Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Aug
31

          There’s no single reason certain folk won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. Some will never vote for a Democrat, no how, no way. Some get their info from supermarket tabloids—meaning they deserve to be lied to. Others, deep-minded as they are, don’t like her hair, her choice of clothes, or the way she holds her mouth. Some think only Democrats run up the national budget and increase the size of government, forgetting that both grew exponentially under Reagan.

          But do not even begin to think that, for no few, it’s not because she’s a woman. Don’t even go there. My advice is to stop watching Fox News and read a damn book once in a while—like history, for starters.

          Given this is the 96th anniversary of women’s suffrage—you know, their right to vote—it was among my stack of must-reads for the summer. Good books, as only those who read them know, are refreshing. They rescue us from hearsay and anecdotal information, include all factors and afford a big picture of events and outcomes.

          Long ago in a galaxy far away, amid my theological education, research on various subjects and biblical texts brought me to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was not formally a theologian, which ordinarily would disqualify her as a credible source. She was an early feminist given first and foremost to bringing suffrage to her gender—but she was up on, and incredibly conversant with, what was called Higher Criticism as it emerged from Europe and primarily Germany.

          But she dared where others would not go: she identified religion all over the world as the most pernicious factor in the subjugation of women and their imprisonment as secondary citizens—or as less than that.

          But America’s religion was not just any, especially in her day, but the good ol’ Judeo-Christian one that we’ve come to know, love and, in the case of women, has bound their gender hand and foot.

          At this point I may have lost not only most men but no few women, which was precisely Stanton’s point, and her fate, back in the last half of the 19th century. Other great suffragists, including those who mentally admitted to same, feared her evidential truth would harm the movement to claim the vote.

          But there were all too many other women, not given to that struggle, who defaulted to men’s assessment of their social role and worth—precisely because men had always told them it was God’s will. Stanton’s provocative book, “The Woman’s Bible,” published twice in 1895 and 1898, was wildly popular, meaning it was read, but not always for the right reasons. The clergy and their religious institutions, not to mention the press, went after her chapter and verse, hammer and tong.

          For one thing, they feared her effectiveness as a writer. She told the pointed truth but not in an angry way, and was not given to ad hominem attacks—which infuriated men even more, and daunted the women who were under their thumbs. Clearly, for the latter to take up that cudgel would divide homes and institutions, regardless that Stanton’s thesis was well taken.

          My point here is that the reaction to her, and society’s threat to any and all women, save for the most intelligent and steel-willed of them, has to be re-read to be believed for its vitriol which, it is safe to say, was unabated through the century following Stanton—witness the inflamed name-calling and belittlement of women of the First and Second Waves of feminism since the past mid-century.

          The battle between the sexes is no laughing matter, and never was, but guys have always had the edge. Stanton showed how the book of Genesis has been misinterpreted through the ages yet she never advocated its relegation to the trash-heap of history, but that its male-infused slant influenced the biblical books that followed—and became grist for women’s subjugation to this day.

          Sadly, that has been of little consolation. Stanton’s fate was to speak her truth at the worst possible time—when getting the vote was paramount and took decades to accomplish. Behold what happened to minting of the U.S. silver dollar with its image of Susan B. Anthony, or the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) when the old male canards reared again their ugly heads.

          Then think of Hillary Clinton. No, she shouldn’t be elected just for being a woman. But she shouldn’t be denied for that reason, either. Ironically, the danger is not that Hillary will be voted for being a woman, but that she will be voted against for that reason. .

          For all interested women, I recommend Stanton’s remarkable book cited above. And while you’re at it, try on Gaylor’s “Women Without Superstition,” for a treasure trove of the other women of Stanton’s generation, of whom humanity can be most proud.

          Read. Be inspired. And vote.

 

           

Aug
31

  [This was a column published in the Daily News just before Trump’s downfall in the polls]

          Political liberals are the worst of nervous nellies, ever fretting lest their world come to an end. This time they fret that Donald Trump will be elected in November.

          Not to say it can’t happen. Anything is possible in life, but many also improbable, and highly so, and this is one of them. Were the Democrats in the disarray that is today’s GOP, one can only imagine what would be said of them. But Republicans are adept at illogic. Add to that Fox’s Roger Ailes and his penchant for beauty queens as serious “journalists” or Sarah Palin-sorts that he deems “hotties” and keeps on TV as sexy allures. As we all know, but not from watching Fox News, this has caught up with him in the worst way.

          As for this election season, the real predictors, once we get beyond poll-panic and Carrot-Top’s hot-air, are the following:

          THE GROUND GAME. Nervous liberals were out in force in ’08 and in ’12, ready to leave our shores for Canada or Scandinavia should McCain to victory with Palin in tow, or Romney bring the Robber Barons to GOP glory. Aside from polls, Team Obama’s strategy was more than sufficient to win, and Hillary’s current battle-state tactic will produce the same result.

