Posts Tagged 'Romney'

The Morning After

Tuesday evening Sweetie and I watched Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins duke it out in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Gary, in a role superbly suited to him, still scares me as he seeks to capture Winona Ryder’s heart while fending off the sharpened stake wielded, somewhat comically,  by a partially deranged Mr. Hopkins.

You were watching a twenty year old film on election night, you say?  With all that time on your hands why weren’t you focused on the election results?  Because my blood pressure was already high enough, thank you.

In a way I suppose I was, in fact, watching a stand-in for the election night results.  Oldman could just as well have been playing Mitt Romney, a man who was serially written off for dead, starting with the primaries where he was confronted by any number of netherworld demons including Newt, Michelle, Rick, and Herman.  No stake in the heart could penetrate him regardless of multiple ill-fated attempts. His pursuers were doomed to fall on their own swords.  Like Dracula, Mitt’s oft-repeated metamorphosis from one life form into another finally ended only when he was exposed to the full light of day.

Hopkins, a somewhat shy and retiring personality, could have been Obama who refused to give up the quest for another four years even though at times you wondered if he was really serious about the whole thing.  Stake in hand, he methodically pursued his quarry and, when all seemed to hang by a thread, plunged the dagger into his antagonist.  Not a lingering death as predicted by the pundits, it was all over in the blink of an eye.

Belatedly, we made the rounds of the usual cable news stations.  MSNBC, CNN and, yes, Fox.   OK, I really enjoyed Fox.  Shepard Smith was particularly interesting.  With a “what the hell happened” expression on his face, he looked splendidly shell-shocked.

Karl Rove was delightful as the mad scientist who, with precise logic and an intensity bordering on the maniacal, sought to refute Fox’s award of Ohio to Obama.  How dare Fox do that without his permission.  In a moment rivaling the best of the Keystone Kops, Megan Kelly, playing the role of Karl’s Igor, dutifully strolled down to the bowels of Fox and asked her own statisticians “are you guys shitting me or what?”

Rove and his buddy George Will were understandably stunned.  How could this be?  Especially after the outpouring of money from their friends and neighbors.  We will win big, they had assured themselves and their minions. This must be some alternate universe.  When we wake, things will be better.

Donald Trump who, as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, has driven well past the last exit of relevance, tweeted multiple brain farts including a frenzied call to his followers to march on Washington.

Bill O’Reilly, a little late in seeking more Hispanic votes, made a plea for an election re-run with Marco Rubio instead of Paul Ryan as Mitt’s Sancho Panza.  While insulting half the American voters and ignoring the fact that Mitt’s votes came from predominantly aging white men on Medicare and Social Security, Bill observed that the 50% of the country who voted for Obama want stuff.   They want things.  And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it. And he ran on it.

But perhaps the most rewarding election revelation came the morning after when we were treated to an analysis of the money spent and the rewards of that extravagance.  The most candid and resigned expression came from Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot and a top Romney fundraiser.  “All I can say is the American people have spoken.”

The Koch brothers spent millions including a reputed chunk of the $11 million delivered from an Arizona mystery PAC in a failed attempt to block California’s Proposition 30 supporting schools, and to promote Proposition 32 that would have limited the rights of unions to spend money just like, thanks to Citizens United and the Supremes, corporations do.

Foregoing the ubiquitous PAC route, Linda E. McMahon, owner of a professional wrestling company, concluded her second attempt to single-handedly buy a Republican Senate seat by spending $100 million of her own money in Connecticut.  She lost.  But in the process she certainly succeeded in adding jobs to the media and printing industries in her own state.  Way to go, Linda.

Joe Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, spent close to $13 million to bankroll a super PAC attacking Obama over federal spending.  Better he should have spent it on the pitiful team that lost 101 games this season.  That’s the last time I go to a Cub game.

And then there’s Sheldon Adelson, the gambling casino mogul.  Sporting a refreshed carrot coloring of his sparsely populated hairline, he seemed unperturbed about the sixty million he had pumped into the super PACS supporting eight carefully selected Republican candidates.  Sheldon went 0 for 8.  Better stay away from your own craps tables, Sheldon.  Oh, and buy a mirror.

As the NY Times reported, Karl Rove has been busy fielding calls from many of those bazillionaires who forked over about $300 million to two super PACs founded in part by him.  Always looking on the bright side, he offered them these uplifting words,  “Without us, the race would not have been as close as it was.”

