Friday, July 29, 2016

Bill O'Reilly and The Well Fed Slaves

Fox News Braintrust

"Addressing Michell Obama's remarks about slaves having built the White House Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday on his Fox News program that those slaves were 'well fed and had decent lodging provided by the government."
His comments  drew swift rebukes online. He fired back on his Wednesday program, saying that the nations first president provided slaves with 'meat, bread and other staples' and 'decent lodging.'"

"Oh, massir, Ah's jez so fortunate to be a happy darkie, working here on da White House. 
They feeds me real good, with chitlins and greens and ifn the dogs doan want 'em, I get bacon scraps!  

And the lodging is so very nice. And the guv'ment gives me the lodging, which is almost as good as what Massa gives me down home. Ah knows Mr. O'Reilly doan approve of no guv'ment housing, no how. He says the private sector is always better.  He says it makes me dependent. 

But you know, tha's what being a slave is all about, actually. 

And massa taught me carpentry and I doan have no student loans neither, but now I can work here on da White House in diz hundred degree heat but Ah knows when da winter comes it'll drop to below freezing but I'll be all right once it gets dark  in my free government lodgings. 

Guv'ment's so very good to me. 

And Ah'm a happy darkie. Ah loves being a slave so I doan have to worry about getting food and lodging. 

The white massas, they give me everything I want.

Well, 'cept for Freedom. 

But you can't have everything in this life.

Swing lo', sweet chariot."
Gave me bread, meat, lodgings and a few whippings

Yes, indeed, Bill O'Reilly has doubled down on his initial reaction to Michelle Obama's observation about the possibility for change and  progress in this nation with his own demonstration that he completely missed the point. 

Oh, slavery wasn't so bad. Think of all the good things: Free food and lodging. 

The same, it must be realized, this is true for all those slackers in prison today: free food and free government lodging. 

In one sense, Mr. O'Reilly is correct: While change has come enough to place a Black family in the White House, change has not come to Mr. O'Reilly's brain, which is still back in the 19th century when white guys like him told each other they were doing Black slaves a huge, HUGE favor.

The really astonishing thing is here we have Bill O'Reilly, a bulwark of Fox News and the Right Wing saying such stuff.  Tell me again, why are we listening to this man?

Happy to be here

Is it not time for him to retire, or possibly be placed in an assisted living facility where they can prevent him from wandering off and molesting citizens who are capable of normal mentation. 

Of course, Donald Trump would have nothing to fear from Bill.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton. (You may have heard of me.)

Allow me to introduce myself.  You may know me by many different names:  Crooked Hillary, Hillary the emasculater, Hillary the email marauder, Hillary the ambitious, ruthless career woman, who seeks only fame and fortune. 

To listen to the blow hards of talk radio, the Fox News blondes, and, of course to listen to Mr. Trump, you would think I should be called the wicked witch of the Mid West.

I hardly recognize those other women these people describe. I would simply prefer, "Hi, I'm Hillary Rodham Clinton, and I'd like to ask you to vote for me for President of the United States."

You know, among the many things people have complained about me is that I am rich.  And they are right, finally I am rich.  People pay me ridiculous amounts of money just to give a speech.  I make no apologies for this.  If they want a picture of me on their brag wall and are willing to pay for a photo op, I've got no objection to that.  And whatever you may think about speeches to Goldman Sacks, there were no electricians or carpenters who didn't get paid, no unions got busted and nobody lost a job so I could get rich. Yep, I gave speeches and reaped the benefits of fame. 

But I'm not now nor ever have been in anybody's pocket.

I like being rich. Wasn't always.  We actually left the White House pretty close to broke.  

The thing is, money never really meant that much to me.  If it had, I would have taken any of those jobs people were throwing at me when I graduated from law school. That would have been an easy and comfortable life.

I guess I could have got paid the big bucks for advising real estate tycoons about building golf courses or casinos.  But, you know, golf courses, casinos never seemed all that important to me.  And hotels--I've stayed in enough hotels to know not a one of them is as sweet as what I've got back home. 

