NOBODY PROMISED LIFE WOULD BE FAIR – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt – Fairness

No one promised me that life would be fair. Quite the opposite. My mother was a total cynic. Born in 1910, her earliest memories were of living through World War I which she always referred to as “The Great War,” and then living through World War II, which was simply “The Holocaust.”

She didn’t believe in God because how could any God allow such atrocities to occur to his people. She didn’t trust government because even when they sometimes did honorable things, behind locked doors they made dishonorable deals. She was convinced that they intentionally failed to blow up the Nazi concentration camp crematorium and gas chambers because they were good old rich white men and were happy that Hitler was getting rid of those annoying Jews.

She remembered how in the middle of the depression when there was more food than could be sold because people were desperately poor, the government put surplus food in empty lots and poured poison on it so no one could eat it. I heard this was a rumor, but she said it was true. She had seen it.

She knew that the U.S. had refused to let Jews desperate to escape from Germany enter the United States and many of them had died in ships that sank in the Atlantic, in view of the Statue of Liberty. She remembered the jailing of Japanese American citizens during the war and the destruction of Native Americans.

She despised the Catholic church because, she said, they were a bunch of pedophiles, something that proved true eventually.

Lady Justice – Old Bailey, London

She wanted me to get a nose job so I wouldn’t look “so Jewish.” She never trusted the government, always expected it to turn on us. I think she always had a bag packed in case she had to run.

So I never thought the world would be fair. But I also didn’t think it would be this ugly. I thought if we tried really hard we could make it better. That we could fix some of the broken pieces. That I could fix some of the broken pieces myself.

I was wrong but I tried.

Maybe someday we will succeed. May my granddaughter’s children — should she have any — will make things better.

No one told me to expect life would be fair. I always knew rich people would get the best “stuff” and the rest of us would get whatever was left over. It never crossed my mind that we were all genuinely “equal.”

We are all equal. Just some of us are more equal than others.

Those few times when life has gone well and things have seemed fair and evenhanded, it has been a huge surprise. It would be nice if there were more surprises to come, but I’m not holding my breath.

It doesn’t have to be a grand slam when a squeeze play will do – REBLOG – THE SHINBONE STAR

We are serious baseball fans. Garry has actually written a couple of pieces like this, but you need to “get” baseball to understand them. This is a great piece and if you are any kind of sports fan, you should recognize that “the big play” is sexy on TV. A huge homer makes the fans cheer and stomp while the TV crew gets all worked up.

There are a lot of ways to win — and lose. Whacking the ball over the wall is not a game.

A homer is just ONE play. A team needs a basket of strategies to make the game a winner — and a lot of winning games to take the season to a winning finish.

THE SHINBONE STAR

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was just sentenced again in federal court.

So let’s talk baseball.

While such a segue is admittedly strained, the all-American game has lessons to teach sensible citizens who hang our heads over a combined seven-and-a-half-year sentence for Manafort that could allow the 69-year-old to still walk out of prison rather than be carried out on a slab.

Baseball today is a different game than the one many of us grew up with. ESPN’s Sports Center highlights helped turn the sport into one big home run derby, which prevented newer fans from ever learning baseball’s nuances. The stolen base, the hit-and-run, the run-scoring double off the wall are all exciting plays that are mostly unappreciated by newer fans who are conditioned to only get excited when the ball is hit over the fence.

It’s a crime, really, and speaking of crime, that brings us back…

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LOOKING BACK – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Hindsight

They say that hindsight is always 20-20 and considering the situation right now, I should have been a lawyer specializing in the problem of billionaires who have lied to Congress. Who knew there were so many? And who knew they would all need lawyers?

Jeff Danziger / Rutland Herald

Had I seen ahead, I could have planned. So sad!

This is not a profession that has always been a goldmine for the wealthy, but right now, I think you can name your own price. Lord knows Giuliani is not a man to be trusted with anyone’s law case, much less that of the President.