So it’s four more years.  Used to seem like a long time.  Not any more.  A blink of an eye.  A week in Dracula time.  I hope Obama’s stake is well sharpened.

A Lesson in Communications

That was quite a storm.

Having struck out with the airlines, neighbor Bob and his dog Toby drove back to Ojai from Rhode Island.  Because of Toby’s handicap, Bob had to find shelter along the way that welcomed pets.  When I spoke with Bob early in the week, he was ensconced in a Motel 6 in Lawrence, Kansas surrounded by all manner of wailing and yowling.  He cut our conversation short saying “I have to go to bed…right now.”  I shudder to think of driving nearly 3,000 miles with a dog licking my face, or worse.

Then I see those poor people back east who are without power, many without a home and all with a major clean-up effort ahead of them.  Now those folks could use some serious face licking.

And speaking of clean-up.  Mitt is busy dry cleaning his comments about FEMA.  You remember.  He told us during the primaries…so many moons ago…that FEMA was an unnecessary intrusion on the free market.  Much more better to have private companies, maybe like Halliburton or Bain Capital, jump right in with both feet to save us from Mother Nature’s vagaries.  Mindful that Sandy had been more than a sun-shower, Mitt’s campaign jumped in to clarify his position and to amend what they claimed was only garbled communications.

It reminded me of that scene from Cool Hand Luke.  The one where the prison guards, led by that scary guy with the mirrored sunglasses, have just beaten the crap out of Paul Newman.  The prison boss, played by that oh so nerd-like Strother Martin, stands over Newman and in all seriousness says “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” 

Taking a page from Strother Martin, Mitt would surely also point to a lapse in his communication skills when trying to explain his other memorable moments…

“I’m proud of what we’ve done.  If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing Romneycare, then that will be a model for the nation.”

“Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position.”

“If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”

“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

“That’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA.  I don’t line up with a lot of special interest groups.”

“They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air.”

And now his campaign is trying to woo back the auto guys they once shit-canned by scaring the crap out of them.  An ad approved by Mitt says “Obama is shipping your jobs to China to build Jeeps.  You better learn how to use chopsticks.  And sharpen your skills at making those miniature paper umbrellas that go into mai tai drinks.”  Or something like that.  Even a letter from Chrysler telling Mitt that he was a dumb-fuck  failed to put a stop to the scare tactic.

So tell me, why is it that so many voters trust this guy?  Why is the election so close?  Why do I continue to write these political blogs when I swore I’d stop.

It should be as plain as the nose on your face. But then, some of us need extra help.  Or maybe just improved communications.

Romney Supports Obama for President

While continuing his support for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdoch despite Mourdoch’s declaration that a child born of rape is a gift from god, Mitt Romney announced that he will support President Obama’s re-election.

Interviewed on CBS this morning, Governor Romney said “I realize that I have no scruples and have waffled all over the lot for the last year and a half.  So I find no conflict in what I think I believe and  who I can support.”

When asked what it was that brought him to his decision to support Obama, the Governor said “It is a continuation of the meek approach I took in the third debate with the President where I applauded the President’s stance on foreign relations.  I figure that if I agree with everything the President has done for the last four years, that people will see how friendly I am.  Supporting his re-election will also reinforce my contention that I am the candidate best suited to work hand in hand with the opposition across the aisle.”

Reporters pursued the logic of Romney’s decision and noted that the polls since the third debate seem to have reversed their earlier movement and were heading slightly in Obama’s favor.  “It’s all part of my grand strategy”, the Governor said.  “If they continue to move in the President’s direction, I will simply claim that I was misquoted in this video interview.  Everyone knows that the media is populated by flaming liberals, except for Fox of course.”

Concluding his remarks, the Governor offered his own views on a woman’s right to determine what to do with her own body.  “I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants.  And I intend on my first day in the Oval Office to offer legislation that moves us in that direction, starting with giving them the right to vote.  I realize that this may not sit well with some in my party but we’ve got to move vigorously into the twentieth century.”


Muscle bound

Dick Shawn, who died on-stage in 1987, was one of my favorite actors and comedians.  His role in The Producers as the flower-power-hippie cast as the lead in Springtime for Hitler was classic.