Maybe I've got a big ego. Many, if not most Washington types have big egos. And, yes, I'm a Washington type, Heaven Help me. Not because it has ever made me feel bigger or more powerful.

I decided long ago I could either try to help get kids health insurance or I could get myself as much money as I could and let the kids fend for themselves. 

And yes, I voted for the war in Iraq. I believed the generals and the Secretary of State that Saddam Hussein, who seemed perfectly capable of it, had stockpiles of Sarin Gas and other nasty things and I didn't think we could afford to be wrong about that, if he did have them. So, I was wrong and I learned from that mistake. 

Turns out, the best learned lessons are often from our mistakes.

By that measure, I should have learned a lot over the past four decades and I think I have. I learned the essential truth of that old adage: If you're not failing, you're not pushing hard enough.

I tried to get Health Care passed in my husband's first administration, but we had too many people working on a plan which was too complicated. That effort went down in flames. I learned from that, too. I think President Obama learned from that, and from the ashes rose Obamacare, which Mr. McConnell and every Republican in Congress will tell you is a disaster.  Oh, they hate Obamacare in Kentucky. They love Ky nect, of course, because tens of thousands who never had health insurance now have it, but they hate Obamacare, which is, of course, what Ky nect is.

Funny thing, though. The things which the loud mouths are loudest about are most often not the things I considered mistakes.  Benghazi was a terrible loss. But diplomats die in the service of their country.  We took a risk sending those Seals in to get Osma Bin Laden and every day as Secretary of State, I knew we had diplomats in places across North Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa and any one of those could be murdered on any given day. 

A Congresswoman asked me if I went home the night of the Benghazi attack, when Ambassador Stevens and three others died. And when I said, yes, I went home around 4 AM, she asked me whether I spent the whole night alone, as if she were about to uncover some really scandalous indiscretion, and I laughed. And she protested she didn't see anything funny.

But I was laughing because it wasn't until that moment I realized how utterly clueless some people are about what really motivates another human being. Yes, I spent that night alone. I could not bear the idea of not being alone that night because I had to have a conversation with myself,  without anyone else there to try to make me feel better.  

That's the thing about being Secretary of State or President--most of what you do, most of how you really feel,  cannot be shared with anyone. There is no cheering crowd. There is no adulation, just hard choices and defeat and if you are lucky, you move the ball forward five yards at a time. 

People ask me all the time if Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell get me down.  And the real answer is: No. Not at all. None of them are anything more than self promoters, trying to feel important, trying to get some attention.  But the people you help, the people who couldn't get health insurance, the women who can't go to Planned Parenthood because the government got in their way, the people who are living on Social Security, the people who depend on Medicare,  the people whose bank accounts are insured by the government, they matter. The suits and shills at Fox News do not matter. 

My detractors say I belong in prison.  They have never lived in the confines of public life. 
 I do plead guilty to one thing:  I do believe in government.  Yes, I admit, I believe government, while not the solution to every problem has been, is and can be a force for good, an indispensable element of American life. 

No, the Fox News blondes, the talk radio ignoramuses, the bitter obstructionists of the Senate and the Tea Party House, they don't matter.  If they really mattered, I'd have given up long ago.

What matters is "We the People" and this great experiment we call America, which, if we take care, will go forth boldly into a future which is better than yesterday and better than today.

Thank you.

White Trash and Trump Chumps

Reading Nancy Isenberg's book, "White Trash" brought to mind a disturbing story I heard on NPR one morning.  It was told by a white man from Mississippi about his father.  When this man was about 8 years old, a neighboring farmer, a Black man, got a new mule and with that mule he was able to plow his fields admirably straight. Driving by those immaculate fields with his father, the boy remarked how good the fields looked. The father said nothing, but the next day the boy heard someone had shot the Black farmer's mule. 
"Did you shoot that mule?" he asked his father. 
"Sure did."  
"But, why?"
"'Cause if I'm no better than some nigger, then what am I?"
Just Wild for Adolph

That story encapsulated for me the importance of "pecking order," in American society.  The poor, the uneducated need somebody below them to disparage.  If they cannot feel superior by virtue of having gone to Princeton, well, then at least they can feel good about being white. You may be out of work, or working at some dead end job under the yoke of some boss, but you are at least not a Mexican wet back sneaking into America. You belong. You make America great by your very presence.

