By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Some people, I’ll tell ya, they just don’t know when to go away.
Kanye West. The cast of the rebooted “Ghostbusters.” Anyone with the last name of Kardashian or Jenner.
But, today, I’m talking about Hillary Clinton.
The future of the nation depends on a more graceful exit, as opposed to her ongoing stumble that sets off the fire alarm.
She might think her two cents – sounding more to the masses like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons – remains vital to the national discourse, but nothing is further from the truth.
It just adds to the noise.
Clinton, who pretty much handed your president (not mine) the presidency by running one of the worst campaigns possible while presuming victory (kind of like the Eagles two Sundays hence in Miami against the lowly Dolphins with a 92-year-old quarterback).
She recently put some more cheese with her whine in an interview with Howard Stern, blaming her costly and embarrassing loss on the usual suspects – James Comey, the Russians – and, of course, Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders? You mean the same Bernie Sanders who is very much alive and well – without the SuperPAC donations that were the lifeblood of Clinton’s otherwise comatose campaign – in the 2020 bid to unseat the albatross that Clinton, and Clinton alone, left us to deal with while she fires spitballs at the free-thinking Vermont senator from her detached Manhattan perch.
Clinton’s stated resentment of Sanders has less to do with him not vociferously backing her after being literally jobbed out of the nomination by the DNC establishment and more to do with that he dared to enter the race at all.
The sad thing is that what I’m going to write now is nothing I haven’t already written before in past columns and blog posts, but – like a bad rash – Clinton makes me keep on itching at it.
The original plan, as sickening as it sounds, was for Clinton to run unopposed by anyone after a few marginal candidates – Sanders, included – dropped out after the first four primaries/caucuses.
But Sanders had a groundswell of support, mostly from the younger voters that Clinton couldn’t connect with, and he used donations averaging $27 (I made several) to chase her almost to the finish line.
Once she “won,” after only some rather strange vote counts in the Western primaries/caucuses where Sanders was polling even or ahead, plenty of Sanders supporters – myself included – moved into her camp.
Truth be told, her resume made her beyond qualified to be president. I had no issue whatsoever with voting for her when the time came.
But then it went.
And she lost.
She lost by not going to places where Sanders either beat her (Wisconsin, Michigan) and or made a surprisingly strong showing. She lost by picking a saccharine running made that added zero, and actually hindered, her chances.
She was qualified but uninspiring, a trait that shouldn’t disqualify someone from being elected but, sadly, does in this day and age.
Your president (not mine) can do and say – and tweet — anything about anyone and get away with it. She can accurately call some – not all, but some – of his supporters “deplorable” and have it held against for time in memoriam.
Clinton should have stood up for herself on the debate stage better. When your president (not mine) kept interrupting her at the pace of every other word – saying “wrong,” like the pestilent ADHD child he is – she should have stopped cold and told him that she was going to interrupt him and he needs to stop interrupting her.
If he continued, she should have asked the moderators to do their jobs.
At another point, in another debate, he literally stalked her, physically, to make her look smaller in stature. She should have, and could have, told him to go stand where he is supposed and not invade her space.
Some said she couldn’t do that because women are judged differently, and there may be some truth to it. However, I think it could be more nuanced. I can’t see Elizabeth Warren putting up with those antics.
Personally, I think she figured he was making so much of a jackass out of himself that she didn’t need to intervene. That is, unfortunately, the way of the wimpy Democrat.
And it can’t be anymore.
Full disclosure, of course, is that I join fellow celebrities (wink) and intellectuals (wink again) – documentarian/activist Michael Moore, rapper/activist Killer Mike, philosopher/activist Dr. Cornel West and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile – as a noted Sanders supporter.
But I’m also realistic enough to read the writing on the walls the White House – particularly in the environment of hate that your president (not mine) created – that reads both “No Jews Allowed” and “No Socialists Allowed.”
Sanders – like myself – is barely a practicing Jew and is a Democratic Socialist (go check the economy, and quality of life index, in Finland), not a Socialist.
So, when Clinton stuck in a dig during her interview, saying that she hopes Sanders is quicker to support the nominee this time around, she is unfortunately accurate that he probably won’t get the nod.
However, in the process, she admitted that he still carries a lot of sway with a lot of voters – particularly the younger voters – the ones that she so miserably failed to captivate on her own accord.
That’s why she is pleading her case with Howard Stern, still lamenting not being president, instead of sitting in the Oval Office.
