Monthly Archives: February 2016

Old rumpled Bernie v. King Donald

Differences between earning one’s way and growing up with privilege

by Dell Franklin

Bernie worked at some shitty jobs and became involved in civil rights. He was probably not good at shitty jobs, not with his mind on social causes and politics.

Bernie worked at some shitty jobs and became involved in civil rights. He was probably not good at shitty jobs, not with his mind on social causes and politics.

Bernie, child of immigrants, is one of those old hippies who really believed in the cause and eschewed the future white picket fence, the Mercedes, the plush suburb that inevitably proved too irresistible to fellow marchers who were in it to avoid the war, find good drugs, and get laid. Bernie is a true believer, a crusader who early on felt the tug of compassion for the struggling, miserable underclasses and the unfairness of their plights.

The Donald was born into wealth and power and liked it. He came up the hard way, educated at Wharton business school and his father donating him a paltry million to start his own real estate business. The Donald knew early on who to browbeat and who to patronize and schmooze and who to more or less legally bribe (red baiter Roy Cohen) to get things done and make his billions. The Donald believed in greed and embraced the life of glitter and luxury.

The Donald was born into wealth and power and liked it.

The Donald was born into wealth and power and liked it.

Bernie worked at some shitty jobs and became involved in civil rights. He was probably not good at shitty jobs, not with his mind on social causes and politics. He did not fit the sleek image of an Ivy League charmer or smoothie, this rumpled balding figure with a deep Brooklyn accent, an abrasive finger pointer and exclaimer, out to charm no one but dead set on change and getting things done.

The Donald was this sort of handsome ladies man with the flowing hair never out of place and as carefully tended to as a plant in the White House Rose Garden. He accumulated friends in high places and feathered their nests and bankrolled tall buildings with high rents and acquired his own jet plane and married a statuesque model with high cheekbones.

Bernie kept running for office and kept losing and finally became mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in a 10-point victory and served two terms, built affordable housing, revitalized the infrastructure, started women’s programs and, despite looking like a ragamuffin, gained the confidence of the state’s voters as a politician of the people.

The Donald erected and opened casinos in Atlantic City that were all the rage and had everybody cashing in until the economy fell apart and he watched them go bust, scuttled out of the city while the city went broke and was left holding the bag, people out of work, the boardwalk dead, the Donald managing a bankruptcy that had him coming out smelling like a rose.

Bernie, a divorcee, married a portly cheerful Irish lady who worked as a bank teller and supermarket cashier and eventual community organizer with the same interests and crusades as he, and won himself a seat in Congress where he continued to vociferously push his causes.

Donald got divorced and married another statuesque model with high cheekbones and nurtured his sons in the business and on the side became the star of a reality show where he sat on a throne like a king and either pointed thumbs down or up when choosing what greed obsessed, fawning acolyte he would hire in his own business. His abrupt, arbitrary, ruthless treatment of losers and mild praise of winners soared in popularity and he became such a celebrity he hinted of running for president.

Bernie got elected to the Senate and voted against tax cuts and the war in Iraq while continuing to push for his causes as an independent/socialist in the manner of his idol, Eugene Debs. Or perhaps Upton Sinclair.

The Donald got divorced again and married another statuesque model with high cheek bones and, meanwhile, became so rich and powerful and popular that he saw fit to continue the rumor of his running for president and started the rumor that America’s first black president, Barack Obama, was some sort of Kenyan not born in the United States and was not really an American, nor much of a Christian, which leant to nearly half of all fellow Republicans believing Obama was a dreaded, hated Muslim.

Bernie finally got fed up with the asininity of the Congress and Senate and decided to run for president and unleashed his rage at Wall Street, the One Percent, Goldman Sachs, the rigged economy, homelessness, our foolish wars, and vowed to do something about them, threatening to take down investment bank swindlers who destroyed the economy as well as the nest eggs of the middle-and-lower classes while the government bailed them out and kept them rich and afloat and, most humiliating, out of jail.

The Donald announced his candidacy for president and soon accumulated a massive throng of howling, scowling, fat white mooks who, like Donald, wanted to “take their country back!” The Donald promised to build a wall to keep criminal, terrorist Mexicans out and make the poor Mexicans pay for it, deport millions of other illegal immigrant Mexicans, not allow a single Muslim to immigrate into the country, whether they’re terrorists or not, bomb ISIS into powder, and steal Iraq’s oil so as to salvage something after our occupation of that country, trick China out of what we owe them because they tricked us into debt because our leaders “are stupid,” and make so much money for so many wonderful people that those howling scowling fat white wonderful mooks will be wallowing in cash just like the Donald as they compose an eerie chant, “USA! USA! USA…!”

Bernie vows to start a revolution to stop the rigged economy of the One Percent more or less driving economic inequality in America lower than it’s been since the Great Depression, and he has kept his promise of taking nothing from the big investment banks and Super PACs but instead inspired millions of true believers to donate to his cause an average of $27 per person to bankroll his candidacy, and now he, like Donald, is a strong contender for President of the United States in the Democratic Party.