70 years later; Just wild for Donnie John

This is much of what underlies the deep resentment of President Obama, an uppity Black if ever there was one, a man so intelligent, articulate, one of the best writers to have ever been President, a man of such virtue the only way to attack him is by attacking his origins--born in Kenya. 

There was that sign I saw in rural New Hampshire: "Somewhere in Kenya, a village has lost its idiot." Only one possible explanation for that sign. You know what the guy who put up that sign is like.

Which means the usual "ground game" of trying to go door to door to persuade people is doomed in this election. Either people have understood the appeal of Mr. Trump as the man who says, "You are what makes America great, that is, white," or they have not. 

Of course, there are also the Bernie or Bust crowd enthusiasts, who are just as pernicious in their own self importance, but numerically, they are not as important.

The fact is, this election is not so much an election as a census, a referendum. How many of our fellow citizens are prepared to shoot that mule?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What Ann Richards Can Tell Hillary Clinton

Ann Richards, the governor of Texas, gave the keynote speech at the 1988 convention which nominated Michael Dukakis, who went on to lose to George H.W. Bush.  Hardly anyone I know can remember much about Michael Dukakis, but I know a lot of people who remember Ann Richards, because of that speech. 

I just watched it again on youtube and was surprised to see how many of her lines have become part of common reference: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels; George Bush was born on third base and thought he hit a triple; he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

But what was really effective was her simple affirmation of what Democrats wanted: good day care, safe abortions, strong labor unions, fair trade treaties and what Republicans wanted:  to divide and to pit one section of the country against another, to let every man fight for himself, to kill government. 

I hope Hillary Clinton will take a look at that speech before she gives hers Thursday night. 

Here's the link:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Michelle, Ma Belle

All Class

"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves; and I watch my daughters –- two beautiful, intelligent, black young women –- playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."

"Don't tell me this country isn't great, or needs to be made 'great again.' It is the greatest country on earth."

--Michelle Obama

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The If Only Donald/Hillary Debate

Tony Schwartz's description in The New Yorker of his magical mystery tour along the way to writing the book, "The Art of the Deal"  sparked all sorts of fantasies about the dream debate between the Donald and Hillary Clinton.

Here's one, of what I'm sure will be many:

The Donald:  Hillary you are so low energy, I don't know why you'd even want to be President. I mean you'd be worn out every day by noon. People love me. I'm on the front cover of all the big magazines. They sell millions when they put my picture on their covers. And you know what? That energizes me. But you, I mean you were the worst Secretary of state in this nation's history. Obama and you are so politically correct you won't even face the terrorists groups who are cutting off heads. Radical Islamists are cutting off heads and you won't even call them Radical Islamists. 

Hillary: Well, it's hard to know which of those fragments of thoughts to respond to, but let's start with the Secretaries of State.  If I'm the worst Secretary of State who's ever been, why don't you name say, five Secretaries of State, who did a better job?

The Donald: There was that lady. 

Hillary: The lady? You mean Condoleezza Rice? Or Madeline Albright? 

The Donald: Condoleezza. Nice lady.  I like Condoleezza. She had some guts. Not bad looking either. People say I'm a racist, but I can appreciate a beautiful woman no matter what her race. Blacks love me. I give 'em jobs.

Hillary: Can you think of other Secretaries of State?

The Donald: Colin Powell. Nice guy. I like the guy. 

Hillary: Oh, the guy who told the nation we had to go to war with Iraq because of all those weapons of mass destruction the Iraquis had hidden away? Remember that? All the nerve gas? I admit, I fell for that one. But that nerve gas thing sealed the deal, for me.  Of course, I didn't write the "Art of the Deal," so what do I know about deals? But then, again, neither did you, write that book, that is.

The Donald: I wrote every page of that book! That Schwartz guy is such a snake in the grass. After all I did for him. He needed the money and I let him in on the deal, and then look how he treats me.  But you, you know you look even smaller in person than I remember. And whoa! You've gained a ton of weight!  Eating too well at all those Goldman Sacks dinners. Crooked Hillary.