He has already fired the best of the bunch, so even if I were a mediocre lawyer with a specialty of making deals for the very VERY rich and lousy with wealth, I could at the least earn a year or two’s wages just by gibbering something incoherent to the press.

Even if lawyers weren’t something of a joke before, they sure are now. And we all laugh with great merriment as they haul their riches to offshore bank accounts.

God bless the American Way!

UPDATED: DRIP, DRIP, DRIP, PLUNK – Marilyn Armstrong

Da Prez is screaming “Witch Hunt.” Meanwhile, we wait. And wait.  Because we know there’s evil afoot. We want to know what kind of evil.

We want details.

We want to know.

Today we learned a little. It’s interesting that while the Fed – Mueller and associates – are not pressing down hard on Cohen, New York State is pushing for a substantial prison sentence. Garry — who has a tendency to be right about many things political — thinks it’s a “good cop, bad cop” thing except in this case, it’s “good judge, bad judge.”

Robert Mueller

Our chief mobster can pardon Cohen on Federal charges — of which there are very few with no jail time involved — but he cannot pardon him on those New York state charges. I don’t think there’s a lot of love in New York for Godfather Donzo and I’m not expecting a strongly positive reaction to another plea from Cohen. Or Donzo.

There was just so much news today. I haven’t fully processed it and neither has anyone else, probably because this is just the beginning and we aren’t entirely sure, but we can certainly make some solid guesses. What today’s filings on Michael Cohen said is that this is one bad dude. That not only was he a criminal, but he was in it for his own profit and did whatever he did from a position of privilege and power.

Godfather 2 in service to Godfather 1. Or, as Garry put it, “Cohen is one evil dude.”

What was 45’s reaction to it?

How does he figure that?

This is, to put it mildly, a peculiar reaction to the sentencing filings on Michael Cohen. Among many other things, Cohen says the president ordered him to do it.

Take-away from the Mueller document:

Individual 1 is Da Prez. Totally cleared? Seriously? But wait. There’s ever so much more!

And this is but the tip of a huge iceberg

I cannot help feeling that it’s about time we got a little feedback from the investigation. We have, after all, been enthusiastically supporting it even though we had no idea what was going on. We hoped and I think we hoped rightly.

I had to assume that something was indeed going on. I did not expect to get a final report saying “It really was a witch hunt and the poor, bedeviled prez didn’t do nothing wrong, just like he said.”

Michael Cohen

No, I assumed he had done everything wrong. It was more a matter of proof, evidence, facts, legal briefs. This has been a lot like Watergate times 20. I remember with joy the pleasure I felt as in Watergate, the dominos began to fall.

Drip, drip, drip … plunk … rattle, bang, bang, bang.

And they all fell down. Finally, down went the Top Dog. Never did I imagine we’d wind up back in this place again with even bigger and more dangerous fish to fry.

Aside from setting our country back to being a proper nation, we’ve got a planet to save, wars to end, an atmosphere to preserve. Oceans to clean and many kinds of wildlife to save from extinction. Medical care to make available to all. There’s barely anything that doesn’t need saving.

I’m going to go with “save the planet first,” but that’s only because if we lose the planet, nothing else will matter.

Maybe, along the way, we will save ourselves from extinction. That would be a nice touch.

I just wanted to add this last bit, in case you weren’t clear on what I’ve been getting at:

As Bump writes:

Linking Trump to knowledge of the payment and the payment to the campaign is important. One of the defenses that might have been offered by Trump is that he regularly had his attorney pay off women to keep their stories quiet. The government filing indicates that AMI and Cohen discussed the company helping to make such payoffs as early as 2014. But the references to the rationale behind the payments in 2016 and the inclusion of the phrase “at the direction” of the candidate bolsters the evidence that the McDougal and Daniels payments were not just run-of-the-mill behavior.

Given that Cohen indicated that the payments were meant to influence the election and that they came at the direction of Trump, Lawrence Noble, former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, told The Post, “there is little question Cohen, the campaign and the candidate are liable for the campaign finance violations.”

