Archive for March, 2016

David Brooks

The Donald, says David Brooks, is not fit to serve as President. Mr. Brooks is just now speaking out because “… many in the media, especially me, …expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.”

It is doubtful however that Mr. Brooks is likely to obtain that necessary empathy with the Trump supporters by losing his job or moving to the rust belt or into public housing or surrendering his wealthy pension and 401K so that his last years bring him an impoverishment of dignity, health and financial well-being. So what’s up? How will Mr. Brooks repent and repair his outlook on the struggling American middle-class. Be assured we are interested Mr. Brooks.

Whatever your course Mr. Brooks, it is a journey worth taking – good luck. But if you don’t happen to obtain that elusive empathy with the middle-class, perhaps your fall back goal might be to launch a (self) examination of the role of permissive conservative spokesmen in creating a GOP culture spontaneously nourishing to the likes of Donald Trump. You seem eminently qualified for that task.




Merrick Garland is Obama’s judicial version of political Hope and Change. Obama has never seen a political issue with the Obstinate Party he hasn’t been prepared to duck and dodge. Carry on. Why get your hands dirty at this late stage in the game?


A thought experiment: Let’s put brown shirts on the Trump protesters; then send the brown shirts to a Hillary rally; then let us discuss Hillary’s response to the First Amendment issues.


The GOP does protest too much. The Republican establishment anguish over the Trump phenomenon has very little to do with their cry that the party is straying from light into darkness. The party’s public anguish over Trump is a necessary makeup change. The establishment wants to beautify Cruz, Rubio and Kasich by comparison. Their anthem now is that anyone but Trump is the personification of goodness and light and that Trump represents all that is wrong with the world.

Memo to the GOP:   the base has you figured out; it knows what you are up to. The base is angry with the GOP and putting lipstick on a tired old pig will not enhance its image to a beaten up middle-class. The GOP as we have known it since the 60’s is on the verge of extinction. Thanks, Donald (Frankenstein)Trump.




Trump from my point of view, deserves all the derision the world is sending his way. But it matters not whether he is or was insecure and is in need of psychological assurances. It matters only that Donald Trump is an historical fact. Right now the man and his message is in your face to a rapt American audience and a dystopian political establishment. And make no mistake; it is a searing and welcome message for more than a few of our countrymen. It is a message they want spoken and a message they want to hear.   But alas, the message upsets the status quo and is therefore going unheard.

The Trump remedy? From the Right, the GOP remedy is to exorcise the messenger. From the Democrats the remedy is to mock the message and the audience. What the hell?   Trump’s supporters are only working class redneck whites, broadly brushed as racists and xenophobes who will eventually find their way home by way of traditional GOP dog whistles.

We would do better to understand that Trump is attractive because he senses a truth and awareness lurking in and spreading among a once proud GOP base among the middle-class. The punditry calls it populism. Trump calls it like it is – a seething anger at the growing awareness of economic insecurity among a dutiful GOP base. Trump laced his economic message with traditional GOP dog whistles to get and keep attention of the GOP base and it worked. The base, having grown weary and wary of trickle-down economics, now belongs to Trump.

The Trump message? The deck is stacked against the working men and women of this country – even if, or especially if, you are a racist, or a misogynist – even if you are evangelical. Trump knows the middle class has been scammed because Trump is a consummate 1% self-dealer born with his own stacked deck. Nobody knows economic realities better than Trump and nobody is more credible to this disillusioned audience.

Democrats could do worse at this time in our history than listen fairly and intently to the middle class voices behind the Donald Trump phenomenon – much worse.



But for the Romney led pile on against Mr. Trump and the establishment’s hissy fit tirades against Trump, the base of the GOP might have wearied of the Donald on its own terms. We shall never know. But if you are like many Americans, you do know when someone is insulting you – and you either fight back or slink away from the insults. The audacious hypocrisy of the GOP to front Romney and Ryan against Trump’s support among the middle class was just too odious an insult for the GOP base.


The Republican party’s base is fighting back against the establishment. They want change as much as the Sanders supporters want change. Trump speaks for change in the GOP.


Ideologues are so yesterday when the middle class is hungry and hurting.



The GOP establishment wants Trump’s supporters but not Trump. Ha. I guess the Donald’s working class voter base has yet to learn which dog whistles they are supposed to obey. Romney will save their day. This election is historic for many reasons but irony of the GOP having to preach against Trump’s blatant nativism so the leadership can champion its coded racism is without parallel. And did I mention – enjoyable.



