Easter Sunday, 2016: The Hunt is On

Laying out the Easter eggs took longer than the race to collect them.

 

Looking from the scant field of eggs to the throngs waiting to collect them, I noted to one of the organizers, “You don’t have enough eggs.”

 

The organizers had divided up the Easter Egg Hunt field into two groups: toddlers and school-age.  Despite their earnest efforts, school-age children still managed to flout the rules and line up for the enticing race to the playground, where the organizers had artfully placed some of the plastic-coated treasures for the toddler set.

 

A day or two before, I’d been hobbled by a muscle sprain after photographing a softball game. Now, two days later, I was using my monopod as a cane to get around the Easter Egg field.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to out-race children fifty years younger than myself.

 

So I positioned myself near the playground for a choice shot of eggs placed on the equipment. The mayor gave the countdown and the race was on.  Older children swarmed the field, including the toddler section, like a plague of locusts.  In a 30-second sweep, the field of eggs was cleared.

 

I’d gotten about two shots, only one of which was usable. Fortunately, I’d gotten plenty of photos of the Easter Bunny riding into the area and the mayor giving the countdown.  As I was shooting, I had noticed a girl of about two bending to pick up her egg.  A boy raced up from behind her and scooped the egg up, glancing at her for a second before running off.

 

After a second, she let out a heartbreaking wail. Her mother had heeded the organizers to not interfere with the children’s quest.  She ran up now and cuddled the sobbing child in her arms.  I abandoned my futile quest for more egg-hunt photos and went over to the mother and child.  The mother and I watched together as the last wave swept over the playground.

 

I’d gotten exactly one “egg”. This poor little tyke got nothing.  After the wave passed on, with the little girl still crying broken-heartedly (her mother said she never cries like that), I observed several other egg-less tykes of about two or three.  One little fellow stood frozen, looking only with his eyes in bewilderment.  Peering into his basket, I saw that he had not gotten an egg, either.

 

I searched around for any stray eggs, but the field had been thoroughly swept.   So I stumped my way over to the “winners’” line, where those lucky enough to get an egg could claim a prize.  I asked one of the organizers whether they had any extra eggs.

 

“No,” he said.

 

“Are you sure?” I asked.  “Because there’s this little two year-old crying her heart out over there because she didn’t get egg.  Do you think you could have a heart and give her something?”

 

“Here!” he groused. “Here’s a take-away.  You can give her that!”

 

Trying to find the little girl and her mother again took some time. In the meantime, I came across the head organizer.

 

“I think it’s very important to hold events like this,” he said. “The way our culture is going, there’ll be nothing for them to remember.  Our group wanted to give them some good Easter memories.”

 

He meant well, so I made no retort. Easter Egg Hunts have been the despair of toddlers for as long as I can remember.  Parents of toddlers are requested not to accompany their children.  But in the parents’ defense, you can hardly blame them if they don’t want to let their tiny tots be trampled by the thundering herd in quest of a pagan symbol, presided over by another (harmless) pagan symbol.

 

If I had a two year-old, I wouldn’t want to send her out into the midst of a mob like that.

 

The assistant had given me a brightly-painted egg in a cup. As I hobbled around looking for my little friend and her mother, I received some strange looks and hidden smirks.  Never mind, I thought.  I just want to find this kid and go home.

 

I was worried that they’d already gone home. But they were still by the playground set.  The mother ran over to thank me.  Some kind soul had given the child an extra Easter Egg, which mollified her.  I then presented her with the take-away gift, which I told her was from the Easter Bunny on special account of her being robbed of her own egg.

 

A sunshine of a smile broke all over her face as she took her prize and she climbed up onto the slide with it to show her companions. My leg then reminded me that it was time to go.  The mother and I wished one another a Happy Easter.  My last glimpse of the little girl was atop the slide against a spring-blue sky, her face just a picture of peace and happiness.

 

‘Take a picture of her!’ the photographer in me cried.

 

‘No,’ I replied (to myself, naturally). This wasn’t about taking a picture (for which I’d be paid).  This was about the real meaning of Easter, the joy you’re supposed to feel, not despair, at the gift Christ gave us.

 

In Orange, Conn., another Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Pez candy company, also went wrong when 900 children (and parents) mobbed a field. At least one toddler was injured.

 

Community organizers (the real deal, not the Leftists) are at a loss as to what to do. One town I cover eliminated the race entirely.  The Easter Egg Hunt was reduced to an indoor event for toddlers only, with a picket-fenced area where the tykes could hunt for plastic eggs on plastic grass.  It was the only way to protect them.

 

My father took me to our town Easter Egg Hunt when I was about eight. Not a very fast or athletic child, I was beaten out for my egg.  I cried but my father ordered me to stop.  He said that was the way the real world was.  I was too old to be crying over such things, anyway.

 

When I was smaller, my father wanted to take us, but my mother said no way. She wasn’t going to have me, her little “totsie-two,” trampled by the hoodlums and galunks, the bigger kids bowling over the little ones for the prize.

 

Instead, she arranged a private Easter Egg Hunt in our own backyard. My mother had created a rock garden which, in addition to the general nature of our fairly woody backyard, provided many interesting places in which to hide Easter Eggs.

 

I was able to “hunt” at my leisure, without any pressure or danger of being trampled. Hunting for the eggs was a pure delight.  I found them behind rocks, wedged into the boles of trees, and hidden amongst daffodils and other early flowers, while the spring birds sang overhead.

 

But what are well-meaning community organizers to do? Many towns report widespread cheating on the part of the participants, both children and adults.  They can’t very well call in security guards or law enforcement to “police” an Easter Egg Hunt.  The fact that they would have to doesn’t speak well for the public’s attitude about these hunts, which are more precisely races than hunts.

 

Despite their best efforts, the towns can’t separate the groups of children, at least not without parental intercession. Even staging the groups at different times hasn’t worked. In this town, the parents of older children were ordered off.  In another town, they were able to make use of fenced-off soccer fields to separate the groups.  They also subdivided the groups even more discretely than usual.

 

Since such policing is beyond the scope of the organizers and the supposed nature of the Easter Egg Hunt, the towns could simply eliminate the toddler group hunt altogether. Or fence off a smaller area away from the larger hunt, so that the toddlers can pick up their eggs in peace.

 

Parents of toddlers might also avail themselves of my mother’s wisdom and stage their own backyard Easter Egg Hunts. If they still insist on bringing their little ones to these public hunts, they might also consider BYOE – Bring Your Own Eggs.  Let the tide of goobersmoochers pass by and when the field is reasonably quiet and the older ones are on line, clamoring for their prizes, lay out a few eggs for your little ones to pick up.

 

Since my hip and I are not getting any younger (or better), I will have to introduce this innovation myself in the future in order to get pictures of my target group – the tiny tots, for whom this magic was invented in the first place.

 

Sobbing two year-olds do not make for good photos or happy Easter memories.

 

 

 

Published in: on March 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holiday in Havana

Communists love their holidays, almost as much as Jihadists. Our Communist-in-Chief Obama decided to pay a visit to Cuba, landing in Havana on Sunday, March 20.  Raul Castro was not on hand to greet Air Force One.  But when Castro did meet with Obama, he stood above him (no mean feat, given Obama’s height) and held his hands up, dangling them like a puppet.

 

Obama then went on with the “party” to have his picture taken in front of a mural of Cuban Revolution leader Che Guevara. He later apologized to the Cuban leader for all of America’s many faults and crimes against Communism.

 

Yesterday, March 21, was the anniversary of the day in 1923, when the United States refused to recognize the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) or the Soviet Union. Ninety-three years later, the President of the United States declared that he was burying the Cold War (against Communism).

 

By no small coincidence, March 13 was the anniversary of the 13 March Movement, when Fulgencio Batista was overthrown in a military coup led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1957.

 

In the decades following its independence from Spain in 1902, Cuba experienced a period of significant instability, enduring a number of revolts, coups and periods of U.S. military intervention.

 

Fulgencico Batista, a former soldier who had served as the elected president of Cuba from 1940 to 1944, became president for the second time in March 1952, after seizing power in a military coup and canceling the 1952 elections. Although Batista had been a relative Progressive during his first term, in the 1950s he proved far more dictatorial and indifferent to popular concerns. While Cuba remained plagued by high unemployment and limited water infrastructure, Batista antagonized the population by forming lucrative links to organized crime and allgedly allowing American companies, like Hershey, to “dominate” the Cuban economy.

 

During his first term as President, Batista had been supported by the Communist Party of Cuba, but during his second term he became strongly anti-communist, gaining him political and military support from the United States. Batista developed a powerful security infrastructure to silence political opponents. In the months following the March 1952 coup, Fidel Castro, then a young lawyer and activist, petitioned for the overthrow of Batista, whom he accused of corruption and tyranny. However, Castro’s constitutional arguments were rejected by the Cuban courts.  After deciding that the Cuban regime could not be replaced through legal means, Castro resolved to launch an armed revolution. To this end, he and his brother Raul founded a paramilitary organization known as “The Movement”, stockpiling weapons and recruiting around 1,200 followers from Havana’s disgruntled working class by the end of 1952.

