YOU Be the Judge
If you watched the hearings yesterday you saw two lifelong public servants testify as to the facts they know about the Trump/Ukraine Extortion plot. Clearly, I have a bias on this topic but I will leave it to you to be the judge.
The Republican attacks on these men (William Taylor and George Kent) by the Republican attack dogs (Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan) made for interesting television and, aside from a blockbuster revelation about a Trump phone call with Gordon Sondland that we didn’t know about, it played out the way most of us anticipated it would. The Democrats stuck to their pursuit of the facts of the case and the Republicans were intent on spinning a fantastical web about “second and third hand” sources (which could easily be remedied if the White House would allow all their people with first-hand knowledge testify!).
Whatever the case, I did a little research on Wikipedia and will simply present my cherry-picked “resumes” of yesterday’s four principal actors.
I’ll admit to being an “elitist” and believe getting an education at West Point or Harvard may indicate you have a bit more on the ball than those who go to Cal Poly and Capital University Law School but, beyond that, we have seen Nunes and Jordan in action before and we know that they will do anything to defend Trump. What stood in high relief yesterday was the unimpeachable integrity of Taylor and Kent. But that’s just my opinion --- you be the judge.
The SUV Metaphor
There was a tragic fatal accident on the Merritt Parkway here in southeastern Connecticut on Sunday night.
According to State Police, (name withheld) was driving southbound in the left lane when her 2004 Ford Explorer came into contact with a 2008 Mercedes E350 traveling in the right lane. Her vehicle lost control, struck the wooden beam guardrail on the right shoulder where it then proceeded across the right and left lanes. Her vehicle then rolled over and “ejected the operator over the median where she came to a final rest on the northbound side of Rt. 15,” the accident report stated. (Connecticut Post, 11/11/19)
There are tragic accidents wherever we live every day, of course, but this one caught my attention because it reinforces an observation I’ve made recently: too many people are driving vehicles that are too big for them to handle! In the last few years we have seen that “The Big Three” automakers in the U.S. have almost stopped making sedans and small (formerly “compact”) cars. According to a story in the January 2019 Detroit News:
It's all trucks and SUVs, as General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler increasingly abandon the sedan and small-car markets for what they see as more profitable, in-demand vehicles. The market for sedans is shrinking.
If you drive around, as I do (I live in a suburb --- do we have any choice?), you see, more and more, the road populated by bigger and bigger SVU’s. The GMC Yukon, the Chevy Suburban, the Ford Excursion, the Cadillac Escalade, the Lincoln Navigator, the Infiniti QX80, the Land Rover/Range Rover Evoque and so on, are not only unapologetic gas guzzlers, they are also HUGE vehicles, requiring skill and strength to safely handle on our roads. It is no wonder, then, we are seeing accidents like the one I started this BLAST with ---- people cannot gauge just how large their vehicles are, particularly on the old narrow parkways that were built in the 1930’s for cars that were not only smaller but also slower. As I reflected on this situation (having been put in jeopardy on a regular basis because of these omnipresent vehicles in southeastern CT) I realized they are an appropriate metaphor for where we find ourselves politically as 2019 winds to a close.
Donald Trump was gifted a (metaphoric) huge SUV by Vladimir Putin in November of 2016. Put in the driver’s seat of our great nation, Trump, like many who get behind the wheel of their SUV’s here in Connecticut, is not capable of handling the vehicle. Frighteningly, we are seat-belted in a careening SUV, watching a driver who not only hasn’t taken time to read the Owner’s Manual (the Constitution) and not only has no experience driving but no idea of how to drive such a large and complex vehicle. As we move into the initial phases of Impeachment we find ourselves in a situation where our “Driver” sees flashing lights in the rearview mirror and, despite the whine of the sirens, refuses to pull over. The danger, for all of us, is that he has no idea of how big and fast the vehicle is, his judgment is clearly impaired, and he thinks he can simply outrun the Law! Worse, there are some people in the vehicle cheering him on, telling him to drive faster and more recklessly (read: Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gomer, et al).
We know that we will probably not crash and burn (air bags?) but the vehicle will undoubtedly be banged up pretty badly and some of the passengers will need serious medical attention. Unlike the crash in Connecticut Sunday night, in which the driver was thrown from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries, our Driver may well step away relatively unscathed, believing he can simply trade in his 2016 (banged up) model and ask Santa (read: Putin) for a new one in 2020.
I’m hoping, somehow, the police manage to pull him over, remove him from the vehicle, strip him of his license (if he even has one, or if it’s valid), and throw him in the clink for a variety of crimes. Despite his road rage, he’ll no longer be a danger to the rest of us, who are just trying to get from here to there on our local roads.
Here We Go Again
It looks as though Michael Bloomberg is entering the already over-populated Democratic Presidential parade which, to my mind, only throws one more wrench into the Dump Trump possibilities for 2020. While it is still beyond belief that the corrupt, criminal, incompetent, barely literate Trumpglodyte is in the White House, I am genuinely concerned that the Democrats are carefully arranging their circular firing squad to insure “4 More Years” of this Nightmare! It could well be that the final Democratic nominee is not on the Campaign Trail yet (there are Eric Holder rumors circulating this morning, for example) but, whatever the case, let’s take a look at who the candidates are right now, with Election Day 2020 now less than one year away.
To be fair, we’ll look at the current Democratic field alphabetically, considering what kind of a chance they may have to receiving the nomination and what they might bring to the table against the current Tweeter-in-Chief. (based on NY Times, Nov. 7th “Who’s Running” by 5 staff writers)
Michael Bennett. Currently a Senator from Colorado, 54 years old (underwent prostate cancer surgery in April but is “clean” now), focused on issues of infrastructure, economics, and technology. If you’ve had a chance to hear Bennett (which is rare, because he’s not a big “name” candidate) he’s very bright with some clear, sensible ideas. Has zero name recognition and is from a purple state. No chance.
Joe Biden. There are reasons Joe Biden didn’t get the nomination the last two times he ran. While he may be a nice guy, Biden is far from the sharpest knife in the drawer. Unless he runs with Barack or Michelle as his VP candidate, his ability to stick his foot in his mouth makes him a perfect foil for the cruel denizen of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He’s 76 years old and it’s difficult to say if he’s just not very bright or there is some creeping dementia going on.