And where has Mr. Rosenthal been? It is 2016. The “accelerated” rise of racism in the Republican party now makes him “mad”? Geez, how perceptive. The racism which he claims is now bubbling to the surface in the Republican Party has been comfortably at home in the GOP since the 60’s.


Pass the word to Mr. Rosenthal; what he is now seeing play out is the act of Trump and the emboldened base taking racism out of the GOP closet –   notwithstanding the merciless hypocrisy of Paul Ryan.



Republicans made their party home to racists and bigotry when they knowingly undertook the divisive and successful Southern strategy. Trump is not now despoiling the GOP, that happened generations ago. Rather Trump is personally capitalizing on, and making better use of the spoils of that legacy.


Trump claimed near heroic status in the GOP when he brashly challenged Obama’s legitimacy as President of the U.S. His prize? Fittingly, Trump is now the scion of generations of the Southern strategy.



Hmmm? Trump doesn’t know what David Duke stands for and Archbishop Carlson didn’t know that raping a child was a crime? Times don’t change – just our benefactors and their act change.




It turns out Rubio was not an anointed alternate to Trump after all. Marco Rubio’s political survival is now at risk, much like the survival of the middle class. Therefore it is not a stretch to see Marco finally assert himself as if his survival depended upon it. The middle class thinks self-preservation 24/7/365 – so welcome to reality Mr. Rubio, welcome to risk. It is long past the time for the politicians in both parties to feel risk. Memo to ALL the candidates: the populace is tired of coded monologues. Empathize – join us in the fight to survive.



Totally agree that the Clinton message to the Wall St crowd should be made public. But let’s not stop at Clinton. All of these political wannabes have made it part of their political pilgrimage to genuflect before the bankers, brokers and Adelsons of this world and Wall St.  No candidate for national office should be able to wink and nod at Wall St. benefactors while they portray themselves otherwise to Main St.


Hillary however, should keep her paid commentary private until all of the candidates release all transcripts with all patrons. The Goose vs. the Gander rule should apply until further notice. We don’t want to pull the curtain back on just half the stage. Let’s see what Cruz and Rubio are hiding from the Tea Party crowd.



It is avoiding the truth to say that Senate Republicans have lost their mind. Republicans are right where their designs have taken them – in your face to the Times Editorial Board and in your face to President Obama. There are no subtle messages in their politics – you get what you deserve. Coded rhetoric is no longer acceptable or sufficient. Every time one of them opens his or her mouth they are aiming at their emboldened base, seeking its approval.


That base however, to the consternation of the Republican establishment, can no longer be managed or appeased. Perhaps they have tired of their wait for the trickle in ‘trickle down economics’. The Republican base now is a wild thing with new appetites – a beast that eats its own.


Trump has done what no one in or out of the Republican Party has been able to do since Ron Reagan. Trump has brassily told the emperor he has no clothes. That is a remarkable stare down of the Republican establishment and belief system. Since 9/11 it has been a biblical like tenet of that party that the WTC attack was collateral to the mythical achievement of George W. Bush in keeping America safe from terrorism AFTER 9/11. Republicans rewrote history for their base; such that Iraq war was not an historically foolish enterprise; rather that it was proof that George W. Bush would go anywhere and do anything to keep America safe. And their rewrite worked from that day until the Trump candidacy.

Along comes the Donald, now the leading Republican candidate for President and he brazenly buries alive the entire farcical GOP history of 9/11.  And the base loved it.  As a lifelong Democrat I have to believe that is a momentous point of departure for Republicans. Where the party ends up after Trump is any one’s guess. It could, from here, fall back into the hands of ideological myth makers or it could be overcome by realists who begin making a contribution to a new discourse in American politics.

We are a good people, we deserve better.



Young Americans haven’t read their memos. And that has the punditry, political donors and corporate class on alert. America’s surprising attraction to a socialist candidate for President is unnerving status quo Democrats and Republicans alike.   Their angst however, should give the rest of us hope.

While Hillary Clinton is still favored to win the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders has upended the traditional political messaging apparatus of the status quo. In 2016, millennials are ignoring their status quo messages.   They are ignoring the status quo message to limit political expectations on healthcare, education, jobs and Social Security. Somehow millenials and not a few of their elders have made the passage onto the 2016 political stage with an intact or revived set of greater expectations.