 

On March 13, 1957, a separate group of revolutionaries – the anti-Communist Student Revolutionary Directorate (Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, DRE), composed mostly of students – stormed the Presidential Palace in Havana, attempting to assassinate Batista and decapitate the government. The attack ended in utter failure. The RD’s leader, student Jose Antonio Echeverria, died in a shootout with Batista’s forces at the Havana radio station he had seized to spread the news of Batista’s anticipated death. The handful of survivors included Dr. Humberto Castello (who later became the Inspector General in the Escambray), Rolando Cubela and Faure Chomon (both later Commandantes of the 13 March Movement, centered in the Escambray Mountains of Las Villas Province).

 

By March 1958, the continued atrocities carried out by Batista’s forces led the United States to announce it would stop selling arms to the Cuban government. Yet there is no official date of this announcement in 1958.  The announcement wouldn’t come for another two years.  Or did it?  Was the actual date, say March 20, 21 or 22, 1958?   

 

In October 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower imposed an economic embargo on the Cuban government and recalled the Cuban ambassador, weakening the government’s mandate further. Batista’s support among Cubans began to fade, with former supporters either joining the revolutionaries or distancing themselves from Batista. But by that time, Jan. 1, 1959 to be exact, Fidel Castro was already the presidente for life of Cuba.

 

The Castros reject any accusations that they imprison political dissidents or that communal farming is to blame for Cuba’s poverty. Instead, they blame the United States embargo for the poverty.  Before that, they blamed American corporate ownership of land for the poverty.

 

Castro is said to have chafed at the yoke the Soviet Union had placed around his neck as a ruler, even though their support enabled him to take over Cuba. Cuba was the Soviet Union’s eastern base for conquering South America, with Mexico City serving as its western-based Western Hemisphere satellite.  All operations evolved from Cuba.  From Cuba, spies and terrorists were trained and sent around the world to invoke riots, engage in espionage and sabotage, and infiltrate the highest levels of political power and academia (which already enjoyed a “healthy” cadre of Marxists) in order to establish world-wide Communism, the “Worker’s State.”

 

Back in the Soviet Union, within a year or two of the establishment of communal farms and factories, the peasants were already in revolt. Being illiterate, the Russians peasants had no idea what communal agriculture actually entailed.  “Committees” were set up in every village, town and city to oversee the distribution of wealth.

 

Farmers soon discovered that the Communist committees didn’t want just their “fair share” of the farmer’s labor; they wanted all, leaving little, if anything, left for the farmer and his family to live on. In one distant, isolated village, about as far from a city as a Russian could get, the residents were in such distress that the local dairy farmer finally decided to give away his milk to the mothers for their children.

 

The rural “committee” was outraged. They declared that the farmer had had no right to give away the milk, that it properly belonged to the commune and that distribution of the milk was at their discretion.  The farmer had “cheated” the commune of the “profits” of the milk.  He hadn’t even sold it; he’d simply donated it to alleviate the famine in the village.

 

Nevertheless, the farmer was arrested and executed for betraying the Fatherland. His widow and children were thrown off the farm and out of the commune.  The story was the same all over Russia.  Peasant and worker riots broke out.  Thousands were arrested and sent to the gulags (prisons), serving onerous terms of anywhere from 25 years upwards.

 

So many people were arrested that the Soviets had to build new prisons. Prisoners were crammed into former tsarist prisons, with hundreds being crammed into cells only meant for perhaps 20, at most.  They were starved, beaten, and tortured for being traitors.

 

Betraying a neighbor didn’t automatically make you a hero of the Soviet. Those who betrayed the “traitors” were often betrayed themselves for the most innocent of remarks.

 

In the meanwhile, a nervous West was beginning to ask questions. So the Soviets set up fake “labor camps” installing healthy NKRV (KBG) agents posing as healthy, well-fed peasants who told Western visitors fairy tales about the glories of Communism.

 

But word was spreading through the grapevines and potato fields of Europe about what was really happening in Russia. Word about the communes and the Gulags.  About a special class of Soviets with their own stores and bank accounts filled with money.

 

The word got back to the Germans who, fearful of the “glories of Communism,” eagerly embraced the equally horrific (as it turned out) socialist plans of Adolf Hitler and his Germany-for-Germans solution, the intention of which was to make all of Europe “Germany.” The Germans cheered with glee as the Nazis burned books – books on Communism, as it turned out.

 

Stalin, Lenin’s immediate successor, quietly made a pact with Germany for the occupation of Poland, and then sold out the fascist dictator, and made half of Germany a Communist nation after the war. It took some forty years and the fall of Berlin Wall before East Germany was freed.  But far too late to conquer the tyranny of Communism.  By that time, the teaching of Communism in the United States, with all the propaganda and lies cemented into the agenda, was commonplace.

 

Communist apologists often blame Stalin for the failures of Communism. “It would have worked.”  But Stalin was only following Lenin’s outline.  Lenin died of a stroke in 1924. Among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who took part in the 1917 Russian Revolution, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee in 1922. He subsequently consolidated power following the Lenin’s death by suppressing Lenin’s criticisms (in the postscript of his testament) and expanding the functions of his role, all the while eliminating any opposition. He remained general secretary until the post was abolished in 1952, concurrently serving as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1952.

 

After suffering two strokes in 1922, Lenin went into semi-retirement. Lenin dictated increasingly disparaging notes on Stalin in what would become his testament.  He criticized Stalin’s political views, rude manners, and excessive power and ambition, and suggested that Stalin should be removed from the position of general secretary.  Meanwhile, Stalin forged an alliance with others against Leon Trotsky. These allies prevented Lenin’s Testament from being revealed to the Twelfth Party Congress in April 1923 (after Lenin’s death the testament was read to selected groups of deputies to the Thirteenth Party Congress in May 1924 but it was forbidden to be mentioned at the plenary assemblies or any documents of the Congress).

 

Lenin repeatedly emphasized the need for terror and violence to be used in order for the old order to be overthrown and for the revolution to succeed. Speaking to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets in November 1917, he declared that “the state is an institution built up for the sake of exercising violence. Previously, this violence was exercised by a handful of moneybags over the entire people; now we want… to organize violence in the interests of the people.”

 

When suggestions were made that the government should abolish capital punishment, he strongly opposed the idea, declaring, “Never! How can you safeguard a revolution without executions?” Fearing anti-Bolshevik forces would overthrow his administration, in December 1917 Lenin ordered the establishment of the Emergency Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, or Cheka, a political police force under the leadership of Felix Dzerzhinsky.  The Cheka was the predecessor the Soviet Union’s KGB.

 

This is what our Dictator-in-Chief is celebrating in Havana this week. This is the legacy he embraces, a heritage he learned at the knee of his maternal grandfather’s Communist friend, Frank Marshall Davis.  This is what our propagandist Media espouses and our communist-oriented educational institutions have inculcated in generations of teachers.

 

While Obama was heralding the “transformation” he has long cherished, somewhere in Havana, a schoolteacher was subjecting her kindergarten class to “The Pencil Test.” Political prisoners opposed to Communism languish in Cuban prisons, beaten and tortured, while New Jersey cop killer Angela Davis enjoys tropical immunity on the Workers’ Paradise island.

 

 

Published in: on March 22, 2016 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Memories of Musical Summers Past

“You’re Ding-A-Ling!” the incredibly tall, youngish-looking man exclaimed.

 

An inauspicious introduction to a man whom I’d never met before. But that’s how the funerals of elderly musicians sometimes go.  We were there at the wake for his father, a former, long-time member of our community band, who had died at 90.

 

We hadn’t seen G. in at least 15 years. His teeth had worn down so that he could no longer play his clarinet.  Once he could no longer play his instruments – clarinet, saxophone – they say he lapsed into a depression, although he recovered and lived until 90.

 

The son looked remarkably like his father in his prime. He had his father’s sweet, gentle good nature.  The same mischievous, but harmless, twinkle was in his eye.  Apparently, I was a legend in the family.  I told him my name and then he asked me what I instrument I played.

 

Once I told him, we were instantly back at the beginning of the Summer of my own life, when his father and others dubbed me “Ding-A-Ling” for the instrument which I played, the glockenspiel. They were all in the mid-Summer of life at the time.  Now Winter had taken him, while I am in the Autumn of life, retired myself from the marching band section of our group due to arthritis (or it may be hip dysplasia).

 

I tried to make my get-away at these rather embarrassing reminders of youth. Twice, the funeral home director came to remind us that the American Legion guard needed to do their thing.  But he wouldn’t let me go.  He gushed (again, so much like his father) at meeting this family celebrity.

 

Seriously, I needed to get away, not just out the door but out the door and to the nearest piece of ground where I could dig a hole and hide in humiliation. The third time the funeral director came around, we were finally released to go.  But not before he gave me a friendly hug that reminded me again of those warm, sweet, early days of my Summer life.

 

Tonight was the first of two funerals for musical friends. The other I’ll get to presently.