This column originally ran in The Times Herald on Dec. 15, 2019.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — So I’m sitting here thinking – a scary thought, pardon the pun – about ways we can become more unified in these times that are so divisive that we all may as well meet at Gettsyburg and get it over with already.
Before we go there, though, let’s go here.
Let’s think of the late Rodney King, who implored us all to get along in the midst of the Los Angeles riots of 1991.
We have some common enemies, true leeches on our collective hide.
Not matter our heritage or religion, let alone political leaning, they don’t play favorites.
I talk, of course, of scam artists.
I could let my mind wander over to the ultimate such being in the White House, but I won’t go there (even though I just did).
I’ll keep to those who are even worse, as they can ruin your life in a more direct and insidious way, hacking their way into your personal information.
These are some of the most inventive beings out there, lurking in the shadows, and it makes one wonder what would happen if they focused on helping society.
This time of year, especially in an era of Internet shopping, cyber-scamming is ratcheted up several scary notches.
It is not uncommon for “spoofing” sites to be set up set up to capture innocent shoppers looking for a bargain.
Also prevalent this time of year are charity scams, where the money you donate – along with your personal information – goes to the scammer.
While organizations like AARP warn seniors, no one is immune.
All day, and I mean all day, my phone rings with numbers I don’t recognize.
There is no way, and I mean none, that anyone at the other end is out to do you and your family any favors.
At best, it might be someone conducting a political survey.
Yeah, it’s harmless enough to vent to them for a few minutes, but they have your number in their database for life.
If I tell you I’m a Bernie Sanders guy until further notice, no reason to call again – until further notice.
Got it? Get it. Apparently not.
They will call again – multiple times – and it will never ever be at a good time.
Eagles in the middle of eating my heart out? They’ll call.
Re-watching Paulie and Christopher get lost in the Pine Barrens for the 194th time? They’ll call.
Dinner? You can bet tomorrow’s lunch on it.
Get Caller ID, they said.
It helps, but it doesn’t stop the calls.
And if the ID says “No Name” or “Anonymous,” you won’t be talking to me (until I’m in a mood to fight with someone).
Buy a magical thingamajig to stop them?
A) Why should we buy something extra to stop what the phone company should police better?
B) We all know it’s a matter of time before these PITAs find a workaround. It’s like an electronic fence. If Fido is determined, you are going to find him in your neighbor’s yard (if you’re lucky).
C) How do I know the sellers of the thingamajig are not scammers?
Do away with my home phone? I get just many unwanted calls on my cell phone as I do the land line, which I have admittedly unplugged (not a good idea with a kid at school) just to catch an afternoon nap with Rex.
Yeah, there is a mechanism to block that number. A day later, I just get another call from a number with one digit changed – and at the same time of day.
What do these people want? They rarely, if ever, talk anyway.
Before they got busted in 2016, after four years of playing their trade, there were these creeps who would call and say they were from the IRS.
I once decided to answer and play along.
The callers had very thick accents – from India or Sri Lanka – but were using names like John Smith and Tim Jones.
One time, I told the guy I was going to give him some advice on how to be a better scammer and not use those anglicized aliases, as no one will believe them.
But, sadly, people – particularly seniors on fixed incomes – panicked at the prospect of being in trouble with the IRS and turned over personal information.
The rules here are simple.
If anyone – in a phone call or e-mail – asks you to update credit card information, give them your social security numbers or anything else (bank account information for an alleged forthcoming deposit from an African prince), don’t do it.
It happened to me just this week, with an e-mail from Netflix, saying there was trouble with my account and to update my credit card information.
They even coopted the Netflix logo, so it looked semi-legit.
Plus, it was the third or fourth such e-mail in the last few weeks. From past experience of writing up zillions of scams in police reports, I called the Netflix customer service number.
Things are so bad these days, that I was a bit worried that the woman in the other end was not legit. However, it became crystal clear I was the target of a scam in the e-mails that she was the one helping me keep my account secure (while on the phone, I received several e-mails from Netlfix about re-setting my account, etc.).
This is an example of what it has come to, as we are even wary of people doing their jobs because others have nothing better to do with their ingenuity than to use it for malevolent purposes.
If we can all agree on that, maybe Rodney King’s question – “Can we all get along?” – is still a beckon of hope.
This column originally ran in The Times Herald on Dec. 8, 2019.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Pardon my French, but I going to use a bad word.
It’s a four-letter word, actually.