There are no innocents in this mix. They are all guilty and one of my biggest questions remains: HOW FAR DID THIS CORRUPTION GO? How many people — senators, military men, lawyers, wheelers and dealers, were paid to let the Russians play tiddlywinks with our electoral process?

To say that all politics is corrupt is maybe partially true, but this is not only corrupt. This is actively treasonous.

Actively treasonous and not just the president and his close little circle, but his whole “ring of thieves.” Nixon’s crime was a cover-up. This isn’t a cover-up. This is an active attempt to gain the services of an enemy foreign power to win the American presidency.

That’s treason and I don’t care how you spell it. I don’t merely want to “know more.” I want the whole story. Paragraph by paragraph.

JAMES ‘WHITEY’ BULGER DEAD IN PRISON – Marilyn Armstrong

“WHITEY” BULGER DEAD AT 89

They could have found him sooner had they tried harder.

It took them 16 years to find him. A lot of people knew where he was or knew enough to ask the right questions from the right people and get the correct answer.

If they had wanted to. But he was a dangerous guy with powerful friends. A dangerous guy with a brother who was a powerful figure in Boston’s government too.

Two brothers. So different. One becomes (eventually) the top guy at the University of Massachusetts. A really popular guy, too. Funny, witty, educated. But his brother — Whitey — was a killer. How does that happen? What kind of family dynamics produce the head of a mob and the head of the university?

I think every general assignment reporter in Boston had some inkling of his location, including my husband who never said so because he never talks about “the mob,” not when we were young or now … but I was sure he knew a lot more than he said. The FBI knew because they used him as a source for decades and paid him for it, too.

He was supposedly some kind of a “Robin Hood” in Southie. Maybe for his friends, he was. For everyone else, he was a murderous thug. Eventually, it all broke open and he went to prison and died there today.

Former mob boss and fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, who was arrested in Santa Monica, California on June 22, 2011 along with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig is shown in this 2011 booking photo. In the opening of the murder and racketeering trial on June 12, 2013, prosecutors described Bulger, 83, as the leader of a criminal gang responsible for decades of “murder and mayhem.” Prosecutors say 19 people were killed by Bulger’s hand or at his order. REUTERS/U.S. Marshals Service/U.S. Department of Justice/Handout via Reuters

His brother, who I’m sure always knew how to find him, leaped from his office and floated down on a golden parachute.

The feared leader of the Winter Hill Gang, “Whitey” Bulger was convicted (finally) in 2013 of 11 murders stretching from Boston to Florida and Oklahoma. Bulger had spent 16 years as one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives before he was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.

The could have found him sooner. If they tried harder.

Don’t Make Brett Kavanaugh The Poster Boy For Ignominious Defeat

To keep kicking the Kavanaugh can down the road is just what President Donald Trump’s emerging November election game plan has in mind.

It is doubtful he had a plan before Kavanaugh was nominated. For the first time in Trump’s administration, he seemed flummoxed when brave women came forward to tell their stories. He actually kept his abrasive mouth shut until Kavanaugh’s appointment was assured. You better believe that somebody told him to chill, he really isn’t that bright.

And that’s why it is best to let the Kavanaugh matter go. The Republicans seem to have a functional plan. They know nothing reinforces defeat like crying over spilled milk, especially when it’s a knee-jerk reaction to never having a chance to win in the first place. Kavanaugh’s appointment does just that.

Trump doesn’t know much, but he knows street fighting and the Democrats don’t. The nomination process was like watching a one-legged Democrat at a Republican-sponsored ass kicking contest. Perhaps the Democratic National Committee will pass out some Knife Fighting For Dummies handbooks in time to parry a few thrusts before Election Day.

The real issue fouling the air isn’t whether Sen. Chuck Grassley and the Republican majority in the Senate Judiciary Committee bent the rules so they could purloin the procedure. That is a given. If the Democrats had been in control it would have gone down the same way except a liberal candidate would have been sitting on the hot seat. It is the essence of phony to pretend otherwise. Infighting is what politics is, and wielding the knife better than your opponent is the goal. Julius Ceaser had a good perspective on the process.