Perhaps less well-known was Dick’s stand-up routine as a muscle-bound weight lifter.  Proud of his bigger than life physique, he was asked by his mother “So what good are big muscles?”  Stumped for an answer, he stumbled around giving inane responses to this simple question.

I was reminded of Dick’s routine as I watched the debate last night.  The first question posed by a young college student was “So, how are you going to create more jobs?”  Smiling as he stared into the young man’s eyes, Mitt attempted to lay out the specifics of his job creation plan.  Only there were none.  Dick Shawn had risen.

Next came a question from a motherly middle-aged woman.  “I understand that you want to simplify the tax code and give everyone a 20% tax cut.  And that you want to balance that cut by limiting deductions.  How will your plan impact my home mortgage deduction, charitable contributions and the deduction for  my kids’ college tuition.”  Mitt smiled and flexed his big muscles.  Dick Shawn was having a hell of a night.

When the debate took on the issue of women in the workplace, the two contenders tried their best to become the champion of the fairer sex.  Obama cited his signature support for the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work legislation and for Planned Parenthood’s myriad of services.  Mitt muted his promise to de-fund Planned Parenthood and chose to ignore his running mate’s vote against the Ledbetter legislation.  He instead cited his search for qualified women while Governor of Massachusetts.

When his closest advisers were incapable of identifying women for his cabinet, he said “Well, gosh, can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”  He was then presented with “whole binders full of women.”  With big muscles, I’m sure.

Another questioner asked “How will Mr. Romney’s presidency differ from that of George W. Bush?”  Mitt lamented Mr. Bush’s budget busting wars, crossed his heart and promised never to do that again.  Obama noting that in spite of his other failings Mr. Bush had never proposed Medicare vouchers, proceeded to chastise Mitt’s vaporous health plan, a scheme that according to a new study by the Kaiser Foundation would cause six in ten Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums.

And so it went.  In the end we were treated to interviews with ten undecided voters who had been gathered together in the studio to observe the debate.  The moderator asked  “So, now that you’ve seen the debate, which of you will be voting for Mr. Romney?”  One hand went up.  “And which of you will be voting for Mr. Obama?”  One hand went up.

The other eight were obviously living in some alternative universe.  Maybe looking for some guy with bigger muscles.

Is Anyone Listening?

My buddy Irv called today.

How ya doin?  How come I haven’t seen a blog from you in the last two weeks.  I enjoy them so much that I send them to my Rabbi.   God knows he could use a laugh.

Oh, we were in Chicago for about ten days.  Just got back on Saturday and I’ve been busy sorting my socks and stuff like that.

I didn’t tell him the truth.  That I was too depressed to write.

What a debacle.  What a mess.  What a downer.  Sailing along on rising poll numbers and then he has a president-sized  brain fart and lets you-know-who back into the race.

I finally did fess up to Irv.  And funny thing, he felt the same way…in spades.  Didn’t sleep a wink after the debate.  Sherry had to rub my head for hours, give me a cookie, and tell me it would be OK.

I was so down since last Wednesday that I couldn’t get a single thought in my head that was worth blogging about.  What else could I say about you-know-who that hadn’t already been said a million times. Why bother?  Is anyone listening?

I thought about the high school play we saw in Chicago.  The Wizard of Oz.  Remember when Toto pulls the curtain aside and there stands Frank Morgan pretending to be the powerful wizard.  He stares at Judy, Ray, Jack and Burt.  He says into the mike “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and goes on with his wizard impersonation as though nothing had happened.  He might have gotten away with it if Judy and gang were as dumb as some voters.  But being bright kids, they spot the hoax and confront Frank with his lie.  I thought I would write something like that.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Then just last night around dusk, I was reading and saw a flash of color in the back yard.  A fox.  Next to bears and mountain lions, the rarest of creatures around here. Beautiful.  An endangered species.  So I thought I’d write about Mitt’s views on global warming and his wait and see attitude.  The icecap is melting, it was the hottest summer since the Cubs won the World Series, and the ocean is about to engulf Peoria.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Or maybe I could write about his tax plan.  As The Onion put it in an imaginary meeting with his staff…“Okay, now, think—there’s got to be a way we can make these numbers add up, there’s just gotta be,” a profusely sweating Romney reportedly told his advisers while furiously calculating how in the world he could institute an across-the-board 20 percent cut in the marginal tax rate while balancing the federal budget within a decade and giving the Pentagon $2 trillion it hasn’t even requested.  Nope, no good either.  Folks already know he hasn’t got a plan and no one cares.