          POLLS ARE UNRELIABLE indicators of outcomes. Dukakis was way ahead before his electoral collapse, Reagan was behind Carter till waning days of that campaign, and Truman’s upset of Dewey is the stuff of legend. Aside from each party’s “base,” the flaky “Middle” is what causes roller-coaster polls but tends to come to its senses by November.

          PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. Electoral cycles always feature new faces, in this case, Kayleigh McEnany and Katrina Pierson, young, fresh spin-doctors, wisely drawn into CNN’s orbit of analysis where they are surrounded by wiser heads who actually know a thing or two. Were they on Fox, and uncontested, the mindless Republican cohort would think they were doing the Lord’s work and speaking His truth, and Ailes dearly wishes they were on his show.

          McEnany’s disconnect is that she weaves her web of lies with a deer-in-headlights facial expression, as if God might strike her dead any moment for her defense of Donald’s worst-and-latest gaffes—whether the “Mexican” judge or any number of others. She and Pierson are straight out of the ancient sophist tradition: to be on anybody’s payroll if willing to make a seemingly convincing case—but truth be damned.

          THE CON MAN. Donald’s unwitting role is to expose what we thought was an America emerging from adolescence and toward cultural and political adulthood. Dream on. An inordinate chunk of our populace has learned nothing, regardless of public and private educations, and the examples of older civilizations.

          The “con” in Con Man refers to the word “confidence,” a more obvious way of stealing. Pickpockets relieve you of your money by stealth; others by mis-information—best known as “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” A confidence man looks you in the eye and asks you to trust him, ill you willingly give him what he wants. Donald routinely says, “Believe me…you can believe it…This is what I’m going to do…Make no mistake…You can count on that…” and a host of other baseless synonyms.

          TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT. The GOP has known since day one that Hillary will beat them in 2016; all they could do was attempt to criminalize her. Hence the kerfuffle the notorious emails and “servers”—of which the average American knows not a fig and would think nothing, had not Fox and the GOP said it was something. Now that Hillary is fully absolved of a felony, they will act right up to November as if she were guilty. It was their last, best chance and now they face a Convention that is smoldering ahead of time, and will burst into flame at the opening bell.

          America will give anyone a hearing, however extreme, but tends at last toward moderation. That’s why our long electoral process is wise, regardless that it gets on our nerves.

          This is not to say that results are always clear-cut. Even in America, a presidential campaign between God and the Devil would be closer than you think. After all, we’re only human. And not a little stupid. But for now, just calm down already.

          (John Burciaga of Newburyport writes on politics and social issues. His blog is www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com or email at ichabod142@gmail.com)

 

 

Mar
22

 

          Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.

          I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.

          A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.

          My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.

          I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.

          My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.

          Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.

          Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.

          I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.

          The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.

          Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.

          I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.

          For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.

          (John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )      

As I See It

 

                                  TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

 

          Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.

          I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.

          A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.

          My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.

          I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.

          My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.

          Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.

          Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.

          I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.

          The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.

          Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.

          I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.

          For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.

          (John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )      

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

As I See It

TRUMP’S THIRD PARTY

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

 

