The Great Deficit Bug-a-Boo. No matter how low it is, it is never low enough not be used to scare investment in America by Americans


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Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I hate to break it to you, but America's founding fathers were the most argumentative bunch of back stabbing duplictious ego maniacs on the North American continent. Just look at what they thought of each other. Thomas Jefferson called President John Adams a senile fool and a hideous hermaphroditic. Adams called his fellow Federalist Alexander Hamilton, “That bastard brat of a Scottish peddler!”, accusing him of possessing  "a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn't find enough whores to absorb!” And Adams described Thomas Jefferson, leader and founder of opposition Democratic- Republicans, as a man whose “soul is poisoned with ambition.” Hamilton called Jefferson a “howling atheist”. And then there was New York's Aaron Burr. Nobody trusted Burr.
Politics is a great game for fun, honor, and profit.”
Aaron Burr
The always charming Aaron Burr (above) was urbane and witty, with a healthy disrespect for his own legal profession, asserting “Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.” He loved politics so much he converted the Tammany Hall social club into the bulwark of New York State Democratic politics for the next 200 years, while still maintaining alliances with moderate Federalists. Aaron's only child, Theodosia, paid him probably the greatest compliment I have ever heard, when she said, “I had rather not live than not to be the daughter of such a man.” The only problem was Aaron Burr kept out smarting the smartest men in America.
As to Burr...he is a man of extreme and irregular ambition; that he is selfish to a degree which excludes all social affections, and that he is decidedly profligate. “
Alexander Hamilton
In early 1799 the Democrat Aaron Burr offered a plan to bring water into Manhattan, and convinced the impulsive and arrogant Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton (above)  to support the bill  But buried in the minutia was authorization to charter the Bank of Manhattan. And once the bill passed the water project was quickly dropped, and what would one day be Chase Manhattan Bank started moving money for Democratic politicians. Hamilton, “the little lion”, never forgave Burr for fooling him. But the belligerent Hamilton would never admit his grudge with Burr was anything but a matter of principle  Federalists like Hamilton favored an active government, and Thomas Jefferson's Democrats preferred a government small enough not to threaten slavery or the bankers.
It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who... transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.”
Thomas Jefferson
"Mad Tom" Thomas Jefferson didn't trust Burrr either. But he needed New York's electoral votes. Under the new constitution each “Presidental Elector” was required to vote for two candidates - at least one from outside his home state - with the second highest vote getter becoming Vice-President. Four years earlier, in 1796, Democrat Jefferson got 60 electoral votes and became Vice President. He then spent the next four years undermining the Federalist Adams administration from the inside. This time the two parties tried to coordinate their votes to ensure the “P” and the “VP” would both be from the same party. But as the secret ballots trickled in to Washington during December of 1800, it “leaked” that the Democrats in South Carolina – the last state in which electors were chosen - had screwed up. Both Jefferson and Burr ended up with 73 votes for President – both one vote short of the required 74 vote majority. It was presumed that most Democrats wanted Jefferson to take the top office. Jefferson certainly thought so.
Slander has slain more than the sword.”
Aaron Burr
As designed just 12 years earlier (Article II, Section 1, clause 3 of the Constitution), if two candidates were tied for Presidency, “then the House of Representatives shall immediately chose by ballot one of them for President...each state having one vote.” So, having trudged to the capital through heavy snow on Wednesday 11 February, 1801, the Electoral votes were officially counted. They confirmed the Democrat's worst nightmare. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied, with 73 votes each for the Presidency. The lame duck House of Representatives (56 Federalists to 49 Democrats), voting by state, could only choose between those two Democrats. And most all of the Federalists voted for the New Yorker, just to spit in Thomas Jefferson's eye.
Men of energy of character must have enemies”
Thomas Jefferson
Everybody knew "Mad Tom" Jefferson would have to swallow a deal.  Burr expected it. In December, Burr had written to a supporter in Philadelphia that he would not compete .with Jefferson. “Be assured that the Federal party can entertain no such wish...”  Hamilton had offered a deal to the sage of Monticello in January, saying that if Jefferson would promise to preserve Hamilton's First National Bank and to not to fire every Federalist working for the government, then a few Federalists would vote for Jefferson. The principled Jefferson refused. So the process would have to play itself out.
The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure and pleasure my business.”