And it sums up our seriously flawed national election process that generally leaves us choosing between the lesser of two perceived evils (actually, there really was one this past time around).
Here it is: Iowa.
In and of its self, Iowa is a harmless Midwestern state – bordered by six others – with a population that ranks it 31st (under 1 percent of the national population).
Despite an impressively high per capita rate of six minor league hockey teams, Iowa’s population ranks below Puerto Rico (which should be a state and isn’t, despite having no minor league hockey teams).
To put it into perspective, at 3.2 million people, the Philadelphia metropolitan region is nearly twice its size.
And yet, in a political process that is already poisoned by special interest dollars, Iowa is the flashpoint state.
Its caucuses come first, meaning those SuperPAC dollars are disproportionately dumped into it so that candidates can get the desired outcome – a win or a solid enough showing – that there is a slingshot effect for another smaller state, New Hampshire, that is also not really reflective of the face of the American electorate.
On top of all this, Iowa does not hold primaries, where votes are cast and counted. It’s a caucus. And it would be nice if the mainstream media spent less time salivating over the latest polls that show the flavor-of-the-month underdog – i.e. Pete Buttigieg – on top and more on just what a caucus even is (and if it is a fair process).
That aside, just in terms of the batting order, giving Iowa this much importance – particularly in what could be the most important election of our lifetimes – is something that should have been noticed and rectified a long time ago.
I would postulate that it is just as dangerous – and maybe even more – than keeping the arcane Electoral College intact.
This isn’t the first time I have written about this major hitch in our get-a-long, and it won’t be the last.
There are other stones in my show, in terms of the process. I personally have an issue with currently elected politicians short-changing their own constituency to run for president. If you want to run, resign or wait until your term is up. At the very least, a senator should not run as a junior senator from a state unless the senior one gives it his or her blessing.
But that aside, starting off with Iowa, and heavily weighing its importance based on the results, is how and why we are where we are today.
While some who agree would say the primaries should be held in one day, I’m not so sure that is the healthiest way to handle it, either.
My plan, which is not new to you my loyal flock of readers, is to roll the primaries (not caucuses) in the order they came into the Union, and in larger blocks – with more time in between.
That would mean a whole lot of campaigning in what are the 13 original colonies. While that creates a geographical imbalance, it would be more representative of our populace from the standpoint of diversity and ethnicity (if you find any Jews or Italians in heavily Protestant – and evangelical — Iowa, send up a flare).
Those results will provide a much clearer picture of who is or is not a legitimate candidate, as opposed to an underdog that Iowa voters get a buzz out of propping up because, well, it makes them seem more relevant than they really are.
If candidates are unable to campaign in 13 original states from the outset, they probably should not have been candidates in the first place, right?
And if they get swept away by that first day, bowing out would make more sense than not doing well in Iowa and/or New Hampshire (excuse me while I yawn).
The next group of primaries would be: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.
That would be followed by another big day: Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine and Missouri.
Still no Iowa? Nope, still no Iowa.
It is a more accurate sense, from a cross-section of America, of where the pulse of the electorate is – as opposed to where the media and fat cat donors want it to be.
Iowa? Admitted as a state in 1846, it would get to go in the next group of those admitted before the Civil War.
That means it would join Michigan, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, California, Oregon and Kansas. Some bigger states in there, and they may not think that to be fair.
How do you think the rest of us feel when we turn on the idiot box each day and hear “Iowa, Iowa, Iowa” while the country, literally, burns to the ground?
This column appeared in The Times Herald on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.
By GORDON GLANTZ
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” -Mahatma Gandhi
GORDONVILLE — I always have to laugh whenever a new multiyear study comes out proving that dogs show love.
That one has been proven, repeatedly, throughout centuries of their human counterparts not getting it right.
And yet, we have all these sayings – with negative spins – with dogs in the punchline.
-Lay down with dogs, you get fleas.
-So and so is “as crooked as a dog’s hind leg”.
-This place has gone to the dogs.
Sense a theme here?
Dogs, in terms of negative spins, are the new black (black mark, black sheep, etc.)
And considering all they give us, making houses homes, it would be fair to say that it shouldn’t happen to a dog.
That one, I’ll agree with.
Not to go all Sarah McLachlan on you here, but the way dogs are mistreated in America is all we need to see about how we see ourselves.
Because, as another saying goes, a dog is man’s best friend.
And we are, at least not as a whole, not always quality friends in return.