And then I heard Lakshmi Singh broadcasting the 4pm news on NPR.  Something about Mitt doing a flip-flop on abortion.  At the same time, daughter Nancy sends another tongue-in-cheek  Onion article about Mitt’s fibs…”it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney…“For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernible sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that?  Simple.  None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”  Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Now, the Onion may be joking but I think they were spot on.  His latest abortion comments are an example of his strategy.   Tuesday’s Des Moines registerMitt Romney does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president, the Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday…“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

Today, the Associated Press reports… A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do “everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”  The head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List distributed an article Romney penned last summer vowing to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while backing legislation that would “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

ABC reports A little more than 24 hours after he told an Iowa newspaper that abortion legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, Mitt Romney told reporters today that he would “immediately” move to defund Planned Parenthood.  “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate…I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also, I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president.”

I’m not so depressed anymore.   Maybe someone is listening.   Maybe the curtain is opening just enough.

My Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law was a Jewish Republican.  I’m not sure how she ever achieved that highly unusual status since in her day those political animals were about as rare as the Cubs winning the World Series.

Marge was a staunch Nixon supporter who excused everything he did…until Watergate.  When that sordid, pathetic story came into the light she retreated from vocal support to stony silence.  I’m sure she was embarrassed, disappointed and shocked that the President of the United States was actually a crook.  She never again mentioned his name.

Marge’s daughter, my Sweetie, often says “I wonder if my mother would vote for Romney.”  I’m certain that she’d like to think not, but deep down she knows that Marge probably would.  Until yesterday.

Even Marge had her limits.  Although sometimes abrupt and opinionated, she was kind and generous. She came from a lower-income background born to immigrant parents escaping from pogroms.   I’d bet that Marge’s parents never paid income taxes and probably were the beneficiaries of some form of  government largess.  Taking advantage of opportunities, Marge and Leo built a successful business, treated their employees well and supported those less fortunate than them.  And still she called herself a Republican.

I flicked on the TV this morning and saw “Will latest gaffe be an election game changer?” crawling along the bottom of the CNN news screen.  Mitt Romney had surgically divided this country into two camps.  One half of the population included him and those red-blooded Americans who paid their taxes.  The other half consisted entirely of the freeloaders who didn’t pay income taxes.  And there was no point, Mitt said, in reaching out to those freeloaders since they were dependent on big government to take care of them cradle to grave.  And he was not.

Speaking in mid-May at a $50,000 a person fund-raiser in San Diego, he said they are “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them. Those people pay no income tax, and so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

David Brooks, one of the two NY Times token Republican columnists, had these words to offer today about Mr. Romney’s comments.  It suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits…It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America…It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture…It suggests that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation…As a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy…It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashonah.  We and about a hundred other Jews spent the morning at Temple and were treated by Rabbi Mike to a description of what it means to be Jewish.  No surprise since it’s the same in just about every other religion.  Specifically, it is our responsibility to make this a better world. To repair it by service to society.  To help the fallen.  To strengthen the weak. To make their lives better even at the expense of our own.  It’s not critical that we alone save the world.  But it is commanded that we do what we can here on earth.

At every Temple service we remember the departed.  We stand and say the Kaddish.  We silently think of those who have gone before us.  Our parents, grandparents, children and friends.  The next time I say Kaddish I will think of Marge.  And the next time Sweetie asks me do you think she would vote for him, I’ll know the answer.

What would President Romney do?

—A president would be sure of the facts before broadcasting his story.

—A president would strongly condemn the murder of innocents.

—A president would avoid language that further incites violence against his citizens.

—A president would assure other nations that he does not condone the repellent actions of bigots, racists  and troublemakers.

—A president would insist on the cooperation of other nations to control violence against our citizens.

—A president would inform those nations of the consequences of their inaction.

—A president would  instill the confidence of the nation in his judgment.

—A president would calm the nation and the world.

—A president would not seek political gain at the expense of doing the right thing.