Cory Booker. Senator from New Jersey, 50 years old. Obama-Lite. Excellent orator with a great track record (up-by-the-bootstraps kid, Stanford football player and Rhodes Scholar, Mayor of Newark) but he hasn’t been able to gain much traction among Democrats. He could be a longshot or a VP name.
Steve Bullock. The Governor of Montana and former State A.G. 53 years old. Like Bennett, another bright, young guy nobody knows. A Democrat who has prevailed in a deep Red state but governing Montana (population: around 1 million people in the 4th largest state, physically) is not governing the whole country and, despite his bipartisan success in the Big Sky State, he’ll be out of the running after Iowa and New Hampshire. Again, maybe a VP name.
Pete Buttigieg. The 37 year old gay war veteran is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and running a smart race. He is currently a darling among voters (and the media!), particularly younger people. He is focused on the environment/climate change and economic opportunity, offering himself as a “Moderate” in a field that is split between “Progressives,” “Liberals,” and “Moderates.” He’ll make a splash in Iowa and probably remain in the race through the Spring. However, Democrats, do you think this polarized country is read for a young gay President? (I think not – but I wasn’t sure they’d elect Obama either --- big thank you to Sarah Palin there).
Julian Castro. The 45 year old former Obama Cabinet member has made immigration reform and education key policy issues in his campaign but is failing to gain traction. He might have been a stronger candidate against Ted Cruz than Beto in that 2018 Senate race but clearly was looking at this Presidential run instead. Again, a possible VP but I doubt America is ready for a young Latinx President any more than it is ready for a gay man (or, possibly, a woman!).
John Delaney. 56 former Congressman from Maryland. What? You didn’t know he was still running? Oh, you didn’t know he was ever running? A nice Liberal guy. No chance.
Tulsi Gabbard. The 38 year old Congresswoman from Hawaii and Army National Guard veteran has a history of anti-gay activism and meeting with Syria’s Assad (after he used chemical weapons on his own people!). Fabulous rumors that she is V. Putin’s choice for the Dems. Like Trump, she’s an anti-interventionist American-Firster. Will fade by the time Super Tuesday rolls around.
Kamala Harris. 55 year old Senator from California --- former San Franciso DA and CA AG who’s record on criminal justice reform has become a thorn in her side. A wonderful speaker whose intense questioning of Trump nominees for the Cabinet and the Court regularly makes the nightly news. After a fast start, has steadily lost momentum and, again: will America elect a bi-racial woman? (Sorry, I’m getting more and more skeptical of our electorate).
Amy Klobuchar. The 59 year old Senator from Minnesota and former attorney has focused on appealing to swing state voters as a sensible, Moderate candidate who wants to take on the opioid crisis and prescription drug costs. Kind of a likable Hillary Clinton (policy wise) but probably will fade as the weather gets warmer.
Wayne Messam: I’ll bet you didn’t even know the 45 year old Mayor of Miramar, Florida was even running, right? Well, according to the November 7th NY Times, he’s on the list! The first Black mayor of Miramar, Messam was a member of the 1993 Florida State Seminoles National Champions. Keep moving, people, nothing to see here.
Bernie Sanders. We’re all familiar with the 78 year old heart attack victim who wants Medicare for All. Bernie is a phenomenon, for sure, but does he really have a chance? I know, according to current polls he’s running ahead of Trump --- and that’s great. But he’s a self-professed Socialist who wants Medicare for All (“You’ll be TAXED!” the Republicans will cry) and free college tuition (Who’s paying for that?). And, while I hate to bring this up (and this is true for Bloomberg, too) do we really think the American electorate will elect a Jew? Jack Kennedy barely squeaked by as a Catholic and, while we’d like to believe we’ve come a long way --- we haven’t.
Joe Sestak. 67 year old former Navy Admiral and Congressman from Pennsylvania. Yup, like Wayne Messam, you probably weren’t aware of this guy’s candidacy. Read on.
Tom Steyer. The 62 year old billionaire is listed as a “climate change and impeachment activist.” There’s no doubt Tom Steyer’s heart is in all the right places but can he really get out the Black vote, the white working-class vote, the youth vote? Probably not. He comes across as a stiff business guy who’s trying to do the right thing, which is nice, but he’s not the guy.
Elizabeth Warren. The 70 year old Senator from Massachusetts, former Harvard professor, and champion of the Consumer Protection Agency wants “big, structural change” (NY Times). Attacking income inequality and promoting Medicare-for-All with her “I Have a Plan for That” motto is appealing to a segment of the electorate --- but a “segment” is not going to displace Agent Orange. Like Biden and Sanders, current national polls have her running ahead of Trump but will she swing Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin? Don’t discount how much harder it is for a woman to run for an Executive position.
Marianne Williamson. The 67 year old self-help author and new age lecturer (NY Times) from Planet Xenon is another candidate with her heart in the right place --- but her head? Who knows where that is? How she’s still out there is a miracle, right?
Andrew Yang. The tech millionaire has run on the universal basic income idea, which is one I like and believe might eventually evolve into a viable possibility by the middle of this century, but Yang’s a longshot who will fizzle by Super Tuesday, if not sooner.
As far as Michael Bloomberg is concerned I’ll just say this: New Yorker. Short. Jewish. I won’t belabor how he wouldn’t even negotiate with the New York City Teachers Union the entire time I worked in that system (2008-2014), consigning us (the teachers) to living on 2008’s base salary for six years while all costs of living climbed in NYC and he convinced the City Council to allow him to run for a third term because “only he” could pull NYC out of the 2007-2008 fiscal crisis. Not my favorite candidate, as you might guess.
So, that’s the field. We may seem other saviors emerge over the coming months but I’m afraid what’s shaping up is a Classic Circular Firing Squad, leaving Trump’s re-election a genuine possibility.
