Monthly Archives: April 2016

Senior Entitlement: No, Not Social Security

Today I am going to address something I see a lot of – entitled behavior on the part of “senior citizens” (basically, anyone 55 or older).  I feel I have every right to comment on this, as I am in that age group.

Every time I interact with most people my age or older, the same refrain runs through my mind:

“I swear I am never going to become like these people.”

And if I ever do start exhibiting these odious behaviors, I want my loved ones to take me to a neuropsychologist to find out why, because it would be a drastic personality change.

I can count on one hand how many older people I deal with who are nice, down-to-earth (not snobby), funny, and kind.   I have friends my age, and they’re great!  But they are not typical of folks our age.

The rest of the seniors I encounter are, quite frankly, jerks.  Many assume everyone else their age is like them, too – so they are rather free in their assertions and hateful talk.  Rather than asking, “What do you think?” they make pronouncements about society that “everyone agrees with.”

Uh-uh, hold on a minute Grandma and Grandpa – not everyone is like you.  I fervently hope most people are not like you.  Keep your voice down and try asking others what they think, instead of being a pompous ass about any given subject (which you may or may not know anything about).

And stop forcing everyone to be quiet while you do things such as require prayer in tax-funded service agencies.  You’re wrong to do this, and you’ve had plenty of time to familiarize yourself with our Constitution to know why this isn’t right.

The attitude that drives “senior entitlement” is this:

“I am elderly, so what I want, and what I think, supersede what everyone else wants and thinks.  I earned it!  And if you don’t do what I want, or you argue with me, you’re being disrespectful.”

Sorry, but I subscribe to the belief that no one gets automatic respect just due to their age.  All it means when someone lives to a ripe old age is…they don’t have major health problems.

That’s not a virtue, that’s just (mostly) luck, perhaps coupled with eating right and taking care of oneself.

It does not follow that older people are any wiser than anyone else.  This is often one reason given why we all should automatically listen to and respect them.

No, quite often if a person is a foolish, selfish jerk when young, they will be a foolish, selfish jerk when they are older – unless there is a major life event that changed them in some way.

But even that isn’t unique to aging, as young people can also have major events that change them for the better.

What prompted this post was either the increasing loudness of seniors voicing their dissatisfaction with the world at large, or my increasing sensitivity to it.  I’m not sure which it is, but I am fed up listening to it.

To those who might argue that these folks are upset because society treats them badly, I must disagree.  I think it’s the other way around.

It’s because their bad attitudes seem so prevalent (because they are so loud) that this affects how the rest of the world treats them – and how it treats everyone else of a certain age, too.

It’s as if people expect us all to be jerks, by default.

I can’t blame them, really.  If every 100 seniors you meet are cranky, bigoted, manipulative, rude, self-centered ninnies, then you might be inclined to assume the 101st one will be like that, too.

Plus, look at Bernie Sanders – loved and respected by many young people.  They aren’t disrespectful to him.  It’s because he is progressive, and has an attitude of acceptance of all people.  If the issue of “disrespect” that older people complain about was due to prejudice against older people in general, Sanders would not have gotten as far as he has.

The “prejudice” lies in older people reinforcing stereotypes of “angry, bitter old people”.

Some examples of things entitled seniors do that make me cringe or make me angry are:

A.  The insistence on (unconstitutional) organized prayer before lunch at senior centers. No, I don’t mean the spontaneous praying over food that many Christians do, I mean a situation where the paid staff person grabs a mic and asks, “Who wants to lead us in The Pledge and prayer?”  This is quite off-putting to people who are not Christians, or to Christians who support the separation of church and state.

Since the senior centers here (and in most places) are funded by the Dept of Aging, which is a state (or commonwealth) entity of the US Administration on Aging, they receive tax dollars and, as such, cannot sponsor or favor one religion over another.

It’s not “a bunch of old dears wanting to express their love for their country and their God”, as so many right-wingers try to spin it.

No, it’s a bunch of old Christians who don’t see a thing wrong with taking over a federally funded organization and making “outsiders” (non-Christians) feel unwelcome.

Because, let me tell you, if you read about attempts to get these senior centers to come into compliance with the Constitution, you’ll see that the Christian seniors scream, yell, and play the age card.  Some really pull out all the stops and play the “age plus veteran” card.

Then, you’re not only hating old people, you’re also un-American and attacking those who fought in wars.

Give me a break.