Ye who suffer the anguish of this presidential campaign: I feel not your pain.
I’ve loved every moment of it—hoping Donald would sweep the GOP board and spout nonsense till his head blows up, which it will.
A reminder: I never judge by poll results. You too can delve into websites and links and therein be oft mistaken for fellow travelers of political notions you wouldn’t hold in a million years. Those encountered in the bowels of enemy archives are only too glad to tell all they know and share what should by all rights be classified.
My conclusions about the 2016 race were first shared months ago in various venues and other media. I have no respect for those who, e.g., declare Obama the worst prez, ever, but can’t say why—yet are loathe to reveal their own choice lest they be laughed at by their friends.
I’ve long held that Hillary will be our next chief exec, Dems will retake the Senate, and the House reduced to a toothless majority. If proved wrong, may I be laughed to scorn—but not before I admit to my errant claims. You’ll not see many others who will do the same.
My sources are shakers and movers of both parties and this I know: since day one the GOP has assumed the selfsame conclusions, but with different reactions—they are terrified of Hillary because, unlike many of my nervous-nelly liberal friends, they know she can beat anybody in their rat pack. They too fear loss of the Senate.
Trump may hold most Republican voters in his pocket but that’s no national majority: it’s not enough to win, let alone to ride into the White House on a prancing steed. And once subject to the painful vetting that comes with being a nominee, and when the protesters are done with him, the sequel to his vaunted best-seller will be “The Art of the Squeal.” Those who feared he would start a Third Party: take note that he already has—and it’s one in GOP clothing.
Rubio, though a deft debate counter-puncher, is still a lightweight and this is heavyweight time. None of his Senate colleagues likes Cruz—(or wanted to sit next to him at Scalia’s funeral), so he won’t do either, and not just because he calls to mind Grandpa Munster. It was odd to see Christie reduced suddenly to a Trump sycophant, standing behind Donald looking like a penguin and clapping like a seal. Carly Fiorina was merely a campaign scold, the GOP’s answer to the Church Lady. And I feared that Mr. Mumbles, Ben Carson, would doze off during debate, then realized he was actually talking in his sleep. His sucking up to Donald of late simply means he wants to be Surgeon General or, in Trump’s muddled thinking, Education czar.
I’m in good company to think Trump wouldn’t make it this far—nor did David Gergen or anyone else—and if the nominee he will be the ruination of the GOP. Which would be a good thing–the fix they’re in is of their own making: the public anger they manipulated and directed toward Obama and Democrats has come back to bite them on the butt. In a Trump world they will have to reload, reorganize, come into the 21st century—and be the party of Lincoln again—though mayhap in an alternate universe.
The angriest of the GOP cohort was not miffed at “government” in general, but at their own party’s conservative leaders who couldn’t do what they promised—go to Washington, embarrass Obama and politically lynch him. Instead, he’s beaten them at every turn, and history will show his term was one of its noblest chapters.
Bernie’s just ahead of his time. Since the Cold War, fear-mongering has blinded Americans to differences in the various forms both of socialism and capitalism. His Democratic Socialism has helped to soften those misapprehensions, largely via his own personality and message. Few people anywhere dislike him, and he has run a clean campaign with no intent to divide the Democratic Party, as is the case with Republicans. He’s a prince of a fellow and good for Hillary, the Dems, and for our country–a prophetic voice with constant attention to what average Americans close their eyes—namely the gross inequalities that are inimical to our sense of decency and our religious heritage.
I love the meme that has graced the internet and social media for some time now: that Bernie should neither worry nor scare us; we celebrate a Jewish socialist every Christmas.
For now, there is a Third Party candidate. And he’s the problem, and you know his name.
(John Burciaga of Newburyport blogs at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com and reached directly at ichabod142@gmail.com )

Nov
02

          Around coastal Georgia are what are known as frizzle-chickens, scruffy and battered-looking, ends of feathers twisted forward, and known for continuously scratching in the dirt. Earlier poor settlers, refugees from slavery, deemed the toil of such fowl as attempts to uncover evil spirits and expose them to sunlight, thereby killing them.

          After too many years of a Tea Party-driven GOP, other chickens have come home to roost, similarly battered from the wickedness of their assault on our body politic. Their scratching exposed their own evils as from a Pandora’s box that, in this case, turned on the miscreants themselves.

          Early on, even critics of the Tea Party began to wonder if some odd little truth were on their side; that they were doing the Lord’s work instead of endangering the Republic via government shutdowns and other mischief. But falls from grace generally occur near the tip of the arc and such has been the case here, and the Partyers are rapidly losing altitude. Ironically, they have done it to themselves.

          It is not that a slice of the citizenry is mad at all government, albeit innately miffed at liberals and the Democratic party. The real anger is at their own conservative legislators who arrived in Washington to lynch the president, only to have him out-maneuver them on every issue.

          Being black, Obama shrewdly ascertained it were not wise to appear either angry or belligerent, given that his critics are predominantly white; and like a master of martial arts, he has used the weight and aggression of his opponents to “throw” them at every turn. Stupidly, they persist in mistaking his tactic as a sign of weakness, leading to disaster for the Grand Old Party. Hence the rise of Donald and Ben the Outsiders, fueled by the wrath of right-wingers.

          This has led as well to a righteous venting of spleen on the part of establishment GOP leaders, all of whom are furious with Mr. Trump: Scott Walker knows that Donald ruined his candidacy and damaged his political career. Others are also at the tipping point of their runs for the White House—Mr. Oops, Rick Perry, was the first to leave in a huff and the rest will do well to follow. Why Fiorina hangs around is curious: she thinks that heading a corporation entitles her to political leadership: I was once a car-hop at a drive-in—can I be president?

          Others say: well, but Trump too is a businessman. Yes, look at him, and know this–he won’t be prez either, so he’s no better than I am. But Trump’s riches are a warning in this regard—by late spring Bush could well be ahead because money makes the conservative world go ‘round, and Jeb & Co. have their own stash of it. Regardless of the “life support” label on Bush right now, things can change dramatically as the disenchanted among the GOP tire of Don and Ben, as they did Herman Cain, and the reshuffle begins.

          Hence, not to get too excited about Ben Carson, or shall we say, Mr. Sleepy. I fully expect him to nod off during a future debate and fall face first into the treacle, as did the Dormouse of Alice in Wonderland. He is Exhibit A of the pitiable current crop of presidential wannabes: how could their Clown Car of candidates come to such a sorry pass had not Republicans fallen so far?