“Those who do not remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”
I do not agree with Santayana’s quote for a several reasons: #1 – other than professors on college campuses and a few (weird?) hobbyists, nobody studies history. We all “take” history courses in high school but only a few students find it even mildly interesting, much less a discipline to invest adult time in studying. #2 – Even if you “remember the past” it makes little difference because those in power don’t and, as a result, history is disturbingly cyclical. Regarding point #1 – as someone who taught history to high school students (or their aspiring teachers) for 42 years, I think it’s obvious why teenagers don’t actually learn history. Simply put, they don’t have history! For an adolescent, “history” is two weeks ago --- and it’s focused on social events or performance activities (sports, drama, band/orchestra, choir, et al). That too many history teachers slog through the past chronologically (starting with pre-history or Christopher Columbus) guarantees teens won’t be along for the ride. But I don’t want to talk about pedagogy and curriculum here, there are bigger fish to fry. Point #2 (history is cyclical because of ignorance) is being played out right before our eyes on a daily basis. Yesterday’s elections, particularly the Governor’s race in Kentucky, where a Democrat (Andy Beshear) defeated the incumbent Republican (Matt Bevin), who was endorsed by Trump on Monday, illustrates the cyclical nature of our politics/history.
Trump endorsed Bevin at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The venue is named after the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach who, while becoming the 5th most-winning coach in NCAA history, might best be remembered for the 1966 championship game where his five white starting players (not only there were no Blacks on the Kentucky team but there were none in the entire South Eastern Conference!) lost to Texas Western’s five Black players --- a significant event in the civil rights movement. During his endorsement of Bevin, Trump lashed out at the Democrats as Socialists --- which appears to be one of the major talking points he will use in the 2020 election. This builds on Trump’s February State of the Union address when he said:
Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. ... Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.
Reflecting on this strategy brought me back to Harry Truman (President, 1945-53) because he was attacked again and again by the Republican Party as a “socialist.” Truman is a font of “quotable quotes” that proves, in fact, that the citizens of the United States “do not remember the past.”
As a case in point, consider this Truman quote from 1952:
Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.
The fact is, Americans are grossly ignorant regarding their understanding of what “Socialism” is and generally confuse it not only with term “Communism” but also with “totalitarianism.” Some of this is the understandable product of almost a half-century of the Cold War, in which the “free and democratic” United States stood on the barricades against the “godless, Communist” Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). But the modern American Republican Party (until Trump) was built around opposing all things Russian. In the new Trumpist incarnation, Russia, apparently, is “okay” but Socialism (which Russia, now a kleptocratic authoritarian state, is not) is still the “scare word” used to rally the base. “A Trump campaign spokesman said that the rhetoric about socialism ‘resonates’ with the vast majority of hard working Americans who recognize that Trump’s patriotic capitalism is benefiting all Americans nationwide.”
And here, again, Truman had several choice quotes. First, he noted:
Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home ---but not for housing. They are strong for labor --- but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum-wage – the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all --- but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine---for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing --- but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think the American standard of living is a fine thing --- so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. Andy they admire Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.
In the Kentucky election Tuesday, the issues of education and medical care were the driving force behind Beshear’s victory, but if we consider the other items Truman addresses, we can see that today’s Trumpublicans fit his quote. Farmers? Screwed by the tariffs. Housing? Ben Carson is Trump’s Cabinet man on that front. Labor and the minimum wage? We know where Republicans stand on those issues, and it’s not with the working person. Electrical power? One word: California. The standard of living? The Wealth Gap is increasing every year! Again, Harry said:
We are fighting with all of our strength to prevent the gluttons of privilege from swallowing up the country. An honest public servant can’t become rich in politics. He can only attain greatness and satisfaction by service.
A reaction to Trump’s view of the country? Seems pretty accurate.
Finally, as regards Trump’s attempts at using the Government to serve his own purposes, his characterization of the free press as an “enemy of the people,” and the demand that the Whistleblower’s identity be revealed, Truman had one more quote.
Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures. Until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
Trump’s “appeal” to voters is based on authoritarianism and fear --- particularly fear of “the Other” (read nonwhite, non-Christian, etc.). His instincts are clearly undemocratic and he is blatant in his craven desire for wealth and power. Fans of “The Apprentice” do not distinguish the character from that show (a successful businessman --- not Donald J. Trump) with this cartoonish buffoon serving as President. Harry Truman was reacting to the immediate post-World War II America he was navigating and his quotes are prescient --- clearly applying to the world we find ourselves in. Like a bizarre circle of Dante’s Inferno we are, day after day, condemned to repeating the past we have not studied.
(Coming Soon: The Political Spectrum – from Left to Right and Everything In Between!)
Trump’s Reality Show:
Stranger Things Meets The Walking Dead
Before we examine Trump’s Reality Show let’s establish one fact: “private” and “secret” are not the same. The Republicans know full well that the House of Representatives impeachment hearings that are going on are private --- just as the Benghazi hearings were several years ago, when the Republicans ran the House. Their claim that, somehow, we are witnessing a “Soviet Union” style takeover of our government, that secret meetings are taking place are pure and utter bullshit. They know better. 47 Republicans are on the Committees hearing the testimony. “Secret?” But the actions of those 40 or so Republican Congressman yesterday was disingenuous --- some of the Animal House disruption group were actually members of the Committees and have been hearing testimony! Private hearings, yes; secret meetings? Not even close. But their action does reflect how the Trump Reality Show works.
Stranger Things is a science fiction/horror procedural (Netflix) and its first season was released on July 15, 2016 --- right in the middle of the election. For those who are not familiar with the show ,it revolves around people, particularly a group of tweens and the town’s Police Chief, in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. It seems “a portal to an alternate dimension, the Upside Down” (wiki) has been discovered in Hawkins. Without belaboring what goes on in the show, what we should consider is that the United States of America passed through a portal to an alternate “Upside Down” dimension on November 8, 2016. The ascendance of Donald Trump to the Presidency has been, for many of us, our own personal science fiction/horror Reality Show. But Stranger Things is not the only popular program Trump co-opted. No, no, no. He also noticed that The Walking Dead, a post-apocalyptic horror series was wildly popular. The idea of recruiting a Zombie Army (as Charles Blow details in today’s New York Times) would keep him popular enough to make it through his Presidency and, maybe, even gain a second term.