B.  The racist, nationalistic, jingoistic, xenophobic (except regarding certain European countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Greece, and Italy), and homophobic views expressed by seniors in the centers, on the bus, or basically anywhere two or more of them congregate.  They are loud about it and they don’t care, because they’re intimidating to younger folks, and they know this.

C.  The stereotypical complaining about “how spoiled young people are”, how the “good old days” were so much better, how no one (except them, of course) has values or morals anymore, how “you can’t say Merry Christmas!” (oddly, I hear that one all year ’round), and how “young people are rude/do drugs/dress ‘funny’/don’t respect elders/(insert other complaint here) because they took prayer out of the schools”.

The basis of this is, they don’t understand the world now, and they don’t want to make any attempt to understand it.  It’s easier to just hang out with other grumpy, uninformed seniors so they don’t have to challenge themselves in any way.

D.  The frequent bashing of other religions, particularly Islam.  (I don’t hear it about pagans but now that I wear a pentacle I suppose I might start hearing it more.)  The frequent bashing of women, and the sexist jokes and comments about women in the public eye (Hillary, and others).

Confront someone about this and you’re “being politically correct”, “being too sensitive”, not understanding “how these people really are”.

E.  The hostility towards technology, and towards the younger people who have jobs in that sector (I take personal umbrage at this, as all my 3 adult kids have technology jobs and college degrees).  The weird attitude that these college-educated younger folks somehow diminish whatever work the senior did when young.  The assertion that younger people are “lazy” because they can use cell phones and computers.  The wrongheaded notion that younger people have fewer social skills because of technology.

I had one woman tell me that younger people can’t spell now because of cell phones and computers, and that conversing via text is somehow an insult to her (just because she doesn’t see the value in text messaging).

The world is changing.  Either get with the program or lay off hating people just because you do not understand it or do not want to participate in it.  Here’s an idea: ask a younger person to help you learn technological stuff.  Most will be flattered you asked.

The attitude about younger people comes off as hateful and bitter.  Here is a good example of a “baby boomer” complaining about millennials that illustrates this pretty well.  It’s called “How Millennials are Ruining the Workforce” (Sandy Hingston, News + Opinion Section of the Philadelphia Magazine online, 1/8/2016).

Oh!  A Pennsylvanian!  How appropriate!

The comments/rebuttals by millennials, progressive baby boomers, and a few by gen x-ers are worth a read as well.  Pity the comments are closed.

Just as we can see the phenomenon of certain groups of people who put whatever pops into their heads online for all to see, it’s evident that older folks do this live and in person.

Heck, at least you can turn off the computer.  With these people, you don’t have any option to stop it (not any legal ones, anyway).

I could blame this on living in a conservative area (central Pennsylvania), except that Sanders won most of the counties around here.  So, that doesn’t explain the phenomenon.

I could write a blog post on how older folks are marginalized by the rest of society, patronized or treated like children, and/or discriminated against in employment.  These are real problems.

They are problems that need to be addressed.  But does it ever occur to the majority of seniors that this is where their energy would be better spent, rather than used to rant and rave about people they perceive as being inferior to them?

Yes, we do have organizations such as the Grey Panthers, but they are not in most places.  I did contact them, actually, long ago…and received no reply.  Good job, folks.

Many senior organizations – the mainstream ones – meant to assist older people do not address the basic problems.  They, too, are often patronizing towards older people, and that will drive the most openminded senior away – because who wants to be treated like that by an agency that is supposed to help you?

The entitled senior loves organizations like those, though, because (for one thing) they have lower expectations for senior behavior.  They expect them to behave like spoiled children, and from what I have seen, this is exactly the behavior they get.  No one challenges it, and seniors who are not like that leave the organization.

I don’t know what the answer to this entitlement problem is.  I do know that I am getting really sick and tired of it.

This week’s weirdness comes from Snopes, and it’s a story about an ancient city being unearthed in someone’s backyard (“Elaborate Roman Villa Found in Man’s Backyard”, Brooke Binkowski, Snopes website, 4/18/16).  The villa was built between 175 AD and 220 AD.  Very cool.

Recommendations?  I have been watching a lot of CNN and MSNBC, and reading websites mostly covering the presidential election, so I don’t have anything to recommend this week.

Be good. Be kind. Don’t be one of “those people”.

 

Extremists Seek to Legalize Discrimination Against LGBT People

First of all, today’s big news was the death of Prince, a musician/singer/songwriter/record producer/actor from Minneapolis, MN.  He was 57.  The press is suggesting that maybe flu was the cause.  Such a shame, he was so talented.