          And please do not confuse entertainment with substance: there are those who say the GOP debates are more “exciting,” as if that means something. So are tent revivalists and snake oil salesmen—and how many have been president? Were that a litmus test for leadership, Houdini would have been elected to wriggle out of the national and world problems of his day: after all, the White House, regardless of its occupant, is the Home of Bad Luck, the nerve center of all that’s wrong with the earth and its inhabitants. Burundi sneezes and we catch cold.

        The real problem with this nutty little political season is that certain Americans, primarily on the right, have attention spans of 2-3 seconds at a whack and easily mistake insanity for intelligence. One need only recall how conservatives fell all over Cain, the pizza king, and his “9-9-9” plan for national renewal and his “Uz-beki-beki-stan-stan” approach to foreign policy.

          As a political analyst, I’ve never relied on polls. I dig deeply into search engines and rub shoulders with operatives, which reveal the “ground games” of each party and campaign. And this is totally feasible in 2016: Hillary as Bride, Jeb as bridesmaid, Dems re-taking the Senate, and the GOP House majority greatly diminished. Plausible result: under the new regime, Republicans get dope-slapped back into political coherence.

          And all because the Clown Car has clearly de-railed, Paul Ryan inherits a hell of a mess as new Speaker of the House, and frizzle-chickens have come home to roost.

   (An edited version appeared earlier in the Daily News in eastern Massachusetts)

Jun
19

          I’m a long way and many years from an incident in that fair city, if so it may be called.

          In the 1960s, I had declined nomination as president of a Pennsylvania branch of the NAACP because I felt African Americans should hold its top post. While a person of “color,” I was keenly aware of the historic origins of the NAACP.

          Apparently, Rachel Dolezal, recently-resigned from the Spokane, WA branch, fancies herself black, “trans-racial” or whatever depending on the day and the opportunities at hand. My experience had its own unintended consequences and on occasion I was accosted, with curiosity but never in a threatening way, by black members who honestly wanted to know whether I were black or white. My answer: not black—Mexican father, and Caucasian mother of the fairest skin.

In those days, typical official forms had no room for nuance; you were white or black or Other. As they used to say in my native South, “one drop” of black blood made you, well, black, regardless of appearance. There was no “Mexican-American” box to check, and at best one might squeeze those words into the small remaining space.

          This was of no matter to my black colleagues. NAACP policy is that anyone can be a member and a leader, as we all know now by recent news reports. I did accept the role of vice-prez and Housing chair and successfully stopped summary evictions of blacks and Hispanics from public housing, often enforced just before Christmas.

          I doubt that Dolezal fooled anyone except maybe white folks—although no few black analysts and celebs have piled on since her out-ing in the press, due to her appropriation of a race that was not hers. All agree that she was an effective leader, which would have been enough; that and a timely admission-plus-apology would have shortened the news story considerably.

          In the NAACP, it’s what you do. The evictions mentioned were curtailed after my highly-publicized Report to the local Human Relations Commission that opened the eyes of the city, regardless of my “race.” I could have been tangerine or polka-dot.

          Then there was Baltimore: after King, Jr.’s assassination, and cities nationwide in turmoil and riots, four of us, three young black men and I, late at night and in my car, headed for Atlanta to represent our branch at the funeral. Another drove while I cat-napped till a wrong turn took us off the interstate and right into Baltimore, which was under curfew. I re-took the wheel but all up-ramps were blocked, and the broad avenues seemed to be one-way, leading us everywhere but back to the highway.

          Soon we were surrounded by the city’s Finest and I was hauled from the car and slammed into it face forward while ordered to repeat endlessly who we were and what we were up to.

          I spoke softly and respectfully as license and registration were checked. Not a word was said to my black colleagues, who were left in the car throughout. Clearly, the cops didn’t know what to make of my name or race, and I decided to leave that confusion to them. When police radio indicated potential threat elsewhere, I was pushed back behind the wheel while directions too rapid and muddled to understand were barked at me, with proviso that if caught again, things would be worse.

          We continued hopelessly lost, knowing that, having provided no excuse to deal harshly with us the first time, a future lack of excuse was in place by not being given escort out of the city.

          We aped past foot-police but armed and accompanied by dogs at every corner, till the interstate appeared but, again, the up-ramp was blocked. We held our seats and raced wrong-way up the ramp—only to be met by a National Guard convoy coming right at us. I had to move over to avoid collision, right-side tires biting into dirt and gravel, and past sleepy-faced Guardsmen deployed in mid of night—seemingly all in an instant.

          Back on the highway, but going south on north-bound lanes and fearful of encountering state troopers, we bounced and flew over a shallower section of median and into the southbound lanes. After long silence, my comrades asked where I learned how to “speak soft” to the fuzz, followed by their howling laughter.