The Donald, king of a financial empire, bankrolls his own candidacy, boasting of achieving the ultimate American dream by possessing billions and billions…and is the frontrunner for President of the United States in the Republican Party.

Poor old rumpled Bernie possesses a tad over $500,000, has no plane, and it’s difficult imagine him owning a car, or what kind of car, or even driving a car. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur, and posts dispatches of life in a small coastal town. His work, which includes a lifestyle as a cab driver, bartender, and sports nut, can be viewed at, where this comment first appeared.

In your face, whitey!

Cam Newton and the Ali factor

by Dell Franklin

Cam, beyond movie-star handsome, has the rehearsed, dazzling smile of a born-to-be winner of unprecedented narcissism with dollar signs dangling like blinking neon.

Cam, beyond movie-star handsome, has the rehearsed, dazzling smile of a born-to-be winner of unprecedented narcissism with dollar signs dangling like blinking neon.

Cam Newton, you marvelous beast, us white folks so want black folks like you all to act like us, be like us, you know, more reserved, carefully spoken, modest, inhibited, supposedly respectful of opponents and fans and especially the institutions that for centuries, as a black man, gave you the royal shaft. I mean, it gets under our skin like a painful itch that won’t go away when we see a super-humanly talented black dude like yourself brim with confidence, strut your stuff, disdain our cultural traditions, conquer the stage of the most exalted sport in our realm—football.

It’s kind of like when the great Muhammad Ali conquered the then most exalted sport in the entire world back in the 1960s—boxing.

“I am the greatest!” Ali exclaimed with righteous fury as he danced around the ring, his opponent either crumpled on the canvas or blear-eyed on his stool. “I am champion of the world!”

And he was.

“I am beautiful,” Ali boasted. And to women, and I suppose white women, too—tsk tsk—he was. But to white men he was a source of bitter resentment and hateful anger that this cocky, uppity nigger, who was once Cassius Clay, had converted to Islam and changed his name to Ali and was knocking out and embarrassing white pugs all over the place, clowning and mocking them as he did so, showboating, and not saying it, but implying, “IN YOUR FACE, WHITEY!”


Cam’s got it down, like he made a study of it, first things first flashing a Magic Johnson-like smile to deter all negative thoughts, almost as if he talked to the Magic man who told him to keep on smiling, brother, and there ain’t nothin’ they can do, you’ll get ads, ads and ads and ads, and the kids’ll love yah, it’s hard to resist a smile, bro’, no matter how phony your spiel.

Thing is, Magic’s smile is utterly spontaneous and all encompassing while oozing sincerity and a nameless joy at living that includes everybody. And Cam, beyond movie-star handsome, has the rehearsed, dazzling smile of a born-to-be winner of unprecedented narcissism with dollar signs dangling like blinking neon.

So Cam, flashing that magnetic row of piano keys, mentions that as a black man, talented as he is, bigger than life that he is (kind of like Wilt and Shaq), he scares people, and I suppose he means us whiteys, because black folks sure as hell ain’t gonna be scared, and shouldn’t be, because, like Ali, he is theirs!

CULTURE.Muhammad_Ali_1966But he’s different than Ali in that although Ali’s clowning, mocking, poetry spewing and boasting and joshing with and scolding the press for disbelieving his beliefs and feats was part of an act; he did it with a twinkle in his eye, and a personality and wit so contagious, so endearing, you just had to love the guy. Ali had everybody in the press room in stitches half the time, was beyond comfortable on stage—in his glory, in fact—like a great comedian who had the audience transfixed on his every next word.

Cam, on stage, is a tortured, cringe-worthy attempt at acting that an acting teacher and class would crucify. Back a few seasons ago, when the Panthers were losing, his overly distraught sap sessions after losses were maudlin drivel, his moping, his blaming of himself, so uncharacteristic of an egomaniac used to total, unquestioned dominance and constant adulation.

This whole shtick, or schlock, is embarrassing. What’s more, unlike Ali, he is boring, like a knockout beauty queen so pursued and placed on an untouchable pedestal there was never time to form a real personality outside of fielding adulation and toady behavior from hopeful hat-in-hand suitors.

The trouble with a lot of athletes of his ilk.

Even his act of ripping off the Superman cape and joggling his head and saluting and giving away footballs to children after touchdowns seems a calculated PR move, the first act causing the squeamish emperors of the league in their luxury booths to wince at the over-the-top showmanship, but then to swoon with approval at the big black Adonis handing a football to a little white kid, another trick to make one think the NFL owners are good guys and not greedy criminals, that the entire bloodsucking organization of zillionaires and its employees are about humanity and community.