Some folks, like that self-proclaimed foreign policy guru Paul Ryan, don’t think that my formula for handling things like riots precipitated by morons whose sole objective is to create a riot, is a fitting prescription for a president.

Speaking in De Pere, Wisconsin, the Bernard Baruch of the 21st century said…“It is very important that a president speak with a singular voice representing our principles and our values.  If you show weakness, if you show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventurism among our adversaries will increase.”  He promised that a Romney administration would lead with “peace through strength.”  He might have added the watchword of his faith…shoot first, think later.

It reminded me of Ryan’s running mate, the ever ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Mitt Romney.  The Washington Post chronicled the Mitter’s all too frequent politics comes first approach to crises.  The Post said…there have been too many cheap shots and miscues that have only called attention to Mr. Romney’s inexperience in foreign affairs.  The Post included Mitt’s knee jerk attacks on the administration while in the midst of delicate negotiations over the fate of the Chinese human rights lawyer, and his blatantly political accusation that Obama sympathizes with rioters.

The Post continued by labeling his jeering at Russia as “unbecoming a great power “ and his threats of a trade war with China as “both unconvincing and unproductive.”  The paper concluded  with  “He appealed to the worst in the American people when he failed to stand up for religious tolerance by condemning the bigoted anti-Muslim movie trailer that incited riots this week, even as he rightly condemned the violence itself.”

Perhaps secretly embracing  the riots in the Middle East as a welcome respite from being roundly criticized for failing to offer up his tax returns or, for that matter, anything else of substance to public scrutiny, the Mitt began to prepare a methodical, high-minded approach to the upcoming debates with the President.  In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, he revealed the secret weapon that he will use in dealing with Mr. Obama…“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”

Oh, that Mitt.  What a guy.  Confronting Obama with the schoolyard liar, liar, pants are on fire approach will give him the cover he needs when falsely disputing any facts offered by Mr. Obama during the debates.  It will also let him focus on the things he knows best, like foreign policy and, uh…

Mitt continued regaling George…” I believe that when the final decisions are being made by the American people, they’re going to ask themselves, “Who do I have confidence in to keep America safe? And who do I believe can get our economy doing what it needs to do?”  No shit.

Pressed on his plan to continue the Bush tax cuts while balancing the budget by closing as yet unspecified loopholes, our aspiring tax expert pointed to several studies including one by Harvard’s Martin Feldstein.  But Stephanopolous noted that Feldstein’s study said balancing was only possible if tax deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable deductions and state/local taxes were eliminated for everyone earning at least $100,000.  Romney sheepishly admitted that he actually hadn’t read the Feldstein report that he and his Pancho Sanza  traveling companion prominently cite on the campaign trail.  Big surprise.

Even reliable Republican pundits seemed on the verge of tears.  George Will lamented “If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business.” Laura Ingraham said “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party, shut it down.”  Good idea.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal offered…”The GOP candidate might try explaining his policies.  Just a thought.”   As a fresh start in that direction, I give Mitt permission to use the list at the top of this blog.

Smirker in Chief

One unforgettable morning eleven years ago, I turned on the TV near my rowing machine and was confronted with burning buildings and the greatest calamity to befall our nation since Pearl Harbor.  I stood in front of the TV and didn’t know what to do except stare at the unbelievable devastation.

Eleven years later plus a day, I was again staring at the TV getting ready to cajole my much older bones to rise to the occasion when I saw Hillary Clinton talking about another attack on our citizens.  Her words were well-chosen as she sought to memorialize those who died this time in Benghazi and to seek some calm  after another turbulent event half a world away.

After watching the emerging story of the events in Libya, I was treated to a press conference featuring that foreign relations guru, Mitt Romney.  Quickly offering his condolences to the families of the murdered embassy officials, Mitt launched into a denunciation of the comments from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the Obama administration and anyone else remotely resembling a Democrat.  The Romney campaign had earlier offered this statement from Mitt…

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.


Even Republican senators knew better.  A joint statement on Fox News by John McCain, Lindsay Graham and which-way-is-the-wind-blowing Joe Lieberman took no political punches at the administration.