 

Recently, in the next-to-last episode of Downton Abbey, Lady Mary asked her arch-nemesis and sibling, Lady Edith, why she had returned to Downton to attend Mary’s wedding if they were so irreconcilable.

 

In one of the most moving pieces of television dialogue, Lady Edith replied that they were sisters and that one day they would be the only ones to remember their younger sister, Sybil (who died some seasons past). One day they’d be the only ones to remember their mother and father, and Carson, the Butler, and Michael and Matthew (Edith’s lover and Mary’s first husband, respectively).  Presumably, she would have included Granny Violet in the list.

 

“All those who peopled our youth,” she said.

 

Since childhood, I’ve often shared those same reflections on the people in my life. My grandmother and grandmother, I realized, were in the Winter of their lives.  Early winter, to be sure, but still Winter.  I probably wouldn’t have the chance to speak to them as an adult, entering the Summer of my life.  As it turned out, my grandfather lived to 89 and we were able to talk to him.

 

He outlived my father, who died in the very late Summer of his life, on the edge of Autumn.  He and my mother had been talking about his retirement just the evening before.  By the Summer of my life, those were in the Winter of theirs would be gone.  At least some of them would.  In fact, my mother’s brother only died last year at the age of 96.  Mom is still around.  Some people have long winters.

 

Still, other grandparents passed away, along with great-aunts and great-uncles, although none that I knew well, if at all.

 

My friends of Summer from the marching band, however, have lately been passing away just as I entered the Autumn of life. This George (whose funeral we were just at), who laughed merrily at the jests of Don.  The same Don stood me in good stead as a Summer day father substitute.  He’d had plenty of experience with daughters – five of them.  It was always a pleasure to talk to him and listen to his historical stories of the band gone-by.  Jack, always sober-minded but who had a wonderful smile.  John, who seemed to have been designed for grandfatherhood, who chuckled at the antics of some of our more colorful band members.

 

Others, nearer to my age, have also passed on. They seem to have taken those sunny Summer days with them.  Or maybe it’s the arthritis that’s robbed me of those sunny days.  They cannot return now, except when remembering those who peopled my summers. Had this affliction not made marching impossible, perhaps I’d be the older musician peopling the summers of younger musicians.

 

The other funeral is tomorrow for a former member and director of one of the other bands with which we played. This is the sadder funeral, for this musician was afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

He didn’t march with our community band, as I recollect, although he played with it. He was the director of the church band.  In its heyday, under his direction, it was quite an impressive group musically.

 

He was what they called a “musician’s director.” He understood what musicians liked to play (and not coincidentally what audiences most enjoyed hearing).  All this he did within the keeping of this church’s precepts.  He found plenty of religious music for us to play which was both enjoyable and reverent.  Sometimes the church elders complained about playing jazz selections (“When the Saints Come Marching In”) but ultimately he satisfied them with a proper church service filled with the sacred.

 

The best thing about playing under him was the prayers before we began our rehearsals. He was not a pastor; just an ordinary man.  Being such, his prayers on behalf of the band were humble.  I liked his prayers better than many a sermon I’d heard from pious laity (although this church had one of the funniest and wittiest pastors – at the time – to ever lead a church in praising the Lord.

 

He looked out for his musicians, including his mallet player. I had the best bells and chimes, even an adequate though not great set of vibes.  To this he added, for my contributions as a musician, the most beautiful-sounding xylophone ever to be carved out of rosewood.  This xylophone pealed like a bell.  The keys didn’t chunk or chink; they rang.  It was such a joy to play this instrument.  To this day, I miss it.  I have this director – and God – to thank for that joy.

 

Due to his illness, he retired about 15 years ago or perhaps less. He was suffering from fatigue and couldn’t conduct an entire rehearsal without resting his arms.  We left shortly after his retirement; my companion was not happy with the new replacement and neither were some of my other musical friends.

 

In any case, it wouldn’t have been the same without the former director. His Winter had come too early and it was too brief.  We learned of his death during another rehearsal, which we were doing for Music in Our Schools Week at a school in New York State.

 

This middle school concert proved to be my Autumn to a young person’s Spring. Not being a professional, I didn’t presume to teach or correct him.  Indeed, he told me he’d begun taking piano lessons at the age of 4.  Instead, I did my best to show him what a joy it is to make music.  I told him about my old high school band director, the Human Exclamation Point, and teased him just a little when he found himself playing after the band had ended.  Hot dog!  I had him laughing a lot, in fact.

 

Music is a joy. That was what I had learned in the Summer of my life, after an uncertain Spring filled with screaming piano teachers and mischievous brothers who locked our beagle-basset hound mix Stubby in the downstairs section of the house so he’d howl while I practiced, from musicians who’ve now been taken by Winter to an eternal Springtime.

 

RIP, George D. and Don A.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Return of the Country Club Republicans

Curly Haugland, an unbound North Dakota GOP delegate, declared today that “the GOP chooses the nominees, not the voters.” Welcome back to the Republican Party Country Club.  No Conservatives allowed.”  So much for the Republican “Big Tent.”

 

Donald Trump “ran the table” in all of last night’s primary battles – Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Florida – except for Ohio, which went to John Kasich. After losing Florida, Marco Rubio suspended his campaign, giving one of the best speeches of any sort in recent memory.

 

Still, it’s all Rubio’s fault that Cruz lost every single state. If only he had bowed out after the debates, Cruz would have had his votes.  I thought the same thing as the I-told-you-so pundits.  Had I been his campaign manager, not for all the considerations in the world would I have allowed my candidate to put himself in the position of being blamed for those Super Tuesday losses.

 

Rubio made a youthful mistake as a first-term, junior Senator in allowing himself to be co-opted by the Senate Establishment. His loss was not so much a rejection of Rubio himself but a rebuke of those same Senate Republicans his forced through the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

 

He didn’t help himself by running for president so early in his political career as a Senator (neither did Cruz) and missing key votes in the Senate, making him so much fodder for Trumpzilla. Still, he’s young and a good man.  If there’s a future for our country, then there’s a future for Marco Rubio.  He’s really too good to be floating amongst the flotsam and jetsam of this campaign (Ted Cruz excepted), alligators and vipers all.

 

He should thank God this wasn’t his moment. It’s sad to see his faded picture among the other ghosts of Campaign 2016 Past.  But on the whole, he’s the better man for now being out of it.

As a result, Trump’s machine was able to grind on, reaping delegates like a harvester on the plains of western Illinois.

 

Now that there are only three candidates left, the Country Club Republicans are going into battle mode. After the stinging rebuke they felt in Florida’s rejection of their dark-haired boy, they’re ready to fight off all outside pretenders to their GOP throne.

 

It’s their party, they proclaim!

 

Even those of us who openly despise the profane, foul-mouthed neon god Trump, secretly hope he does chew up the Republican Party and grind into a fine dust. They worry about threats of violence.  Don’t blame Trump for those rumors: there have long been rumblings amongst the peasant Trumpsters of, if not violence, a third-party movement.

 

The Trumpsters are dug in and ready for a pitched battle if Trump legitimately wins the nomination but the Republican National Party denies it to him, replacing him with the nefarious Paul Ryan (I could have told you so about him at least two years ago). As far as he’s concerned, we Cruzers would rather hold our noses and vote for Trump than vote for yet another RINOsaur.

The Republicans have some hope of perhaps crowning Kasich King of the Republicans. After last night’s ridiculous performance in Ohio, where Kasich flapped about the podium, beating his jacket like the wings of a flightless bird, stumbling and stammering out words, and looking like a loser rather than the winner of Ohio, his chances of winning a state like California are not very good.

 

His chances of winning in anti-Common Core New Jersey, if Trump didn’t already have the state all sewn up, are virtually nil. He might as well not even bother putting his name on the ballot here.  Rubio would have had a better chance than Kasich.  But he’s history, Kasich is a court-jester, leaving only Trump and Cruz.

 

Cruz really needed all of yesterday’s delegates. He may win the Midwest, but will have a difficult time convincing a state like New Jersey to elect him as a nominee.  Even our Tea Parties are pro-Trump, I’m sorry to report.

 

If Cruz realistically expects to win any of the remaining states, he’s going to have to get out his hiking boots, study each state, and embrace as many citizens and kiss as many babies as he can. California has an unhappy minority population who will look to Trump if Cruz cannot allay their fears about California seceding from the Union and joining Mexico.

 

Here in New Jersey, which is one of the very last states in the Primaries, he’ll need to come here in person if he expects to win over Garden Staters. He’s already had a taste of New Jersey in North and South Carolina, although he may not know it.

 

The Carolinas are where all the working New Jerseyans have fled. For the most part, these are the children and grandchildren of tough-minded, transplanted New Yorkers.  Some are even First Generation transplants.  They’re tough-talking and want to hear tough talk, not soaring rhetoric or even Constitutional principles.

 

The transplanted New Jerseyans, I suspect, who lost their jobs here, are the reason Trump won in the Carolinas. Had Cruz (and Rubio) fought Trump back in the debates prior to those primaries (and I know they tried, but not hard enough and if the Media had pummeled them for it), had Cruz fought back on the issue of the Iowa vote, he’d have fared better.