When Newton talks about being scary, does he mean big and black scary? You know, like the terrifying visage of a scowling Sonny Liston back in the 1960s, when Ali called him “The Big Ugly Bear?” Or Mike Tyson, slaughtering opponents with a cold-blooded calm, his face a mask of evil intent?

Come on, dude, who do you think you’re kidding? Ali scared white folks because he represented what was happening in all of sports—the black man taking over because he was fiercer, hungrier, more dynamic, bigger, faster, and goddammit, whether you like it or not, in many cases, smarter! And rubbing it in on the white hordes.

Black athletes were coming. They dominated Olympics track and field, baseball, football, basketball, and boxing. Marciano was gone and we had Ali, Frazier, Holmes. In baseball, Musial, Williams and DiMaggio were gone, and besides Mickey Mantle, we had Mays, Aaron, Clemente, Frank Robinson. And in basketball it was already confirmed black men reigned over white inferiors.

Most of those great black athletes were ingrained to remain humble and duty-bound appreciative for white club owners to give them a chance and in some cases were referred to as “Uncle Toms.”

But not Ali. His was an individual sport, and he was the greatest, was champion of the world, and although there is no proof whatsoever that this man who employed Ferdie Pacheco as his doctor and Angelo Dundee as his trainer had a problem with white people, he was telling the rest of us with the ferocity of a roaring lion, “I am a black Muslim man, I am not fighting your stupid war,  I’m seein’ black brothers getting killed by the bushel, so, In Your Face, Whitey!”

Cam Newton, you ain’t scarin’ nobody, and your act is so easy to see through that the more you win, and the longer you’re on the stage, the easier it’s going to be see what a complete phony you are, cheesy smile and all.§

Dell Franklin is a passionate sports enthusiast and writer who lives in Cayucos, Calif., where he laments the growing cancer of entitled pro athletes in clubhouses around the nation. More of his essays are available at

Takeaways From the Iowa Caucuses In Headlines And Slogans You Might Have Missed In Mainstream Reports

(With Links to All The Real News You Need If You Weren’t Watching Democracy In Action)

by Jason Vest

COMMENT.TED CRUZIowa Voters To Trump: You’re Not Exactly Fired, But We Really Like The Cruz And Rubio Apprentices

GOP Establishment Hopes Trump’s Public Mulling About ‘Buying a Farm‘ Indicates Subconscious Death Wish

Trump Now Claims He Mixed Up Fox News Women Who Might Pose Threat To His Campaign; Really Meant To Try To Bully Palin Into Submission

Trump: Expectations of Decisive Iowa Win, and With It Actual Explosion of Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol’s Heads, Dashed;  Republicans and Democrats Alike Rue Lack of Latter, Start Plotting on How to Go Dave Brat On Editors They Both Hate

Cruz Gracious In Defeating Iowa Ethanol Lobby: Says Corn Has Its Place

Rubio To Jeb: My Neocons Are Better Than Your Neocons

Rubio To Christie: My Establishment Hedge Fund Donors Are Better Than Your Establishment Hedge Fund Donors

Cruz To Rubio And Christie: I Don’t Know If It’s More Amazing That My Establishment Hedge Fund Donors Are Better Than Both Y’All’s, Or That I Get Their Money AND Get To Be An “Anti-Establishment Candidate”

Rubio: My Strong Third-Place Finish Is So Much Easier to Understand Than My Three Houses

Sanders to Clinton: Triangulate This

Clinton: Of the 1%, Winning by .3%

Clinton’s Future: Looking Like Rahm Emmanuel’s Present?

Sanders: To The Concord Station

Sanders To Channel Upton Sinclair:  I, President: A True Story of the Future shortly forthcoming; likely sequel I, Candidate for President; and How I Got Licked Scheduled for 2017 Release

Cruz: God, Goldwater, and Goldman Sachs

Jeb’s Hail-Mary Schiavo Ad Only Latest Reflection of Bush Campaign Being Brain-Dead And On Life-Support

Carson: Craps Pants In Debates and In Iowa; Flees to Bush and Rubio’s Dirty State To Rinse Stains

Jesus to Carson: You Remind Me Of Another Time I Had To Deliver Some Bad News About Contest Prospects

O’Malley: Being In This One Percent Blows

Christie: Eating It In Iowa, Saving Room for New Hampshire

Santorum: Living Up To The Name In Shitty Numbers, Gets Flushed

Huckabee: I (Heart) Duggars

Fiorina: Like Hewlett-Packard When She Ran It: On The Cutting Edge Of Marginality

Paul: Dude, Where’s My Utopian Voter Bloc?

Paul: Iowa Shrugged

Kasich: Apparently Having Been an Ax-Wielding Budget Zealot in the Reagan and Gingrich Revolutions and Current Governor of Ohio Only Gets You Two Bits and a Cup of Coffee in Iowa

Gilmore: Less Than Zero. §

Jason Vest agrees with H.L. Mencken that it’s almost impossible to make a career in politics without embracing the ignoble and vulgar.