Mitt’s press conference doubled down and  bordered on an immediate declaration of nuclear war on those yet-to-be identified perpetrators of the attack on the Benghazi embassy, and offered a denunciation of Obama’s failure to draw and quarter the framers of a message delivered by the Cairo staff.  How dare Mr. Obama, he said, be so willing to support the audacity of the Cairo staff that both condemned the Benghazi attack and denounced the asinine video that may have incited the attackers.  No matter that the Cairo embassy was trying to quell a protest outside its own gates by being what ambassadors are paid to do…be ambassadorial.

Ever willing to seize the low ground, the Mitt decided that it was more important to embrace diversity to make political points rather than to encourage solidarity and unity.  His prepared remarks led to a series of questions posed by his traveling press corps.  As the reporters bore down and focused on what he would do differently and whether his remarks were intended to simply purchase political capital, his once firm facial expression degenerated into a smirk signifying his discomfort with the questions and an unwillingness to offer specifics.  A face becoming all too familiar.

The more I watched and listened, the more I was reminded of that other “shoot first and ask questions later” proponent.  The smirky man from Texas who didn’t let the absence of facts deter him.  The one who took us to Iraq, lost more than 4,000 of our soldiers and facilitated the annihilation of thousands of Iraqis.  The one that even Republicans shun.

The as yet unconfirmed creator of the video randomly condemning Islam for everything including the sinking of the Titanic and global warming, Sam Bacile, was aided and abetted by pastor Terry Jones, the same moron who previously graced the news in 2010 with his proclamation of “Burn A Koran Day.”

As the NY Times  reported later in the day…as an adviser to the campaign who worked in the George W. Bush administration said on Wednesday, Mr. Romney’s accusation that Mr. Obama had invited the attacks because he had weakened America looked like “he had forgotten the first rule in a crisis: don’t start talking before you understand what’s happening.”

So there you have it.  First, two imbeciles promote a vicious video falsely condemning all of Islam, and second you have a point-seeking presidential candidate condemning the President for recognizing and acknowledging the impact of that monstrous lie.  And smirking at the same time.

Take it, my pretty

I was reminded of the scene in Disney’s Snow White where the beautiful wicked queen disguised as an old hag offers the poisoned apple to Snow White.  “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”  And we all know what happened then.

I had firmly resolved not to watch the Republican Convention.  That promise lasted about ten minutes when I remembered my line to Sweetheart when she asked me several years ago “Why do you listen to that freak Rush Limbaugh?”

 Because we need to know the enemy, I lied.  And listening to Limbaugh does more for raising my pulse rate than any exercise machine is capable of.

I figured if I watched the convention on PBS that I’d get less spewing of false rhetoric and more honest coverage of the Tampa white folks’ convention.  So I clicked to channel 50.

I nearly fell over backwards when my sixty inch Samsung screen was, without warning, filled with the image of Chris Christie looking as though he had just swallowed most of his state of New Jersey.  My first inclination was to make fun of his size, but then I remembered that this was a very petty approach to dealing with an adversary.  So I tried to remove his size 62 hulk from the equation.

And then he began to shout at me.  And the floating digital backdrop behind him filled with blue amorphous  globules that seemed to depict an ever-rising influx of the Governor’s bad cholesterol.  So I rejected the honorable approach of dealing with him and decided to focus on the petty.

I swear that the longer I watched Crispy, the bigger he got.  I tried to imagine the number of sheep that had to be sheared to produce his suit jacket.  I wondered if his pants had once been employed as an infield  ground cloth during a rainy day at Yankee Stadium.

But I did manage, between a barrage of ever more nasty mental insights, to listen to some of his speech.  And I was richly  rewarded with a potpourri of distortions, factual contortions and downright insults to anyone’s intelligence except for that of the mostly old, mostly rich and almost universally white people who were in attendance and obviously enthralled with his words.

As his harangue grew in volume, I thought back to that old Monty Python routine, Mr. Creosote.  In that gross but very funny episode set in a restaurant, Mr. Creosote, ably played by Terry Jones, eats everything in sight.  Finally, after being offered a mint to complete the orgy, Creosote explodes and lays waste to himself and everything around him.  As his voice grew louder and his face redder,  I anxiously waited for Crispy to emulate Creosote.

But I digress from Crispy’s speech which mainly focused on his prescription of tax cuts, slashed budgets, cancelled public projects and broken labor unions.  It’s good for you, my pretty, he insisted.  It’s what the doctor ordered.  It will make your life more meaningful.  Your grandchildren will thank you.  And only Mitt can transport you to the promised land.