What does or does not qualify as animal abuse, particularly as related to dogs, is sketchy – particularly as related to what qualifies to varied levels of neglect.
Because dogs can’t speak to us, there is no way to know for sure. According to the Humane Society, human victims – those of domestic abuse – report staggering results: 71 percent say their abuser also targeted pets. The number goes up to 88 percent in households under supervision for child abuse.
While dogs in fighting rings get more media attention, there are an untold amount of cases wherein there is neglect ranging from being chained outside all day, in all kinds of extreme weather conditions, to being underfed.
I shudder at the thought that one of those dogs was our dog, Rex, but it is likely.
The other day, we were trying to do the math on just how long he has made our house a home.
This coming January will be six years. In mid-August, the mostly black U.S. Breed (Border Collie and Black Lab, who rank first and seventh in intellect) will turn 8.
We don’t know much about his past, other than a video – an appeal – from the shelter in Darlington County, S.C. (the same dot on the map that inspired one of the Bruce Springsteen songs, but I digress) asking for no-kill shelters up North to take pity on his soul.
Rex had been brought into the shelter in Darlington, and was physically separated from his owner, a female, who was beating him because he didn’t want to be left there.
Scared and shivering, he may not have survived the night had the workers there not kept him with them behind the counter, knowing that being with other dogs that were more aggressive could have meant disaster.
The next day, the video was made, seen and sent up to our area.
Not sure who was luckier, him or us.
On a bitter cold day in January while stopping by the local supermarket, an area dog rescue was showing dogs for adoption. His eerie likeness to our dearly departed Randall (1989-2005) caused me to stop and take notice.
Once he backed away, showing timidity, my heart went out.
Within a week, he was ours.
I’m not going to say we all lived happily ever after, because that would be a lie.
Rex was afraid to enter certain rooms in the house and he was about zero percent housebroken. Sure, if he was being walked at a time when he happened to need to do his business, he did it.
If not, he did it wherever (leading to a complete changeover from carpet to hardwood).
I can’t say I wrote the book on housebreaking a dog. I can just tell you that I got him from zero to 100 percent within months by just walking him so much that a neighbor at a cookout asked how many times a day I walked him (I always seemed to be passing by when he was grabbing a smoke outside).
These days, three walks a day, 8-10 hours apart, is fine. No accidents. Ever.
The only other requirement was a whole lot of TLC. That was the easy part. We gave him the love he did not get down South, and he gave it back to us.
These days, he is not only a long way away from Darlington County, S.C. in distance (8 ½ hours), but in how he lives his life in a home where he has three – yes, three – beds strategically placed around the house (including by the fireplace).
Sofia may give only one-word answers after being picked up from school, but she will immediately fall all over him – as he approaches, tail wagging like a propeller — when she enters the house.
His mama is his favorite person to curl up with, and I’m his daylong companion, as we read each other’s minds, including our favorite time of the day – the midday nap.
He just looks at me, gets the sense it must be time and runs upstairs and jumps up into bed. While some people have lap dogs, I have a nap dog.
We have three cats, and he has zero issues with two of them (the third is another story), and he doesn’t even seem to care that we have a rabbit, Buttons, living in the laundry room.
There are a lot of nasty clichés about dogs, but not here.
Sometimes, when the weight of a world in turmoil seems too much to bear, you just have to be thankful for the simple things.
We enter Thanksgiving thankful for Rex.
He can’t actually say thank you in return, but that’s not needed.
It’s just a crazy cool connection we have that makes it understood.
And it should happen to all dogs.
This column appeared in The Times Herald on Nov. 24, 2019.
By GORDOON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — If the gauntlet had not already been laid down for the American Civil War 2.0, recent events have inched us closer.
Let us count the ways:
-Impeachment: The hearings kicked off Wednesday, with the Union (Democrats) and Confederacy (Republicans) painting two entirely different portraits about what your president (not mine) said to the Ukrainian president during a phone call.
The other thing that can prevent this from leading to a bloodbath that will spill over into the streets is that all of us – left, right and center – just don’t have the same attention spans from when the same thing happened with Richard Nixon in the early 1970s or even Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.
These proceedings will drag on for weeks, if not months, providing enough lead time for diversionary tactics – ranging from childish 3 a.m. tweets to creating new and inventive instabilities overseas – that will draw the mainstream media away from both the impeachment hearings and who currently leads in the Iowa polls.