So far this year, we music lovers have lost…

  1.  David Bowie, age 69
  2.  Glenn Frey, age 67
  3.  Paul Kantner, age 74
  4.  Maurice White, age 74
  5.  Frank Sinatra, Jr, age 72
  6.  Merle Haggard, age 79
  7.  Signe Anderson, age 74

This last singer was important to me (as was Kantner) because she was the first lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane, and recorded their first album with them (“Jefferson Airplane Takes Off”). It was released in 1966, when I was 10 and my sister Ginny was 13…Ginny bought it because she had heard the band in San Francisco with some friends.  Memories.

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Ok, on to this week’s topic.

Like I stated last week, there are other news stories besides the US presidential election, though you wouldn’t really know it from watching the news here.

Aside #1:  Massive, killer earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, for example (“Powerful Earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador”, EarthSky website, 4/17/16).  

A couple of stories about recently-passed laws have me shaking my head in disbelief, they are so stupid and hateful.  Again, we have right-wing religious fundamentalists trying to use “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against people they don’t like.

One piece of legislation is HB2 in North Carolina, and the other is HB 1523 in Mississippi.  Both laws have clauses in them about who can and cannot use which bathrooms, amongst other things.

Conservatives, who are constantly screaming that they don’t want the government to tell them what to do, have no problem whatsoever with having the government tell everyone else what to do.

Here’s a summary of these 2 bills…

In Mississippi, there is a “religious liberty bill” that allows social workers, public employees, and businesses to deny services based on their ideas about marriage (only between a man and a woman), sex (only when married), and gender (determined by birth only).

So…someone can refuse to grant a marriage license, deny an adoption based on the parents being a same-sex couple, or even fire LGBT people.  The list of people this involves is endless, from florists and wedding planners to counselors and doctors.

I would love to move back to the area and put a rainbow-colored shingle out, declaring that LGBT people are most welcome for counseling services.  Along with pagans and everyone else.

Aside #2: Unfortunately, long ago the social work lobby succeeded in getting Mississippi’s grandfather clause on licensing tossed out – the one that enabled people with master’s degrees in psychology who do marriage and family therapy to get licensed just by applying. So, unless someone out there already has a counseling business and needs to hire a counselor (so I could work under their license), my whole “Mississippi equal opportunity counseling” dream is just that – a dream – for now.

(Btw, that’s a hint)

Anyway, this law also allows (I would say “encourages”) schools and businesses to “establish sex-specific policies regarding bathrooms and dress” (“Mississippi’s Senate Just Approved a Sweeping ‘Religious Liberty Bill’ that Critics Say is the Worst Yet for LGBT Rights”, Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post website, 3/31/16).

In N. Carolina, the law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people.  This seemed to be in reaction to Charlotte, N. Carolina passing a law that prohibited discrimination against LGBT people.  Apparently one of the big objections to this anti-discrimination bill is the part stating that people can use the bathroom of whatever gender with which they identify.

In fact, a lot of what you hear on the news about either bill is this whole “bathroom controversy”.  It’s just so ridiculous, and I can’t understand what upsets people so much about it.

If someone is dressed like a woman, why would you want that person in the men’s room?  How would you even notice if she was born a man?

I don’t know about you, but when I use public bathrooms my 2 main concerns are 1. will there be an empty stall, and 2.  did the last dumbass decide she had to “avoid germs” by hovering over the toilet seat and pissing all over it?  That happens a lot in women’s bathrooms!

I couldn’t tell you who was in there if my life depended on it.  And I would think this is the norm for most people.  I don’t see why there is an issue.

And how would you enforce this?  Cameras??  Having a towel person, or whatever they’re called, that fancy restaurant bathrooms have?  Except they’d not hand you a towel, their whole job would be to make sure the “right gender” is using the bathroom.

That is unbelievably creepy.  Just imagine who would apply for a job like that.

I would think that this would be a voyeur’s dream job.  Ugh.

Though ridiculous, the main focus should be on the fact that these laws permit discrimination, even encourage it.  This is not ok.  It’s not “religious freedom” to discriminate against others.

The Old Testament, from which many of these “religious ideas” come, also has passages in it about witches and pagans (the most famous one is Exodus 22:18 – “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”).  Heck, I didn’t even have to look it up, it’s been thrown in my face so many times.

And, although the laws specifically refer to people in the LGBT community, make no mistake that, once these idiots get away with laws like these, others will be next.