What Crispy failed to tell us is that New Jersey has not had the revenue boom he promised from his tax cuts and the state’s unemployment rate is higher than it was when he took over.  Per Paul Krugman, Crispy’s budget balancing routine was heavily weighted to deferring required contributions to pension funds, diverting money from the Transportation Trust Fund, cancelling the much-needed rail tunnel link to Manhattan while investing in a megamall and an Atlantic City casino, and vetoing a temporary tax surcharge on millionaires.

The convention center cameras panned around during Crispy’s speech giving us respite from watching his cholesterol count.  Clearly enraptured faces abounded.  Other faces, one in particular, had a facial expression that defied description.  Mitt’s face seemed frozen in time, unsure whether to laugh or cry.  To laugh at the orgy of distortion or to cry wondering what he had done to deserve the main spotlight in this circus.

He too, maybe because he’s been doing it too long to stop, will surely reach out to us and say “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”

Now you see it, now you don’t

A trip to the Magic Castle yesterday provided ample proof that sleight of hand is alive and well in an era of supposed transparency.

Five hours of carpooling and five hours at the Castle led to a return home at 1am. It was worth it. Daniel Ketchedjian in the Parlour of Prestidigitation proved that you need not be able to say that mouthful to enjoy his bright eyes and even brighter personality. Danny Ray in the tight confines of the Close-up Gallery nearly put an eye out demonstrating his mystical ability of divining which envelope contained the shield that protected his body from unrecoverable mutilation.

Dana Daniels performing in the Palace of Mystery proved that you don’t need to be a great magician to wow the crowd. With absolutely no grace,  he juggled a woman’s four-inch heeled shoe, a Tampax contributed by an uninhibited theater goer, and a sixteen pound bowling ball. In conclusion, his precocious pet parrot, Luigi, reminded us that laughter is the best medicine. I haven’t roared so hard since Gene Wilder ordered Teri Garr and Cloris Leachman to under no circumstances open the cell door while he tried to deal with Peter Boyle, the Frankenstein monster.

This morning everything was back to normal.

Making my usual cup of coffee, I switched on NPR in the middle of the news. Right in the middle of the commentator saying “Judge Robert Simpson has denied a challenge to the new Pennsylvania law intended to reduce voter fraud. That law requires photo identification in order to vote in the November election. This despite the fact that the State of Pennsylvania had been unable to produce a single instance of such fraud.”

It should also be pointed out that the law was passed by the Republican dominated legislature and signed by the Republican governor.  As reported by the Christian Science Monitor After Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state legislature passed the ID law in March, the state House majority leader boasted that the new requirement would help deliver the state’s key electoral votes to Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.   I tried to think back on Luigi in the hope of raising my spirits.  He was beginning to fade.

We next dragged ourselves down the hill to Dr. Halverson’s office for Sweetie’s allergy shots. One of the highlights of that every-three-weeks’ adventure is my opportunity to read the LA Times, a literary masterpiece when compared to the Ventura Star and its continuing banal coverage of pet cows, sheep and piggies destined for slaughter following their once in a lifetime appearance at the Ventura Fair. They won’t deliver the Times to us up on the hill because they know I’m a Democrat.  Visiting the doctor’s office is my way of getting back at the paper-boy.

My mood did not improve with the Times’ stories of decapitations performed by Mexican drug cartels, the murder of a 72-year-old man by his high school classmate in retribution for a fifty year old slight, an Alabama man who received a 624 year prison sentence and the most depressing revelation of all, another Cub loss.  Luigi began to lose his feathers.

Arriving home and a glutton for punishment, I visited the New York Times on the web and was presented with a glimpse of Ohio, one of the “battleground” states.  All 86 Ohio election boards are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. In the case of a tie vote, the Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, casts the tie breaking vote. It seems, courtesy of the boards’ tie votes and Mr. Husted’s climactic tie breakers, that the polls in all Republican leaning counties can remain open after 5pm and on weekends, while those in Democratic leaning counties have to stick to a Monday through Friday schedule closing at 5pm. The reason given? There’s more money in Republican counties to fund the later hours, while the poor folks in places like Cincinnati and Cleveland are bereft of such largess. Surely the fact that about half the folks in those cities are black has nothing to do with it.

Luigi is dead.



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