Hillary:  So now we're down where you like to live--in the physical world. What was it? "Little Marco Rubio?" Now it's "little Hillary."  

The Donald: Well, it's hard not to notice. I mean, either I've grown or you're shrinking. Maybe you ought to get screened for osteoporosis. I mean, I've had to deal with guys calling me little, which I assure you I'm not. There's nothing small down there. But you...I mean, maybe some women shrink after menopause, but you'd have to be dealing with some big guys as President. I don't think you can stand up to the pressure. 

Hillary:  Oh, but you would be big enough to deal with all those big guys?

The Donald: Absolutely. But you, the incredible shrinking Hillary, not so much. Just too small and weak.

Hillary: Oh, Donald, Donald, Donald.  Donald, you pride yourself on an animal faculty, in which the chimpanzee is your equal--and the jackass infinitely your superior.

The Donald: I don't have to put up with that crap.

Hillary: Oh, but you do, Donald, because this debate, this is occurring in the real world. They're fact checking everything you say and Tweeting about it, even as we speak.  And the fact is, you cannot even name a Secretary of State beyond the last two Republican appointees.  I might have thought you'd have mentioned Thomas Jefferson. Even you must know Thomas Jefferson. He had a role in the musical, "Hamilton." That is where you get your information, isn't it? TV? Show business.  Yes, I agree, I might not have been quite as good as Jefferson, but I think I did a little better than say, Cordell Hull. Surely, you remember that Secretary of State?

The Donald: Never heard of him.

Hillary: Oh, well he was the guy who sent back the boatload of Jewish refugees before we got into the Second World Ward, because he didn't think they had good character.  He wanted them to have letters of reference, character references from the Gestapo.  I might not have been the perfect Secretary of State, but at least I believe turning away people because they are part of an unpopular group at the moment, like say, Muslims, is a pretty savage thing to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Donald: Connecting the Dots

Smug Elitist 

Resentment is au courrant.  It is the operating principle most talking heads use to explain the appeal of Donald J. Trump.

The underlying current is the people who resent their position actually deserve to be in the underclass. Typical of this attitude is the widely reported comment from Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard and high mucky muck in President Obama's administration, an economist of MIT pedigree. He said people resent being paid what they are actually worth, which is to say, the underclass deserves being an underclass.

While it is probably true many people who have never been able to make much money are poor because they are simply incompetent at mastering remunerative jobs, there is another story when it comes to fairness in the economic and financial life of this nation. 
Truth Speaker: A dangerous Man

This is at the heart of Andrew Hacker's accidental masterpiece, "The Math Myth" in which he demonstrates how irrelevant math tests have systematically eliminated many capable people from jobs across a broad spectrum of occupations from becoming a physician to passing the licensing exam to become  an electrician. 

While it has been easy to  dramatize how pernicious "tests" can be used to perpetrate social injustice, the math test scam has been underappreciated.

Never took a SAT exam

It is easy to see how "poll tests" were maliciously applied to prevent Black voters in the South from voting. The scene in which a Black woman (played, I believe, by Oprah Winfrey) goes to vote but the white clerk asks her to recite the Declaration of Independence and when she recites it, he asks her to recite the Constitution--all this  is absurd enough to drive home the point that almost anyone can be failed if the exam is arbitrary enough. 

It's harder to dramatize the injustice of exams which eliminate some people and not others, but the injustice is just as real and destructive. 

How many people have been thwarted by the American system of eliminating applicants by means of arbitrary "tests" by insisting we have a "meritocracy" when in fact, what we have is an aristocracy of wealth?  The rich typically can afford the tutoring which stacks the deck in their favor.

