Grumpy Old Man Gets Older and Grumpier

McCain in a bad light.

Remember when John McCain was the Reasonable Republican leader?   If you do, you’re showing your age.  That Johnny Mac is long gone.  This is who he is now.  A grumpy 79-year-old man who having got punked by Donald Trump.  In 2008,  McCain screwed his presidential chances by selecting Sarah Palin.   Now he sounds like Sarah Palin.

“Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq. “So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies.”
~ Sen. John McCain, 06/17/16

What in the entire fuck is wrong with McCain?  Is this just a Republican senator taking on a Democratic politics in the usual “I don’t like this guy since he beat my ass eight years ago and took the job I deserved, so I’m gonna hate on him and blame him for the worst mass murder in recent history.”

Politics are involved, all right. The politics of “I’m in a tough reelection fight and I can’t afford to piss off Donald Trump voters so even though he totally disrespected me, I’m gonna out-Trump Trump.”

McCain is in a harder primary fight than he expected, and even if he wins it he faces a strong Democratic challenger in the fall. He’s trying to save his ass and to do so he’s joined the lunatic fringe. If Trump had said the same damn thing everyone would shrug it off as the latest word vomit spewed from his rancid piehole. We’ve come to expect The Donald’s special disdain of truth and facts.

But this is Johnny Mac. Big-time war hero. P.O.W. Soldier. American hero. For him to shit out this garbage doesn’t lessen Barack Obama, but it does diminish McCain. It makes him small and it makes him look weak and like an old pol who’s hung on too fucking long, and right about now, those are things he can’t afford to be.

“I misspoke” is bullshit. Weak-ass BULLSHIT. It was bullshit as an excuse as Trump saying he was “misconstrued” in his bigoted attacks on Judge Curiel and it’s bullshit when a U.S. Senator accuses the President for being personally culpable for the deaths of 49 people. It’s worse when McCain does it, because when his mouth disengages from his brain, people actually listen and many of us can’t believe what we’re hearing from him.

Let’s apply John McCain’s twisted logic to his favorite person: John McCain. As a fighter pilot during the Viet Nam war, McCain was a pilot and part of the Operation: Rolling Thunder bombing campaign of North Vietnam. Estimates of civilians killed in the bombing vary between 52,00 and 182,000 killed, and critics of the war say villages and hospitals were targeted. McCain was personally involved in 23 combat missions.

A small man continuing to grow smaller.

A small man continuing to grow smaller.

Applying the senator’s reasoning to himself, instead of running for reelection as a war hero shouldn’t he be prosecuted as a war criminal instead?

Ludicrous? Absurd? Ridiculous? Sure, but so is Johnny Mac as he bows down to Trumpism, the philosophy of the guy who said about McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

I like people who don’t run scared and talk out their ass.

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First You Pray. Then You Act.

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Any country which has made the conscious decision to defend its guns over its own children has gone mad. If you can’t get some sensible gun laws passed when they’re carrying out the bodies of slaughtered children, you’re not going to get it when they’re carrying out the bodies of slaughtered gays and lesbians.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to TRY.    I’m  damn tired of maniacs using the Second Amendment to shield them from scrutiny and give them the means to get assault weapons and other tools to commit mass murder.  IF we allow what happened at the Pulse nightclub to go by with nothing more than prayers and hand-wringing, we are going to see another maniac try to beat Omar Mateen’s body count.

What we do is taking it to Congress and we can start by calling and writing our U.S. Senators and demanding they answer this question:   What are YOU going to do to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Orlando?

I’ll provide the contact information for your senator at the end of this post.   Today, I came across a call to action from a man I know and respect,  Phil Martin.   Phil is the former executive director of Stonewall Columbus, a founder of the Columbus Gay Men’s Choir and a professor at North Central State College.    He is a conscientious activist, a passionate advocate and a stand-up dude and all-around damn fine human being.

I asked Phil if I could share here what he shared on Facebook and here it is:

When you get done being upset or sad…get angry!! REALLY ANGRY!!!

I’m ANGRY because our legislators are bought and paid for by the gun lobby!

I’m ANGRY because our spineless congress won’t do a God. Damn. Thing.

I’m ANGRY because this country has already said it is ok to kill first graders (Sandyhook), high school kids (Columbine), college kids (Virginia Tech), shoppers (Killeen, TX), and even soldiers (Fort Hood)…so what will it matter that a slew of young gay folks were killed??

I’m ANGRY because this will simply set a new record that someone will try to beat when they easily get their hands on these weapons of mass destruction.

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I’m ANGRY at all the politicians telling us to pray for the victims! When you’re done praying, get up off of your knees, STAND UP and demand that something be DONE for the victims!!

But most of all, I’m ANGRY because I’m TIRED OF BEING ANGRY!!!

Something MUST change!! Don’t vote for spineless politicians!! STAY ANGRY and hold our elected officials accountable!!! They have blood on their hands…and if we don’t do something, we do too!

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I don’t want blood on my hands.   Well, maybe I want Mateen’s, but the Orlando SWAT team beat me to it.    That’s still no excuse for the 45 Senators who blocked background checks for gun purchases in the wake of the Sandy Hook rampage.   Many of them are still in Congress and every last mother’s son and daughter among them should have to answer for it now.

One of my representatives, Sherrod Brown voted correctly.  The other, Rob Portman did not and he is up for reelection in November.    Portman was considered vice-president material by Mitt Romney in 2012, but was passed over for Paul Ryan instead.   It was rumored what knocked Portman out of consideration was his vocal support for his son who had come out as a gay man.

The Orlando terrorist targeted the Pulse nightclub because it was popular with the LGBTQ community and Mateen reportedly was offended when he saw two men kissing.   Gay men like Rob Portman’s son.   Now there’s some irony in there.   Portman needs to account for his 2013 vote and what he’s going to do for the dead gay sons of other fathers gunned down in a spasm of hate and blood.

This is the phone and email information for the Senators of the 114th Congress.  Take a stand.  Ask the questions and don’t stop asking until you get the answers.

http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

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Do not let this happen again because you did nothing now.

Hillary Makes History…To Be Continued.

In case there was any confusion.

First things first.   With all the faux drama of “What’s Bernie Gonna Do?” and “Ooh! The Donald Can Read a Teleprompter. How So Very Presidential of Him!” it should not be lost as the 2016 primaries come to a close  for the first time in American history a major political party has chosen a woman as its presidential nominee.

You can like it or you can lump it, but I think its a pretty goddamn significant moment for this country.    I get it some folks may not have set their alarm clocks and waking up to the reality of Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee for President of the United States may cause them to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over their heads, but it’s not going to help.

What happens next after the primaries are over (or all but over as the District of Columbia votes next week) is the winner starts consolidating the various factions of the party to form a united front against the other party’s top dog.   Usually, that’s how it plays out, but like everything else this political season, Bernie Sanders is making noises he’s got his own playbook and he’s not ready to make nice with Clinton.

This should surprise no one.   The Democrats are calling for unity, but Sanders has little inclination to heed the call.

Feeling Berned

The clock has chimed midnight and the masks are off. Tell me something I didn’t already know. There’s many reasons to slag Debbie Wasserman Schultz for the shit job she’s done as the DNC head, but the top reason is she should NEVER have allowed Sanders to run as a Democrat when he is not a Democrat, has not been a Democrat and will never be a Democrat.

Sanders has perpetrated a fraud and now that he’s over, done, cooked, toasted, roasted, basted, marinated and served up, he’s gone into his full Grumpy McCrankypants mode threatening to drag on a fight he’s lost and with nothing left to fight for.

If Hillary Clinton is indicted tomorrow the Democrats will not nominate Bernie Sanders to replace her on the ticket. If Hillary Clinton walks through a revolving door and disappears, spontaneously combusts or is abducted by aliens, the Democrats will not nominate Bernie Sanders to replace her on the ticket. If Hillary Clinton is brainwashed into supporting Bernie Sanders, the Democrats will not nominate Bernie Sanders to replace her on the ticket.

If by some quirk, trick or cosmic accident Bernie Sanders were to become the Democratic nominee I would not vote for him.    Take your Hillary Hate and go vote for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Donald Trump or DyJuan D. Barnes Yahweh and the other zombies running for prez.  Have a party.

But please don’t stand on your soapbox demanding someone “prove” something to you or plead with you for your vote. That’s not gonna happen and please have a bit of dignity and take that, “Well, I just might support Trump.”  You have fun with that.  Nothing says temper tantrum like voting for the guy your guy was running to beat.

Frankly, progressives who say they’d rather vote Trump than Clinton need to reconsider what’s so progressive about backing a bigot?   Anyhow,  it’s not much of a threat.  One of the most baffling things to contemplate is how in the entire hell anyone can say with a straight face, “I’m gonna vote for Trump because you made me.”

I’m bored silly by the petulant whining of Bernie Sanders and his supporters. There are no circumstances that exist or could even be imagined where I would come crawling on my hands and knees to Sanders and his supporters begging please, oh please, vote for Hillary and save us all from Donald “Captain Queeg” Trump!

If Clinton was such an awful choice and a weak candidate, why isn’t Bernie the nominee.  It should have been easy.    Because Clinton, Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic establishment cheated Sanders?  Save the bullshit.    How exactly was Sanders  “cheated?” The Bernie or Bust crew is long on rhetoric and real short on specifics. Like any specifics.

Nobody has told the Sanders supporters the ugly truth, not even Sanders himself, so I’ll share a little secret with y’all.  Democrats choose moderates, not liberals and there is no new liberal renaissance on the horizon. Not yet, anyway.

I am so completely over the entitlement of Sanders supporters who cry “You need us.” No. I really don’t. What I need is for YOU to shake yourself and wake up from this wonderful dream where you get everything you want despite your sainted candidate losing the popular vote, losing the pledged delegate count and losing  most states that held primaries.

It would  be nice to think there’s a middle ground where Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters could meet where they could say, “I don’t like this about Bernie and you don’t like that about Hillary, but we both don’t like anything about Donald.” Sadly, we’re nowhere near that middle ground and believe it or not, that was the same thing in 2008 when it was Clinton vs. Obama: Dawn of a Presidential First. It was ugly and divisive then too.

Eventually, the two sides came together to take on a mutual adversary, Sen. John McCain and the story ended with Obama as POTUS and Clinton as his Secretary of State. Yay. Group  hug.

This may happen. As time passes hot temperatures cool, rifts mend and wounds heal. The divisions of June may linger on recede when faced with the terrible alternative of President Trump in November. Or it may not.

I am an unapologetic Clinton supporter who will be proud to elect her as the nation’s first woman Chief Executive.  No one will be begged, coerced, bribed or butt-kissed to do likewise.

Do as you damn well please.

Never forget.

Muhammad Ali: Black Action Hero

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.

~Muhammad Ali

President Barack Obama’s remarks on the passing of Muhammad Ali:
Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

But what made The Champ the greatest — what truly separated him from everyone else — is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him — the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was — still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me — black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age — not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes — maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

RIP to The Greatest.


Perhaps there’s a way to honor Muhammad Ali in his passing without mentioning how he wasn’t just The Greatest, but America’s most famous conscientious objector, America’s most famous Muslim, and a transitory figure of social justice and Black pride.    Don’t sleep on that last point.  Ali was an American success story, but he was a Black super hero first and long before one showed up in the comic books.

Obama not only knows that, he celebrated Ali’s undisputed Blackness.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but losing Ali is so much more than losing another great athlete, a great humanitarian and activist and the G.O.A.T. For any conscious Black person, losing Ali is losing a hero, a role model, a symbol of Black power, pride, potential and principle. Ali was all that and at one time he was literally the most famous man on the planet and was recognized wherever he went in the world.

The important thing now is to not let The Greatest be neutered into some sort of cartoon character who beat guys up and said outrageous things.    Ali was Black Power Personified.   Controlled anger with a dangerous edge.  Sex, swagger, and style.   Ali didn’t just talk it, he walked it.   Ali was our Black James Bond: men wanted to be like him and women wanted him.    I should know and I’m not a woman.

If someone wants to say, “Ali was the Greatest,” that’s fine. If someone wants to go deeper and say “Ali was a hero and here’s why” that is also fine.    Haters should step off.

That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn’t entirely conquer – he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation.
~ Hunter S. Thompson

Don’t believe the hype: They love Ali now but they hated Ali then.