Pagans, maybe Muslims, possibly women, atheists…the list goes on and on.  How would these businesses know?

Well, they can ask, of course.  Recall the last time you checked into an outpatient facility for medical tests, or the ER…didn’t they ask you what religion, if any, you prefer?  I’ve been asked this many times, in many states.

Aside #3: Presumably it’s to find out what religious person you want them to call in case you code and are dying in their facility – pretty morbid, if you ask me, and also stupid, as there really isn’t any other witch they could call, in my case.

It is also a routine question asked by therapists while filling out a client’s “psychosocial assessment” – something I have done thousands of times during intake.

With these laws, there’s nothing to prevent landlords and businesses and others from asking questions about sexual orientation, and if the right keeps pushing agendas like this, they will soon be able to ask religious questions as well.

So, if you have to argue the question with someone who says, “I’m not LGBT, why should I care?”, you can point out that they might be next, if they have something about them that offends some fundamentalist Christian.

I have to admit I’m shocked at the nerve these people had to pass laws like this.  Laws that are so basically unfair and bigoted.  But, in the current political climate, where the extreme right feels they can push their agendas hard, and often, it’s important that we push back.

Push back – hard and relentlessly.

Today’s weirdness comes from a site called Daily Grail – and this is also my recommendation for the week.  It’s a rather long, but fascinating, article on mushrooms and fairies, hallucinations, and certain works of literature (yes, “Alice in Wonderland” is mentioned).

The article is titled “Mushrooms in Wonderland”, by Mike Jay (Daily Grail website, 4/15/16).  Well worth a read.

Be good.  Be kind.  Push back.

 

The Price of 29 Deaths: One Year in Prison

With all the brouhaha over the presidential election, it’s understandable that this story would not be discussed much in the news.  However, I think it’s very important, as not only did 29 people die, but it is indicative of a systemic problem in this country – the overriding importance of profit over people’s safety and lives.

I became aware of this as I was puttering about in the kitchen, with the news playing in the background.  I heard a man sobbing, stating how it wasn’t fair that someone got only one year when so many people were dead.

I caught the whole story on the next pass (since CNN and others report the same stories over and over), and also did some internet research on my own.

What I found out was absolutely disgusting.

I’d like to say it was surprising, but considering my past work and the outcomes I saw, time and time again, when profit supersedes peoples’ health, I can’t.

The story: Donald Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy Company, was convicted of only one count of conspiracy to violate federal mine safety standards (“Donald Blankenship Sentenced to a Year in Prison in Mine Safety Case”, Alan Blinder, New York Times website, 4/6/2016).

The original charges were conspiracy to defraud the United States, making a false statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and making false statements to investors – all three are felonies; and conspiracy to violate mine safety standards, which is a misdemeanor (“The Don Blankenship Trial – FAQ”, Ken Ward, Jr and Joel Elbert, JoelEbert Atavist website, no date posted).

Aside #1: Joel Ebert is a reporter who often writes about legal cases.

His site adds that, four months later, the government was able to combine the two conspiracy counts into one felony count of conspiracy that includes both the safety violation and defrauding the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (Ibid).

If convicted as charged, Blankenship could have been sentenced to 30 years in prison.  But, for some reason, he still was only convicted on the violation of mine safety standards – so he is only facing one year in prison.

I am not a lawyer, and really wish someone who was would explain this to me.  I don’t understand how, if the misdemeanor was essentially rolled into one felony count, Blankenship wasn’t convicted of that.

What, exactly, was the incident that spurred these legal charges?

In April of 2010, the Massey Upper Big Branch Mine exploded, killing 29 miners (“Ex-Coal CEO Convicted of Misdemeanor Conspiracy”, Jonathan Mattise (AP) and John Raby (AP), via the US News and World Report website, 12/3/2015).

29 people.  29 people who were already risking black lung disease and other health issues just to make a living in West Virginia, which is ranked 49th in income (“These Are America’s Richest and Poorest States”, Dora Mekouar, Voice of America website, 9/21/2015).

The poverty rate in West Virginia is 18.3%.  Only Mississippi is poorer – ranked #50 at 21.5% (Ibid).

And, although this CEO got the maximum allowed by law for this charge – which, by the way, was touted as a great victory by the government because no CEO has ever been convicted of this – it’s a huge tragedy for families who have suffered so much already.

People who worked for this guy got stiffer sentences for things like lying about warning miners when inspectors were coming (Hughie Elbert Stover, 36 months), and thwarting federal mine safety regulators (Gary May, 21 months).

