Monthly Archives: January 2016

King Richard the Third and The Donald

RICHARD

I am determined to prove a villain,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate one against the other.

THE DONALD

I am determined to set my brothers,  Jeb and Ted and Chris and Marco, the whole pathetic lot, In deadly hate one against the other. I’ll skewer them, exposing their soft underbellies to the world. Starting with Jeb! A hundred million dollars can’t infuse him with energy or get that 800 pound gorilla off his back – sancta simplicitas, with a mere exclamation point! One by one, I’ll set them at each other’s throat.

(A spokesperson for The Donald stated yesterday that every move by his boss is carefully calibrated;  preciseness is all, every dust-up, every shout-out at his rallies part of the master plan.)

RICHARD

In this weak, piping time of peace,
I hate the idle pleasure of these days…
So plots have I laid, inductions dangerous

THE DONALD

All polls confirm I have dispatched the immediate contenders for the crown. They once numbered seventeen, mediocrities all. By inductions dangerous, such as Ted’s birth on foreign soil, or Marco’s flip-flopping on immigration, these upstarts are now irrelevent. (chuckling) Maybe I’ll send them to the Tower once I have seized power.

RICHARD

I am not shaped for sportive tricks,
To caper nimbly in a lady’s chamber.
I am rudely stamped and want love’s majesty.
Since I cannot prove a lover,
I am determined to prove a villain.

THE DONALD

(shielding his eyes) Look at all the cameras in the back!  Is this the Oscars? (crowd roars)  A Trump rally is fun, right?  We’re not pretty, but fun! fun! fun!  (crowd goes wild) We’ll be dancing in Iowa next Monday. Was ever a Presidency in this humour wooed? Was ever a Presidency in this humour won?  (aside) But more importantly, was ever a President crowned without debates? I dare not debate Hillary. Omigod! Debating Google would be easier. What are debates anyway? A form of calisthenics, nothing more.  After Nixon and Kennedy, debates became a national habit. No law says our political process must include them. So, no debates, now or in future. I set  precedent NOW in the Primaries for the General Election, which starts late in July, after the conventions.

RICHARD

You may partake of anything I say.
We  speak no treason, man: we say
The king is wise and virtuous.

THE DONALD

I will say  to Ailes,  “I speak no treason. I am fully aware that Fox News serves as the house organ of the Republican Party. And of course I know the ratings will crash sooner or later without my participation. But, man, what is one to do when attacked? And please, don’t mention Reince Priebus again. Fire him! (aside) I have turned the Republican National Committee into an impotent gang of over-the-moon, old, white geezers, with their autistic chairman.

RICHARD

Citizens, will you enforce me to a world of cares?
I am not made  of stones,
But penetrable to your kind entreaties.

RICHARD, NOW THE KING

Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burden, whether I will or no,
I must have patience to bear the load.

THE DONALD

Our country can be great again, but we have weak leaders. They’re not competent. The Iran treaty is the worst case of negotiations I have ever seen. Do you know how much money we send to China every year? The number will make you sick, so I won’t say it. When I am President we will become such a force on the planet Putin will think twice before flexing his pecs (crowd roars).

Shakespeare/Carson/Trump/Fiorina

Shakespeare wrote plays. ‘In their immense practicality, they are written from inside,” observes Stanley Wells, who has spent his life with Shakespeare.  Inside what? Inside theatre! “Shakespeare knows how many actors are available, how long it will take them to change from one costume to another, how many of them will be boys – very few of the plays call for more than four actors to play women’s and boys’ parts – and how much doubling he can impose.”

Shakespare was not a “lone eminence, but a working playwright with professional obligations to the theatre personnel without whose collaboration his art would have been ineffectual.” He belonged to the same company -The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later named The King’s Men -for over twenty years. He became a shareholder. He acted in many of the productions, consulted with fellow workers, supervised scripts. Two colleagues,, John Heminges and Henry Condell, assembled The First Folio seven years after his death, the most important book ever published, dropping Donald Trump’s masterpiece , alas, to third place, behind the Bible.

When I was a medical student,  the first surgery I scrubbed for, at last a proud member of the team, was a craniotomy to chop out a glioblastoma. It lasted ten hours! Neurosurgery is boring as hell. “Cut and tie. Cut and tie.” It’s more impressive if you call the Trephiners, Brain Surgeons.  Above all, they need patience, as displayed by the noble Ben Carson. I ask you, “Is that all it takes to qualify for the Presidency? That, and a lifetime of “cut and tie, cut and tie?”