          That was not the only close-call of our trip, but not till recent years have I reflected on what happened. Though not African American, as a southerner I knew well that regarding race relations in that day and time, “it was what it was,” and we were glad just to be safe and alive.

          Though to my colleagues I was thereafter “soul-brother,” I thought nothing of it, never used it in regard to myself, and soon all of us were back to serving “the cause.” Ms. Dolezal felt there was need for pretense. But just to do the right thing is enough.


Jun
19

            I was once part of a populist movement to change the national anthem to America the Beautiful.  

          The Star Spangled Banner is eminently unsing-able, and is even trumped on July 4 when we set off fireworks to strains of the 1812 Overture— composed by a Russian and nothing to do with us. It celebrated an anniversary of Russia’s defeat of Napoleon, and Tchaikovsky himself cared not a fig for the piece, calling it “loud and noisy.”

          But in 1974, Arthur Fiedler and a Boston businessman needed something to bring crowds back to the Pops concerts and chose the 1812 Overture. With booming cannon, church bells ringing, fireworks and a sing-a-long, it was its first performance for our 4th of July celebrations, but is now an annual event all over the country.

          Another song has also taken on new life: God Bless America, by Irving Berlin, who put it aside for 20 years before it became Kate Smith’s “signature song” beginning with Armistice Day 1938 (as war clouds gathered once more). We hugged it again with a vengeance after 9/11, especially at athletic events, while launchimg “pre-emptive strikes” and wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

          It’s actually a form of prayer, though Berlin feared that his phrase, “…to the right…” might be confused with the political right, and changed the words to “through the night.”

          Our real national anthem is a war song of sorts, and I’m hardly alone in a wish to change it: more than a quarter of Americans want Bruce Springsteen to write a new one–while others prefer Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder, or rapper Jay Z to do so.

          America the Beautiful is a kinder and gentler— and more sing-able—hymn. It’s also more realistic, calling us not only to pride in nation but to self-responsibility:

                                                 America, America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,

                                                            confirm thy soul in self-control,

                                                                      thy liberty in law.

          And there’s a patriotism I can live with. “Mend (our) every flaw,” before telling everyone else on the planet how to live, amid excessive claims to so-called American “exceptionalism.”

          Patriotism is love of one’s country and typically a nod to each nation’s natural beauty. But along came “nationalism” and its head-butt with the simple love of country that is patriotism.

          Extremes of nationalism are not “patriotism,” but distortions of it that flatter themselves with words like “super-patriotism.” Think British and French colonialism, which looked on Asia and Africa as inferior peoples; think European dictatorships that led to World War II; and use of Loyalty Oaths in America that led to new words, like chauvinism and jingoism.

          Our so-called “pre-emptive” strike on Iraq in the Bush era was clearly flawed, for which we should dearly seek its mend. I say so because I believe sincere dissent is the true patriotism; the real American Way.

          An increasing number of American states and cities simply don’t work anymore. My first good glimpse of Boston made me wonder how the middle class lives here. What this will mean to our society, not only in terms of money, is that we’ll always need scapegoats. And who are they and who will they be? Well, we can always count on the usual ones being prime targets.

          The renewal and transformation of white hate bodes ill for African Americans, and is now a more forceful war where much police culture is no friend to black lives.

          “God mend thine every flaw…”? It’s a worthwhile prayer.

          And if we will have preemptive strikes, let’s make some for equality and morality. After the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks endured Jim Crow and share- cropping, and another 100 years for Voting Rights. And still the racism is entrenched, even among the young: a fairly recent Globe article out-ed the fact that our night clubs remain de facto segregated, except in Cambridge, of course.

          But there are more flaws that that: anti-Semitism, homophobia and gay-bashing, pedophilia by religious leaders amid their hypocritical disgust for gay lifestyles, domestic violence towards women and children, and hatred for immigrants, are current and recurrent as deep sicknesses of the human soul. The latter should prompt us to ship the Statue of Liberty back to France till we earn its permanent ownership.

          God mend thine every flaw! Or, we could do it ourselves, if we wanted to. But there is nothing wrong with being humble about our love and pride for country—and mending where mending is due.

         

Jun
19

          Given all recent attention to the end of the American Civil War and the death of Lincoln, be it known that there is among you a Southern transplant to New England, but one lacking the revisionist views of those for whom that conflict will never be over.

          My Yankee acquaintances however doubt that my grandfather could have fought in that war, and indeed the proof is unusual: he was born in 1841 and my grandmother was his second wife but not till many years later—she was born in 1883 and bore him three girl-children, including my mother. A Rebel, he was wounded at Shiloh, ending his military service. He died 20 years before my birth but the bullet that struck his upper leg remained there the rest of his life: had it entered a little higher, I wouldn’t be here, and lucky he was that removal of said leg was unnecessary. John Wesley Stone was in the Kentucky Seventh Infantry and, like Gen. Robert E. Lee, “rejoiced” that slaves were freed by the outcome.