Those people who were told they could not be electricians or vets or doctors, people smoldering with resentment,  now hear the call from someone who says, "Yes, you were cheated, and I'm going to stick a finger in the eye of those elitists who did this to you."
He feels Their Pain

I have no polls, no data, only anecdotes, only the experience of sitting in a room with a man who has failed his electrician licensing exams because he could not work irrelevant math problems and he now faces, after years of apprenticeship, the prospect of never being able to be licensed as an electrician, of having to remain an indentured servant to a man who did pass those tests.  This makes the wannabe electrician burn with shame, but he also burns with resentment because he has seen for years the work actually required of an electrician and he knows he can do that work and never need any math at all.  So he thinks the game is rigged. And he is correct.

Things may be coming home to roost here in America, for a lot of reasons. But if Mr. Trump is swept into office, we can add this to the list.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mr. Trump and the Underclass

The Donald appealed to people who thought themselves losers until he told them they were winners; there will be so much winning; but they've been stabbed in the back by the winners, who won by cheating them out of what was rightfully theirs.

When I listen to people who intend to vote for Mr. Trump, I despair, listening to those voices come across the radio.  Then I decide the best therapy is shock therapy; really dive deep into the river of despair and when you know you've got as low as you can go, you bounce up to the surface.

This post will reveal how deeply poisoned I have become by class in America. My grandfather, who believed the people and the workers were noble and their capitalist masters evil, would turn in his grave.

But then I remember what my father said:  "I'm all for the workers. But these people are not workers."

So where is the river of despair?  It's a website called, "Shoppers of Walmart."  

I see these folks crossing in front of my car down at Hampton Beach. Sometimes they come into my office. 

They do not care about well formed thoughts, evidence, questioning; they look at me with defeated, defiant eyes and they try to play me.

I do not ask them which New Yorker article from the current issue they enjoyed.  I do not try to discuss the most recent Gail Collins article with them.  Sometimes I tell them about what Rachel Madow said last night, but they stare back with uncomprehending eyes.  She said--what?

 But they love the Donald, who tells them they are winners. When he is President, there will be so much winning, people will get bored with winning. And they will share in all that winning. 

 And they don't care if they are being conned, because they think they are suckers and if it's not the Donald, it will be Hillary or anyone else.

In Deo Speramus. 
E Pluribus Unum. 
Illigetimi non carbarendum.

How The System Gets Rigged

NPR did a wonderful piece on the way the Michigan legislature dealt with a federal welfare program  designed to encourage states to deal with teen age out of wedlock pregnancies.  The MIchigan legislators reasoned keeping girls in college would reduce unwanted pregnancy rates, since, apparently, coeds get pregnant less often than girls who do not go to college, as if it was being in college that convinced girls to engage in contraception while those girls who went to work or just sat home, got pregnant a lot. 

A very odd interpretation of cause and effect, in Michigan.

So NPR interviews a family which has sent both its kids to private colleges using this loophole, and they interviewed the dean of the college which got the money and they interviewed the legislator who got it into law.

When the father was confronted with the reality that the grant he got from Michigan for his kid's tuition was a welfare program, he said, well, this college education will mean my kids earn more money, eventually and will pay higher taxes, which will benefit the poor, eventually. 

When told she was sending her kids to college using welfare, the mother said, well, it's really hard on a family to have two kids in college at the same time, and they are really pressed, financially. Of course, their joint income is $225,000 and they live in a 3,800 square foot house with an in ground swimming pool, but she said it was really hard keeping things going on that income with two kids in college. What about sending the kids to a less expensive state school? Well, but then they wouldn't be as happy there. 

The daughter said she was sympathetic to people on welfare, who needed welfare to buy a winter coat, but then when she was a college graduate she'd pay more taxes to buy more coats for more welfare kids.  When asked whether she thought the money had served its purpose, to prevent her from getting pregnant before she was 20, before she was married and economically secure, she laughed.  "Does going to college keep me from getting pregnant? Well, I think maybe the birth control pills have something to do with that."

The son said, "Hey, if they want to give me money, I'll take it."

I liked his answer best. 

As the NPR reporter said, "There you have it in Michigan: Trickle down from the welfare program."

The college dean said his college was highly ranked and deserved money from the government, which he needed.

The legislator said, hey, if the federal government approved using welfare funds for college expenses, it was legal.
Sadly, nobody asked the legislator how he had voted about funding Planned Parenthood.