Aaron Burr
It would only take nine votes to choose a President, with Congress meeting in the dome-less capital (above). But on the first ballot Thomas Jefferson received just eight votes, with the Federalists giving Burr six.  The Vermont and Maryland delegations were split and handed in blank ballots. Immediately the House began a second vote, with the same result. After 19 duplicate votes, at 3 a..m the next morning, Thursday 12 February, the exhausted House decided to adjourn until daylight. But nothing changed, not on Thursday, not on Friday the 13th and not on Saturday. Saturday night, Federalist James Asheton Bayard, the single congressman from Delaware, decided somebody had to do something. So he did it.
Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action.”
Aaron Burr
Congressman Bayard (above) offered Jefferson the same deal Hamilton had offered a month earlier – keep the National Bank – forerunner of the Federal Reserve system – and don't replace the Federalist custom officials in Philadelphia and Wilmington.  If Jefferson would promise that, then Bayard (and Delaware) would abstain on the next vote. That would still leave Jefferson with just eight votes, but that would now be a majority "of those states voting".  On Sunday, 15 February, while the offer was transmitted to Jefferson in Monticello, Bayard broke the news of his offer to the Federalist caucus. According to Bayard, the resulting cries of “traitor” were loud and “prodigious, the reproaches vehement.” Bayard finally agreed to wait until Burr could respond to the same deal.
Great souls have little use for small morals.”
Aaron Burr
Jefferson's response arrived Monday morning, 16 February – a quite impressive less than 24 hour turn around, given that Monticello (above)  was ninety miles each way by terrible roads from the new “Federal District.” Jefferson would later claim to have turned down the deal   But once in the White House he kept the National bank, despite his campaign promises to dismantle it. And he kept most of the Federalists officials in Baltimore, Maryland and Wilmington, Delaware. And when Aaron Burr's response arrived later that same morning, the deal was sealed. Someone destroyed Burr's letter, but Congressman Bayard wrote later, “Burr has acted a miserable paltry part. The election was in his power.” Whatever Aaron Burr's sentiments, there is no evidence he had lifted a finger to challenge Jefferson for the Presidency. And for that, Thomas Jefferson never forgave him.
I fear Mr. Burr is unprincipled, both as a public and a private man. In fact, I take it he is for or against nothing but as it suits his interest and ambition.”
Alexander Hamilton

At noon on Monday, 17 February 1801, the House cast its 36th ballot. Delaware abstained, and Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States. Aaron Burr (above) became Vice President. Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton had been writing his allies for two months that they should be accept Jefferson, telling one, “Mr. Jefferson, though too revolutionary...is yet a lover of liberty...Mr. Burr loves nothing but himself.” It seems that the Secretary of the Treasury hated Burr more than he loved his own politics.
A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.”
Alexander Hamilton
And where was “the most restless, impatient, artful...and unprincipled intriguer in the United  States” (according to Hamilton) during the week that he could have become the third President of the United States? During the first half of February, 1801, Aaron Burr was in Albany, New York, supervising and attending the wedding of his daughter, Theodosia Burr (above) , to Mr. Joseph Alston, a plantation owner from South Carolina. The newlyweds were the first couple known to have honeymooned at Niagara Falls. The proud father of the bride did not leave Albany until well after the election was settled. It seems that most of the intrigue and duplicity attributed to Aaron Burr, existed mostly in the imaginations of his political opponents..
Hamilton was indeed a singular character. Of acute understanding...honest, and honorable in all private transactions...yet so bewitched and perverted...as to be... (convinced) that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.”
Thomas Jefferson
Distrusted by Jefferson, Aaron Burr served only one term as Vice President. Instead, in 1804 he ran for Governor of New York but fell victim to a nasty smear campaign directed by Alexander Hamilton. On Wednesday, 11 July, 1804,  the two old enemies met on the same field in Weehawken, New Jersey,  where Hamilton's son had been killed in a duel ten years earlier. (above)  Hamilton's shot missed. Burr's shot hit Hamilton in the abdomen and the Federalist leader died the next day. And that was the end of Aaron Burr's political life. He exiled himself to Europe for two years.
A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.”