As Americans, we live in a land of endless messaging and memos from the status quo.   The messages are tangible, they are virtual. They are free and inescapable. We wait in line for memos. We pay for memos. They are our social queues and our living guides. We get our political expectation memos in the press, from TV and radio, online, school, our neighbors, advertising, movies, billboards, churches, lore, heroes, etc., etc. We get corporate memos, religious memos, social memos, political memos, cultural memos. We are dunned daily and hourly with memos and messaging – and basically all of them reflect the interests of the status quo.

Each of us – young, old, rich, poor, black, white, god loving and the godless are told we are at war, everywhere. We are in debt we are scolded. We have ‘takers’ among us. We are in moral crisis. We cherish the military, the law. We have need of a gun. The status quo we are patriotically informed is stressed and cannot compete.   We cannot afford minimal worker wages or pensions, housing or education; we need lower corporate taxes and business costs, say the memos.   Protect job creators we are urged. Hold fast, we are told. Be patient. Wave our flag. Obey your God, and beware their God.

We are schooled and warned ad nauseam by the empowered. And for the most part, the memos and exhortations carry their weight. We, as a people, are at one with the status quo. We move peaceably within its confines. Americans obligingly and dutifully limit their political expectations. We move along. We get along. We abide, we keep our head down – we please the status quo – it endures.

We learn from messaging that universal health care is an exotic socialist scheme. It is not for us, say the memos. We salivate, we agree. The memos teach and we learn that education also has very high costs. We learn that teacher salaries, school buildings and research are very expensive – that not everyone needs an education or college. We are thoroughly trained – we pledge to the status quo. We are told we must live within limited budgets, make do – as must the state. We must, say the memos, sacrifice our jobs, health and family welfare to competition and trade pacts, lesser government and the bottom lines of the almighty – the job creators. We salivate, we agree.

We are told we are protected and happy within the confines of the status quo and we agree.   All but the young Bernie Sanders’ supporters – they do not agree, they do not salivate – they give us hope.


I am bone tired of the punditry class and its harping innuendoes and implication that it is the GOP “establishment” who will soon coalesce and save the GOP day. Martin, Parker and company must one day come to grips with reality; the “establishment” is along for a ride in this election cycle. The debased GOP base is driving this wreck toward the finish line; there are no controlling political captains behind the curtain who can end this debacle.


GOP chieftains, the Koch’s, pundits and Chief Justice Robert’s, and his moneyed class are all wistfully watching fortunes and decades of successful dog whistle politics circle the drain. The GOP will not stop this runaway political phenomenon – an awakened, alienated and angry GOP base.


The base has been well trained over the years. They truly don’t trust the guvmint. The BUSH problem is the GOP problem, the base, deservedly, perversely and incredibly view all but Trump as the guvmint.


Lest the GOP establishment awakens and re-learns its role and takes due care – that unpredictable and alienated GOP base might even find solace in the arms of Bernie Saunders.




March 2015

It was not too long ago that Bolton and his gang of neo cons (with Netanyahu help) walked Amerika down the bomb, bomb, and bomb path in Iraq. How’s that for a neocon success story? Now they want more of the same strategic successes visited on Ukraine and Syria.

Tragically and mysteriously the neocons still have a willing audience for their latest ideas. Neocons, over time with much thanks to the media, have been resurrected as a force in our politics. They have been able to walk away proud and blameless from the consequences of their Iraqi horror show.

The neocons survive with thanks to a demented media. The Cheneys and Boltons of this world continue to express their world view over their airwaves and on their printed pages

As in the past, given platforms like the NY Times, there is nothing to say the same gang of primitives couldn’t do it again. Beware.


April 17, 2015

Professors Krugman and Steiglitz and die hard Keynesian adherents lament the austerity based economic theories followed faithfully in Germany – and by default in the rest of the Eurozone. The professors claim that the economic pain caused by that austerity since 2008 is harmful to the economies and peoples of Europe and Germany.


What the professors fail to mention is that Germany is basically a successful and practicing socialist country. The so called Keynesian or government spending (stimulus) Krugman and co. demand in slack economic times is in fact already built into the practiced economic order of Germany. Thus there is no need (as in the U.S and elsewhere) for massive deficit economic stimulus support designed to relieve the effects of a slowdown on the German middle class. Germany, in such cases, simply waits it out without the incurred additional stimulus related indebtedness. The so called Keynesian stimulus is built in to the German political/social systems on a permanent basis. They take care of their own.


Thus there is no need to lament the pain of the German people or its economy. They are doing just fine thank you. The U.S. government, the U.K. and others would do well to protect its people as well as the German government protects its own.