The “base” will refuse to believe any evidence that their president did anything wrong. At the least, they will just convince themselves – via the mastery of false equivalencies and believing conspiracy theories – that it was nothing different than what anyone else has done in the back rooms of the West Wing.
They said that about Nixon, too. And, well, we know how that turned out.
The whole election of your president (not mine) was a sign of the times, revealing we were ripe for a Civil War. No qualifications were required, as only venom toward outgoing president Barack Obama – and the use of code words and hot-button topics like immigration – were enough to capture the imagination of those who didn’t want to be bothered with the gory details involved in sorting out fact from fiction.
He has done 1,000 things that cry out “Impeach Me, Hard” – kind of like those “Kick Me Hard” signs we would put on someone’s back in middle school – and this is just No. 1,001.
Whether it does the trick or not is irrelevant.
There are those who see this, and those who don’t want to see it. In the middle, we have a portion of the country – the same portion that will likely decide the next election – who may just want to take the time to understand the US Constitution and whether or not he breached the document he swore to uphold above his own personal interest.
-Sandy Hook Revisited: There may be no more hot-button topic in this brewing war between the states than gun control (yet another school shooting in suburban Los Angeles Thursday morning).
It is said that if nothing changed after the horrific mass shooting of 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, it was never going to happen.
And nothing has.
However, what seemed to be a Hail Mary pass, a lawsuit against Remington Arms Co., the maker of the weapon used by the shooter in the Sandy Hook massacre worked its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And the high court, despite having an extra vote from the right, allowed the families to move forward with the suit, the essence of which states that Remington was at fault because its marketing targeted “vulnerable young men” – i.e. losers – with its phallic symbols thinly disguised as weaponry.
At face value, there is some merit against the lawsuit, as it could create a slippery slope. However, as is the case in the impeachment situation, the devil lives in the details.
The reality is that most of the country, even gun-owning members of the NRA, are for some form of gun control.
Still, the startling fact is that three percent of Americans own half of the country’s estimated 265 million guns, and they are likely not those with any interest in any form of gun control legislation.
This case will be worth watching. The NRA’s deep pockets haven’t stopped its momentum yet, even when going to the right-leaning Supreme Court, the ruling of which will not only will likely open the door to more lawsuits from victims of gun crimes.
If that happens, there will be backlash from those who don’t get the fact that no one is physically coming for their guns in a conspiratorial attempt to trash their rights under the Second Amendment.
-Colin Kaepernick Workout – While it should be a sports story, it is anything but when Kaepernick’s name is involved.
Your president (not mine) infamously called on NFL owners to “fire” (wrong terminology, as players are released or waived, depending on their contract verbiage) any athlete who didn’t stand at attention during the national anthem before games.
Kaepernick, who began kneeling for the anthem in protest, has been out the NFL for almost three full seasons now.
While it is ironic that many of those who insist of their rights under the arcane and misinterpreted Second Amendment are unwavering in denying Kaepernick his right of free speech under the First Amendment, it is also fair to say that Kaepernick was getting more mileage out of being martyr than trying to make a comeback as a rusty quarterback.
The whole saga took a shocking turn this past week when Kaepernick tweeted out that he would be holding a surprise, open workout for NFL executives.
Initial indications were that just one team out of 32, the Dallas Cowboys, would attend the workout via a “team official” who could be nothing more than a low-level scout.
Whether Kaepernick throws another NFL pass, a tight spiral goes into the great divide. If he isn’t signed, he becomes even more of a martyr for the cause. If he is given a chance, others – the Confederates – will be up in arms.
And then there are the nuances of the scenario. If he signs but sits behind a starter who is not a standout, there will be cries of discrimination. If he kneels again during the national anthem, there could be protests at stadiums. If he doesn’t, the Confederacy will declare a moral victory and the Union will see a sellout to the man.
Controversial (and, fingers crossed, viral) Music Video – A bit of shameless self-promotion here, folks. A video of a Gordonville, U.S.A. song “Angry White Male” was released, via Facebook watch party, on Nov. 16 (World Unity Day) and remains available for viewing.
The images of how far we have devolved, with so-called patriots using symbols of those our forefathers fought against to save our union and democracy, are not pretty.
But they were necessary to convey the brevity of the song, which can be found on YouTube and at the Gordonville, U.S.A. Facebook page (give a brother a “like” while you are there).
I would say enjoy, but that’s not the intent.
This column initially ran in Times Herald on Nov. 17, 2019.