Thomas Jefferson
In 1807, on the direct orders of President Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr was arrested and charged with treason. With Theodosia at his side, and after a month long trial (above),  Aaron Burr was acquitted, after no wittiness could testify to any act of treason on his part. Burr then returned to New York City , where, in December of 1812, he was expecting Theodosia to arrive for a visit. Her ship, The Patriot, was assumed to have sunk in a hurricane off Cape Hatteras, with all hands lost. Burr continued to wait on piers in New York City, never fully recovering from her death. In 1834 Aaron Burr suffered a stroke and died two years later.
Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
John Adams
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Monday, October 24, 2016


I can find no record of any politician every becoming a professional wrestler. But more than a few baby-kissers have followed the reverse story line. Perhaps the most insightful description of Abraham Lincoln was delivered by 19 year old William Green, who, in the fall of 1831, described his 6' 4”, 185 pound co-worker this way: “He can outrun, out lift, out wrestle and throw down any man in Sangamon County.” Green clearly saw Lincoln's need to win respect. Then in the summer of 1832, Lincoln took on Lorenzo Dow (Hank) Thompson, a fellow volunteer in the Black Hawk Indian uprising. In their match Thompson “threw down” Lincoln: twice. It was the rail splitter's only defeat in 12 years as an amateur wrestler. And it was after that drubbing that Lincoln switched to the law and politics.
Gimmick - The character portrayed by a wrestler.
The most successful wrestler turned politician was probably James George Janos, who was a U.S. Navy Seal, then a professional wrestler using the “gimmick” of Jesse "The Body" Ventura (above), who then used that moniker to become a film actor and then the Governor of Minnesota – putting a lie to F. Scott Fitzgerald's contention there are no second acts in American lives. Twice. His careers highlight the similarities between politicians and professional wrestlers. Both are roles in melodramatic morality plays, based on reality. Both require dedication and concentration from performer and audience alike. And both roles can leave the performer bruised and bloodied, or even paralyzed.
Angle - A fictional story line which usually begins when one wrestler attacks another, which results in revenge.
Consider Jerry O'Neil “The King” Lawler, who holds 168 professional wrestling “championships”, and was most famous for pile driving comedian Andy Kaufman head first during their 1982 match in Memphis, Tennessee. Twice. Kaufman went to the hospital, and Lawler went back to wrestling professionals. Now, Memphis had avoided political drama since New Years Day, 1940, when Mayor Watkins Overton was replaced by Ed “Boss” Crump, who was sworn in at the train station during a snow storm, and who immediately resigned in favor of Vice Mayor Joe Boyle, who the next morning was replaced by the City Commissioners with Walter Chandler. Thus Memphis had four mayors in under 24 hours – something of a melodramatic record. “The King” Lawler offered Memphis a return to that sort of drama, but the voters rejected the idea. Twice. In 1999 Jerry Lawler captured just 11% of the vote for Mayor, and a decade later he won only 4% . And that was the end of of his political career.
Burial – The “worked” (faked) lowering of a popular wrestler, forcing him to lose in “squash” (short, one sided) matches, as punishment..
World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer, Robert Lee “Bob” Backlund (above), had a 30 year career in wrestling, all of it playing a bow-tie wearing white-bread hero, telling his few fans he was “sick and tired of you plebeians throwing garbage out the windows of your car.” It was not exactly a blood curdling war cry. His “Cross-face Chicken Wing” move won him championships. Twice. But by the late 1990's his WWF boss was urging him to become a “heel”, (a villain). When he refused, “I was told I wasn't worth marketing," So Bob decided to make the cross over to Congress, running in 2000 for the seat from Connecticut's 1st district (below), against the incumbent Democrat, John Larsen.  Who had never been a wrestler.
Mark – From the carnival term: a person who enjoys professional wrestling as if it were un-staged.
Most grapplers, making the shift from wrestling theater to political theater, choose to run as Republicans, for some reason. And in recent history, they have all failed. Bucklund won only 28% of the 211,000 plus votes cast in the district, losing 59,331 to 151, 932 for Larsen. After his loss, Bob Bucklund became a bail bondsman, and then opened Buckland Energy (above), delivering fuel oil. He says he is thinking about running for Governor, which may be just about the last thing the Connecticut Republican Party needs after suffering Linda McMahon. Twice.
Shoot Screwjob - when the finish is changed without informing the losing wrestler.