All this reminds me of that study in which students were given Monopoly games to play, but some of  the students were given twice as much money and lots of hotels at the start and when the students were questioned after the game, the advantaged students said they had won the game because they were smarter, took more risks and were more worthy.  

The capacity to rationalize injustice is wondrous to behold. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

That Certifiable Forty Per Cent

Walking my dog on the beach this morning,  I ran into Bernadette, who walks her dog at low tide along with about a dozen other regulars who know each other by their dogs.  I know all the dogs' names but Bernadette is one of the few owners whose name I know.  Bernadette is French, and she has a little black dog which is one of those little dogs who doesn't know she is a little dog and she gives no ground to bigger dogs, much like her owner.

I asked Bernadette if she had any relatives in Nice, and she said no. Her family is from the West Coast of France.  But, it turned out Bernadette grew up in Morocco and read the Koran in school.  She said France has tried the "tough" approach to Islam, declaring that France is a secular country, which officially embraces no religion and as part of that forbids expressions of religious belief in public places--so no ha-bib or veils or head scarves in public schools paid for by public funds or in other places of public business.  But that has not worked very well, in terms of forcing a more civil society, as the attacks in Paris and now Nice reveal.

In fact, there are "ghettos" which encircle Paris, populated by French Muslims of North African descent, often places of poverty, resentment, ferment.  Some might say, this is the price of colonialism, just as American inner cities were once the legacy of slavery. 

What has astonished Bernadette is the appeal of Donald Trump, who is the alienate-or in chief with respect to Muslims. Why would you want to institute an approach which has failed so miserably in France?  As if by marginalizing, scapegoating people you can make them behave better?

For Bernadette all religions are pernicious--people do things to be good Muslims or good Christians they would be horrified by outside the context of religious action: A man can shoot children, blow them up with a bomb because God demands it. 

It's the old story of Abraham and Isaac.  God told me to kill this child and you never stop to ask: Wait, would God really demand such a thing? Could I be mistaken about having heard the voice of God on this one?

I pointed out something I heard David Brooks say:  Trump has been polling at 40% from the very beginning. His numbers never vary. Which goes back to that infamous Mitt Romney statement about the 47%.  But in Trump's case, that seems to apply. Forty percent of the citizens of the United States are certifiably insane, and it's simply up to the other 60% to actually go to the polls. 

Bernie Sanders got that right.

The wonder is about portions of that 60%.  I hear people say they could never vote for Hillary.  As if not voting for Hillary is not voting for Donald Trump. 

What are they thinking?

It should not be forgot Adolph Hitler won his 1933 election with 33% of the vote. 

Paul Ryan was pressed yesterday on whether he thinks Donald Trump would make a good President. And he insisted that is not the question. "The question is whether Donald Trump would make a better President than Hillary Clinton."

The same question has got to be asked by the Democrats: "Do you think Hillary Clinton would be a better President than Donald Trump?"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ginsberg wimps out

Ruth Bader Ginsberg says Mr. Trump is unfit to be President and then considers this is a violation of decorum and apologizes.

She is being politically incorrect and then becomes politically correct.

The right thing to do is to say, "Hey, Mr. Trump is all about being politically incorrect. Now I'm doing that. How's that work for you, Mr. Trump?"

The problem with liberals is we are wimps.  Was Justice Ginsberg inappropriate? In one sense, of course. But why apologize?  Let that shot across the bow sail by.  Congress is misbehaving toward he Court.  Trump misbehaves toward everyone. Why should you just sit there and take it?  This guy is behaving way beyond acceptable norms, and sometimes you have to say, look the system works if we all cleave to some rules of behavior, when you stop doing that, we adjust.

Of course, the problem is, nobody in a position of power is going to convince any of Trump's supporters or those who claim to be wavering. There can be nobody on the fence here.  Sure, Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler built the Audubon and the Volkswagen and got the farmers in better financial shape, but you ought not have accorded him the same deference you would afford a normal political opponent, after reading "Mein Kampf"or listening to him at a Nuremberg rally.