One man – David Hughart – got 42 months for thwarting federal mine safety regulators and for conspiracy to violate U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration standards (“The Don Blankenship Trial – FAQ”Ken Ward, Jr and Joel Elbert, JoelEbert Atavist website, no date posted).

Yes, there’s that charge again – only a misdemeanor.  The other charges are felonies.  That charge should also be a felony.  The law needs to change.

One of the arguments the defense used, apparently successfully, was that the reason the government was prosecuting this CEO was to “bolster the political fortunes of R. Booth Goodwin II, the United States attorney who oversaw the case” (“Donald Blankenship Sentenced to a Year in Prison in Mine Safety Case”, Alan Blinder, New York Times website, 4/6/2016).

Goodwin is a Democrat.  Blankenship is a Republican. So the defense pandered to the “liberals picking on the conservatives” point-of-view that many people hold.

Aside #2: Don’t get me wrong, I do not subscribe to the “Democrats good, Republicans bad” political point-of-view.  To me, when money is involved, partisan politics goes out the window.  It just seems to me that Republicans are more often anti-union and anti-safety-if-it-costs-us-money than Democrats are – but it’s just by a narrow margin.

And Blankenship’s reaction to his conviction?  He winked.

Yes, that’s right – he winked at reporters.  Supposedly this was a reference to his attorney asking a witness if he thought he and Blankenship had a “wink and a nod” that there would be violations of mine safety regulations (“In The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston Transcript of Proceedings”, assets.documentcloud.org, 11/17/2015).

He winked.  Then he laughed (“Ex-Coal CEO Convicted of Misdemeanor Conspiracy”, Jonathan Mattise (AP) and John Raby (AP), via the US News and World Report website, 12/3/2015).

Now there’s a heartless, smug bastard if there ever was one.  And I’m pretty sure he is convinced he will win on appeal.

Sleeping well, with the blood of 29 miners on his hands that he doesn’t even see because, to him, these are not really people.   Miners are only “things” to make profits for him.  He doesn’t care about them or their families.

He doesn’t care about the man who I heard sobbing on national tv.

Something is very wrong with this country when all the networks devote hours of analysis on why Donald Trump is whining about being too damn stupid to understand the Republican rules for nomination, and not have one in-depth report on this mine tragedy and subsequent lack of serious consequences for someone who made massive amounts of money from said mine.

So massive, in fact, that the company that purchased Massey Energy paid in excess of $5.8 million to defend him.  And then declared bankruptcy (“The Don Blankenship Trial – FAQ”Ken Ward, Jr and Joel Elbert, JoelEbert Atavist website, no date posted).

I can only shake my head and mourn for the loss of these men, and for the families they left behind.

Today’s weirdness comes from UPI.  It’s for those people who are considering a move to Canada if the presidential election doesn’t go as they want:

“Canadian Survey Reports Increased UFO Sightings in 2015”.  So if you’re scared of otherworldly aliens, be forewarned!

I think Cape Breton might be a better bet, actually…

Today’s recommendation is for the FactCheck.org website.  They seem to do a pretty good job of debunking false news stories and false claims made in news stories (such as the one that Hillary Clinton stated about Vermont being the main supplier of guns to New York – not true).

Be good.  Be kind.   Help others whenever you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day, A New Jaw-Dropping Event

I wish I hadn’t taken so much time off from writing this blog, because so much has been happening lately in the world of the presidential election.

Donald Trump is ahead in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.

He seems to be losing some ground to Ted Cruz, who is basically “Trump Light”, and that doesn’t make the GOP look much better.

There seems to be a split in the GOP over Trump – one part is organizing an effort to make sure he doesn’t win the nomination, and the other part is folding like a house of cards and rushing to back him.

It’s creepy, seeing people who just a few weeks ago characterized Trump (correctly, in my opinion) as a dangerous blowhard, now basically saying, “Yes, Mr. Trump.  Whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”

Don’t they realize how duplicitous that looks?  Don’t the Republican voters see it?

And still Trump continues his outrageous behavior, inciting his base to assault protesters, refusing to show up at Republican debates (to debate Ted Cruz and John Kasich), and spouting ridiculous rhetoric that still explains nothing about how he is going to implement his crazy ideas.

His latest bout of crazy was today, when Trump released a statement – after losing the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz – referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted” and stating that the Wisconsin results were due to a conspiracy between Cruz, “the Republican party bosses”, and conservative talk radio to “steal” delegates from Trump (“Republican Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin, Says Party Will Unite”, Steve Holland, Reuters website, 4/6/2016).