The Ukraine Scandal has disrupted Trump’s show, of course, but I think it’s important for those of us who continue to watch this science fiction/horror show to really look at how and why it manages to survive. As Charles Blow notes in his column (Donald Trump, Life of a Zombie Party, Oct. 23, 2019, NY Times), “Trump is the embodiment of the Republican voter and a personification of their ambitions and fears.” He continues, noting: “Trump (has made) himself into the voodoo doll of conservative politics: Whatever pain he felt, his supporters would feel, and they would object to it in unison.” Indeed, Trump’s recent appeals in his Pep Rallies is as “We,” rather than his usual “I.” As Blow so eloquently puts it: “There is no separation between the Republican Party and Donald Trump. In fact, Trump killed the old Republican Party and now he alone animates the zombie party that lurched forward after its death.” And we know who the villains of the Trump Stranger Things/Walking Dead Reality Show are: “These Democrats --- the women, the minorities, the Jewish, the gay --- are torturing the white man. And he inverted the language of anti-black white supremacist terror (lynching) to make the hollow point of white supremacist patriarchal victimhood.” (Blow, NY Times)
And that’s really where it all starts. When Blow claims Trump is the “personification of their ambitions and fears” the real focal point is fears. A recent Pew Research Study on Race in America provides some valuable insight into how the Trump cancer took root in our Body Politic. When presented with the phrase, “Race relations in the U.S. are generally bad,” 71% of Black people agreed, while only 56% of whites did. When presented with "Trump has made race relations worse” 73% of Blacks agreed, but only 49% of whites. When asked to consider “Our country hasn’t gone far enough in giving blacks equal rights with whites” 78% of Blacks agreed; only 37% of whites did. Those statements --- and the gap between white and black responses --- are at the heart of Trump’s ascendance. White privilege and white supremacy have been severely challenged as our 21st Century has progressed --- particularly with the election of Barack Obama. Trump’s challenge of Obama’s nativity was the gauntlet he threw down and white people, particularly whites who (somehow) believe they are now getting the short end of the stick in American society, have rallied around him.
The Pew Study elaborates the chasm between the political parties. When presented with the statement:
Trump’s posing as a Victim --- particularly as a rich, white, male victim --- is what appeals to his “base.” And Republican legislators are so afraid of losing their seats to a Tweetstorm , they ignore the clear evidence that “high crimes and misdemeanors” have been committed by the President of the United States. Zombie-like, they attack the process, they create their own “Fake News,” they rely on State Media/Fox News to keep their “base” in the dark, and the Trump Stranger Things/Walking Dead Reality Show moves inexorably to its impeachment showdown. How many of the Zombies will fall by the wayside before Trump faces removal (Rudy? Lev and Igor? Rick Perry? Pence?) --- who knows? Just keep your focus on the facts and the actual reality: Trump’s white supremacist appeals to his base and the cowardice of Republican elected officials when faced with their “Profile in Courage” moment are the story, the real show.
The President’s “Lynching” (?),
The Republican Stunt,
Lindsay Graham has Lost his Mind!
What a week! Where to begin? The Tweeter-in-Chief, in another attempt at distracting people from watching his impeachment probe continue, has claimed the process is a “lynching.” Republican members of the House of Representatives stormed a Committee Room today in their attempt to attack the “process” (of impeachment), since they can’t attack the substance of it. And, of course, there’s Lindsay Graham, who, during the 2016 Republican primaries called Trump “crazy,” and a “kook” and “not fit to be President.” When Trump, appallingly, claimed he was being “lynched,” Graham immediately found some microphones to spout off in. Graham claimed “I think it’s pretty well accurate --- this is a shame, this is a joke. This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accusers, call witnesses on their behalf, and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”
Let’s take the measure of Graham’s statement before considering the action of the Republican House members or Trump’s outlandish and offensive (on so many levels) “lynching” claim. If Graham were, in fact, a competent lawyer or legislator, he would (and probably does) know that what’s going on in the Democratic controlled House of Representatives Committee meetings right now is the equivalent of Grand Jury hearings in criminal court. Because Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr has blatantly ignored his responsibility/obligation to investigate the Ukraine quid pro quo scandal, the House of Representatives is conducting the investigation. The meetings are closed and (somewhat) secretive because you do not want witnesses knowing what other witnesses said --- they shouldn’t be able to coordinate testimony. This “right” to “know his accusers” is pure and utter bullshit. Impeachment is a political process and the codified “rule of law” (which Trump disregards on a daily basis, btw!) does not apply the way it would in a legal proceeding. Graham knows this but, as a Trump butt-boy, he is obligated to obscure the truth as much as possible and do the bidding of the petty Boss in the White House.
The stunt the Republicans pulled Wednesday, disrupting a secure hearing, reinforces that they have nothing of substance to offer in defense of their “Leader,” and can only make impotent gestures, creating a momentary pause in the inexorable progression toward impeachment. As reported by Mark Sumner in The Daily Kos:
Over two dozen Republicans flooded into the closed meeting room where testimony was to be heard. They will certainly be thrown out—but not before they’ve disrupted the hearing, shaken their fists at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and gotten their five minutes of hate bottled up for display on Fox News. In the process, they also disrupted the morning’s hearings, delaying the testimony of defense official Laura Cooper.
What the Republicans did is absolutely as bad as if outsiders had charged into a conference in a judge’s chambers, it was a violation not just of House rules, but of the foundations of how Congress deals with secure information. Deliberately disrupting a hearing and violating security by bringing cell phones into a posted secure area are egregious violations of House rules. (bold, mine)
Violating House rules means nothing to the “law and order” Republicans who, like Lindsay Graham, are blind to reality and only follow marching orders from the White House. The House Republican stunt was led by the dim-witted Matt Gaetz (just listen to him for a few minutes and it’s clear the man is probably challenged getting dressed each day) and provided a brief distraction. The House Committees will proceed and Trump will be impeached.