 

The Media wouldn’t have liked it. Donald certainly wouldn’t have liked it.  But the New Jerseyans would have understood.

 

Marco Rubio rightly said in his concession speech that our choices shouldn’t be based on anger and fear. Good words lost on a public betrayed time and again by the only other party of choice – the Republican Party.  The blue-collars have no problem with anger.  The white collars long ago abrogated their voice in matters political.

 

Cruz has been reluctant to attack Trump for fear of alienating Trump’s supporters. Criticizing Trump is considered a personal affront by Trump voters.  Reasoning might work, but it must be done gently.

 

Cruz could do himself a great service by coming to New Jersey and speaking to its major Tea Party groups: The Bergen County Tea Party (in Hackensack), the Morristown Tea Party, the Sussex County Tea Party (in Sussex), the Jersey Shore Tea Party (Ocean), the Bayshore Tea Party (Red Bank), the Skylands Tea Party (Newton), the West Jersey Tea Party (Medford), the Lakeland Tea Party (Wanaque) and of course, the North Jersey Regional Tea Party out of Wayne.

 

I don’t know about the others, but North Jersey is chock full of Trumpsters. I thought we were formed on the principles of lower taxes, limited government and Constitutional principles.  Apparently, North Jersey’s members think otherwise.  They’re great readers and may have read Cruz’s book.

 

I’ve been reading his book myself (thank goodness I did) and found myself stuck on the chapter where Cruz writes in defense of government agencies. He worked in one of those agencies (the Federal Trade Commission) and defends their continuation on the premise that many of its bureaucrats are honorable friends of his, professional, career public servants who would lose their livelihood if the agency was disbanded.

 

Does he want to win this election or not?

 

I went 30 pages beyond the initial reference to the Federal Trade Commission, but my mind was back on page 130 (“A Time for Truth,” Broadside Books, 2015) where Cruz writes:

 

“I think you could write a book on how to run a federal agency based on how Tim Muris led the Federal Trade Commission. But don’t worry; this is not that book.”

 

Although it might as well be.

 

“A mistake that many Republicans make in government,” he continues, “is to view the agency they’re heading as the enemy. They view their mandate as stopping bad things at the agency.  But Tim Muris understood that bureaucratic inertia is a powerful force.  It is like fire; if you fight it directly, it has the potential to consume you.  Tim taught me it is far more effective to shape and direct the focus rather than directly attack the career professionals.

 

“Most of those career professionals are good, decent, honorable people. Naturally, they are less than pleased when some political leader comes in and says, “Everything you’ve done with our life has been harmful.  Stop!”
Oh, naturally. The poor little dears, living in their sprawling, suburban Virginia homes.

 

At this point, my reading came to a screeching halt, my head turned around three times, my eyes bulged out, and my inner Tea Party rebel screamed out, “WHAAAAATTTT?!!!!” Several days at least passed before I could resume reading it. I even covered the book over with issues of National Review so I didn’t have to see Ted’s earnest, basset hound eyes staring up at me.

 

Stop!!   What the heck is he talking about?  What part of “limited government” didn’t he understand when Tea Party citizens elected him?   If he doesn’t remove his FTC tattoo and disavow these sentiments, Cruz is going to suffer Rubio’s fate.

 

He owes his allegiance to the voters, not to entrenched bureaucrats. If there’s anything American people hate worse than politicians, it’s bureaucrats.  Cruz should remand all copies of this book, build a bonfire, burn it and hope no one ever actually reads it.

 

As for the Country Club Republicans, yes, the war drums are calling to one another in the suburban towns across America. You’ve crossed your voters for the last time.  You’ll be lucky if the voters don’t tear up the arena in Cleveland.  Probably they’ll leave that job to the MoveOn.org mob.  Violence is more in their area of expertise than the suburban voters.

 

What the suburban voters will do is completely withdraw their support from the Republican Party and create a third party. My vote for a name is the Conservative Party.  To put it in the words of Jeremy Carl, writing in the Jan. 25, 2016 issue of The National Review (“What Trump Sees,” pp.16-18), they will leave the ‘Republican Captain Ahab[s] to haplessly chase the great Hispanic whale, which, even if miraculously caught, wouldn’t do much to improve the party’s 2016 electoral prospects.’

 

Not all of us are Trumpsters, fanatically and unquestionably loyal to our preferred candidate. We’re a demanding lot who read books and expect our candidates to hew to the people’s wishes, not the needs of potentially homeless career “professionals” who’ve made a career out of overregulating American businesses and the American people, rendering us homeless and jobless.

 

You can get the picture now, Republican Party (and Ted Cruz) or you can get the message later on in the heat of the Cleveland Convention in July where the message will no longer be a warning a rout, both physical and political.

 

 

Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 5:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Political Thugliness

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are in a contest to prove who is the more earnest provocateur of violent action and who is now the bullied victim.

 

Trump, whose rallies more often than not are said to descend into chaos, was forced to cancel his rally in Chicago on March 11 after disruptors, organized by Moveon.org threatened a riot on the floor of the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as out on the surrounding streets.

 

Jedidah Brown, a noted Black activist running for alderman in Chicago, was wrestled away from the podium, while activists waved Bernie Sanders signs and provoked fistfights on the floor. Security broke up the fights.

 

Meanwhile, after Trump’s plane landed, he cancelled the rally. The Chicago Police Department denied that it was the source of his information about the unrest; other reports indicate that the Secret Service informed him of the situation at the university.

 

The stadium was then cleared and the disruptors declared victory at having silenced the pugnacious Republican primary candidate. Some said Trump brought the violence himself by making violent statements such as, ‘I like to punch that guy in the face!”

 

Others denounced the disruptors’ interference with Trump’s rally, saying that it deprived Trump to his First Amendment rights as well as those of followers in Chicago who wished to hear his speech. The right of free speech does not extend the right to deprive another citizen of their free speech.

 

However, Trump’s belligerence is not what brought the disruptors to the University of Illinois at Chicago. In fact, they were there all along.  Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader of the Sixties, was at the site earlier, invoking students to riot.

 

Their objection is to Trump’s stand on illegal immigration and Islamic Jihad. Present along with the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org disruptors were illegal immigrants, Black Lives Matters, and activists accusing Trump of racism in regard to Muslims.

Subsequently, Trump was forced to cancel a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio due to security concerns. In Dayton, Ohio, a man, whom Trump thought (apparently mistakenly) was a member of ISIS, jumped a fence and rushed the podium. The person who tried to rush the stage has been identified as Thomas Dimassimo of Fairborn, Ohio.

Dimassimo has been charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct, said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.  Dismassimo reached the stage before being tackled by four burly Secret Service agents. Other agents bound up onto the stage to protect Trump.  The activity shook the podium and Trump.  Initial coverage by Fox News did not reveal exactly what happened.  Footage was recovered later from a participant who recorded the incident with a cell phone.

At yet another event, disruptors were dispersed amongst the throng of rally-goers. As they revealed themselves, Trump ordered them out.  One disruptor continually blocked the Fox News camera and at one point, even shook it.

As long as there have been politics, there has been violence and there have been disruptors. Even Abraham Lincoln had shills who threatened to beat anyone at the polling places who didn’t pledge support for Lincoln at the door.  We remember the disgraceful conduct of disruptors along the inaugural parade route when George W. Bush was elected President the first time.

We saw no such activity during Bill Clinton’s inaugural parade.

Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were the perpetual victims of thugliness throughout his administration. Reagan’s critics were rentless and vulgar.  But Reagan won by a landslide in the 1980 election and again in 1984.

In the 1960s, the targeted president was Lyndon Baines Johnson, one of the nastiest, ugliest and most ruthless presidents ever to occupy the White House. The Chicago Riots of 1968 at the Democratic National Convention guaranteed that Johnson would not win a second term in office.

And the Vietnam War, a war which the United States could have won in a short period of time, prolonged, was lost through a televised propaganda war in which Americans viewed bodies and body counts, witnessed their beloved flag being burned, and were besieged by a series of violent riots and demonstrations conducted by the predecessor to MoveOn.org and Black Lives Matter, the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.

Then, as now, Americans wanted it over. Not the war.  Americans wanted their country to win the war against Communism and we could have.  But they couldn’t win the war against a biased media campaign.  They could nothing about the demonstrations and the street theater.  The only way to make it “go away” was to surrender.

The grandchildren of the Hippie Movement has come to finish what their Communist grandparents began. They sport the old peace signs, clothing, and attitudes of the past, like children who’ve rummaged through America’s attic.

To the grandparents and parents who raised their children to love America, not hate it, Donald Trump appears to be their champion. They fear the hordes of Central American illegal immigrants (who care nothing for freedom; they’ve been inculcated in Communist doctrine for generations) and Muslim “refugees” (whose European invasion Americans have witnessed with dread and horror).

MoveOn.org and its many factions want a war. They want a war against white, suburban America.  Americans don’t want a war, but they do want protection.  Trumpsters simply don’t see that protection in the youthful-looking Marco Rubio or the scholarly Ted Cruz.  Nor do they take particular comfort in the Establishment Republican, John Kasich, who touts the necessity of Common Core, as though rigorous testing will make better students of our scholars.

