TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Things That Puzzle Me

Admittedly, I’m easily puzzled.

Therefore, I ought to be able to come up with a column on that topic. Even if I’m trying to write next to a guy noshing airport sushi while I’m waiting for a flight back to North Dakota.

The first thing that puzzles me is why I’m leaving Los Angeles this soon, knowing full well I’m flying back into the teeth of a northern Plains autumn —  which in the perspective of Californians is Antartica in the dead of winter. They think we raise penguins. We should consider it. The pheasant count is down.

Had the Dodgers actually won Game 7 of the World Serious, I might have been tempted to stick around, so I could help tip over cop cars on Rodeo Drive.

After my visit, I’m also thinking about investing in Dow Chemical. Facts I made up show that a full 20 percent of your average Californian’s body mass is silicone. The balance is a combination of botox, Perrier and arugula. The only other place that has bigger boobs and more fake smiles is Washington, D.C.

I kid. As eclectic as California is, it’s a sane asylum compared to the rest of the world. I did check the news while I was gone and that led to a good deal of confusion.

Like why Donald Trump Jr. had to drag his daughter, Chloe, into a discussion about economics. All the kid really wanted to do was to go trick-or-treating on Halloween in her Marie Antoinette costume.

When you’re a Trump kid, it’s complicated enough. You end up with things like Krugerrands, Faberge eggs, caviar, covfefe and truffles in your Gucci bag — a serious bummer when you’re 3.

On the bright side, at least she isn’t saddled with having some weird name ending in “-vana” or “-vanka.” Unless her full name is Chlovanka, which sounds like a trendy social disease. Or the perfect place for a nuclear accident. Or a country bordering Nambia.

Inexplicably, her father used Halloween as an opportunity to disparage liberal kids who aren’t working hard enough. “I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight and give it to some kid who sat at home,” he tweeted. “It’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism.”

Uhh, I’m not an economist, but isn’t socialism like when you knock on doors and ask for a handout? Some people call it Halloween, others call it tax reform.

Speaking of which, I’m puzzled by the almost patriotic fervor among paycheck-to-paycheck Republicans in the Heartland who support the desperate need to eliminate the estate tax.

It affects just 5,000 millionaires and billionaires a year. I guess this is a minority outreach program. Well, you gotta start somewhere.

I’m puzzled, too, by the contradiction that some economic philosophers in Washington want a new tax “reform” plan that would offer an increased child tax credit, while simultaneously cutting safety net funding that feeds and insures children. How did they decide which one is welfare and which one is not?

The sales pitch on this tax plan is that it’s about job creation. But isn’t unemployment already at a 17-year low, at 4.1 percent? The only people not working are liberal children who are too lazy to even ask for a mini-Snickers bar at the neighbor’s house.

If we create any more jobs, everyone will have to start working two jobs. Hold it. I think that’s already a thing. Anyway, as a liberal slacker, I don’t want another job. My plan if things get tough? Go Fund Me.

Ultimately, I just don’t think I’m ready for America to be too great too soon. Maybe we ought to just ease into it — you know, do a little economic foreplay. I’ll leave it to you to continue the analogy.

Every tax cut from Kennedy to Reagan to Bush II has added to the deficit, but this time they say it’s going to work. Absolutely. No doubt. Pinky promise.

Even though Wall Street is roaring, I guess we need even more stimulus.

Personally, I’m worried. What’s this much stimulus going to do to Mike Pence? He may start calling his wife “Baby” instead of “Mother.” The good news is he probably won’t have to arrange conjugal visits through Bob Mueller.

Equally puzzling to me about this rush to tax “reform” are the Tea Party congressmen who were against deficits under Obama. Most have apparently signed on for $1.5 trillion added to the national debt. We could rename it the T.P. Party because that’s what you need when you’re so full of … of … tax reform, I guess.

My guess is the tax cut for the rich will just add to the debt. In a few years, Republicans will start wringing their hands and blaming the working poor on food stamps, who just aren’t Halloweening hard enough.

Maybe I’m too skeptical. Perhaps a few days in California has addled my once sound judgment.

I bet someone put something in my wine spritzer.

© Tony Bender, 2017

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Potpourri

One of Us

The other day, I ran into a friend who wondered why I couldn’t get with the program, like the rest of the Republicans in my neck of the woods.

I explained I’m not really anti-Republican, I am pro-common sense. Since these days we are entitled to our own facts, along with entire networks to support them, please allow me my delusion.

Continuing with said delusion, I told my friend I actually appreciated real conservatives, like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, both of whom are spinning in their graves so fast these days, you could use them for horizontal drilling.

My friend told me the reason nine out of 10 voters and four out of five dentists in the state supported Trump is “He’s one of us.” Which is why he wants to roll back the estate tax to save those of us with $5.49 million in the bank. Whew. Close call.

I can appreciate the way some folks are sticking with the president in the same way I appreciated the time my cat got one of those sticky mousetraps pasted to his fur.

Some people have veritable shrines to Trump in their yards, or on the sides of weathered barn buildings.

Me? I have a shrine to Melania in a more discreet location.

Because I don’t think we all have to wear our politics on our sleeves. Let mine remain a mystery to you.

Disavowing Harvey Weinstein

It’s been a good week for conservatives because they finally got a new liberal sleazeball to demonize in Harvey Weinstein.

Bill Clinton has been the standard bearer for quite a while. With occasional appearances by Anthony Weiner, who has the best political perv name of all time. At least, until Peter Dingleberry gets elected.

For quite some time, the party of family values has dominated the scandal category. I’m not saying sleaze doesn’t cut across party lines, it’s just that most liberals are too busy smoking pot, collecting welfare and hugging trees — treesexuals abound in the party — to get elected to anything. When Diane Feinstein, at 84 and running for office again, is one of the fresh faces of the Democratic Party, well, need I say more?

Conservative pundits have been licking their chops and are demanding liberals publicly disavow Weinstein. Taking bold leadership on the issue was President Trump, who said, “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.”

And now, a moment of silence for Irony, who died in that very moment. She is survived by two sisters, Hypocrisy and Obliviousness. Officiating at the service will be Congressman Tim Murphy.

It’s none of your business

Hypocrisy and Obliviousness were spotted in a meeting last week at the Fargo Public Library, when Govs. Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton, Sen. John Hoeven, Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams, Fargo Deputy Mayor Dave Piepkorn and Cass County commissioners Mary Scherlings and Chad Peterson held a closed-door meeting to discuss the $2.2 billion flood diversion project.

That’s $2.2 Billion, with a capital Bill. Your Bill.

North Dakota reporters have been kicked out of so many meetings lately you can identify them by the dusty footprints on their behinds. When EPA administrator Scott Pruitt held a meeting with Hoeven, Kevin Cramer and Burgum to discuss ways to keep oil companies from despoiling the state (Sarcasm is still alive), scribes were asked to leave the meeting.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked to leave a party after an invitation. After two beers, hosts invariably start rethinking things. And they always want the lampshade back.

Burgum, who is reinventing transparency, said about last week’s meeting, “The primary reason (for barring the taxpaying public) is, we want to make sure everybody in the room feels comfortable sharing their concerns.”

I have some concerns of my own. But you know me, I don’t feel comfortable sharing them in such a public forum.

Obviousness, who was not allowed in either, was, however, comfortable expressing her feelings in the hallway outside the door, which was guarded by burly bouncers.

“All I know is clowns and politicians perform better under a spotlight,” she told a fake news reporter, who stood through the interview because his butt was really sore.

“And we still have the First Amendment and Democracy, don’t we,” she continued.

The place went silent.

© Tony Bender, 2017