If you wandered “inside” Shakespeare’s theatre , let’s say in the Year of our Lord, A.D.1601, you might spot the playwright in a corner with Richard Burbage, the greatest actor of the century. Burbage was the first thespian to play Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Antony. At that very moment, mirabile dictu, you hear Shakespeare asking him to take a crack on a soliloquy he had scribbled the night before, “To be, or not to be.”

Now wander, in the Year of our Lord, A.D. 2016, to Donald Trump’s “inside.” You won’t find it because there isn’t any. What you see is what you get. At a rally yesterday in Iowa, he said, “A Trump rally is fun.”  Yes, it is. So was the Correspondents’ dinner when President Obama referred to him as “The Donald.” Everyone laughed. The Donald took it in stride. As Hamlet might say, “Flashes of merriment were wont to set the tables on a roar?”

It was the night the Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden.

I ask you, “Is the lack of an inside disqualify you from the Presidency?”

Fiorina served as a CEO of a large corporation until she got axed. The details of what led to her being fired have been spun in so many different ways, it’s like talking to Netanyahu. I had learned that neurosurgery is interminable, incredibly demanding physically, and requires the patience of a saint.  I saw no relevance of this “inside” to being President of the United States.

But who is she? As a psychiatric resident, I had learned something else besides hating surgery. The problem: make the right diagnosis. How do I manage that, since I can’t read anybody’s mind? Well, you talk and talk, which is lots more fun than “Cut and Tie.” All you need is ONE look into the interior, signaling, let’s say, a paranoid personality. By and by, you end the consultation.

I needed that one look into Fiorina that would spill the beans. In most cases, one has already a hunch. She described seeing a video – never found – of a fetus being butchered. It launched her into a rant edged with razors. Probably rehearsed. Voila! Diagnosis: a Moral Maniac. ISIL is manned by Moral Maniacs.

Fiorina is safely seated at the Kids’ Table when debating.

 

The Mudville Franchise

Folks have been asking for a more detailed history of the storied Mudville Mets, known throughout the baseball world for the exploits of mighty Casey.

Ever since the Nixon presidency, Republicans have been eyeing the Mudville franchise, but it wasn’t until Scott Walker got elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010 that they closed the deal.

They changed their name to the Mudville Slingers, and got themselves the biggest mascot in the league, an elephant, a big, clumsy brute. He tripped and landed on a bunch of kids last July 4th as they crowded around  an ice cream stand.  Once a year the Slingers honor Food Stamps.  It’s a tradition. The case got thrown out of court. the governor’s lawyers claiming the only damage was to the ice cream. And some cotton candy stuck in some kids’ hair.

The team has fallen on bad times. Attendance is down, and their line-up for next year is strictly bush league. They’ve lost several key players, none more valued than Eric Cantor. He was their designated hitter. In the fall of 2015, the team captain retired abruptly, an old-timer from Ohio. He was known for emotional outbursts and had developed a rare condition that turned his skin orange. He was the Slingers liaison with the Press, but grumpy as hell.  The reporters called him  John, the Curmudgeon.

The Mudville Slingers are the only team in the league that has no African-Americans or Latinoes.

Gratitude

With the Iranians carrying out the Nuclear Arms Treaty to the letter,  and with the prisoner swap between the two nations completed, President Obama declared, “It’s a good day.”

Yes, indeed!

“Jaw-jaw, not War-War” brought the immeasurable gift of a peaceful solution between Iran and the United States, plus most of the Western countries. Contrast this diplomatic achievement with “boots on the ground,” as described by Shakespeare in his early masterpiece, The Life and Death of King John:

This day hath made
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground;
Many a widow’s husband grovelling lies,
Coldly embracing the discolor’d earth.

I am deeply thankful to the President. More importantly, I am experiencing gratitude, which is more than thankfulness. That, after all, is third person. I thank him. I thank her. I thank the President. Gratitude is first person. I am in a state of gratitude. It’s not a secret, but it’s a condition that is not transferable. I can’t draw you a diagram with instructions. It’s how I am experiencing my aliveness.