Linda (above) was a North Carolina tom boy. Straight out of high school she married Vince Edwards, whose father was co-owner of Capital Wrestling Corporation. While Vince learned the business, Linda put her B.A. in French to use, translating intellectual property contracts into English for a Washington, D.C. law firm. By 1976 the couple had hit hard times and was reduced to food stamps, until Vince put together a deal to buy a sports arena in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. He filled it by starting a sports management company. In 1982 Linda and Vince bought Capital Wrestling, and changed its name to the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Within a decade they guided the industry into its “Golden Era”, with nationwide pay-per-view events, and marketing contracts for action figures of their “faces” and “heels” . Then in the 1990's financial over extension, “gas” (steroid) scandals, a series of sexual harassment lawsuits, and the infamous Montreal Shoot Screw job brought the empire to near collapse. It was Linda's adroit ancillary contracts which helped save the WWWF.
Sandbag - To make a throw much harder by letting your body go limp, which makes the attacker appear weak or unskilled.
In 2010 Linda McMahon announced her intention to spend $50 million of her own money on a run for a U.S. Senate seat. She beat out two Republican rivals in the primary, but lost the November election by 11%. The winning Democratic incumbent, Richard Blumenthal, spent less than $9 million. In 2012 Linda spent another $50 million trying to capture Connecticut’s other Senate seat. Her opponent this time, Democratic Representative Chris Murphy, spent just about $5.5 million. This time Linda lost by 12%. It is unclear if the underlying problem was being associated with professional wrestling, or being associated with the Republican Party. But afterward, Linda assured the Huffington Post that even after spending $100 million for no pin, she was satisfied. "I thoroughly enjoyed campaigning,” she said. And even a political fib can be charming when delivered in a sweet North Carolina drawl.
Blade - (N) The object used by wrestlers to cut themselves. (V) Cutting to get blood in their matches.
But maybe the most interesting transition from wrestling to politics has been made by the Japanese wrestler Skull Reaper A-ji, who practiced the Mexican lucha libre (free fighting) style. Luchadores (fighters) wear masks whose designs recall ancient Aztec animal-god traditions, and can become more than a costume element for the wearer. They appeal not just to furry fandom types, or anthropomorphic animal lovers.  According to psychiatrists and social psychologists, the mask produces “deindividuation”, which involves desensitization to pain, anger and fear, increased awareness of your surroundings, and an accompanying boost in self confidence.
Dusty Finish - In which the “face” (hero) appears to win a big match, but the decision is reversed by the ref. Refers to wrestler Dusty Rhodes, who booked many such finishes
Until 2004 Skull Reaper worked in the clothing industry – at what, I have no idea. That was the year he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling. He had his first match in September of 2005, at the Oita Event Hall, in front of 1,200 of his home town fans. But there does not seem to have been a follow up match, which may explain why on 24 February, 2013,  Skull Reaper stood for election to the Oita municipal council. Oita (above) is a fishing and manufacturing port of a half a million citizens, on the north coast of Japan's most southern main island, Kyushu. It is famous for its factories and its epicurean favorite, de fugu chiri – poisonous puffer fish liver.
Cheap Heat - The incitement of a negative crowd reaction
There were 55 candidates for the 43 available spots on the Oita counsel, so name recognition was important. And a name like “Skull Reaper” must have of stood out on that list, even in Japanese characters. The 44 year old blond headed masked “face” collected 2,828 votes, making him 40th, out of 43 new councilmen. But, on 6 March, 2013 a plenary meeting of the Oita council was held, and they overwhelmingly voted that Skull Reaper's mask violated the rule “A person entering the floor shall not wear articles such as a hat or cane.” He would not be the masked avenger of Oita
False finish - A pin fall attempt which is kicked out just before the referee counts to three, which builds crowd anticipation.
Refused entry in the council's first general meeting on 11 March, Skull Reaper told the press he was frustrated. “If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person. I will not take it off.” But time, and perhaps negative press coverage, changed his mind. And on 19 March, Skull Reaper was admitted into the Council Chambers, sans mask His name plate (below) still reads “Skull Reaper A-ji” because that was the identity the citizens voted for.
Highspot - A top-rope move, or a series of maneuvers perceived as dangerous.
And perhaps this sacrifice helped his wrestling career, because on 18 May, 2013, Skull Reaper finally got a second match, pinning Hideyoshi Kamitani, at the Asaukura Amagi Sport Center, in just 11:46. It almost makes me wonder if all politicians should be not required to wear masks to match their theatrical persona. 
Gold – A championship belt.
- 30 -

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