          Thus is one myth shattered, that all Southerners believed in slavery or even deemed it the cause of the war—just as many Americans today see our modern conflicts as patriotic while Halliburton and Dick Cheney view them much differently.

          My maternal grandmother, born years after that War’s end, was never heard to speak with other than total respect of all Civil War leaders: it was “Mr.” Lincoln, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Sherman, just as it was Mr. Lee and Confederate president, Mr. Davis—though it was the habit of southern women of her generation to refer even to their husbands, living or dead, as Mr. Stone or other appropriate surname.

          That is not to say that all southerners are over that bloody war and don’t still blame Yankees and their devil of a president. They called it the “War of Northern Aggression,” forgetting that their 3000 cannon balls that stripped Fort Sumter was a hell of a calling card.

          That my Missouri home is typically labelled a Slave state then, was trumped by being more a “Border” state, and as much at war with itself as with anyone else, and pro- and anti-Slavery support varied county by county. State history classes in school and college were steeped in stories of young men off to fight Yank or Rebel and on return home were shot by families whose allegiance had changed in their absence. We were also told that “Gone With the Wind” was a bunch of crap because slave owners were typically abusive-to-murderous and no slave women like “Mammy” ran such households.

          Still, there are pesky clots of southerners who remain charmed by the notion that the Rebel legacy is totally misunderstood, and they are out to redeem it–formal and informal orgs comprising a “Modern Confederacy” that is a well-funded, active political movement with a lucrative memorabilia industry. Sure, a few have interest in ancestry and history but others are given to a new narrative of the old days that is simply anti-government sentiment in sheep’s clothing, and that the Old Confederacy merely wished to preserve what the Founding Fathers had envisioned.

          Indeed, they attempt to expose “falsehoods” in a U.S. history written by “East coast elites” and “liberal academics” whom they feel have been unduly influenced by “minorities,” with much wailing over people who speak Spanish and the presence of blacks in high government posts. At last, they grouse about folks like themselves whom they feel work hard and get nowhere–a sense of victimization plus a loss of “righteousness,” whatever the hell that is.

          It should not surprise that the largest contingent are white, male, Republican Mississippians, but overall almost a third of whom would support another “Confederacy” in a modern civil war (half would stay loyal to the U.S., and the remaining fifth are undecided). They insist that the majority of them deny that slavery was the main reason for the Civil War, but a Penn Research Center poll found only 38% willing to agree.

          They also claim 30K active followers and over twice that many fellow travelers. Their current objective is to put the Confederate flag on Texas license plates–for which they went to the Supreme Court the past March.

          It is all worth keeping an eye on, not because a New Confederacy will get anywhere, but that underneath there is a political agenda that will fit snugly into many right-wing narratives today.

         

Sep
24

         All good things end. A certain rental car service has been one of my faves—good experience and ease of everything, from soup to nuts. No more, not in my case, anyway. For two years running, it has played the old bait-and-switch game and the time came for me to make inquiries.

          It may be that the new way of doing things has not metastasized throughout the company, but at the Phoenix, AZ airport they appear to be on a mission to defraud.

          Long flights are bummers especially for early-hour departures and what can easily turn into, in our experiences, 22-hour days—viz., getting from here to Logan airport with the proverbial hour-and-a-half ahead of flight; five hours in the air with crabby cabin crews; catching a shuttle to the all-in-one rental terminal—and dealing with the charmers at the rental counter who are ready to pounce on your car reservation.

          This does not include getting the car, which is a bit of a hike, laden with baggage and, at last, driving to your destination, checking in and settling in. But by the time we were at rental counter, and knowing the hours still ahead, we were drained and just wanting to get our car and go.

          Our area travel agent, as the year before, made the reservation, using said rental company as the agency’s preferred rental reference. As said, prior to this year and last, all went swimmingly. So what’s happened?

          Okay, so you’re tired. Yours has been a long day and will be longer. This may be what certain reservations agents count on. Now they’re the hunter and you’re the hunted. You lay out your reservation letter and their questions begin: Would you like such and such a car? Sounds good; I have one like that (it would turn out theirs was older and much higher mileage), so okay.

          Then: would you like insurance? I already have good insurance. Well, yes, but it wouldn’t cover certain kinds of liability, like an uninsured driver who messes you up while in their not-so-fine car. The previous year I wondered whether that was really worth it, and opted for full coverage but was not told the cost: final bill was three times my cost of reservation.

          This time, I declined but was not told that their car, older and more mileaged than mine, also cost more. We’re having a hard time on our feet by now, given our exhaustion, but walk away to our car and once inside note that the bill is twice our reservation cost.