Last week, in a rousing speech in Nebraska, Obama revealed how he celebrates his journey through the world, “I’ve enjoyed being President.” Everyone knows he’s got the toughest job going, such as weeping for the death of 20 first-graders murdered by a deranged gunman. Yet joyfully he plans to use every last minute of his remaining time in office doing the work of President.

Gratitude is a state of joy and Joy makes one indefatigable. Gratitude never gets tired. It never bemoans the composition of “the way things are.”  So it takes two years to negotiate with the Iranians. “It’s the nature of the beast.” And years to get prisoners exchanged, even while Republicans howled at Obama’s supposed sissy ways and lack of Putin resolve.  “The man doesn’t have any pecs!” There was no joy In Mudville when the mighty Casey struck out. In contrast, Obama experienced no loss of joy, even when the mighty Paul Ryan came to bat. (It’s not widely known that Casey got traded to the Republicans. The rest of the team left town. Casey,  a loud-mouthed, tobacco chewing member of the Tea Party, was the only player, in fact, the Republicans wanted. When Casey retired, the Mudville Mets brought in Paul Ryan. Baseball folks in the know expect Ryan to be the worst trade since the Red Sox dumped the Bambino. The Republican Mets are located in Wisconsin.)

Without gratitude, the disrespectful, scurrilous behavior of the Republicans,  unremittting since the night of his Inauguration in 2009 when 20 Republican leaders in the Congress plotted how to destroy this black President, would long ago have wilted Obama. Instead, he’s fresh as a daisy, grateful for the job he loves.

There lives the  “dearest freshness” in the President, flowing like a river out of Eden, forever refreshing and renewing gratitude. If ever there was a joyful President, it’s Barack. For seven years, he has given me joy.

And I am deeply grateful.

 

 

 

Picture Perfect

His mother’s sexuality drove Hamlet up a wall.  She had remained a widow only ” a little month” before re-marrying. In a towering rage, fueled by parricidal imperatives and Oedipal confusions, Hamlet  showed her two pictures, one of her first husband, “Where every god did set his seal/To give the world assurance of a man,” and then a second, ” Look you, now, what follows. Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear. Have you eyes!”

The Republicans drive me up a wall. Let me show you two pictures, easily  worth ten thousand words, to illuminate the Republican mind-set. Here is Michael Steele. Michael is a man’s man,  brilliant, wonderfully articulate,  fully  supportive of every Republican position. You can see he’s handsome as hell. He gives the world assurance of a man, a favorite of the MSNBC gang, especially Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, no dummies. No one defends Republican doctrine better than Michael.

Here now is a picture of Reinhold Richard Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, the RNC. That’s a top banana perch, so he has power. He’s a major player when it comes to shaping Republican strategy, formulating that doctrine for the general public, and of course bringing in line the vast stable of Republican office-holders.

Now, I have eyes! And I must report that Reince may not be a mildewed ear, but he is on the odd side. A screw or two is missing. From my distant observations of this clumsy native of Wisconsin – that breeding ground of Republican sinners – I’d say he’s a bit on the autistic side. And his job is to interface with the public, a job requiring the skill-set of a SALESMAN! Now, you would  think the last position the Republicans would assign this bozo is Chairman of the RNC. Wrong! In fact, they first elected him to serve in that exalted capacity in 2011, and then re-elected him in 2013 and awarded him  a third term in 2015. You might say he’s been gerrymandered in for the duration.

And who served as Chairman of the RNC before Reince came to power? You guessed it, Michael Steele. For one two year term. Alas, the gods did not set their seal on Michael. Well, in a sense they did. They made him a  descendent of Ham, Noah’s son. Michael Steele is black. What he’s doing running around with Republicans is a mystery.

When I look at those two pictures, that of a magnificently gifted black man and the other that of  a blockhead, one wandering in the wilderness of cable news, the other in a seat of power stupidly braying political nonsense across the land, they serve, in Hamlet’s words, “as a glass for seeing the inmost part” of the Republican party.

 

 

 

 

1″

Power: Religious/Political

In 1618 A.D., almost exactly a century after Martin Luther hammered his 95 Theses on that Wittenberg church in 1517, began the Thirty Years War. Protestant vs Catholic. It turned Europe into a charnel house, destroying half the population; Its horrors matched those of ISIL. The last chapter of that madness echoed on Good Friday, 1998, when George Mitchel’s diplomacy ended the blood-letting between the Protestant United Kingdom and Catholic Northern Ireland.