If the curriculum is deconstructive (and it is), then the result will be – and has been – that most students will fail the test. Common Core isn’t simply the PARCC (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test.  A rigorous test without a rigorous curriculum spells failure for students.

This year, PARCC has the gall to bray that the test is 90 minutes shorter. It doesn’t say whether the math test questions require simpler answers or that the language arts samples are shorter.  The test itself is just shorter, leaving in less time for students to complete it.

That’s why you don’t want to vote for John Kasich. Which leaves a frightened and angry public, much like the Americans of the Sixties without what they consider a viable champion.

But what a champion. A poorly-informed, vocabulary-challenged foul-mouthed, name-calling, mud-slinging, wrestling match promoter who donated to the probably 2016 candidate’s 2008 presidential campaign.  He readily admits that he’ll make deals with the Democrats, that the wall probably won’t be as high as he claimed, seldom mentions freedom or the U.S. Constitution, and urges his followers to make pledges to him rather his making pledges to them.

Some claim that Trump himself has deliberately staged these near-riotous rallies or is at least enjoying their fruits. He gets to play the tough guy many Americans have been wishing for, he gains more sympathy, and gets even more air-time.  So do the disruptors, incidentally, who are media hungry and enjoy taking advantage of the wealthy Trump’s media-heavy events.

He provides the stage, they provide the punches.

Ironically, both sides are claiming the status of victimhood. Hillary Clinton brays that the bullied (the disruptors) should stand up to the bully (Trump).  Trump echoes the sentiment, in reverse.  Hillary, who once punched a playmate in the nose, is a risible champion for the bullied.  She launched the first crusade for universal healthcare and otherwise advocates Obama’s redistribute the wealth plans, which will, in fact, bully the money out of the hands of those who earned it into the hands of those didn’t and won’t.

This all started out with Trump and Chris Christie bullying Marco Rubio in order to (successfully) silence him as he denounced Obama’s ties to Communism. He fought back until Trump was subdued, not silenced altogether.

Bullies tried to outshout and outpunch bullies in the public forum does not bode well for American democracy. The First Amendment guarantees the right of every American’s voice to be heard.  That does not include those who haven’t earned it (illegal immigrants) or those who don’t respect it (Islamic Jihadists).

That right belongs to us. We have the right to be able to listen to any or all or none of the candidates at the microphone and decide for ourselves what’s best for America, ourselves and future generations.

This post has a reading level of Grade 10.3. We’ve made it to high school, at last.

Published in: on March 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

A More Civil Discourse

If you anticipated last night’s GOP debate on CNN at the University of Miami with dread and trepidation, no one would have blamed you. Since Donald Trump first declared his candidacy, the debates have been one endless series of side-show carnival tactics, with Trump insulting the other candidates, calling them names, making crude and sometimes even profane comments, throwing temper tantrums if anyone criticized him, and engaging in team tactics to take down targeted opponents.

 

The final straw was when Chris Christie accused Marco Rubio of being “robotic” in his campaign speeches. Rubio tried to make a point about Obama betraying the country.  Christie and Trump repeatedly interrupted him, forcing him to repeat his statement, making their case that he was robotic.

 

In subsequent debates, campaign stump speeches, and press conferences, after Christie dropped out, Trump belittled, demeaned and goaded Rubio. Rubio’s numbers began to free-fall.

 

Then Rubio wised up. As my Bronx mother might say, Rubio “went after him.”  He hammered Trump, insulted him, made fun of him, mocked him, interrupted him, and did everything humanly possible to irritate The Donald.

 

His strategy worked. Losing his concentration – and sometimes his temper – the attacks left a befuddled Trump so that the way was left open on the other side of Trump for Ted Cruz to deal the lethal, if more scholarly blows.

 

The strategy worked. Donald Trump’s lead was lessened to within 2 to 3 points.  In proportional states, he was forced to share delegates, diminishing his chances of winning the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination.

 

The Locker Room pundits tisked, and fretted, and pshawed, crying foul at Rubio’s unseemly lack of sportsmanship.  When Fox News’ Dana Perino tried to point out to Bill O’Reilly that the post-debate primary numbers showed that Rubio’s tactics, indeed, worked, he brushed her off.  She reminded him that Trump had used these methods in every debate.

 

“Well, that’s just Donald being Donald,” O’Reilly replied. “We’ve been watching him for years.  We expect it of him.”

 

Rubio’s donors were said to be unhappy and that they were pressuring him to drop out of the Florida race. Jeb Bush was brought in to broker a peace between the non-Trump candidates who needed no such peace accord (well, Ted Cruz was beginning to bash Rubio and vie with him for the Florida, which he has the right to do).

 

Apparently, Rubio took their advice into consideration and decided to see how he polled in the Sunshine State after the debate. Rubio’s performance was superb.  The debate was entirely civil, informative, and insult-free.  It was a triumph for Rubio.

 

A subdued Trump minded his manners at the podium. Some debate fight fans wondered why Rubio didn’t strike.  He didn’t strike because he didn’t need to.  He hadn’t started the mud-slinging but he sure finished it.  The result was that he and the other candidate were able to answer the moderator’s questions and finish their sentences without being interrupted.

 

Rubio’s answer to the question of whether or not to broker a better deal with Cuba, as Trump suggested, was classic.

 

“Here’s the deal with Cuba,” he said. “First free all political prisoners.  Institute freedom of the press.  Stop the military from running the country.”  (This is a paraphrase of what he said).  Then we’ll consider re-establishing relations with Cuba.

 

Bravo, Mr. Rubio!

 

Ted Cruz had some marvelous moments, too. He tutored Donald Trump – and the American voters – on the problems of instituting 45 percent tariffs on imports.  The foreign company doesn’t pay the tax; we do.

 

Then there was this beauty:

 

Here’s my philosophy. The less government, the more freedom. The fewer bureaucrats, the more prosperity. And there are bureaucrats in Washington right now who are killing jobs and I’ll tell you, I know who they are. I will find them and I will fire them.

 

That’s what the American people want to hear. What the American didn’t want to hear was John Kasich’s support of Common Core.  The candidates have spoken about H1B visas, for foreign workers, and so forth.  What we need to hear more about is upgrading the education of American students, not simply making the tests harder to pass.

 

Donald Trump was well-behaved and properly chastened. In one point, Trump was right and the other three completely wrong.  It had to do with Islam’s threat to America.  The moderator wanted to know whether Trump meant an all-inclusive ban on Muslims or whether he might admit that there are some moderate Muslims who would be offended when America needs the support of Middle Eastern countries in battling ISIS.

 

“How many Muslims are actually are a threat to the United States?” the moderator asked.

 

“A lot,” Trump responded. “A LOT of them.”

 

Certainly enough of them to warrant upgrading our security screenings. Will it be an easy task?  No.  Ted Cruz opposed the NSA’s proposal to expand its surveillance of phone calls.  He and Rand Paul are correct.  In the hands of a despotic president (like Obama or Trump), wholesale surveillance is liable to abuse.

 

The other candidates preferred to keep our troops out of the Middle East for as long as possible, do the job, and come home again. If ISIS cooperates, that is.  They said we needed to concentrate on domestic policies.

 

They also claimed it wasn’t “presidential” for a President of the United States to so blatantly offend the world’s over 1 billion Muslims. To the American voters, all too aware of the growing crisis in Europe, a politically correct president (we already have one) would not necessarily be acting in their best interests.

 

Still, news reports say that the Middle Eastern nations are terrified of ISIS. Mostly monarchies, they see themselves going the way of Egypt’s ruler, and Tunisia’s.  Somalia hasn’t had an elected government in decades.  Admittedly, it wouldn’t do for a hot-headed president, no matter how justified, to go setting off World War III by giving the Middle East the middle finger.

 

Somehow, the future President of the United States must somehow dial back the anger of the American voters. He can best do that by negating the obsequious deal with Iran completely.  Don’t overturn any more Middle Eastern potentates, no matter how counter-intuitive that may seem to democratically-run Western nations or their muckraking media.

 

For the time being, we can be satisfied that schoolyard tyranny was struck down last night and civil discourse prevailed. It couldn’t be done without a fight.  But now that the fighting is over and virtue has triumphed, we can get on with the important process of selecting the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

Thank you, Mr. Rubio, for your service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

The GOP Campaign and Cataclysmic Dissonance Clusters

Some of my musician pals read my blog posts. I invite them to join me on Twitter as well. The blog is tame compared to the Twitter posts.

 

Anyway, they were sitting together in the baritone/eupher section at last night’s rehearsal. One commented on my considerable dislike of Donald Trump.  I had to shush him quickly.  My guy pal was coming up right behind me.  He knows I don’t like Trump and prefer Cruz.  But in the interests of peace and harmony, I don’t tell him about the extent of my dislike for his candidate.  I certainly don’t tell him the full extent of my activities on my blog and even more so on Twitter.