As far as Trump goes, his likening his treatment by the House to a “lynching” is beyond offensive and harkens back to Clarence Thomas’s last gasp to save his Supreme Court seat (thanks, Joe Biden, btw!). We know that the President doesn’t read, that he believes Frederick Douglass is doing some “great work” in 2019, and that he genuinely believes each day in Office is a day on the set of The Appresident reality show. That he could so lightly throw out a term that evokes such horror and brutality reflects what we already know about the man’s callous insensitivity.
His blatant appeal to the basest instincts of his voters --- who believe, as a recent Pew Research study indicates, that white people are being discriminated against in our current society --- is par for the course. The Pew Study shows that 56% of Americans believe Trump has “made race relations worse” since taking office and 65% believe “expressing racist or racially insensitive views” has become more common since Trump was sworn in. Certainly, we can see that --- and should also note that Fox News, in particular, has been complicit in beating the drum for white supremacy (“We want to go back to the way it was, when America was ‘great’!”) Trump’s ignorance, combined with his Fox News bullhorn, his Administration’s lackeys, and all the Republican Senators and Representatives who have become Trump butt-boys/girls, will continue to try to salvage this utterly failed Presidency, at the expense of the American people, the Ukrainians, and the Kurd, to name a few. All roads lead to Moscow, of course, with Putin being the one who profits most from the ineptitude we have to watch each day.
2019 N.Y. Yankees: R.I.P.?
Saturday, October 19, 2019
I started writing this on Friday evening, before Game 5 between my beloved New York Yankees and the Astros of Houston at the Big Ballpark. Despite the Yankees victory (4-1) on Friday night, behind a great performance from James Paxton, I am not optimistic about taking two games in Houston over this weekend. And not just because of the team’s performance in their three losses (which was demonstrably miserable). Realistically looking at our roster --- and the pitching staff, in particular --- this team is not “built to win” a World Series. In fact, it is not built to make it to the World Series. The old adage “Great pitching beats great hitting” has been proven time and again --- and we are watching that in both leagues right now. Despite the Kansas City Royals 2016 championship, carried by their bullpen and featuring a relatively undistinguished starting rotation, strong starting pitching is still the key to winning the World Series.
The Washington Nationals, with three stud pitchers (Strasburg, Scherzer, Corbin) and the Astros (with Verlander, Cole, and Greinke) will almost surely be this year’s World Series opponents --- and it should be a great one (though I’ll probably only watch an inning here and an inning there, if the Yanks are out of it). Great pitching beats great hitting. Last year the Astros lost the ALCS because they ran into the Boston Red Sox buzz saw offense combined with two Cy Young Award winning pitchers (David Price, Rick Porcello) and a third perennial Cy Young candidate (Chris Sale). And the Astros also had two Cy Young winners (Verlander and Keuchel) as well as this year’s probable winner, Gerrit Cole.
The last time the Yankees won the World Series, in 2009, they had (the young) C.C. Sabathia, Andy Petitte (best postseason starter ever?), and A.J. Burnett (not great, but more than fine as a third starter). They beat the Phillies in six games (the Phillies, by the way, had Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and rookie-of-the year candidate, J.A.Happ). And this season? James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino --- none of whom is a legitimate #1 Starter a la Verlander, Scherzer (former Detroit Tiger teammates), Strasburg, or Cole. The point here is simple: without stellar starting pitching, something the Yankees have struggled with all season, it is difficult to get to, much less win, the World Series. Despite my great respect for Brian Cashman, he has failed, rather spectacularly, in the area of Starting Pitching. Two years ago, he let Houston trade for Cole (because he would not consider giving up Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier --- and, yes, hindsight is 20-20 . . . but…..) and last winter he wouldn’t spend money for Corbin (probably this year’s version of A.J. Burnett --- who was 1-1 in the 2009 Series, btw).
Tonight will be a bullpen game for both teams and, with luck, the Yankees will prevail, as they did in Game One in Houston, setting up a Gerrit Cole/Luis Severino showdown in Minute Maid Park on Sunday night. There’s nothing like a Game Seven in a League Championship Series but, at least on paper, the odds are definitely in Houston’s favor (Cole hasn’t lost a game since June or July!). As a diehard fan, I’m still hoping against hope and root/root/rooting for my home team. Should the Yankees pull off the upset/miracle (rather than repeating their 2017 7th game ALCS loss) they then will have to face the Nationals (and their pitchers!) --- but they would have Home Field Advantage (which, of course, they squandered in this Houston series by losing the second game in extra innings, as I see it). Stranger things have happened, greater upsets have occurred but, as they say, that’s why they play the games.
And maybe this winter Cashman will finally nail down some topflight, front line starting pitching.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
You’re A-Toady General
Behind all the sturm und drang of the Trump Presidency --- particularly regarding the impeachment inquiry and the Syrian withdrawal --- we might want to take a closer look at the actions (or inaction) of Attorney General William Barr. The attempt to bury the whistleblower complaint, citing Trump’s criminal phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky, by Barr is just the latest in this Attorney General’s actions that reveal him to perceive his role as the President’s attorney and not the head of the Justice Department. For those of us who opposed Barr’s appointment (despite the complicit Media touting he’s “fair-minded,” etc.) we can see this is totally consistent with Barr’s history --- and explains (for those with short memories) why he was barely appointed by a 54-45 vote (the three Democratic defections were from “purple” states --- Alabama, West Virginia, Arizona --- along with Rand Paul’s “no” and Richard Burr’s “present/no vote.) Earlier this year, Barr gave the Justice Department’s Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service to lawyers who backed Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court --- a confirmation hearing that featured a curtailed investigation by the Justice Department’s FBI! In other words, we are pretty clear where Bill Barr stands regarding Trump, corruption, and criminality.