George was interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell this evening on MSNBC. Within two minutes came that glorious sense of surprise when a first-class mind, out of the blue, unleashes  thunder. The most heuristic observation Mitchell made is fundamental to understanding President Obama’s approach to the Middle East. When Muhammad died, in 632 A.D., there began a war of succession. Who should be the caliph, the political and religious heir to the founder of Islam?  Within three generations, the group had split into two factions, the Sunnis and the Shias. They have been at war ever since.1400 years later, like this very week, world leaders, spearheaded by John Kerry, begged Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni, not to execute a famed Shia cleric.

Of course the Saudis went ahead with the execution, setting the two major powers in the Middle East  at each other’s throat. Christians should be proud. It took them only 380 years to agree to a farewell to arms.

A question Obama always asked  his advisors who counseled military intervention in Syria, “What happens the day after?” Well, the obvious answer,

“‘Groundhog Day,’ Mr. President.”

So the President dispatched the lot of them to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

George Mitchell also made clear that the nuclear device North Korea set off yesterday, while not a fusion bomb, is a major concern to the Chinese. It is in their self-interest “to put the lid on North Korea.” A fact to remember about the hydrogen bomb: it is relatively easy to make it small enough to fit on a long-range missile. The destructive force of a fusion device as compared to a fission bomb is beyond comprehension. It is fusion that powers our sun, enabling it to last ten billion years.

North Korea has long range missiles in the works. And a hydrogen bomb.

Enfranchisement of The First Lady

In the seventh year of his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pulled off the impeachable Iran-Contra deal.

In the seventh year of his Presidency, Bill Clinton was impeached.

In the seventh year of his Presidency, George W. had our country bogged down in the Iraq War and the country on the verge of a Great Depression.

In the seventh year of his Presidency, Richard Nixon got booted out of town.

In the seventh year of his Presidency, President Obama had three transformational triumphs: the nuclear pact with Iran, the Climate Change “architechure” involving 188 countries, no troops on the ground in the Middle East. He had become THE world leader.

What great battery keeps the juices flowing, supplying inexhaustible energy to the President? Everyone in his government who has left did so utterly exhausted. Axelrod felt pole-axed. What keeps the President fresh as a daisy?

Michelle!

Fully enfranchised as a woman, Michelle  grounds her partner  in a sexual relationship. Only if the woman and the man are equal, does a couple draw on the vast power that drove the Cambrian Explosion. The Force is with them.

A sexual relationship does not adore, as did Nancy. Not look aside, as did Hillary, Not put up with a cowboy, as did Laura. Not disappear, as did Pat Nixon.

Republicans have no chance of understanding the President. He’s that rarest of rare men: he’s married! A patriarchal society, such as America, has no notion of such a member. They  accredit only huffers and puffers. It’s a man’s world, and the women go along with such a delusion. Wives call their surrender, “Standing by their man.” It is in fact signing up with Lady Macbeth, “Unsex me!” The last thing the Lady’s husband needed was supporting his testosterone-driven maleness. Most men in power are unmarried, marriage license notwithstanding, so one would expect wars and rumors of wars, vast military expenditures, government along the lines of fascism. How many wars has the United States waged in the last thirty years?

Maleness is a great power. Femaleness is a great power. Coupling the two under conditions of equality creates the sexual couple. Each is vastly different from the other. Each, in their power and fecundity, guarantees envy. And envy is the green–eyed monster, seeking to spoil what it doesn’t have.

I agree with both Barack and Michelle that they have suffered from racism. I worked in the Deep South for many years. I’m familiar with that monster. Is that the source of the unfathomable hatred towards the President? I don’t think so.

Obama’s so married! He has the immense self-confidence of someone getting consensually laid. His humor bubbles over. He’s having fun. His energy is inexhaustible. That doesn’t come from eating “greens” or gumbo, or golfing in Hawaii. That’s a man loved by a woman who is fearless when it comes to keeping him in line. That’s Michelle.

President Obama and First Lady Obama. Sex in living color. 24/7. This couple is always part of the news cycle.

Sex and the Presidency! It drives the Republicans to madness. I do not exaggerate. For the last seven years, they have done everything to spoil Obama’s leadership. EVERYTHING! Their hatred is bigger than racism:

Beware the green-eyed monster!