That is the rule every progressive/liberal should use in relation to Mr. Trump.  What would have been appropriate if you were around in 1934 and faced Hitler? Would you have spoken as if he were some normal opponent or would you have said, "This is really different and has got to be stopped?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?

Mr. Welch
My father believed the turning point in the demagogue, Senator Joseph McCarthy's career came at the televised hearing when the Senator was confronted by a decent man, a lawyer named Welch, who famously said, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Sleaze bags, McCarthy and Cohn

I've watched this exchange on TV and never been as impressed, never could see why it seemed like such a cataclysmic event for McCarthy, but googling it, it seems to have been.

Oh, how we need Herblock now

But now, driving along Rte. 27 from Exeter, on my way back to Hampton, I've seen two lawn signs with the simple question: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" and there can be no mistaking the message. The most effective lawn signs I've ever seen in any campaign. 

I wanted our local Democrats to print up stickers with the word "Chump" so I could paste them on any Trump lawn sign I saw, but faint hearted as they are, the Hampton Democrats refused, saying this was defacing an opponents signs, and if not illegal, at least dirty pool. 

At least one Dem suggested to me I might be shot by the owner of the sign who might feel he had to exercise his Second Amendment right in my direction. 

Rep. Jordan, House Oversight Committee

I will attempt to capture a photo of these lawn signs soon, but until then, I'll content myself with pictures of Mr. Welch and pictures of current day Republicans who are vying for the McCarthy combustible award of pseuo dramatic political personage. 

Pin head simian Gowdy

I do want that lawn sign. In fact, if we could get enough of these signs, we could start a movement, and people who never heard of Joseph McCarthy might start asking why all these signs are sprouting up all around Hampton, New Hampshire. It would be, as they say, a teachable moment.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Does she really frighten these robocops that much? 

Police, it must be admitted, have a tough job.  

I've known plenty of cops over the years, from New York City cops who were cops because their fathers and uncles and brothers were cops, to suburban cops, to undercover cops, to FBI agents, to small town cops. Women cops, men cops. Old cops, young cops. There are lots of different types of cops, but most of them shared a pretty jaded point of view of humanity. They saw the raw side of life and had to deal with some pretty insane people and some pretty stupid people and some violent nasty people and some who were all three.

The "Police Log" which runs in a the Portsmouth Herald, unadulterated, gives some insight into what cops have to deal with. My favorite posting was: "Called to see woman who claimed her neighbor called her 'obese.'"

We also know cops from "The Wire," which is the best portrait I've ever seen of cops, and matched what I saw completely, and this is no surprise since the show was created by and written by a police reporter (David Simon) and a cop (Ed Burns.)

But one thing which typifies American cops is they are different from English cops, and different from the cop on the beat so many of us knew in our youth.

Now they are the heavily armed cops who look like they are in the employ of the Empire, those robo cops with the body armor.
His father murdered by police

For some time, I've thought, "We'd be better off without any of these guys around. Keep them in the station house. Call them in when things really get hot."

Of course, the other problem is the station house, where cops can strip down your daughter if they drag her in for rolling through a stop sign.

When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he listed the affronts to dignity and human rights perpetrated by the King, but he did not list strip searching. That omission was addressed in the Bill of Rights, with the fourth amendment which prohibited unreasonable search and seizure, but in the 18th century they were not talking about the virtual rape of women in jails; they were talking about soldiers ransacking your house--a violation to be sure, but nothing compared to what goes on daily in our local jails across the country.

And now we have murderers with badges stopping cars for broken tail lights or for no good reason at all, the real threat to life and limb today.
Bad cops: Nothing really all that new

We really ought to think again about how we arm our police and about what their job and their personality should be.  
Unthreatening: The Very Image of a Good Cop

If Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton could return today, how appalled would they be by what we allow our police to do in what they conceived as a "free" country.

Maybe, what we ought to do is to disarm our policemen, or allow only a Taser and a club.  If we are really worried about their safety, keep one cop with the gun back in the car and let the less threatening, unarmed cop walk up and get the driver's license.  For cops walking the beat, let them walk in pairs. 

If we were really worried about their safety, rather than their egos, we'd disarm our police.