If you check out Barr’s biography on Wikipedia you’ll find all you need to know about our A-Toady General. He is “a longtime proponent of the unitary executive theory of nearly unfettered presidential authority.” Is it any wonder Trump loves this guy? Regarding his politics, Barr has argued, throughout his career, for increased incarceration rates (his report, drafted during the H.W. Bush administration was used as the primary source for the disastrous Clinton Crime Bill in the mid-1990s). As part of the Catholic-Conservative Complex (with Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito, Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, to name a few others), “he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion.” (wiki) It should be noted that during his first tenure as AG, under George H.W. Bush, Barr shifted three hundred FBI agents from counterintelligence to investigate gang violence and “violent” crime (leaving the door open for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993). He manipulated data (using decade intervals rather than 5-year statistics) to justify his “more incarceration” argument, which shouldn’t surprise us after reading his “summary” of the Mueller report --- which was also manipulated to “exonerate” Trump.
Regarding the current scandals, we should note that this is not Barr’s first rodeo, either. He was the Attorney General when the Iran-Contra scandal’s investigation revealed “evidence of a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American people.” Former Secretary of Defense Caspar “Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on felony charges on January 5, 1993” (wiki), with possible testimony that would implicate President GHW Bush as a co-conspirator (when he was Reagan’s VP). “On December 24, 1992, during his final month in office, Bush, on the advice of Barr, pardoned Weinberger.” (wiki – bold/italics mine) Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh made it clear that he considered that move a “cover-up” and William Safire, in The New York Times, referred to Barr as “Coverup-General Barr” (wiki) The past is prologue, dear readers. We should anticipate comparable legal gymnastics from the Coverup-General in the coming months.
Let’s be clear how Barr got to where he is. In 2017 he stated publicly that there was “nothing inherently wrong” with Trump calling on Hillary Clinton to be investigated when they were running for President (even though he did, as you may recall, ask for “Russia, if you’re listening . . . “ to help!). (wiki) Barr even went so far as to claim there was more validity in investigating Clinton’s connection to the Uranium One (non) controversy than in Trump’s Russian collusion. He also supported Trump’s firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for her refusal to enforce the Muslim Travel Ban Executive Order. Finally, in “June 2018, Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo to senior Justice Department officials, and to members of Trump’s legal team, with some of whom he discussed the memo. . . . Democrats later characterized the memo as Barr’s ‘job application’ for the Attorney General position.” (wiki)
Since his appointment Barr has essentially been a “champion and advocate” for Trump (an Associated Press characterization – wiki). Beyond misrepresenting the Mueller Report (claiming, for instance, that the White House had completely cooperated with the Investigation -- a bald-faced lie), Barr has instructed Justice Department members to not comply with Congressional subpoenas and, as of May 2019, he was held in contempt of Congress. Undeterred, Barr has supported Trump’s claim that the Whistleblower is a “spy” and has pursued the wild conspiracy theory that led to his opening a 3rd investigation (at the request of Trump) into the “origins” of the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Regarding other Trump policies, Barr supports “an aggressive ‘law and order’ agenda on immigration,” the death penalty, and has consistently voiced his opinion that “traditional moral norms” have loosened divorce laws, allowed abortion, and promoted gay rights. (wiki) If all that is not enough evidence of where this A-Toady General stands, and why he should be impeached, you should also know that he is, according to his Wikipedia bio, “an avid bagpiper.” That sealed it for me! Trump’s unholy prattle and clatter is bad enough, we don’t need Barr’s bagpipes providing more cacophony in the background.
The House’s impeachment inquiry is proceeding at a deliberate pace, all started by a phone call from President Trump to Ukraine President Zelensky. An even more insidious phone call occurred several weeks ago, when Trump spoke to Turkish dictator Erdogan, promising to remove U.S. troops from northern Syria, allowing the Turks to invade the area and begin their genocide of the local Kurdish population. This has led to those same Kurds, formerly valiant allies of the United States, seeking refuge from Syrian dictator Assad, starting an “alliance” with the Russians! The abandonment of the Kurds (with the ancillary problem of a potential rebirth of Isis fighters in the region) plays right into the hands of Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical ambitions. Trump, of course, is fine with that and his only focus in the Middle East are the Saudis, because they pay for U.S. armaments. And that’s really the bottom line, for Donald Trump, isn’t it? It’s all business.
Neal Brennan is a brilliant comedian who appeared on Monday night’s (October 14th) The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and presented what might be the most accurate analysis of Trump’s presidency to date. (You can Google: The Daily Show October 14, 2019 and scroll to minute 16:11 to see the whole routine) Simply put, according to Brennan:
“Trump doesn’t think he got elected, Trump thinks he bought America.” When Noah questioned whether that could be true, Brennan pointed out “He tried to buy Greenland . . . and it wasn’t even for sale!” In further explaining Trump’s perspective, Brennan noted: “He doesn’t think he works for America; he thinks he owns it. Listen to how he talks: (clips were shown here --- with the following Trump quotes) ‘My generals and my military; my guys at NASA; my miners; my farmers; Look at my African-American over here.’” Indeed, if you listen to Trump speak, particularly when he’s not using a teleprompter, he sounds like America’s owner, not its steward. As Brennan continued: “Trump thinks everyone in the country works for him. It’s why he’s sending his Attorney General around the world to focus on his personal vendettas. Trump thinks the Attorney General is, generally, his attorney.” Funny, for sure, but a bit too close to home.
That Trump can’t believe the Congress has the right to impeach him extends the “ownership” concept. How can people who work for you have the audacity to tell you that you can’t be the “Boss” any longer? It speaks to Trump’s ignorance, arrogance, and Mob Boss mentality that he proceeds as he does. Once again, I don’t believe the media is reacting with the outrage his actions merit. As the Russians move in with the Syrians to destroy the Kurds (or if they simply sit back & let Turkey do it), as Trump escalates his attacks on Congress's constitutional rights, and as more and more evidence surfaces as to the Trump team’s attempts to fix the 2020 election, our media outlets (excluding Fox News, of course, since they are State Sponsored Media) continue to “report” these stories “even-handedly.” Media outlets should be screaming like their hair’s on fire about Syria, about Trump’s defiance of Congress, and about the corruption of the election process.
“Reporting” is not enough! The purpose of a Free Press is to be a Civilian check and balance on an out-of-control Executive Branch. We know the Republicans in the Senate will die on their Trump sword rather than remove him from office, so the Media is all we, the American people, have left. The House will pass Bills of Impeachment and proceed to try Trump. The Senate “jury” will not convict this Rogue President so all we, the People, have left is a Media that will exercise its power and aggressively broadcast the corruption and misdeeds of this Administration!