 

I don’t tell him how I sometimes go right up to The Donald’s own tweets and give him raspberries. He’d never speak to me again if he knew and we’ll still be here after Trump has gone the way of all crossover Manchurian candidates.  He’ll find out about Trump’s true nature on his own without my having to tell him.  What little I’ve said (to him) has made he him at least think twice if not give up his Trump addiction altogether.

 

Last night, our community band entered into Serious Music Season. Our Spring Concerts are always devoted to Serious Music, which usually involves classical composers, which is fine.  But inevitably, we are driven by our director to play what is called “Post-Modern Music.”

 

Heavens above. A better term for this clashing, dissonant noise would be “Pre-Apocalyptic Music.”  Constantly changing time signatures, tempos, dynamics, and worst of all, cataclysmic dissonance clusters.

 

Normally, composers endeavor to write harmonious music on the major scale. Occasionally, minor scale music can be moving.  Think “Schindler’s List.”  But combine minor scale music with dissonance –  chords thrown out of natural order into strange combinations – the first, second and seventh notes (clashing enough) thrown out of order, with the first note shifted up an octave to clash with the seventh note just below it.

 

Then, add other instruments using derivations of that chord in the same general sequence.

 

For non-musicians, what it amounts to is a lot of sound and fury with no reason.  The reason Post-Modern composers use it is precisely because it upsets people.  They want to upset and annoy people, much in the way that news reporters knew that agonizing visual reports from the field in Vietnam would upset American voters and cause them to stop supporting the war against Communism.

 

Please, stop!  Just make it stop!

 

Trump is very well aware of the “virtues” of cataclysmic dissonance clusters” even if he doesn’t know exactly what the term refers to.

 

Pundits have been debating who is to blame for the current state of the Republican Party. An historical examination indicates the blame goes as far back as George H.W. Bush.  The Republican National Party, in a futile effort to win the Hispanic vote, opened their doors and widened their tents to allow Democrats to crossover party lines and vote in their primaries.

 

The result was that the Democrats overwhelmed our primaries and caused unelectable candidates to be nominated, or middle-of-the-road candidates like George W. Bush (“I’m a uniter, not a divider” whom Democrats could unabashedly bash all the while securing his GOP nomination during the Primaries.

 

In open primaries, Donald Trump is always victorious. Where the GOP primaries are closed, one of the other candidates (generally Cruz) wins.  This is not an impossible conundrum to solve.

 

Hence, Donald Trump wins the GOP Primaries and its nomination, according to the polls, and loses the general to Clinton, or if she’s actually indicted, loses in even larger numbers to Bernie Sanders.

 

Donald Trump enjoys the fruits of a plurality in a four-man race. So now we have the second front-runner demanding that the other two kindly remove themselves from the campaign so that he can win the nomination.

 

Ted Cruz is the closest candidate in number of delegates to Trump. He does, indeed, seem to have the best chance of beating Trump, at least in closed primaries.  What is Cruz going to do in the open primaries, though?  How does he expect to beat a man who can count on voters from the other party, who donated to the 2008 presidential campaign of the very woman he plans to vie with in the general election, and whom he was photographed with accepting a campaign donation himself?

 

Trump is a rat, a first-class, gold cuff-linked, verbally abusive, lying rat who has made this campaign the lowest of rat races in at least a century. You can’t beat a rat by being a rat yourself.  You beat someone by beating them, by out-debating them, by outwitting them, and by out-maneuvering them.

 

Marco Rubio did a first-class job of irritating Trump into distraction, leaving open the path for Cruz to club Trump with facts, arguments, and language that isn’t even in Trump’s limited vocabulary. Cruz wound up having an impressive night and won primaries in the follow-up, while denying Trump all the delegates.

 

Now is probably the time to go all out on Trump before he can regain his momentum. Today’s news of his campaign manager roughing up a female reporter won’t go down well with a now more dubious public.  Let’s hope that campaign manager roughs up a few more people.  That, too, like Rubio and Kasich ending their campaigns, would be a noble, if painful and dangerous, sacrifice.

 

If Cruz wanted the other two out of the campaign, he should have done so quietly and more diplomatically and not gone on the attack, putting up the backs of his supporters. Anyone looking at the numbers can plainly see that with the delegate count so close, now is the time for Cruz to strike.

 

But he’d better beat Trump tonight and beat him decisively. Cruz has been handed a couple of blessings this week, especially with Trump’s campaign manager misbehaving towards a reporter friendly towards his own camp.

 

If we’re hearing some cataclysmic dissonance clusters, Cruz might be the root note (the key in which the chord is played) fighting with the diminished 7th (Rubio), but Trump is the master conductor directing this symphony with a lot of ringers (what we call musicians who are not regular members of the band or symphony) filling in Trump’s trumpet section.

 

The other fodder for Cruz is the pictures of Trump’s regulars pledging allegiance to Trump. Trump shrugs it off, of course, as all bullies do.  But what do you call that?  Some call it fascism.  Others call it nationalism.  Some are making comparisons to Hitler.  We know what’s wrong with Trump; what’s wrong with these people, some of whom appeared to be saluting Trump?!

 

Rush Limbaugh said that Trump’s supporters cannot be dissuaded from voting for him, in the primaries. No, because they’re spoilers.  Their job is to see to it, to the best of their abilities, that Trump is nominated so that he can lose to the Democrat contender in November.

 

Given that Trump himself donated to Hillary’s presidential campaign in 2008 indicates that Trump himself may be a spoiler, taking advantage of Conservative frustration with RINO complicity, to demolish the two-party, or multiple-party system. To a businessman like Trump, a one-party government would be corporate paradise.  No-bid contracts?  Politicians ripe for the purchase?  Government bail-out, too-big-to-fail programs?  What more could a businessman like that ask for?

 

Get this right, Ted, Marco and John. Or maybe it’s just Ted and Marco.  Recognize and remember who the real enemy is.  Take out this garbage, and maybe you won’t have to worry about who wins Florida.

 

Get it right, right now. Tonight!

 

 

Published in: on March 10, 2016 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Insults

Yesterday, two pictures appeared on the Drudge Report’s lead. The first showed Ted Cruz shaking hands with Donald Trump in what seemed to be Trump’s New York office. The walls were covered with framed copies of Trump’s magazine and so forth.

 

The second picture was a photoshopped rendering of a foreshortened Marco Rubio.

 

I meant to respond to this underhanded use of the Media, but I was called into service to take Mom to the toe doctor.

 

Why were these photos so crucial? First of all, they were posted on an important primary day.  Some pundits speculate that they were published to unnerve the candidates.  However, common sense indicates they were published to unnerve their voters and cast doubts upon the non-Trump candidate they might have been considering.

 

The ploy worked. Trump won by 11 points in Hawaii and Mississippi, and by 12 points in Michigan.  He lost Idaho to Ted Cruz by 13 points.  Trump leads with 458 delegates, Cruz has 359, Rubio has 151, and Kasich, 54.  Evidently, by various state primary delegate rules, if a candidate drops out, they’re up in the air – the withdrawing candidate does not get to decide who gets his votes.

 

Even if he wins Florida, at this point Rubio doesn’t have much chance of winning the primary. Kasich certainly does not.  Cruz and his supporters are calling for the two to drop out of the race.  He will not gain their delegates, but he feels he can stop Trump from gaining anymore single-handedly.

 

Trump did not win all of the 16 delegates in the Hawaiian caucuses; he won 10, Cruz took home 6. The others, none.  Trump did not win the majority of Michigan’s 59 delegates; he won 25.  Cruz and Kasich each won 17.  In Mississippi, where Trump won 47.3 percent of the vote to Cruz’s 36.3, again, he did not win all the delegates, although he won a majority of them (24).  Cruz was able to win 13, the others, none.

 

Cruz is exactly 99 delegates behind Trump. Winning Florida would put him even with Trump.  Going forward, they will be matched.  Whether they’ll be neck and neck down to the convention depends on whether the primaries are open or closed.  Here the Republican Party’s strategy of the open tent is revealed in all its stupidity and delusional ravings about winning Democrats, Independents, and most importantly, Hispanics.

 

It’s not going to happen. In open primaries, Trump generally wins.  John McCain won in 2008 thanks to the open primaries.  Nineteen states have open primaries.  Texas is an open primary state, which Cruz won thanks to his status as a U.S. Senator.  Virginia is open primary, although Rubio nearly beat him, losing within the margin of error.

 

 

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mass., Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

 

Trump has won, so far: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.  Rubio won Minnesota, Cruz won Kansas and Oklahoma.

 

That leaves 358 open primary delegates, all to one candidate:

 

Illinois             March 15 – 69 delegates  WTA

Indiana             May 3     – 57 delegates  WTA

Missouri           March 15 – 52 delegates  WTA

North Carolina March 15 – 72 delegates  prop.

Ohio                  March 15 – 66 delegates  WTA

Wisconsin        April 5      – 42 delegates  WTA

 

Kasich may be able to deny Trump the 66 delegates in Ohio. Illinois is an incredibly corrupt state, and Trump, being an incredibly corrupt beyond imagination candidate, will probably take Illinois.  He took Michigan, which one would have thought would have gone to Kasich.  If Kasich couldn’t take Michigan, he probably won’t be able to take Indiana, either, although that primary is far down the road.