Because, of course, Trump’s loss would have nothing to do with him insulting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (who is very popular with the tea party/reactionary crowd), coming off like an unprepared schoolyard bully on a conservative talk show (he was so unprepared he didn’t even know the host was a proponent of the “Never Trump” group), and taking several different positions on abortion in about a 72-hour period of time.

Wisconsin conservatives/right-wing reactionaries, who should be part of Trump’s base, turned on him because of these errors.  But, of course, Trump can never take responsibility for anything, not even his own campaign mistakes.

The abortion flip-flops started when Trump stated there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions (“Trump Call to Punish Women for Illegal Abortions Sparks Firestorm”, Harper Neidig, The Hill website, 3/30/2016).

When pressed, of course Trump couldn’t say what form that would take, nor how he would ban all abortions.

What punishment is he wanting?  Prison terms, hefty fines, public stoning??

Then he tried to fix this when he stated that “it’s a states rights issue”, after he met with the Republican National chairman Reince Priebus on March 31.  He also stated that “it’s the law”, presumably referring to abortion being (barely) legal in most places.

In PA, abortion is technically legal – but not permitted under Medicare/Medicaid except in cases of life endangerment, incest, or rape, unless the woman pays extra.  That basically makes it illegal for poor women.

Anyway, Trump then released another statement saying that he meant that it’s the law now, but when he is president, he will change that.

Because, presumably, Trump believes that presidential powers supersede the Supreme Court, and that he can just overturn Roe v Wade because he wants to.

He never explains what his actual plans are to implement his right-wing ideas, ever – and he excuses his silence by stating he doesn’t want everyone to know what he’s going to do.

He just wants people to trust him.  Trust him, and he’ll fix everything.

75% of women do not like him, and will not vote for him.  That’s the bright spot in all this.

But…when confronted with this fact, Trump stated it wasn’t true.

“No one respects women more than I do,” he crowed.  He says this a lot.  He Tweets this a lot. He thinks, I guess, if he keeps saying it, people will believe it.  Another tactic that bullies use quite often.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past 2 months my mouth has dropped open in astonishment at the things Trump has said.

When asked about who he would consult regarding foreign policy matters, he replied

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” (“Five Worst Right-Wing Moments This Week: Trump and His Proxies Take Leave of Reality”, Janet Allon, Alternet website, 3/19/2016)

He rambled a bit more and then added

“So I know what I’m doing. I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time, I’ll tell you who they are.  My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct about this stuff.” (Ibid)

Yeah, who needs information and education, when you have yourself and your “instinct”?

I would encourage you to read the whole Alternet article, because it details other interesting tidbits such as David Duke stating Trump makes Hitler look good, and Republicans trying desperately to spin the physical attacks on protesters by stating they are paid (um no, most of us will pay people for rides just to go and protest) and that the protesters are just like Vietnam War protesters (actually, I think a lot of them are better organized and somewhat braver than we were, and good for them!).

How that translates to the justification for punching and otherwise roughing up protesters is beyond me.  I guess the Republicans were speaking to the now elderly people who used to shout “America, love it or leave it!” and called us “dirty hippies” in the 1960s and 70s.

In fact, one of the last people to assault a protester was a 78-year-old man named John McGraw. He sucker-punched a protester as that protester was being escorted out by the cops (“Trump Supporter Charged After Sucker-Punching Protester at North Carolina Rally”, Justin Wm. Moyer, Jenny Starrs, and Sarah Larimer, Washington Post online, 3/11/2016).

Ol’ reactionary John talked with the press after punching the guy, stating, “Next time we might have to kill him” (Ibid).  He could say that because, you see, the cops jumped on the protester, and not on reactionary John.

The cops have now been suspended – for 3 to 5 days, big deal – for doing what they did (“5 Sheriff’s Deputies Disciplined After Assault at Trump Rally”, Jeremy Diamond, CNN website, 3/16/2016).

To put things in context, Trump has been saying in his speeches that he wants to punch people in the face, makes references to how protesters used to be carried out on stretchers, and offers to pay the legal fees of people who violently attack protesters (“Media Highlight Trump’s Role in Inspiring Violence at his Events”, Julie Alderman, Media Matters website, 3/11/2016).

It’s not clear whether or not Trump has paid reactionary John’s legal fees.  I can’t find any information on that but I would guess not, as Trump would be bragging about it if he had.