What is different about this particular Supreme Court nominee and the nomination process that gave him life is timing. There are 26 days left until the midterm elections as of this writing. The Republicans smacked the Democrats so hard in the face with a poopie pie that their grandbabies will probably be born bruised.

It is time to put a cold steak on the swelling and drive on. Otherwise, everything Kavanaugh does until Election Day will stay in front of the voters. It is a brilliant, insidious Red State plan that already appears to be working. Whining about the Republican victory can and probably will slow down the Blue Wave. For that reason alone, the Kavanaugh debacle needs to be minimized, not maximized. Forgotten would be even better.

The Senate debacle brings to mind Jerry Springer’s Columbus Day tribute to a pathetic loser who lost his love and his pride on national TV. It was a poignant, afternoon television mock fest of what happens when intellect collides with passion during public discourse about family values. Change the players and it could have been a satirical look at Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. It’s hard to believe it has already been a week since the same thing happened in Congress.

In that show, Grassley played the king of scream-time TV himself, demeaning the vulnerable and impugning the innocent with the kind of hard-nosed obstinacy Iowa farmers are famous for. When Grassley isn’t with the rest of the Republican boys humping the American people for the last of their loose change, he spends a lot of time on his 750-acre farm watching his cows do the same thing.

Grassley, 85, is the senior United States senator from Iowa, a seat he was elected to in 1980. American farmers like him. Judge Brett Kavanaugh adores him. Trump is probably in awe of him. Democrats, women, liberals, independents, libertarians, and people who just don’t like arbitrary people don’t care for him at all.

Grassley did a fine job emulating the famous Springer style during the nominating process, playing the face of harsh Republican reason. His main job — other than refusing every Democratic demand for fairness — was egging on his colleagues so the biased crowd would moan and hiss appropriately. He played them like a banjo. Last Tuesday’s hearing was so special. It sounded like a max volume orgy compilation on Pornhub, and Grassley deserves at least an enema as best supporting actor.

The Democrats, unfortunately, acted more like William, the witless moron who starred on Monday’s episode of Jerry Springer.  He was dull as a newt, inarticulate, and lost, the way the Democrats appeared during the hearing.

Kavanaugh showed up smarter, more verbose, better educated, and better prepared than the collection of Democratic carnival barkers who seemed better prepared for promoting the Yak Woman at a VFW carnival. Democrats need to take a lesson in dirty fighting.

On Springer, William was duped by his paramour because he is a moron. In Washington, the country was duped by Kavanaugh because he is a brilliant lawyer who came into the arena ready for a war.

Instead of fighting the good fight, the Democrats sat transfixed into impotence. Nothing they did should be glorified. The Democrats could never have won, but they didn’t have to lose so badly.

The bottom line is that Republicans won and Democrats lost. It serves nothing to allow Brett Kavanaugh to be the poster boy for ignominious defeat. The why is for the historians to study after the final battle.  Now is time to build enough Democratic momentum to ensure the Blue Wave rolls over the country on Election Day.

via Don’t Make Brett Kavanaugh The Poster Boy For Ignominious Defeat

JUSTICE? REALLY? – Marilyn Armstrong

Friday RDP: JUSTICE ISN’T


I don’t have anything useful to say about this except that whatever we think justice is, I’m not seeing any evidence of it these days and not for a long time.

After yesterday — which I presumed and assumed was going to be horrendous — and which was indeed horrendous even beyond my own expectations, I have little hope left that we will see anything like justice in my lifetime.

Garry is fuming. Pity he finally got his hearing working just in time for hearing this bullshit.

Someone said, “you can’t burn the truth.” But I’m here to say “Yes, you can. We have. We are.”

We aren’t going to stop, either. Unless all of you who hate what’s going on show up and vote during the mid-term elections, it will keep getting worse until you are living in a country you do not recognize.

Personally? This isn’t any version of the U.S.A. I recognize. I don’t know what it is, and worse, I fear what it is becoming, but it’s not my home anymore.