          Okay, I decide to contact the company’s rental desk at our resort to request adjustment and a different, lesser car if necessary. But no one staffs said desk; you must use a desk phone and someone who is somewhere but you don’t know exactly where, puts you off repeatedly or, short of that, you must leave name and number for their reply within a stated time—a time that doesn’t come.

          Need I say that no one would help; the sole time I had “Justin’s” ear he told me to call another company place up the road but that dude was totally uninterested in helping, either. This went on each day of our stay.

          As we departed the desert, I kept the car company Survey to rate the service provided, completed and returned it on return home. Guess how much the rental cofmpany really cares: yep, as in No Response.

          My own car insurance agent, in all her years in biz, and knowing all about the vagaries of car-rental companies, had one such accident which is used to scare the hell out of customers–an uninsured driver (why are they always the ones who are maniacs behind a wheel?) smacked her and, here’s the catch, it took my insurance agent a year to get out of the grasp of the car rental agency.

          Why? Because they had her credit card, and didn’t intend to sustain the loss themselves, so until they could get hoped-for satisfaction, she wanted to keep her on the hook for all costs. She finally got rid of them but it wasn’t easy.

          Now here’s something else you need to know: why do rental agents at your destination want to sell you more than you reserved for? Because a travel agency, as in my case, gets a small commission for their trouble; but if the car-lease folks can re-write the contract with an upgrade and/or more insurance, they get it all.

          It is said that there are different kinds of untruths: fibs, white lies and bald lies being among them. But that’s when someone tries to evade deserved embarrassment or blame. When, on the other hand, evasion, incomplete information and undisclosed costs are used to get something from you that you didn’t ask for, that’s lying.

          It’s all about lies and liability in the car lease business. And the car rental company I’m talking about, a one time a leader in service, has slipped more than a bit. Comparatively, I nowget much better service from other companies, like Enterprise. If you’re wondering which one I’ve complained about, there’s a clue in this post.

          But what I got the past two years from my former fave company doesn’t feel good: it HURTS.

         You can do what you want, but it’s no more of them for me.


May
12

     Travel is no longer much fun, and trips long and short induce this summary of experiences:

     First the usual mysteries of the road: people who don’t know the town they live in, and those hired to be at your service but are ignorant of their job descriptions.

     Inquire at a gas pump, a department store checkout or of a local-yokel on foot, where a certain street is, and they won’t know, but will then yell at a colleague who doesn’t know either, till you borrow a map and find it’s the next street over.

     I used a GPS on another trip and would have been on time at destination but was led from the airport to a location considerably north–thence many miles south where we arrived very late. We’ve never used a Garman again.

     Methought then that if anyone knew directions it would be liquor store salesmen, but women are now employed as a cost-saving measure and the gals only know the way home and to their mother’s house.

     Then there are those paid to help you at airports or wherever but, oh, dear they’ve had a bad day. Even holding your mouth right can get you nowhere, and complaints to supervisors reveal that one staffer isn’t feeling well; another’s supposed solicitations were mistaken by us for petulance; and a young woman, alas, was mad at her boyfriend and deserved our sympathy.

     Since being good sports and exhibiting patience is not enough while on the road, we have taken to prayer–and to tossing salt over our shoulders as a default mode. But I hereby submit that nothing works.

     In these latter days, before an asteroid strikes earth and none of this will matter, it is also the age of technology, and I am thoroughly mystified at cell phone behavior. I have a smartphone (so-called because I am dumb for needing one)–and I abide by public rules for their use. But others assiduously avoid such compliance.

     I even check my unheard calls and email on it when no one else is in the room, but on their sudden re-entrance the first utterance heard is, “Oh, there you are on your cellphone again”—regardless that when others are on land-line in another room, it is for lengthy duration and can be heard all over the building.

     But cell users are not the only culprits here. On public conveyances, people with big voices are bad as any. C&J drivers ask all to avoid cell calls while en route, but not a word is said about loud conversations, meaning you get to hear both ends of them.

     On a 3:30 a.m. trip to an airport last year, two male retirees wanted us all to know that one didn’t like broccoli and the other shared at length how wonderful his granddaughter is. I vowed no repetition of such incident. On the next such commute, a couple behind yakked about the most inane crap you can imagine. I stepped over to the driver and requested that all patrons be asked to consider the early hour by keeping all conversation to a minimum, and muted, given this may be the only rest and quiet some passengers may have had, or get, for the rest of the day.

     To my delight, the driver repeated it almost verbatim and the yakkers ceased and desisted. I don’t mind risking wrath as long as I feel I’m on principled ground; but, as we know, most people are not so disposed, and instead disinclined to risk others’ judgment–forgetting that many folks, confronted with truth, will oblige its wisdom; those who don’t, I care not a fig about and seek not their admiration.

