was neutered yesterday and was sort of freaking out. So I got a scolding for that, even though they are both second year college kids. Then Chepa announced that I would be taking care of Alexa, who is 8, who was staying home from school today. No problem.
   On her way out, I asked Chepa if she had been in touch with the lawyer about the money she owed for the next stage in a lawsuit she's unfortunately embroiled in. She hadn't, but suggested I get in touch so that the lawyer would know we remain a strong team.
   She dropped Alexa off a short while later, then called me from her job to say she desperately needed a locksmith as she'd locked her keys in her car. So I called six or seven and finally got one willing to drive over if Chepa would call. Chepa would not answer her phone.
   So I called the school about Alexa being sick, called the lawyer and made it clear I would be good for the money--hated doing that--if need be, then got ready to see Madeleina off to school. Unfortunately she had a flat tire. Worse, she had lockdown bolts that I could not get off. So I drove to the local tire place and they promised to come to the house to take off the tire but told me I would have to wait for an hour because it was lunchtime.
   I came home to a sobbing Madeleina, who, truth be told, has seen about 20 of these roadblocks pop up in front of her in the last week.
   It's a little later. The mechanic came, got the wheel off, took it to his place and he'll repair or replace it (I just bought it, used, last week). Then I will take Alexa to the store with me, she's sick so she is no mood so I know I am in for a fight, then we will pick up Sierra and Taylor Rain when they get off the school bus, and I'll come home to some other tiny, but real, emergency--like Madeleinia's dog pooping in the house.
   Gonna need some wine later. Today was supposed to be about other things but it got taken over by reality. My own mother and father always seemed better able to handle this stuff than me.

Drug War Follies

This is my 99th Drug War Follies column for Skunk Magazine. They have let me run with it for about 12 years now, and I hope they let me keep on running. In any event, this one is political so if you hate politics, or my position, just skip it. Or read it anyway and then write hate mail!!!!! 


We have met the enemy and we are fucked.