April 30, 2015 NYT

In history there is always a search on for official “professional class” collaborators. In a rising Nazi Germany, individuals in all professions were needed to bolster the Nazi leadership’s transformative worldview on the inferiority of Jews and the superiority of pure blooded Germans. And the professionals came on board Hitler’s nightmare with alacrity. Alas, history has repeated itself in the aftermath of Iraq and the WTC disaster. The search for modern day collaborators among the American Psychological Association was no less successful than the Nazi effort in the1930’s.


Point being: History informs us, no society is immune to the siren call of demagoguery, even the buttoned down American varieties of George Tenet and Dick Cheney.

Good catch and worthy effort on the part of the American Psychological Association dissidents who withstood the political pressure to conform to the Cheney agenda of legitimizing torture.


May 15, 2015

Progressives are playing in the wrong political game. Progressives play dilettante table tennis politics while Republicans play their own version of earthy, muddy, leather balls rugby politics. Progressives view themselves as the truth seekers and ordained defenders against revisionists, little more.

Memo to Dems: Rear guard actions are so yesterday. Republicans believe winners must score. And they do.

Progressives have to change their game. They must take to the pitch fired up as loud, in your face, shameless champions of those in middle class, those recently removed from the middle class and those seeking to enter the middle class. They must seize the narrative, endlessly and shamelessly everywhere. They must fight for and be identified with a cause – any progressive cause.

No wonder Senator Warren stands out against the shadow shrouded progressive agenda. What a pleasant and exhilarating contrast she is when compared to the ever polite cloying centrists in her party.


May 22, 2015

Krugman is making an honest analysis of the TPP. Everyone with a memory of longer than a dozen years knows that these trade pacts have been just glorified corporate self-dealings. On balance they have been a very bad thing for middle class American jobs. As the professor points out, that Obama is involved in the effort to once again scam American workers with vague superlatives about the benefits of free trade agreements is disappointing in the extreme.

The passing of the TPP will put Obama in pretty shabby historical company and out of step with the real needs of our middle class. In the end an imbalanced TPP, like its predecessors will be but another sorry episode of corporate greed that leaves all of us a lingering bad taste for any and all trade agreements.


6/28/15 NYT

Since the era of Willie Horton, the GOP has successfully used hot button cultural issues to promote cultural wars and their own political fortunes. The instigated culture wars have had the designed effect of distracting middleclass voters from issues that might otherwise hold sway over their political and election choices.

But now, thanks to the change in public attitudes and the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage we are probably witnessing the demise of one of the GOP’s most divisive and distracting political/cultural issues.

Likewise the Nixon era GOP southern strategy might also be withering on the vine. The remarkable uplifting and liberating events emanating out of Charleston, S.C. in the wake of its recent tragic shooting gives us hope for even more positive changes to come in the GOP.


August 27, 2015 NYT


Where I come from if you lack a minimal measure of intestinal fortitude or are inclined like Tony Blair to choose lap dog celebrity status you soon enough become known as a mutt. Let’s all give a huzzah to the mutt reporters who sat on their integrity while Trump removed the Univision reporter from their company.

The inert response of fellow reporters to the removal is another example of the cloying, clinging, calculating integrity of the much of the press corps. Charles Blow should stop blaming Trump for the consequences of a diminished fourth estate.


September 1, 2015 NYT


Aren’t these some of the same folks who found time and scientific reason to justify torture for the Bush crowd? Yes! Yet at the same time it was dissidents in the APA who protested the loudest at the thought of a psychologist blessing torture. Seems to me that there is a healthy self-examination going on in the field of psychology. The 60% failure rate numbers were amassed by psychologists, not medical docs or physicists. I’m not worried. Good housekeeping IMO.


October 5, 2015 NYT article on hearing aids

Powerful computerized phones for less than $100.00 and $5000.00 for schleppy hearing aid technology? Go figure. And to boot the super expensive ear tech is small enough to be lost in a heartbeat if you don’t wear it out first during the 60 months of its useful life. Just imagine how losing a discretionary $5000.00 piece of technology upsets a family budget or having to spend $5000.00 every five years for a new hearing aid. Ughhh!


Price and only price is the only obstacle that holds back the hard of hearing from getting relief. $5000.00 stacked against social costs and the average Joe will pay the social costs every time. Stop blaming medicare and insurers – blame the manufacturers and high margin gatekeeper – audiologist pricing for low hearing aid utilization and acceptance. Er. It’s called greed and incompetence.