 

Why Missouri and North Carolina, with their evangelical voters, would ever vote for a man whose wife has, pardon me for being judgmental, has posed for nude magazine photos, is hard to imagine. But their neighbors in South Carolina did, Trump’s echoes from Iowa about Cruz being a “liar” still ringing in their ears.  Wisconsin is a notoriously liberal state, despite having a solid, Conservative governor.  Cruz may have a chance there.

 

If Cruz hopes to win any or all of these states, it’s not Florida alone he needs to win (badly), but the debate the night before. Nothing he, or anyone else, says is going to make a shred of difference to the committed Trump supporter.  Some who might begin to wonder about Trump would most likely lean towards Kasich, an Establishment Republican who happens to have (sorry, Cruzers) an interesting record.

 

Probably it is time for Rubio to bow out of the race. The experts, I believe, are right in that he’s hurting himself by staying in the race for Florida.  The non-Trump voters are beginning to break for Cruz.  If he’s seen losing his own state, he diminishes his chances of running for governor of Florida.  It’s really a sacrifice for him – a lose-lose.

 

Florida is a winner-take-all state. Cruz only needs to win by 51 percent and he’s got all the delegates.  However, with the down-and-dirty Trump as an opponent, that 51 percent is not as easy to attain as it seems.  That’s why he needs Rubio, at the least, to bow out, gracefully.

 

The trouble is the debate the night before. Cruz will not win that debate.  The debate is not about ideas, as much as we would like it to be; it’s about performance and Trump is the performance artist of all time.  He will keep Cruz busy the whole night defending himself against charges of lying and cheating.  Trump will not let Cruz up for air either to cite principles and the Constitution.  He will mock him, call him names, and interrupt him the entire night, and with a ready audience of cheerleaders triumph in his own arena of slime.

 

What will the audience and voters do? Just what I described yesterday.

 

Kasich won the last debate, with Cruz a close second. Cruz, the debate beforehand.  The only reason they won those debates and the public perception was because Rubio stepped in and kept Trump off-balance, to Rubio’s own detriment, I might add.  It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it.  The only reason these men were able to make clear, insightful arguments for their candidacy was that Rubio took on the schoolyard bully.

 

For Cruz now to denounce Rubio and order him out of the race is incredibly tactless, graceless and foolhardy. If Rubio withdraws from the race due to Cruz’ pressure, his followers are sure to either stay home in Florida, vote for Rubio anyone as a write-in, or worst-case scenario, vote for Trump out of spite.

 

Cruz certainly can’t be expected to acknowledge Rubio’s help, of course; that would weaken his image. No one wants that.  If it hadn’t been for Blabbermouth Mitt, no one, particularly Trump, would have been the wiser for it.  Rubio probably could have withdrawn from the Florida race on his own with dignity, if he wanted to.

 

Now both men are in a terrible, confrontational position. Cruz must denounce an unacknowledged ally while Rubio must remain in a race he knows he’s likely to lose.  The only ones who win are the truly despicable Trump or the candidate with no path, Kasich, the Establishment Candidate.

 

Must one actually have to stoop to such imperatives as: Shut Up!!!?

 

Post reading level: Grade 8.4.  Shut up, indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Florida Fracas

An unfortunate, but unsurprising fight has broken out between GOP primary candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Cruz is bashing Rubio over the Sunshine State.  Pundits can’t decide whether the Texas senator covets Florida’s 99 delegates or is so desperate to get Rubio off the ballot that he’s willing to put himself 99 delegates behind in order to achieve this goal.  Or is it Trump who’s goading Rubio one way or the other.

 

A New York State court just dismissed a ballot challenge to keep Cruz off the New York primary ballot. He’s still struggling to get himself onto the New Jersey ballot.  I just received an e-mail listing several petition-signing rallies to put him on the ballot.

 

That’s Donald Trump playing dirty. Yet Cruz wants to go mano a mano with this scorpion in the Florida debate, leading up to the state’s primary on March 15 (the Ides of March).

 

Some of us have urged that Cruz and Rubio work together. Rubio is willing, but Cruz is stubbornly adamant that he will not cooperate with anyone, least of all Rubio, who erred in joining the Senate Gang of Eight in passing (or trying to pass?) the Amnesty Bill.

 

Cruz has benefitted by Saturday and closed primaries Cruz. But the bashing he and Rubio have given Trump diminished the neon sign god’s lead to 3 percent or less in Virginia (Rubio) and other states (Cruz and Kacich).  Some of the gilded paint is flaking off.  That is where they need to work together – during the debates.  On the campaign trail, they need to focus on Trump not one another.

 

Trump is anxious for Rubio to decamp, calling upon him condescendingly to leave the race. Cruz frets angrily, claiming that Rubio cost him the victories in Kentucky and Louisiana.  Apparently it hasn’t occurred to Cruz that spending time at CPAC speechifying and probably taking selfies with donors, while Trump cancelled his CPAC engagement and got right back on the campaign trail, is what cost him votes, not someone far behind in third place.

 

Cruz is my candidate and I regret finding myself in such a critical position towards my own candidate. Some accuse some phantom menace of interfering with Cruz’ campaign.  That would be risible if it were true.  Cruz pays other people to run his campaign, so who is this ‘phantom menace’ really interfering with:  Cruz or his campaign manager?  They can’t be doing a very good job if they think the enemy is someone in third place rather than the front-runner.

 

If only Rubio would defer to Cruz, Cruz could challenge the front-runner. However, the front-runner has been running a secondary campaign to keep Cruz, whom he accuses of not being a legal United States citizen, from getting on the ballot.  In New Jersey, something of a second home to Trump (with its governor as his ally), he may prevail. The ballot positions have still not been determined and June 9 is still months away.

 

But Christie has endorsed Trump. The governor is an enormous obstacle both physically and politically. It’s not inconceivable that Christie would wield his influence over the court to keep Cruz off the ballot.

 

If Cruz can’t get on the ballot and he succeeds in pressuring Rubio off the ballot, that only leaves New Jerseyans with a choice of Kacich or Trump, and New Jersey is already stuffed to the rafters with Trumpsters, even some Parties. Presently, Kacich barely registers on the delegate Richter scale and he already has his own ideas of a brokered convention.

 

Mind you, brokered, not contested. A brokered convention effectively shuts out the voters altogether.  Experts say that brokered or contested convention would put the decision back in the hands of the Republican Party, something we certainly don’t want.

 

That’s the very sort of politics that most infuriates the average American – being shut out. Having the door closed on them.  It’s political bullying.  Political bullying and manipulation has given us a rollover Congress filled with RINO Republicans (including, I’m sorry to say, Rubio) who have no problem with an insurgency of Latino, South American voters crossing over our border.

 

South America has had a long history of one dictator after another making empty promises to the poor. That’s all they know.  No, of course, we can’t paint every Hispanic with that same brush.  But be assured, most of them do think that way.  The same Hispanic voters who are crossing into Republican territory thanks to open primaries, will flood back over to the Democrat side once they’ve finished shredding the GOP to pieces.

 

Rubio was wrong to join the Gang of Eight. He alienated his Florida constituency (and central Florida is said to be heavily Hispanic, living off of minimum wages in Theme Park Country, while the wealthy frequent Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s pricey South Florida restaurant).  He’ll have a difficult time winning the Conservatives back and so he will have to rely on the Hispanic vote.

 

Still, Rubio underwent an unfair thrashing at the hands of Trump’s henchman, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie. All because he dared to criticize Christie’s former BF, Obama.  Rubio was right, but no matter how many times he tried to repeat, all viewers heard was Christie’s mocking.

 

Rubio was trying to warn us about the dangers of tyranny. To be fair, so is Ted Cruz, who is probably the staunchest advocate ever of the U.S. Constitution.  In the battle, Cruz took the bookish high road, while Rubio took the lower, thankless road.  He kept Trump the Terrible off-balance until Cruz could deliver the higher-minded blow.

 

Rubio had to take a lot of heat for what were essentially schoolyard tactics, tactics that began with Trump, not Rubio. As Rubio tried to point out, he was only giving Trump a taste of his own medicine.  What he got for his trouble was flack from the paternal, authoritarian Media who enjoyed wagging their finger at him, while the bigger, older Trump was given a clear pass.

 

Schoolyard tactics are important to note. Tyranny begins in the schoolyard as bullying.  It’s the larger bully who targets the loner, the outcast kid, the one all the other kids shun.  Instead of defending the individual kid, they join in with the popular bully.  Yes, the bully is a popular, if dreaded, figure.  Who wants to be on the receiving end of that fist or that cringe-worthy taunt?

 

School authorities and parents look the other way. The younger child at home isn’t protected.  If they fight back, they’re scolded.  At school, they’re told it’s wrong to fight back.  If they do, they’re attempt to defend themselves is met with scorn and derision by those other kids.  Bully 1, victim, 0.  Kids are taught it’s not only wrong, but foolish, to take on someone bigger or meaner than themselves.