By Peter Gorman

As a rational, reasonably intelligent citizen of the USA, and one who has now been voting for 48 years, it bewilders me that Donald Trump, the thief of New York, the con man of carneys, the troll l’orange, has wound up as president. What did we do? How did it happen that we elected a guy with the intelligence of a can of Spam (sorry, Spam), the soul of Machiavelli, and the heart of a rattle snake to be the leader of the free world? What were his credentials going in? What did he promise—to the people, not the devil—to earn this position? And what is going to come of this errant experiment in populism?
   I’m not sure what you up in the Great White North think about this, but down here a lot of us are going crazy on a daily basis, and with good reason. This guy is killing us. His 3 AM Tweets knocking former President Obama, healthcare, Hillary Clinton, the connection between his closest associates and Russian intelligence in the lead up to the election are enough to make a sober man grab for a pint, or a doper to reach for a needle and spoon. His refusal to display his tax returns that might show where he could be compromised as president, his insistent chanting to have Hillary locked up, his choice of Cabinet heads, from a woman who hates public schools to head up the Department of Education, to a man who wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency to head the EPA, to Dr. Ben Carson, the man who says that slaves were immigrants who had to work really hard to head up the Department of Housing, and all the rest of them leave us baffled, bewildered, and yeah, reaching for a second, third and fourth pint.
   How did this happen?
   This is a man who was caught saying he liked to grab women by the pussies on video tape and yet 53 percent of white women voted for him. This is a man who said he would bring back coal mining jobs to forlorn towns which didn’t lose coal mining jobs to regulations, they lost them to animation and a disinterest in coal given the glut of natural gas the US has had for years. This is the man who promised a border wall after years of more Mexicans and other Central Americans leaving the US voluntarily than arrive annually. This is a man who claims the election was rigged and begged, on national television, Russian spies to hack Hillary’s emails, then won and called the election not rigged--though he did lie and say that the fact that he lost the popular vote my more than 3 million was due to illegals voting. This is a man who lies easier than he breathes. To help define his condition, the constant and abject lying, his marble-mouthed spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway explained that he simply has alternate facts—when there are no alternate facts. I have no idea what actual color you see when you look at a clear sky, but we all agree to call whatever we see “blue”. That is how society functions. There are no alternate facts unless we want chaos.
   But then it seems this President Trump actually does want chaos. He claimed, for years, that President Obama was not a US citizen, sent a posse to Hawaii where he said the truth had been uncovered and would blow Obama out of the White House, but never showed the proof. He swears he has proof that the election was rigged but has no proof to show. He swears, on Twitter, that he was bugged at the personal behest of President Obama, but has no proof, no incriminating evidence, nothing. He just recently sent high-level advisors to monitor the goings-on at each of his Cabinet departments and agencies to ascertain that people are loyal to him and not leaking anything to the press. This is not democracy, this is the extreme paranoia of a madman. He lied to his entire constituency before the election that his healthcare plan would include everyone and cover everyone better and for a lot less money than Obamacare, and now, in late March, admits that millions of people will not be covered, but will have access, if they have the funds, to medical insurance. The fact that tens of millions obviously do not have the funds was the precise reason Obamacare was crafted and drafted into law. The current president thinks it’s a great idea to go back to the old way, despite it meaning he lied through his teeth to his voters and that people will go back to being kicked off their insurance in the middle of treatments, even if they have insurance.
   This man bullshits every time he opens his mouth. He has never met the truth in his life. During his short time in office he’s pushed for mentally ill people to be allowed to buy guns, for everyone to be able to buy silencers for their guns, for rollbacks on guarding rivers and waterways from industrial waste, for pushing to rescind the Russian sanctions so that his friend Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State, can have his former company, ExxonMobil, begin working on the billion dollar deal he crafted with Putin prior to Trump’s unexpected win at the polls. He has decried climate change science even while the sea rises around us; proposed to cut off meals for old and sick people who have no way to get out to get their own; he’s planning to defund Planned Parenthood, the primary source of medical attention for two million women and hundreds of thousands of men in the US because one branch of their operation—funded privately, not with a cent from the federal or any state or local governments—performs abortions. He has reinstituted the ban on any country that promotes birth control to stop receiving foreign aid. He has put forward a budget that will increase our military spending by $54 billion this year while phasing out money for school lunches for kids, afterschool programs, endowments for the arts, public radio and a host of programs that cost nearly nothing while educating millions annually.
   And he’s done this while spending more on weekend retreats—and maintaining a wife in New York who hates him—in two months, than former President Obama ever spent on vacations in a year.
   Then there are his businesses, all 500 or so of them. Rather than divest himself of them, he’s put his kids in charge of them and, what luck, they get secret service protection, and probably an armed jet escort, wherever they go to do business to make him money.
   Folks, we are in the Matrix and it is not pretty here. Things are out of whack.
   But it gets worse: His call to round up innocent illegal aliens who have been here 20-30 years, or were brought over before they could talk, has re-infused life into the dying private prison industry. Yes, the private prison giants have seen their stock prices soar wildly since his election. And then he has Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions in the Attorney General slot and he has promised to look hard at states where marijuana is legal. No, you did not think you were getting away from this red-haired octopus, did you? Yes, by the time you read this he will probably have started that war. Can you imagine him sending local police or national guard into Colorado, Oregon, Washington or elsewhere to shut down legal pot shops and grows?
   Somehow, this man, this man-child who pouts like a 3-year-old and acts like a terrible-two, this short fingered vulgarian—to copy someone smarter than me at perfect insults-—has managed to secure the Oval Office. And he has brought Steve Bannon, a scum sucking—in all ways—piece of flotsam who has never done a single thing worth noting in his entire life, into the Oval Office with him. Bannon, the white nationalist whose term as head of Breitbart News was marked by White Supremacist slogans, endorsements, paid advertisements.
   How did this happen? Were we all drugged? Were people just so angry at the idea of the beautiful nigger in the white house that they would have drunk the toilet water of anyone who shit into it just to get a white guy back into that place?
   As the head dies, so follows the body. We’re not doomed yet, but unless we change things quickly, we are definitely in deep shit and the stink is only going to get worse as people start dying from this freak’s programs.
   Give me a pint, bartender, and keep them coming till I puke, okay?
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.