     Our commuter rail is another matter. Some cars are supposed to be cell-phone free but I’ve yet to find one. It is my luck therefore to be seated near jackasses who carry on the most ridiculous conversations viva voce. I find this intolerable and have taken to an effective remedy: when behind such gentry, I take out my own phone and pretend to be in idle but lively prittle-prattle with a (nonexistent) conversationalist.

     I speak more loudly than is my habit, and have found I am an expert in creatively banal verbiage. This annoys the jerk-wad and brings him to twist around and administer a hateful stare–whilst I avoid such glances by looking out the window, cheerful and uninterrupted all the while.

     If he shuts up, I conclude my one-sided dialogue; should his chit-chat resume, I can always think of another imaginary friend who needs a long, caring, trivial check-in.

     To wit, I’ve found that having a good humor about those who intrude upon my privacy and good graces is the better way. After all, laughter is the best medicine, even when it’s only mine.

 

 

 

John Burciaga - "Ichabod"

John Burciaga – “Ichabod”

Mar
08

          The annual gush over hunks and chicks strolling a Red Carpet (why not the Yellow Brick Road?) is because they are our royalty. We’ve never gotten over losing that when we broke up with the Brits.

          Now we pick from a cast (pun intended) of hundreds at once, very much alive and mugging cameras for our indulgence. And if not at their talent, then at their clothes, shoes and whatever wardrobe malfunctions. But it’s clear our hearts do not belong to Daddy, unless his name is Oscar.

          We call them “movies,” which has morphed to “movie theaters,” but whatever are we saying with that shorthand word: —what’s not “moving” on a stage or in other entertainment? It comes from the very first term, “moving pictures,” but still…

It is not to demean or deny movies and why we love them: it has to be a miracle anyone still goes to live theater when the competition has so many resources; not to mention the audience need not bathe or dress up—just settle in with the obligatory coke and popcorn and let those big faces on the screen scare the hell out of us or induce our tender tears.

          Certainly the talent is there, as on Broadway, but movies add all the glitter and sight/sound effects. Hence, stage acting is deemed “real” and more of a challenge. But screen actors chose the medium seen by more people, all over the globe—and more fame and fortune as well.

          It is proper too that attention is given now and then to those behind the scenes of the muggers’ success—writers, directors, screenplay adapters, et al, but however deserving they are, admit it: you thank god that it always comes back to those we lust for, in their stages of dress or undress, while we play flies on the wall at their big party.

          Nor can we deny powerful movie performances, however enhanced by special effects. And actors are at last left on their own for the coup de grace of the moment’s entertainment: one can cite McConaughey’s and Leto’s contrasting but balancing performances in “Dallas Buyers Club” and the verbal slug-fest between Roberts and Streep in “Osage County” (trailers for the latter made us think it was a comedic drama but in the climactic scene we thought they might kill each other for real). And here’s to Matt’s willingness to stop being just a stud-muffin and do truly serious roles—and the same to Julia for escaping her glamor-shot, T&A type-casting for real acting. Now if she and Sandra Bullock can stop dating ape-men who are out of their league, we could admire them even more.

          Matthew and Jared however took separate paths with their acceptance speeches: Leto nailed it with one of the better takes in Oscar history, while Matt reverted to his “Buyers Club” voice, laced with lame religious references.

          Before we abandon the style-factor, those Carpet shots give new meaning to “Selfies,” except someone else is holding the camera. And it’s amazing that so many people with so much money can’t come up with really smashing dresses, in this case making it easy for Lupita Nyong’o to smoke everyone else by a long shot. And here’s the latest tragedy: men are now busting style-moves on the carpet with similar results—meaning, don’t wear what they do, even at home.

          Ellen is becoming a national treasure, endearing by her totally naturalness and still surprising with her comedic deadpan.

          As for Leonardo, Scorsese has wasted too much directing capital trying to make him Brando’s successor. He was a young surprise in “Titanic” with the callow, shirtless body of an 11-year old, but he hasn’t aged that well as adult talent. His intended dramatic first appearance in the Gatsby remake was anti-climactic: nothing like Gable’s sparkling first presence in GWTW.

I was laughed at for saying the promising talent in Titanic was Kate Winslet—but she has since scarfed up all the big awards. This time it was a mistake to go for Gold with Leo in “Wolf of Wall Street”; Mike Douglas had already nailed that genre with the “Greed” movies. Leo always comes up empty but someday will get a “career” award a la Bob Hope, who hosted more Oscars than anyone and graced them all with countless un-funny one-liners. In an interview of recent vintage, Leo’s good friend Winslet referred to him lovingly as, “silly, farty old Leo.” There’s an award for you.

          So our hearts still belong to Oscar after all these years, though he’s poorly handled by recipients on Award nights—they dangle, jab and point with him. It’ll be the day when someone just plain drops him on the floor.