 

They go onto high school, where the bullies form themselves into violent gangs or vicious cliques, usually, of girls. Now the victim is not just faced with one person bigger than themselves, but a group of people all in solidarity against the lone individual.  The victims typically get stuffed into lockers, beaten up after school, mocked, and in this age of computerized cruelty, are attacked on social media.

 

Still, no one comes to the aid of the individual. They’re told it’s just part of growing up, part of going to school, part of life.  Get used to it.  Buck up or get beaten up.  The result is that young girls hang themselves in closets and masculinely or athletically insufficient boys jump off of bridges.

 

After high school graduation, both types go on either to work or to college. At work, the bullies now form themselves into unions to strong-arm the management (and sometimes, management has it coming in.  Not over pay, but over abuse.).  At college, future business managers learn the fine art of bullying employees.

 

Once out in the world, the bosses, the managers fortify themselves with caffeine, and often “performance-enhancing” drugs and proceed to keel-haul their unfortunate underlings. These verbally-abusive monsters scream at workers, kicking cabinets and slamming doors, until their workers are forced themselves to resort to taking anti-anxiety medications.  While the managers are buffing themselves up at the gym, their employees are on the therapists couch trying to figure out where they went wrong.

 

That’s just the business as usual. The college graduates who didn’t go into business go into public service as government regulators, lawyers and inspectors.  They’re unelected and unaccountable.  They’re the relics of several administrations past who cannot be removed under any law in the U.S. Code of Laws.

 

Businesses and citizens pay the price in onerous regulations and fees. Have you looked at your telephone or other utility bill lately?  They have jobs for life and thanks to Obamacare, jobs for life or death over the rest of us.  Take a good look at the scaffolding on the U.S. Capitol (I know I’ve written about this before but a reminder never hurts); that’s your government at work.

 

The lessons we all learned on the playground in kindergarten follow us right to city hall, as in don’t fight it. Americans have learned this lesson so well that they don’t bother to show up to off-year primaries at all (a pitiful 25 percent in New Jersey), procrastinate during Congressional and Senatorial elections, and hem and haw even at having to go to presidential primaries, where they’ve learned their vote doesn’t count much because the candidates bully each other into wrapping things up early, before even half of the country (New Jersey’s at the bottom of this list) have had a chance to make their preference known.

 

All our community decisions on housing, zoning, education, health care have been taken to new levels of government intrusion. We’re the children back on the playground who are told we should let the “adults” make the decisions and talk back to them.  We’re Marco Rubio on the debate stage, talking back to The Donald.  “The” Donald, you will note.

 

Obediently, we go back to playing house, playing with our electronics, and struggling with our jobs and mortgage payments while a patrician government spends our economic future away and strips us of our various civil rights, an argument Ted Cruz makes with authority and knowledge.

 

Weakening us domestically is not enough for the future tyrants, however. In diminish our military and our foreign policy, Obama has left America vulnerable to radical enemies who have no civilized rulebook at all.  Anything and everything will work for them if it achieves their goal of global dominance.  Hence, the argument for a “strongman” like Trump, that very same former schoolyard bully who had the audacity to refer to his manhood on national television.

 

There’s a man for you. That’s what used to be boasted of such “men.”  The middle finger blue-collar, Middle and Lower Class America has been waiting for.  If only that ridiculous Marco Rubio would get out of the way.

 

Indeed, he was a member of the “Gang of Eight.” In retrospect, isn’t that a rather disturbing noun to be using to describe a group of United States Senators?  A “Gang”?  A gang that wants to unleash the hordes of Latin Americans onto an American public with which they will refuse to assimilate?  Rubio needs to have his Gang of Eight tattoo removed.

 

That was two or three years ago. Rubio has since been verbally smacked around by Donald Trump, demonstrating to one and all just what a bully can achieve if given the chance and if the parental authorities of the Media tie Rubio’s hands.  If he didn’t know what it feels like to be one the “little people,” he does now.

 

Trump and Cruz want to go at in the Florida debate. Rubio shouldn’t bow out of the race just because Cruz doesn’t like competition and let down his supporters.  But in the debate, he should let them go at one another.  He shouldn’t keep Trump busy.  If Trump criticizes him, he should ignore him.  Better yet, point in Cruz’s direction and tell him that Cruz is over there; he’s the candidate Trump wanted to mangle – so go for it.  Rubio and Kacich can just stand by and watch.

 

Either Cruz will prove his mettle, thus earning the nomination. Or Trump will give him a professional, verbal wrestling match going-over.

 

And it will serve Cruz right.

 

This post has reading level of Grade 8.8. Will we ever make to high school?!  Stay tuned!
 

Published in: on March 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trump University and CPAC

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney (2012) touched off a firestorm yesterday when he took current presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump to task for running an alleged diploma mill bearing Trump’s name: Trump University.

 

The long and short of it is that some 5,000 former students have sued Trump University for fraud, claiming that they hadn’t been instructed in the manner promised, they were not given the materials for which they had paid, and, in the end, did not receive the promised posed photograph with The Donald himself.

 

Apparently, what they got (and probably deserved) was a picture with his photographed cardboard cut-out (every company has such a cardboard cut-out of the company president). The judge in the case threw out Trump’s motion to dismiss the case, so the trial will proceed.

 

When Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly described the case for the audience, she related that the judge compared Trump to Bernie Madoff, the infamous pyramid-scheme financier. Trump was livid.  He promised that everyone would learn the truth about Trump University in “three years.”

 

Three years? Well, that’s a comfort, as we await the verdict on the truly criminal Hillary Clinton.  Will we have the verdict on her before the election or will she be conducting business from her Big House Oval Office?

 

The winner in last night’s GOP debate was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. While Trump promises to deliver jobs to America, Kasich has already delivered jobs (hundreds of thousands of them!!) to the Buckeye State.  Kasich promoted himself on his Reagan Era resume, dealing primarily with the budget.  Perhaps it didn’t impress budgetary pundits, but it awoke ordinary Americans.

 

Ted Cruz came in a very close second with humorous jabs at Trump and muted jabs over immigration at opponent Marco Rubio. He had many “best” moments but the very best moment was at the very end with is closing statement in the very last sentence when he reminded us all of the importance of taking our military off the ROE leash.

 

Marco Rubio was in fine fettle, pestering and annoying Trump into irritation. Don’t be too hard on Rubio for these schoolyard hijinks; remember that it was Trump who began them.  Why is it parents always overlook the misbehavior of the elder child and scold the younger?  Justice, it seems, is blind.

 

Rubio made one tactical error in attacking Trump on his general business dealings. Attacking an obviously wealthy and successful man for relatively minor failure is never sensible.  Attacking him for using that accumulated wealth to influence politicians on behalf of those businesses is very good politics.

 

But while we’re browbeating Trump over Trump University and donor abuse, let us not overlook the activities of the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) Convention in Denver.

 

CPAC is a fundraising campaign for the Conservative candidates. This party gives wealthy donors the opportunity to hobnob with their favorite political stars.  Glenn Beck describe the donors, many young, all dressed up in their Sunday finest.

 

They’re dressed up, like the Trump University students, for their photo ops with the candidate of their choice. That’s what they’re really paying for. That’s what they get in exchange for their thousands of dollars.  A mere trifle, wouldn’t you think, for much needed financial assistance.

 

Not when the next set of primaries is TOMORROW!!!

 

What they’re getting is a very expensive photograph of themselves with the losing candidate. They’ll be able to pass the photograph on as an heirloom to their great-grandchildren.

 

“See, kids! Here’s your great-grandpa with Ted Cruz!”

 

“Ted Cruz? Who was he?”

 

“Why, he was a 2016 GOP presidential primary candidate.”

 

“But I thought President Trump won the election in 2016? He was the 45th president.”

 

“Well, yes, he did and he was. But Great-Grandpa donated thousands of dollars to Mr. Cruz’ campaign to help him.”

 

“But he didn’t win. Does the mean Great-Grandpa lost all his money?”

 

“No, he didn’t win. He had to go to the CPAC convention, so he missed campaigning in the next set of primary states and he and the other Republican candidates lost all those delegates to Pres. Trump, who went on to win the election.”

 

“So all you’ve got is this picture? Dad?  Dad?  Where are you going?”

 

What are these guys thinking? That they can ignore any state, take it easy for a few days, and then just beat up Trump at the convention in July and get the delegates back?

 

I’m no Trumpster. Neither am I a #Never Trump enthusiast.  Never say “never” because you’re liable to be compelled to eat your words.  Hillary Clinton might just wind up in jail and then who’s the choice?  A former Communist Hippie who lived out of a filthy trailer?

 

I’m all for my guy, Cruz, but I expect him to get his butt out there – the way he did in Iowa – and hustle himself around for every single vote. Trump, whatever you want to say about his character (and I would agree with much of it) is out there hustling for the votes!  He canceled his appearance at CPAC and got back out on the campaign trail, where he belongs.

 

That’s where Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich (wherever HE is – maybe he’s sensible enough to be out there campaigning) need to be – out on the trail, not posing for selfies at CPAC!

This post has a reading level of Grade 8.2

 

Published in: on March 4, 2016 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment