Thursday, November 19, 2015

Live from New York! It’s the Republican Clown Car whining for attention!

Republican presidential candidates
demand the right to the same public
air time NBC gave another clown
Where is Dr. Freud now that we need him?

It seems like an increasing number of Republican presidential candidates are now suffering from a pathological case of Trump Envy. 

They are whining out of the mouths of their press agent that they want all the attention that Trump has received. Well, not the attention that he received everywhere. Just the attention he received when he was a guest on Saturday Night Live.

Or so we must believe if we read Variety, increasingly the newspaper of record concerning the orgy of showbiz and political miscegenation that characterizes the general Republican ethos these days. Well, the New York Times has also covered this, but the rest of the press? Hah! Anyway, back to the story:

As you may remember, Donald Trump appeared for  twelve minutes and five seconds on Saturday Night Live l recently. Since Trump can be charitably regarded as an entertainer, although not really as either a politician or a serious presidential candidate, his appearance, for all of those twelve minutes and five seconds, made a kind of sense. He's a clown. The SNL cast clowned around with him.

But now some of Trump's rivals in the Republican clown car are demanding their own twelve minutes and five seconds of fame, too. That’s less than the 15 minutes of fame the late Andy Warhol said everybody would eventually enjoy. But it’s exactly, down to the last second, what the law says they’re entitled to.

Pause here to mention the five attention-hungry whiners. They’re George Pataki, John Kasich, Lindsay Graham, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore. Jim Who? Well he’s on the ballot somewhere-or-other, so he’s entitled to twelve minutes and five seconds, too.

See under FCC rules…well, let Nick Cosanti of the New York Times explain it.
Federal Communications Commission regulations state that other candidates for president are entitled to “equal time” on the network when a broadcast event isn’t a “bona fide newscast,” “bona fide news interview,” “bona fide news documentarty” or “on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events. 
By law, NBC is not required to give [the candidates] exactly the same treatment as that received by Mr. Trump, meaning that there will probably not be a Mike Huckabee-hosted “S.N.L.” anytime in the neat future. The network is just required to give equal time for the candidates to reach a relatively equal audience.”
So Pataki the forgotten governor, Kasich the other governor, Mike the Huck, Lindsay the G, and Whatsisname may be negotiating a deal for free advertising time on various affiliate stations. The pressure is on NBC and its affiliates, but not on Saturday Night Live, which caused this headache for the people who broadcast their show.

Seems to me the broadcasters are passing up a huge opportunity here, the 21st Century equivalent of locking malefactors in the public stocks in the town square and letting people throw eggs at them. 

The broadcasters should lean on SNL to put each on of these clowns on their show for exactly twelve minutes and five seconds. This would deliver just about precisely the same audience, in exactly the same time slot, which gets the fairness issue out of the way.

As a comedy show, SNL was able to dictate to Donald Trump exactly what it would or would not allow on its show. (Trump was free to accept or decline.) SNL should do the same with The Five Clowns. In fact, I like that concept.

For example, each of the whining Republicans could be required to wear a clown suit while appearing on the show. Costumes would be chosen by the producers of Saturday Night Live. And the skits?

Well, I think Mike the Huck should judge a wet T-shirt contest, during which some shapely women and Mike would be wetted down with hoses while the women dance. Mike would be entitled to preach about abortion and same sex marriage while the hoses are on him and the wet dancers are gyrating. Maybe we could get a few gay dancers in there, too.

Pataki’s clown suit act should include a dunce cap. He should be made to write on a blackboard 100 times, “I will not have the unmitigated gall to run for President again.”

Lindsay the G should be fitted with an elaborate Pinocchio nose, which grows longer as he recites his litany of complaints against President Obama.

John Kasich should be required to repeat his not-quite-famous lame “joke” about abolishing teachers lounges, while members of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers throw cow pies at him.

And Whatsisname could explain who he is.

What if the candidates refuse to accept? Well, they were offered equal time, to do comedy on the same program. The obligations of NBC, and for that matter of SNL will be discharged.

But I do hope SNL makes the offer. And I can’t wait to see who accepts and what the show looks like.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How did Melissa Click ever get on the University of Missouri journalism faculty in the first place?

Melissa Click, the former journalism
 professor who protested against journalism,
 but evidently never did much —if any
— of it.
So in the midst of real life-and-death stuff — I’m thinking especially of the terrorist attacks in Paris—we 
had a tempest-in-a-teapot event last week.

It involved a journalism professor at the University of Missouri who tried to keep young journalists from covering a public event in a public space.

She apologized and resigned from the faculty where she had a “courtesy appointment,” whatever that means, as Assistant Professor of Journalism.

No big deal. Or so I thought until I sat through 12 minutes and 41 seconds of the event. The event's purpose, whatever it was, has been drowned out and forgotten by the behavior of  Click and the other demonstrators. The video is below. Scroll down now if you must, but then come back here.

Instead of what might have been a forgotten protest event, what we now have is something else:  a permanent Internet exhibition of classic Brownshirt behavior aimed solely at pushing people around and trying to make sure nobody gets to cover whatever the protest was supposedly about.

What the video reveals to me is that what I thought was a brief outburst by Click that seemed to be calling for an assault (“Can we have some muscle over here?”) was instead something much more ominous — part of at least 12 minutes of orchestrated pushing and shoving, aimed and keeping whatever it was they were up to from going public. 

Getting out information is exactly what journalism is supposed to be about. And one of the first rules of misbehavior in front of the media is precisely what Donald Trump has been teaching the world in recent months. If you want attention, behave like an idiot, a willful child, or a fascist thug. Take your pick.

So it’s proper that Melissa Click resigned. It would have been equally proper to fire her had she not resigned. But what puzzles me is how she ever got hired in the first place.

Journalism is both a difficult craft and a noble profession, and among the most underpaid and insecure in both categories. These days many reporters need to shoot video, and take notes, and chase after quotes, and write accurate stories, and put out regular tweets, pretty much all at the same time.

There are plenty of seasoned journalists who are out of work, the consequence of too many publications having slashed staff, or folded, as the disruption of the Internet continues wreaking its havoc.

So surely, I thought, Melissa Click must have paid her journalism dues to join the faculty of a once-and-presumably-still prestigious journalism school. 

Maybe she had been a reporter covering breaking news, or doing investigative reporting for the Washington Post, or the New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times.

Maybe she’d been a magazine writer for The New Yorker, or the Atlantic, or what’s left of Time or Newsweek. 

Maybe she’d been an online reporter. Slate, for example.

No dice.

Yes, she has published. But it’s the kind of stuff you’d expect from a professor of sociology desperately thrashing about to publish some kind of subject matter and avoid the academic equivalent of perishing. In fact,, if you check out Click's CV, you’ll her effort has been focused just about solely on academic  journals and books. 

For example: There's her book chapter, "Fifty Shades of postfeminism: Contextualizing readers’ reflections on the erotic romance series. In E. Levine (ed.) Feeling Feminine: Popular Culture for Women in the Early 21st Century."

Or her 2010 co-authored article “Aubrey, J. S., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Click, M. A. (2010). The romanticization of abstinence: Fan response to sexual restraint in the Twilight series. Transformative Works & Culture, 5. Available at:

She evidently went from undergraduate work at James Madison University, to graduate school at the University of Masschusetts, and then straight to the University of Missouri faculty without ever passing a newsroom. At least that's what both her CV ad her Linked-In page indicate.

Which raises at least a couple of  questions. What were they thinking at the University of Missouri when they hired her? And what are they teaching in a journalism school that’ll prepare the kids there to cover news, or investigate what's behind the news?

Or is a University of Missouri journalism degree in today's tight job market as useless as a degree from a for-profit university?

Okay, here’s the co-author of “The romanticization of abstinence: Fan response to sexual restraint in the Twilight Series” doing her number which I’ll call, “Academics and Totalitarianism: Incomprehensible Role Model Behavior of Faculty and Students For No Comprehensible Reason in Post-Journalism America"

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Crybaby Republican Presidential candidates want to pick up their marbles and go home. Let them.

Donald Trump as a baby. Or is it Jeb Bush? Or Carly
or Marco, or Ben, or...wait a second! Maybe it's one
of them today.
Oh, the poor babies! They got asked such mean, mean questions during the last Republican debate. Like where they were getting their facts from — obviously a gotcha question. Although come to think about it, it’s only a gotcha if you’re lying through your teeth or making stuff up.

But probing questions are  “petty and mean spirited” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus. 

Y’see, it’s petty to ask people who intend to run the United States of America how they’re going to do it. We should all just take their word that they know what they’re doing. And I will, as long as, say, Ben Carson will allow me, with my degree in English Literature, and a lifetime spent in the writing  trade, will allow me to do brain surgery on him.  Hey Ben, trust me. I know what I'm doing. I read about it in a book.

Back to Reince Preibus, who said the moderates of the last Republican debate “should be ashamed” for calling out the Republican Pinocchios. The Republicans didn’t collect tons of money from billionaires just to get asked what the hell they’re talking about when they say they can cut taxes on billionaires, cut holes in the social safety net big enough to let a truck fall through, reduce spending, and still make us all rich.

So the Republican Naitonal Committee is now saying it will not continue with plans for a scheduled February 26th debate on NBC, which of course is a media property of CNBC.

Know what? Hold the debate anyway. The desperate ones, the ignored ones, the narcissistic ones all will come, eager for a little bit of extra attention. And we can have empty chairs with the names of the no-shows, just so the American public will see the ones who say they’re brave enough to stand up to Putin when in truth, they can’t even stand up to a probing question.

If we don't do that, we'll be forced to listen to pure drivel at the next Republican propaganda festival. Expect questions like this:

"Candidate X, you promise to honor the concerns of American families. Are you a family man? And as a followup to that, how much do you love your children. Okay, let me ask a real tough follow up to your last answer Do you love your children as much as you love Jesus?"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Republican Congressmen to Science: “Lalalala I can’t hear you. Shut up! I don't want to know.”

Is this Congressman Lamar Smith of
Texas? The ape is acting like him. Or
maybe it's vice-versa.
Up in Greenland, some scientists are risking their lives to measure the rate at which the Greenland ice sheet  is melting. Read about it here.

Why do the young scientists take such life-threatening risks? Because it will give the world better information about how high and how fast the melting ice will raise the tides, inundating coastal cities, or at least big chunks of them, around the world. What the scientists learn may save thousands —or millions — of lives. And you know what?

Republican Congressman are furious that people are finding this stuff out. The New York Times reports in the same story:
But the research is under increasing fire by some Republican leaders in Congress, who deny or question the scientific consensus that human activities contribute to climate change. 
Leading the Republican charge on Capitol Hill is Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the chairman of the House science committee, who has sought to cut $300 million from NASA’s budget for earth science and has started an inquiry into some 50 National Science Foundation grants. On Oct. 13, the committee subpoenaed scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking more than six years of internal deliberations, including “all documents and communications” related to the agency’s measurement of climate change.
The know-nothing Republicans remind me of the little kid who closed his eyes when he ran into speeding traffic across a busy thoroughfare. I guess he figured, if he didn’t see the cars, they couldn’t hit him.

As for Texas? Well, maybe after they kiss Galveston goodbye, they can swim after Congressman Smith and hold his head underwater.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Calling all class action lawyers. Here’s a possible golden opportunity for a double-header.


Recently, Mac computer users were pestered by Apple to upgrade their operating systems to something called “El Capitan.” I’m one of them.

I should have known better. Every time I upgrade at Apple’s behest, I get screwed. Last time, neither my old Microsoft Word program nor my old Quark graphics program would work with the new operating system. Apple failed to tell me this before I upgraded. 

Result: I had to buy a new Microsoft Word Program. I passed on Quark, since Quark now only rents access to its software. It’s so expensive that only a graphic designer with a steady cash flow from his operations could afford it. I’m not a graphic designer. It was just nice, sometimes, to lay out postcards with it. Goodbye Quark.

But neither of these is the big Class Action Opportunity I'm talking aboutHere it is:

Now Apple has done it again. This time they pestered me, and kept pestering me via little interruptive onscreen message to “improve” my “experience” with them by upgrading to El Capitan. So I did.

And now my Magic Jack telephone, which runs through my computer, won’t work. 

So I contacted Magic Jack’s online customer service. I’m not sure whether whether I chatted with an automaton or an idiot, but Magic Jack had bad news for me.

The automaton told me that they haven’t yet figured out how to fix the problem. And that they have no idea when they’ll be able to fix the problem — at least no idea that they’ll admit to. And that although I’m renting the phone service and separately a "vanity" telephone number from Magic Jack, they won’t give me a credit for the unknown number of months I won’t be able to use it.

That’s right. They took my money for a service they can’t provide. And if I don’t like it, their solution is not to give me a credit but to make me  buy more Magic Jack services from them. (You can’t make this stuff up. Wait until you read down and see the transcript.)

What’s more, since I conduct a business using my Magic Jack phone, I’ll have to go reprint my business cards, and maybe pay somebody to fix my business website. Both list my Magic Jack phone number. Obviously I can’t advertise a business with a non-working number.

There must be thousands of people like me. So  first Apple has screwed us  again by not warning us that their “improved experience” would screw up our Magic Jack telephone experience. And then Magic Jack is screwing us by outrageously demanding that they have a right to take our money without giving us the service we paid for.

Class action lawyers, do your stuff!

Below, a transcript of my “chat” with something or somebody at Magic Jack customer service named “Sally.”

    rn:widget path="chat/ChatOffTheRecordButton"/   Disconnect
Status: Connected

  Sally (Listening)
  Sally: Hi, my name is Sally. How may I help you? 
  New York Crank: Hi Sally. Last night, I upgraded the Mac to which my Magic Jack is attached to their new El Capitan operating system. Since then, magic jack hasn't worked. Since last night I've been getting a screen that begins "magickJack was unable to contact our registration server. Please check your Internet connection. Obviously, my Internet connection is working fine. How can I fix this? 
  Sally: Okay, 
  Sally: Thank you for addressing your concern. Let me assist you on that. 
  Sally: Please wait while I check that for you 
  New York Crank: Happy to wait. 
  Sally: Please be informed that the magicJack software is not yet compatible with the newly released OS X El Capitan MAC Operating System, Crank 
  Sally: Our engineers are still currently working out on the fixes in order for the compatibility issue between the magiCJack and this new OS to be fixed as soon as possible. For the mean time, you can use the magicJack device on lower version of the OS X El Capitan. 
  New York Crank: I don't have a lower version. I'm out a telephone. 
  Sally: I see, 
  Sally: For the mean time, please use the magicJack device on a computer that is not running on a OS X EL Capitan Operating system Crank.. 
  Sally: Our engineers will fix this compatibility issue as soon as possible 
  New York Crank: This is highly impractical for me most of the time. I'd like a credit until such time as service is available. 
  Sally: Unfortunately we cannot do that, Crank 
  Sally: Please extend you patience regarding on this matter, this will be fixed as soon as possible as more customers are now using the new OS X El Capitan MAC Operating System. 
  New York Crank: Well, don't you think that's a kind of a ripoff? Magic Jack sells me a system that's supposed to be compatible with my computer. It doesn't keep up with the changes so my Magic Jack become unusable. But then Magic Jack tells me, tough luck, pal. We're charging you anyway,. 
  New York Crank: This is a consumer fraud issue. 
  Sally: I understand your frustration on this Crank, we will fix this compatibility issue as soon as possible. 
  Sally: The old magiCJack device was created long ago and it cannot keep up right away with the latest technology. 
  New York Crank: And how long is "As soon as possible" in estimated hours? Or is it days? Or is it months? 
  Sally: You can choose to buy our advanced magicjack devices which can be used without a computer Crank 
  New York Crank: I can choose to pay you more, in other words. When do you estimate the system will be fixed. 
  Sally: I cannot provide your with an exact time frame regarding on this matter since this is being worked out on a different department from us.. 
  Sally: All our valued customers will know it once the feature to use the magicjack device on the new OS X EL Capitan is already available. 
  New York Crank: Thank you for a completely unsatisfactory answer. I'll limp along as best I can, borrowing a laptop from a friend to check my messages now and then. If this goes on too long, I plan to cancel my service and let people know why. Essentially Magic Jack's answer is, "We can't keep up with technology and we want our customers to pay for our inability." 

  New York Crank: I have nothing more to say about this matter. Let me know when Magic Jack is restored — or I'll let you know, eventually, if I want my service cancelled. Goodbye. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Pope, the clerk, the neurosurgeon, and the Congressmen

I’m not Catholic and I usually feel uncomfortable commenting on the Vatican. It somehow feels like spying on next door neighbors and then gratuitously denouncing(or praising) their family behavior.

But underhanded events at the Vatican have spun so far into the realm of the Borgias  that it’s a wonder if there isn't somebody tasting the Pope’s food before each meal.

First there was the visit, evidently arranged by some malevolent Vatican politician, to embarrass the Pope by throwing him together with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Now it’s even more sinister than that. Somebody in the Vatican is putting out a rumor — already refuted but still persistent — that the Pope has a brain tumor.

The reports have all the earmarks of a bile-fueled fantasy of some conspirator or conspirators, people who have lots of time on their hands and not much of a life. The stories involve a mysterious yellow-bannered helicopter, a doctored photograph purporting to show a private handshake between the Pope and a Japanese neurosurgeon, and even a “description” of the fantasy tumor. All refuted.

What it boils down to is, the hardest of hard line conservatives don’t like change. The present Pope is spearheading change, however mild, of what kind of morality the church chooses to emphasize.

Like conservative everywhere, the Vatican conspirators seem more anxious to intrude into other peoples’ bedrooms than they are to alleviate human misery. The Pope chooses to overlook or downplay same sex marriages? Out come the stilettos. The Pope talks about the poor, the malnourished, the miserable? Who cares?

You’re not alone if you notice a parallel between the Vatican’s conservatives and the Congressional conservatives — say those who keep holding and re-holding the same Benghazi hearings to smear Hillary Clinton while governmental services go down the toilet.

I don’t know what else to say about it — except that perhaps the Conservative wing of Congress ought to start dressing in long robes and red hats.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Trump to CNBC: Negotiate THIS!

Was it the art of the deal? Or the artlessness of CNBC? I dunno, but it appears to me that the CNBC folks have all the spine of a gummy bear on their latest televised debate arrangements.

It started out with CNBC offering to host a 3-hour debate among the Republican candidates.

No dice, said Trump. That would be too long. He blamed CNBC’s offer on capitalism. They were just asking for a three-hour debate to bring in commercials and make money, claimed Trump. Not that a guy who claims he's so rich it would amaze you — how many billion dollars does he say he’s worth these days? — not that has a right to complain about somebody else making money.

Ben Carson joined in the fracas. He wasn’t participating in any debate longer than two hours, either.

What’s the real reason? The only one that occurs to me is that the longer the debate, the longer Carson and Trump have to get both feet wedged firmly into their mouths. 

Keep it short, with a softball question at the beginning and a canned answer at the end and commercials in-between, allowing the candidates to get off little more than a few sound bites, and little time for followup questions.

CNBC could have said, “Sorry but this isn't just the Donny and Ben Show. It’s our TV station and we’re holding a three hour debate. We can do it with you. Or we can do it without you. In fact, we’ll have chairs for you, but they’ll look mighty empty if you don’t show up. 

“Oh, and betcha your rivals make some comments about why your chairs are empty. You know. ‘Afraid of the truth.’ ‘Couldn’t stand the heat and so he didn’t come to the kitchen.’ ‘If Donald Trump can’t stand up for a three hour debate, how’s he gonna stand up to Putin?’ That kind of stuff.”

Instead, CNBC caved. Why? I suspect a bunch of sweaty-palmed suits calculated the audience draw of The Donald and were afraid that if their audience numbers were potentially lower, their ad sales would be, too.

I think that if they had calculated further, they would have concluded that The Donald abhors no audience more than nature abhors a vacuum. And he would have come. After which, Carson would have followed.

Instead, there was this, as reported in the trade paper Adweek. (Hey, New York Times, Washington Post, etcetera. Wake the hell up! Why are the trades like Hollywood Reporter and Adweek beating you to the punch?)
The two candidates signed a letter to CNBC Washington bureau chief Matthew Cuddy, agreeing only to participate in a debate that runs two hours and includes opening and closing statements from all candidates.
In a statement Thursday, CNBC said “Our goal is to host the most substantive debate possible. Our practice in the past has been to forego opening statements to allow more time to address the critical issues that matter most to the American people. We started a dialogue yesterday with all of the campaigns involved and we will certainly take the candidates’ views on the format into consideration as we finalize the debate structure.”
Oh well. I guess that they don’t make most network officials any smarter than they make most Republicans.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Who won the first Democratic debate?

An "oracle" who sliced this pigeon open and read
its entrails would be able to tell you who "won" the
first Democratic debate as accurately as most of
the talking heads.
Oi, the pundits are at it tooth and nail. 

On CNN the morning after the debate, they had a "body language expert" who was reading the  shrugs and facial expressions of the candidates. In ancient Greece, they used to have oracles who read pigeon entrails. Personally, I think both are equally valid. Or equally ridiculous.

I'll let the polls tell me what Democratic viewers and the American people as a whole thought of the candidates. Frankly my dears, I don't give a flying fetlock what the talking heads think.

For whatever it's worth, my own opinion is that the real winners were the American people. We saw a debate in which the leading contenders and the not-so-leading contenders kept to focus on facts and on the needs of the American people.

That was a pretty stark contrast to Republican bushwah, magical thinking about the economy, and displays of outrageous narcissism among the I-can't-count-how-many Republican clown candidates for Commander-In-Chief. 

As a Democrat, I'm proud of last night's debate, whomever the commentators decide was the "winner."

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The American military must have its scapegoat. The search is on! Who’s gonna take a bullet for the generals?

"I say he did it.
So by now it’s old news that an American gunship bombed and strafed a hospital in Afghanistan.

The hospital was run by an organization called Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name, M├ędcins Sans Frontiers (MSF). It’s a Nobel Prize-winning group of brave and public spirited medical professionals, whose “political” objective is to save lives in numerous locations around the world.

Good job, military! You killed 22 MSF staff members and patients, evidently all of them civilians. Three were children. I’m not sure how many others were wounded. One report had, just for openers, six intensive care patients burned alive in their beds. MSF has called it a war crime.

Number of Taliban shot up? Zero. Why? Simply because there wasn’t a Tabiban soldier or official there.

It gets worse. MSF is pulling it’s people out of Afghanistan. There’s nothing to take its place. The hearts and minds of the people, as well as the hearts and minds of an international organization devoted to saving lives are down the toilet so far as their view of the the United States is concerned.

So whodunnit? MSF sent its coordinates to the U.S. Military, warning them please not to strike there. During the bombardments, they got on the pipe and pleaded with the military to stop, because doctors and nurses and patients were getting killed. All to no avail.

Now General John F. Campbell is trying to explain what happened, but his story seems to change as often as a $20 hooker changes johns.

First it was “collateral damage.” As  in “Hey, you know, stuff happens.” You can’t blame anybody when stuff happens, can you? Oh, you can? And innocent people aren't mere "collateral?"

Well, then, it an, umm, error, which led to the statement that the hospital “was mistakenly struck.” By whom? How come? No coherent answer.

Then it was a mistake from those wonderful Afghan fighters who seem to have, umm, called in the wrong coordinates. But as of this writing that hasn’t held up very well either, and certainly doesn’t explain how pleas from the doctors to stop were completely ignored regardless of whether the Afghans called in the hospital's coordinates or a pizza order.

The object of most blame games is to pick on the lowest-level poor schnook who came anywhere near a disastrous event and put all the blame on him. And then punish him as severely as possibly. My guess is that if they can’t find an Afghan to blame, that's what they'll do. They'll find a junior officer who was flying an airplane. Or an NCO radio operator. Maybe even a hapless private.

It’s as old as the ancient custom of putting all of humanity’s sins on a goat, and pushing the poor critter off a cliff. Or as sophisticated as this banking scheme, which took all of the sleazy financial misadventures in the American acquisitions market committed by the President of Bank Lyonnais in France, and put it squarely in the lap of a low - level executive who had been told by his boss to sign off on the deal.

Guaranteed, General Campbell, who “took responsibility” for the bombardment, according to the New York Times, will shuck off that responsibility on some low level grunt. If it’s not an Afghan, the army will find some unfortunate American radio operator, or a junior officer, and send him to Leavenworth for life. The worst that'll happen to General Campbell is that he'll start taking his pension a bit early, and lose his shot at becoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Although don't count on it.

I think it was a WWI prime minister, Georges Clemenceu, who said war is too important to be left to the generals.

Case in point.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Chris Christie promises to kill your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and disability benefits. And Trevor Noah lets him get away with it.

Kiss it goodbye: If Chris Christie (or
any Republican) becomes the next 
President, this is what you can do to
your Social Security and Medicare
Oh Jon Stewart, I miss you already. 

On Wednesday night of this week Christie, he of George Washington Bridge traffic jam fame, appeared on Trevor Noah’s version of the Daily Show for what turned out to be a softball interview. No, make that a powder puff interview.

It was the kind of interview that would have caused Stewart to wade into Christie’s traffic- jammed George Washington Bridge and jump off, had he turned in Noah's performance.

Early on, Noah applauded Christie on camera. Which may have been why Christie felt at home enough to declare….

“My plan is to increase the retirement age for a couple of years….and then also for people who make a lot of money in retiremet. People who make $2000,000 or more a year in retirement, they don’t need Social Security check. They’re fine.”

Except for one small thing that Trevor Noah failed to point out. Social Security isn’t a gift. It’s an insurance policy that every working American bought and paid for, whether they get zero dollars a week or a million dollars a week from other sources in retirement.

If you bought an insurance annuity from, say Met Life, and when you came to collect they said, “Nope, you’re fine, so we’re not paying what we owe you,” you’d have a right to be plenty irate. You’d have an equal right to rage if the company that insures your car refused to pay up after a crash because you can afford a new car on your own. You'd call the insurance company a bunch of crooks, for doing the same crooked think Chris Christie says he'll do.

And since Medicare and disability insurance were also on Christie’s list, it’s a pretty sure bet that if your surgery and hospital stay cost $250,000, Christie would tell you, “You’re fine. Just sell your house.” 

Americans would find themselves in the situation that happens now when elderly people need to go to nursing homes. They have to spend down the assets they and their spouses are living on first, and then go on Medicaid. That’s a process that sometimes leaves a surviving spouse penniless as well. 

Christie wants to “reform” Medicaid too, God help the poor.

Anticipating what might be the next question from an alert interviewer, Christie added, 

“The other alternative if course is to bring more money into the government. But here’s the thing. Why would we trust the government? They’ve already lied to us and stolen the trust fund for Social Security. That’s why we’ve got a problem….”

Noah finally seemed to regain partial consciousness. “Who is the government? Are you?” he asked.

“No no no,” Christie shot back. As if, as governor of New Jersey, he had nothing to do with government. And as if, as President of the United States, he’d also have nothing to do with government. (Speak of lying to us!)  He’d just, uh, cut taxes for the rich so they wouldn’t have to pay more into Social Security.

And who knows? Christie might “adjust” his numbers. Maybe, if you make only $25,000 in retirement, Christie might eventually decide you’re “fine,” especially if that would further help him cut taxes for the rich. Maybe if you have fifty grand in the bank Christie would tell you you’re fine, and come back when you’re broke and we’ll give you Social Security.

The whole disgusting performance — by both Christie and Noah — is viewable here. (Note: to make it even more disgusting, you’ll have to sit through a TV commercial first.)

As for me, it took only three of Trevor Noah’s appearances for me to decide I’m going back to the evening news during The Daily Show time slot. 

Mr. Noah, I watched Jon Stewart regularly. And you’re no Jon Stewart.