And what of that phone call with Erdogan? We know Trump is very proud of his Trump Towers in Istanbul --- big money-makers (which he has not separated himself from!): how much did that have to do with his acceding to Erdogan’s desire to wipe out the Kurds? This President is all about self-interest. While he screams about Joe Biden’s son’s “corruption,” his own children (including his son-in-law) continue to wheel and deal on a global scale, leveraging their access to the President for profit (Ivanka has 34 Chinese trademarks!). These stories --- all of them --- need to be front and center --- on a daily basis in our Media. Anything short of that creates a 2016 flashback, when the Media persisted in its contention that “both sides have a legitimate argument.” It is more than obvious that that train left the station a long time ago.
My only advice is: if the Media does not pick up the gauntlet, it is incumbent upon citizens like you and me to talk to people, to make sure these issues are front and center. We need to let people know what’s going on --- and make sure everyone goes out and votes in 2020. If the Media won’t do it, then we must.
The Incomparable Appeal
If you live outside the New York Metropolitan area you probably have not heard that the last “Tad’s Steakhouse” on the East Coast is closing (one remains extant in San Francisco). Tad’s started in New York City in 1957 offering a (skinny & gristly) steak, baked potato, salad, and garlic bread for $1.09. It was a steakhouse for the working class and proved to be popular for decades. Tad’s success led to imitators, of course, and in 1963 Dan (“Hoss”) Blocker started a chain of Bonanza steakhouses (named after the successful tv western he starred in), followed, in 1965, by Ponderosa steakhouses (named for the ranch on the tv show). We had a Ponderosa in Bay Shore, where I grew up, and, when playing varsity football for the high school, our team tradition on Saturday mornings was to go to 8:00 a.m. mass at St. Patrick’s Church (even though only some of the players were Catholic --- we were following the model of the NY football Giants, who had a Catholic “team chaplain”)and then had a steak and egg breakfast special at Ponderosa, our “training table” meal. There are still Bonanza and Ponderosa steakhouses in business and I think Golden Corral is probably a descendent of the “working class steakhouse.” The menus, even at Tad’s, expanded over time (Golden Corral boasts an “endless buffet”) and, as I listened to the NYC Tad’s obituary on NY One, the local City news channel, I thought back to those days in Bay Shore when Ponderosa was a Saturday morning destination for 8 weeks each Fall but our main eating destination was the O-Co-Nee Diner, on Montauk Road (Main St.) just past Windsor Avenue and the Brightwaters village line.
The greater reflection this led to was that I don’t recall my family ever going to the Ponderosa --- or to any “fancy” linen tablecloth & napkin restaurant --- when we were kids. “Eating out,” to us, a rare and special occasion, meant going to the Highway Diner on Main St. (Montauk Road) in Babylon --- even after we had moved to Bay Shore (we would, on very rare occasions “go out” for “Chinese” food --- a chicken chow mein joint). Maybe it was my early exposure to the Highway Diner, as well as my high school experiences at the O-Co-Nee and Peter Pan diners, that created my lifelong love for the precursors to the countless fast-food establishments marring our landscape. The diner is a uniquely American institution and one that has been integral to my personal history.
Before relating that history, here’s a quick look at the evolution of the culinary mainstay of the Northeast U.S., in particular, as well as segments of the Midwest. Most research about diners point to a man named Walter Scott who, in 1872, parked a horse-drawn wagon outside the Providence Journal building every night and sold sandwiches and food to the newspaper workers. Scott’s wagon evolved, over time, into the shiny chrome and glass buildings we now identify as “quintessential” diners. Scott’s original wagons were improved upon by making them big enough for patrons to stand inside ( avoiding inclement New England weather), eventually adding a counter and stools. As their popularity grew, the mobile wagons (dubbed “Nite Owls” because they started by catering to night shift workers), often open after restaurants closed at 8 p.m., became so pervasive that city’s began passing ordinances to curb hours of operation. As a result, wagons were slowly but surely replaced by more permanent structures. When horses were replaced by mechanized cars, cart owners began procuring large “cars/trucks” and converting them into eateries. In the early 20th century these places first gained their “greasy spoon” reputation, along with a clientele that often was seen as less than savory.
But history moved on and, particularly after women received the vote in 1920, diner owners began cleaning up their act (often re-naming their establishments and adding “Miss” to their title, to appeal to women). This is when flower boxes and booth service were added and diners began to resemble the places we are familiar with today. It was in the 1920s that diner-car-construction companies emerged, incorporating the “railroad car” look, using the word “diner” and introducing innovations like indoor bathroom facilities. Despite the Depression, diners --- due to their affordable food prices --- survived and after World War II, with the population shifting to the suburbs, diners hit their Golden Age.
1950s diners featured the classic style we now think of when we hear the word “diner:” chrome, glass, tile, a Formica counter with seats, and brightly-lit display cases featuring homemade baked goods. Keep in mind that in the 50s, all this was “futuristic” and classic “form follows function” design. As the 1960s progressed, with the Space Age upon us, diner architecture reflected that modernism but, by the end of the decade, felt the pinch of the new fast-food industry (catering to an “on-the-move/on-the-run” population that wanted cheap food fast). Diner manufacturers responded by offering:
Neoclassical, Tudor, and Mediterranean styles. Artificial stonework, dark stained wood, earth-tone colors, and fabrics replaced the flashy look of stainless steel, neon, and bold colors. Many old diners were remodeled and covered with brick walls and mansard roofs. (americandinermuseum.org)
You may have reacted as I did to this “new” Diner style: WHAT? I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now --- give me the chrome and steel railroad car any day.
The late 1970s brought a renewed interest in Diners and some national chains (Denny’s, Johnny Rockets, Silver Diners) emulated the classic 1950’s chrome/glass style with greater(Silver) and lesser (Denny’s)success. Some of the older original diners (like The Modern in Pawtucket, Rhode Island) have been saved from the wrecking ball by receiving “Historic Landmark” status. If you are a native New York Metropolitan area citizen, it is hard to imagine a world without diners and, for me, they are always integral to my sense of place.
Once I left Long Island (and the O-Co-Nee and Peter Pan) in 1967 I found myself in New Haven, Connecticut. Luckily, for me, there was The Yankee Doodle, a 12-stool burger & breakfast shop right on Elm Street (closed in 2008) and Hungry Charlie’s (now Toad’s Place, a music venue) on York. If you wanted to hike up Chapel Street you could also eat at the classic chrome and glass Elm City Diner (now Tandoor the Clay Oven Indian restaurant). If you have grown up with diners, there is an inherent need to have one nearby. Once I moved to Westchester, The White Plains Coach Diner proved an adequate stop and my Diner “habit” while living in Boston and Cambridge (1984-87, 1994-1995)was more than met by Charlie’s Kitchen (on Eliot St., Cambridge), Bartley’s Burger Cottage (on Mass. Ave./Harvard Square) and The Tasty (in Harvard Square, used for a scene in Good Will Hunting. Like the Yankee Doodle, closed in 1997). When I got back to New York City (1987-1994, 2008-2014) I became a regular at my all-time favorite diner, Big Nick’s Burger Joint, and wrote an essay about it for a seminar I took with Ian “Sandy” Frazier of the New Yorker( 2010). Re-reading that piece, here is a paragraph that stood out.
Between 72nd St. and 86th St., up Broadway and down Amsterdam Avenue, there are seven diners. The Utopia (72nd & Amsterdam, east side), the Manhattan Diner (77th & Broadway, east side), and Café 82 (82nd & Broadway, east side) are all expansive places with counters that sit at least a dozen people, an impressive number of booths (both four and two seaters) and some freestanding tables. The New Wave Café (Broadway & 79th, east side) and the Shining Star Restaurant (Amsterdam & 78th, east side) are smaller versions of those three. E.J’s Luncheonette (Amsterdam & 81st, east side) is one of those “nouveau” diners, full of chrome and glass that tries to make you feel like you’re on the “Happy Days” set. While I’ve eaten at all these places (and still do, occasionally), none of them struck the responsive chord that Big Nick’s Burger Joint (Broadway & 77th, west side) did for me. Maybe because it isn’t a stereotypical place, but probably because, for me, it’s such a “New York” place, Big Nick’s has been my diner of choice for almost 25 years now.
What is most striking, re-reading the paragraph in 2019, is that only The Utopia, Café 82, and The New Wave remain in the neighborhood. E.J.’s ultimately became a Meatball Shop and I’m not sure what its current incarnation is. Big Nick’s was consumed by the boutique Hotel Belleclaire (which was an SRO flophouse back in the day). Of course, if you want to jump the #1 Train you can go up to Tom’s Restaurant on the edge of the Columbia campus at Broadway and 112th Street, which was popularized by a catchy Suzanne Vega tune (“Tom’s Diner”) and the Seinfeld comedy series. What was my favorite campus “greasy-spoon” (I attended Columbia from 1992-1994) is now sanitized and replete with Seinfeld wall-size photos, etc., diminishing its appeal tenfold.
That leaves me with my years in the home of the Diner, Providence, Rhode Island (1996-2007). Providence benefits from being home to the Johnson & Wales culinary school, boasting a surfeit of dining experiences. It also has some great diners. I already mentioned the Modern, in Pawtucket, a quick drive from the Brown campus. Just down Brook Street, where the Education Department was located, is Louis Family Restaurant, significant enough (?) to have been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives (a blessing or a curse, based on your predilections). Louis’s is a great little place, though, meeting all one’s Diner needs. There used to be a place called Ruby’s right on Thayer Street, that was a real hole-in-the-wall diner with great food and atmosphere but it fell victim to the University’s expansion (as so much of East Side Providence does). There is also the Wayland Square Diner, which was around the corner from my first apartment on the East Side but, most spectacularly, there is the Haven Brothers mobile diner, which pulls up next to City Hall in downtown Providence at dusk and cranks out burgers, dogs, fries, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, and any other deep-fried delight you might crave between sundown and sunrise. The clientele is varied and sketchy and it’s not unusual, in good weather, to see upwards of 50 Harley-Davidson’s parked in front of City Hall as the bikes’ owners chow down on the steps of the building.
My lifelong Diner Odyssey has taken me to “famous” diners in various corners of the country. The Lovely Carol Marie and I have eaten at the Tick-Tock Diner in Clifton, New Jersey (another Guy Fieri stop --- as was The Black Duck right here on the Naugatuck River in Westport) and two different Silver Diners in Maryland (the now-defunct one in Gaithersburg and a spectacular one in Rockville). In my youth I had occasion to dine at the Empire Diner in New York City, the Fog City Diner in San Francisco and, on a consulting junket to Boyne City, Michigan, by virtue of taking a random exit I was delivered to Rosie’s Diner --- made famous in the old Nancy Walker “quicker-picker-upper” Bounty commercials. When we visit my 92 year-old mother in Stroudsburg, PA, we invariably have lunch at the Arlington Diner on Route 611/9th Street, where Mom always orders a burger with grilled onions --- and is always satisfied.
Nowadays, The Post Road Diner in Norwalk, CT, is our “regular” diner, although Steve Jones (my graduate school roommate, Blind Brook HS teaching colleague, and long-suffering friend) and I will explore other diners in Fairfield County, particularly when one of us has to wait while a car gets serviced. Someone once told me that a diner is a place where you can “order anything off the menu 24/7.” While not all the places written about here fit that definition exactly, they all hit enough of a basic criteria --- good comfort food for a reasonable price and “breakfast all-day” --- to be Diners in my book. As I look back on my life it’s easy to conjure up memories of sitting with people who are (or were) near and dear to me, on a stool at a counter or in a booth, with bright light reflecting off chrome and glass, waiting for a burger & fries, an omelet, a short stack, or, once, “cantaloupe and a Coca-Cola!” Those were always satisfying experiences that included basics McDonalds now artificially markets: food, fun, and friends.
Save me a seat in your booth and check out the menu, I’m sure you’ll find something you want.